Winter storms can cause structural and water damage in your Ulster County, NY home or business! Follow some of these “best practices” to keep damage a
Prepare your home or business for winter storms to help keep damages to a minimum.
Whether winter or summer, storms in the Hudson Valley can be completely unpredictable! Some of them can lead to water damage, roof damage, broken pipes & ice damming. SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz wants to make sure you are prepared for storms and know what to do in case you do have damage!
Tips for Preparing your Home for Winter Weather:
- Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes. Rooms like basements and any other weather-susceptible rooms are a must for this step.
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets run through unheated or uninsulated areas of the home.
- Consider shutting off or winterizing outdoor faucets. Find the shutoff valve in the basement or crawl space and turn it to "off". The open the outdoor faucet to help ensure it drains completely and the inner valve is shutoff. Contact a plumber about winterizing steps, especially if you won’t be home for periods of time.
- Keep your gutters are clean, free of debris and secure. Leaves and debris accumulate, causing a damming effect on gutters, which could lead to roof problems and water damage. It’s smart to have them cleaned at least annually.
- Furnaces and hot water heaters need proper and regular maintenance to help reduce the risk of puffbacks and unwanted water damage.
Preparing your Business for Winter Weather:
- Check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Weather, such as wind, heavy rain, ice and/or snow, can cause branches to fall which would cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries.
- Inspect the property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential. Keep an eye out for broken concrete or raised areas that could be hazardous, collect ice or prevent proper drainage.
- Inspect all handrails, stairwells and entryways to locate and fix potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
Ask SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz about creating an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for your business for any future or potential emergencies. This FREE, comprehensive tool is vital and packed with all the important info you and your staff could need in the event of an emergency or disaster, all right at your fingertips!
If your Ulster County home or business experiences water damage, broken pipes or ice damming, don't hesitate to contact SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz at 845-255-4334. We’re here to help 24/7 for all emergencies and will make it "Like it never even happened."
Frozen Pipes Can Lead to Serious Damage in Your Kingston Home!
Just a few easy steps can help protect your home from frozen pipes this winter!
During the bitter cold of the winter months in Ulster County, frozen pipes are a serious concern we often get calls for. In fact, burst pipes are one of the biggest causes of water damage during the winter months, costing homeowners and insurance companies anywhere from $2,000 to over $10,000.
Why pipes freeze, why frozen pipes burst and how these factors can lead to water damage is an important part of keeping your household dry and warm during the wintertime. The understanding of the why is critical in doing your part to protect your home from water damages.
How Pipes Freeze? Why Do They Burst?
When the weather is cold enough, the threshold is typically 20 degrees and under- any pipe can freeze. The most vulnerable are those pipes running through unheated areas such as exterior walls or basements, even pipes inside the home can become frozen if conditions are right (usually not maintaining a temperature above 55 in the home).
When the water inside the pipes begins to freeze, it can create issues as you will not be able to access running water. Additionally, pressure will begin to build behind the backup. If no effort is made to thaw them, the pressure inside will become too great and the pipe can actually burst open, leading to water damage.
Ways Frozen Pipes Can Cause Water Damage
Once a pipe bursts open, it often fails pipes further up the line, in between a closed faucet and where the blockage occurs and not where it’s frozen. This is usually inside a wall or under a sink, which may not be discovered immediately. This allows water to begin coursing through the breakage and flow freely through your home, often affecting more than one level and therefore increasing the likelihood of contaminants from building materials flowing through as well.
Easy Ways to Prevent Pipes From Freezing
There are steps that homeowners can take to prevent their pipes from freezing and avoid costly water damage:
- If you are leaving for a long period of time, make sure the heat stays set to above 50 degrees. Arrange to have someone check on your home often, you don’t want to return to a block of ice.
- Leave faucets on a slight drip so water is constantly running through the pipes, specially in non-insulated rooms like garages and basements.
- Open cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom and ensure all the bedroom doors are open to increase airflow.
- Add insulation to exterior areas with water pipes and/or to the pipes themselves. Insulation is very inexpensive and only takes a few minutes to put on the pipes that are vulnerable.
- Keep garage and cellar doors closed tightly if there are water lines inside. Consider extra window and door insulation in these specific areas to help keep the warmth in.
SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz has the experts in the Water Damage industry. We’re ready to help 24/7, call us whenever you need us at (845)255-4334!
How Appliances In Your Home Can Lead to Hidden Water Damage
Home appliances need to be checked more than once a year to avoid hidden water damages!
Water damage in your New Paltz home is never a fun or even pleasant experience but discovering hidden damage can bring another layer of frustration.
Appliances are some of the most common causes of water damage—they are often in areas of the home not noticed, or larger ones like refrigerator and dishwashers are rarely moved, so discovering damage can be difficult and often not until there’s a leak. Thankfully, through home check-ups, you can can stop this from getting out of hand.
Perform Regular Checks on Appliances
Unless you’re already noticing problems, it’s smart to check these appliances at least every 6 months.
Hot Water Heaters-
A hot water heater will generally last between 8-12 years, but premature leaks are not uncommon from its pipes and seals. If you’re noticing diminished performance, standing or dripping water or other signs of water damage, call a plumber or heating professional as soon as possible. When a hot water heater bursts, it can release a large amount of water that will affect more than the room it’s in.
Refrigerators are rarely moved, this means water damage can occur under and behind them long enough to become severe before it is even noticed. As part of your regular home maintenance schedule, move the refrigerator away from the wall to look for any dark or soft spots with the wood, and test the water dispenser and direct water line to watch for any drips.
Dishwashers pose an even higher risk and are moved about as irregularly as a refrigerator is. Dishwashers require gallons of water when they run and their leaks can be costlier and more severe as they can affect many rooms and levels of your home, checking them as often or more than you check the fridge is warranted. Give your insurance agent a call to make sure you’re clear if dishwashers are or are not covered by your homeowners policy.
Washing machine hoses are some of the most common sources of leaks. As these hoses are notorious for this, we recommended that they are inspected at least once a month by homeowners so you can be sure you’re not in for a nasty surprise. It’s also a good idea to fully replace the hoses every five years in order to prevent hidden deterioration.
Air conditioners contain a drain that is designed to handle any accumulated condensation that occurs when the unit is operating. However, issues to this system can create hidden water damage quickly, as the water can pool inside the unit and can cause damage to surrounding structures. The manufacturer’s maintenance schedule is the best defense against this—stick to it to be made aware of any issues before they start to cause serious problems.
If you’ve suffered water damage for any reason or you’d like to put a plan in place in case it happens to you, contact us to learn how we can help. We’re ready to help 24/7 for all emergencies!
Is Your Saugerties Business Prepared For a Disaster?
Too many businesses can't reopen after a disaster, follow these tips to be prepared for anything!
As a business owner, the last thing you want happening is your business not able to re-open after a disaster, whether natural or not. Being prepared well in advance can help in a multitude of ways and scenarios. Creating a disaster plan is the smartest and safest way to keep your Ulster County business above ground and your employees safe.
The top 3 things to consider when developing a plan:
-Providing protection for your staff
-Safely securing assets
-Getting your business up and running again quickly
FEMA and Ready.gov have excellent resources and checklists that will help you assess current preparedness as well as how to be as prepared as possible.
Remember the key factors:
-Safety: evacuation routes, exits, alternate shelters
-Protection: Structural areas, roofing, windows, upgrades to the building if needed. Equally as important- Inventory lists, network and data control safeties, vital documents and information, back up measures.
-Back to Business: Disaster funds, insurance coverage, service providers, contractor relationships, government and local authorities.
Establishing relationships with service providers like SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz can take a lot of worry off your mind. Should you ever experience a disaster of any kind at your property, our remediation experts can handle it all and work directly with your insurance company so you can focus on getting back up and running quickly. We’ll help make the damage "Like it never even happened."
Helpful Tips to Prevent Pipe Breaks This Winter in Your New Paltz Home
This is an unfortunate example of how un-insulated water pipes can freeze and burst in the winter months!
When water freezes it expands. If water freezes inside a pipe, that pipe can expand enough to the point that it bursts. However, it’s not necessarily the frozen water that caused the direct burst. It's the water pressure between the ice and the closed faucet. That pressure is enough to break a pipe and cause water damage in your home or office.
Helpful Preventative Tips:
- Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells in any room that has a sink and especially in the laundry room or basement areas. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes.
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes run through unheated or un-insulated areas of your property.
- Keep your home at a temperature no lower than 55°F. When going away, ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it’s warm enough to prevent freezing.
- Seal leaks that allow cold air inside where pipes are located. Use caulk or insulation to keep the heat in. Door and window drafts, garage door areas, basement back doors, etc. should all be considered.
- Insulate pipes in crawl spaces and the attic. These exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Pipe insulation is quite inexpensive and sold in most hardware and home goods stores.
If you do end up experiencing any kind of water damage, SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz is here to help 24/7. No matter the size of the damage, we’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”
Why You Should Prepare Your Saugerties Business for a Disaster
It's crucial to have an Emergency Plan in place should your business ever suffer a disaster!
Experiencing a disaster as a business owner can be a major issue. There are so many questions about what to do and how to recover, with the priorities being to ensure everyone’s safety and to continue operations as quickly as possible.
To avoid being overwhelmed and uncertain after a disaster strikes, it’s best to have a plan in place now for how you would handle a disaster that impacts your business. Planning ahead can reduce the damage a disaster causes, keep your staff safer—and most importantly, help you reopen more quickly after the danger passes. Here’s how:
Reduce the Damage a Disaster Causes to Your Business
Disasters can cause major damage to businesses even when the owners do everything right. Accidents happen, weather occurs, but a little bit of planning can help reduce the losses:
*Make copies of important documents and keeping them in a secure, offsite location so you don’t lose anything critical due to flooding, fires or other scenarios.
*Creating a technology-focused disaster plan can help you protect any electronics in the workplace and recover your digital files even if your main computer systems are impacted by the disaster.
Increase the Safety of Your Workplace
All employers should have a written emergency plan in place and communicate it to staff as well as creating a written one even if they are not required to do so. Train employees on the protocols and procedures of a disaster, as well as assigning people with roles and responsibilities. Ask them for feedback and revisions to help you execute a safe emergency evacuation which will increase the safety of your workplace and make sure that everyone in the building feels prepared and understands how to be safe in extreme situations.
Decrease the Time it Takes to Reopen After a Disaster
The most important reason to prepare for a workplace disaster is helping to shorten the time it will take you to reopen. The Small Business Administration states that 25% of small businesses do not reopen following a disaster. If your business is your livelihood, that can be positively devastating. Do what you can in advance to prevent damage and have a plan in place for restoring your property and recovering following the disaster and your business can reopen quicker.
If you’re planning ahead to help protect your Saugerties or Ulster County business from a disaster, give SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz a call to learn more about our commercial restoration processes and how we can help you recover quickly.
Kingston Homeowners: We Specialize in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration!
Call SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz to get your basement, crawl space or lower level dried out and remediated the right way the first time!
A basement, lower level or crawl space can really flood at any time; however it most often occurs during heavy rainfall and/or snow melt. These areas are inherently prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are several reasons why your Kingston home could flood, including:
- A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe
- Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home (ground water)
- Storm sewer backup
- Sanitary sewer backup
- Foundation drainage failure
- Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure
- Sump pump failure
- Appliances above/adjoining the rooms (toilets, sinks, refrigerators) malfunction and cause multiple floor damages.
Have Questions about Flooding in your Kingston Home?
Call Today - 845-255-4334
If water damage is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause additional damages to your home. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.
The bottom line: It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.
We are Water Damage and Flooded Basement Specialists:
- We are Available 24 hours/7 days per week, No Matter The Emergency
- We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies
- We Work With Your Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About
- We Offer Flexible Financing Options If Needed
- Our Technicians are Highly-Trained in Water Restoration Techniques
- We use only IICRC Restoration Standards
- We Utilize Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment
Basement Flooded? Water Damage Issues? Call Us Today – We’re Ready to Help and Are Faster To Any Size Disaster, 845-255-4334
Fires Happen More in the Winter! Precautions for your Kingston home-
There are numerous precautions you can take to avoid winter season fires!
In any given year, winter is the most common time for residential fires. Not all of the common winter fire causes are specific to the season, but they are more common during cold weather and thus increase the chances for a fire to occur in your Ulster County home.
Why the Increase of Winter Fires?
At any time of year, cooking errors are the No. 1 cause of residential fires in the country, but this increase in the wintertime. With more baking, holiday meals and group cooking and more people near flames, the chances are higher during the winter months, leading to an increased fire rate.
Wood stoves, fireplaces and space heaters are all common forms of additional heating during cold weather, and as long as precautions are taken, they are generally safe. However, errors in heating are the second leading cause behind residential fires during the winter months, making safety features, smart thinking and supervision a crucial part of these methods.
Candles and Decorations-
Safety in decorating is not commonly discussed, but candles, holiday trees and wreaths and other decorations are another leading cause of residential wintertime fires. Candles are inherently hazardous due to the open flame—it can spread to surrounding areas quickly. Keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that could burn. For electronics, frayed wires and general overheating can pose a fire risk, so it is important to be cautious with those as well. A heat source close to a Christmas tree causes 1 out of 4 winter fires.
Prevention Tips for Wintertime Fires:
Understanding the common causes of winter fires is an important step in prevention. By going about these activities with a safety-focused mindset and keeping these tips in mind, you can help prevent any accidental fires from occurring this season:
- Check smoke alarms every 30 days and replace every 10 years. Have at least 1 alarm per floor!
- Always monitor open flames including fireplaces, cooking areas and candles.
- Select space heaters with automatic shut-offs in case they tip over. Do not run overnight or plug them into an extension cord.
- Utilize a screen every time you use a fireplace. Keep your holiday décor far from any open flame but especially Christmas trees.
- Create and practice an emergency escape plan with your household. Don’t forget about pets during this crucial time as well!
If you've suffered fire and smoke damage, call us right away. Our experienced professionals are here to help 24/7 and are faster to any size disaster. We’re leaders in restoration and can help you recover quickly after a fire occurs.
Mold After Water Damage in your Highland Home
This home suffered an extreme amount of mold damage due to a pipe bursting while the homeowners were away for 6 months.
Water damage in your Highland home is overwhelming in any situation. Due to the problems it causes to the property and all its contents, water can pose unknown risks and health hazards during the cleanup process.
One of those dangerous health hazards is mold growth. There are many symptoms of mold exposure, and after moisture seeps in, it can begin growing in the first 24 hours.
If there is a concern about microbial growth after you’ve had water damage, here are some preventative steps you can take to help stop it:
Before You Begin
- Never re-enter before you are sure all water has receded, and it’s been deemed safe to go in. Depending on severity, there could be compromised electrical components and potential structural issues.
- Contact your insurance company and file a claim (if you haven’t already).
- Take photos and video of the damage for insurance purposes, including all damage done to furniture and walls and contents, if possible.
- Contact SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz asap, we’re here to help 24/7.
Begin Drying Right Away
- If it’s safe to do so, set up fans, dehumidifiers and heaters to speed up drying time.
- Open windows and doors if weather allows. The goal is to get the humidity and moisture levels lowered to deter mold from growing.
- Before our professionals arrive, vacuum up what you can with a heavy-duty, outdoor vacuum. NEVER use a household vacuum, water is not it’s friend.
Sort Items Exposed to Floodwater
- Any porous material like wood, upholstery and paper of any kind, will trap mold and should be discarded.
- Metal, plastic and glass can often be cleaned, disinfected and reused as they are not absorbent.
- Once mold spores begin to grow on carpets and clothing, simply drying them will not remove the growth. If they are to be kept, mold remediation procedures will begin.
Consult a Professional Immediately
Bear in mind that mold can often go unnoticed but will cause foul odors and discolorations. Our team of experienced mold remediation technicians will conduct a comprehensive and FREE estimate of the water damages and potential for mold growth.
If you need help after water damage and/or mold growth, SERVPRO® of Kingston/New Paltz can help you restore your home back to normal no matter the size of the damage. Call (845)255-4334, we’re available 24/7 for emergencies!
Fireplace Safety For Those Freezing Hudson Valley Nights!
Take extra safety precautions when using a fireplace this winter!
When the colder temperatures start to set in around Ulster County, many homeowners will turn to their fireplace, wood or pellet stoves for cozy comfort. Keep in mind the following precautions to help ensure a safe winter season:
Keep Your Chimney, Fireplace and Stoves Clean
- Have your chimney, fireplace, wood or pellet stove inspected and cleaned annually by a licensed chimney specialist for maximum efficiency and safety.
- Be sure to keep the area around them clear of debris, decorations and any other combustible materials.
- If you have a wood burning, insert or pellet stove, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for additional instructions for operation and venting.
Keep Fires Burning Safely
- Be sure the flue is open before lighting your fire to help ensure the fireplace will vent properly. Do not close your damper until you are sure the fire is out.
- When starting a fire, only use a match or commercial firelighter. Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
- Glass doors of a fireplace should be kept open while burning a fire. This allows the fire to receive enough air for complete combustion and to help reduce creosote build-up in the chimney.
- Metal mesh screens should remain closed whenever your fireplace is in use to help keep embers in the fireplace.
- Only use dry wood in your fireplace. Wet wood can increase creosote buildup, which can lead to chimney fires.
- Never burn anything but wood in the fireplace.
- Never leave a fire in a fireplace unattended. Before leaving the house or going to bed, you should make certain to fully extinguish the fire.
- Allow ashes to cool completely before disposing of them — ashes can take several days to cool completely. Never empty ashes directly into a trash can. Instead, place ashes in a covered metal container located at least 10 ft. away from your home and any other building.
Keep the Outside of Your Home and Your Chimney Safe
- Firewood should be stacked at least 30 feet away from your home.
- Your roof and chimney should be kept clean of leaves, pine needles and other debris. Keep a close eye on branches and limbs near the chimney and have them pruned as needed.
- Install a chimney cap with spark arrester to help keep debris, leaves, branches and animals out, and to help prevent embers or sparks from escaping and creating a fire hazard.
Keep the inside of your home safe with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. We recommend that you take the time to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly, and after you change the batteries to ensure they work properly. A smoke detector is the most effective way to get you and your family out safely. A carbon monoxide detector can alert you to the buildup of this dangerous odorless and colorless gas.
Should you ever suffer fire damage in your home or business, SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz is ready to help 24/7. Our professionals will work directly with your insurance company and make it “Like it never even happened.”