Recent Posts

How Does a Hurricane Form?

7/5/2022 (Permalink)

Anyone who’s experienced one before knows that hurricanes can be one of the most damaging and dangerous storms that you can have in the U.S. While you may already know this, and maybe when to most expect them to occur, how familiar are you with the process of how hurricanes form? Knowing what causes hurricanes can help you to better prepare and keep your family safe during these severe weather events.

Hurricanes and other tropical storms form in the same way. Out in the ocean, near the equator where the water is warm. When the ocean water evaporates this moist air rises, as it goes higher and cools it condenses into water droplets, which is how storm clouds are created. The winds over the Atlantic Ocean are very strong and as they blow across the waters, when combined with these storm clouds, they can begin blowing into a circular pattern. This is the beginnings of a tropical cyclone. These cyclones have four stages of growth ending at a hurricane.

1) Tropical Disturbance – This is characterized by a mass of storm clouds that has begun to pick up circulation and a slight potential for damage. Winds in a tropical disturbance do not exceed 24mph.

2) Tropical Depression – Once wind speeds have reached between 25-39mph a cyclone depression can form. As warm air rises from the storm and cools, this release of heat causes the top level of storm clouds to warm. This increases air pressure and shifts the winds outward from the center of the storm. As the winds move away and the air pressure drops, more warm air from the ocean’s surface rises. As this cycle continues the storm begins to spin faster and increase in wind speed.

3) Tropical Storm – Past 39pmh, this is now considered a tropical storm. The winds are spinning fast enough now that the clouds start to gather into the telltale circular shape we’ve all seen on the weather channel. This is when a storm is given a name. These storms can grow quickly and are definitely a sign that you should begin storm preparations should you find one is forecasted to head your way.

4) Hurricane – Once a tropical storm reaches 74mph wind speeds it is considered a hurricane. These storms are typically around 300 miles wide but can grow vastly larger. The largest to date is Hurricane Sandy which reached as wide as 1,150 miles or about half the length of the east coast.

Now that you know how these hurricanes form, you’ll hopefully be able to better understand how to best keep your family safe during these storms. Our SERVPRO of Chesterfield and SERVPRO of Tri-Cities, Plus is a proud member of the SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team. With strategic placement all over the United States the SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team is equipped to help with any size disaster and has participated in the recovery efforts in storms like Hurricane Katrina, Harvey, and Sandy. We’re here to help get you and your family back on track after a natural disaster.

Check for Moisture in Your Home

6/27/2022 (Permalink)

Moisture in your property is never a good thing, however if you have an older property, it is much more susceptible to damage from unwanted issues. As your property ages it’s ability to keep moisture out lessens, so when you experience things like heavy rainfall or high levels of humidity water can leak in where it shouldn’t be such as your windows, doors, crawlspace, and attic. Small amounts of moisture may not do any noticeable damage, but if left untreated it can begin causing serious issues to your home or business. Proper and regular maintenance of your home can help to prevent this. For example, you should check the seals around your doors and windows every Spring after it starts to warm up to ensure that the cold weather did not do any damage to them.

If you do however find that there is moisture in your home or business, SERVPRO of Chesterfield and SERVPRO of Tri-Cities is available to help! Our team of highly trained technicians will be able to use specialized equipment to help ensure that we locate the source of the moisture and that everything is properly dried out. Using things like hygrometers and moisture sensors allows us to ensure that the drying process is going as efficiently as possible and that there aren’t any hidden pockets of moisture that were missed.

Water damage can happen quickly and it’s important to take care of it as fast as possible to avoid any secondary damages. That’s why our team is available 24/7, 365 days a year for all of your emergency water damage needs. Please give us a call and let us know what we can do for you!

Prepare Your Home for Summer Showers

6/16/2022 (Permalink)

Summer is almost here! The sun is shining, and the temperature is warming up, but this also means that it’s time for the summer rain! It’s important to take some time and make sure that your home is ready for the wet weather and also that the harsh winter hasn’t caused any damage. Here are a few things that you should look out for:

  • Gutters – With potentially lots of rain on the horizon, your gutters are one of the main defenses you have at keeping water away from your home. Be sure to clean them out and clear any clogs. The heavy weight of snow and ice could have also caused some damage so you should also check to see if there are any leaks or cracks that need to be fixed. Finally, make sure that your downspout is properly aimed so that water coming from your gutters flows away from the home and doesn’t puddle near it.
  • Windows – The winter weather can be brutal on the fixtures of your home. You should check the screens and make sure they aren’t damaged. Additionally, you should make sure there are no signs of leaks in the seals/caulking of your window to help prevent water damage and drafts.
  • Roof – Look over your roof for any damaged or missing shingles that need replaced. You should also go into your attic and check for any signs of moisture or leaks.
  • Siding – Cold temperatures and ice can cause damage to your siding. Walk around the outside of your house and look for any siding that may be extra worn or cracked and needs to be replaced.
  • Foundation – Check the foundation of your home for any cracks that may have formed or gotten worse from the cold. A good rule of thumb is if you can fit a coin into the crack you might want to consider having someone come and inspect it to make sure it doesn't need to be repaired.

While this is no means an exhaustive list it’s a good place to start when making sure your home is ready for summer. Proper home maintenance goes a long way in preventing your house from being damaged by the elements, but sometimes things happen. Should you find your home struck by water damage from a summer rainstorm SERVPRO of Chesterfield and SERVPRO of Tri-Cities, Plus is here to help. Our team of professionals are available to help get your home back to “Like it never even happened.” Give us a call and let us know what we can do for you!

Protect Your Business From Floods

6/8/2022 (Permalink)

Floods cause more damage to homes and businesses every year than any other natural disaster. They can happen almost anywhere and are especially prevalent in places that are situated near bodies of water. Floods can move quickly, be widespread, and leave a wake of severe property damage, mud, and debris in their path. Even if your business is not near a body of water you can still fall victim to flooding from big storms, snow melt or storm drain failure. You can check with your local zoning administrator to find out if your business is situated within a special flood zone or not and decide the level of risk your business has for flooding. Whether your risk is small or large, it’s still important to keep potential flooding in mind when considering how to protect your business from natural disasters. Here are a few things that you should think about regarding your business and flood protection:

Basements – Basements are often one of the first places that experience flooding during a storm. You should consider what would happen should water enter that space. If you use that space as storage, consider using waterproof storage containers. If you have equipment there you should consider keeping it on platforms, so they’re protected. Additionally, you should also be sure that your building has a sump pump installed and it is functioning correctly, as this will be your first line of defense from flood/groundwater intrusion. At the very least, be sure to keep an accurate inventory and photos of all items in the basement for insurance purposes. You can also consider including an area in your emergency plans that outlines the proper steps to ensure the safety of those items if flooding is expected.

Utilities – If you’re in a flood prone area, if feasible you should consider keeping utilities such as your HVAC systems on upper levels or even the attic to protect them. Check your local flood map information and be sure that your electrical utilities are raised above the base flood level in your local area. This includes fuses, meters, breaker boxes, switches, and outlets, all of which are easily damaged by flood waters and additionally can pose serious fire risks with prolonged water exposure. If you have a fuel tank, take precautions to make sure that it is sufficiently anchored in place. It takes less than a foot of water to float most cars, so fuel tanks are definitely not out of the question. Should they get moved around and become disconnected you run the risk of contaminating everything with oil, or worse a huge fire hazard due to the spilled fuel.

Drains and Sewage – Again, your sump pump is one of the most crucial items you can have in protecting your business from flood/groundwater. Be sure that it is functional with regular inspections and that there is a source of backup power for it should the electricity go out. If there is a floor drain in your building, you can install a floating plug. In areas where flooding is prevalent, it’s also not uncommon for sewer and storm drains to become overwhelmed and back up into homes and businesses through the sewer lines. To help prevent this you can install backflow valves in your drainpipes.

Exterior - The landscape around your building can also play a role in helping to prevent flooding. Make sure that there are no areas where water can pool around the property and that the land is properly graded so that water flows away from your building. Check the seals around doors and windows for any cracks or other damage yearly after the winter months in preparation for the warmer, wetter weather. Your gutters should also be inspected and cleaned regularly, along with ensuring the downspouts are aimed properly, away from the building.

Other Preparations – You should have an emergency action plan that includes what to do during natural disasters and make sure that this is properly communicated to all relevant team members. SERVPRO offers a free service to businesses called the Emergency Ready Program, that helps with creating documentation of all important areas and contact information should an emergency happen in your building. Give us a call if you’d like to learn more and set this up for your business! You should also have flood protection for your business, which can be purchased through the federal National Flood Insurance Program.

As you can see, there’s quite a few things that you can do to help limit your risks of serious damage during a flood. Unfortunately, there’s always the possibility that flooding in your business is unavoidable, but you can still take steps to help reduce the amount of damage the water can cause which will in turn help you get your business back up and running faster. If you’ve suffered from water damage of any kind you should always contact a professional company for help with resolving the issue. SERVPRO of Chesterfield and SERVPRO of Tri-Cities, Plus is a leader in the water damage restoration industry, and our highly trained team is available 24/7, 365 days a year for emergency service.

Pests and Water Damage

6/7/2022 (Permalink)

It should come as no surprise that water is one of the biggest causes of costly damage to homes. From heavy rainfall due to storms, to sewage backups, and appliance leaks there’s no shortage of potential water damage dangers. One potential way your house might get water damaged that is not often thought about is from pests.

Animals like rodents and racoons often seek shelter in openings in people’s homes and get into areas they should not be in like your attic or in the walls. On top of the obvious damage they can cause from chewing on your home's structure and leaving waste behind, these pesky animals also love to chew on plastic pipes. These animals include:

  • Squirrels
  • Racoons and opossums
  • Mice and rats
  • And any other animals that can fit into the small openings in your home

When these animals decide to eat away at your pipes it can cause some serious leaks in your home, and if not caught early enough, thousands of dollars in damage.

The best way to prevent this is with regular inspection and maintenance of your home. Check to make sure that there are no exposed openings to your home from the outside like holes around vents, your crawlspace, or in your roof. Typically, these are the areas where you will likely see animals trying to get in. You should also regularly inspect all of your visible pipes in your home for leaks. While they may start out small and unnoticeable, even just a small amount of water can slowly turn into a big problem.

If you notice water damage during your regular home inspections give us a call here at SERVPRO of Chesterfield and SERVPRO of Tri-Cities, Plus. Our team is constantly working to help ensure that they are using the best techniques and equipment available to make your water loss, “Like it never even happened.”

Tips to Prevent Water Flooding Your Restaurant

6/3/2022 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage can be devastating to any business, but for restaurants, where margins are already paper thin it can be even harder to recover from major property damage. We wanted to share a few tips with you that can help prevent flooding from happening in your restaurant.

  • Teach employees proper equipment use and make sure that everyone is following those rules. Dishwashers are one of the most common things to cause water damage in a restaurant. Be sure that all employees know the correct chemicals to use and how much of them to prevent damage. Another common source of dishwasher leakage is when the dishwasher is over filled with dishes. While it’s understandable to want to get as many dishes done as fast as you can, having too many in the washer all at once can cause problems.
  • Make sure that all water sources like sinks, toilets, water fountains and others are properly maintained and regularly inspected. Things like gaskets around the doors of a washer, and the water line to a water fountain are frequent areas of neglect that can often lead to a leak.
  • Employees should understand the importance of not leaving running water unattended. It’s easy to get sidetracked while working in a fast-paced environment like a restaurant and the risks of coming back to a floor full of water aren’t worth the few seconds you’d save by just waiting.

If you do unfortunately find yourself stuck in a scenario with water damage in your restaurant, our team of highly trained professionals is awaiting your call. We have the skills to tackle jobs of any size and caliber and would love to help make your water damage “Like if never even happened.

What Causes a Sewer Backup?

6/1/2022 (Permalink)

Of all the different water damages that could occur to your property, one of the worst is a sewer backup. Sewage is considered black water, or highly contaminated, and requires professionals to clean up properly and help ensure there is no bacteria or other harmful contaminants left behind. Continue reading to find out how these events occur and what you can do to help prevent them.

Sewage backups are typically caused when wastewater cannot properly flow away from your home due to some kind of damage or obstruction in the pipes. Some of the potential culprits are:

Causes

Tree Roots – The roots from trees are able to reach out far past where the actual tree is growing. These roots are strong, and overtime can push into the pipes and break them or grow into them. This can cause some serious damage to your pipes, from leaks due to the holes, or if the roots are inside of the pipe, they can clog it and cause a backup. You’ll need to cut out the roots and replace the damaged sections of pipe.

Cracked Pipes – Home sewer lines, while durable, do not last forever. Over time the structural integrity of the pipes will lessen, and they can potentially crack or completely collapse. Newer materials used for pipes can last longer, but some of the older materials have a lifespan of between 30 and 60 years.

Clogged Lines - It’s important to remember that our wastewater lines are not meant to just handle anything we put down the drains. Fats and waste from foods, hair and flushable wipes are some of the worst culprits of clogs but you should never try and put anything down the drain, no matter the size, that’s not meant to be there.

Signs

There are a few signs that you may be having issues with your sewer lines. While some are obvious signs of a serious issue, others may not be. If you have more than one of the following you may want to get your sewer lines inspected to make sure they aren’t damaged.

  • Yard constantly swampy or smells bad
  • You can hear different drains, like the sink, gurgling when you use the shower or flush the toilet
  • Multiple drains are draining very slowly or starting to back up
  • Drains constantly smell bad, particularly when you use a different drain in another area of the home

Prevention

Unfortunately, some of causes of sewer backups are not something you can prevent, but there are a few things that you can do to help reduce the likelihood of these events from happening.

  • Do not use flushable wipes, contrary to their name these are some of the main culprits of sewage backups and cause many problems
  • Use hair catchers in the showers and bathtubs. Hair is slow to breakdown and if it gets caught in your pipes, over time it can create a blockage
  • Never pour fats down the drain. While they are liquid when hot, as fats cool the can congeal again and clog up your drains
  • Have your pipes inspected for damage and cleaned regularly to help prevent clogs and address any pipe damage as quickly as possible

Sewer backups can cause a large amount of damage to your home and contaminate everything that the dirty water touches. It is important to have a professional company come in to take care of the damage and make sure that everything is cleaned to the proper standards. SERVPRO of Chesterfield and SERVPRO of Tri-Cities, Plus is IICRC certified and can take care of any kinds of damage that you may encounter due to a sewage backup. Give us a call or fill out a form on our website and let us know what we can do for you.

What to Do if Your Business Has a Fire

5/31/2022 (Permalink)

Commercial building fires are a serious disruption to any business. While product damage or service disruptions are inevitable, proper emergency preparation and response after the event can help to lower the impact a fire has on your business.

Preparation

First and foremost, your best protection from the effects of a fire in your business is making sure that you take the proper safety precautions as well as have a plan for what should happen after the fact.

  • Regularly inspect your smoke detectors and fire suppression systems
    • These systems are your first line of defense when it comes to keeping your business safe for employees and customers, as well as helping to prevent even more damage to your property.
  • Have a plan in place in case of emergency and make sure that it is communicated to and understood by all of your employees
    • Consider having a safety meeting with your staff to discuss emergency preparedness. Your plan is only helpful if everyone knows what to do.
    • SERVPRO offers a free program for businesses called the Emergency Ready Profile that documents and puts all of the important contact information and need to know items such as your gas shut off and water main shut off locations in a single place for ease of access. If you would like to take advantage of this service, please reach out to us!
  • Take record via photo or video of your business’s assets for insurance purposes
    • The more detail you have in your documentation the easier it will be to make sure you get proper reimbursement for your insurance claims
    • It’s also important to keep accurate and regularly updated records of your product inventory
  • Regularly back up your important computer data
    • Having backups of your data offsite or in cloud backups can significantly decrease the amount of time it takes for your business to become operational again

Response

  • After you’ve evacuated and the fire department has arrived, it’s important to make sure that no one enters the scene until firefighters have deemed it safe to do so.
    • Fires can cause significant damage to your businesses structure that can create unsafe conditions that may be hidden or otherwise unapparent.
    • On top of the safety issues, you should not move or touch anything inside until you’ve spoken with your insurance. It’s possible that disturbing the scene before consulting with your insurance can lead to you voiding parts of your claim or making it difficult to receive the full amount of the claim that is needed for the damage.
  • Contact your insurance company
    • Once everyone is safe you should call your insurance agency as soon as possible. They’ll be able to help you along and explain the steps you should take to protect your business in line with your policy. The faster you can get the claims process started the faster you’ll be able to get back to business as usual.
  • Contact a professional restoration company
    • Fire cleanup is no easy task. From structural damage to soot and smoke covered items, dealing with the after-effects of a fire requires professional help. We offer turn-key service from cleanup to repairs SERVPRO will be by your side every step of the way.
    • A restoration company will be able to help you decide which items are salvageable and what needs to be disposed of. You may be surprised as to what can potentially be saved, including important documents!
    • SERVPRO also offers professional board up services. Boarding up windows or tarping holes in the roof are crucial to preventing additional property damage whether it’s from theft/vandalism or protection from the weather.
  • Keep accurate records
    • It’s important to make sure that you keep accurate records of the entire process from start to finish. Not only is it important for your general record keeping, but also for your insurance claims, and other parties that may have been affected. Make note of all estimates, receipts, claims, and any other relevant written communications.
  • Notify any relevant third parties
    • Make sure that anyone affected by the fire or disruption in business is notified. This includes any employees, customers, investors, and even making sure the post office has the correct mail forwarding information for you until your property is back in business.

While sometimes a fire in your business can’t be prevented, taking these steps can help reduce the damage the fire does, and get your business up and running again faster. Here at SERVPRO of Chesterfield and SERVPRO of Tri-Cities, Plus we respond faster to any size disaster and our team is ready to take on anything you throw our way. Give us a call or fill out an online form and let us know what we can do for you!

What Are the Different Types of Smoke Detectors?

5/9/2022 (Permalink)

There are two main types of smoke detectors used in homes today, ionization and photoelectric. There is also a third kind called a “dual sensor” that uses both technologies.

Ionization smoke detectors contain a small amount of radioactive material between to electrically charged plates, which ionizes the air and causes current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber it disrupts the flow of ions, reducing the flow of current which triggers the alarm. These alarms generally respond faster to fast flaming fires.

Photoelectric smoke detectors aim a light source into a sensing chamber away from the sensor. When smoke enters the chamber, it causes the light to reflect onto the sensor which triggers the alarm. These detectors are generally more responsive to smoldering fires.

There is a lot of debate on which detector is best to use in your home, but the reality is that ever fire is different and it’s impossible to predict which kind it will be in the event of a fire in your home. Using a dual sensor alarm or using both kinds of devices in your home will help to eliminate the uncertainty but the most important thing you can do to increase the effectiveness of your home’s smoke detectors is to place them properly in your home and have the correct amount to properly keep you safe. There should be at least one smoke detector on every level of your home and should also be installed in every bedroom and sleeping area.

Smoke detectors are meant to help keep you and your family safe in the event of a fire by notifying you quickly enough that you can get to safety. A quick response in the event of a fire can also help to lessen the amount of damage that the fire causes, however in the event of any fire, you’ll likely need the help of a professional service to clean and repair the damage that’s been caused. SERVPRO of Chesterfield and SERVPRO of Tri-Cities, Plus is available 24/7, 365 days a year for emergency services should your home experience a fire. Please give us a call or fill out a form online and let us know how we can help get your life back to “Like it never even happened.”

Top Work Places Richmond Times Dispatch

4/29/2022 (Permalink)

For the last nine years Richmond Times-Dispatch has partnered with Top Workplaces to survey the employees of companies in the greater Richmond area and rank the area’s top workplaces. This year, SERVPRO of Chesterfield and SERVPRO of Tri-Cities, Plus is excited to announce that thanks to our wonderful #TeamBahen we’ve made the list! The award is based solely on the feedback provided by our employees in an anonymous survey administered by Energage. Only 87 companies made the list this year, and we’re incredibly proud to be a part of it!

Our team has over 35 years of experience serving our local community and beyond, and we have grown to be one of the largest SERVPRO franchises on the East Coast. We strive to create a workplace with ample opportunity for our employees to learn and grow their career with a company they’re excited to be a part of. With over 130 employees, we are proud to say that 18 employees have been employed for 10+ years and 26 employees have been employed for 5+ years. We know our success as a company would not be achievable without the hard work and dedication of our employees and we’re very grateful that our staff considers SERVPRO of Chesterfield and SERVPRO of Tri-Cities, Plus to be one of the top workplaces in Richmond!