Recent Posts

Sewage Backups are no laughing matter

7/6/2019 (Permalink)

Indoor floods and plumbing leaks are difficult disasters to handle because they can result in extensive water damage.  If the flooding in your home contains sewage or is caused by a sewer backup, the situation will be much more dangerous.  Sewage backup contains microorganisms, bacteria, and human waste and those that come into contact with sewage water are at risk for disease or infection.  The mess caused by a sewage backup can only be cleaned up by a trained water damage specialist like SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin & Jones Counties.  Because sewer backups are damaging and hazardous to your health, it is best to know the common signs and causes of a sewage backup so you can prevent them from happening.

Health Effects of Sewage Backups

Flooding in your basement may contain sewage.

The health effects from exposure to sewage can range from illness to more serious diseases and even death.  Sewage contamination is responsible for around 2 million cases of illness per year according to the National Resources Defense Council.  Sewage water may contain plenty of contaminants and hazardous materials including bacteria, viruses, pesticides, fungus, microorganisms, and others.  The following are the most common health conditions caused by bacteria in sewage:

Sewage backups are typically the result of a clogged sewer line which is nearly impossible to spot.  However, there are three warning signs of a clogged sewer line that you should look for in your home:

  • Backups in several drains: If your sinks, bathtubs, and toilets are experiencing backups and trouble draining, there could be a problem in the sewer line.
  • Water backups in strange places: If using one of your plumbing fixtures like the sink or toilet causes backups in a nearby plumbing fixture, this could mean that the water has nowhere to escape.
  • Backup in the sewer cleanout: The sewer cleanout is usually a white or black pipe that extends out of the side of your home and it allows access to the sewer line. If the sewer cleanout is full of water, there is a good chance of a sewer line clog.

If a clogged sewer line is the main cause of a sewage backup, then what causes the sewer line to become clogged? The following are the most common causes:

  • Blockage from root infiltration: The roots from trees and bushes can infiltrate and damage sewer lines as they extend out in the soil looking for moisture. This infiltration can easily cause a blockage.
  • Structural defects: If there is a structural issue with your foundation that affects the sewer line, your sewer line is at risk for a blockage.
  • Flushing things down the toilet: Do not flush anything that isn’t supposed to go in the toilet to prevent a clog.
  • Blockage in the city sanitary main: Sometimes the city sanitary main line can get clogged and cause backups in nearby homes and buildings through the floor drains.
  • Wet weather and flooding in or near your home.
  • Broken, blocked, or leaking pipes.

Sewage backups present a major problem in your home because of the potential damage and negative health effects but by recognizing the warning signs and taking preventive actions, you can prevent a sewer backup.  If you do experience a sewage backup or in-home flooding that may contain sewage, call us at 252-208-7888 right away.  Our professionals are highly trained to deal with sewage water and ensure that it is removed safely.

 

Addressing Mold in Leases and Purchases of Commercial Buildings

5/28/2019 (Permalink)

Given the increased attention to toxic mold, owners & tenants of commercial buildings and their attorneys are starting to address mold prevention and remediation directly in leases and purchase agreements. And, due to the current lack of scientific knowledge and regulatory uncertainty, the focus should be on risk assessment and prevention of mold problems.

Tenants and purchasers considering a transaction should have an assessment for toxic mold performed by a competent consultant with experience in industrial hygiene, mold sampling and mold remediation. This protocol should become part of their due diligence process. An assessment of indoor air quality for the presence of toxic molds will establish baseline conditions and, if necessary, allow the parties to correct a pre-existing mold problem.

Practices and customs for assessing toxic mold risk and indoor air quality are still developing. Some building owners may develop protocols for regular testing and may provide results to prospective tenants or purchasers. However, most retailers contemplating a lease or purchase transaction will likely have to request permission to perform a toxic mold assessment.

Thunderstorms 101

5/27/2019 (Permalink)

What is a thunderstorm?
A thunderstorm is a rain shower during which you hear thunder. Since thunder comes from lightning, all thunderstorms have lightning.
Why do I sometimes hear meteorologists use the word “convection” when talking about thunderstorms?
Usually created by surface heating, convection is upward atmospheric motion that transports whatever is in the air along with it—especially any moisture available in the air. A thunderstorm is the result of convection.
What is a severe thunderstorm?
A thunderstorm is classified as “severe” when it contains one or more of the following: hail one inch or greater, winds gusting in excess of 50 knots (57.5 mph), or a tornado.
How many thunderstorms are there?
Worldwide, there are an estimated 16 million thunderstorms each year, and at any given moment, there are roughly 2,000 thunderstorms in progress. There are about 100,000 thunderstorms each year in the U.S. alone. About 10% of these reach severe levels.
When are thunderstorms most likely?
Thunderstorms are most likely in the spring and summer months and during the afternoon and evening hours, but they can occur year-round and at all hours.Along the Gulf Coast and across the southeastern and western states, most thunderstorms occur during the afternoon. Thunderstorms frequently occur in the late afternoon and at night in the Plains states.
What kinds of damage can thunderstorms cause?
Many hazardous weather events are associated with thunderstorms. Under the right conditions, rainfall from thunderstorms causes flash flooding, killing more people each year than hurricanes, tornadoes or lightning. Lightning is responsible for many fires around the world each year, and causes fatalities. Hail up to the size of softballs damages cars and windows, and kills livestock caught out in the open. Strong (up to more than 120 mph) straight-line winds associated with thunderstorms knock down trees, power lines and mobile homes. Tornadoes (with winds up to about 300 mph) can destroy all but the best-built man-made structures.
Where are severe thunderstorms most common?
The greatest severe weather threat in the U.S. extends from Texas to southern Minnesota. But, no place in the United States is completely safe from the threat of severe weather.

Spring Cleaning Fire Safety Tips

5/27/2019 (Permalink)

With the arrival of spring comes blue skies, blooming flowers and spring cleaning. This is the perfect time for a refresher on fire safety tips that should be followed year-round. Keeping fire safety in mind when doing things around the house will help prevent fires.  First and foremost, check your smoke alarms. It’s a task that can easily go forgotten for months, but how convenient that you should change your battery once a year and spring cleaning comes around once a year. Put it on your list of chores for the big clean to ensure that it happens every 12 months. According to the NFPA, a functioning smoke alarm in your home cuts your risk of dying in a house fire by 50 percent. The leading cause of dryer fires is the failure to clean them. Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry. Also, be sure to clean the lint that may have collected around the drum and the dryer vent. Keep the are around your dryer clear of things that can burn like boxes, cleaning supplies, and clothing.  Check your electrical cords to make sure that they are not running across doorways or under carpets. Extension cords are intended for temporary use.  If you are in need of extension cords, have a qualified electrician to install additional receptacle outlets.  Clean your garage of stored newspapers or other rubbish that can fuel a fire.  Properly store household chemicals in an approved container and never mix cleaning agents. Check and clean filters above stove. Pull refrigerator out and vacuum or dust the coils. 

Is your office energy efficient?

5/26/2019 (Permalink)

  1. Purchase energy-efficient office equipment. Before you buy or lease office electronics, check to see if they are ENERGYSTAR-rated. An ENERGYSTAR-rated appliance has been evaluated and deemed energy-efficient, which can save you money and help you manage your small business energy costs, especially in the long run.

  2. Reduce Peak Demand. One of the best ways to save electricity in an office is to reduce your peak demand. The phrase “peak demand” refers to the hours in a day when energy usage is at its highest. Peak demand times are typically normal office hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). You can reduce your demand during this time by staggering work hours / start times, running heavy equipment and factory equipment during the evening and early morning hours, and conserving energy throughout the day. 

  3. Program your thermostats. This is one of those office energy saving tips that is especially relevant for a 9-5 workplace. You don’t need to heat or cool a workplace after everyone has gone home for the night. Even if your team’s hours vary, using programmable or smart thermostats to manage the temperature during “off” hours can make a big difference.

  4. Turn off lights when not in use. It might seem like a no-brainer, but in a typical office, lights stay on in areas like break rooms, bathrooms, or conference rooms, even when those spaces aren’t being used. Sensor lights can help to keep the lights on when needed, but off when they’re not.

  5. Use energy-efficient light bulbs. It's one of the easiest and simplest energy saving ideas in the workplace: switch out your regular incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs such as CFL or LED. This will help you use a significantly less amount of electricity.

  6. Take advantage of natural sunlight. If you’re fortunate enough to have an office space where there’s abundant natural light, use it! On a sunny day, you might not need to turn on the lights at all in areas where windows can give all the illumination you need. While using passive solar heating might not seem like one of the ways to save energy at work, it really does help. The fewer kilowatt hours of energy you use, the less you have to pay.

  7. Start running fans. You can reduce your energy usage in the workplace simply and easily by running fans in offices, warehouses, showrooms and kitchens. Fans keep air flowing so your HVAC unit can run more efficiently.

  8. Power down computers and other office equipment at the end of the day. If computers are not being used through the hours when your staff aren’t working, have your team be in the habit of shutting them down before they leave. Turning off and unplugging as many devices as possible at the end of the day is a simple way to cut back. This includes energy efficient coffee makers, toasters, and similar appliances.

  9. Prevent “Phantom energy”. Phantom energy is the energy that is still being used by equipment that remains plugged in but not in use. A great office energy-saving tip is to have your computer peripherals (printers, monitors, etc.) connected to power strips (aka “surge protectors”) so that the flip of a single switch can shut down several devices at a time.

  10. Think outside your building. Are you in control of the landscaping around your business? If so, you have a great opportunity to create energy-savings for your small business with energy efficient landscaping. Strategically planting trees to block winds or provide shade on hot summer days can help reduce your heating and cooling costs. 

Helpful tips to make your home safer

5/25/2019 (Permalink)

Accidents that happen around people's houses lead to several trips to the emergency room or even death each year. Most injuries at home are preventable when using proper caution.

SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin and Jones Counties would like for you to improve safety inside and outside of your home. Here are some tips to make this a priority.

  • Improve lighting One of the easiest ways to reduce falls is to improve lighting around the home. Make sure light fixtures are using the highest watt light bulb allowed. Light fixtures are even more important in the fall and winter, when there is not as much natural light. Also, make sure there is enough lighting outdoors by the front door, over the garage, and any other place that is used as a passageway. 
  • Eliminate slick surfaces Attach nonslip rubber backings on throw rugs and runners. Using bath rugs can reduce slipping on wet surfaces in the bathroom along with nonslip mats used inside bathtubs and showers.
  • Declutter all spaces Remove unnecessary furniture and items from rooms to free up more space to walk around. Make sure there are no obstructions near entryways, walkways, stairways and doors.
  • Use assistive devices Handrails, grab bars, and nonslip stair treads can make a home safer for people of all ages and physical abilities. Organize closets and cabinets so frequently used items are with easy reach. Step stools can also reduce the risk of injury while reaching for items on high shelves.

SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin and Jones Counties hopes that by using these tips, it will help reduce the risk of falling around the home and are very worthwhile home improvement projects most home owners can do themselves.

Continuing Education classes

5/24/2019 (Permalink)

One of the goals at SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin and Jones Counties is to help guarantee that our students, as well as ourselves, are all winners at the end of each course.

Our CE Team at Lenoir, Duplin and Jones County continues to strive to offer FREE continuing education classes for insurance agents, insurance adjusters, and real estate agents.

We ask our students and try our best to teach courses that are most interesting to them that also meet their needed continuing education requirements.

For licensees requiring CE, we are continuing to search for new and interesting courses for them to attend, getting the CE credits as promised for attending the courses, and getting their required CE credits in on time for their license renewals.

We get to water damage FASTER

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

  1. Water and flood emergencies hardly ever wait for regular business hours and neither does SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin and Jones Counties. We provide emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including holidays.

Water damage is very aggressive. Water can swiftly spread throughout your home and could get consumed into your floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO arrives quickly and begins the water extraction process almost immediately. This quick response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Water Damage Timetable 

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your home, penetrating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and your belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may run, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and distort.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to bulge and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A moldy odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and multiply.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and go out of shape.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase significantly; replacing tainted materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants create serious risks to residents.

About SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin and Jones Counties

SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin and Jones Counties 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. 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.

Need Emergency Services?

Call Us 24/7 (252) 208-7888

Storms and your Commercial Property

5/22/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin, & Jones Counties realizes that April showers bring May flowers, but it also brings the risk of storm damage to a commercial building.

 Most companies think their property’s appearance is important. When the need arises for emergency or commercial storm damage, most business owners call a professional storm restoration company such as SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin & Jones Counties to help.

Storm Damage Facts

Storm damage can extend far beyond just the roof, also, damaging siding, HVAC units and windows.  The winds that go along wit a with a storm could cause enough damage to warrant roof repairs or total replacement. 

Hai and water damage cause the most damage during a storm. Hail can travel at high speeds, and could cause several dollars damage to property. Major damage could lead to water leakage into the business and greater structural issues caused by mold.

If you believe the roof may have been damaged in a storm, call trained professionals, such as the crew from SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin & Jones Counties. The last thing a company needs is a personal injury on top of your property damage. Our team could rescue your building hopefully from greater structural issues while saving your company time and money.

We’ll help you determine the scope of work needed to mitigate the damage, no matter if it is a partial replacement or a full repair. Determining the scope of work is a crucial step in filing a successful insurance claim.

Getting Your commercial property back “Like it never even happened.” is our motto.

Your company has suffered enough hardship. Its your company, you’ve insured it, now let 

It’s your property. You’ve acquired it. You’ve insured it against storm damage, so now is the time to protect it.

Grease fires and what you need to know!

5/17/2019 (Permalink)

  1. So, you’ve began to warm up the grease to fry some mouth watering French fries and all of a sudden the phone rings. The grease on the stove starts to overheat and smoke, and before you know it, the fryer catches on fire. What you do next to put out the grease fire is very important, so keep these tips in mind.
  2. Turn the heat off, but don’t move the container of grease.
  3. Don't pour water on a grease fire. Water could cause the grease to splash on other kitchen surfaces and possibly spread the flames.
  4. Put a lid on it. Covering the container will hopefully smother the fire.
  5. Call 911, if the fire has gotten out of control and get out of the building.
  6. Dont use flour on a grease fire. Sometimes using baking soda can put out a SMALL grease fire, but flour should never be used.
  7. Fire extinguisher should be the last resort, due to the risk of contaminating your kitchen.