Recent Storm Damage Posts

How To Identify Odors in Your Home After a Flood

2/15/2021 (Permalink)

Identify Odors After A Flood And Eliminate Their Cause

When storms cause serious flooding and affect your Springfield/Mt. Vernon, home, you may notice several different types of foul odors in the aftermath, even when the waters recede. From mold growth to sewage chemicals, the flooding may leave your home smelling less than pleasant. Learning to identify these odors can be the first step to finding and eliminating their cause.

Musty Smells

If you detect an odor like wet dirty laundry after a flood, then you may be dealing with mold. There are many different types of fungi that can take hold after a flood, and many can develop as soon as 24 hours after the event. Mold does not require sunlight to grow and may grow unchecked in a variety of locations:

  • Behind drywall
  • Around insulation
  • Under carpeting

Having your home inspected after a serious flood can help to uncover hidden mold.

Sewer Odor

The strong, bitter smell of a sewer is hard to mistake for anything else. The odor may also smell like rotten eggs, especially if a nearby sewer has malfunctioned and sewage loss caused a flood in your home’s basement. Because any standing water in your home may contain contaminants and bacteria, you may want to seal off the area until you can call a water damage and mitigation service to come to drain it away and deodorize your home so the offensive smell from the flood water does not linger.

Dirt or Mud Smells

Serious flooding can bring silt, dirt and debris into your home. The moisture it contains can also encourage increased mold growth. You may detect an earthy, fishy or wormy odor from dirt or mud left behind in the wake of a flood. Your flood technicians can remove this debris and offer you options for odor removal as well, such as using ozone machines to clear the air.

Serious flooding can affect your home and cause foul smells from mold growth and dirty standing water. Learning how to identify different odors can give you a head start on cleanup efforts, especially once help arrives.

Prevent Basement Flooding from Snowmelt

2/8/2021 (Permalink)

Extreme Temperatures

Living in the Springfield/Mt. Vernon are means the weather fluctuates all the time this year we have been experiencing more snow fall then last year. So what does that mean for local home owners?

These extreme temperature changes make flooding a potential hazard in the Virginia and surrounding areas. The sudden melting of packed ice and snow can cause rapid runoff. If the ground is still frozen, snowmelt has no place to go and can find its way through the foundation of your structure. Homes and businesses located near creeks and rivers are at higher risk for flooding.

Some tips to prevent a flooded basement include installing a sump pump and making sure downspouts drain 20-30 feet away from your home or business. Hiring a company to professionally waterproof the basement is another option. Using a snow-blower around your home’s foundation and removing snow from the roof when safe are additional ways to limit water intrusion from snowmelt.

Call Us Today for Your Winter Weather-Related Needs

Even when preventative measures are taken, your Springfield/Mt. Vernon business or home may experience leaks and flooding. The team at SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon is trained in water extraction and structural drying. Our employees are IICRC certified and use the most up-to-date water mitigation practices. Rest assured, the team at SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon will help make any water damage “Like it never even happened.” Call us today 703-644-0620

Is it Time to Contact a Storm Restoration Expert?

1/6/2021 (Permalink)

Is it Time to Contact a Storm Restoration Expert?

As a homeowner, you probably don't want to have to think about your roof leak or getting a roof repair. You probably don't want to deal with flooding, river flooding, hail damage, or hurricane damage. You don't want think consider how frozen pipes and ice damage can cause roof damage or a roof leak. Unfortunately, it might be time to contact a home restoration expert to deal with storm remediation. If you've been thinking about home restoration or water restoration, the time to get started is now. If you aren't sure whether it's time to reach out to a storm restoration or home restoration expert, there are a few things you need to consider.

Have you recently experienced a severe storm?

If you have recently experienced river flooding, flooding, storm damage, hail damage, or hurricane damage, your house may have been physically damaged and you may need storm remediation. Many homeowners don't realize just how severe roof damage, hail damage, hurricane damage, and ground water can be after a severe storm. Pay attention to when there are storms in your area, as any place that is prone to hail damage, hurricane damage, or storm damage may be susceptible to problems.

Does your home have standing ground water?

Does your area frequently have river flooding? Flooding due to high rains? Ground water after flooding?  Standing flood water in your yard? Many homes experience flooding after river flooding in the area, but flooding can also be caused by frozen pipes. Frozen pipes can burst and cause flood water to accumulate inside your home. Does your house have flood water? It could be time to seek storm remediation. A water restoration expert can help to remove ground water with a flood pump. A flood pump can effectively remove water from your house minimizing secondary water damage effects such as mold. Make sure you contact a water restoration and storm restoration professional.

Is there visible damage to your home?

If you experience ice damage, storm damage, hurricane damage, or hail damage in your area, make sure you visually inspect your home. Do you notice holes in the side of your house from hail damage? Do you have a roof leak from roof damage? Do you need a roof repair? Do you have visible storm damage? If you notice any of these damages call SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon 703-644-0620

If you're ever in doubt about getting help from a storm restoration professional, go ahead and reach out. We are here to help repair problems with your home and fix any damage. Visit https://www.SERVPROspringfieldmtvernon.com/ for more information on storm damage.

Preparing for Winter Storms

12/23/2020 (Permalink)

Winter storms are not uncommon in the Northern Virginia area and to be stuck unprepared in blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days is not ideal. Many winter storms are accompanied by extremely low temps and potentially strong winds, icing, sleet, or freezing rain.

No matter the severity of a winter storm, you should be prepared to ensure your safety in these events and know that SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon is here to help.

Know the Difference

Meteorologists may not always be accurate in their predictions, but more often than not they are able to give out a notification for what kind of weather is to come. It is important to note the difference between a Winter Storm Outlook, Winter Weather Advisory, Winter Storm Watch, and a Winter Storm Warning.

  • Winter Storm Outlook - storm conditions possible between 2-5 days
  • Winter Weather Advisory - conditions are expected to cause inconveniences and be hazardous
  • Winter Storm Watch - storm conditions possible within 36-48 hours. Be alert of changing conditions
  • Winter Storm Warning - Life-threatening & severe conditions have begun or will begin < 24 hours. Take precautions immediately

Preparation

Now that you know what each warning means - it's time to prepare before scary weather happens!

Winterize your vehicle. Keep the fuel line full to prevent freeing.

Insulate your home. There's nothing worse than a cold home and frozen pipes. Cover windows with plastic and insulate any exposed pipes outside your home. If you speculate that there is a frozen pipe, call your local SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon.

Put together a Supply Kit. Ensure you have your basic necessities of food and water for several days. Batteries, flashlights, medication, a multi-purpose tool and various personal hygiene items.

Now that you know how to prepare for the different types of winter weather, maintain your awareness of the ongoing situations. Listen to the local Weather radio, keep your loved ones close, and avoid traveling if it isn't necessary.

If we can be of any assistance, call us day or night. There will always be a live person on the other end of the line available for whatever you need, even if it is just to answer questions. We are eager to help 703-644-0620.

How to prevent burst pipes

1/14/2020 (Permalink)

A frozen pipe that has burst. (Source: https://metropha.com/blog/winterize-plumbing-pipes-prevent-frozen-pipes-plumber-chattanooga-tn/)

Did you know that more than 250,000 homes experience frozen and/or burst pipes each year? It’s true and we are here to help. Here are a few tips and tricks to prevent burst pipes.

Prevention: 

  1. Keep garage doors and windows closed and locked at all possible times, especially if there are water lines present. This prevents any cold outside air from getting into your home. 
  2. Keep interior doors open when not in use. This includes bathroom doors, hallway doors, bedroom doors, and cabinet doors. Keeping doors open allows for the warmer air to circulate the plumbing and water lines in the wall. 
  3. Let cold water drip from the faucets. Even a tiny amount of water running through the pipes will help to prevent freezing and pipe bursts. 
  4. Set your thermostat at no lower than 55? if you take a trip. We can’t blame you if you want to take a trip and get away from the cold. Just remember to leave your heat on while you are away. 
  5. Add Insulation. Just like you, your pipes get cold during the winter. To keep them warm for extended periods wrap pipes in the attic, basement, and crawl space in protective insulation. It is also good practice to fill cracks and replace insulation that may let in a draft.
  6. Use space heaters to warm rooms where pipes may be at risk for freezing. This includes the garage, basement, and attic.
  7. Don’t forget to winterize pipes that have outdoor access. This includes outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool water lines, and sprinkler lines. All lines must be completely drained and hoses should be stored away for best results. 

Thawing frozen pipes:

  1. Turn water on and leave it on for the whole process. As you heat the pipe and the ice begins to melt, you want the water to be able to flow freely. 
  2. Apply heat to the pipe (if accessible). Wrap a heating pad around the frozen pipe and turn it on to melt ice. If you don’t have a heating pad, use a hairdryer or a space heater held close to the pipe. Keep the heat on the pipe until the full water pressure is reached. (Remember: If the pipe is not easily accessible to you make sure to call a licensed plumber immediately to prevent bursting.)

If you follow these rules you and your pipes will be warm and cozy throughout the cold winter months. Just remember, if you do have a pipe burst call us at 703-644-0620 and we will send one of our excellent technicians out to help. 





Sources:

American Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/winter-storm/frozen-pipes.html

Titan Plumbing: https://www.tritan-plumbing.com/uncategorized/frozen-pipes-naperville-il/

Consumer Report: https://www.consumerreports.org/home-maintenance-repairs/how-to-keep-pipes-from-freezing/

Storm Damage Prevention

7/23/2019 (Permalink)

Did you know: Fall is the second most severe weather season?

Are you prepared to protect your home from storm damage?

No clue? No worries! Check out our heroes' tips for preventing storm damage to your Virginia home.

Take these precautions to prevent structural damage outside of your home and water damage inside of your home:

  • Pay close attention to any trees that could fall on your house during a storm. Keep your trees trimmed regularly, and immediately remove all dead, diseased, and hanging branches.
  • Lock, seal, and board your windows.
  • Store your outside belongings- plants, furniture, bikes, etc. in your garage or another storage space inside your home. Remove or secure anything that can become a projectile during heavy wind storms.
  • Secure your gutters and downspouts and fix any defects. Neglected leaks can cause significant and costly flooding and water damage to your home.
  • Prepare for potential evacuation. Pack your essentials and store them in an easily accessible location in your home.

Unfortunately, no matter how much you prepare, severe storms may yield consequences beyond your control. On the bright side, however, our heroes are here to help with your fire and water cleanup and restoration needs 365 days a year, 24 hours a day! If you fall victim to storm damage, contact SERVPRO of Reston / Herndon for your storm cleanup needs.

Storm Emergency Ready Kit

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Hopefully you have followed our steps to protecting your home from potential storm damage, but in the case of emergency evacuation, are you prepared?

Regardless of the severity of a storm, it is imperative that you have an emergency ready kit and plan in place in case a storm requires you to leave your home.

The following is a list of essentials to include in your emergency ready kit:

  • Important documents-- identification, insurance policies, etc.
  • 1 gallon of water, per person, per day
  • 3-day supply of non perishable food
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • First-aid kit-- antiseptic wipes, antibacterial ointment, adhesive bandages, tweezers, etc.
  • Extra clothing
  • Dust mask and/or scarf
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Heavy-duty tape
  • Matches (sealed in waterproof container)

Although these essentials may sustain an individual or household, it is important to prepare your business as well. We understand the significant demands of this task, and our heroes are here to help.

Is your business ready for whatever could happen?

Contact SERVPRO of Springfield / Mt. Vernon to set up your company’s FREE Emergency Ready Profile today!

Pruning trees and Storm damage prevention

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

Storm damage - Maintenance - Landscape plants - Edward F. Gilman - UF/IFAS

There is no doubt trees can cause damage and be damaged in storms. However, appropriately placed and maintained trees can help reduce damage to structures in storms by deflecting wind, and reduce damage to trees. Appropriate actions includes proper placement and planting, and structural pruning prior to the storm. Species selection can also be somewhat helpful in avoiding some damage. Actions in the weeks and years following a strong storm can help bring damaged trees back to health.

Pruning - Landscape plants - Edward F. Gilman - UF/IFAS

New research on effects of pruning trees on wind damage was recently conducted.  Five trees were pruned by either 1. doing nothing (controls), 2. reducing crown size, 3. raising the crown, or 4. thinning the crown for a total of 20 trees. The same amount of greenery was removed from each tree. All of the trees were blown with winds reaching 120 mph. These results support usage of structural pruning as a preventive method to reduce tree damage.

Winter Storm Damage and Personal Safety

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

There are a number of different ways that winter storms can impact a region and the residents. Winter storms are considered deceptive killers because most deaths are not directly related to the storm itself. People could get in an automobile accident on icy roads, have a heart attack while shoveling snow, or suffer frostbite or hypothermia from prolonged exposure to the cold.

Wind - Some winter storms have extremely strong winds that can create blizzard conditions with blinding, wind driven snow, drifting, and dangerous wind chills. These intense winds can bring down trees and poles, and can also cause damage to homes and other buildings. Heavy snow accumulations can immobilize a region and  strand motorists, and disrupt emergency services. 

Ice - Heavy ice accumulations can bring down objects like trees, utility poles and lines, and communication towers. Even a small amount of ice can cause hazardous conditions for motorists. 

Cold - Extremely cold temperatures risk exposure to infants and the elderly.  The severe cold can be potentially life-threatening and cause hypothermia and frostbite. 


Wind Chill is how the wind and cold actually feel on exposed skin. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body driving down the body temperature. 

Frostbite is damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold.  If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately. Slowly re-warm affected areas. 

Hypothermia is a condition when the body temperature drops to less than 95°F, and it can be fatal.  Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. 


Storms can cause major roof damage

12/22/2017 (Permalink)

Your roof can take a severe beating during a storm.  It is important to get out and inspect your roof after a storm to inspect for any potential damage.

Wind may be the number one culprit.  High winds can tear shingles off as well as the metal fascia pieces that protect your chimney and other components.

Tree limbs and other debris can tear shingles and fall through the roof potentially exposing the inside your home exposed for further damage.

Hail damage to the roof can be severe.  Shingles can be loosened appearing in tact, when in fact the winds can lift them up and water can seep under the cracks into your home with potential mold and moisture issues.

Remove potential hazards to your roof, try to do regular inspections, its even worth having a contractor come out if you have serious concerns. 

Ice storms bring numerous hazards to your pipes

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

The damage caused by frozen water pipes and the subsequent leaks can be catastrophic. The water damages themselves can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair.  As any homeowner knows filing a claim with your homeowner’s insurance carrier can lead to higher deductibles and premiums that follow you for years, or possibly cancellation of the insurance itself. Untreated, the water damage can cause water rot and/or mold which can be hazardous to your family’s health.

The fact is that the frozen pipe generally blocks the flow of water through the pipe. The growth of the ice blocks and splits the pipe itself. Once thawed the leak occurs. 

I have listed suggestions to minimize the chance of a frozen pipe and water leak in the first place.

-Identify areas where pipes may be located on outside walls, ceilings, crawl spaces, etc. Seal gaps around the home where cold air penetration may come in contact with piping.

-Locate the main shutoff valve as well as individual shutoffs for outside hose bibs. Allow hose bibs to remain on slightly and drain after the inside has been shut off.

-Open kitchen and bath vanity doors to allow ambient warm air to circulate especially to cabinets on outside walls that may have pipes running through them.

- DO NOT attempt to thaw pipes with electric heaters, hair dryers, or open flames. Warm air circulation, time and patience will allow the pipe to thaw gradually. You can contact a plumber, although most reputable companies will tell you it is time consuming and expensive for the technician to thaw your pipes.