Examining Common Causes of Water Damage in the Home | SERVPRO® of Kingston/New Paltz
Severe weather is not always the main culprit in water damage.
Severe weather and water damage can often go hand-in-hand, so when many think about water damage, it’s usually one of the first things that comes to mind.
While storms and flooding can cause catastrophic water damage, they are often not the main culprits. Instead, various items or systems in your home can be responsible for many situations resulting in water damage.Issues From Water Damage
Unfortunately, water damage is something many homeowners will face, and it was the third most common reason for a homeowners insurance claim between 2011 and 2015, paying out an average per claim of $8,861.
There is a difference between water damage and gradual water damage, each of which can impact insurance claim payouts. Examples of gradual water damage are things that have been occurring over time, such as plumbing issues in the walls that can cause damage to walls, ceilings or floors, or water damage caused by cracks in the foundation. Unfortunately, many claims for gradual water damage are not covered by homeowners insurance, while storm-related water damage usually is.Items That Can Cause Water Damage in Your Home
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), here are the leading causes of water damage:
Plumbing supply system failures can involve frozen pipes that may burst due because the backup caused by frozen water creates an increase in water pressure or when materials used in the plumbing supply system fail, resulting in leaking or bursting pipes. Per IBHS, plumbing supply system failures are the leading source of residential water damage losses and cost an average of $5,092 per incident after the deductible. It was also found that homes over the age of 16 to 40 years made up a larger group of supply system material failure claims.
Plumbing drain system failures can occur when a sewer drain backs up and overflows into a home or from material malfunction issues. IBHS found in its study that 52% of drain system failures were caused by sewer backups and 37% were related to poor material performance issues—and these types of failures are more expensive in southern region states than in northern region states.
Toilet failures are the second highest source of residential water damage loss after plumbing supply system failures and can result from faulty fill valves or clogged drain lines. Interestingly, according to IBHS, toilet failures that occur on the first floor of a home resulted in more extensive claims than those that occurred in basements or upper floors.
Water heater failures can happen when your water heater has reached its life expectancy and the tank begins to rust and corrode, which creates leaking or bursting issues. IBHS found that 69% of all water heater failures resulted from a slow leak or sudden burst and, on average, cost $4,444 per incident following the deductible.
Washing machine failures are generally caused by supply hose failures, machine overflows and drain line failures. Washing machines are one of the top 10 source of residential water losses, and per IBHS, supply hose failures accounted for over half of all washing machine-related losses.
If your home ever experiences any water damage, rest assured that our professionals at SERVPRO® of Kingston/New Paltz are available to help with cleanup and restoration and make it “like it never even happened.” Call us at 845-255-4334.
More useful tips to help prevent fire hazards!
Follow some easy steps to help prevent this scary situation.
Protect your clothes—and possibly a whole lot more—with these simple maintenance tips:
Not taking care of your dryer causes several issues, starting with longer drying times, which can lead to shrunken clothes and heat-damaged fabrics. It can also drive up your utility bills, since the dryer is one of the more energy-intensive appliances in the home.
Another symptom of poor dryer maintenance: your dryer's automatic cycles could start to be less accurate, resulting in laundry that's either damp or dried to a crisp.
Last but certainly not least, a neglected dryer poses a serious fire hazard. In fact, some 7,000 fires, 200 injuries, and 10 deaths are attributed each year to dryer fires, according to estimates by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Not cleaning the dyer is the leading cause of the blazes.
Here’s how to get peak performance, efficiency, and safety out of your clothes dryer in a few simples steps.
Step 1: Empty the Lint Screen
This needs to happen every time you use the dryer. Not every week or every so often—every single time. If you allow too much lint to build up on the screen, heated dryer air won’t move freely through the machine, which will prolong drying times.
Step 2: Clean the Dryer Vent
Even if you’re diligent about emptying the lint screen, small fibers will get through the trap and into your dryer vent. Left unchecked, this lint can slowly snowball, to the point where an errant spark could lead to a serious conflagration inside the dryer vent. That’s why it’s critical to clean the dryer vent every few months or so, depending on how often you use the dryer and the types of laundry you dry.
It’s a pretty simple task, assuming you can access the dryer vent by pulling the dryer away from the wall (if not, you’ll need to hire a professional). Always disconnect the dryer from its main power source at your home's electric panel. Then separate the vent from the dryer and vacuum both ends using the crevice attachment of your vacuum.
A few years ago, we tested the Lint Lizard, a device that can be attached to the end of your vacuum. It was extremely effective at sucking up dryer lint, so it might be worth the $10 investment. Just note the Lint Lizard’s sharp point could harm flexible dryer ducts made of foil or plastic. That being said, we strongly recommend metal dryer ducts, because they don't sag, making lint less likely to build up. Also, if a fire does start, a metal dryer vent is more likely to contain it than one made of plastic or foil.
Step 3: Clean the Moisture Sensors
Our top-rated dryers all have moisture sensors that work in conjunction with auto-dry cycles to detect the laundry’s dampness and shut off the machine when clothes are dry. Over time, these sensors can get covered with film, especially if you use dryer sheets. The buildup can prevent the dryer from knowing when the laundry is dry, leaving them either damp or overcooked.
To counter this problem, clean the sensors with a cotton ball and rubbing alcohol every few months, or any time the auto-dry cycles seem to be missing the mark. The sensors are usually located just inside the dryer, underneath the door. Look for thin metal bars, about 6 inches long, with a slight curve that follows the contour of the door. If you don't see the sensors there, check your owner's manual for their location.
Be diligent and avoid fire hazards! If you have experience fire and/or water damage in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Kingston/new Paltz to alleviate the burden of restoration, 845-255-4334.
(reference: Consumer Reports, How to Clean Your Dryer Vent and Other Quick Tips, https://www.consumerreports.org/clothes-dryers/how-to-clean-your-dryer-vent/)
Kingston/New Paltz residents: Follow these safety tip if you expect mold
If you see mold, leave it alone and call us!
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
About Our Mold Remediation Services
SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 845-255-4334. We'll help make it "Like it never even happened."
Protecting Your Property From Wind Damage | SERVPRO® of Kingston/New Paltz
Protect your property from damaging winds!
Many concerns accompany severe storms, with damaging winds being one of them. These winds can appear with little to no notice and can be problematic due to long-term structural impacts.<89f5bb1b86605191e011708e6beabd6b>The 101 on Wind Damage
When you think of damaging winds, what comes to mind? Probably a tornado or hurricane, but those are not the only times when they may come into play.
As a general rule, damaging winds are considered winds with speeds exceeding 50–60 mph and can be the result of a strong thunderstorm. You will commonly hear damaging winds referred to as “straight-line” winds. These are not to be confused with winds and damage from a tornado.
The damage from straight-line winds can be very destructive, as these winds can cause loose, unanchored objects to become projectiles. Windows and roofs can take the brunt of this damage, and if it’s extensive enough, there can be resulting water damage to the home as the outside elements come indoors.
Anyone who lives in a thunderstorm-prone area can be at risk from damaging winds, but there are some structures that are especially at risk. One such structure is the mobile home. Even those that are anchored could be severely damaged when the wind gusts to over 80 mph.<89f5bb1b86605191e011708e6beabd6b>Here’s How to Protect Your Property
Here are a few practical steps you can take to protect your property from damaging winds:
Make sure your garage door is professionally reinforced.
Remove and/or anchor any loose items on your property that could be moved or tossed around by the wind, such as trash cans, grills and outdoor furniture.
If you have a large or dying tree near your home, have a professional remove it and any large branches that could be blown over onto your home or break away and come through the window.
Mind you, not all high wind circumstances will come with advanced warning. But, as we all know, being prepared for that “just in case” situation could save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Also, you can have some outdoor furnishings permanently anchored in their locations. If you are building a new home or renovating an older home, be sure the windows, walls and doors are up to code for your area.
If your home has been hit by damaging winds and resulting water damage, the highly trained specialists at SERVPRO® of Kingston/New Paltz are here to help with the cleanup and restoration of your home. Call us at 845-255-4334.
SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz is your go-to for any water damage!
Set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees if you're going to be away during the winter months.
It's starting to get very cold out there and winter is almost upon us! Don't be caught with broken pipes and water throughout your home! Here are some tips from the Insurance Information Network of California (2013) to prevent this from occurring:
1. Disconnect all garden hoses and other outside hose connections. If possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
2. Insulate all exposed pipes located in your basement, under your home, on outside walls or in attics. For pipes with northern exposures, use heat tape according to the manufacturer's instructions. (Improper usage may cause a fire.)
3. Set the thermostat to at least 55 degrees even when your home is vacant or unoccupied during the winter. If you plan to be away during cold-weather months, have someone regularly check your home to make sure it's staying warm enough to prevent freezing.
4. Winterize sprinkler systems according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Blowing out excess water with a compressor may be the best way to prevent frozen and broken pipes. If you have a swamp cooler, winterize it by disconnecting the water source and clearing the line.
5. Very important tip is knowing how to shut off the water supply if a pipe bursts. Quick action can minimize damage significantly!
SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz can help take care of any type of water damage, call us 24/7 at 845-255-4334.
Important Fireplace Safety tips from SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz
Call SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz for any kind of fire damage, we'll make it "Like it never even happened."
When the colder temperatures start to set in, many homeowners will turn to their fireplace, wood or pellet stoves as an additional heat source. While fireplaces can provide warmth and comfort, if you are not careful, they can also be a hazard. Keep in mind the following precautions to help ensure a safe winter season.
Keep Your Chimney Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Clean
Keep Fires Burning Safely
- Have your chimney, fireplace, wood or pellet stove inspected and cleaned by a licensed chimney specialist. They should be maintained annually to help ensure they are functioning safely and efficiently.
- Be sure to keep the area around the hearth 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 guidance related to operation and venting.
- 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.
Keep the Outside of Your Home and Your Chimney Safe
- 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.
- Do not burn plastic because it can release toxic chemicals and cause damage to your chimney, fireplace or wood stove.
- Never burn a Christmas tree in your fireplace as the sparks from the burning needles can increase the risk for a chimney fire. Also, do not burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper or trash in your 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 feet1 away from your home and any other building.
Keep the Inside of Your Home Safe with Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors to help make your winter even safer, we recommend that you take the time to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. A smoke detector is the most effective way to detect smoke from a fire and signal an alarm so that you can get you and your family out safely. A carbon monoxide detector can alert you to the buildup of this dangerous odorless and colorless gas. Make sure you test the detectors monthly, and after you change the batteries to ensure they work properly.
- Firewood should be stacked at least 30 feet away from your home.2
- Your roof and chimney should be kept clean of leaves, pine needles and other debris. Prune trees and branches to keep them away from your chimney.
- Install a chimney cap with spark arrester to help keep debris, leaves, branches and animals out, and to help prevent burning embers or sparks from escaping and creating a fire hazard.
(Reference: The Travelers Companies, Prepare & Prevent-Individuals-For Households-Fire Safety, www.travelers.com/resources/home/fire-safety/fireplace-safety-maintenance)
Did you know we perform air duct and HVAC Cleanings too?
Get your duct work inspected in your home or business
Ventilation systems are often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality. Make it a priority to inspect the ductwork of your home or business.
If your HVAC has been operating for some time without attention, it could be circulating one or more of the following:
- Dirt and debris
- Other contaminants
SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz Professionals routinely inspect the heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit (HVAC). Keeping them clean can extend the life of the equipment. This can in turn save you money and give you cleaner air to breathe.
However, duct cleaning is not always necessary. We will make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This can save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your system.
The benefits of servicing your HVAC unit include:
- Helps to restore peak energy efficiency.
- May help to eliminate offensive odors.
- Helps reduce the potential for mold growth.
For more information on HVAC and air duct cleaning, call SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz today, (845)255-4334.
SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz offers commercial cleaning services for all local businesses!
Call us today to get your business taken care of!
Did you know that SERVPRO of Kingston/New PALTZ offers cleanup & restoration services for commercial properties in Ulster County?
SERVPRO is here to help in any residential or commercial property! We have extensive experience at restoring commercial properties to preloss condition in a timely manner! We understand how crucial it is to be back up and running as soon as possible so we are available 24/7 at 845-255-4334 to help cleanup and restore water, fire & mold damages!
Did you know we are Large Loss Response Team certified?
The SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team can provide help whether it’s a tornado, hurricane, blizzard or flood. The SERVPRO System has a network of strategically positioned storm teams on standby should a disaster strike near you. Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, we are prepared for the unpredictable.
Call 845-255-4334 for any questions or concerns!
SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz can take care of reconstruction services for all mitigation damages!
No matter the work needed, we'll make it "Like it never even happened."
We really are a one-stop shop!
SERVPRO of Kingston/New Paltz is offering reconstruction services for all mitigation damages! No longer do you need to find someone else to perform your restoration portion of the water, mold or fire damage! After we come in and perform the cleanup services, we can smoothly transition into the reconstruction services to help restore your home or office back to preloss condition!
With our new Reconstruction division, we are excited to offer the following services during the reconstruction process:
- Structural repairs
- Interior Design
- Flooring Replacement (all types)
- Exterior Finishes
- Tile Work
Call today for more information 845-255-4334 or visit our Facebook Page for more pictures and posts!
Finding Fire Hazards in Your Home | SERVPRO® of Kingston/New Paltz
December is the month where the most candle fires have been reported.
No one likes thinking about the unfortunate possibility of seeing their home damaged by fire, but it’s a harsh reality for many Americans. One way to protect your home is by understanding fire hazards and being able to identify them. In this blog, we’ll be diving into two of the most common household fire hazards.
<h4caution-with-burning-candles:8bd100c662a994b6eb2a3584a3f4afeb">Use Caution With Burning Candles
Candles were the direct cause of 2 percent of reported home fires, with 3 percent resulting in death and 7 percent with injuries. There were an average of 24 home candle fires reported per day during that five-year period, with December having the most calls during the year for home candle fires.
Of all the candle fires during this time span, 37 percent started in the bedroom and were responsible for 36 percent of the associated deaths and 51 percent of the associated injuries.
Fire departments in the United States responded to an estimated 8,700 home structure fires a year that were started by candles, according to the National Fire Protection Association, over a five-year period from 2011 to 2015. In total, there were 82 deaths, 800 injuries and $295 million in direct property damage.
When burning a candle, be sure to keep it at least one foot away from flammable objects and in a sturdy holder that won’t easily tip over. Never use candles where oxygen is in use in the home, and always blow all candles out before leaving a room or going to bed.
<h4safe-when-smoking-indoors:8bd100c662a994b6eb2a3584a3f4afeb">Be Safe When Smoking Indoors
While cooking is the leading cause of home fires, smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths. An estimated 17,200 home structure fires caused by smoking materials were reported in 2014, which includes cigarettes, pipes and cigars. Approximately 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in property damage were a result of those fires, per the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes.
If you’re a smoker, it is safest to smoke outside. Most deaths resulted from fires that began in living rooms, family rooms, or bedrooms.
Fire-safe cigarettes are the best option. Always keep deep, sturdy ashtray nearby while smoking.
Extinguish all cigarette butts and ashes in water or sand before disposal, keeping in mind that one out of four fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire but the innocent bystander.
<h4about-lesser-known-fire-hazards:8bd100c662a994b6eb2a3584a3f4afeb">Learn About Lesser-known Fire Hazards
While candles and smoking are two of the most common causes of home structure fires, there are also other lesser-known hazards that could be present in your home.
Some kinds of glassware in your home could be a fire risk. When placed in a window where sunlight passes through them, the concentrated ray could ignite flammable materials, which is why it’s best to move glass accessories away from windows.
Dust bunnies can also pose a fire risk when collecting near electrical sockets and floor heaters. Regular sweeping or vacuuming and cleaning hard-to-reach areas like behind the entertainment system can help prevent dust bunny buildup.
Also, check for loose outlets in your home. The movement of these electrical outlets could cause the wires connected to the outlet to become loose and create dangerous arcing.
Fire and smoke damage, as well as water from firefighting efforts, can be devastating to homes. If your home is damaged by fire or smoke, SERVPRO® of Kingston/New Paltz is here to help restore your home to its original condition.