Recent Storm Damage Posts

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

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.

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.”

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

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”!

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.

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.

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

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/

Or

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

http://www.nixtank.com/can-rain-affect-my-septic-tank

Available 24/7 at 434-977-5850

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.

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