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Steps For Fire Safety in the Workplace

12/3/2020 (Permalink)

computer on fire in office due to a fire hazard There's a lot less work to prevent fires in your workplace rather than recovering from them.

Taking steps to prevent a fire in your business can save you thousands in property damage and lost revenue. In the event of a fire emergency, you want your workplace to be prepared and have a quick recovery. Making a fire prevention plan is the first step for fire safety in the workplace.

Steps For Fire Safety in Your Business

  • Identify any fire hazards. You should identify what kind of fire risks are in your workplace and then create a plan to lessen the likelihood that these hazards will start a fire.
  • Install and test smoke detectors. Any business should have smoke detectors working and stationed throughout the building to allow ample time for employees and customers to evacuate in case of a fire. Utilizing smoke detectors also allows for your local fire department to arrive on site sooner, hopefully lowering the amount of fire damage done to your business.
  • Have fire extinguishers close by and ready. Place portable fire extinguishers in clearly marked places and have them inspected and maintained per the directions on the label. Place fire extinguishers in higher risk areas of your business.
  • Keep your business uncluttered. Built up dust and cluttered boxes can act as fuel in a fire, allowing it to grow and spread much more quickly than it would have without the extra clutter. 
  • Correctly store flammable materials. If you own a restaurant, be sure the grease and oils are stored in areas away from open flame or high heat. In cleaning businesses, be sure to keep flammable chemicals away from sparks or high heat, and know what chemicals cannot be mixed. 
  • Have a clearly posted fire evacuation plan. Be sure that your business has emergency exit signs clearly posted, as well as any specific routes to exit the building. Make sure that there are not excess boxes or furniture blocking clear paths out of the building. 
  • Invest in a fire suppression system. If your commercial building doesn’t have a fire protection system such as a sprinkler system, look into having one installed. Once they detect high heat or smoke, they will go off and hopefully put out the fire before it spreads or the fire department arrives. 
  • Train employees in fire safety. If your business has a restaurant or kitchen, be sure that your employees are trained in using fire extinguishers and know what to do if a grease or oil fire starts. It’s best in any business to have all employees trained in fire safety, but even more crucial in businesses that work with open flames or any sort of heat. It's always a good idea to have a fire drill once a year so that all employees are informed.
  • Have proper insurance coverage for your business. A workplace fire can leave your business closed for months, so you’ll want to avoid any extra out of pocket expenses after a fire if possible. It’s best to invest in robust commercial insurance to be sure you’ll be able to reopen your doors after a large scale disaster. 
  • Research local fire damage restoration companies before ever needing one. You’ll want to start the cleanup process as soon as possible after a fire, so it’s best to already know a reputable company to that provides emergency response get the job done. 

What Is An Ice Dam? | Removal & Prevention Tips

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

photo of large water stain on ceiling from ice dam causing roof to leak An ice dam can cause major water damage to the ceilings and walls of your home - causing staining and bubbling.

The formation of ice dams on your roof during the winter season can cause a considerable amount of damage to your home. Taking the proper steps to prevent them before they start is the best line of defense for areas that get a considerable amount of snow and cold weather every year.

What Are Ice Dams?

At first glance, ice dams look like nothing more than large icicles hanging from the eaves of your roof. While they form similarly to icicles, they can cause thousands in damages.

An ice dam is a result of snow that melts and refreezes again at the eaves of the roof. This cycle continues so long as the dam is not removed and will cause it to build up over time, making it harder for melted snow to drip from the roof and contributes to the dam's growth.

Ice dams form because of warm roofs. If the your attic space is warm, the heat transfers to the underside of the roof which causes snow to melt. As it flows down the roof the melted snow refreezes when it reaches the overhang as it isn't warmed from the attic. This creates a large mass of ice at the edge of the roof, which can also spread to the soffit vents and gutters. If the attic is any warmer than freezing - you can end up dealing with an ice dam.

Ice dams (like icicles) can be dangerous for your family and pets. When warm enough weather comes through for the dam to melt, it can come crashing down without notice.

How Do They Damage Your Home?

Ice dams damage your home in multiple ways. As dams build up over time, they can cause damage to the roof from the weight of the ice. As it melts, water then seeps between shingles and refreezes, expanding and loosing the shingles of the roof. When the shingles are loose, it allows the melted snow and ice to penetrate the lower level of the roof and begin to seep into the interior of your home.

In short, ice dams cause roof leaks and eventually cause water damage to ceilings and walls in your living space. When not caught, water damage may cause structural deterioration and produce mold growth when moisture is consistently present. Waiting for warm weather is not a solution for ice dams - As they can continue to cause damage to your home even after they are gone.

Ice Dam Prevention Tips

  • Remove snow with a roof rake. If your home is usually prone to forming ice dams, you can prevent them before they start by removing all snow from the roof so it has no chance to melt and turn into ice.
  • Roof heat cables. These can be attached to your roof before winter weather hits in a zig-zag formation to keep the exterior of it warm and prevent snow or ice from freezing to it. Sometimes these do not warm enough to prevent ice dams from forming - and in some cases may help them form by continually melting ice and snow.
  • Eliminate attic heat sources. Sometimes lights, uninsulated HVAC systems, or vents from dryers or kitchen exhaust fans can send enough heat into the attic to warm the roof.
  • Properly insulate and vent your attic to keep it cold. Doing this will ensure that there is no heat loss from the living space of your home into the attic - keeping it as cool as outside and prevents conditions for ice dams to form. Take the following steps to properly keep your attic cool during the winter:
    • Ventilation: If possible, install vents at the soffit and at the ridge of the roof that provides air flow between the actual roof and the insulation. This will keep the immediate underside of the roof cool even if the attic takes up some heat from your living space.
    • Insulation: If you have an open attic, you should properly insulate the floor of the attic and seal all air leaks from the main living space. If it is a finished room that has the roof directly above it, be sure that the rafter spaces above the ceilings are properly insulated. These methods will prevent the heat from the living space from rising it up and warming the roof.

There are many recommendations on how to prevent ice dams, but the most effective, long term way to get rid of ice dams forever will be to ensure your home has proper attic ventilation and insulation.

Removing Ice Dams

You may find many different methods for ice dam removal online, but many of them can cause damage to your roof or even put you in danger. Using salt to melt the dam or chipping off the ice can cause even more damage to your roof than the ice dam itself. What should you do?

Hire a professional for proper ice dam removal.

Ice dam removal companies use specialized equipment to get the job done without damaging the shingles of your roof. Most companies use a high temperature, low pressure steam machine to melt the ice right off your roof.

Using other methods such as a power washer or manually chipping ice off yourself will surely damage or rip shingles right off your roof, and end up requiring even more work and money to remedy.

Need Help With An Ice Dam? Call SERVPRO - 203-707-1952

SERVPRO of Westport/Fairfield is a 24/7 damage restoration company specializing in fire, water, mold and COVID-19 services. Make damage "Like it never even happened."

What Causes Electrical Fires? Signs & Prevention

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

 electrical cord in wall outlet on fire With the long list of items that use electricity in our homes, it can cause us to forget they can pose significant risk for an electrical fire.

Home electrical fires count for roughly 51,000 fires each year, and can pose a significant risk to your home. But how do electrical fires start? Are there any signs in order to help prevent them? Here, we will provide you with everything you need to know about electrical fires to help prevent them in your home.

Top Causes of Electrical Fires

The top causes of these fires are:

  1. Faulty outlets or switches
  2. Light fixtures
  3. Extension cords
  4. Space heaters
  5. Older appliances
  6. Outdated or faulty wiring
  7. Overloading electric system

1 - Faulty outlets or switches

Over time, the wiring behind electrical outlets or switches begins to wear and loosen. The outlet itself may loosen over time. If wires loosen enough, they could break and cause a fire.

2 - Light fixtures

Many people put the wrong wattage light bulb for their light fixtures, putting it at a risk of an electrical fire. You should check the maximum wattage for all light fixtures before choosing lightbulbs, not passing that amount.

3 - Extension cords

Extension cords are safe to use, but when they're used improperly they can cause issues for your home. Never do the following with extension cords to avoid a fire:

  • Run it under a carpet
  • Use old or damaged cords
  • Use extension cords all the time
  • Use extension cords for major appliances

4 - Space heaters

When placed too close to flammable materials, electric space heaters are at a huge risk of starting a fire. Be sure to keep space heaters away from any other items and don't use them while you're not home or asleep.

5 - Older appliances

Also a leading cause of restaurant fires, worn out or older appliances draw a lot of power that the old wiring inside of it may not be able to handle. Many times, these wires may also become old or worn which increases the likelihood of an electrical fire. Its best to replace appliances when electrical wiring cannot be updated.

6 - Outdated or faulty wiring

Older wiring tends to heat up more than newer wiring, which puts it at a higher risk of fire to start. When this is coupled with all the different electrical appliances we now have in our homes such as computers, gaming systems, large TVs or air conditioners, the wiring may not be able to handle it all.

7 - Overloading the electric system

When too many devices are plugged into your electrical system, needing more power than the system can produce, the electrical system can catch on fire. Be sure to not plug too many things into one outlet or power strip at once and unplug appliances you aren't using to lower the stress on your system.

Warning Signs of An Electrical Fire

When you identify any of these signs, you should call an electrician to come and inspect as soon as possible.

  • Burning smells. This can be a sign that the electrical wiring is damaged, very hot, or melting.
  • Circuit breaker tripping often. The circuit breaker will shut off the power in your home when it is overloaded, and isn't abnormal to happen once in a while. But, if starts happening regularly, there's something wrong that needs attention.
  • Sparking. If anytime you plug something in there's sparks - that's a sign of an electrical issue.
  • Warm outlets. Outlets are not supposed to be warm.
  • Discoloration on outlets. This means that the wiring behind the outlet is producing too much heat and is causing charring while something is plugged in.
  • Flickering of the lights. This could be an indication of faulty wiring that can cause major problems down the line.

Preventing Electrical Fires in Your Home

You can prevent these fires by practicing proper electrical safety and fixing any issues as they come up. You should avoid the common causes of electrical fires that we outlined earlier. But, as a reminder, you should do the following:

  • Don't overload power strips or outlets
  • Don't run extension cords under carpets
  • Call an electrician if you notice signs of electrical issues
  • Don't use frayed or broken extension cords, power strips, outlets, or appliances
  • Only utilize extension cords for temporary use
  • Install smoke detectors to catch fires before they spread
  • Keep flammable items or materials away from outlets or space heaters
  • Pay attention to wattage requirements

Handling Water Damage From Overflowing Toilet

11/17/2020 (Permalink)

toilet in bathroom When your toilet overflows and floods your home, there's a lot of water damage it can cause.

The water damage from a toilet overflow is something that most homeowners tend to overlook when it first happens. Many don't realize the extent of the damage until the toilet leaks through the bathroom floor and causes water stains to the ceiling below. Here, we will review everything you need to know about flooded toilets and water damage.

What Causes A Toilet To Overflow & How To Stop It

In order to stop the overflow and reduce the damage done to your home, you should understand the different reasons why toilets overflow. When you know the cause of your overflow, you'll be able to take the best course of action to stop the water as soon as possible and prevent a flooded bathroom.

Toilet Overflows After Flushing

When this happens, it means that the toilet drain is clogged and isn't allowing waste and toilet water to drain properly or the vent pipe is clogged. Many people have experienced this, and hopefully you can catch it before the water spills over the side of the toilet bowl and floods your home.

To stop the water from a clogged toilet drain, you can open the toilet tank and press down on the flapper valve to stop the flow of water to the toilet bowl. Then, lift the float to prevent the tank itself from refilling. These steps should stop the toilet from overflowing on to the bathroom floor and allow you to use a flange plunger to clear the clog.

Your toilet can also overflow after flushing because of the vent pipe. The vent pipe delivers the air needed for the toilet to properly flush. When this vent pipe is blocked, the toilet will not flush properly and be at risk of overflowing. This cause of an overflow is not something you can fix yourself - You'll have to call a plumber for help and not use the toilet until they arrive.

Toilet Overflows Without Flushing

If the water in your toilet keeps rising by itself, causing it overflow, you're likely dealing with a clog somewhere in the drain pipe of your plumbing system either in the main drain or sewer line. If you have a septic tank, the issue may also be that it is full. When this happens, your home is at risk of a sewage backup. This is because when the water exiting your house has nowhere to go because of a clog in the main line, it backflows to the lowest point in the system which is usually your toilet. This will cause it to repeated overflow without even flushing.

When the toilet water rises without flushing, the best thing to do is turn off the water supply line to the toilet, located on the wall directly behind it. You should also avoid using any water in your home until the blockage is cleared by a plumbing contractor, as it will have nowhere to go and backflow into your home.

Common Questions

What kind of water damage do toilet overflows cause?

Depending on where the affected bathroom is located in your home, there can be varying levels of damage.

  • Water damage to drywall, flooring, and baseboards of bathroom
  • Water damage and water stains on ceiling below bathroom
  • Wet insulation
  • Wet subfloor
  • Structural deterioration
  • Damaged electrical wiring

When you experience a toilet overflow that floods your bathroom, you should call in a water damage restoration company to inspect the damages and see what work needs to be done. When you just clean up standing water, you may be missing everything that has already seeped into the floor below that can cause major damage over time.

Is it safe to clean up a toilet overflow by yourself?

The answer to this depends on what type of water overflowed onto the bathroom floor. If the water was completely clear and clean from a toilet that overflowed without flushing, there should be no harm to you in cleaning it up yourself. But when a toilet overflows and contains water contaminated with urine, feces, or raw sewage - you should leave the cleanup to certified professionals. Contaminated water can make you extremely ill when you improperly handle it.

Toilet overflowed on to carpet?

Whenever a toilet overflows on to a carpet you should take the proper steps to have it cleaned, dried, and sanitized if possible. If it stays wet, the particles from toilet water may cause it harbor harmful bacteria and produce mold growth.

Can a toilet overflow cause mold?

Yes, they can as any water damage event can produce mold in as little as 48 hours. That's why it's always best to act fast with flooded bathroom cleanup to prevent further damages to your home.

Creosote in Chimney: What It Is & Why It's Dangerous

11/12/2020 (Permalink)

image of creosote buildup in chimney. black, bubbly, and tar like Highly flammable, the buildup of creosote in your chimney can put your home at high risk of a chimney fire.

If your home has a fireplace or wood stove, you should be educated on creosote buildup in your chimney, as well as the importance of having your chimney cleaned annually. Here, we will explain exactly what creosote is and why you should take steps to minimize its buildup.

What Is Creosote Buildup?

Creosote is a material produced by the by-products of burning wood. The particles, gases, and other chemical compounds produced by a burning fire travel up your relatively cooler chimney, and cause condensation along the chimney liner. This condensation is what then turns into creosote buildup. Once this material begins to build up, it restricts air flow in the chimney and creates conditions for further deposits, making it become worse over time.

Creosote is dangerous because it is an extremely flammable material. A simple spark from your fireplace can light a chimney fire that can spread into your home. This highly flammable substance has different stages as it builds up, with the later stages becoming extremely challenging to remove and even more flammable.

  • Stage 1: This is when creosote first forms, and is soft, flaky, and similar to soot. This type can be cleaned with a chimney brush.
  • Stage 2: At this stage, the material begins to thicken and harden, becoming shiny and glass like. This stage requires professional removal by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. The chimney sweep will have to use a power drill with attached rotary loops to remove it from the chimney liner.
  • Stage 3: This stage is when the compound is most flammable, becoming concentrated fire fuel. This type of creosote is thick, sticky, and tar like. To remove it, chemicals are needed. If they don't work, the entire chimney liner needs to be replaced by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep.

Signs of Buildup

It's hard to tell when this hazardous material builds up in your chimney flue. That's because it is out of your sight when you look up the fireplace - You would have to get on the roof to see it fully.

Signs of creosote buildup include:

  • Reduced draft in fireplace from poor air flow due to buildup
  • Fire not fully burning - Leaving behind more wood than ash
  • Black soot staining around and inside fireplace
  • Darker than normal smoke coming out of chimney
  • Can see visible soot buildup

If you notice any of these signs, you should all a professional for a chimney inspection and a cleaning to remove creosote. Never ignore these signs or think that a chimney fire won't happen to you.

How To Prevent Creosote Buildup

There are easy steps that you can take to help prevent the buildup of this flammable material in your chimney:

  1. Do not burn artificial logs, as they do not burn cleanly and will increase buildup
  2. Only burn seasoned firewood that has dried for 6 months to a year
  3. Try and burn as clean fires as possible
  4. Make sure to leave glass doors open a crack to allow enough oxygen to the fire and encourage a steady draft up the chimney
  5. Warm up the flue before lighting a fire to reduce buildup. Light a 'torch' of newspaper, not lighting the actual fire until the smoke goes straight up the chimney
  6. Be sure to have your chimney annually cleaned and inspected to reduce risk of buildup and a fire

Taking these steps can protect your home from a devastating chimney fire. It's a good rule to not use your fireplace at all for the season until it has been serviced. It doesn't take much for creosote to catch fire in your chimney - So it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Why Do Some Basements Have Sump Pumps?

11/12/2020 (Permalink)

photo of a sump pump in a basement Sump pumps can provide basement flooding protection for your home.

When you're looking to buy a home or a rental property and you notice a sump pump in some basements and not others, you may wonder why that is. Some may even worry that it means the basement is always flooding and will cause major problems in the home. However, this is usually not the case. Here, we will go over why some basements have sump pumps.

What Do Sump Pumps Do?

Sump pumps help prevent basement flooding and groundwater seepage. A small pump is installed in the lowest part of the building after a sump pit is constructed. The sump pits collect groundwater, and when water levels rise high enough it activates the float switch which turns the pump on. Then, the water will be pumped out of the sump pit through the discharge line and be let off away from the home.

There are different types of sump pumps, including submersible pumps, pedestal pumps, and battery backup pumps for when the power goes out. All are extremely helpful in removing excess water from your basement. Consult your local basement waterproofer to see which would work best in your home.

Reasons Why Basements Have Sump Pumps

  1. Home is in a flood zone. You don't want to have to pay thousands of dollars to remove water from your basement over and over when you live in a flood zone. Installing a pump can help protect your basement when your area floods.
  2. Basement under the water table. When your basement is located below the water table, it is much more likely for you to be dealing with groundwater seeping in to the basement after heavy rains. Hydrostatic pressure pushes water through the walls of your basement.
  3. Looking for basement waterproofing. A sump pump is a great option when you want to somewhat waterproof a basement, especially when it is finished. You can't completely waterproof a finished basement, but installing a pump should help prevent any flooding or moisture from ruining all of your belongings.
  4. Located in an area of heavy rains or snow. Even when your basement doesn't have any of the above reasons to install a sump pump, living in an area where there's usually heavy rains or snow is enough of a reason to install one. Even when not in a flood zone or under the water table, increased levels of groundwater can still cause your basement to flood.
  5. Taking proactive steps against mold or water damage. If you constantly struggle with basement flooding, you're likely worried about water damage or mold growing and spreading in your home and want to take steps to prevent these issues.

While the presence of a sump pump in a basement likely indicates that there is a risk for flooding - it's not necessarily a bad thing. Sump pumps are effectively and are usually more than sufficient to prevent flooding when properly installed, used, and maintained. So, if the home you're looking to buy has a sump pump in the basement - don't fear. Be happy that a thousands-of-dollars waterproofing system has already been installed in your home!

Winterizing Your Home: 2020 Complete Checklist

11/9/2020 (Permalink)

photo of three houses on a street covered in snow during the winter New England winters can be unforgiving - Winterize your home to be prepared for whatever the season throws your way!

As the winter months come around the corner, it's time to think about how to winterize your home to save money on your energy bill and prevent any winter-related disasters. Winterizing is generally inexpensive and can be completed within a weekend without any professional help with a big payoff in the end. Follow these 20 tips for winterizing your home to enjoy a warm, cozy home all winter long.

Winterizing Your Home Checklist

  1. Clean out gutters and downspouts of any debris, leaves, or branches.
  2. Buy a snow shovel and ice melt so you're ready for the first snow or ice storm before it hits.
  3. Bring all of your outdoor furniture inside your shed, garage, or basement.
  4. Seal cracks and other openings around windows and doors to help prevent cold air from entering.
  5. Purchase and install door draft stoppers for all exterior, basement, and attic doors to keep heat in your living spaces.
  6. Set ceiling fans to turn clockwise so that they push hot air from the ceiling down to the floor.
  7. Put out area rugs or carpets to keep floors warm.
  8. Replace filters in your furnace and HVAC system to improve energy efficiency and keep up air quality.
  9. Prevent water pipes from freezing or bursting: Insulate any pipes that run along outer walls or are in non-heated areas like attics or garages.
  10. Winterize your hose: Fully drain the hose and the source pipe, bring the hose inside, and shut off the water to the hose valve to prevent any freezing or bursting.
  11. Seal windows to prevent cold air drafts: This can be done by putting up window insulation film (which doesn't look great - but will save you money) or by using weatherstrip tape to seal the edges of windows and doors.
  12. If you don't plan on using your chimney and it doesn't have a way to close it up, purchase and install a chimney balloon. This will help keep cold drafts from coming through the fireplace as well as prevent warm air from escaping.
  13. If you don't already have one, get a programmable thermostat. The newer ones can be put on an automatic schedule to turn down the heat when you leave and warm the house back up before you arrive home.
  14. Be sure to check that all fire and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
  15. Get out your thick, winter curtains and hang them to help prevent heat loss.
  16. Install storm doors or windows for an extra layer of draft protection.
  17. Make sure furniture isn't blocking any vents, making it easier to keep your house warm.
  18. If your property is plowed during the winter, put stakes in the ground around the driveway, mailbox, or anything else that you don't want run over by a plow.
  19. Be sure your attic is completely and properly insulated. Heat escaping into your attic can drive up energy costs - but the larger issue is that it can warm your roof, cause ice dams to form, and cause roof leaks.
  20. Check for any disconnected ducts. This can happen over time, and results in warm air being let out into attics or basements instead of your living space.

Taking steps to winterize your home will keep heating costs down, keep your home warm, and make you feel prepared for whatever winter throws your way this season. 

How To Quickly Dry Concrete After A Flood

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

water puddles on wet concrete floor Drying a wet concrete floor can be simple when you follow these steps.

When you experience flooding in a part of your home with concrete floors such as a garage, crawlspace, basement, or utility closet, you'll want to get the water cleaned up as soon as possible. And when you just have a large puddle or small amount of flooding, you may not want to file an insurance claim or pay a water damage restoration company to do it for you.

We've put together this guide to help explain how to dry concrete after a flood to save you and insurance claim or paying out of pocket. Follow these tips and your concrete floor should be dry in no time.

Drying Wet Concrete Floors

  • Move any furniture or carpets.

This will make it much easier to dry the affected area. If you leave wet items in an area that you are trying to remove moisture from, they will only cause the process to take longer. Move items to a place where they can dry separately.

  • Remove all water.

You'll want to remove as much flood water as possible. For large puddles or very shallow flooding, you can go to your local home improvement store to rent a wet-dry vacuum. Use this to suck up standing water. Then, use mops, towels, and buckets to sop up the rest of the water from the floor.

  • Clean & sanitize.

You want to make sure that no dirt, debris, or bacteria is left behind from the flooding. This step can also help prevent mold growth after flooding or water damage. You can use a mop and cleaners such as castile soap, liquid dish soap, or mild floor cleaners. Create a cleaning solution, mop the floor with it, and then rinse with a mop and just water.

  • Start the drying process.

Your concrete will not be completely dried just by sucking up the water and leaving it as is. Set up multiple fans and set them on high. You'll likely need more than one fan, as household models are not as strong as the ones water damage restoration companies use. Point the fans towards the wettest areas. If there are any small puddles, make sure that you see air movement on top of the water so you know it will evaporate and dry.

In addition to fans, you'll need to set up dehumidifiers. Once again, you'll likely need more than one to properly remove all the moisture from the air. You must use a dehumidifier along with your fans so that all excess moisture is eliminated and doesn't leave conditions that will produce mold growth. Be sure to pour out the water collection bucket or else the dehumidifiers will stop working and greatly slow down your drying process.

  • Leave fans and dehumidifiers out.

If you check on your flood damaged concrete and notice there is no more standing water or puddles - don't turn your equipment off just yet. Although there may not be any visible water, it's likely the area still has a high level of moisture. At this point in the drying process, the water on the concrete floor has simply evaporated but is still present. You may turn fans off but it is a good idea to leave dehumidifiers running for a few days to make sure there is no lingering moisture.

Tips For Choosing A COVID-19 Disinfection Service

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

coronavirus disinfection services in an office in connecticut Looking for the right company to provide disinfection services for your business? Don't hire one without reading these tips.

Coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, has undoubtedly impacted businesses all across the United States and here in Connecticut. Many of these business have utilized coronavirus disinfection services to help keep their employees & customers healthy and feeling secure. But how do you go about choosing a coronavirus disinfection service for routine cleaning? How do you know a company actually knows what they're doing?

Here, we have created a list of tips to help you choose a reputable coronavirus cleaning service during the pandemic.

Tips For Choosing the Right COVID-19 Disinfection Company in Connecticut

1 - Choose a company with demonstrated experience with biological contaminants.

You should choose a company that is trained and certified in handling biological contaminants and can provide that certification for you. With so many businesses looking for cleaning and disinfection services, there are likely companies that are not highly qualified offering these services because they're currently high in demand. Reputable companies will have these qualifications and training advertised on their websites or brochures. If a company will not provide what kind of qualifications they have, they are likely not the right company for your needs.

2 - Is the company following CDC guidelines?

A trustworthy company will be following the recommended guidelines set forth by the CDC (Centers For Disease Control), WHO (World Health Organization), along with other experts in the field. Their cleaning program should be in line with these recommendations and be up to date with any new information regarding the virus. If their disinfection program is not guided by the CDC, look for a program that is.

3 - Is the company using disinfection chemicals on the EPA registered disinfectant list?

The EPA has compiled List N: Disinfectants For Coronavirus. All the products on this list are hospital grade disinfectants that are approved to kill SARS CoV-2 when used according to the label's directions. Only the disinfectant products on this list are approved for use against COVID-19.

Do NOT use a company that claims that they have different chemicals that will have the same effect. A reputable disinfection service will be able to provide what type of chemicals they will be using along with the SDS (Safety Data Sheet) at your request.

4 - Choose a company that is using the proper equipment.

Proper disinfection methods will require the proper equipment. Be sure to choose a company that uses equipment like electrostatic sprayers and personal protective equipment (PPE). These are helpful marks a company investing in their disinfection services and demonstrating they are taking CDC and EPA guidance seriously.

5 - Choose a company that creates flexible disinfection plans.

Not every business is the same and every building is different. Disinfection for the coronavirus is not a one-size solution. A disinfection program should be based around your industry, business type, size of the space, number of high-touch points, foot traffic, congestion points, how many people are in the building, and how people move about. All of these things can impact routine cleanings in your facility, as well as creating a plan for emergency disinfection when needed.

Don't use a company that just tried to sell you a coronavirus disinfection service. Choose a company that sits down, asks you questions, and inspects your building before providing you with their plan. An expert disinfection company should be able to provide you with varying levels of disinfection based on different situations that may occur. Ideally, a reputable company will act almost as a consultant before doing any cleaning.

6 - Has the company provided services to any other businesses in the area?

Before using a service, its always a good idea to research reviews and experiences others have had with that company. As a business, you want to choose a disinfection service that can cater to your needs. Currently, some companies are specializing in residential disinfection, which can be extremely different from commercial disinfection services. Before choosing a service, look to see who businesses similar to yours have hired for cleaning services. If you have a large warehouse, you would be best serviced by a disinfection company that has already provided a similar scale of services.

7 - Compare the cost of services across different companies.

If you come across a company providing coronavirus disinfection services for a price extremely lower than their competitors, this may not be a good thing. The chemicals, PPE, equipment, and training that goes into a disinfection service is a large cost for the service provider. Someone offering these services at an extremely low cost may be cutting corners - possibly not using EPA registered disinfectants or will not provide a high standard of cleaning.

Of course, this doesn't mean that the company that charges the most for their services is the best one to choose. Simply, you should take the cost of the service in consideration with the rest of your research on the company before making a decision.

Choosing A Coronavirus Disinfection Service in Connecticut

SERVPRO of Westport/Fairfield meets all of the above tips for coronavirus disinfection services in Connecticut. As IICRC Certified Biohazard Specialists, our team is highly trained and qualified to properly perform disinfection services for your business. In fact, SERVPRO has been providing biohazard denomination services for the last 50 years, so you can be sure we have the knowledge and experience needed to provide the service that you need.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive, proactive viral pathogen cleaning program backed by our more than 50 years of experience in cleanup and restoration. With an industry-leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes, we're helping businesses across the country stay safe.

  • Consult - A Project Manger will consult with you and create a specialized cleaning program tailored to your needs.
  • Clean - Our team will provide proactive and COVID-19 emergency response cleanings in accordance with CDC guidelines, using EPA-registered disinfectants.
  • Certify - We will leave information and flyers behind to inform your employees and customers on how your business has been cleaned by SERVPRO.

Learn more and get a free estimate for our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Program.

8 Things That Happen When You Don't Clean Your Gutters

10/28/2020 (Permalink)

man with gloves cleaning debris out of clogged gutter Do you remember the last time your gutters were cleaned out? If you don't - keep reading.

Many homeowners don't realize the long list of damages that can occur when they have clogged rain gutters. Cleaning out your gutters is important to allow water to properly be directed away from your home. When you don't, water spills over the side of the gutters and you can end up with issues of basement flooding, water damage, mold, or even structural problems in your home.

Here, we will go over what kind of damage clogged gutters can cause and the signs that your gutters are clogged to help prevent damage to your home.

Clogged Gutter Problems

  1. Foundation Damage. The water that overflows from clogged gutters will flow directly to the ground below, along the foundation of your home. This will cause a higher level of groundwater, which can cause your foundation to shift when soil, dirt, or clay becomes to wet. This shifting can cause cracks and buckling, damaging the structural integrity of the home over time.
  2. Basement Flooding. When your gutter system doesn't navigate water away from your home, it makes it much more likely that it will find its way into your basement. Higher levels of groundwater directly outside of your foundation from clogged gutters overflowing will put more hydrostatic pressure on the walls on your basement. Over time or with heavy rains you'll be dealing with water in your basement from your dirty gutters.
  3. Landscaping Damage. The water continually overflowing from gutters can cause mulch to wash away, destroy flower beds, shrubs, or even small trees. The water may cause a rut to form along your foundation.
  4. Insect Issues. Blocked gutters are a hotbed for mosquitoes and other pests because of the standing water and debris in it. Termites and carpenter ants may also be attracted to the rotting leaves in the gutters. These insects can find their way into your home and cause an insect infestation, especially when cooler weather drives them inside.
  5. Roof Damages. The standing water in your gutters can damage many different components of your roof. The shingles that are constantly in contact with water will deteriorate at a faster rate than they should, weakening your roof. Over time, water will seep past these saturated roof shingles and penetrate the roof deck, making its way through insulation and into your attic. Standing water in your gutters will also make it more likely for ice dams to form and further damage the shingles of your roof. Eventually, clogged gutters will cause leaks in your roof.
  6. Soffit & Fascia Issues. The weight of your clogged gutters will cause them to sag and damage the soffit and fascia of your home. These are both important to properly ventilate your attic, prevent water leaks, and stop pests from entering your home. When the gutters shift and these crack, you will be susceptible to these issues.
  7. Water Damage. Many of the previous clogged gutter problems include some form of water damage. But, its important to note just how much water damage your home can sustain from not cleaning your gutters. Water constantly running where it should not will allow it to get behind your siding or window frames and find its way in to your living space. You may find water stains on ceilings or walls from roof leaks and seepage.
  8. Mold. Clogged gutters can absolutely cause mold problems in your home. Wherever there is unaddressed moisture problems, mold will grow and quickly spread into an infestation. Mold can actually begin to grow in as little as 48 hours after a material sustains water damage. When you don't realize that your gutters are clogged, you can end up dealing with a rather large mold problem.

Signs of Clogged Gutters

Some signs of clogged gutters are rather obvious while others may not be. When you notice any of these signs, its definitely time to break out your ladder or call a professional to perform a gutter cleaning.

  1. Noticing Pests or Growth on The Roof. If you see small trees or weeds growing in your gutter, there's definitely a lot of debris and standing water in them. The debris and standing water will allow for insect growth, which will then attract birds or squirrels who eat them.
  2. Gutters Are Sagging. The only other reason your gutters would sag would likely be because strong winds detached them from the roof. When you notice them sagging, but it wasn't immediately following a windstorm, they're likely being weighed down by standing water.
  3. Gutter Waterfall. If you see water running over the sides of your gutters - they're 100% clogged. If they weren't, the water would drain down through the gutter.
  4. No Water Coming Out of Gutter Spout. If you go outside while it's raining and notice no water coming out of the downspout of the gutter, there is something blocking a clear flow.