Why Choose SERVPRO of Charlottesville? Because we have lived it.
SERVPRO of Charlottesville has been in your shoes. We know what it is like to experience a water & fire damage.
Not even working at a professional Fire & Water Clean Up & Restoration company can prepare you for a text message that wakes you up at 6:00 a.m. with the words, “Your building is on fire!”….
That is exactly what our on-call staff woke up to on April 29th, 2016. To make matters worse, the month prior, our office staff walked in the front door to find standing water throughout the office because of a water pipe that had busted in the middle of the night. So, believe me, when I say, SERVPRO of Charlottesville has been in your shoes. We truly know what it is like to experience both fire damage and water damage. We know what it is like to stand there feeling hopeless while the fire department works tirelessly to distinguish the flames that are engulfing what you have worked so hard to build. To watch your employees as they arrive ready to go to work standing there speechless and in shock, their mind filling with questions of “Will I still get my next paycheck?” “How can I continue to provide for my family?” “Will I lose my job?”. What about all of the customers that your crews are scheduled to see today or that have entrusted you to safely store their contents in your warehouse while their home is being remediated from damage?
I am proud to say that SERVPRO of Charlottesville is part of the 50% that actually made it! With each year following the disasters that we faced, we have continued to grow stronger as a company and as members of this community. We are thankful to our local fire department, our loyal customers, our dedicated employees, and neighboring franchises that came together and helped us jump back on our feet so that we can continue to serve the Charlottesville community.
Want to see photos from the fire damage we experienced? Click here.
When Disaster Strikes, Will You Be Ruined or Ready?
SERVPRO of Charlottesville knows what it is like to experience a commercial damage. We know because we have lived through it.
As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster, according to the latest research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place.
Are You Ready?
Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time for planning for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can be prepared for it.
The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile is a start up approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information. By working with SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile, your business can receive the benefit of over 50 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. SERVPRO is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.
The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile Advantage:
- A no cost assessment of your facility.
- This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
- It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
- This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
- Establishes your local SERVPRO franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
- You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and is close by.
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
- This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are “Ready for whatever happens.”
Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville Today to Get Started! 434-977-5850
Charlottesville: Be Prepared for 2019 Hurricane Season
This photo was taken May 31st of 2018 at Riverview Park here in Charlottesville, VA following flash flooding.
Did you know that June is the start of hurricane season here on the Atlantic Coast? If you were in the Charlottesville area during this past summer, you know how devastating flood waters brought in by hurricanes can be. Sinkholes, power outages, businesses being shut down, homes flooding, precious memorabilia being consumed by contaminated waters, people being stranded or worse swept away by raging water overflowing the banks of river beds, etc. While it is undoubtedly impossible to prevent natural disasters from occurring, there are things that can be done before, during, and after a flood to help you and your loved ones be prepared.
Tips from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) for Preparing Your Home or Business for a Flood.
Before the Flood:
- Have a qualified professional elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
- Install “check valves” in sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home or business.
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to help avoid seepage.
During the Flood:
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so.
- Disconnect electrical appliances.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- Do not walk through moving water. Even six inches of moving water can make you fall.
After the Flood:
- Listen for news reports to learn if the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
- Avoid floodwaters. Water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
Is Vandalism Affecting Your Charlottesville Business?
Ignoring vandalism can encourage further acts and deter possible customers.
It’s dark. The gate is just slightly open. A dark figure slips through the gate and circles around a small office building. A lone car drives by. But as the sound of the engine fades, so do the headlights and darkness returns to cover the hiding spot of the dark figure. There is a quiet hiss of aerosol for a few moments and then the figure disappears into the night and there is no one to see what has happened until the next morning. In the light of a chilly spring morning, you pull up to begin your work day and see the evidence of what happened the night before: the side of your office has been brightly tagged in paint.
Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be the story of your place of work. You and your team can take steps to deter and hopefully prevent vandalism.
Steps to Take before Vandalism Strikes
To begin, make sure to keep the area around your business well-kept and clean. Well-manicured landscaping and a regularly maintained building can help deter vandalism. You can even use your landscaping to help protect otherwise easy-to-reach marks. Large bushes or plants that are prickly can be placed under and in front of windows and walls that could be targeted.
You can also increase the security around your place of business. Secure gates and entrances to make it harder to enter the premises and keep the area well-lit. You can also add motion-sensor lights or security systems.
If you are the victim of vandalism, make sure to clean up the damage as soon as possible to discourage additional vandalism.
What to Do If You Find Vandalism on Your Property
Steps to clean up vandalism vary greatly depending on the kind. The simplest to clean are cases involving eggs and toilet paper. To clean egg, you will want to act as quickly as possible. Use a garden hose or a combination of soapy water to clean egg off the side of a building or a car. Avoid using a power washer as this can remove paint and damage siding. Toilet paper can persist if you try to pull it down. Instead, use a leaf blower or a long implement like a pool net to gently lift the toilet paper off tree branches and buildings.
Other cases, not as easily remedied, can involve paint or broken windows. If there is broken glass, be very careful to pick up all large pieces and vacuum up any smaller pieces left behind. If there is paint, be very careful with any home remedies as many paint removing products can also harm the materials under the paint, like siding and masonry. If you have any questions about graffiti removal or vandalism cleanup, give our office a call or like us on Facebook to be updated on more tips and tricks like this.
Confidence in Your Sump Pump? It’s Possible.
This Charlottesville basement didn’t have a sump pump at all. Our team used portable pumps to begin extraction.
Basements can be creepy. They creak. Often furnaces or dryers are down there making weird noises, and no matter how many lamps and lights are down there, they are still dim with just a few too many shadows. A concrete hole with water in it and an oddly shaped machine that seems to turn on of its own accord doesn’t help a basement’s reputation. Never the less, sump pumps are extremely important if you want to avoid squishy feet and water stains up the walls.
Many calls that we receive about flooded basements begin with sump pump failure. In the middle of the night, you shouldn’t be worried that your sump pump will fail. You had it installed so that you would have peace of mind during a storm, but the reality is that many sump pumps do fail. Here are a few tips to keep your sump pump running when you need it and for many years to come.
1. Consider a battery backup for your sump pump.
In the event of a storm, if the electricity to your home is disrupted, a battery back up will allow your sump pump to run uninterrupted and prevent water and storm damage.
2. Do your research when choosing a pump and the person who will install it.
Many sump pump failures come from an incorrectly sized pump. A pump that is too large will have to run too often and a pump that is too small might not be able to keep up with the amount of water in your basement. Similarly, pumps that are installed incorrectly can cause more problems than they prevent. Sump pumps have many precautions in place to help prevent water back up or a power shortage.
Regular maintenance including checks and cleaning help to prolong the life of your sump pump. This practice will also help uncover problems before those problems cover your basement in water.
These tips provide a great base to a better sump pump that will help prevent a basement flood and give you more peace of mind when the thunder rumbles. If, however, something should happen, stay calm: SERVPRO of Charlottesville is Here to Help.
In Charlottesville, Green Means Clean
A shot from our production room, we see our green wall and are reminded of the importance of the whole team each day we come to work.
Here at SERVPRO of Charlottesville, we love green. As such, we get pretty psyched up about St. Patty’s day. The green hats, beads, and decorations, it’s great.
But to us, green is more than just festive. It’s a representation of who we are as a team. We are proud of our team and we work hard to cultivate a sense of belonging and instill a sense of pride into the work that we compete. Green is part of what visually unites us as a team and a family.
Cleanup & Restoration is a surprisingly personal business, as our customers invite us into their homes and businesses during experiences that are already stressful. We work to make this experience positive by taking the same pride in our work as we would in our own homes or businesses. We like to use the green as a symbol of this pride and comradery.
So Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy your corned beef sandwich and remember that “Green means clean!”
The Day Starts in a Fire and Ends in a Water Damage?
Photo courtesy of Brandon Leon
We recently received a call about a small grease fire in an apartment building. But we were not called in to restore the fire damage, that damage was minimal. We were called in because the fire had caused the sprinkler system to go off, causing water damage on three floors. In this situation, we were onsite that same evening, working to extract as much water as possible. While the fire was just in one unit, the sprinkler system affected the apartments directly under that apartment.
This situation is more common than you would think. And while sprinkler systems are often localized so only the part near the fire will activate, residual water damage is sometimes hard to avoid.
But what if there is an accidental activation? While these are rare, there are steps that you can take to prevent an accidental activation.
- Take care not to block sprinkler heads with boxes or furniture.
- Don’t paint over sprinkler heads so that the sensor isn’t compromised in any way.
- Because sprinklers are heat activated, they can be accidentally set off by direct light from a skylight or lamp. Either keep these heat sources away from sprinklers or use a sprinkler with a higher heat tolerance in areas where this may be a danger.
Even with these precautions in place, accidents happen and so do fires. If you do have a sprinkler system activate, give us a call at 434-977-5850.
Commercial and Residential Restoration: Two Very Different Animals
We pulled in the generator as well as a full team to tackle this commercial loss.
Our community is made of a diverse number of members. We strive to provide cleanup and restoration services wherever we are needed. As a pipe burst in your grandmother’s basement, and a sprinkler malfunction in a large office building require vastly different techniques for restoration, we have to be flexible and have differing strategies and tools in our arsenal, ready to use.
No Loss is Too Large
Perhaps the most obvious difference between a commercial water loss and a residential loss, is the size of the damage. Almost always, a commercial loss will be bigger and require more equipment and manpower. We have a few strategies for these situations. We are consistently training our team members in more areas and with deeper knowledge, so that in a large loss event, each team member is able to work efficiently and independently, if needed. Additionally, we also have multiple SERVPRO locations close by that we can call upon for equipment and manpower. We work closely with our other franchisees and help each other out, especially in large loss situations. Time is of the essence and often having access to those extra dehumidifiers and air movers can make the difference!
Working with Multiple Stakeholders
Furthermore, in a residential loss, the homeowner is often the only party involved. We can communicate with the homeowner daily and they are making all the decisions. There is also accordingly only one insurance agency with which we are communicating. In the case of a commercial loss, this is not always the case and we train our teams to be prepared for this possibility. For example, in the case of a water loss in an apartment building, there are multiple parties with a stake in the restoration. We need to communicate with the building owner. But if tenants’ belongings are also affected, they may need to file separate claims with their renter’s insurance. In this case, we are prepared to update and coordinate with multiple stakeholders throughout the process.
Work Must Go On
In another scenario, we may be called in to a cleanup that needs to happen while a business is still operating. As a local business, we understand that in the event of a water damage, sometimes closing your doors for even a day is not an option. In these situations, we must modify our processes to allow for clear and safe walkways as well as minimal noise during working hours. We strive to approach these events as a partnership, so that we can minimize inconvenience without compromising the effectiveness of our drying strategies.
Our teams have experienced both sides of these issues. This experience has helped us develop different strategies for losses that are either commercial or residential. So, whether you call us for a flooded basement at home, or an overflowed toilet at the office, while the process may look different, know that we are “here to help.”
Invasive and Difficult to Remove, the Smell of Nicotine can Affect the Whole Home
No one wants to smell a previous resident’s habits in their home.
You search internet listings for weeks. You work diligently with your real estate agent. You attend open house after open house. Finally, you found it: the perfect house. It has beautiful dark shutters. The kitchen is open and airy. There are enough bedrooms so even your youngest doesn’t have to share a room, and there is space to grow. There’s just one “but.” You step inside the door, take a deep breath, and you can’t ignore the way the smell goes right to the back of your throat. It’s a little chalky and impossible to ignore— nicotine.
Don’t give up hope. This odor may not be the kiss of death for this home. When we get a call about a nicotine odor in a home, there are a few questions that we consider. First, how long has cigarette smoke been impacting the area? Has it just been the past 3-6 months? Or longer, many years of smoking? Then we evaluate how strong the smell is and where it is concentrated. Does it permeate the air? Is it stronger on the carpets or the furniture? Can you see the staining on the walls and ceiling?
Once we can establish the extent of the damage, we begin to plan action steps for restoring the home. If you or the previous owner have already spent time and effort trying to get rid of the smell, the next question to ask is when was the last time the ductwork was cleaned. Often nicotine residue can cling to the HVAC system and a full duct cleaning could be the answer to residual odor that seems to outlast other odor removal methods.
If the ducts have been cleaned, the next question we ask about a persistent nicotine odor is, when were the walls last painted? If they have been painted since the damage occurred, remediation becomes trickier. Because nicotine odor comes from the residue that the smoke leaves, if a wall has been painted, the odor is actually trapped behind the paint and is seeping through, making it impossible to clean away the residue that is trapped behind the paint.
These two items are our biggest culprits for a persistent nicotine odor, but we have a myriad of other methods and products we use to clean nicotine residue and remove the offensive odor from your home. If you have more questions or would like to schedule an odor assessment, give us a call at 434-977-5850.
Are You Ready to Remediate or Should You Test for Mold First?
With protocol in hand, we can begin remediation, starting with containment as necessary.
You walk downstairs to do laundry. It’s been a while since you’ve been down here. Oh no, what is that odor? It smells like your grandparents’ garage: musty. Does this mean you have mold? Should you call SERVPRO, whom you’ve heard so much about? While we love that instinct and we are happy to help with any of your mold remediation needs. You might want to personally evaluate the situation first.
If you do call us in this situation, we will ask you a few questions. Can you see any growth? About how many square feet of growth is visible? Have you removed and stopped the moisture that instigated this growth? While these questions can be frustrating when you are panicked about possible mold in your home, they are important for us to provide you with the best and the correct care. Some situations, including mold over 10 square feet, suspect growth that isn’t visible and any questions about type of mold or health effects need to be answered by an industrial hygienist. As specialists in mold remediation, we do not currently have a certified Industrial Hygienist on staff to complete these types to mold testing.
We strive to operate with our customers honestly and fairly. One of the ways we try to uphold this fairness, as well as avoiding any appearance of underhandedness, is in our partnership with a third-party industrial hygienist. We often refer customers to Star Environmental, they are a local company with environmental hygienists on staff. With this certification, Star Environmental can confirm the type and presence of mold growth in a structure as well as create a protocol for its remediation.
With this protocol in hand, our technicians can safely and efficiently remediate the growth that may be present. This process streamlines identification and allows us to better focus on remediating the mold growth. Of course, as always, if you have any questions about our process or to set up an assessment, give us a call at 434-977-5850.