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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Why SERVPRO? We Are Scientists!

4/23/2020 (Permalink)

Our scientists have the knowledge and training to help you with a fire or water damage restoration.

Did you know there is a plethora of science involved in training a water and fire damage restoration technician at SERVPRO of Charlottesville? Who knew?

The Training is Rigorous

  • Initial franchise training
  • On-going web-based training with tests at the end of every training module
  • Stringent IICRC certification
  • Hands-on training on the jobsite
  • Lead-Safe training
  • Subrogation Training

The Science We Use Everyday


  • Amps and voltage, with a mathematical formula to determine the power requirements for a job.
  • GFCI’s (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters) Important, since many of our jobs involve water.
  • Power distribution boxes that convert 240-volt circuits into 120-volt circuits. Knowing about this is critical to ensure they have the right amount of power to run the correct equipment to get the job done, without going beyond amp capacities.


  • Measuring the relative humidity, temperature of air masses and Dew Point
  • Creating negative pressure, and measuring it to confirm that it has been reached.
  • Condensation, temperature control and humidity control


  • Type of pump needed for different jobs, depending on factors: suction, lift, fluid-type, and hose length/width and type.
  • Type of extraction tools
  • Air-movers; which type for the job
  • Dehumidifiers; desiccant or refrigerant and where to place
  • Type of generator for the job. Is there electric power at the site?


  • Our products and determining the right EPA approved chemicals for the job, the correct temperature and ratio. Determine if it is nonionic, anionic, or cationic; If it is cationic, it will be incompatible with anionics.

This gives one an idea of the scope of our technicians’ knowledge and training. Among the many questions they contend with is ‘What’s the most efficient way to dry the particular job?’ Every job situation is different, and there is always something new to learn.

Storm Damage Restoring vs Replacing: Our SERVPRO of Charlottesville Philosophy

4/10/2020 (Permalink)

We're here in our local Charlottesville community to help with your storm, water and fire damage clean up. Call Us!

How does one know what needs to be restored or replaced, when it comes to sifting through the aftermath of a storm event?  Experiencing storm water damage can be overwhelming. It can feel like everything is ruined and must be replaced. But wait! SERVPRO Of Charlottesville is “Here to Help”! Our philosophy is to restore First.

Here’s why:

  • Our IICRC certified trained professionals can help you assess what can be restored and what is not salvageable. For example, building materials, such as drywall, subfloor materials, carpets, and floorings can be restored, unless they were in contact with water for a long time, or in contact with contaminated category 3 water.
  • Faster to restore than replace. We can begin drying and cleaning materials right away. Replacing materials involves the longer process of removing, discarding, choosing, purchasing and installing new materials. We are committed to helping recover these items if it is possible. For information on our Water Damage Restoration Process click here.
  • Cheaper to restore than replace. We have all the high-tech moisture meters and drying equipment necessary to restore rather than replace. For a video demonstration on a few of our moisture meters, and why they are critical in the water damage assessment, monitoring and restoration process, click here.
  • We work with insurance companies to keep them appraised as the work progresses. Insurance companies are happy to work with us as the cheaper and quicker alternative to replacement.

More often than not, Restoration is a better alternative to Replacement. For information on caring for your belongings and storm damage, click here.

Need help from a Storm Damage Event? Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville at 434-977-5850 for cleaning and restoration in Albemarle County, Wintergreen, Schuyler, Lake Monticello, Troy, and Palmyra. We’re “Here to Help”!

Preparing your Charlottesville Basement for Storms and Floods

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

Storm flooding and power outage could lead to sump pump failure and a flooded basement.

Even though last week was Virginia Flood Awareness Week (March 8-14), the spring season is just starting. That means spring storms in our Albemarle County area with massive rain amounts and the “F”-word…We’re talking about “Flooding” here. Flooding in Central Virginia can happen swiftly, so it is best to be prepared. Unfortunately, flooding manifests itself in lower regions first, such as our basements.

Basement Preparation tips:

  • Maintain and clean sump pump on a regular basis
  • Check for a battery backup; Sump pumps can fail when there is a power loss
  • Consider a generator for additional backup power.
  • Elevate furniture, electrical components, valuables, and contents off floor to higher surfaces
  • Use plastic storage containers instead of cardboard boxes to store items in basement
  • Pay Attention to Flood Alerts
  • ERP Emergency Ready Profile

For more information on flood preparedness, click here

For flood and water damage tips, click here.

SERVPRO of Charlottesville is an IICRC Certified Firm with the training, expertise, equipment, and national resources for large storm and flooding events. This is why “We are Faster to any size disaster.”

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 434-977-5850

We are Cleaning Experts

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

We follow all CDC guidelines cleaning with our hospital-grade disinfectant.

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need.

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of Coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your commercial property, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts TodaySERVPRO of Charlottesville at 434-977-5850

Charlottesville Hoarding Cleanup Services

3/11/2020 (Permalink)

Need help with hoarding cleanup? We are "Here to Help"!

Do you know anyone you would consider a ‘Collector’, ‘Pack-Rat’, or…a ‘Hoarder’?

Without going into the psychology of Hoarding Disorder, or HD, a hoarding situation can escalate from

  • a clutter issue
  • to a health and sanitation issue
  • to a safety issue
  • In an emergency situation, such as fire, blocked pathways could be disastrous.

Our IICRC certified team at SERVPRO of Charlottesville have the training, experience, and equipment to handle hoarding cleanup. In addition, our crews are professional, polite and tactful. For more information on our Advanced Technology & Techniques, click here.

How we can help:

  • Assess the situation
  • Dispose of Debris
  • Can do an Inventory of items
  • Floor to ceiling Cleaning, Disinfecting and Deodorizing
  • Demolition, if necessary, such as remove affected carpeting, flooring, and drywall
  • We can rent dumpsters and storage containers to have on-site
  • Our Crews wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while at these job sites, to avoid infection

Our focus is on indoor cleanup; not outdoor spaces such as yards and fields.

For more information on Hoarding Disorder, click here.

For information on how to help a loved one with HD, click here.

Need help with Hoarding Cleanup?

Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville today at 434-977-5850

We are “Here to Help”

Charlottesville Dryer Vent Fire Safety

3/6/2020 (Permalink)

Dryer vent fire? We are “Here to Help” with your fire damage.

When was the last time you cleaned your dryer vent? Many of us dismiss this task because of our busy lives, or maybe we just don’t want to bother with it; too many other pressing matters at hand, right?

Why is this important?

Lint can accumulate in and clog the vents, causing them to overheat and ignite. These types of fires can be prevented with regular dryer vent cleaning.

A clogged dryer vent recently caused a local house fire in Charlottesville. Luckily, the owners were home and took action promptly. The firefighters contained it quickly, but it still caused quite a bit of damage to the home. For more about this local news story, click here.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. Failure to clean the dryer (34 percent) is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires.”

The Basics in What to Do:

  • Dryerexhaust vents should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year
  • Lint trap should be cleaned before and after every dryer load

SERVPRO of Charlottesville is “here to help” with your fire damage restoration.

For information about our Fire Damage Restoration Process click here.

For Fire Damage Emergency Tips click here.

For Questions about Fire Damage Repair and Restoration

Call 434-977-5850. We are “Here to Help” for 24-Hour Emergency Service

Selling Your House with Mold Issues? SERVPRO of Charlottesville is “Here to Help!”

3/3/2020 (Permalink)

Mold doesn’t have to be a house contract deal-breaker; we can help!

So, you are selling your Charlottesville home this Spring, but you discovered…(gasp!) Mold?!  For most home buyers, discovering mold is a deal-breaker. It doesn’t have to be.

Mold is everywhere:

  • It takes roughly 24 to 48 hours to start growing after a water damage
  • Mold needs a moisture source to grow
  • Mold feeds on any organic material such as wood, paper, drywall, carpet, clothes, …most things in your house…

Step 1: Fix the Leak/Source of moisture

Step 2: If anyone in the house is experiencing health issues, we refer the customer to an Industrial Hygienist, who can:

  • Do a full site visual inspection
  • Collect and test cultured air and surface samples
  • Measure the home moisture levels
  • Include their findings and recommendations in a report called a protocol, which is given to the customer
  • Customer sends the protocol to SERVPRO of Charlottesville

Step 3: Once the source of moisture has been fixed, SERVPRO of Charlottesville

  • can do an assessment
  • give a price range and scope of work (there may be unknowns)
  • start the mold remediation process

We get a lot of calls in the springtime about mold, especially from home sellers. Don’t panic. We’re “Here to Help”!

For more information about our Mold Remediation Process, click here.

For more information about Industrial Hygienist, click here.

For a really cool EPA Interactive “Mold House Tour” click here.

For Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors (CAAR), click here.

Have water damage and mold? Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville at 434-977-5850.

We’re “Here to Help” with our 24/7 Emergency Service.

Why Choose SERVPRO of Charlottesville for Fire Damage Restoration? We’ve Been in Your Shoes (Part Two)

2/17/2020 (Permalink)

We've been in your shoes, and know the trauma of coping with fire and soot damage.

As mentioned in a previous post, SERVPRO of Charlottesville suffered a water damage loss in March 2016. At the end of April 2016, we experienced a warehouse fire. Again, Amy Yates, our wonderful Accounting and HR savant lived through the whole ordeal.

She recounts, “The culprit was some faulty electrical wiring at the outlet between the bay doors. Our next-door neighbor at True Green (lawn fertilizer company) happened to get to work a half an hour earlier than usual, at 6:00 am. He saw smoke coming out of the bay door and called the Fire Department. The Fire Department called SERVPRO of Charlottesville and got me since I was on call. ‘Your building is on fire!’ are hardly the words you want to hear upon awakening. It didn’t take the firefighters long to put out the fire; about 15 to 30 minutes. But it caused so much damage! And soot was everywhere! You don’t realize how fast soot permeates into everything. I still have old files that smell sooty.”

It was ‘all-hands-on-deck’ to:

  • inventory everything
  • throw out what couldn’t be salvaged
  • clean up all affected areas
  • and keep the business open for the customers we were “here to help”

Amy continues her narrative, “The phones were down because the heat affected the wiring. Soot ruins electronic equipment. SERVPRO of Lynchburg lent us equipment since much of ours was ruined in the fire. In retrospect, the fire could have been much worse. The smoke was detected early, and that made all the difference.”

Lessons Learned:

  • We have greater Empathy for customers going through the same kind of trauma
  • We know that the panic is real
  • We know that it WILL get better

So, we know what we are talking about when we say ‘We’ve been in your shoes’.

For information on our Fire Damage Restoration Process, click here.

For information on the training involved for our Restoration Specialists, click here.

For information on IICRC standards and why hiring a Certified IICRC Firm is important, click here.

Before and After photos on our warehouse fire, click here.

Have Questions About Fire, Smoke, and Soot Damage?

Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville for 24 Hour Emergency service at 434-977-5850  

Viruses Spreading Like Wildfire? SERVPRO of Charlottesville Can Help

2/12/2020 (Permalink)

Worried about Viruses? SERVPRO of Charlottesville offers Cleaning & Disinfecting Services 434-977-5850

Did you know that SERVPRO offers detailed cleaning and disinfecting services?  And that our corporate office has an in-house chemist that works hard to create products for these specialized services? 

Take SERVPROXIDE for example.  SERVPROXIDE was created by SERVPRO and is designed to kill harmful bacteria, viruses and mold on hard surfaces.  Plus, it is an effective sanitizer for soft surfaces.  Below is a list of Bacteria, Viruses, and Fungi that SERVPROXIDE is used for:


  • Enterobacter aerogenes
  • Escherichia Coli (E-Coli) 
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae 
  • Legionella pneumophila 
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus) 
  • Mycobacterium bovis- BCG (surrogate for tuberculosis) 
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
  • Salmonella enterica 
  • Staphylococcus aureus 


  • Acinetobacter baumannii 
  • Adenovirus 1 
  • Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C 
  • Human Immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) 
  • Influenza A (H1N1) (Swine Flu) 
  • Influenza B Virus 
  • Norovirus (Feline Calicivirus as surrogate) 
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) 
  • Rotavirus 


  • Bordetella bronchiseptica 
  • Canine Distemper Virus 
  • Canine Parvovirus (PARVO) 
  • Feline Calicivirus 
  • Hantavirus (Prospect Hill Virus)


  • Aspergillus niger 
  • Trichophyton mentagrophytes
  • Trichophyton rubrum 


  • an EPA Hospital Grade disinfectant and sanitizer
  • Carries the EPA’s lowest toxicity rating
  • Requires no PPE
  • Safe for everyday use/ general purpose cleaning

Common areas of use:

  • Federally Inspected Meat and Poultry Processing Plants
  • Gyms, Locker Rooms, Sports Gear
  • Homes, Daycares, Schools, Laboratories
  • Hospitals, Nursing Homes
  • HVAC - Internal and External
  • Poultry Houses, Egg Processing Premises, Hatcheries
  • Restaurants, Refrigerated Storage Units
  • Swine Sanitation Premises
  • Vehicles, Ambulances, Buses, Airplanes, Trains, Boats, Cruise Ships
  • Veterinary Clinics, Animal Pens, Farms

While it is not possible to completely prevent the spread of viruses and germs, there are ways to keep them at bay and we are Here to Help!  Call us today at 434-977-5850

Water Loss in Your Charlottesville Business? We’ve been in Your Shoes

2/12/2020 (Permalink)

Water damage remediation in progress simultaneously with remaining open to help our customers.

There’s a saying that goes, “You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” And we have been in your shoes when it comes to dealing with a water loss to our business.

In March 2016 we had a water loss at our current location on Quail Run. A faulty pipe valve, in the ceiling of the men’s bathroom, was the culprit.  Amy, our Accounting and HR savant, was here that morning. She recounts, “I entered the building around 7:30 am and immediately heard the rushing sound of water pouring out onto the carpet, pooling, and spreading quickly down the hall. The initial feeling was to panic, followed by taking action.” Our SERVPRO warehouse manager found the source of loss and worked to stop it, while Amy moved vital office equipment off the floor and out of the way of the encroaching flood. Then she called our franchise owner, Earl, and office manager, Krystina.

Another call was put out to the property manager of our office/warehouse, to inform them of the situation and to go through the proper channels to sign the necessary paperwork and forms to authorize us to do the cleanup. Yes! Even we at SERVPRO needed to make sure all the paperwork was done before getting a ‘green light’ to work!

Our crew members got to work identifying and sketching the affected areas, doing ‘Before’ photos, extracting water, and setting up drying equipment.  

Did it cost us in terms of lost business? No. Our highly trained crew members are professionals who know just what to do. We all took care of the office, in addition to helping our customers.

Lessons learned:

  • Empathy for our customers
  • We know that the panic is real
  • We know that it will get better

To learn about our highly trained crew members, click here.

To learn about the importance of being an IICRC Firm, click here.

Stay tuned to find out how we handled a fire in our warehouse!

Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville at 434-977-5850 for Emergency 24-Hour Service

We’re “Here to Help” 24/7/365

Cooking and Fire Safety Tips for Charlottesville Homes

2/4/2020 (Permalink)

If this happens to your Charlottesville kitchen, we have highly trained Fire Restoration Technicians "Here to Help."

I grew up cooking on a gas burning stove. We had to strike a match to light the stove and did not think about the fire danger involved. Our wooden home was in an older neighborhood built around 1910. No fire extinguisher. No smoke alarms.

It’s what you are accustomed to, right?

Luckily, we were very careful and sensible in the kitchen. Yet, cooking is a major cause of home fires.

Here are some safety tips that apply to everyone, including seniors:

  • Never leave your stove unattended while cooking. Period.
  • Keep the area around the stove clutter-free. Even a pot-holder can catch fire instantly from an electric stove. 
  • Never put Anything on the stovetop, such as grocery bags or cardboard boxes. It would be too easy to accidentally turn it on.
  • Do not store Anything in your oven.
  • Keep the stove surface clean, especially from grease. 
  • Pour hot grease into a coffee can or other heat-safe container. Then throw it away.
  • Roll up your sleeves
  • Keep a fire extinguisher easily accessible (and learn how to use it).

Hopefully, a fire disaster may be avoided. However, if you need us for your fire restoration, we are “Here to Help”.

For information about our Fire Damage Restoration Process click here.

For Fire Damage Emergency Tips click here.

For Questions about Fire Damage Repair and Restoration

Call 434-977-5850. We are “Here to Help” for 24-Hour Emergency Service

Equipment Spotlight: We Can Remediate Storm Damage If There Is No Power, Using Our Generator Trailer

1/24/2020 (Permalink)

Auxiliary power for large jobs is one of the many uses for our generator trailer.

Having a powerful generator in the Cleaning and Restoration Industry is a must. When a storm sweeps through the Charlottesville area and causes wind and flood damage to your home or business, you could end up with substantial water damage.

In some cases, it would be dangerous to use electricity.

In other cases, there could be a power outage.

Water damage needs to be remediated immediately; It can ruin everything, especially wood. Mold can quickly become an issue within 24-48 hours. So, how to extract all that water from your structure when time is of the essence?

SERVPRO of Charlottesville has a generator trailer at-the-ready, to power all of our equipment to remediate your storm loss.     

If the power is out because of a storm, SERVPRO of Charlottesville can still be “Here to help.” Call us at 434-977-5850 for 24/7 Emergency Services.

What is a “Puff back”?

1/23/2020 (Permalink)

Our dedicated and meticulous Charlottesville team cleaning soot-begrimed pack outs.

How can something that sounds so cute, like “Puff back”, wreak so much havoc, and cause such a greasy, sooty, smokey mess?

It should be called “Yukky, Smeary, Begrimed Backfire Blast” instead!

In a nutshell, a puff back is when greasy smoke and soot backfire into a home from an oil burning appliance such as an oil furnace, water heater, or boiler. This residue is distributed through the duct system and living space, covering everything: drapes, bedding, furniture, computers, books, art, rugs, electronics, cabinets, ceiling, walls…

 A similar phenomenon can occur from a fireplace or wood stove, where soot is released into the room, but it is not considered a “puff back.”

If this happens to you:

  • Don’t attempt to clean the smoke or soot residue yourself. These stains spread easily and set quickly.
  • Don’t use the furniture or walk on the carpet.
  • Don’t turn on computers and other electronic devices; They can be ruined from this corrosive soot.
  • This oily soot can cause health issues.

Puff backs can be prevented with furnace and chimney yearly maintenance and cleaning.

SERVPRO of Charlottesville is an IICRC Certified Firm with the proper techniques, training, products and equipment to clean everything affected by a “puff back”, or “yukky, smeary, begrimed backfire blast.”

For information on our fire/soot damage restoration process, click here.

For videos about our soot damage cleanup and restoration, click here.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today at 434-977-5850

Why Are We “Faster to Any Size Disaster”?

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Our fleet of vehicles and equipment is ready for any size disaster.

Fast 24-Hour Emergency Service

Fun Fact: Did you know that there are over 46 SERVPRO Franchises in the state of Virginia?

Being locally owned and operated, as well as being a franchise of a nationally recognized brand, is the best of both worlds. We live and work locally, and know Central Virginia well. But we also have corporate support when we need it. And, sure enough, we needed the help two years ago, when the spring rains just…wouldn’t…stop.

Of course, we had an extraordinarily high call rate about water damage. Our owner, Earl Clarke, put in a call for help. The very next day, a 53-foot trailer of equipment arrived with teams of IICRC certified technicians/crewmembers “here to help.”  


SERVPRO of Charlottesville is an IICRC Certified Firm. On top of that, all of our technicians are IICRC certified in Water Damage Restoration.  Crewmember training is ongoing, as noted here. For a list of our certifications, click here.

Advanced Technology

For a faster response, our high-tech equipment is preloaded and neatly organized on our vehicles. Our high-tech equipment includes:

  • moisture detection and measurement equipment
  • water extraction and drying equipment
  • techniques for deodorization and anti-microbial treatments

For more information on our advanced technology, click here.  

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 434-977-5850

And remember, “We’re Here to Help”

After a Storm, the Clock Starts Ticking for Mold Issues

1/15/2020 (Permalink)

Storm damage to a Charlottesville area home floods the basement and can encourage a mold issue.

The storm came and blew through the area, and now you are left with a horrible memento:

  • A flooded basement
  • A leaky roof
  • A flooded first floor
  • A downed tree on the house

Now what? 

You do what you can to clean up the storm damage, but the situation is overwhelming. And the clock is ticking…

Within 24 to 78 hours of a water encroachment, mold can quickly become a complication. Mold spores are all around us. In order to grow and flourish, mold needs:

  • source of moisture
  • food (organic material/cellulose, drywall, wood, paper, carpet, clothes, pretty much anything in your house)
  • wide temperature range, between 32 and 122 degrees.

Here’s what you can do till SERVPRO of Charlottesville arrives:

For Mold Damage Emergency Tips, click here.

For Water Damage Emergency Tips, click here.

For more Information on Storm Cleanup and Restoration, click here.

Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville for Storm Damage and Mold Remediation!

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 434-977-5850

We are locally owned and operated, with national storm resources, so we can be “Faster to any size disaster.”

Do You Have Mold in Your Charlottesville Commercial Property?

1/14/2020 (Permalink)

We have the training, expertise, and equipment to manage any mold remediation assignment.

Mold is all around us in our environment. You can’t escape it!

Just add water and give it a few days, to encourage the mold to grow.

We get a lot of calls at SERVPRO of Charlottesville concerning mold in commercial buildings. Don’t panic!

We can address these concerns, by finding out:

  • Where is the source of moisture?
  • What needs to be fixed to stop the moisture from entering the workplace?
  • Are any employees experiencing any health effects from this?

If the answer is “Yes” to the Health Issues question, we immediately refer the caller to an Industrial Hygenist for Indoor Air Quality and Mold testing.  

We are able to remediate the mold, not test the mold.

An Industrial Hygenist is able to give the business owner more information through 1.) a full site visual inspection, 2.) collection and testing cultured air and surface samples, and 3.) measuring the moisture levels in the building. Their findings and recommendations are included in a report, or protocol, which is given to the customer.

  • The next step is for the commercial customer to send us the protocol.
  • We can then do an assessment at the business site.
  • Only then, can we give a price range, and scope of work, keeping in mind that there may be unknowns.

For more information on our Mold Remediation Process, click here.

For more information on mold in your commercial building, click here.

SERVPRO of Charlottesville is locally owned and operated and available for Emergency Service 24/7. Call us for Mold Remediation at 434-977-5850.

IICRC Certification: Why This Should Be Important to You

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

Production Manager, Ryan Mitchell, holding our IICRC Certified Firm plaque, next to the wall of employee certifications.

IICRC stands for the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.

It is a non-profit organization for the cleaning and restoration industry, with emphasis on high standards in education and training for companies and technicians. Since it’s inception in 1972, the IICRC has evolved into a global organization with:

  • more than 60,000 active Certified Technicians
  • more than 6,000 Certified Firms around the world

The IICRC’s Mission is to “establish and advance globally recognized standards and certifications for the inspecting, cleaning, restoration and installation industries.”

Training is rigorous and ongoing. There is always a new skill to learn in a variety of subjects. There is always a new level to obtain. The quest for knowledge is satisfied with the Continuing Education Classes offered by the IICRC.

A Certified Firm ensures that high standards and best practices are continuously being met. Being a Certified Firm lets customers know that the company is reputable, safe, effective, and professional. It gives customers peace of mind at a time when everything else is stressful.

Currently all production employees at SERVPRO of Charlottesville are IICRC certified in Water Damage Restoration. Additionally, many of them are IICRC certified in Fire and Smoke Restoration.

For more information about our highly trained production team click here

Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville for 24 Hour Emergency service at 434-977-5850.  

We are a “Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry”.

Are You Ready for a Winter Storm in Charlottesville?

12/31/2019 (Permalink)

It is prudent to know where your main water shut off valve is located, in case of a pipe rupture and water damage.

Are you ready for an ice storm-induced power outage in the Charlottesville area?

Are you ready for a burst pipe from below-freezing temperatures?

Do you have a plan in place, if you are without electric power for one, two, or three days?

Ready or not, winter is here, and now is the time to prepare.

Yes, the Central Virginia weather’s been unseasonably mild lately. However, winter is just getting started. As they say, “forewarned is forearmed.”

Tips for preparedness:

  • Have a variety of canned foods available.
  • Have an alternative heat source (e.g. woodstove, propane gas, generator).
  • Have battery-operated light sources (e.g. camping lantern, headlamps, flashlights, plus batteries).
  • Have a supply of drinking water (one gallon per person, per day).
  • Know where your main water shut off valve is located. SERVPRO of Charlottesville has special identifying tags for this purpose.

In the event of storm damage, SERVPRO of Charlottesville is available for 24 Hour Emergency service. For more information on storm damage and restoration click here.

We are “Faster to any size Disaster” and are a “Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry”.

Have Storm Damage? Call Us Today at 434-977-5850

Restoring Your Charlottesville Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

12/31/2019 (Permalink)

Our SERVPRO of Charlottesville vehicles are packed up and ready to roll to your commercial water damage site.

Flash flooding and water damage events at Charlottesville commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large-scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So, when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.  For information on our commercial water damage restoration, click here.

About SERVPRO of Charlottesville

SERVPRO of Charlottesville specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

For more information about our highly trained restoration specialists, click here.

Charlottesville/Albemarle Smoke and Soot Cleanup

12/31/2019 (Permalink)

Our Charlottesville vehicles are neatly organized and loaded with the latest high-tech equipment so that we can be “Faster to your disaster."

Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. We have the smoke damage expertise, equipment, and experience to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage, and to develop a comprehensive plan of cleanup and restoration.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Charlottesville will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pre-testing. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today at 434-977-5850

Pack-Outs for Soot-Damaged Items

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

Pack-out boxes with contents ready to be cleaned at our local warehouse.

After dealing with clean up and recovery from a fire in a business or home, the last thing one wants to handle is cleaning every soot-damaged item in the building.  One of our many services for fire damage and restoration is our Pack Out service. 

This can involve carefully

  • Packing soot-damaged items
  • Transporting them to our warehouse for storage and cleaning
  • Attentive restoration using high-tech methods, such as our Ultrasonic machine(click here for video)
  • Wrapping restored items in paper or bubble wrap
  • Re-boxing them for delivery to the owner….Voila’!!

Our ultimate goal is to restore items to preloss condition.  However, not everything is able to be fully restored after being damaged by fire. In which case replacement is recommended.  

For Before and After photos of fire-damaged restored items, click here.

For information about our fire-damage restoration process click here

SERVPRO of Charlottesville is locally owned and operated, and is a “trusted leader in the restoration industry”.  We are available for Emergency Service 24/7.  Call us at 434-977-5850

Charlottesville Angel Tree Participation and Partnership 2019

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

Group of SERVPRO and CAAR employees at the Salvation Army facility, after Angel Tree delivery 2019.

Chalk up another year partnering with the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors (CAAR), and their affiliate, the Young Professionals Network (YPN), to help out our local Salvation Army with their annual Angel Tree drive. With a motto of “Faster to any Disaster”, it makes sense for SERVPRO of Charlottesville to help out a disaster relief organization, such as our community Salvation Army.   

This year, we helped by supplying our big box truck, load it up, and unload everything at the Salvation Army’s facility in Charlottesville. It was a fun, inspiring, coordination of effort with friends, and a good time was had by all; A win-win situation!  It felt great to be “Here to Help” our local community and we look forward to future collaboration with our friends.

SERVPRO of Charlottesville is locally owned and operated and is always an active part of the local community. 

Don’t Lose Business from Frozen Pipes

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

The mess created by frozen pipes can cause significant business interruption.

Now that the Holiday lights are up, this is the time to be proactive in preventing frozen pipes and the damage it can cause for your business.  And the damage can be a devesting interruption, as one local Charlottesville business discovered last winter.  Click here for before and after photos.  Usually, a frozen pipe will rupture from the pressure build up between the water source and an ice blockage. 

Tips for preventing frozen pipes include:

  • Insulate your building, using caulking and weatherstripping, to keep cold air from reaching wall cavities such as crawl spaces, roof spaces/ceilings, and basements.
  • Cover pipes with insulated wrapping or sleeves.
  • Drip water from faucets during extreme freezing weather conditions, to keep the water circulating.
  • Have a back up power/heating source to keep inside temperatures above freezing.
  • Get an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) appointment scheduled for FREE!! Should a pipe burst and flood your business, an ERP will save valuable time to mitigate the emergency and speed up the cleanup and recovery process.

Click here to learn about our Commercial Water Damage Restoration services

SERVPRO of Charlottesville is available for 24 Hour Emergency service.  We are “Faster to any size Disaster” and are a “Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry”.

Prep-work for Catastrophic Storms

12/10/2019 (Permalink)

Part of our free ERP service includes locating priority shut-off valves.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a plan in place in order to be prepared for storm damage to your home or business?

Wouldn’t it be great to have a plan of action for saving valuable time in getting the ball rolling with clean up and restoration, rather than running around trying to gather necessary items, such as:

  • Insurance information
  • Walk-through photos from Before the damage
  • Facilities details, such as shut off valve locations, priority areas, and contact information
  • Supplemental power (Do you have it? Will you need it?)
  • Identifying the chain-of-command to authorize the cleanup and restoration work to begin

And, what if designing this plan was at no cost?

SERVPRO of Charlottesville has this plan.  It is the Emergency Ready Profile (ERP). We have everything you need to be prepared.  And being prepared is key to peace of mind and reducing business interruption following a disaster.

We have helped other local businesses, such as the Salvation Army  recover from storm damage to their office.

Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville at 434-977-5850 today, to get your Emergency Ready Profile set up scheduled.

And remember at SERVPRO, “We’re here to help”!

SERVPRO of Charlottesville: Building Community

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

Literally written on our office wall, in giant gold letters, are SERVPRO of Charlottesville’s Core Values of Integrity, Leadership, Teamwork, and Growth.  By providing opportunities for our employees to participate in giving back to the local community, we are helping each other grow.  And, as part of the local community of Charlottesville, we want to be involved.

We continue to partner with the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree gift drive, and participate with CAAR in delivering all their donations to the Salvation Army

Another example of how SERVPRO participates in our local community is our involvement with the Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA). Not only was SERVPRO of Charlottesville one of the 2019 Finish Line Sponsors, but several employees volunteered, and our Production Manager ran in the race. Our Marketing Team volunteered at the 2018 VIA Gala. We’ll be ready to run again next year!

Other opportunities for building community and personal growth:

  • Boys and Girls Club/Cops 4 Kids day
  • Montessori Truck Touch Event, May 2019
  • Hurricane Florence Relief Supply Collection, September 2018
  • AHIP Build Day (Home Repair non-profit)

Photos for many of these events can be seen on our website and Facebook.

Prepping Your Home This Winter from Water Losses

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

Prevent you home from having a water loss this winter by checking out these simple tips.

Now is the time. You’ve heard it every year, prep your home, winter’s coming. No joke: the cold can do serious damage to your home. Follow these easy tips to avoid potential losses.

  1. Turn off exterior water faucets. Disconnect and drain hoses. If these are left on water can freeze in it and water will back up into your home, and worst-case scenario, bust all your pipes.
  2. Turn off sprinkler systems and drain pools according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Caulk around your windows and doors. This can prevent water driven rain from coming in around your openings. It will also reduce your electricity bills by retaining your heat during the colder months.
  4. Walk around your home looking for missing, damaged or loose shingles on your roof. Rain and snow will come into your home from these compromised areas, causing water damage that can lead to mold issues in your attic. Check your soffits as well and repair any potential critter holes you may find.
  5. Clean your gutters. Remove any branches or obstructions to your gutters and downspouts. Debris can cause your gutters to be unable to easily remove rain water and snow melt, causing water to leak into the eaves and into your home.
  6. Locate and test out your water main. Many haven’t been used in a while, if at all, and it may need a tool and some lube to be able to turn it off and on easily. A residential home experiencing a water pipe leak can release up to 210 gallons per minute. The size of a very large fish tank… per minute…. That is not the time you want to discover the valve on your water shut off won’t budge. Call our office for free water shut off tags.
  7. Wrap any pipes located next to an exterior wall with insulation. If not, consider leaving your faucet dripping in extreme temps to keep the pipe from freezing.

Check and replace appliance hoses on a regular basis as well as check the batteries and functionality of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

These simple steps will go a long way toward making your home cozy and safe this winter season. For any emergency situation SERVPRO is always here, on call, 24 hours a day , 7 days a week.

SERVPROxide is an excellent choice when cleaning up contaminated water losses

11/12/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPROXIDE is just one of many products made by our Corporate Office specially designed for the services that we provide.

In the last week you may have seen a cartoon person and blurb about one of our products, SERVPROxide. We have recently begun using this product on more jobs and here’s why… SERVPROxide is a chlorine dioxide-based disinfectant and sanitizer, many of the jobs we deal with come from contaminated water or sewage which can leave behind harmful bacteria, viruses and molds. In a home its bad but if it’s your business, it’s affecting your bottom line. Once the mess is cleared up smells can linger in any surface that cannot be removed. SERVPROxide is so effective it will remove any remaining contaminants from hard surfaces, and leaves only a faint odor that quickly dissipates with air circulation. This product is so mild, with a ph level of 8.5-9.5, it can even be used on mildly soiled soft surfaces. FYI, soft surfaces damaged by sewage are not considered salvageable. SERVPROxide is so gentle it is safe for everyday use and no PPE or gloves are required, making it easier for our technicians to use. You can see why it is one of our “go to “products in a long line of specialty products SERVPRO offers.

Charlottesville Residence: Does Your Home Have Water Damage?

10/11/2019 (Permalink)

Your home is very important to you and we do our best to walk you through our drying process to help put you more at ease.

Water is running. You can hear it from upstairs, your heart sinks… Life is crazy right now and the last thing you want to deal with is damage to your home caused by water.  When a loss occurs the experience can be completely overwhelming. Is the source fixed? Have I gotten all the water up? I only have beach towels, will they get all the water? Your home is most likely your largest investment and a sudden accidental discharge of water, possibly even contaminated water can seem overwhelming.

 That’s when you call SERVPRO of Charlottesville. We’re here to help. We have the knowledge, the equipment and the products to remove any type or water, even if its contaminated.  We spend many hours training our staff to understand how to safely dry your home and your contents to make them safe again for everyday use. Water damage can come from many sources... burst pipes, sewage drains, AC units, water heaters, water lines as well as storm damage even as large as a hurricane. SERVPRO employees have the knowledge and the training you can rely on to return your house to the home it was before the emergency. 

Just Spooky Spider Web Decor? Think Again...

10/11/2019 (Permalink)

Soot webs can be spooky, call SERVPRO of Charlottesville to help clean up the visible soot and remove that lingering odor.

With Halloween right around the corner you may think this is part of the décor, but it’s not. This is an image of a phenomenon called soot webs, also referred to as soot tags. It looks like soot from a fire has settled on a spider’s web or a cob web, but its not. The webbing may look similar but these are actually charged particles carrying the soot and will cling to other charged particles to form these stringy structures. Rest assured there are no spiders lurking around these webs! We use specialty vacuums with hepa filters attached to remove them and the soot they carry. Please do not attempt to wipe these away as the soot will smear and cling to the closest solid structure available.

If you find yourself facing these call SERVPRO and remember we are here to help. 434-977-5850

Newly Certified Water Technicians, Congrats guys!

9/20/2019 (Permalink)

Our newest IICRC WRT certified crew members from left to right: Tucker, Chris, and Lemuel

Congrats to our crew members Lemuel, Chris and Tucker, for their recent passing of the IICRC water certification tests. These IICRC certifications are very important in our industry, not all companies take this extra measure to certify their technicians. Here at SERVPRO we feel like it’s a priority.  This particular class provides technicians the background to understand and use the procedures necessary to deal with water losses, sewer backflows and contaminations such as mold. Knowing how to remediate these types of losses effectively saves our customers time and money. We consistently train our crew members in the latest our industry has to offer, such as green products, new generations of equipment, as well as tried and true measures, used and relied on for years. Every job is different and our crew member are trained to adjust to any situation. Certifying our staff shows our commitment to finding and using the latest knowledge, technology and tools to return your home or your business to a healthy livable space.

Meet Our Latest Certified Fire Crew Members!

9/20/2019 (Permalink)

David and Chris have successfully completed Fire & Smoke Restoration and have already begun applying what they learned.

Congratulations to crew members Chris and David on passing their IICRC Fire and Smoke Restoration class. This important class focuses on the technical procedures for successfully completing the restoration of a fire and smoke damaged environment. Fires can be completely overwhelming. If you’ve ever been to or unfortunately had a fire you know how invasive soot can be. The damage left behind by a fire can be toxic so knowing how to remediate the scene properly is important. Often a fire scene is compromised, knowing what is safe and what is not safe is something for which SERVPRO technicians are trained. Our employees are very proud of the working knowledge they have of our industry, you can always feel free to ask our crew why we are doing something a particular way, they know their business and are happy to share their knowledge and experience. We know these situations are sometimes the worst thing that has ever happened to you, SERVPRO strives to be a source of comfort in the knowledge that when we are done, you will be coming home to a safe, clean, healthy livable space.  

Shout Out To Our Awesome Crew!

7/16/2019 (Permalink)

One way that we love to brag on our crew is by creating a poster of a customer review that our employees can hang anywhere in our office!

We already know that our crew is awesome and that they work hard but man it is so rewarding to hear rave reviews from our customers about how much they appreciated the hard work that our crew did.  It also means a lot to each of our crew members especially when they are specifically mentioned by name like in this 5 Star Google Review left by Mrs. Pitt. 

“Our carpeted basement was totally flooded when the hot water tank broke -- many, many boxes of books and family items were stored there and soaked up a lot of water. A bad situation! The emergency plumber said it looked like we really needed outside help -- so we called SERVPRO. They were a life saver. Nice people who did good work! They helped us dry out the basement, move and store or discard a huge number of boxes, remove and discard the glued down carpeting and tile flooring beneath it -- and bring everything back to normal at the end after other necessary work was done. The project took quite a while from start to finish and they never faltered in their service -- no concern important to us was dismissed. From our first contact on a Sunday afternoon, they always responded when we called and were really good about communicating with us. Ryan (the project manager) and Krystina and Amy in the office were great schedulers, organizers and PROBLEM SOLVERS. They also helped by communicating with our home owner's insurance throughout for a smooth process. Chris (the crew chief) was super at organizing the work on site and getting it done -- what felt impossible became possible, then got done. Technicians Sam, Joe, Larry and Evan were all part of the team along the way making sure we were dry and safe. We are very grateful for a job well done!”

Want to put a face to these awesome employees of ours?  Check out our employee page by clicking here!

Why Choose SERVPRO of Charlottesville? Because we have lived it.

5/30/2019 (Permalink)

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?

5/14/2019 (Permalink)

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

4/25/2019 (Permalink)

This photo was taken May 31st of 2018 at Riverview Park here in Charlottesville, VA following flash flooding. https://bit.ly/2V19IaZ

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?

3/27/2019 (Permalink)

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.

3/20/2019 (Permalink)

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.

3. Maintenance

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

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

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?

3/6/2019 (Permalink)

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.

  1. Take care not to block sprinkler heads with boxes or furniture.
  2. Don’t paint over sprinkler heads so that the sensor isn’t compromised in any way.
  3. 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

2/13/2019 (Permalink)

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

2/6/2019 (Permalink)

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?

1/30/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Here’s Why

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.

Next Steps

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.

Avoid Deep Trouble by Avoiding Even Shallow Water

1/23/2019 (Permalink)

A recent flood swelled the Rivanna River well beyond its normal banks.

My first car had a few problems. Mostly limited to a few rust spots, no A/C and some unidentified stains in the upholstery, I categorized most of my little car’s troubles as purely cosmetic. It had one flaw, though, that was less than cosmetic: the engine stalled whenever I drove through a puddle. Whenever I would wake up and hear the rain tapping the roof, I would wonder how many times my car would stall before I made it to school. Hopefully upon hearing the story of my struggling car, your reaction is, “Wow! That’s not safe. You really shouldn’t drive that car through any puddles at all!” This is the kind of uncertainty that we should all feel when faced with a flash flood.  Flash floods can not only stall a car, but can also wash it away.

Before the Flood

If a flash flood could be coming your way, make sure that you know where is the safest place to be. You should locate high ground near you. Places like river beds and ditches are already designed to collect water and will be the first places to flood. You should secure items that could possibly be washed away and stock up on sandbags to help protect your home from the flood waters.

During the Flood

If you do find yourself driving when a flash flood hits, do not drive through water of an unknown depth. It only takes 2 feet of water to wash away a car and flood waters can hide debris and other objects that may be blocking the road. If your car does stall during a flash flood, abandon the car and get to higher ground. The most dangerous part of flash floods is how quickly they can escalate, in some cases allowing only a few moments to get to a safe location.

My sixteen-year-old self was not smart enough to avoid puddles in my struggling car. As adults, let us pass on the wisdom that it is worth it to avoid driving and walking through flood waters.  

Find out more from the National Weather Service

Equipment Spotlight: Using Air Scrubbers to Restore the Indoor Air Quality of Homes and Businesses in Charlottesville

1/16/2019 (Permalink)

Our equipment is just part of what helps us make it “Like it never even happened.”

One of the ways that we strive to offer the best service to our customers is through our equipment. We work to maintain, continually update, and replace equipment that is worn out or aging. We recently received new air scrubbers. Unlike a dehumidifier or an extractor— whose names are also their function— the air scrubber is more industry specific and we would love to share a little bit about what we use it for.

How Does It Work?

In many loss situations, whether it be water, fire, or mold damages, there are contaminants left behind in the air. While our technicians are working to remove and restore the damage on material pieces of a home or business, we can not forget about restoring the air as well. This is when we place an air scrubber. This piece of equipment works by passing the air inside a room through three filters to remove contaminants and small particles.

For What is it Used?

During a water damage, especially one caused by a storm where the water could possibly be filled with dangerous materials, we might employ an air scrubber. As we dry the structure and affected items in this situation, we would use air movers and dehumidifiers to help dry out the structure more quickly. While in use, these machines can also stir up dust and particulates. In this situation, an air scrubber can be employed to keep these contaminants to a minimum and return the affected area to its preloss condition more quickly.

Especially in situations where damage has been caused by sewage or a sewer line back up, air scrubbers are essential to help remove left over contaminants from the air. Any sort of movement or disturbance can kick up particles into the air. We use these air scrubbers to make sure that as we are cleaning the surfaces, the air isn’t retaining any particulates that could leave behind germs or odors.

While restoring an area that has been affected by mold, we will also place air scrubbers. Mold spores are always present in the air. In an area with visible mold growth, a higher mold spore count is also present in the air. As such, while we work to remove the visible mold and prevent more growth, we also remove these spores from the air.

Overall, an air scrubber assists in the restoration process and provides a cleaner, healthier environment in an area affected by a disaster.

Winter is Here, and so are the Frozen Pipes

1/9/2019 (Permalink)

Pipes that are outdoors or in areas that are poorly insulated are often the first to freeze.

The holidays have come and gone, but winter is still here for a few more months and one of the seasons with the most water damage is still to come.

With the colder months, comes the risk of frozen pipes and the danger that those pipes could burst. Thankfully frozen pipes are easily prevented. One of the simplest methods to prevent pipes from freezing is to increase the warm air circulation around the pipes at risk. For example, if there are water pipes in the garage that you are concerned about, close the garage door. You can also open cabinet and closet doors to allow warm air flow around water supply lines. Additionally, moving water is not as quick to freeze as stagnant, so allowing even a small trickle of water to flow from sinks and showers can help keep the pipes unfrozen. If you are planning to be out of town, try not to leave your thermostat lower than 55 degrees, as temperatures lower than this can raise the risk of a frozen pipe and the resulting water damage.

For a longer lasting solution to this problem, you can also consider adding insulation to pipes that may be exposed to extreme cold. Pipes in the garage or in the exterior walls that don’t have sufficient insulation could be at risk. Solutions for this could be as simple as wrapping towels or newspaper around the pipes at risk to help mitigate the lower temperatures. You can also add insulation to the surrounding areas, which could mean caulking and closing holes or cracks that are allowing the cold are in. However, you will want to make sure that your repairs are not inadvertently closing the pipes off from the heat source instead of the cold outside air. Recently, I was at a home where the pipes had frozen because a contractor had closed up a hole in the back of the cabinets that summer. Once the cold temperatures of winter hit, the warm air from the kitchen could no longer reach the pipes in the wall and they froze.

If you do turn on a sink or shower and no water comes out, this could mean a frozen pipe. In this situation, you do have a few options to thaw the pipe and hopefully avoid the subsequent water damage. While you work to thaw the pipe, keep the faucet on. This will let you know when the pipe is thawed and the flowing water will help to speed up the process. You can use a heating pad or heated blanket to begin thawing the frozen area. You could also try a hair dryer or space heater. You just want to be sure not to use any kind of open flame to thaw the pipe. As water begins flowing you are almost there but keep applying heat until water pressure is back to normal.

Allowing ice to sit untended in your pipes for too long gives the ice time to expand and possibly burst the pipe. Avoid this water damage and act now, before the pipes freeze, and hopefully your home will have a warm and dry winter. However, if something does happen, give us a call at 434-977-5850. We are always here to help.

Storm Damage in a Charlottesville Garage Turns Fuzzy

12/26/2018 (Permalink)

Heavy rains can leave behind more than moisture if left untended.

After an especially rainy season, many homes in Charlottesville and the surrounding areas experienced flooding in their garages, basements, and even main living spaces in their homes. When the rain stopped, most of the flood water receded. However, the moisture that remained was the tricky, unseen kind. Water can stay under belongings and flooring as well as behind and in drywall. In itself, this moisture would probably dry out over time. However, because mold spores are in the air everywhere, usually this excess moisture is exactly the instigation needed for mold to grow.

This Charlottesville garage flooded during a rainstorm. The family tried to dry things as best they could and hoped that was the end of it. Unfortunately, a few weeks later they began to see what the water had left behind. That’s why they called us.

When we get a call like this, our first step is to schedule an assessment. Mold growth is complex, with multiple factors at play, and is almost impossible to assess from a verbal description. A situation that seems dire is sometimes a very simple remediation, and sometimes a small amount of noticeable growth is an indicator that a larger amount of growth is present. During the assessment, our production manager is able to take moisture readings as well as investigate the growth to see how far it has spread. After the initial assessment of this job, we can began remediating the mold.

This process started with an air scrubber. This is similar to a dehumidifier, but in addition to removing moisture from the air it also filters out mold spores and other contaminants. We could then remove items and building materials that were too far gone to save. With those out of the way, we used a HEPA vacuum to remove growth. Then we wiped down building materials and belongings with an anti-microbial to prevent future growth.

Once we were through, it was amazing to see the transformed garage, with clean flooring, doors and studs. We loved being able to restore this affected part of the home back to the family. It’s like returning something that was lost. If you would like to see how this garage ended up, take a look at our before and after photos.

Make Sure Your Family Knows Where to Go in the Event of a Fire

12/19/2018 (Permalink)

Drawing a Floor Plan is the First Step to Keeping Your Family Safe

Fire drills in school were always a great excuse to be outside and get out of class for a few moments. Now, as adults, we try to plan for the safety of our children in any way that we can think of. We are now thankful that the school has developed an evacuation plan that helps provide for our children’s safety in the event of a fire in the school. But what about a fire at home? Or a fire at work? Even though we have graduated, we are not past fire drills. Having a fire evacuation plan in place in the home and at work is an important part of keeping your family and coworkers safe in the event of a fire.  

To create your plan, bring the whole family together and create a floor plan of your home. On your floor plan, mark all exits: windows and doors. Make sure there are two escape routes marked in each room. Include, in your plan, a designated spot to meet up after you have left the house. You can use any landmark, but make sure it is far enough from the home to be safe.

Once you have a plan created, place it in a place where every family member can access it and practice the plan. You can even make this a fun family bonding experience. The most important thing is that every family member, including children and elderly family members, know what to do and will be accounted for in the event of a fire.

The National Fire Protection Agency has more information on their website as well as a floor plan template that you can print out and use to draw your evacuation plan.

We Have Collected the Last of the Angel Tree 2018 Donations

12/7/2018 (Permalink)

The whole gym at Salvation Army is filled with gifts and they are still receiving more!

After much planning and legwork, we collected the last of the Angel Tree donations this week. Thank you so much to everyone who participated in donating, sorting, and helping to collect these items.  

We are so thankful to live in such a caring and tight-knit community. It was awesome to see the outpouring of love and care that our community has for children that they may not have even met. Seeing the selflessness of the community around us has been truly inspiring for those of us here at SERVPRO this holiday season and we have only our neighbors and community members to thank for that.

We have wrapped up another year of Angel Tree donations and are already looking forward to partnering with the Salvation Army on other ventures in the future.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Have a safe and merry holiday!

Let’s Keep the Fire Under the Heart and the Lights on the Tree

12/5/2018 (Permalink)

Yikes! This tree is definitely too close to the fireplace!

At Christmastime we want to be joyous, spend time with our families, and remember that there is joy and light in life even in the darkest season of the year. However, this year please don’t let that light come from a Christmas tree fire.

While live trees are beautiful and smell amazing, they must be properly cared for to avoid creating an unintentional fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protections agency (NFPA), ensuring that your tree is not a hazard, begins before you even bring it home.

When choosing your tree, check for needles that are green and won’t fall off the branches when you touch them. This is a helpful indicator on how long ago the tree was cut. Once the tree is in your home, make sure that you are watering it properly every day. Place the tree at least 3 feet away from any heat sources, like fireplaces, radiators, or lights.

During the holiday season, be sure to be attentive of your tree, keeping it watered, turning off the lights before you go to bed and disposing of the tree immediately after Christmas or whenever the tree dries out. A dry tree can be a fire hazards even left to sit in the garage or leaning up against the outside of a home.

Be safe this holiday season and check out this resource from the NFPA for more information on Christmas tree safety.

Are You Actively Preventing a Furnace Puffback?

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

After an unexpected puffback, this fireplace was left covered in soot. Check out our Before and After Page to see what is looks like now!

In the favorite childhood movie, Mary Poppins, while walking along the rooftop, Michael looks into a roof vent and ends up with a face full of soot. Limited to a rooftop in fictional London, this surprise puff is comical and harmless. However, when your fireplace or furnace creates a puff of soot inside your home, often called a puffback, suddenly it creates a very real, very sooty problem.

When a puffback occurs, it’s hard to ignore.  It can be loud, with a distinctive wuff sound and the resulting soot and oily residue covers every surface it can reach. It’s a frustrating experience and we most often see them happening around this time of year when fireplaces, furnaces and woodburning stoves are used for the first time after sitting dormant all summer.

In a fireplace or woodstove with a chimney, a puffback is most often caused by a problem in the chimney. For example, if there is a buildup of ash and leftover residue clumped in the chimney, this blockage can create an uneven balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide. As you add kindling and wood, the flame has plenty of fuel, but the oxygen it needs to burn is stuck above the chimney blockage. The fire will eventually correct this imbalance by sucking in a large amount of oxygen all at once, igniting the excess fuel in the fireplace and the buildup in the chimney all at once. The force of this ignition pushes ash and soot out of the fireplace and can cover the whole room in a dark residue.

In a furnace, the cause can be similar, a furnace can have a buildup of excess fuel, oil, even dirt or dust in the ignition chamber. This buildup blocks oxygen from reaching the combustion chamber and can be ignited in the same way a chimney buildup can. Therefore, when the ignition flame in a furnace pulls in the rush of oxygen it needs to burn, the resulting powerful expulsion of soot and oil can come out of the vents of the furnace.

As messy and unpleasant as this occurrence is, it is thankfully easily prevented. Routine chimney and furnace maintenance can usually prevent a puffback before they happen.

Protecting Your Documents and Document Restoration

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Do you have a plan for your irreplaceable documents in a flood or fire?

As we are thinking about potential furnace and fireplace puff-backs this fall, we also want to think about items that may be affected by soot, especially documents that are necessary and irreplaceable.

We have all seen photos or baby books that have been affected by water or covered in soot. It’s a sad image and it’s hard to imagine all those memories that are now impossible to view because each photo is stuck to the back of the one on top of it. And while a parent is cringing at the loss of these photos, professionals also cringe as they see the tell-tale signs of water damage on a manila folder that contains sensitive and vital information pertaining to a client, patient, or a case.

Thankfully, while these cringe-worthy moments might be brought to you by a flood or fire, SERVPRO of Charlottesville is proud to sponsor the relieved smiles and grateful exclamations that come after the disaster. We offer document recovery and restoration and have our own Vacuum Freeze Dry Chamber to help ensure recovery of your documents to highest attainable quality.

Vacuum Freeze Dry Chamber sounds intimidating. But this method for restoring documents is the only restoration method approved by the National Archives and Records Administration. It’s a simple but intensive process. For documents that have been damaged by water we first freeze these documents to prevent further deterioration. The chamber is then able to reduce the temperature of the documents so quickly that the ice is turned directly into vapor and removed from the documents without allowing further damage that results from liquid water. This process is accomplished inside the vacuum with specifically targeted and monitored heating elements.

Once the moisture is removed from the documents, we can continue removing residue and cleaning the documents as needed. Depending on the type of moisture that affected the documents, or soot in the case of a fire, we may use Gamma Irradiation to remove any microbial growth or other contaminants that may cause the documents to be unsafe.

We also offer digitization services. If after this disaster you have realized that you really should have a digital backup, we can create this digital file and deliver it to you. And, upon receiving this file, if you no longer wish to have the hard copy or if the documents are beyond further restoration, we can also offer certified destruction of these documents.

Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Fire Extinguisher in a House Fire

11/14/2018 (Permalink)

Use a portable fire extinguisher to create an evacuation path.

Fire prevention is so important, but it can only go so far and sometimes a fire happens despite our best intentions. In this situation, do you know where your nearest fire extinguisher is? Or how and if you should you use it?

Fire extinguishers are kind of like that antique porcelain figurine that you inherited. You know you definitely can’t get rid of it, but you don’t really want to look at it. However, unlike that figurine, your fire extinguisher will come in handy in the event of an emergency. Before an emergency strikes, you should have a fire extinguisher in an accessible location, where fires are likely to start, like the kitchen or garage. You should also have a fire extinguisher on each floor of your home. Once you have them placed you should also routinely check to make sure they are up to date.

Now, you have a fire extinguisher, awesome. But unless you plan to throw the whole canister at the fire and hope that it works, you will also need to know how and when to use it. Compared to the size of many house and business fires, portable fire extinguishers are insignificantly small. As such, they are meant to be used to either create an evacuation path or put out very small fires before they have had a chance to get going. A fire that is small enough to be contained using a fire extinguisher will be confined to one area and will not have begun spreading beyond the point of origin.

In the event of a fire, you should always begin by sounding the fire alarm and calling the fire department. Then you should identify your evacuation path. It’s possible that the flames could flare up when you spray the extinguisher, so you want to make sure you have a place to run if this should happen.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends using the P.A.S.S. system to use a fire extinguisher. First (P), pull the pin to break the tamper seal. Second (A), aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire. Third (S), squeeze the handle, this releases the extinguishing foam. Last (S), sweep the nozzle back and forth at the base of the fire.  These four simple steps cover the mechanics of operating a fire extinguisher.

Always remember to be aware of your evacuation route when trying to extinguish a fire and be ready to vacate the area should the situation escalate. You can find more tips and explanations on this topic on OSHA’s website.

Prevent Your Thanksgiving Dinner from Going Up In Flames

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

Photo courtesy of Isaac Wedin

As Thanksgiving approaches we are all getting excited about the holiday season. Thanksgiving helps us remember to be thankful for the blessings that we’ve received. One blessing in particular is easy to be thankful for: the delicious turkey that is part of this fall tradition. The turkey is the crown jewel of any Thanksgiving meal and the challenge of cooking the bird to perfection is part of the glory. However, as you consider how you might cook your turkey this year, keep safety in mind.

Turkey fryers are a popular method as they provide a quicker alternative to roasting your bird for hours in the oven, and a tasty result. However, turkey fryer fires are exceedingly common and we here at SERVPRO of Charlottesville want to help you understand the dangers and how to avoid disasters when it comes to fryer protocol.

Let’s talk about set up first. You need to completely thaw your turkey. Any ice, or crystals left inside a not-quite-thawed turkey will spark and splatter when they touch the hot oil which can quickly cause a fire. While your bird is thawing, you will want to choose an adequate spot for your fryer. It should be outside and well away from your home or any other flammable materials. This spot should also be sturdy and level. Unfortunately, the design of turkey fryers is top heavy and as such they can easily topple over and start a fire. To help reduce your fryer’s temptation to nose dive, place it on a level surface.

Once your fryer is set up, gather a few precautionary materials. You will definitely want a fire extinguisher handy. Pouring water on a grease fire will only expand the fire, so you will need a fire extinguisher that is up to date and ready for use. Additionally, you should grab a few pot holders to protect your hands and arms from contact burns with the fryer. Inside the fryer itself you should be using a high-quality oil with a high smoke point. To fry the turkey properly, this oil needs to be extremely hot and this oil will help prevent flare-ups and reduce fire hazards.

As you fry your turkey there are only a few things left to remember. Be aware of how much oil you need, overfilling the oil can add an extra risk that it will spill, overflow or splatter, causing a fire. Check the weather and be aware of precipitation as snow or rain coming into contact with the oil can cause splattering. The fryer should never be left unattended so have at least two people designated to keep an eye on the turkey. This practice is helpful in case there is an accident, you will have two pairs of hands ready to jump into action. You’ll also want to keep any children and pets away from the fryer. This suggestion may sound obvious, especially after I’ve just explained all the ways that a turkey fryer can cause small explosions. But it’s important to make sure that children understand the danger that this appliance represents and pets can easily be drawn towards the tantalizing smell.

Lastly, if you haven’t used a turkey fryer before, it’s a great idea to test your process. Thanksgiving can be a joyous but also stressful day. If part of the frying process takes longer than you anticipate, it’s tempting to cut corners to make sure dinner is served on time. Practice your frying skills to minimize any surprises and practice your safety measures. Let’s be honest, your family won’t complain about having deep fried turkey twice in one month.

2018 Charlottesville Salvation Army Angel Tree Partnership

11/6/2018 (Permalink)

As we think about giving back this season, let’s empty this tree and touch the lives of each one of these children.

This winter SERVPRO of Charlottesville will once again be partnering with the Salvation Army for their Angel Tree program.

As a child, there is a lot of magic surrounding the holidays. People act differently, everything is lit up, and the toy that you have been waiting for all year shows up under your tree like magic. It’s a tradition that helps keep the magic of childhood alive and it reminds children that they are loved, cared for, and part of a community.

Unfortunately, presents don’t just show up by magic and they can cost a lot of money. This is why we are so excited to be participating in this program, but we need your help. We are so excited to be able to help children in the Charlottesville area have a joyous Christmas and help to remind them that they are loved and valued by their local community. We need your help in this mission!

Nan will be delivering angels as she visits offices in the month of November so be sure to keep an eye out for her green Juke as she makes her way around town. We will also have a tree at the office, so if you would like to stop by and pick up and angel or 5, please do. I know it’s early for Christmas and the holidays in general to be top of mind, but our drop off deadline to deliver the donations to the Salvation Army is December 8th so we are getting started now to give you plenty of time to gather your donations.

If you would like more information about Angel Tree you can check out The Salvation Army’s website.

Saving Susie’s Teddy Bear After He was Soaked – SERVPRO is HERE to HELP

10/24/2018 (Permalink)

There is more to your home than the walls and floors, we are here to help restore the whole home.

Immediately after an incident with fire or water damage, you might be more inclined to think about the large price tag associated with replacing your carpet or hardwood flooring. However, all the little price tags associated with boxes and boxes of memories that were stored in the basement can add up quickly and include years of memories. SERVPRO of Charlottesville is here to help restore these items (along with that damaged flooring) so you don’t have to consider the possibility of losing those memories.

We have multiple strategies and techniques we can use when we begin the restoration process for belongings that were damaged in a disaster. In a water damage, this involves removing the moisture before it can do more harm. In the event of a fire, SERVPRO of Charlottesville may choose to do a pack out to be able to better restore the belongings that were damaged in the fire. A pack out involves inventorying all the belongings and transferring them to our facilities where we can more effectively restore them, and then returning them to your home. This process allows our technicians to access all the resources we have available at our facility without carting these machines and products to your home.

Multiple Methods

We train our technicians on multiple methods to clean your belongings so they have the options and the expertise to chose the correct method depending on the type of damage and the item that needs restoration. Our first resort method is a dry cleaning method. This method is used for items that have light residue. We might use this process on items that have been affected by soot or items that were affected by water, have already been dried, and require further cleaning to remove any residue.  

If the damage is slightly worse than a dry cleaning can handle, we would move to a wet cleaning method. This category is broad as it involves a wide array of products that we might use depending on the type of item that has been damaged and in what way. We would consider wet cleaning if the residue is greasy or if the residue needs to be broken down before it can be removed from the item. A reliable method, the wet cleaning process can handle many different kinds of damage. However, we also want to consider the well-being of your belongings as well as the condition of the damage. Removing the soot from your antique vase is less impressive if the coloring from the vase comes off with the soot. We have multiple other methods we can consider as we approach a more delicate item and we can discuss these options with you if the need arises.

With this in mind, we also have the ability to clean contents ultrasonically if the situation requires it. This method is perfect for contents that are delicate or have lots of intricate, small parts and crevices that traditional cleaning methods cannot properly clean. This technique uses ultrasonic sound waves to agitate a water and detergent solution. Bubbles created in the solution then disturb the dirt and other small particles, removing them from the items that need to be cleaned.

What Can Be Saved?

Of course, we cannot assume that all belongings that were affected by a disaster can be saved. While we remain optimistic and will do our best to restore all items. We will also go through belongings with a discretionary eye to determine what can and cannot be saved. Some damage is too severe to save. After sustaining some kinds of damage, items must be properly destroyed to assure the safety of your family. These decisions are sometimes not clear upon first glance, but we will come along side you as you make these decisions about what to discard and what to save.

SERVPRO - Offering the Green Choice When it Comes to Disaster Restoration

10/17/2018 (Permalink)

We show once again that “Green Means Clean” with our environmentally friendly line of products.

We have always said that “Green means clean.” And recently, we mean it on a whole other level. We have a new line of green products adherent to the “Safer Choice” guidelines. Striving to meet the needs of all our customers, we want to provide the highest level of restoration that we can. As such, we want to make sure that we have options and strategies available for all our customers.

When I say that we have new “Safer Choice” products available, you might think that means that all our other products are “unsafe.” These are not mutually exclusive adjectives. All our products undergo extensive testing and have met high safety standards. However, we recognize that some projects require a gentler touch than others. We are happy to say that we have the products to handle these jobs!

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a list of safer ingredients for manufacturers to access when creating products to be a part of this “Safer Choice” category. These ingredients are graded in different areas including: developmental toxicity, toxicity to aquatic life, and persistence in the environment. Our green line of products is made from these safer ingredients. They have no fragrance and a gentler odor than some of our other products. They are available upon request and are often used in homes or business where children, pets, or other sensitive residents are present.

I know the popular response to a “green” cleaning product is scorn that this product cannot possibly work as well as the traditional line of cleaning products. However, at SERVPRO we’re not interested in cleaning halfway, so these products are also still tested against the same standards as other products in the same category that include the harsher ingredients. Which is to say that our green product line provides the benefits of the “Safer Choice” without sacrificing performance.

We are consistently striving to find new ways to provide for the needs of our customers. We are glad to be able to offer these green options to do our part to protect the environment and find better ways to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Water Damage Can Take Many Forms, Don’t Let it Go Undetected

10/11/2018 (Permalink)

Water follows the path of least resistance, not the path of best visibility.

Not all water damage looks like wet floors or water dripping from the ceiling, although it can definitely take these forms. Some water damage is harder to spot, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous to your home. Especially if you are coming home from a trip or thinking about buying or selling a home, there are a few signs that you can check for to see if there may be unnoticed water damage. 

Behind the Walls: Check your walls for discoloration or staining. You might also see peeling paint or bubbling. You can also touch walls to see if they are buckling outwards or if they feel soft or squishy to the touch. These can be indicators that water has leaked or migrated behind the walls of your home or business. Drywall loses its integrity when its wet and so even if it doesn’t feel “wet,” its behavior can still be an indicator of unseen moisture.

Under the Floors: Even if there isn’t water pooling on top of the flooring, or if the carpeting doesn’t feel wet, there could still be water affecting the subfloor. Check for any buckling, warping, or discoloration in your floors. These can be signs of the presence of water or excess moisture between the flooring and the subfloor or in the subfloor.

Special Locations: Be sure to use these techniques to check the basement and the attic, where water damage is most likely to occur.

Other Indicators: Of course, if you are smelling a tell-tale musty odor or if you can see any mold growth, these are also clear indicators that there may be water or moisture where it shouldn’t be.

These tips are just the beginning, if you do suspect water damage in your home, give us a call at 434-977-5850 or an email at office@SERVPROcharlottesville.com

Storm Alerts and What They Mean

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

Recent Severe Thunderstorm in Charlottesville

When the wind is howling or the rain is coming down in buckets, the National Weather Service will issue weather advisories to help the public properly prepare for weather that is on the way. However, if we are unaware of what these advisories mean, we cannot take proper precautions towards preserving the safety of our families and our homes.

In the event of a severe storm, there are multiple alerts the Nation Weather Service may issue, corresponding to differing conditions in the area or within the system. The first alert is a Dense Fog Advisory. This alert communicates that for two or more hours fog will cover a large area with visibility reduced to ¼ mile or less.

Alerts concerning the wind conditions may take a few forms. High winds are defined by the National Weather Service as winds that are sustained at 40 mph or higher for longer than an hour or bursts of wind that reach 58 mph. In a situation where these winds are possible a High Wind Watch will be issued, but when these conditions are expected or imminent then a High Wind Warning will be issued. And if the wind is less powerful, only reaching sustained speeds of 31 mph or gusts or 46 mph then a Wind Advisory will be issued.

When high winds are combined with thunderstorms or hail at least an inch in diameter, a severe thunderstorm is present. If these conditions are possible but not yet present, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued. But once these conditions are present or imminent the alert will move to a Severe Thunderstorm Warning.

In the summer, we might also observe temperature alerts. In Charlottesville a Heat Advisory is issued when the heat index could possibly reach 105 degrees. An Excessive Heat Watch could be issued if the heat index could possibly reach 110 degrees within 24 – 48 hours. And in Charlottesville, an Excessive Heat Warning would be issued if the heat index has or is expected to reach 110 degrees in the next 12 – 24 hours.

As you can infer from these explanations, usually a watch will indicate that a weather condition is possible, while a warning indicates that said weather condition is occurring or is imminent. Knowing this differentiation makes other weather alerts clearer as well. These additional alerts include: Flash Flood Warning, Flash Flood Watch, Tornado Warning, and Tornado Watch.

These advance warnings provide time to prepare for weather events. If you’d like a more comprehensive list of weather warnings you can visit the National Weather Service’s Website. And if you’d like to learn more about preparing your home and your family for inbound storms, you can visit our September blog on Emergency Preparedness.

National Preparedness Month: Prevent Storm Damage in Your Charlottesville Home

9/26/2018 (Permalink)

Photo courtesy of Alan Levine

When a large storm hits, you should be thinking about the personal safety of yourself and your loved ones. You shouldn’t need to think about what could happen to your home or belongings. SERVPRO of Charlottesville focuses on National Preparedness Month to help you learn about and prepare for the worst, so you can be confident that your home and family are ready should a disaster occur. In the past few weeks, we have discussed making a disaster plan and packing a home emergency kit. This week we will explore house preparation to prevent and minimize storm damage.

Storm damage prevention can be costly. There are multiple intensive options. If you wanted to, you could almost rebuild your home with storm preparation options and techniques. Yet, we’re more interested in how you can prepare your home with your own hands and without breaking the bank.

The first, and perhaps easiest thing you can do is secure any items that you leave outdoors. Especially heavy items, like lawn chairs and grills, can cause damage if they are picked up by winds or swept away in a flood. Move these items indoors or take measures to secure them in place.

Furthermore, keep you gutters and downspouts clear. In the case of heavy rain, one of the best ways to avoid flood damage is to create paths for the water to flow away from your house. As long as the water has somewhere to go, it won’t stream into your home.  As such, keeping the debris and clutter out of your drainpipes and away from other drainage paths can reduce the risk of flood damage.

But even if the water has a path away from your home, you will still want to block its path into your house. Think of the path of least resistance. You have a couple options when evaluating potential leaks in your home. First, check the seal on your windows. The waterproof sealing around the outside of a window can wear away over time and may need to be replaced. Additionally, check for holes in your siding. One of the most common type of hole occurs when electric or cable companies attach cables or wires to the side of your home. These attachments can cause holes that will allow water to sneak behind the siding. They can be easily repaired using an affordable waterproof caulk.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, walk around the outside of your home and check the foundation for any crack or weakness that may allow water into your home. Small cracks that don’t cause problems during a normal rainfall can easily become a leak during flood conditions.

For more information you can visit: https://www.fema.gov/


If you’ve sustained storm damage recently, give us a call at 434-977-5850 so that our team of professionals can help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Prevent Water Damage by Locating Your Water Main Shutoff Before it Becomes an Emergency

9/24/2018 (Permalink)

Make your water main shut off easier to see with a clearly labelled tag from SERVPRO of Charlottesville.

If a pipe bursts or a leak happens in your home, the first thing you should do to prevent further damage is turn off the water.

Easier said than done, right?

If the leak is somewhere obvious, like a sink or toilet, then you may be able to turn off the water for that line by turning the valve that is located under that fixture. Usually it can be found under the sink or behind a toilet.

However, if you’re not sure where the leak is coming from, then you should turn off the water to the whole house. This means locating the water main shutoff. Here is where the adventure begins. Do you know where the shutoff is located? Could you locate it in an emergency? It might be worth it to locate and tag this shutoff before your pipes spring a leak.

You can try to locate the shutoff valve just by looking for it. You might look around the perimeter of the house as the valve will be on an exterior wall. If this is unsuccessful, you can check your inspection report from your purchase of the house if you still have it. This report will list the location of the main water shutoff.

Once you have found the shutoff, make sure that all members of your household know where it is. You may also want to tag it with a SERVPRO of Charlottesville tag so it’s easier to spot in an emergency.

If you’d like to receive a water shutoff tag, contact us!

Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief Supply Collection

9/21/2018 (Permalink)

In the days following Hurricane Florence there are still many needs to be met in the Carolinas and other areas that were affected by the hurricane. To help meet a few of these needs, SERVPRO of Charlottesville is teaming up with Gleaning For The World to collect disaster relief supplies.

How Can you Help?

 We will be collecting at our office, 1610-C Quail Run from Monday September, 24 – Friday October, 5 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. If for any reason you want to donate but are unable to transport your donations to this location, please give us a call at 434-977-5850 or an email at office@SERVPROcharlottesville.com and we can arrange a more convenient drop-off location with one of our partnering companies. Or, if you would prefer, you can also give financially online at gftw.org/donate, just make sure to note “Florence” on the donation page to make sure that all of your gift is directed to responding to this storm event. Checks can be made out to “Gleaning For The World” and mailed to P.O. Box 645, Concord, VA 24538, or they can be dropped off with other donations.

We appreciate any help that you can offer as we are also appreciative for all the work that Gleaning For The World does to help provide disaster relief all year round.  

Wondering What to Donate?

All products must be new or unused.

  • Food Items
    • Non-Perishable
    • Manual Can-Openers
    • Plastic Food Containers
    • Zip-Lock Bags
    • Easy Open/Pop-Top Foods
    • Snack Foods
    • Plastic Service Products


  • Baby Supplies
    • Diapers/Wipes
    • Personal Care Items
    • Infant/Baby Formula
  • Personal Care
  • Toothbrushes/Toothpaste
  • Deodorants/Shampoos/Soaps
  • Combs/Brushes
  • Adult Diapers/Depends
  • Feminine Hygiene Items
  • First Aid Kits
  • Shelter Supplies
    • Tarps/Work Gloves
    • Batteries/Flashlights
    • Emergency Candles
    • Clotheslines/Pins
    • Plastic Totes w/Lids
  • Pet Supplies
    • Food – Cans/Bags
    • Litter/Collars/Leashes
  • Household Items
    • Cleaning Supplies
    • Mops/Brooms/Dust Pans
    • Paper Products
    • Laundry Detergent
    • Rakes/Shovels
    • Trash Bags - All Sizes
  • Other
    • Healthy Juices
    • Gatorade

Gleaning For The World is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your donation is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law

National Preparedness Month: Home Emergency Kit

9/19/2018 (Permalink)

An example of a Home Emergency Kit that the American Red Cross has put together.

It’s September, National Preparedness Month, and we at SERVPRO of Charlottesville are working to make sure that the homeowners of Charlottesville are prepared for storms that may come their way. In our last blog we reviewed the importance of a home emergency plan and some practical steps for building such a plan for your family. In the event of a storm, you should also have an emergency kit. You can buy a kit off the shelf, but if you build one yourself, you can tailor it to your home’s and your family’s needs.

Before you decide what to include in your kit, you’ll want to decide what you will put your kit in. The container should at least be waterproof and sturdy enough to sustain some storm damage. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you could use a plastic bin from a grocery store. Or you could choose a duffle bag designed for emergency kits. They are usually a bright color, very sturdy, and will have lots of pockets.

Once you have the container, in your kit you should have a copy of the emergency plan that you have created. This should include emergency contact numbers and who your emergency contacts are. It should also include a few generic things like:

  • Portable radio with extra batteries
  • Flash light
  • First Aid Kit
  • Gloves
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Non-perishable food
  • Manual can-opener
  • Bottled water

You might also add more personal items. You can add important documents, cash and banking information. Make sure these are in a waterproof bag. You could also add a change of clothes and sturdy shoes. Of course, you can add more but you want to think about the weight of your kit. It should be light enough to carry if you need to evacuate.

Considering the Costs: Restoration or Replacement

9/17/2018 (Permalink)

Replacing all affected items can increase the cost and time required to recover from a disaster.

Experiencing a water or a fire damage can be overwhelming. Looking around the building or room where the damage occurred can result in a deep-seated feeling that everything is ruined and must be replaced. However, replacing every structure or item that was damaged in a flood or fire can be an expensive and lengthy process. While not all items can be restored, depending on the extent of the damage and how long ago the incident happened, our trained professionals can help you assess what can be saved and what should be thrown out. SERVPRO® of Charlottesville believes in the process of restoration as the preferred alternative to replacing items that can be saved after a disaster.

When looking at the elements in the room, often building materials can be restored rather than replaced even if they were affected in a disaster. Drywall can be dried after a water damage and soot can often be removed from drywall after a fire damage. The same can be said of subfloor materials, carpets, and floorings. These materials take up a large portion of space in landfills and each piece that we can save instead of depositing into the trash is better for the environment. Additionally, replacing these materials can take much longer than restoring them. While we can begin drying or cleaning these items almost immediately, replacing these materials involves removing, discarding, choosing, and installing new materials. During this replacement process, you also lose access to the part of your home or business. Choosing restoration is the first step to getting your business up and running or returning normalcy to your home as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, depending on the level and type of damage, some items will still need to be replaced, but SERVPRO® of Charlottesville is here to help you make this determination so you are discarding only what is necessary and restoring what can be saved.

Once the room has been restored or is underway, we can look at the contents of the room and think about restoring these elements. Some items that you have in your home cannot be replaced, whether it’s a piece of original artwork or your grandmother’s diary. These items cannot be bought or found elsewhere. We are committed to helping recover these items if it is possible. A flood in your basement doesn’t have to mean losing all your family photos. An electrical fire in the attic doesn’t mean throwing out all the mementos from your daughter’s childhood.

Of course, on the larger scale, restoring is also cheaper than replacing. After a fire, if you choose to replace your kitchen, you must consider the cost of labor to tear the old, damaged items out as well as the cost for new items and installation. SERVPRO® of Charlottesville offers a cheaper solution through the restoration of the items that can be saved, including removing the soot and the odor from the affected area. We are happy to work with insurance companies and keep them appraised as work progresses. Insurance companies, in turn, are happy to work with us as the cheaper and quicker alternative to replacement.

In the event of a disaster in your home or business, you’ve already lost enough. Let us help restore normalcy to your residence and make it “Like it never even happened.”

National Preparedness Month: Home Emergency Plan

9/12/2018 (Permalink)

You can keep your family and house safe in a storm with an emergency plan in place.

As a child, the day I learned about tornadoes at school, I came home and hid in the basement with my teddy bear for the whole night. In the face of a possible emergency, this is how my 7-year-old brain decided to prepare. Unfortunately, as adults, many of us still have this outlook towards storm preparation. We think that it either won’t happen to us, or if it does, we’ll just hunker down in the basement with our kids and hope for the best.

Fortunately, there is another option. Over the next couple weeks, SERVPRO of Charlottesville will be going over the steps of storm preparation to help homeowners in Charlottesville understand the necessity of storm preparation and to go through the practical steps that they can take.

The first step, and our focus this week, is creating an Emergency Plan for your home. This plan should be up to date and every member of your family should be familiar with all the steps, in case someone is home alone or in case he or she is separated from the rest of the family.

The first thing to identify in your plan is how a storm could affect your home. This might start with identifying the kind of storms that are most likely to affect your home. In Charlottesville, we know these storms can include thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flash floods.

The next item to identify is exits in the house. It’s important to note where all of these places are in case of evacuation. Additionally, if your family does need to evacuate, you should identify where you will meet up.

You’ll also need to decide upon a method to stay in contact in case family members are separated or if normal means of communication are down during the storm. This can include having a landmark for the family to meet at. It could also include family members or friends who live out-of-state. These family members can serve as a point of contact for those in the affected region.

Subsequently, in the event of a storm, you will want to turn off utilities to your home, especially gas and water, to prevent further damage. As such, identifying from where these mains can be turned off should also be part of your plan and should be communicated with all family members.

Your emergency plan is almost finished. A few last considerations that you won’t want to forget: plan what you will do with your pets and who will be responsible for them. You should also think about and plan for any medical conditions or special needs that your family members may have. This may be as simple as including a few prescription pills as part of your emergency kit or could be more complex, including a specific method for evacuation.

Of course, you can include more in your emergency plan, but these are some basic items to get you started. Once you have this plan in place, you can create an emergency kit. Check our next blog for our suggested list of items to include.

Smoke Alarms Only Save Lives When They are Used Correctly

9/7/2018 (Permalink)

Visit https://www.usfa.fema.gov/ for more information

Every single time that I cook pancakes, the smoke alarm goes off. Go ahead, laugh. It’s comical. And it probably means that I’m terrible at making pancakes. But with this kind of consistency, it could also mean that I don’t have the proper type of smoke alarm or that it’s not in the correct place. Is it this way in your home? Are you certain that you have the correct alarms and that they are correctly placed? The U.S Fire Administration (USFA) has provided smoke alarm guidelines for use in homes.

Let’s start with which kind of smoke alarm you should have. There are two distinct kinds of alarms with either ionization or photoelectric sensors. Because these alarms sense different kinds of fires, the USFA recommends that a home has both kinds of sensors present. This could mean buying two different smoke alarms or simply buying one dual-sensor alarm. Just having the correct alarm isn’t enough, though. It also has to be placed correctly. Smoke alarms should be placed near all sleeping areas as well as inside and outside of the doors to sleeping areas, as closed doors can block or slow the spread of smoke.  Alarms should also be placed on every floor of a home, including the basement. Because it could be difficult to hear a smoke alarm that is sounding in the basement from a second-floor bedroom, the USFA also recommends that you have smoke alarms that are connected, so that if one sounds they all do.

Even if your smoke alarms are the correct kind and are correctly placed, they still must be maintained. You should check your smoke alarms once a month by pressing the test button. At least once a year you should also change the battery and every ten years the smoke alarm should be replaced.

This may start to sound like a lot of work, but the USFA has released a recent study that three out of five deaths that occurred in a home fire were in a home that did not have a working smoke detector. Additionally, with correctly placed and working detectors the chance of dying in a home fire is reduced by half!

Smoke detectors are an important preventative measure and the Department of Fire Rescue in Albemarle wants to make sure there are smoke detectors in every home. As such, they participate in a Smoke Detector Program which allows any home that may not be able to afford a smoke alarm to request a free smoke alarm. You can apply for this program at www.ACFireRescue.org

I hope these tips help make your home safer and encourage you to continue making excellent pancakes and pan seared steaks without fear of upsetting your smoke alarm.

National Preparedness Month: What Does Your Insurance Policy Say About Storm Damage?

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

Be sure to say “Hi” to Nan if you see her out in the SERVPRO green Juke!

A large storm system moving through the area can invoke a shiver down the spine of any homeowner, but understanding your insurance policy can help alleviate those nerves. One of the most common questions that we hear when we receive calls involving storm damage is, “Is this going to be covered?” Unfortunately, as SERVPRO is not an insurance agency or affiliate, we cannot answer this question. We can encourage you to speak with your insurance provider, but we cannot offer further insight into your specific homeowner’s insurance plan. I hate giving people this answer as I know that it doesn’t give them the information that they need. As such, I spent some time this week interviewing our Marketing Representative, Nan Coleman. Nan has been in the insurance industry since 1992, in the Charlottesville area since 2005, and has experience both from writing insurance policies and owning a home. We spoke at length and put together a few points of reference to give context for a conversation that you can have about storm damage coverage with your insurance provider.

What is Traditionally Covered in a Homeowner’s Insurance Plan?

When we started talking about storm damage and the kind of coverage that you could expect to be included in your homeowner’s policy, Nan used the keywords “natural disaster” and “sudden and unexpected.” You may be used to hearing these words from your insurance agent. These keywords apply to damage occurring from lightning, hurricanes, hail, and high winds. This makes sense. I definitely don’t expect my house to get hit by lightning and I can’t think of anything more sudden.

Is Additional Coverage Available?

Based on Nan’s knowledge of the industry, we put together a few additional endorsements that you could bring up to your insurance provider to extend your coverage.

Because floods are not usually covered in a homeowner’s policy, additional flood insurance is available based on your state of residence. Nan suggests that you consider this additional insurance based on where your house is. When buying a home, your mortgage loan officer should advise you whether you will need flood insurance based on the location of your home. Your loan officer would also be a great resource to find out what the exact definition of “flooding” is in your area. If water rushes into your home but doesn’t cover enough of the surrounding area, it may not be considered a “flood”. You’ll want to be fully aware of the stipulations in your policy. Nan is confident in these recommendations. She suggests that if you were not recommended for flood insurance, but you have a finished basement and live near a water way that may flood, then you might consider flood insurance anyway. But she says that if you just use your basement for storing things and you were not recommended for flood insurance then you could consider skipping the flood insurance, storing things elevated off the ground and in plastic bins. Because the flood insurance has a few stipulations on what will constitute a flood, Nan also warns against counting on this insurance to kick in anytime you have water damage in your home. You should check with your insurance provider for this exact wording and coverage.

Another endorsement that Nan suggests exploring is sewer and drain back-up. In the recent storm event we saw multiple sump pumps that could not keep up with the water intake and so the basement flooded. This incident is usually not considered storm damage without this specific endorsement. In her experience, Nan suggests that especially if you live on the bottom floor of an apartment, have a sump pump, or drains in your basement, this would be a useful endorsement in case they cannot handle the intake. Once again, she warns that it’s a good idea to maintain drains and sump pumps. Keeping drains clear of clutter and making sure the sump pump won’t lose power is a great way to avoid a water damage and avoid a claim if possible.

A recent industry addition includes the choice to add a service line endorsement. This new option includes water damage that results from incidents including city and government owned pipes and lines that could malfunction and cause damage to a private residence. Nan was excited about this new addition as it’s the first time that this type of coverage is available, so it may not be available with every insurance policy. Your insurance provider can give you more details on exactly what this will cover or include.

You Will Want to Act Early

After listening to all these oddly specific insurance options, I wondered if you could add these options after the fact. Can you add a sewer back-up policy after your sewer backs up? With a straight face, Nan says that of course I can add these policies after the damage occurs. I was shocked. In the same breath she says, “It won’t cover the damage that already happened, but of course you can add it.” She got me, but this is an important thing to remember. There is often a waiting period between adding a policy and when it kicks in because after is too late. Nan also added, that when a large storm is predicted to hit that is also often too late to add to your policy as insurance agents will usually not write policies with impending disasters. So, the earlier the better if you are thinking of making changes or additions, and of course your insurance provider will be able to provide you with an accurate time line and restrictions on those changes. It’s at the discretion of the insurance provider how and which endorsements can be added after the original policy is written, so talking about this procedure is another great way to open the conversation with your insurance provider.

Does that about cover it?

Nan has seen a lot of storm damage and some of it isn’t covered by insurance based on the type of damage. One such type of damage is wind-driven rain. This occurs when rain, blown almost horizontally, can slip in around windows or under siding and can cause water damage to your home. Nan suggests minimizing this risk by sealing windows with caulk and creating water proof barriers where water could seep in.

My conversation with Nan was enlightening. We want to help educate our readers on the options that are available to them. As a reminder, while Nan spent many years in insurance, SERVPRO of Charlottesville is not an insurance provider or affiliate and as such cannot give definitive answers on what is covered in your specific policy. We want to share vocabulary and ideas to get you thinking and start a conversation with your insurance provider to help you become better prepared for a storm.

Working Smarter: Saying Good-Bye to Water Damage

8/29/2018 (Permalink)

Our team uses material and atmospheric moisture meters to measure moisture present in walls, flooring, and the air.

If you see a puddle on the sidewalk, common sense tells us that it will dry. Have you thought about the science behind that process since grade school? Our SERVPRO professionals are very familiar with that process. They manipulate the science behind it to make sure that if you have water damage in your home, it dries as quickly and as completely as possible.

Our technicians take into account multiple factors as they create a drying plan for your home. They begin with analyzing and measuring the level and location of moisture present. You may have called our team for a leak that occurred on the second floor of your house. Our technicians will use their knowledge of the way water behaves and their moisture detectors to find the extent of the damage, even if it reaches into unseen or unexpected places. Once they’ve located the moisture, they compare the level of moisture present in the affected area to the level of moisture present in the unaffected area. This process gives our team a baseline to reach by the time the job is done and ensures that excess moisture that may not be visible is not accidentally left behind.

Now that the team knows how much moisture needs to be removed, they measure the surrounding area, like the temperature and the humidity present to create a drying plan. We know from science class, and from the puddle on the sidewalk, that things eventually dry on their own. We also know that when it comes to the inside of our house, we want them to dry as soon as possible. SERVPRO understands that urgency and also the danger of further damage being done if moisture or high humidity is left for too long. That’s why we carefully analyze and measure the situation so we can create a plan that effectively and efficiently returns your home to its preloss condition as soon as possible.

Until Help Arrives – What You Can do to Help

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

When you have a disaster that results in water damage, whether it is a leak or a flood, you know to call in the professionals. But after you call it can feel like you’re just waiting around while the problem gets worse. Here at SERVPRO of Charlottesville, we never want you to feel that way. We are trying to get to your home as quickly as we are able, but we also want to give you some steps to take while you wait. These steps can help speed up the drying process and prevent further damage.

  1. The first is fairly obvious, you can remove excess water by mopping or blotting if possible. If you can contain the damage through mopping or towels this can protect your home from further damage.
  2. Along the same lines, you can remove items from wood tables or furniture and wipe excess water off before it has a chance to soak in.
  3. You can also remove wet upholstery and cushions and prop them up where air can reach both sides of the cushion.
  4. If it’s summertime, you can turn up your air conditioning which will help your items dry faster.
  5. A side effect of water damage that’s often forgotten is staining. When two items of differing colors are touching and then get wet, their colors can bleed. To prevent this or to keep it at a minimum, you should remove any colored rugs that are lying on top of carpet. You can also place tin foil in between furniture legs and wet carpeting to prevent the furniture from staining the carpet.
  6. You will also want to remove your more sensitive items from the affected area as quickly as possible. Take your art pieces out of the wet area and to a safe place.
  7. You can also gather loose items off the floor.

Taking these steps could help save some of your belongings from worse damage and will help return your home to preloss condition sooner. This can seem like a lot to remember, especially in the midst of a disaster. But even the small things that you can do will help our team make it “Like it never even happened.”

Storm Damage Can Hit Anyone, Even if You Work for SERVPRO

8/22/2018 (Permalink)

The franchise owner, Earl Clarke, was on-site and helping out throughout the process.

During a recent storm event, one of our own team members, Amy Yates, had storm damage in her basement. Our team was working tirelessly on multiple homes with water and storm damage, but they found the energy to help out a co-worker even after all these hours. So, this week, we have a guest blog. Amy shared with me her side of the situation and her reflections about the experience.

On July 31, 2018, with the vast amount of rain we received, I, like many in the area, experienced a water damage. At the peak I was sloshing around in two inches of standing water throughout my whole basement. Although I knew I worked for the right company, I was still stressed about the many personal belongings which got affected.

I’ve always been empathetic towards those experiencing any type of damage as I know the panic and stress which accompanies such. I was able to remain calm. I put things in perspective, knowing others were dealing with far greater losses, and was actually able to give thanks that if water was going to invade my space: better it come up through the floor than down through the ceiling. I took 25 calls that night and my heart went out to everyone who was dealing with the overwhelming experience. One hard part about my job is not being able to service every single person who is need of help during these storm events and putting them on a waiting list. I was on that list, too.

This is where my story is different. I inherited my house and the water damage was in an area filled with items which did not belong to me including old furniture, lots of tools, equipment, a sundry of fabrics and old documents. Over the years I got rid of a lot of stuff but would get incredibly overwhelmed whenever I went into the basement. Basically, I would go downstairs to do laundry then dash back up to avoid a mild panic attack. My office manager understood my plight and told the franchise owner, Earl Clarke, about the water damage and the amount of contents. Together they rallied the troops, my fantastic co-workers who had been working tirelessly over several days assisting with one flooded basement after another, and met at my house after work. Earl instructed I get a dumpster on site so I called our vendor, Tom with Cavalier Container, who, without hesitation, said “I’m on it.” A dumpster was placed within an hour of my call. My whole office, my boss, and three team members from the Lynchburg location, helped me do what I have not been able to do myself, let go of a heavy burden, and create visible floor space for the first time in the 10 years I’ve lived there.

I have a terribly difficult time in asking for help and often a harder time in accepting it. I can’t begin to express how moved I was that 13 people came to my aid. They selflessly gave of themselves and gave me the tremendous gift of a multi-faceted lesson:

  1. Reaffirming I work for an amazing bunch of people who genuinely care – they walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk.
  2. Forcing me to ask for help and in doing so the help turned out to be greater than I could possibly imagine.
  3. Allowing me to let go of things I held on to for sentimental reasons – I am lighter for it (2.1 tons lighter to be exact) in more ways than one.
  4. Also reminding me that I am appreciated.
  5. Teaching me humility, and with that, I am experiencing an immense amount of gratitude.

I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for the people I work with. The integrity, honesty and genuine care is something quite unlike anything I’ve ever experienced at job before. Thanks to Tom and my great SERVPRO team, I am reminded of the quote by Dorothy Day, “We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” I have gone downstairs several times over the last week and am in complete awe and filled with happiness!

We are so thankful to have Amy on our team, and this experience brought our team closer together. On-site, the team extracted the water, sifted through damaged contents, then set up our air movers and dehumidifiers. We are so thankful that we had the resources to help out our co-worker and this situation reminded our team of the importance of the work that we do.  We have the utmost respect for all our customers and we are honored to be able to continue to provide service during stressful events like water or fire damage.

Sinkholes in Charlottesville: How They Form and What to Do About It

8/20/2018 (Permalink)

Sinkholes can form in the foundation under just about anything.

Sinkholes can be terrifying; maybe its left over from some primal fear that supernatural powers would rip open the earth and swallow the unworthy. Whatever the cause, it’s unnerving to see a hole suddenly appear in the ground after a storm. But as with everything, the more we can understand it, the less we have reason to fear sinkholes unreasonably.

Recently, a sinkhole opened on Holkham drive in Albemarle County. After a large storm dislodged the sinkhole, it opened through Holkham drive, trapping residents on either side of the hole.

Sinkholes are natural phenomena that can take many years to form. Although it might feel like they just appeared overnight, Mother Nature has actually been working on them for quite a while. This process starts with a foundation material that is porous and can be dissolved or eroded by water. To form a sinkhole, an area also needs a place for water to congregate without a natural place to drain. With these two characteristics present, we’re halfway to a sinkhole!

Once the water is trapped without a natural drainage point, it begins to sink into the porous rock that it’s resting on. Once the water travels through this rock it can erode it or dissolve the rock. It keeps doing this until there is a sinkhole sized cavity resting just underneath the surface of the earth. Once this stage is reached, anything small can cause the sinkhole to collapse. A large storm or flood can easily cause this type of reaction in a potential sinkhole.

It’s interesting to discover these types of phenomena that happen in our own backyards that can be realized with just the right storm, but they are also dangerous and can pose as a real hazard to a community. So, if you see a sinkhole be sure to tape it off way back from the visible edge and stay away from the edge yourself. Then call the first responders.

Gordonsville Home Basement Floods During Storm

8/15/2018 (Permalink)

The flood water comes halfway up the legs on this pool table.

Dripping is never a good sound in your home. Often when we are in a home that has suffered water damage, there can be a dripping or trickling sound that lets us know that the source of the water hasn’t yet been fixed. But in this case, it was gushing. In the basement of this Gordonsville home, water from a recent storm let itself in and made itself at home. In the end, there were six inches of standing water and when our SERVPRO team arrived, there was still water coming in.

Once our team of SERVPRO professionals were on the job, our first step was to get the water out. Our team set up multiple sump pumps and started pumping! It’s both amazing and devastating to see water that has reached this level begin to recede. It’s encouraging because it feels like the space is being released from a watery imprisonment. But it’s also incredibly hard to see the damage that the water—especially water that has first flowed over ground and contains outside contaminants— has left on the walls and the contents of the room. Once the majority of the water was extracted, our team really went to work.

Thankfully, at this point the homeowner had his own sump pump installed to prevent this kind of damage from happening again. Once it was installed our team started the drying process. Even after all the visible water is extracted from a location, the contents of the room and the room itself still have excess moisture that needs to be removed in order to restore a home to its preloss condition. Our team added the equipment that was needed for the drying process and completed the restoration process. We’re so glad that this story had a happy ending. Check out our Before and After page to see the final result in this space.

Smelling Something Musty but Don’t See any Mold? Could it be Hiding?

8/8/2018 (Permalink)

Here you can see the drip pattern in the mold.

Something could be spreading and growing in the walls and floors of your home without your knowledge. Cue tension creating music. It sounds like an intro to a cheesy horror film. But this is no movie, lots of families have gone through the struggle of dealing with a mold problem. It’s not cheesy or funny but if you can recognize the situation early, the damage will be less extensive and the remediation process can be shorter as well.

Let’s return to the situation we discussed last week. There was moisture left over from not completely cleaning up a water related incident. This water may now have created mold growth that is not visible upon initial inspection. Especially if a building smells musty, but there is no visible mold growth, this could be an indicator that mold is present but hidden. Mold can hide on the backside of drywall, wallpaper, or wall paneling. It could also be on the top of ceiling tiles, under carpet or other flooring, inside walls around pipes, or inside ductwork. These places are not easily visible for inspection. At least, I’m not usually checking out the underside of my carpet. But that doesn’t mean that this mold is any less dangerous or that these locations don’t need to be cleaned.

If you do suspect growth, don’t go peeling back wallpaper or ripping holes in the wall to check the pipes as possibly disturbing mold can be dangerous to your health. If you suspect that you are sharing your home with an unwelcome moldy visitor, it’s time to call in the professionals!

SERVPRO of Charlottesville Hosting Two Free CE Classes on October 12

8/2/2018 (Permalink)

On October 12th, SERVPRO of Charlottesville will be hosting two CE classes at the Double Tree by Hilton at 990 Hilton Heights Road. Each class will award 2 CE Credit Hours toward Insurance Licensing and there will be a light continental breakfast served.

The first class is from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. This class is a Biohazard Cleanup Course. We’ll cover prevention as well as the cleanup requirements and process.

The second class is from 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. with registration beginning at 10:00 a.m. This class with cover Cleaning & Restoring Smoke Damaged Contents.

Both classes are free and should prove an interesting and educational experience. We look forward to seeing you there!

To reserve your seat, please call 434-977-5850 or email office@SERVPROcharlottesville.com

Water Incidents can Seem Small and Insignificant: Mold is Also Small but not Insignificant

8/1/2018 (Permalink)

What may have been a small water damage was left untreated and created extensive mold growth. See the full story in our Before and After Photos.

After the heavy storm system this past month, we’ve helped multiple businesses and homes recover from water damage. However, I know that sometimes water damage doesn’t seem serious enough to call in the professionals. I’m sure that during the storms last month a few of you just soaked up the water with a towel. Maybe it wasn’t even from the storm system. Maybe you had a pipe burst and you just put a bucket under it and called a plumber. If this is the case, you sound like a do-it-yourself kind of person and that’s a commendable characteristic to have. However, if you’re wiping up water from your hardwood floor with a rag, let’s do a little digging into the consequences of possibly missing some of that moisture.

When a home suffers water damage, this damage can have lasting impacts on more areas and items than those that obviously got wet. The incoming water can create extra moisture in the air and environment that can affect walls, ceilings and items other than what would be obvious to the eye. And even after the puddle is cleaned up the moisture that is still lingering in the walls and other locations can create problems in surprisingly short amounts of time. Do you see where this is going? Mold.

Mold is always around us, but not all types of mold are harmful. Though the word mold can be scary, often visible mold isn’t dangerous. But the mold you see can be an indicator that higher levels of mold spores are present. These spores are often the cause of negative health effects. Mold spores come in from the outside and— at some level— are always present; we cannot prevent them from getting into our homes and businesses. Which means that yes, even clean water, when not properly dried and cleaned can lead to mold growth. We can, however, prevent this growth by depriving them of the moisture that is needed.

Can you Spot the Green?

7/27/2018 (Permalink)

This grill is just part of the grand prize, and it’s begging to start tailgating.

This August SERVPRO of Charlottesville is holding a Spot the Green Contest for the community of Charlottesville. We’ll be driving our trucks and vans around Charlottesville and the surrounding areas and if you see one of our vehicles, take a picture and post it to our Facebook page to be entered to win our Tailgate Experience Package.

Our grand prize includes a Weber Grill, large cooler, a $100 gift card to Timbercreek Market as well as charcoal and other tailgating necessities.        

This contest will be running through the month of August and the prize will be delivered in time for the NFL Kickoff Game for the regular season.

Each participant may post one photo and each photo may be entered one time. Please play responsibly and do not take photos while driving. Please be respectful of other’s property and take photos of our vehicles while on the road or in a public space. We look forward to seeing all your photos!

High Indoor Air Quality Improves Your Day, but What Improves Your Indoor Air Quality?

7/18/2018 (Permalink)

Discovering the environment of a new job is often a part of the first day. You discover who the jokester is, which desk is closest to the window, and what time of day is best to visit the break room to guarantee the coffee will be fresh. But another vital part of our work environments that we often neglect to evaluate is the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). As a business owner or a building manager, this element is a vital part of a thriving business and happy and healthy employees.

The sources of pollutants are sometimes hard to identify and are always hard to totally eliminate from a building. They come from multiple sources and some causes, specifically building materials like insulation or paint continuously emit pollutants. In other circumstances though, pollutants that originate in an appliance or building system could be spread at regular intervals or even seasonally when things like air conditioning or the furnace turn on. And still, other pollutants are harder to predict as they are associated with human behavior, such as cleaning or re-decorating.

Thankfully, administrations like OSHA have provided guidelines to give us a baseline for treating and assessing Indoor Air Quality. OSHA suggests considering the following factors when assessing your building’s IAQ: temperature, humidity, ventilation, and the presence of mold and chemicals. Improving these factors can improve the Indoor Air Quality even when the sources of pollutants cannot be totally eliminated.

While this might seem like a lot to remember, we are here to help. Next week we’ll break down how to check these factors and how SERVPRO can help.

SERVPRO Offers a Free Emergency Ready Program to Help Prepare Your Business for Catastrophes Before They Happen

7/11/2018 (Permalink)

Our ERP mobile and desktop applications are easy to both use and understand.

After an emergency happens, we are often plagued with thoughts of how we could have prepared better or what we could have done differently. As a company of individuals who sees the effects of these catastrophes every day, SERVPRO knows the value of quality and thorough planning. That’s why SERVPRO offers a free online emergency preparedness tool to use as part of your business’s contingency plan. This tool, the Emergency Ready Program (ERP) helps organize information into a consolidated location that anyone can access and understand in the event of an emergency.

Consider this tool a snapshot of the building that your business operates in. This snapshot highlights all the pertinent information that you may need in an emergency. It includes detailed descriptions and photographs so that you know what to expect, what to do, and who to call in this situation. Our SERVPRO professionals have seen a lot of emergencies and know exactly which information you and the authorities will need to efficiently respond to these disasters. The more quickly the professionals can get your business up and running, the shorter your disruption will be to your customers and clients.

Our representatives are happy to walk you through the creation of this plan so that you can be sure it’s complete and correctly filled out before it’s ever needed. While this plan is not a complete contingency plan, it does serve as a great supplement and jumping off point for your business’s full contingency plan and can be used to identify problems or holes that may exist in your current plan. Give SERVPRO of Charlottesville a call at 434-977-5850 if you have more questions or register online to start creating your free ERP.

Assessing and Improving your Indoor Air Quality

7/11/2018 (Permalink)

As I sit at my desk and breathe deeply, I’m realizing just how often I take for granted the clean, odorless air that circulates around my workplace. It’s an element of my day that I’m thankful I don’t have to think about. I hope that every workplace around Charlottesville can attain the same level of certainty in its air quality.

The first step to better air quality is assessing what your current air quality status is and which factors are attributing to a less than desirable status. If you’re unsure about your Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), there is no one test that can be done but there are multiple tests and methods that can determine if a problem is present. For example, if your space smells musty or feels stuffy these can be indicators that there is a larger problem present. These are your first indicators and the easiest option. Inspection and regular upkeep are your next options. Having your HVAC and air ducts inspected can tell you if and how these systems are negatively affecting your IAQ. You should schedule regular walk-throughs of your building to inspect for leaks, water damage or other signs of a problem. Additionally, humidity levels can be tested and can be indicators of the possible presence of mold.

Once the problem is identified, the factors that we mentioned in the last blog come into play. Solutions like, regulating the interior temperature of the building, or regulating the humidity present. Solutions might also involve adding better ventilation or just cleaning and inspecting the existing ventilation. And of course, if mold is present, remediation may be necessary.

With these factors in mind, know that SERVPRO is here to help. We’re happy to recommend an Industrial Hygienist to help ensure that your current IAQ is at an adequate level. And if it isn’t, we’re also happy to begin the process to eliminate these problems so that your business can continue to run smoothly.

Stay Safe this Summer at the Family BBQ

7/11/2018 (Permalink)

Find more information at www.nfpa.org/grilling

Recently, while at a local park I was walking down the path looking for an open grill to toast some particularly fluffy marshmallows. Each grill I checked was already in use, full of hot dogs, hamburgers, crabs, corn, and foiled wrapped potatoes. As I discovered a new delicacy with each grill, I had two realizations. The first one was that my marshmallows were probably going to go untoasted because it looked like there were no grills left. The second was that of all of these families, I doubted that they were all fully aware and fully adhering to the safety guidelines for grilling. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, on average, 16,600 people per year visit the emergency room because of injuries involving grills. With this in mind, SERVPRO of Charlottesville would like to take some webspace today to refresh or reintroduce grill safety to help keep your home and your family safe!

Before you use your gas grill you should check for leaks and breaks in the line. Once you’re certain the grill is safe to use, move your grill away from your home or any decks or other structures that could be flammable. Low hanging tree branches or overhangs can be especially hazardous. Make sure that the grill is on a stable, flat surface. Additionally, in this step, be sure that children and pets are kept away from the grilling area. Now that your grilling space is safe, open up the grill and make sure that the inside is clean. Use a grill brush if necessary to remove grease buildup on the grate of the grill. While your grill is in use, never leave it unattended and keep a fire extinguisher on hand. With these few tips in mind, we should have a fun and safe summer!

Water Damaged Charlottesville Business Trusted SERVPRO of Charlottesville

6/8/2018 (Permalink)

On June 1st of 2018 the owner of this Charlottesville Business walked in to find water all throughout due to a busted pipe.  That’s when she called SERVPRO of Charlottesville.  In less than 2 hours we had a crew on site to start the water mitigation process.  After extracting all of the standing water, our crews placed a trailer generator along with our industrial strength air movers and dehumidifiers.    Here is what the customer had to say about our services:

This team was by far the most professional restoration service I have ever worked with in my business.

Response time, attention to detail, thoroughness and consistent effort to address any questions at the close of every conversation were a hallmark of our work with Ryan and the SERVPRO team.  I could not say enough about the process and peace of mind our company had in working through our water issue.                        -Anne

To see the work we preformed, check out our Commercial Before & After Photos page as well as our Commercial Photo Gallery page.

If your Charlottesville business is impacted by Fire or Water Damage, give SERVPRO of Charlottesville a call at 434-977-5850.  And remember, we provide Emergency Service 24/7.

SERVPRO of Charlottesville - Faster To Any Size Disaster!

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Charlottesville has started June 2018 off with a “hit the ground running” mentality as we work hard to continue serving those who have been impacted by the massive amount of rainwater that we have received over the past few weeks.  We have received calls for residential as well as multi-building business that have been impacted and were in need of our services.  Several of which were in need of our trailer generator in order to sustain the amount of specialized drying equipment that was needed in order to dry the structure our quickly.  It only took a few hours for all of our equipment to be off of the shelves and in use at customers’ homes and businesses.  Thankfully, SERVPRO of Lynchburg was quick to bring us more equipment, including another trailer generator, and SERVPRO Storm Team sent 5 crews with all of their equipment to further assist those in need.  This is the second time this year that Charlottesville has experienced an unusual high call volume event (the first being in January during the big freeze causing numerous pipes to freeze and then bust) and both times SERVPRO teams from across the country have joined together to get Charlottesville back on its feet.  We are proud to be a part of the SERVPRO family!

Charlottesville Business Owners: Protect Your Documents

5/29/2018 (Permalink)

Contact SERVPRO of Charlottesville if you have important documents that need to be restored.

Did you know that as an addition to our Water, Fire, and Mold restoration services, we offer the following Document Restoration Services?

  • Drying- process in which an item containing moisture is frozen and dried using vacuums and pressures to achieve sublimation.
  • Cleaning- we offer onsite cleaning. This is cleaning each document front and back to remove debris and any surface particulate. 
  • Sterilization- Gamma Irridation is a process that is used for disinfecting and decontaminating documents or other consumer goods. 
  • Deodorization- once paper has been wet, an odor can begin to form. Letting us deodorize your documents will reduce the odor and sometimes almost completely eliminate it. 
  • Destruction- we offer destruction onsite.
  • Digitization- digitizing documents makes them easier to access as well as easier to store.  We use state-of-the-art equipment to turn your paper copy into a digital file. 

Don’t wait for a water or fire damage to happen to your business before learning more.  Contact us now to be ahead of the game should the unexpected happen to your business.

Charlottesville Residence: Home Selling/ Mold Remediation

5/15/2018 (Permalink)

If the house you are trying to sell has mold, call SERVPRO of Charlottesville to Remediate! 434-977-5850

Are you trying to sell your house this spring?  We receive numerous calls this time of year from people who are trying to sell their house but need to have mold remediation done before the interested buyer will sign the contract.  SERVPRO of Charlottesville is HERE TO HELP!

Here are some things you need to know when it comes to mold remediation on the house you are trying to sell:

  • Address the Source - If the mold is coming from a leaking hot water heater, no matter how many times we come out to remediate, if the leaking hot water heater does not get fixed, the mold will keep returning.
  • Depending on the severity of the mold that is present, it may be necessary to have an Industrial Hygienist come in to test for the types of mold present as well as how high of a count of mold spores are present. Our general rule of thumb is if you have a span of more than 10 square feet of mold, you probably need to have mold testing done.  Having this information will allow us as mold remediators to take the necessary steps to get your home back to preloss condition.  The final step is to have the Industrial Hygienist come back out and test again to ensure that we have brought the mold spore count back down to an acceptable level. 
    • Fun Fact: Mold is Everywhere.  Click here to learn why we do not claim to be a Mold Removal Company but rather a Mold Remediation Company.
  • We do not test for mold. As a professional mold remediation company, it would present a conflict of interest if we were also the Industrial Hygienist that came in behind ourselves to test the site and claim it as being cleared.  We want to avoid any appearance of false test results in order to clear our own work.

Taking the 3 points listed above into consideration, please be sure to allow for enough time to:  Address the Source, Have both Pre and Post Mold Testing done, as well as the Mold Remediation Process.  We know a quick sell is important to you and your satisfaction in our mold remediation service is important to us.        

Water Categories: How Are They Determined Factor #2

5/9/2018 (Permalink)

Charlottesville Residence: here is a second factor to take into consideration when determining the category of water

In continuation of Water Categories:  How are they Determined, here is the second factor to take into consideration:

Factor #2 – Examine the materials that the water has now come in contact with.  Even if the water itself was sanitary prior to spilling out, if it has come in contact with materials not considered sanitary, the water will not take on the characteristics of what it has come in contact with.  Take blown-in insulation for example.  Picture you had a roof leak.  Clean rain water would be the source but as it trickles down it begins to saturate the blown-in insulation before making its way to the attic doorway and dripping down through the cracks.  You would not want to drink that water would you?  Of course not, because you would be consuming particles of insulation.  So even though the water source produced clean water, the water damage would be considered a Cat 2 water loss.

Charlottesville Residence: Are You Prepared?

4/24/2018 (Permalink)

2018 National Seasonal Preparedness Messaging Calendar

Ready.gov created the 2018 National Seasonal Preparedness Messaging Calendar which outlines important points and information to keep preparedness as a focus all year. The piece highlights general preparedness key points as well as key preparedness points for each season. Having a plan, knowing how to respond, and being prepared during an emergency increase your chances of making it through safe and unharmed. So what are you doing to insure that you and your family are ready for whatever happens?  Do not wait until it is to late to be prepared.  Start preparing today!  Ready.gov can help you do so.

For the month of May:  Wildfire Community Preparedness Day - May 5th




To learn more, follow the link below:


If Your Sub Floor Looks Like This Call SERVPRO!

3/22/2018 (Permalink)

Does your sub floor have mold growing on it?

Indeed what you see on this sub floor is that thing that no one wants to talk about....that's right, it's mold. 

So what caused this mold to begin producing on the sub floor like this?  Well, ultimately it was caused by a lot of moisture being present as with all mold but in this particular situation it was a water leak that started within the wall cavity from the level above and due to the fact that the home owners hardly ever went into the basement, it remained unnoticed for quite some time.  Eventually the leak worsened and became visible on the main level which prompted the home owners to give us a call and during our crew's initial investigation of the affected area, they discovered that there was more damage than originally thought.

If you are a home owner, be sure to inspect all areas of your home on a routine basis to help prevent unwanted mold damage.   

SERVPRO is #1 Again!!

3/12/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is #1 in Restoration and #12 in the overall Franchise 500 for 2018

Entrepreneur recently released its 39th annual franchise 500 ranking, and once again SERVPRO was ranked #1 in the Restoration Services Category. The 2018 list marks the 15th consecutive year for SERVPRO taking the number one spot in the Restoration Services Category. Entrepreneur also ranked SERVPRO as the #12 franchise opportunity overall amongst other highly recognizable companies to land in the top 20 such as McDonalds (#1 overall), Jimmy John’s, 7-Eleven, Re/Max LLC, and Anytime Fitness to name a few. According to Globe Newswire, the purpose of the list is to use objective and quantifiable measures of a franchise operation to help would-be entrepreneurs identify franchise investment opportunities.  Entrepreneur states that the 2018 list turned out to be one of their most competitive ever and for the first time in 25 years more than 1,000 companies applied to be a part of the list. According to the Entrepreneur website, they consider factors such as: cost & fees, size & growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability when compiling their list. In an online article by Globe Newswire, Sue Steen, SERVPRO Industries, Inc., CEO was quoted as saying, “SERVPRO’s financial strength and stability, growth rate, and system size all contribute to the company’s success, and by extension to the success of its franchisees. The commitment to excellence starts at the top and carries through to the service each franchisee provides to each and every customer.”


Tiny Nail In A Pipe Equals Big Mess

3/2/2018 (Permalink)

Even the smallest puncture in a water pipe can lead to a sizable mold damage if left unnoticed.

In this picture is the source of a rather sizable residential mold loss.  That's right, this tiny little nail that accidentally punctured a water pipe in the bathroom wall cavity caused excessive mold growth throughout several rooms in a house.  So how did it go unnoticed for so long?  Two reasons: 

One - The source remained unnoticed for a while because it started inside of a call cavity and the water managed to stay within the wall cavity on the main level of the home.

Two - After flowing through the wall cavity on the main level, the water eventually made its way out of the wall cavity and into visible space inside of the home.  This space being the basement.  However, in this scenario, it was an unfinished basement that the homeowners rarely walked through.

Eventually the water made its way through the wall of the bathroom making it's presence known to the homeowners.  Unfortunately by that point it was no longer just a water damage as they had thought but a mold damage as well. 

Check out our Before & After Photos Page as well as our Photo Gallery for more photos from this mold remediation and be sure to give us a call if you are in need of our Mold Remediation and Restoration Services.  

Here To Help - 434-977-5850 

Mold Remediation in Somerset VA

2/12/2018 (Permalink)

Mold/ Water Damaged hardwood floors. Check out our photo gallery as well as our Before & After Photos to see more.

On Sunday September 5th, 2017 our on call crew responded to what sounded like a typical a residential water damage of which had just recently been caused.  However, upon their arrival, the crew began to see signs indicating that the damage had been taking place over a longer period of time.  Not only were the hardwood floors buckling but they were also discolored and had suspect growth along the edges of each plank of wood.  When going down to inspect the unfinished basement, there was a puddle of sludge.  This was another indication that the water had been dripping for a while and the water that puddled on the basement floor became stagnant and eventually turned into sludge.  

So what was the cause of all of this? 

The cause was a pipe in the bathroom wall cavity that had been punctured with a nail, most likely when drywall was being installed.

Doctors Office Impacted by Frozen Pipes in January 2018

2/12/2018 (Permalink)

Charlottesville's Doctors Office affected by frozen pipes in January 2018

Due to the extreme temperatures, January 2018 kicked off the New Year with a crazy storm event of frozen pipes.  Immediately following the freezing temperatures was a spike in temperature which caused all the pipes in both homes and commercial buildings to burst and spew water throughout.  We received such a high volume of calls that we had to call for help from franchises in other states (Florida and Texas) as well as have an additional 53’ trailer full of equipment shipped to us from our corporate office.  

One of the commercial buildings affected by this frozen pipe fiasco was a doctor’s office here in Charlottesville.  All 4 suites were heavily saturated with water which caused many of the ceiling tiles and insulation to fall leaving a rather large mess to clean as shown in the given photo.  To see more photos from this commercial loss that our crews re-mediated, check out our photo gallery page as well as our Before & After photos page.

Question #4 For Water & Fire Damages

1/3/2018 (Permalink)

Things we ask when you call in a water or fire loss.

Question #4 - Who is your insurance carrier?

We work with many different insurance carriers in our line of work.  Part of working with them is to make sure we are communicating with the assigned agent and/or adjuster in detail throughout the mitigation process as well as creating the job file in the format they prefer to see it in.  By doing so, the job process is able to run smoother which means the customer is able to get their life back to normal quicker.  Even if you are undecided on whether you will be filing a claim or not, it is still helpful for us to know who your insurance carrier is so we are able to have every aspect of the job prepared the way they prefer to have it in the event you do indeed decide to proceed with a claim. 

Question #3 For Water Damage Customers

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Got a Water Damage? Here is another question our office staff may ask in preparation to dispatch a crew.

Question #3 – On what level did the loss occur?

                It is important to know which level of your home the loss occurred on.  Consider the following:  If the loss occurred on the second level of the house it probably went to the levels below.  Sometimes it can be minimal such as only affecting the ceiling below and other times it can affect multiple rooms below.  In some cases, the water damage can start on the second level and run down the exterior wall all the way down to the basement and the main level not be affected at all.  Or perhaps the loss occurred on the main level and you have a crawlspace underneath.  If the water went down to your crawlspace the insulation may be affected and even fall to the ground with all the weight of the water.  Knowing what loss the level started on will help our crews bring the proper supplies and equipment needed to restore your home as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Check back in January to learn about another question we ask regarding water damage.

Question #3 For Fire Damage Customers

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Experiencing a fire damage? Here are some questions we will ask when you call on us to remediate.

It is very common when responding to a fire damage cleanup, to also have water damage cleanup present as water is a common method used to put out the fire.  By knowing the fire was extinguished by water, we are able to ensure that our responding crew arrives prepared with water mitigation equipment as well.

Another way to extinguish a fire is by using a fire extinguisher.  Did you know that there are several different types of fire extinguishers?  These different types include:  Water, Foam, Powder, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), and Wet Chemical.  The type of fire extinguisher used will play a role in the method of cleanup that our crews will be performing.    

Check back on our blog page in January when we reveal another question asked when receiving a fire loss and why.

Christmas Tree Safety Tips: Eliminating Fire Hazards

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

Follow these Christmas Tree fire safety tips to stay safe this holiday season. Merry Christmas from SERVPRO of Charlottesville!

The holidays are quickly approaching which means many people are going to start picking out their Christmas trees, whether live or artificial. In the midst of all the excitement associated with this annual tradition, it’s important to keep safety a priority and to be aware of some practical tips to ensure you are minimizing the risk of creating a fire hazard.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Christmas tree fires are uncommon but when they do occur they are more likely to be severe. A stat from the NFPA website states between 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 200 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in direct property damage annually. By following the below tips offered by the NFPA, you can ensure you are taking the necessary actions to eliminate the potential for a fire hazard.

Choosing your tree

  • Pick a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing the tree

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand and it’s recommended to add water daily.

Lighting the Tree

  • Use lights that have a label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

After Christmas

  • Get rid of the tree after Christmas. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

The below link shows how quickly a Christmas tree fire can take off


EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm in Charlottesville

11/22/2017 (Permalink)

Taking the safety of our employees and our customers seriously.

SERVPRO of Charlottesville is an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm.

So what does it mean to be an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm? 

The Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule establishes requirements for firms and individuals performing renovations, and affects contractors, property managers, and others who disturb painted surfaces.  It applies to work in houses, apartments, and child-occupied facilities (such as schools and day-care centers) built before 1978.  It includes pre-renovation education requirements as well as training, firm certification, and work practice requirements. 


Our line of work often has our crews coming into contact with lead while working in residential or commercial buildings that were built before 1978.  Because of this, we make it a priority to be a certified firm as well as train our team members on lead safety.  Listed before are the responsibilities that our franchise has committed to as a Lead-Safe Certified firm:

Firms performing renovations must ensure that:

  • All individuals performing activities that disturb painted surfaces on behalf of the firm are either certified renovators or have been trained by a certified renovator.
  • A certified renovator is assigned to each renovation and performs all of the certified renovator responsibilities.
  • All renovations performed by the firm are performed in accordance with the work practice standards of the Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program.
  • Pre-renovation education and lead pamphlet distribution requirements of the Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program are performed.
  • The program’s recordkeeping requirements are met.


To see which of our employees are Lead-Safe Certified check out Our Employees page.

Charlottesville Commercial Restoration Ready

11/16/2017 (Permalink)

Faster To Any Size Commercial Or Residential Charlottesville Disaster

Even though SERVPRO of Charlottesville has only been around since June of 2015, we are ready for whatever happens no matter how large or how small. 

So what is it that gives us the ability to handle any size disaster?   The answer is simple.  As part of a franchise system we have unlimited access to top notch commercial grade equipment available for use with just a quick phone call to one of our neighboring franchises, a large loss division, or our corporate office.  Not to mention the sizable amount of equipment that we have on hand here at our location in Charlottesville.

Since starting, we have already restored multiple water damages and fire damages here in Charlottesville and we are confident we can restore yours.  Charlottesville JAUNT can attest to this.  Check out our Before / After Photos page to see the work performed at JAUNT back in March of 2017.

Faster To Any Size Disaster 434-977-5850

Charlottesville Storms Can Cause More Then Water Damage

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Charlottesville is ready to weather the storm

While heavy storms can often bring about groundwater flooding into your basement or rainwater seeping in through your roof, those are not the only scenarios we have received calls for.  Here are some other cleanup instances that can come about due to a storm:  Glass shattering all over the living room furniture and floor from strong winds that blew a patio umbrella into the window.  Or perhaps an old tree fell down snapping a power line before hitting the side of your house causing a fire to spark.  It is also not uncommon for us to receive multiple calls during heavy rains from people who have had their septic tank backup.  This happens when the drain field gets overly saturated causing your tank to flood.  Regardless of what a storm may bring, SERVPRO of Charlottesville is ready.


Available 24/7 at 434-977-5850

Question #2 For Water Damage Customers

11/1/2017 (Permalink)

Questions we ask customers who call in a water damage to our Charlottesville office.

In continuation of Questions We Ask Water Damage Customers, we come to our second question.

Question #2 – When did the loss occur?

You might be thinking, “Why does it matter when the loss occurred?  I would still like it resolved as soon as possible now that I have found it.”  While we do not need to know the exact minute that it happened, there is quite a difference in the following scenarios:  “It happened in the past couple of hours when I left to go to the grocery store”, “It happened sometime while I was away on a weeklong vacation”, “or this is my vacation home that I have not been to for a few months.”  A water damage that has happened within the past few hours is highly unlikely to have any secondary losses such as microbial growth or rotting wood (unless it was present prior to this loss) however, a loss that occurred a week ago or longer has a much greater potential for secondary losses. 

Check back in December to find out why we ask our next question.

Question #2 For Fire Damage Customers

11/1/2017 (Permalink)

Questions asked by SERVPRO of Charlottesville when receiving a fire loss.

Just as there are different methods to putting out a fire, based on the type of fire, there are also different methods to cleaning up fire damage.  Knowing the source of the fire is beneficial in determining what kind of fire clean up we will be re-mediating.  Below is a list of different types of fire damage:

  • Wet Smoke – Plastics and Synthetics; Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary.
  • Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood; Fast burning, high temperatures, dry, powdery, non-smeary residues.
  • Protein – Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
  • Fuel Oil Soot – Furnace Puff Backs.
  • Other Types – Tear gas, fingerprint powder and fire extinguisher residue.

Check back in December when we discuss our reason behind asking our 3rd fire loss question.

Water Categories: How Are They Determined?

10/31/2017 (Permalink)

Charlottesville Residence: What type of Water Damage Category do you have?

In the previous blog titled Water Categories: What Are They we discussed what a water category is.  Now we are going to dive deeper into that by discovering how to determine the difference.  Here are 2 factors to help in doing so. 

Factor #1 – Determine the source of the water.  If the source lets out clean water than there is a chance that the water may be clean and considered Category 1 water.  An example of this would be a sink faucet being left on and overflowing.  On the flip side of that, if the source lets out contaminate water than you know that there is no chance of the water intrusion being considered Category 1.  An example of this would be a sewage wasteline backflow that originates from beyond the trap.

Check out our 2nd blog for Factor #2.

Water Categories: What Are They?

10/30/2017 (Permalink)

Charlottesville Residence: Know the potential health hazards that can come from a water damage.

Categories of water define the sanitation of the water that has made an intrusion into your Charlottesville home or business.  There are 3 categories of water according to the IICRC S500 Standard.  You will often hear remediation specialists refer to the 3 categories as: Cat 1, Cat 2, and Cat 3 for short. 

Category 1 is the cleanest of the 3 and does not cause serious threat to inhabitants.  Here are some examples of sources for Cat 1 water:  a busted water heater tank, an ice maker line, and falling rainwater (Emphasis on falling.  Read our blog titled Water Categories: How Are They Determined to find out why).

Category 2 contains considerable contamination and has the potential to cause health concerns if someone were to come in contact with or consume it.  The following are examples of sources containing Cat 2 water:  a fish tank, a washing machine overflowing, or an overflow from a toilet bowl on the room side of the trap with some urine present but no feces.

Category 3 is grossly contaminated and can cause rather hazardous health concerns to someone that may come in contact with or consume it.  Examples of this would be:  a sewage back up, or flood water.

If you have a water damage in the Charlottesville area, give us a call 434-977-5850.  We are Here to Help.

Questions Asked For a Fire Loss & Why

9/20/2017 (Permalink)

Questions asked by SERVPRO of Charlottesville when receiving a fire loss.

When our office receives a call regarding a fire loss, there is a list of questions that must be asked to get a better idea of how extensive the damage is.  This is the first of a series of blogs to come with the breakdown of each question we ask and why it is we ask it. 

Question #1 – Has the Fire Marshal cleared the site?

Two common reasons a Fire Marshal may have the building inaccessible are structure stability and investigation of the source.  If the fire was extensive enough, the structure of the building may now be deemed unstable and hazardous to enter.  The second reason would be if the Fire Marshal needs to investigate the source of the fire.  If an investigation is taking place, typically no one is allowed into the structure.  This is to prevent potential tampering of evidence prior to discovering the cause.  However, in some cases the area the fire started may be blocked off and the rest of the structure is made accessible.   By knowing this information, we are able to know whether or not we can schedule for a Production Manager to come out immediately or if/when the assessment can be scheduled.

Check back in November when we discuss a second question we ask customers that have a fire loss.

Questions We Ask Water Damage Customers

9/19/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Question #1

As a homeowner dealing with an unexpected water loss, you may feel pretty stressed out (understandably).  And calling our office for help only to be bombarded with numerous questions can add to the stress levels when all you want is for someone to get out to your home ASAP!  But be assured, the questions that we ask are essential to help our crews be properly equipped with the restoration equipment that your home needs.  This is the first of several blogs to come reviewing one of the questions you will be asked when you call in a water loss and the reason that it is asked.

Question #1 – What was the source?

If you are not aware of the source we will try to help you pinpoint it and we may have to recommend that you call a plumber or a foundation repair company.  If you do not fix the source first, you risk having to request our services a second time or potentially damaging our industrial grade equipment while it has been left in your care.  Neither of which we would want you to have to deal with.

Knowing the source will also help us indicate if our crew will be dealing with clean or contaminated water.  As I am sure you are aware, when dealing with contaminated water, there are extra precautions that must be taken for the safety of you, your family (including pets), as well as the safety of our crew responding to your emergency need.

Check back in November for Question #2 

Why Choose SERVPRO of Charlottesville for your Career

8/30/2017 (Permalink)

Leaders create more leaders

What separates us from the rest? 

Here at SERVPRO of Charlottesville we have revamped our training.  We understand the importance of continual growth and do not want to see any of our employees become stagnant knowing that being stagnant can lead to disliking your work.  We want our employees to love what they do!

By pulling from what other successful businesses are doing and modifying to what we believe suits our franchise best we have set a self paced training system in place.  This training system clearly shows you what is needed from you in order for you to advance to the next step.  Because it is self paced, you determine how quickly you are able to advance and we ensure you have everything you need to get there. 

In addition to the self paced training system, we also have morning training's for the whole crew throughout the week as well as on the job training provided by the assigned Crew Chief.

What we are looking for:

We are looking for leaders.  Leaders create more leaders and our goal is to have a team of leaders rather than a team with a leader.  If you have a passion for helping others and obtain our Core Values: Professionalism, Integrity, Respect, Servant Leadership, Teamwork, and Willingness then we would love to speak with you about joining our team.  Stop in or send an email to office@SERVPROcharlottesville.com

Why We Do Not Test For Mold – We Only Remediate

7/6/2017 (Permalink)

You would think a company that remediates mold would also do the testing of mold right?  Well we do not and here are our reasons why. 

Given that we are a Cleaning and Remediation Company, we have determined that being certified to be an Industrial Hygienist(IH) is veering too far from our profession.  Mold remediation and mold testing require different sets of training, certifications, and professional equipment.  For remediation purposes, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) offers a course called, Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT).  In this course technicians learn how to properly remediate mold, but not test for it.  For testing purposes, you must have a 4 year bachelor’s degree in the particular field as well as specific IH courses. Click here for more about becoming an Industrial Hygienist.

In addition, a company that does both testing and remediation of mold could potentially appear to be skewing test results in order for their remediation to pass.  To avoid this, we not only have another company do the testing but we also have the customer call in the IH rather than bringing them in ourselves as a subcontractor of our services.  This ensures that the IH is working for the customer’s best interest.

So where do you start?

If you believe that you have a mold problem your first step is to find the source and stop it.  Next, we would recommend that you call in an Industrial Hygienist to come out and test the area.  A protocol will be written based off of the testing and if you do indeed have a substantial amount of mold present that needs to be remediated that is where SERVPRO of Charlottesville comes in.  With the protocol in hand we are able to properly assess the area and determine the extent as well as type of cleaning that will be needed to get your home or business back to preloss condition.

If you have more questions give us a call 434-977-5850

Water Damage Procedures for a Tenant

7/3/2017 (Permalink)

Whatever the situation, we are Here To Help.

Do you rent an apartment or a house?  If so, there are some things you need to know should a water damage take place.  First and foremost, you need to contact the owner or property manager and make them aware of what happened.  Homeowners and property managers know that water damages are likely to happen so it should not come as a immense shock to them.  Keep in mind that if you prolong telling them the extent of the damage will continue to increase so it is important to tell them immediately.  Also, in order for a restoration company to be able to come in and mitigate the water damage the owner of the property or someone that is authorized to make decisions for the property must approve for that company to do so.  Tenants are not allowed to authorize a company to come in and work on a property that does not legally belong to them.

The next step would be determining if you would be filing a claim with your renter’s insurance for your contents if they were affected from the loss.  Typically contents would not be covered by the homeowners insurance but on rare occasions it may be.  Also, depending on the contents that you have you may not have to worry about it at all.  For example, if the affected area is a living room with an average amount of furniture that you would expect in a living room the technicians would likely be able to work around, they can simply put your furniture on blocks and shift it off the wall about a foot to get air flow around the room and your furniture will dry using the same equipment needed for the structure.  However, if you have an extensive amount of affected contents that have to be moved in order for the structure to be properly dried out, the homeowner’s insurance might not cover moving out and drying your contents.  Ultimately it depends on the specific situation and the parties involved.  Whatever the case may be, our technicians are trained to handle and properly document throughout the entire process ensuring that all parties involved are kept informed.

We are here to help 434-977-5850

Charlottesville Business Owners: Are You Prepared For a Disaster?

6/2/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know that our franchise here in Charlottesville is locally owned and operated?  Because we are local, we are able to respond to any loss rapidly.  This is crucial for commercial businesses who suffer from a fire or water damage. 

According to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40% of businesses do not reopen following a disaster and another 25% only last about a year after a loss.  Those are freighting statistics.  So if you are a business owner in Charlottesville or surrounding cities, allow us to help ease your mind. 

For starters, there are ways to lower the chances of a disaster happening.  One way is to have a schedule set in place for maintenance of all equipment and systems located within the building.  Also, be sure to keep an eye on the condition of the buildings gutter system.  Be sure to inspect the roof for any damage following a heavy rain or windstorm.  For more prevention tips, follow the link below. http://hpd.zurichna.com/whitepaper/zurich-automotive-water-damage-prevention.pdf

Should a fire or water loss occur, it is very important to minimize the damage.  This too requires some pre-planning.  Locate all the water shut offs within the building and communicate where they are to all parties necessary so that it is not a struggle to find in the event of a water damage.  Also, have a list of any and all contacts that you would need in the case of an emergency.  If you would like help on being prepared, give us a call at -434-977-5850.  We are more than happy to set up an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for your business at no charge.

Charlottesville: There is a Difference Between Commercial & Residential Restoration

5/24/2017 (Permalink)

When it comes to comparing a commercial water loss and a residential water loss size is obviously a dividing factor.  However, there are many more differentiating factors to consider than just the size of the building in order to successfully complete the restoration process. 

For starters, what type of commercial building is it?  Is it an apartment complex of which multiple units have been affected and within each unit a tenants contents have been affected?  It is not uncommon in a situation like this that each tenant will need to file a claim with their insurance to which each claim handler will be looking to the restoration company will be looking for continual job updates along with each tenant and the property manager of the apartment complex.  The number of individuals that need to be constantly informed can add up rather quickly in this scenario. 

Or perhaps the commercial building is an office that cannot afford to stop work while the water restoration is taking place.  In this instance, the restoration company now has to be mindful of the employees who need clear walkways, workable space at their desks, and minimal noise to efficiently answer phones.  Setting up drying equipment becomes a little trickier when taking these factors into consideration versus working in an area that will be vacant until the mitigation is complete. 

Here at SERVPRO of Charlottesville, our teams have experienced the above scenarios and more!  We take great pride in solving what some may view as a challenging situation.  Our philosophy?  View each situation as an opportunity rather than a problem. 

Charlottesville Residents: We Specialize in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration!

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

This was just one of many flooded basements our technicians serviced after Charlottesville was hit with a heavy rainstorm in May of 2017

A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall. Basements are inherently prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your Charlottesville basement could flood, including: 

  • A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe

  • Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home

  • Storm sewer backup

  • Sanitary sewer backup

  • Foundation drainage failure

  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure

  • And many more

Have Questions about Basement Flooding?

Call Today - 434-977-5850

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause severe damage to your home’s structure. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.

The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Charlottesville to let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.  Check out our customer testimonies.

We are Flooded Basement Specialists:

  • We are Available 24 hours/7 days per week

  • We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies

  • We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About

  • Our Technicians are Highly-Trained  in Water Restoration Techniques

  • We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards

  • Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment

Flooded Basement? We are here to help just give us a call at 434-977-5850

We Are a Drug Free Certified Charlottesville Business

3/24/2017 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO of Charlottesville safety is of utmost importance.  One way we help to ensure safety is by making our workplace drug free.

What it means to be a drug free certified business:

1) SERVPRO of Charlottesville is committed to protecting the safety, health, and well-being of our employees, our customers plus their belongings, as well as all other people we may interact with while in route to or performing our services on a day to day basis.

2) We recognize that drug and alcohol abuse pose a direct and significant threat to providing a safe working environment.  For this reason, we are committed to remaining a substance-free workplace.

3) Therefore, SERVPRO of Charlottesville firmly prohibits the illicit use, possession, sale, conveyance, distribution, or manufacture of illegal drugs, intoxicants, or controlled substances in any amount or manner.

4) This also consists of prohibiting the abuse of alcohol or prescription drugs.

5)  Any disregard of this will result in adverse employment action up to and including dismissal from our company.

Why do we insist on having a drug free working environment?

The use of drugs can open the door for a lot of safety hazards.  

Our employees operate a lot of heavy equipment and machinery including driving work vehicles on a daily basis.

We repeatedly handle priceless possessions that belong to our customers. 

Our customers entrust us with valuables that they hold near and dear to their hearts.  We want to do our best to keep their possessions, at the very least, in the condition we received it in but ultimately restore it to be better-quality considering our line of work it so restore to preloss condition and make it “Like it never even happened."

While operating equipment and heavy machinery as well as handling valuable possessions that belong to our customers, SERVPRO of Charlottesville crew members need to be fully alert and engaged while working.  Abstaining from the use of drugs and alcohol is just one way we help to uphold this.

When Storms or Floods hit Charlottesville, SERVPRO is ready!

9/30/2016 (Permalink)

Here is a photo of our crew responding to a water damage at the CHO airport last year

SERVPRO of Charlottesville specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit Charlottesville or Albemarle Country, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 434-977-5850

Our Highly Trained Restoration Specialists can restore your Charlottesville Home

6/2/2016 (Permalink)

We are an IICRC Certified Firm

SERVPRO of  Charlottesville is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Charlottesville

SERVPRO of Charlottesville specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

SERVPRO of Charlottesville Certifications

  • IICRC Certified Firm
  • WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician
  • ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician
  • LCT - Leather Cleaning Technician
  • RCT - Rug Cleaning Technician
  • OCT - Odor Control Technician
  • CCT - Carpet Cleaning Technician
  • CMT - Commercial Carpet Maintenance Technician
  • RRT - Carpet Repair & Reinstallation Technician
  • UFT - Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning Technician
  • AMRT - Applied Microbial Remediation Technician
  • SRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician
  • CRT - Color Repair Technician


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