Recent Posts

Fire Damage to Your Rental Home

7/6/2020 (Permalink)

Looking into a fire damaged home through a burnt window. Home fires happen when we least expect them, make sure that you have home/renters insurance to protect your personal belongings.

Renting a single family home, apartment or condo may be the way that you personally choose your housing.  There are many perks that people really like about renting.  The biggest perk is that you are not typically responsible for the major incidents that may occur within those four walls like an electrical fire, busted frozen water pipe, roof leak, or even when that 15 year old furnace decides it has served its purpose.  While those are great perks, you still have the responsibility of your own personal property that may become damaged due to a number of issues that may arise while living in a home you personally do not own.  Many renters mistakenly assume that their landlord's homeowner's policy will cover them if disaster strikes.  I too felt that way at one point, until I ended up on the restoration side of the disaster.  I thought, well if the homeowner/condo owner neglected issues like water pipes, electrical and even the roof.  There is no way that their insurance wouldn't cover my personal property.  How in the world could I be responsible for something I had nothing to do with?  This was my personal theory until I began doing the work I do now.  

I truly didn’t have a full understanding of how important that renters insurance was until I was working an apartment complex fire.  The flames were contained to the one apartment, but that wasn't the biggest issue.  It was the smoke and soot that affected nearly 20 apartments throughout 7 floors.  The smoke and soot got into apartments on the other side of the building.  Here's the thing, one smoke particle is half the size of bacteria, 1/8 the size of a red blood cell neither one of those are visible to the naked eye.  Smoke and soot will find little pathways to follow holes around plumbing, and also find its way to your second floor or cooler parts of the home.  So essentially we had to pretest every apartment within that building.  A good majority of the condo renters didn't understand how they were going to have to pay for the smoke and soot cleanup within their apartments when it was a single condo that was the source of the smoke and soot.  

Unfortunately, that was the case for quite a few people within that complex.  They ended up having to attempt to clean their contents themselves, even when the owners of that condo were able to have their structure cleaned professionally.  The cleaning of smoke and soot can be very tedious and time consuming even for professionals like SERVPRO of North Kanawha Valley & Teays Valley.  Our technicians are trained and certified to identify and remediate smoke and soot properly.    

There are four types of soot: 

  • Dry smoke residue: Powdery, dry small and non-smearing particles resulting from fires that burn quickly at a high heat
  • Wet Smoke residue: Smearing, sticky and strong-smelling particles caused by fires that smolder at low temperatures, resulting in smoke webs that may be challenging to remove.
  • Fuel oil soot: Dispersed by puff backs from furnaces
  • Protein Residue: Very strong-smelling, but practically invisible residue that can ruin the color of varnish or paint. 

Renters insurance is typically covered for a small monthly premium, the average renter’s policy has a $20,000 - $25,000 worth of coverage for your contents.  There are even rider policies (Which is coverage for things that may be worth more than the per-item limit on your renter’s insurance policy).  The value of your personal contents can add up quickly.  The most important aspect of renters insurance is deciding whether to purchase replacement value or actual cost value coverage.  While renters insurance is important for smoke and soot, it also covers many other things.

  • Fire, lighting
  • Windstorm, hail
  • Explosions
  • Riots
  • Damage by aircraft
  • Damage by vehicle (As long as it's not your own because you fell asleep in the driveway.)
  • Damage from smoke
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Volcanic eruption (Hopefully not needed in the Kanawha and Putnam counties)
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of snow, ice, sleet
  • Damage from steam- heating/water-heating appliances/systems
  • Leakage or overflow from water or steam
  •  Freezing of plumbing, heating, air conditioning
  •  Short-circuit damage caused by electrical appliances.

Bottom line renters insurance is essential and relatively inexpensive so call your friendly insurance agent and get a quote.

Rain.... Hail.... Winds.... Oh My!

7/6/2020 (Permalink)

storm tearing through a town Seasonal storms can be unpredictable at times, stay prepared by creating a storm safety plan.

The Kanawha and Putnam counties are no strangers to ravishing storms.  Rain, Hail, High winds all a recipe for disaster for many homeowners.  Preparation for our moody mother nature is key to help protect your home.  While you can’t control the weather, there’s still a lot you can do to protect your home and your family. Additionally, most of what we’ll discuss in this blog will also help protect your neighbors’ homes and property!

SERVPRO® of North Kanawha Valley & Teays Valley has a list of the basic outside upkeep on your home, which may help prevent or minimize the damage done to your home during a storm in West Virginia. 

  • Check for missing or damaged shingles, then get them replaced

When shingles are damaged, they are more likely to break free.  If the shingles are missing this will cause a gap and allow for wind to get under the shingles causing more damage.

  • Repair loose siding

The same rule as roofing applies to your siding as well.  Ensure that the siding is not damaged or pulled loose, allowing for wind to damage the remainder of the siding.

  • Keep your gutters clear

Ensure that your gutters are free-flowing and your downspouts are in a direction that will allow the water to flow away from the foundation.  If the water is not directed from the foundation, the water can cause water damage to the home and flooding.

  • Adjust the flow of runoff water coming toward your house.

The best way to combat runoff water coming near or inside of your home is to dig a ditch or drain to divert the water that is intruding on your home.

  • Keep your sump pump, pumping.

Checking your sump pump should be done on a pretty regular basis.  It is far too often that we get a call for sump pump failure.  Purchasing a secondary pump is additional reassurance that you can minimize basement or crawlspace damage during a storm if your primary sump pump stops working.

  • Trim your tree’s frequently

Keeping your tree’s trimmed regularly helps keep the risk of having damage done to your home's roof, siding, and windows.

  • Take a quick walk around your property.

This is primarily to clean up around your home of anything that could be potentially become projectiles.  Things like lawn furniture, tools, flower pots, trash cans, anything that can be lifted off of the ground

  • Purchase a generator

Larger storms can cause serious outages leaving you without power anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.  The generator can be used so that you minimize the loss of food, keeping medications cold, there are a number of things that make it a good idea to have a generator.

Keep in mind that your home and the things inside of your home are replaceable.  Your family is not.  Creating a storm safety plan is essential and should be regularly reviewed and practiced with your family.  If you believe that your home may have still obtained damage during the storm, contact SERVPRO of North Kanawha Valley & Teays Valley to have your property assessed for storm damage.

More to us than what you think...

7/6/2020 (Permalink)

Triangles with storm, fire, and water in them Storms can strike at any time, trust that SERVPRO will be available 24/7/365 to help you in your time of need.

You may know us as the Fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration Company. But did you know that there are over 20 services that we can provide to a home or business owner? Our team at SERVPRO® of North Kanawha Valley & Teays Valley is always ready to help you at a moment’s notice 24/7/365.  A few of the other services that we provide include…

  • Mold Mitigation
  • Document Restoration
  • Duct Cleaning
  • Deodorization                  
  • Reconstruction
  • Vandalism Cleanup
  • Forensic Remediation
  • Storm Response
  • Tarping and Board ups 

Our team here at SERVPRO® of North Kanawha & Teays Valley can help you with whatever disaster that you may have. We have been in the Kanawha Valley and surrounding areas for nearly 30 years, locally owned and operated, and ready to serve you.

Whether you are a homeowner, business owner, property manager, or first responder we are here for you. There is no disaster that is too large or too small that we can't handle. From our trained and uniformed crews to our professional restoration consultants, and our SERVPRO® Ready App that is in the palm of your hand, the cleanup team at SERVPRO® of North Kanawha & Teays Valley is here to help make your disaster, “Like it never even happened." For more information on how we can help you be prepared or for a consultation please call us at 304-755-9510.

Commercial Buildings are Not Large Houses!

7/6/2020 (Permalink)

A table with many different hats on it symbolizing the many hats that our staff at SERVPRO wear. No matter the hat we are all under the same roof, working together to ensure great quality work for you.

Your local SERVPRO® franchise has 3 Commercial Drying Specialists on staff and this is one of the first things that our techs learn while attending the Institute Of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) class.

Drying and restoring commercial properties can be very complex and pose a multitude of situations not typically found in residential properties. Some of the differences between commercial and residential properties are obvious, such as size and use but others may not be as obvious as intricacies in HVAC systems, and complex electrical systems.

Other differences in commercial and residential structures that may concern a restorer would be things like public access, multiple stakeholders, construction materials & building codes, as well as the potential for increased safety issues in a commercial property.

Our certified Commercial Drying Specialists know the differences between commercial and residential properties and can “change hats” instantly when going from one to the other with very little effort. This ability to understand and adapt to these differences is one of the many things that help our restorers stand out in the restoration industry. It is also the reason that the majority of municipalities, utility companies, property management firms, healthcare facilities, and school systems in the area trust SERVPRO® Of North Kanawha and Teays Valley for all their restoration and cleaning needs.

SERVPRO® of North Kanawha and Teays Valley is also on the cutting edge of document drying science and have the ability to dry, clean, sanitize, digitize and restore documents once deemed unsalvageable a few years ago. This can save a business thousands of dollars and major headaches if these documents are irreplaceable. 

Another advantage SERVPRO® of North Kanawha and Teays Valley has over other restoration companies is although our local franchise can produce most commercial jobs on our own, if we get a job that is beyond our local capabilities, we can have our Corporate Large Loss Division assist us with staff and equipment to handle any size disaster.

Knowing the differences between residential and commercial properties is very important in our industry and if a restorer does not understand those differences, it could lead to catastrophic results from safety issues or much higher cost of a commercial project than is necessary. Trust your business to the Pro’s in the know, SERVPRO of North Kanawha and Teays Valley. We are standing by 24/7/365 for ALL your restoration and cleaning needs.

Break the Mold

7/6/2020 (Permalink)

Mold spores spread throughout the walls of this office Besides causing a major business interruption, a mold problem can present a serious health risk for people exposed to your commercial property.

West Virginia is known for its wet terrain which can cause many microscopic mold spores that naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a business. Therefore, SERVPRO® of North Kanawha Valley and Teays Valley mold remediation specialist will reduce the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

If You See Signs of Mold, 

Call Us Today – (304)755-9510

All Up in Your Grill About Safty

7/6/2020 (Permalink)

Grill with hamburger on it Whether you are using a propane grill, a charcoal grill, or a campfire, there are some basic safety guidelines.

The crackling sound of a campfire, the smell of hot dogs on the grill, marshmallows turning into little fireballs on a skewer… all of these are things that make summer fantastic.  If you are planning on spending summer indulging in one of these classic activities, it is a good idea to be aware of campfire/grill safety. Whether you are using a propane grill, a charcoal grill, or a campfire, there are some basic safety guidelines that the whole family should be educated on to protect themselves and their homes.

For the grillers:

  1. If you are using a grill be sure that it isn’t defective in any way.
  2. For propane, check the tank before use to make sure it isn’t damaged.
  3. When using a charcoal grill, let the starter fluid soak into the coals for a minute before igniting them to allow the explosive vapors time to dissipate.
  4. If you are grilling using an electric grill, never use lighter fluid or other combustible materials.
  5. Do not use grills close to the house where it has the potential to catch the structure on fire

For all of the campers and s’ mores connoisseurs out there, here are a few campfire safety tips that will help keep you, your families and our forests safe:

  1. Never build a campfire somewhere that it could easily spread. Steer clear of areas with large amounts of dead leaves and dry brush
  2. Do not keep flammables around the campfire. This includes lighter fluid and gasoline
  3. Keep the campfire to a size that is easy to control. Do not build one so large that it will get out of hand and spread
  4. Keep water or a shovel or both nearby so that the campfire can be extinguished if needed
  5. Keep tents and sleeping bags a safe distance from the fire
  6. Be sure that everyone at the campfire knows to stop, drop, and roll if an article of their clothing catches fire
  7. Extinguish correctly when leaving the fire (here is a great resource that demonstrates how to properly extinguish a fire https://www.smokeybear.com/en/prevention-how-tos/campfire-safety/how-to-maintain-and-extinguish-your-campfire)

Music, Sweet Music

7/1/2020 (Permalink)

Water Damage in Charleston, WV area Take this "Magical Mystery Tour" though some great music while you read this blog post.

As you read this blog, please click on the links for your listening pleasure.

"I Love A Rainy Night" , but I don’t like it when those "Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head" so much that it causes water intrusion into my crawlspace or basement. "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" fall so hard that you feel your house and all its belongings may end up "Down By The River" ? We all know that "A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall Sometime" and we are going to have to deal with high "Water" . Numerous places in West Virginia experience flooding issues almost every time the "Rain" falls hard and the "Ripple" effect can be devastating.

That’s where SERVPRO comes in. We are experts in restoring your properties after "The River" or water from a hard rain enters your home or business. SERVPRO Technicians have the equipment and training to tackle any sized disaster and make it "Like it never even happened." "When The Levee Breaks" "Once In A Lifetime" , or its just "Another Rainy Night In Georgia" we can handle your emergency.

Whether the water comes from a "Big River" , "The Ocean" , "Cool Water" , "Cold Water" , the "Yellow River" , The "Kern River" , "Fire Lake" , "Black Water" , or "Purple Rain" , We can make it all like it’s just "Water Under The Bridge"

We are not saying that SERVPRO can "Walk On Water" , but we CAN restore your home or business back to preloss condition and be that "Bridge Over Troubled Water" so you can get your life back to normal after rainwater has flooded you property.

Business as Usual

6/29/2020 (Permalink)

Multiple images of our services that we offer. Fire, water and mold cleanup and restoration are what we are primarily known for, but it is not all that we do.

When the COVID-19 pandemic gripped our nation early this year a lot of things changed. Fear, panic, and uncertainty have run rampant and have forced many companies to close or dramatically change the way they do business. During these unprecedented times, SERVPRO® of North Kanawha and Teays Valley has been the exception to that rule and continued operating business as usual.

               For 30 years now SERVPRO® of North Kanawha and Teays Valley has been cleaning and disinfecting viruses, bloodborne pathogens, and other biohazards. The same products and methods we have been using for three decades are proving to stand the test of time. Many of our hospital-grade disinfectants have been included on the EPA’s coveted “N List” of products confirmed to be effective at neutralizing Coronavirus. Additionally, our methods and practices comply with the CDC’s recommendations. This is a large part of the reason that SERVPRO franchises have been seen across the country on the frontline of the battle against infection. Whenever government offices, commercial spaces, and healthcare centers are in fear of infection they turn to the reassurance of the skill, professionalism, and expertise of the trusted leader of disinfection, SERVPRO.

They say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and this has been SERVPRO’s attitude throughout this pandemic. When times got tough we took confidence in our experience. Now, after more than a million square feet of COVID cleaning, with virtually no incidence of reinfection, our system has proven to still be effective. All while continuing to do the fire, water, and mold mitigation that we are so well known for. If your business needs mitigation of any kind, turn to experts who have been doing it right all along, SERVPRO of North Kanawha and Teays Valley.

Misconceptions of fire damage in your rental home

6/29/2020 (Permalink)

Looking into a home that had a recent fire damage. Home fires happen every 87seconds. Don't become a statistic.

Renting a single-family home, apartment or condo may be the way that you personally choose your housing.  There are many perks that people really like about renting.  The biggest perk is that you are not typically responsible for the major incidents that may occur within those four walls like an electrical fire, busted frozen water pipe, roof leak, or even when that 15-year-old furnace decides it has served its purpose.  While those are great perks, you still have the responsibility of your own personal property that may become damaged due to a number of issues that may arise while living in a home you personally do not own.  Many renters mistakenly assume that their landlord's homeowner's policy will cover them if disaster strikes.  I too felt that way at one point, until I ended up on the restoration side of the disaster.  I thought, well if the homeowner/condo owner neglected issues like water pipes, electrical, and even the roof.  There is no way that their insurance wouldn't cover my personal property.  How in the world could I be responsible for something I had nothing to do with?  This was my personal theory until I began doing the work I do now.  

I truly didn’t have a full understanding of how important that renters insurance was until I was working an apartment complex fire.  The flames were contained to the one apartment, but that wasn't the biggest issue.  It was the smoke and soot that affected nearly 20 apartments throughout 7 floors.  The smoke and soot got into apartments on the other side of the building.  Here's the thing, one smoke particle is half the size of bacteria, 1/8 the size of a red blood cell neither one of those are visible to the naked eye.  Smoke and soot will find little pathways to follow holes around plumbing, and also find its way to your second floor or cooler parts of the home.  So essentially we had to pretest every apartment within that building.  A good majority of the condo renters didn't understand how they were going to have to pay for the smoke and soot cleanup within their apartments when it was a single condo that was the source of the smoke and soot.  

Unfortunately, that was the case for quite a few people within that complex.  They ended up having to attempt to clean their contents themselves, even when the owners of that condo were able to have their structure cleaned professionally.  The cleaning of smoke and soot can be very tedious and time-consuming even for professionals like SERVPRO of North Kanawha Valley & Teays Valley.  Our technicians are trained and certified to identify and remediate smoke and soot properly.    

There are four types of soot: 

  • Dry smoke residue: Powdery, dry small and non-smearing particles resulting from fires that burn quickly at a high heat
  • Wet Smoke residue: Smearing, sticky and strong-smelling particles caused by fires that smolder at low temperatures, resulting in smoke webs that may be challenging to remove.
  • Fuel oil soot: Dispersed by puff backs from furnaces
  • Protein Residue: Very strong-smelling, but practically invisible residue that can ruin the color of varnish or paint. 

Renters insurance is typically covered for a small monthly premium, the average renter’s policy has a $20,000 - $25,000 worth of coverage for your contents.  There are even rider policies (Which is coverage for things that may be worth more than the per-item limit on your renter’s insurance policy).  The value of your personal contents can add up quickly.  The most important aspect of renters insurance is deciding whether to purchase replacement value or actual cost value coverage.  While renters insurance is important for smoke and soot, it also covers many other things.

  • Fire, lighting
  • Windstorm, hail
  • Explosions
  • Riots
  • Damage by aircraft
  • Damage by vehicle (As long as it's not your own because you fell asleep in the driveway.)
  • Damage from smoke
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Volcanic eruption (Hopefully not needed in the Kanawha and Putnam counties)
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of snow, ice, sleet
  • Damage from steam- heating/water-heating appliances/systems
  • Leakage or overflow from water or steam
  •  Freezing of plumbing, heating, air conditioning
  •  Short-circuit damage caused by electrical appliances.

Bottom line renters insurance is essential and relatively inexpensive so call your friendly insurance agent and get a quote.

Independence Day is approaching fast.

6/29/2020 (Permalink)

Fire works in a sky line As independence day approaches quickly, always remember to make safety a priority.

Independence Day is fast approaching. That comes with the chances of fire hazards, accidents, and injuries resulting from putting those fires out.

Follow these tips to make sure your fire extinguisher is ready, just in case something goes wrong.

When is the last time you checked your fire extinguisher?

How old is it? You will find an expiration date at the bottom of the label. If it is more than ten years old, it should be replaced. The pressure could be gone or it simply could not work.

Check the gauge to be sure it is pointing to the green area on the gauge.

Does it have a UL listing on the label to verify that it is certified and ready to go?

Once these questions have been verified, make sure you know the location of your extinguisher in the home. Familiarize yourself with how to operate it as well.

To help you to remember, you can use the acronym P.A.S.S.

P-Pull Pin

A-Aim at the base of the fire

S-Squeeze trigger

S-Sweep from side to side

If there is more than one person in the home, have one call 911 and the other use the extinguisher. If the fire has reached a stage other than the start of the fire, it is very important to GET OUT of your residence and wait for the fire department.

TIP: Never add water to put out a grease fire. It could cause an explosion or make the fire even bigger. Try to smother with a lid, pizza pan, or cookie sheet. Do not try to remove the pan from the stove. Turn the heat off and smother.

CELEBRATE OUR INDEPENDENCE BUT ABOVE ALL STAY SAFE.