Recent Storm Damage Posts

Storm water damage prevention

7/29/2019 (Permalink)

August the back to school month, so much to be done.  But as you prepare to send you child back to school is your home prepared? Here are three tips that will prepare and protect your home or business from storm damage. Like all preparedness tips they need to be implemented before a storm hits. You don’t want to be out landscaping while being pelted with hail.

  • Landscaping, be sure that the ground is sloped away from the home. Where the porch corners join the home ensure that it’s not low or a gathering place for ponding water. This can cause water to go down the foundation and create pressure on basement walls. If that happens water proofing or water accommodation can be costly. If left untreated it can be a source for mold growth.
  • Gutters, ensure they are free flowing. If you have a downspout that leads to an underground pipe is it clear of debris? Have squirrels or chipmunks built nests in it? French drains should also be properly maintained.
  • Roof and roof vents, be sure to check the roof for cracked or missing shingles. Roof vents typically have a rubber seal around them, if they look like a jacko-lantern smile they should be addressed.

These three things will assist greatly in keeping water from your home or business. But if water does find its way in call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County.  It’s best to call us directly 336-946-1131

Prepare for storm flash flooding

7/24/2019 (Permalink)

Have you ever been disturbed from sleep by the emergency broadcast system?  Chances are you have seen the message in the picture above come across your phone.  This is a minor annoyance compared to having your home flooded. Do you have a plan and equipment to ride out a storm or be without power for some days?

Should the local authorities ask you to evacuate because of flash floods do you have an emergency bug out kit? It should include

  • Flashlight and extra batteries;
  • Portable, battery-operated radio or weather radio, and extra batteries;
  • First aid kit;
  • Emergency food and water;
  • Non-electric can opener;
  • Essential medicines;
  • Cash and credit cards;
  • Bedding or a sleeping bag; and
  • Sturdy shoes and a change of clothes.

If the cell phones and power are down does your family know where to assemble and get back together? Have this discussion with your kids and family so that if your usual communication is disrupted they know what to do.

If your home or business is flooded by a storm water call us as soon as you can safely do so 336-946-1131

Is your home or business prone to flooding

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

Late spring and early summer is the time that we start to have those “popcorn” thunder showers. The heat of the day triggers them mostly in the afternoon. Most of the time they dump some rain make everything muggy and move on. But occasionally they dump too much water in a short time creating flash flooding situations. Flash floods occur when the drainage systems like storm drains and ditches get overwhelmed to quickly. Creeks and rivers can also cause a flooding issue when they receive more storm runoff than they can handle within their banks.

Unfortunately rising water is not usually covered by conventional homeowner’s insurance policies. For that you will need a flood policy. Know if you are susceptible to a flood. The State of NC has provided a great resource tool that is interactive and online. This can help you find if you live near a source that can flood your home or business.

Additional safety tips for storm and or flood damage

  • Turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box, even if the power is off in your community. That way, you can decide when your home is dry enough to turn it back on.
  • Don’t ever drive through water that you can’t see the bottom of. Turn around don’t drown. You could lose control of your car in as little as 6 inches of water.
  • Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.
  • Listen to your radio for information on assistance that may be provided by the state or federal government or other organizations.
  • Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home. Call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County. We have the reputation, capability and expertise to handle your water mitigation and restoration of your home or business.

 It is always best to call us directly 336-946-1131

Checking the damage after a storm

5/22/2019 (Permalink)

Were you disturbed from your sleep over the weekend? Storm season is here, and when cold and warm air collide it can cause devastating problems.  Your local news station will keep you informed of the weather. But here are the signs of an approaching tornado.

Warning Signs that a Tornado May Develop

  • A dark, often greenish, sky.
  • Wall clouds or an approaching cloud of debris.
  • Large hail often in the absence of rain.
  • Before a tornado strikes, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.
  • A loud roar similar to a freight train may be heard.
  • An approaching cloud of debris, even if a funnel is not visible.

Everyone has a cell phone these days and now they alert you to when a tornado warning has been posted for your area. Don’t turn this feature off as it is meant to keep you informed and safe.

Once the danger has passed and the light of day allows, inspect the roof of your home. Look for upturned shingles and or missing shingles. If you suspect you have roof damage call a reputable roofer.  Be sure to check their reputation on sites such as the BBB (Better Business Bureau) or Google Reviews.  Never accept the word of a door to door sales pitch from someone saying you “have roof damage and they will help you get a new roof through your insurance.”  These are often scams and reputable companies often do not have to go door to door. Know your deductible for your insurance and don’t file a claim without getting the opinion of your roofer. Talk to your agent they will help keep your premiums low by knowing when it’s right to make a claim.

After a heavy storm be sure to check low areas of your home. The basement is an area you want to ensure has not suffered water damage. If power was interrupted be sure the circuit breaker did not trip to the sump pump. Check to ensure that it is still in good working order. After the basement is flooded is no time to find out it failed.

Of course if water breaches your home or office call us right away to make water damage “Like it never even happened.” Call us directly at 336-946-1131

Prepare now for a storm

2/26/2019 (Permalink)

Spring storms can appear suddenly, being prepared and having a plan can be key to recovering from a flash flood. Flash flooding usually occurs within 3-6 hours of the onset of rain as defined by Weather.gov.  How the rain is distributed and topography of the land can have a major effect on flash flood.  Ensure that your landscaping flows away from your home or office.  If hills make it impossible to slope it away, then a French drain may be in order. As part of your spring cleaning be sure to pull maintenance on drains to find out if they are flowing freely.

Check basement sump pumps to ensure they are working properly. If you thing the power may fail what contingency plan do you have for pumping the water out? A standby generator battery backup? These are things to think about before a storm hits.  For early detection of water intrusion leak detectors can help with alerting you to the spread of water and damage. We suggest that not only do put these near the sump pump if it quits working but also around common water sources in your home or office. Toilets, washing machines, behind the refrigerator and even near the HVAC condensate drain line in case it gets clogged.

If a flood is severe enough that you are told to evacuate the preparation you do now will help you. Because you never know when a flood will occur plan and tell your family what the plan is. Develop a family reunification plan. Kids go to school, parents’ work, what happens when disaster strikes while everyone is at their daily routine? Be prepared to answer. How will I communicate with Family, where will I go and which route will I take to get to emergency shelter? And how will I stay informed of the changing or developing storm?  Ready.Gov has guidelines and suggestions to help you prepare for a storm.

If you’re affected by flood waters or storm damage call us as soon as you can do so safely. We are here to make it “Like it never even happened.”  It’s best to call us directly 336-946-1131

Snow What

12/12/2018 (Permalink)

Snow is a lot like liver and onions. You either love it or hate it. But, if you find yourself stranded in your vehicle in the middle of a snow event, you can either hate the fact that you weren't prepared for it, or love that you are. 

S'now what... 

Mother nature can be a real beast. In fact, she's a killer. And when it comes to a snow storm event, the best idea for safety is to stay off the roads and keep warm and safe at home. However, that isn't always possible. When you find that you must venture out on snowy and icy roads, you know to stay alert, drive a little slower, brake according to road conditions... But what if your vehicle breaks down or gets stuck and you must wait for help in a disabled vehicle in dangerously cold, wet weather? 

SERVPRO of West Forsyth County wants you to be prepared in the face of any hazard that may cross your path, whether flood, fire or treacherous travel conditions. 

Please take a moment to look at the list (below) of suggested items to keep in an emergency go bag. Just a little bit of preparation can keep a little emergency from becoming a catastrophe. 

Stay warm and carry on! And tune in to local radio to stay alert to the latest weather conditions. 


SERVPRO of West Forsyth County
336-946-1131 

It's always best to call us directly 

Keep These Things in Emergency Go Bag 

Cell phone 
Car charger 
LED flashlight 
Bag of rock salt 
Shovel 
Wool blankets/one for each passenger 
Ice scraper 
Leatherman or Swiss Army knife 
Jumper cables 
Two quarts of oil 
Extra fuses 
Fix-a-Flat 
Paper towels 
First aid kit 
Prescription and OTC medications 
Winter boots, scarves, hats and heavy winter clothes for each passenger 
Water 
Snack bars 
Toilet paper 
Music/games for young passengers

Prepare for winter storms

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Here in the south east we weather storms like hurricanes and summer storms fairly well. But what have you done to prepare for winters wrath? The northwest part of the state saw its first glazing of ice recently and here in Winston Salem area we are waking to below freezing temperatures but warm quickly by noon.

In older homes an overnight freeze could be enough to rupture a pipe. Consider insulating your pipes, especially if on an outside wall. Now is the time to ensure that crawl space pipes are well insulated. If there are drafts blowing in on pipes be sure to caulk and seal up these drafty areas before it gets much colder. If your home is on a concrete slab, some of your pipes may be in your attic and ceiling area. These also should be insulated from the cold.  When they burst they can actually cause a lot of damage to ceiling and floors.

Heat tape is also an option and may already be installed if you live in a premanufactured home. Be sure to inspect it regularly for signs of fraying and wear.  If you install heat tape your self be sure to follow all the manufactures instructions. Never double wrap heat tape over itself or use on top of thermal insulation as this could be a fire hazard.

If the power goes out are your pipes prone to freezing solid?  If they are then be sure to turn on both the hot and cold water on dripping.  Keep outside doors and garage doors closed but inside doors should be open to allow heat to circulate throughout your home. Be sure to keep your thermostat at 55 degrees or higher both day and night. This is especially true if the home is vacant waiting to be rented or sold. If you open cabinet doors do let heat under a sink, be sure to put items like cleaners and choking hazards for pets and children away to avoid a problem of another kind.

If after you have taken these precautions and water doesn’t come out and you suspect a frozen pipe. Shut the supply off and call a plumber.  If water comes out of another area of your home you may be able to narrow down the pipe that is frozen this will be helpful to know for the plumber as we all know time is money especially by the hour.

Should you have a need for our services due to a burst pipe call us directly at 336-946-1131

Be ready for a storm with proper drainage systems

8/20/2018 (Permalink)

Water collecting on a flat roof with clogged drains

It’s been a wet August in Winston Salem by anyone’s standards.  We average almost 5 inches of rain every August but lately it’s felt like we have got it all at once. One of the major things you can do to prevent water damage to your home or business is to ensure you have proper drainage. French drains will help funnel water away from the foundation. Ensuring proper maintenance on them should they become clogged or collapse is also important. Check them with impending weather to ensure they are working properly as after or worse during the storm is no time to find out your basement is now a swimming pool.

If your business has a flat roof with drains clear water you should ensure they are clear and free flowing. Just like gutters need to be cleaned, down spouts and drains that clear water in areas where it could pool are especially important. Water weighs 8 lbs. per gallon, how much weight can your flat roof hold? During a storm is no time to stress test the structural integrity of your roof. 

Leaf guards may help prevent you from having to clean the gutters, but when it rains as much and as hard as it has the water may flow right over the edge and not go into the gutter. This can cause issues with water not being directed to where you want it to go which is away from the foundation or basement.

If you should get storm water damage inside your home or office call us directly at 336-946-1131

Flash Flood Safety

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

Earlier this year we have seen heavy down pours some as much as 2 inches per hour. July tends to be one of the wettest months for Winston Salem averaging 3.4 inches. We need rain in our area for growth and to sustain our lives. Flash flooding on the other hand can be a potentially dangerous situation. Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States, however not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, while others such as flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Additionally, floods can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.

Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water carrying rocks, mud and other debris. Overland flooding, the most common type of flooding event typically occurs when waterways such as rivers or streams overflow their banks as a result of rainwater or a possible levee breach and cause flooding in surrounding areas. It can also occur when rainfall or snowmelt exceeds the capacity of underground pipes, or the capacity of streets and drains designed to carry flood water away from urban areas.

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.

Know your flood risk and elevation about flood stage. Do your local streams or rivers flood easily? You can see if you live close to a flood prone area here. This helpful interactive map can help you locate your home in Winston Salem or anywhere in Forsyth or surrounding counties.

Cleaning Up and Repairing Your Home

  • Turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box, even if the power is off in your community. That way, you can decide when your home is dry enough to turn it back on.
  • Don’t ever drive through water that you can’t see the bottom of. Turn around don’t drown. You could lose control of your car in as little as 6 inches of water.
  • Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.
  • Listen to your radio for information on assistance that may be provided by the state or federal government or other organizations.
  • Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home. Call SERVPRO of West Forsyth we have the capability and expertise to handle your water mitigation and restoration of your home or business.

 It is always best to call us directly 336-946-1131

Tornadoes and Storm Damage, Are You Prepared?

5/25/2018 (Permalink)

Tornadoes recently in Greensboro have displaced folks and have made us think are we ready for storms and tornadoes here in Winston Salem? Preparing for an emergency beforehand is much better than trying to deal with one while in you’re in one. You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days. Depending on the nature of the disaster road conditions may prevent help from arriving in a timely manner. 

Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.  If the power goes out avoid using candles if you must use candles do so in a safe manner by never leaving them unattended. A hurricane lame glass over a candle can also help.  Keep walk ways clear to avoid a tripping hazard.

Be prepared for a power outage by keeping necessary items centrally located in your home. Take the time to ensure that everyone in your family is aware of the "kit." Periodically check your kit to see that batteries operate properly.  This might be a good idea to put on the “to do check list” when changing smoke detector batteries and changing the clocks. The following is a list of items that are suggested to keep on hand:

  1. Flashlights for each family member
  2. Battery-operated radio and clock
  3. Extra batteries
  4. Containers of bottled water
  5. Canned, freeze-dried or dehydrated food, powdered milk, baby supplies for infants
  6. Non-electric can opener
  7. List of important phone numbers
  8. First-aid kit

Following a disaster, there may be power outages that could last for several days. Stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation. Be sure to include a manual can opener and eating utensils. The following items are suggested when selecting emergency food supplies. You may already have many of these on hand.

  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Choose foods your family will eat.
  • Remember any special dietary needs.
  • Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.
  • Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • High energy foods
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods

These and many other helpful tips are available at ready.gov Here is the link to Tornado tips for before during and after a tornado https://www.ready.gov/tornadoes When storm damage strikes the Winston Salem area knowing what to do until SERVPRO of West Forsyth County arrives will make a world of difference.  Call us directly at 336-946-1131

Check list to recover from winter storms aka Spring Cleaning

3/5/2018 (Permalink)

The weather is turning nicer here in Winston Salem NC and you will want to do some work outside to maintain your home. We talked about winterizing your home in an earlier blog but what if your preparation didn’t hold up? Here is a check list of things to look for to minimize damage and maintain the value of your home.

Landscaping (shrubs) surrounding the house need trimming to make sure the wood behind them can dry out. Ensure the slope of the landscaping leads away from the home.  Pools of water next to the foundation are bad. They can lead to a water intrusion if not properly addressed.

Exterior faucets, we told you in winterizing your home to take hoses off and use hose bibs to prevent freezing. As you turn water on & check faucets for leaks. Be prepared to shut water off quickly as burst pipes are often inside the house and in the wall. If you have someone who can be on the other side of the faucet to check, that will help.

Gutters should cleaned once a year, twice a year if on a wooded lot. Many houses have different needs on each side of the house so clean as often as needed.

Roof – check for missing or loose shingles; check around chimney, vents & skylights for leaks, and long the eaves for evidence of ice dams. The vents should have good seals and no cracking looks for signs of dry rot and wear. Check the fascia (vertical) boards underneath gutters if icicles have formed on them that may indicate a leak.

Siding & paint – Paint is a seal against outside water intrusion, check for cracks, gaps and peeling. Repair/replace caulking if you find any gaps.

Doors & windows – Replace weather stripping as needed to prevent rain water from creeping under the door. Repair screens, install/swap screens for storm doors/windows.

Window sills and kick boards below exterior doors are the most vulnerable wood items, so check them carefully. If wet and rotting they could also be an invitation to termites. Replace and paint as necessary to prevent extending and invitation to further damage.

Deck – clean, repair and stain. Stain wears better & easier to maintain, i.e. doesn’t peel. Again rotting wood should be replaced and sealed / treated for termite prevention.

Mailboxes, etc – repair damage done during snow removal to mailboxes, fencing, stairs, etc.

Grill – clean outdoor grill; check to insure it’s working properly. Be sure to keep this a safe distance from your home and never leave it unattended.

Attic – If you found missing shingles during your roof inspection, check insulation for moisture and replace as needed. Add more ventilation to insure moisture doesn’t get trapped. Never cover vents or eaves as they allow airflow and reduce the chance of mold growth.

Bathrooms – ensure the exhaust fan is in good working order and dust or clean to ensure good airflow. Check caulking and grout, and repair as needed to prevent water damage or mold.

A/Cs – Change air filters if you have pets this should be done more frequently. Check window A/Cs have good drainage. Check central A/C duct work and insure no leaks. Have your system checked by a professional to ensure the condensate drain line is working properly and your HVAC system is ready for the hot Carolina summer.

Appliances – Dust and clean refrigerator coils, stove exhaust hood and dryer vents. A duct cleaning professional could also be of help with the clothes dryer vent checking off two important areas.

Ceiling fans – clean (lots of dust on top) and check to insure fans are operating properly.

Basement or Crawl Space – check walls and floor for dampness; address source of humidity where possible; run sump pump to insure it’s functioning properly before spring rain. Are there any standing pools of water? These can cause mold and affect the air quality in your home.

Dehumidifiers – Ensure the drain line is clear and flowing freely. Clean periodically and make sure they’re working properly.

Hot Water Heater – Can build up scale especially if your water is hard. Drain twice a year and clean out deposits on bottom. Check for leaks and place a water leak detector near this and other water sources i.e. toilets, dishwasher, behind refrigerator.

Safety – The time change to daylight savings is a good time to check batteries in smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Ensure your family knows the plan in case of an emergency. Ready.Gov has a checklist

These should help prevent disasters and add value to your home. A well maintained home is worth more.  But should a water, fire or mold situation invade your home call us direct at 336-946-1131 we will make it “Like it never even happened.”

Don't get scammed! Call someone you can trust!

2/22/2018 (Permalink)

We have had a lot of rain lately and the winds seem to be picking up to, along with the wind picking up so to scammers. Jack and John Thayer trolled neighborhoods after storms, offering to fix damaged homes. The duo stole more than $770,000 in down payments from storm-traumatized homeowners — without fixing the homes. Many victims were elderly. The Thayers received up to 20 years in prison. This story ended in justice but all too often Winston Salem home and business owners are taken advantage of by less than reputable people.

Be wary of door-to-door and trucks patrolling a neighborhood after a storm or telephone sales people.  Recently the BBB of North West NC reported that consumers were victims after Hurricane Imra  one such scam where the homeowner was contacted by a gentleman who said they are currently working in the area and they notice that she had storm roof damage and they will send a representative so they can help her claim the insurance for this damage.

You can keep scammers away. Protect your family, bank account and yourself from crooks: Stay alert, ask questions and go slow and pay attention to details.

Contact your insurance agent don’t trust that the contractor will file the claim for you. No one should be filing a claim on your insurance but you. This is a good time to talk with your agent about if you should even file a claim or not. You may need additional information like estimates from a reputable company.  

After a damage to your car or home ... Take photos of the damage and passengers. You can prevent fake injury and damage claims.

Contact your state insurance department or National Insurance Crime Bureau (1-800-835-6422) to report a scam. You can also report a scam with the BBB 

Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Save all receipts, if temporary roofing repairs are necessary. Know what your deductible is and know when to file a claim.

Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid letting your emotions get the better of you. Don't be pressured into making an immediate decision with a long-term impact. Be proactive in selecting a business and not reactive to sales solicitations. It is common for storm chasers to call and knock on your door.

For major repairs, take time to shop around and get 3-4 estimates based on the same specifications and materials. Check out references that are at least one year old, verify with your local government to find out whether or not businesses are required to be licensed/registered to do work in your area, and check with your local building inspector to see if a building permit is required.

Be wary of door-to-door workers who claim to have leftover materials from a job “down the street” or who do not have a permanent place of business. If salespeople go door-to-door, check to see if your community requires them to have solicitation permits.

Be leery if a worker shows up on your doorstep to announce that your home is unsafe. If you are concerned about possible structural damage in your home, have an engineer, architect or building official inspect it. While most roofing contractors abide by the law, be careful allowing someone you do not know inspect your roof. An unethical contractor may actually create damage to get work. This goes for Mold Remediation also. Contact an independent environmental specialist to perform an air quality test. Or ask if they do the test themselves or do they have a third party perform the test. If the mold mitigater does the testing or the roofer does the inspection what do you think the odds of them finding work for themselves to perform are?

Require a written contract agreement with anyone you hire. Be sure their name, address, license number, if applicable, and phone number are included in the contract. Read and understand the contract in its entirety, and don’t sign a blank contract. A copy of the signed contract is to be given to you at time of signature. What certifications does the company have?

Find out about reported scams in your neighborhood or report a scam using the BBB’s new Scam Tracker tool.

Check out SERVPRO of West Forsyth County A+ accreditation on the BBB 

 Call a trusted contractor call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County at 336-946-1131

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

7 Tips for preparing for a disaster

8/31/2017 (Permalink)

#1 Make a Plan. Living here in Winston Salem, NC, you’re less likely to face an earthquake than a severe storm that could cause flash flooding. Knowing what you could face will help prepare you for emergencies as you go throughout your day to day routine.  Red Cross has thought of a number of them and are listed here.  Flooding in Texas and Louisiana reminds us that you may not have as much warning with flash floods or sudden storm systems.  It doesn’t take much time, but it will save you valuable time should an emergency happen. Make, print and practice a plan.

#2 The Details matter. Know the details of how you escape a disaster. Planning the route of where you are going while the fire is burning is not the time to plan your route. Knowing if you are going to a shelter, motel or friends home will help get you there quickly and safely. Ensuring that everyone knows the details of the plan will ensure that your family will meet you at the prescribed place. Does your family require special needs? Do you have pets? These are the types of details that matter. The goal is to ensure the whole family is taken care of. Medications needed? Does the shelter or motel take pets? Consider all of the needs of the entire family.

#3 Stay informed. Ensuring that you are informed of impending storms by listening to NOAA or the local news alerts will keep you aware of changing weather. Being informed is part of being prepared. Local news agencies are committed to alerting their listeners and viewers of dangerous situations. 

#4 Communicate. Most people say I’ll just pick up my cell phone, but that may be down. If local phone lines are overloaded or out of service it is sometimes easier to call or text long distance. Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones. If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe. You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for "Disaster" to register yourself and your family. Speaking of communication, sign up for emergency alerts. The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA’s) are designed to be short and an effective way to save lives by giving warning and direction to people in the affected area. Don’t turn them off because they are less annoying than the alternative.  Social Media may give you some information and allow you to contact family but don’t count on it exclusively.

#5 Emergency Kit. Having a plan but no tools to implement it with is ineffective. What are some of the basics you need? Water, Food, and Shelter are the big three but what about other necessities?  Do you have medicine that you need?  A small child to care for? What are other items to help you along the way? Think first aid items, rope and flashlights. FEMA has a list of items that will be helpful here. Do you need to be a doomsday prepper? Probably not, but depending on the severity, you may have to rely on your own for 3-4 days before infrastructure is restored.  Be sure you are familiar with what is in the Emergency kit and how to use the items in the kit.

#6 Get trained. Knowing some basic emergency training will also help in a crisis situation. Know how a fire extinguisher works or how to perform CPR. The American Red Cross has education on a number of topics that can be useful in an emergency situation. Learn where the shut offs are for utilities in your home or office. Cutting them off may prevent further damage or making a bad situation even worse. Be sure that your family and coworkers are educated on the plan of what to do in case of an emergency.

#7 Now that you are planning what to do when you are at home, what about if you’re away from home? Talk to your child’s school and ask how they plan or evacuate the school? How do they communicate with you about emergencies? Does your business have a plan?  SERVPRO of West Forsyth County can help you with that. The Emergency Ready Profile can go right beside your employee handbook and be carried with you on your mobile device. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business. Call us to get started on your plan 336-946-1131.

Quickly Protect Your Home After A Storm

8/29/2017 (Permalink)

Following a storm flood or fire, water cleanup in Winston Salem, Clemmons or Rural Hall is the first and one of the most important processes that you will need to have done. In the event that you don't complete the water removal process immediately, your property can be subjected to a plethora of unwanted, unnecessary complications such as mold growth, loss of possessions, and structural damage. If you find yourself in need of water damage services, it's important to find a skilled team of restoration experts like SERVPRO of West Forsyth. We can expedite the water extraction, cleaning, repair, and restoration components of the process. Learn more about the importance of water damage cleanup by reviewing this short reference guide:


Water Cleanup Prevents Mold and Mildew Growth

One of the reasons for securing the services of an experienced water damage cleanup company is inhibiting the growth of mold and mildew in your home. Unfortunately, these fungi can begin thriving and expanding on your property 48-72 hours after the initial water intrusion. Moreover, the moist, warm conditions created by water damage make your residential property a prime location in which mold can grow and thrive. 

Prevent or Diminish Secondary Water Damage to the Structure of Your Home

Another great benefit of rapid water removal is that it prevents structural damage from adversely impacting your property. When left unaddressed for an extended time, the water can wick into walls, and studs, rust appliances, and damage the electrical system. If a natural flooding disaster occurred, then the foundation could also have been compromised. 

Why You Should Secure Professional Assistance 

Although some people attempt to complete the water cleanup process on their own, this approach is not advisable if it means more than using a mop and a bucket. For volumes of unwanted standing water, our water removal process is expedited and optimized through the use of specialized equipment. Truck-mounted water pumps and portable vacuums are the means of rapid water extraction. The quicker the removal, the less the water damage to furniture, walls, flooring, electronics, and personal possessions. This helps to remove water and treat damage that you can’t see.

Let SERVPRO of West Forsyth County Assist You Now.

Each of our IICRC-certified professionals utilizes advanced skills while offering excellent customer service to expedite and optimize the water damage restoration process for your home in Winston Salem and surrounding areas. We work well with insurance companies by offering professional communication, official documentation of our findings and procedures, and follow-up inspections.

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

September is National Preparedness Month

8/29/2017 (Permalink)

September is National Preparedness Month and SERVPRO wants to make sure you have a plan set in place in case of an emergency. Safety should always be the first priority, so establishing evacuation plans in your home and office ahead of time will get you ready for any emergency that hits Winston Salem and surrounding Piedmont.  SERVPRO can help you with an Emergency Readiness Plan, our mobile app. Call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County for more information 336-946-1131 or click the link.  

What if you are separated during an emergency?

Your family and coworkers should discuss two places to meet. One should be outside of your home or business in case of a sudden emergency like a fire and another should be outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate. An out-of-area emergency contact should be chosen to make it easier if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. This emergency contact should be saved in your cell phone. Also, make sure to save SERVPRO of West Forsyth County as your emergency services contact so you can call and report any damage that is done to your home or business.

Plan what to do if you need to evacuate.

Decide what route you would take to get to your evacuation route. Choose something like a hotel/motel, friends or relatives house, or an evacuation shelter if necessary. Practice your evacuation plan at least twice a year, this way you can plot alternate routes on your map incase roads are impassable. If you have pets, make sure that your plan can accommodate them as well. Compile a list of pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.

Let Your Family Know you’re Safe.

Inform friends and family so they do not worry about you once you have reached your point of evacuation. The Red Cross also offers services to let your family know you are safe and well.

Stay Informed.

It is helpful to know the types of disasters that are likely to occur in your area and know just how authorities will notify you during a disaster. Know the differences between the various weather alerts as well so you know which actions to take. Your community can change in an instant when an emergency occurs so brushing up on first aid and CPR would be beneficial for you and your family. The Red Cross can also help with classes. Be sure to communicate the plan to all who could be effected by a disaster.

If a natural disaster does occur, SERVPRO of West Forsyth County will be there to clean up the mess and restore your home or business to a preloss condition. Whether it be flood, mold, or fire, SERVPRO will make it like it never happened. Call us at 336-946-1131

#NatlPrep

Storm Flood Terminology / Safety

8/19/2017 (Permalink)

Flood Mapping of Winston Salem and Forsyth County

Flash Flood or Flood Watch

Flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated area. Be alert to signs of rising water and be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. Tune to local TV and Radio for updates on conditions and forecasts from the National Weather Service.

Flash Flood or Flood Warning

Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent. When a warning is issued for your area, or the moment you realize yourself that a flash flood is imminent, act quickly to save yourself.

Urban and Small Stream Advisory

Flooding of small streams, streets, and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and storm drains, is occurring.

Flood or Flood Statement

Follow-up information from the National Weather Service regarding a flash flood or flood event.

Flood Safety  

If advised to evacuate, do so IMMEDIATELY. Move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood water.

Get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, washes, etc.

Avoid areas of flowing water. The water can rise quickly. Six inches of fast-moving water can knock you off your feet. A depth of two feet will lift a car and make it float. NEVER try to walk, swim, or drive through such swift water. STOP, turn around, and find another route.

If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and sweep it-- and its occupants-- away.

Be especially cautious at night when it's harder to recognize flood dangers. The reflection of still water in your headlights will give you no indication of the water's true depth, and the road bed may be washed out under the water.

After a Flood  

If fresh food has come in contact with flood waters, throw it out.

Contact your local public works department about water safety. Boil drinking water before using. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking.

Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.

Use flashlights-- not lanterns, torches, or matches-- to examine buildings. Flammables may be inside.

Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.

Before a Flood

Know your flood risk and elevation about flood stage. Do your local streams or rivers flood easily? You can see if you live close to a flood prone area here. This helpful interactive map can help you locate you home in Winston Salem or anywhere in Forsyth or surrounding counties.

Install check valves in building sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.

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

Store drinking water in clean bathtubs and various containers if water service may be interrupted.

Keep a stock of food that requires little cooking and no refrigeration in case electric power is interrupted.

Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gas stations may not be able to operate pumps.

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