Recent Water Damage Posts

Ten Steps to Take After Water Damage Strikes Your Home or Business

9/19/2022 (Permalink)

Water runs off the end of a pipe. If you find water damage in your home or business, give us a call to make it "Like It Never Even Happened.®"

If you have recently had water damage in your home or business, follow these ten steps from SERVPRO® of Emporia/South Boston to help mitigate the damages:

1. Remain calm- it is important to be able to think clearly so you can navigate the situation.

2. Close the water main or shut off any water source to prevent further flooding.

3. If you are unable to shut off the water yourself, call a plumber.

4. Shut down the electrical breaker in the damaged area. Do this before unplugging any electrical devices from the wet carpet or submerged areas.

5. Call SERVPRO® of Emporia/South Boston at 434-262-6792. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year.

6. Place a product such as aluminum foil under furniture legs to avoid staining the carpet.

7. Lift any curtains or draperies away from the water.

8. Lift and pin up furniture skirts made from upholstery.

9. Remove paper products such as books, important documents, and photos if the damaged areas could affect them.

10. Call your insurance company. Most insurance companies require the homeowner to report the damage “as soon as reasonably possible”. Water damage can be incredibly damaging and the effects can cause secondary damage very quickly.

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to give our office a call!

What You Should Know About Detecting a Shower or Bathtub Leak

4/11/2022 (Permalink)

A leaky Bathroom. Be able to detect a Shower or Bathtub Leak by Following our Tips.

As a good homeowner, you want to do whatever you can to maintain your house and keep it in the best condition possible. After all, your house is one of the biggest investments you’ll make. You want it to maintain its value as a place that you love coming home to.

Taking care of your home in Emporia, VA, means regularly inspecting it for damage and other signs of wear and tear. A small problem like a leaky pipe can lead to bigger issues if left unaddressed. Water damage from an undected shower or bathtub leak could result in you needing to call a provider of residential restoration services.

Detecting a Bathtub or Shower Pan Leak

While a puddle on the floor or the telltale dripping sound are obvious signs of a problem, you should also look for the following signs:

  • Cracks in the grout around the rim of a tub or edge of the shower
  • Loose tiles or flooring in the vicinity
  • The appearance of mold on the floor or wall nearby
  • A white, chalky film on wood surfaces
  • Water stains in the ceiling of the floor below or basement

If there’s evidence of a leak, you need to determine its source.

Finding the Source

Conduct these tests to determine the source of the leak in your bathroom:

Shower pan: A shower pan leak often occurs when there is a crack. To check, allow the shower to dry completely. Completely cover the drain or plug and use several buckets to fill the shower up to its threshold. Depending on the severity of the leak, you should see water marks on the ceiling below in as little as 15 minutes or up to several hours later.

Tiles: Water can seep through damaged grout into the floor or wall. Inspect the areas near your tub or shower for loose tiles or cracks in the grout. Soaking walls and checking for seepage may reveal your leak.

Fixtures: The faucet on your tub or a showerhead may be the source. A clogged showerhead or a lack of a tight seal between the showerhead or faucet and the place is attached may be the root of a problem. Take a close look at how your fixtures are attached.

Drains: An improperly sealed drain cannot stop water from seeping outside. If you can see the drain under your shower or tub via an access panel, observe what happens after you release water that’s been plugged.

Splash: Leaks around a shower door or curtain gaps may result from splashing. Check your door or the edges of your curtain for gaps, especially when the water is running. This could be the source of your shower or bathtub leak.

Determining the source of your leak is a major step in reaching a solution. If you see evidence of water damage, it’s best to consult professionals for cleanup, restoration, and repairs.

Checking for water damage from a shower or bathtub leak should be a regular part of your home maintenance approach. Finding the problem early can help avoid serious problems in the long run. Being a responsible homeowner means staying on top of your property and issues that arise.

Handling a Toilet Overflow

4/8/2022 (Permalink)

Image of cartoon of a flowing toilet Be ready for a toilet overflow and avoid Water Damage by Following our tips.

Toilet overflow does not happen every day but it is a common enough occurrence. Most often the cause is a clog that needs to be snaked out or forced through with a plunger.

In more rare instances, the overflow is the result of a backup and sewer damage, which will require the help of a water mitigation company in South Boston, VA. However, it is necessary to focus on the more common issue before worrying about backups. There are a few steps to dealing with the aftermath of an overflow.

3 Steps To Handle a Toilet Overflow

  1. Stop the Flow of Water

Before calling a sewage company, especially if the water has not flooded the bathroom yet, see if you can stop the flow of water. Remove the lid from the tank and press down on the flapper valve at the bottom of the tank — do not worry, the water is clean. With the valve pressed down, lift the float to stop the water (This is only useful if the water started to overflow immediately after a flush). If the water still does not stop, turn off the valve at the back of the tank.

  1. Deal With the Clog or Problem

If the water level stops rising in the toilet, it is safe to say you have a clog in the waste line, meaning you likely do not have significant sewer damage. You can use a plunger or a drain snake or auger to attempt to remove the clog. If neither tool is helping, you might need something with more power or greater reach, meaning you will need the help of a professional.

  1. Call a Professional for Help

If the flooded toilet is the result of a clog, professionals will have augers with significantly longer reaches than a typical house snake. However, depending on the depth of the problem and if the water stopped rising, you might have more problems than a simple clog.

While sewer damage is not the most common issue for a toilet overflow, it can happen. Always remember that a professional water mitigation service has the tools and skills necessary to help.

Should I Worry About the Water in My Crawlspace?

11/24/2021 (Permalink)

Basement flooded. A wet crawl space can lead to mold damage, causing structural issues in your Emporia, VA home.

If your home has a wet crawl space, you could be breeding mold without knowing it. Mold in a crawl space can spread to piers and joists, causing structural issues, and into the home through the ventilation system.

Reasons You Have a Wet Crawl Space

Mold thrives in areas with high moisture. There are several reasons why your crawl space may be wet.

1. Issues With Landscaping

A properly graded landscape will cause water to drain away from your home. A poorly graded landscape may cause water to pool around the crawl space, leading to flooding. You can fix this problem by building up a six to eight-inch slope that extends for the first six to eight feet away from your foundation walls. Check it in the spring to make sure it hasn't shifted or washed away.

2. Broken Water Lines

A water pipe that has broken or has a slow leak can cause water to accumulate in your crawl space. Because water trickles down, even a leak on the upper floor of your home can cause water to pool under your house. If you have noticed wet spots or water stains or your water bill has been going up, call a plumber in Emporia, VA, to inspect your pipes.

3. Problems With Gutters and Downspouts

If your gutters are full of debris or your downspouts don't point in the right direction, water can collect in your crawl space. Clean your gutters regularly or install a guard to keep debris such as leaves, sticks, and birds' nests out of it. Make sure your downspouts are pointed away from your home and have a two-foot splash block at the base to direct water away. If your downspout is pointed towards your house, it can wash away the soil and lead to a flood in your crawl space.

4. Over-Watering Flower Beds

If you forget to turn off your garden hose or over-water your plants, water may pool next to your foundation and seep into the crawl space. If you forget to turn the hose off and the water creates a hole, fill it in. Avoid watering plants more often than you need to. In addition to causing problems for your crawl space, it can damage the health of your plants.

5. Underground Water Issues

If you have sewer or water lines under your house and one break, you may need to contact the city or utility company that owns it to make repairs. Underground water issues can also be caused by foundation walls that form a dam that causes water to seep underground. Sometimes underground drains can become plugged or damaged or may not be sloped correctly. Heavy rain may lead to saturated soil that causes water to pool in your crawl space. Waterproofing your crawl space by gluing a thick sheet of plastic to the ground and walls may help you avoid the need for mold remediation.

Controlling moisture is the key to mold prevention. Avoiding a wet crawl space will help you avoid mold issues that could spread to the rest of your home.

Best Water Upgrade To Reduce Commercial Water Consumption

10/7/2021 (Permalink)

Hands holding the world. Pipe bursts cause water loss and damage in your South Boston, VA commercial.

Many commercial operations use a large amount of water. With extreme weather events becoming more common and straining the water supply in many areas, water conservation is one of the most critically important water issues faced by environmentalists.

6 Water Upgrade Tips

Conserving water is good for both the environment and your business. Using less water can lower your water bills, allow you to take advantage of tax incentive programs, and improve your reputation with customers. These tips can help you conserve water in your commercial buildings.

1. Install Low-Flow Fixtures

Low-flow fixtures, such as high-efficiency toilets, faucet aerators, and low-flow showerheads can reduce water consumption in your commercial buildings. This is particularly important for operations, such as hotels, that utilize many of these fixtures. Upgrading your fixtures can also help you qualify for LEED certification and may make you eligible for initiatives offered by the EPA or your local government in South Boston, VA. Additionally, updating your fixtures can help you avoid water damage caused by aging plumbing.

2. Insulate Pipes

When hot water pipes are not insulated, users must wait for hot water to start coming out of the tap, which wastes water. Insulting the pipes eliminates the need to wait for the water to get hot and controls heat loss from the pipes, which saves the energy required to heat the water.

3. Optimize Cooling Towers

Cooling towers use a large amount of water through drift, evaporation, and blowdown. By carefully monitoring and controlling the blowdown quantity of your cooling towers, you can significantly reduce the amount of water used. You can achieve this by maximizing cycles of concentration. Increase your cycles from three to six to reduce make-up water by 20% and blowdown by 50%. If you don't already have monitoring technology installed, consider installing it to make this process easier.

4. Regulate Water Pressure

Pipe bursts are one of the most common water issues that lead to water waste. A broken pipe can waste thousands of gallons of water, which is not only bad for water conservation but can cause significant damage to your property, requiring water remediation services. Keep your building water pressure between 65-80psi to avoid damaging fixtures and increasing your chance of a burst pipe.

5. Add Rain Sensors To Your Irrigation System

Most people have probably driven past a commercial sprinkler system running in the middle of a rainstorm. You can avoid wasting water this way by adding rain sensors to your irrigation system. The sensors shut down your irrigation system when rain is detected and return the system to its regular schedule when the rain stops.

6. Utilize Water Monitoring Technology

A smart water monitoring system can provide you with data about your daily, hourly, and monthly water usage. The data from monitoring systems can help you judge how well your conservation efforts are working and spot any unexpected increases in water use.

Conserving water is one of the most important water issues that commercial operations have direct control over. These tips can help you do your part to ensure everyone has access to water now and in the future.

How To Prevent Pipes From Freezing

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

Frozen pipe. Prevent frozen pipes to avoid further damage in the pipes of your Surry, VA home.

Winter can take a toll on your home in Surry, VA. One of the most common problems homeowners face when a big freeze hits the area is frozen pipes. Not only does this issue keep water from getting where it needs to go, but it can also cause a great deal of damage to the space around the fissure. Here are several ways you can keep your pipes from freezing and tips on how to handle the mess if they do.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Winterize Your Home

Before the first freeze, your maintenance plan should include getting your house ready for cold extremes. There are several tasks you must check off your list to prepare for winter:

  • Tune-up furnace
  • Replace old insulation
  • Check for air leaks in windows and doors
  • Make sure the attic is properly ventilated

Winterization makes good economic and ecological sense by saving energy, but that's not the only benefit. By taking measures to keep cold air out of your home and warm air inside, you are more likely to avoid a pipe freeze.

Keep Pipes Warm

Even if your plumbing is located within an exterior wall, you can still avoid frozen pipes by keeping them warm. In addition to the insulation in the wall, you can insulate the pipes themselves, giving them extra protection. Heat cables can also be wrapped around pipes to keep them from freezing. For extra warmth, consider keeping cabinets open and a small drip going overnight.

Keep Thermostat Consistent

When you see your utility bill start to skyrocket during the winter, it can be tempting to turn the heater off during the day while everyone is at work or school. This can end up costing you more trouble and money in the long run, though. Pipes can freeze even when the sun's out if the temperature is cold enough. Keep your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees throughout the season to protect them.

Safeguard Outdoor Faucets

Some of the most vulnerable pipes in your home are the ones attached to outdoor faucets. Since you probably don't use your garden hoses often when it's cold outside, detach them from their water sources and store them for the winter. Then drain the line that leads to the pipe so that no water can get trapped and bust the pipe. Cover the faucet to protect it from the elements.

Clean Up Quickly

Despite your best preparation, pipes can still freeze, especially if your area experiences blackouts that cause you to lose power to your home for many hours. If this happens, you may still be able to avoid extensive damage by turning off the water main and warming exposed pipes with a hairdryer. If this doesn't help, the pipe burst may be inside the wall. Call a plumber as soon as possible to fix the pipe, and contact water damage mitigation specialists to remove ruined materials and restore the structure surrounding the pipe.

There are many things you can do to prevent frozen pipes in your home. Take the necessary precautions and keep trusted professionals on speed dial to protect your home during winter.

7 Reason Why You Should Change Polybutylene Pipes

8/16/2021 (Permalink)

Changing polybutylene pipes. Consider changing polybutylene pipes to avoid water damage.

Older buildings often carry higher insurance premiums because these buildings are more likely to experience problems caused by aging or outdated systems. One such example is polybutylene pipes. If your building has this type of plumbing, there are several reasons you should consider changing it.

1. Chlorine Can Break Them Down

Public water supplies contain chlorine and other antibacterial agents that can break down these pipes causing water damage. The pipes become brittle and flake as they age and are particularly vulnerable at the fittings due to micro-fractures. These micro-fractures can lead to a leaking or burst pipe.

2. Pipes Can Not Be Repaired or Exchanged

Because of the numerous problems created by their use, manufacturers stopped making polybutylene pipes more than a decade ago. This means that when problems develop with your pipes you can not simply repair or replace a section of the pipes. Because you don't want to have to schedule a plumber in South Boston, VA, to put new plumbing in when your existing pipes start to break down, it is better to replace them before problems develop.

3. Damaged Pipes Can Degrade Water Quality

Flaking pipes may leach chemicals into the water lowering its quality. This could create a liability issue for your business. For this reason, most commercial building owners choose to replace these pipes before they become a problem.

4. May Be a Code Violation

The use of this type of plumbing is a code violation in many parts of the United States. You may need to replace your plumbing to get your building up to code.

5. May Lower Resale Value

Buyers may be reluctant to purchase a building that has this type of plumbing because of the cost of replacing the pipes and the difficulty they have in finding insurance. This may make your building more difficult to sell or drive the sales price down.

6. Higher Insurance Prices

Because of the high number of water restoration claims due to pipe failure, many insurance companies will not insure a building that has this type of plumbing. If you don't replace the pipes, you may have to seek insurance in a high-risk market, which typically costs more.

7. Ruptured Pipes Can Cause Substantial Damage

Whether your pipes have a slow leak or burst suddenly, they can cause substantial damage to your building. Slow leaks may rot flooring and stain walls. They can also lead to higher water bills and mold growth. A sudden burst can dump a large amount of water into your building before you can get the water source shut off. This can cause substantial damage to walls, floors, inventory, carpets, equipment, and anything else it comes in contact with. Additionally, the sudden loss of water service may force you to shut down your business until the water service is restored.

Because of the high rate of failure, it can be a wise decision to replace polybutylene pipes before they begin causing problems. This allows you to schedule your downtime, rather than having to pay high prices for emergency plumbing services.

Storm Services and Your Insurance Agent

6/28/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a person restoring a home. The cost of restoration after a flood may be included in your insurance coverage.

Storm restoration services are an essential part of recovering from flooding due to storms. A quick response is crucial to preventing long-term, deep-seated damage. As a homeowner in Emporia, VA, your insurance coverage may include the cost of restoration services:

  • Water removal
  • Flood damage cleanup
  • Repair and restoration
  • Damage mitigation
  • Mold cleanup and prevention

Schedule a quick response from cleanup and restoration professionals to catch small problems before they get larger and keep costs down.

Cleanup and Restoration

Arrange for Insurance Coverage

If you don't already have flood insurance, contact your insurance agent or provider. You may qualify to benefit from the National Flood Insurance Program that is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Ask your insurance provider about this part of your storm response.

Speed Up Your Claim

Once your policy is in place, there are steps you can take to speed up your storm restoration claim:

  • File your claim as soon as possible after the damage has occurred.
  • Provide your agent and insurance adjusters with necessary information as thoroughly and quickly as possible.
  • Take pictures, write out an inventory, and keep all receipts. The more organized and clear your records, the faster and more accurately your claim can be handled.
  • Consider hiring your own adjuster. This second perspective comes from a professional working for you rather than for the insurance provider.

In addition to taking these steps, you should keep family members, friends, and pets out of the damaged area. It's easy to cause secondary damage to an area that has been weakened by water.

Choose Reliable Professionals

Storms often occur with very little warning, and the resulting flood damage could be devastating to your home and community. This means your chosen storm restoration professionals should have solid backing from their corporate office.

This central resource can lead to a faster response to your home, speedier claim resolution, and a smaller timeframe from the beginning of the damage to the completion of restoration and repairs.

Tips on Responding to Water Damage

5/20/2021 (Permalink)

South Boston Home with Roof Leak A roof leak can be a big problem unless you are able to clean up the damage quickly.

Water damage to residential and commercial properties can be very challenging and costly for property owners. From general plumbing issues, like overflowing toilets and bathtubs, to forces of nature, like hurricanes and storms, there are many things that can cause flooding. Although some flooding may appear to be easy to clean up and restore on your own, there are many unconsidered benefits of hiring a professional to do the repairs for you. 

Prevent Mold from Spreading

While you may think you’ve dried all the water caused by flooding to your property, you may have missed some. Any water or moisture left behind can cause mold to grow and spread throughout your property. A water damage restoration company, like SERVPRO Emporia/South Boston, is trained to properly clean areas when water moves that a homeowner may not be able to get to; like between walls, under floorboards, and those other hard-to-reach places. These professionals can save areas that would have had to be replaced without proper cleaning. And, in areas where mold has already developed, a professional can clean it properly to prevent the mold spores from spreading.

 Avoid More Damage in the Future

If someone who is inexperienced cleans an area and/or property that has been affected by water, it is possible that mistakes can be made, and the damage can become worse and escalate if it is not handled correctly immediately. Trained professionals in this line of business are able to use the proper techniques to ensure that the cleanup and restoration process is done the right way, the first time. They can also help to prevent further damage or problems from developing.

Identify Hidden Signs of Moisture

An experienced restoration professional will be able to use state-of-the-art tools to identify hidden signs of moisture that could have become future problems for home and business owners.

Get the Best Restoration Results Possible

At SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston our goal is to make it, "Like it never even happened."® Our technicians will be able to replace and restore flooring, insulation and dry wall using the highest quality materials available to them, for a wonderful finished product! 

How to Protect Your Home or Business from Breached Pipes

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston would like to offer homeowners some helpful household tips.

Did you know, that per the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the average cost associated with a breach in your pipes could be up $5,000 – or more if there are water damage expenses associated with the breach? Did you also know that pipe insulation, which is something a homeowner can easily install around exposed piping, costs as little as fifty cents per linear foot?

Take a look at the following places in your home for possible standing or leaking water:

  • The pipes along your home’s exterior walls,
  • Under your kitchen and bathroom and bathroom sinks,
  • In your attic and in the crawl spaces under your home

Some simple signs to help you spot a breached pipe you are the following:

  • Wet spots under your sinks, cabinets and counters,
  • Clogs throughout your home.
  • Slow moving drains,
  • Wet spots or puddles and/or sewer odors within your yard.

Every homeowner should know where the main water stuff off is for their home in case of an emergency. This shut off is normally located just outside the house. If you cannot locate your shut off, you need to ask someone such as a plumber or the builder so they can show you where it is located.

If you should happen to experience water damage due to a burst pipe in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston. We are available 24/7 at 434-262-6792 – the safest way for you to prevent damage is let the professional handle the clean-up!

Water Damage in Your Home – Types and Categories

5/1/2020 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO Emporia/South Boston we know that water damage is the leading cause to require water restoration needs. Here we will explain a few basic types of water damage and how they can affect your property and your health. 

Many times, when people hear “water damage”, they imagine it to be caused by flooding of a nearby river, storm surge from the ocean or another natural disaster. But, while these events can cause water damage, often times water damage in homes is more commonly caused by: 

  • Overflowing toilets
  • Leaking appliances, including the refrigerator, washing machine, ice machine, etc.
  • Overflowing showers, bathtubs or sinks left running without attendance
  • Leaking or broken pipes behind the walls and ceilings
  • Property draining issues
  • Leaking roof or compromised exterior
  • Damage from rain, wind and/or storms 

Now that you know the ways water can enter your home, from both internal and external origins, it is important to now know what kind of water you are dealing with. At SERVPRO, we recognize water in three different categories. 

  • Category 1 – We refer to this type of water as “Clean Water”, because it has originated from a sanitary source. Generally, this type of water will not pose a health risk to you or your family.
  • Category 2 – This category is also referred to as “Grey Water”, meaning that the water may contain some contamination. It is not safe enough for human consumption and can pose a health risk if ingested.
  • Category 3 – The final category, as called “Black Water”, is a type of water that is entirely contaminated and may contain harmful materials and other disease-causing organisms. 

Each of these categories of water comes with its own guidelines of do’s and don’ts on how to handle them to ensure minimal property damage and risk to you and your family’s health. Water damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO Emporia/South Boston have advanced training, knowledge, and hands-on experience to handle these types of emergencies.

If you are in need of water damage restoration, call us today at 434-262-6792.