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What Columbia County, NY Business Owners Should Know About Frozen Pipes

5/16/2024 (Permalink)

Grey metal wall cabinets hanging precariously off of a white wall due to water damage to the sheetrock behind them. Prepare your business ahead of time to help avoid frozen pipes in the winter months! SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties is here to help 24/7!

Understanding the how, the why and the dangers of frozen pipes is a must for anyone who lives in a climate where there are super cold winters, but that is especially true for business owners in these areas as well. Frozen pipes can be a serious threat to commercial property, and while they can often be repaired and remedied, it’s much less of a hassle, inconvenience and cost to try to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

If you are unsure how frozen pipes happen, how they cause damage and how they can be treated, we’ve got some info for you! We’ve compiled together everything business owners should know about frozen pipes so you can keep your commercial property safe and without interruption.

WHY Frozen Pipes Occur-

While it is a common misconception that frozen pipes are only an issue when the weather turns bitterly cold, the truth is, they can happen any time the temperature falls under 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If pipes are not insulated well enough and contain stagnant water, they can quickly freeze and become blocked and burst from the pressure. If the pipes are in an area that isn’t well insulated (like a garage or utility room), this scenario adds to the chances of a problem.

HOW Frozen Pipes Cause Damage

While a pipe freezing does not cause damage itself, it can lead to the pipe bursting, which can cause serious issues. When there is a blockage in the pipe (in this case, ice), the water behind the blockage has nowhere to go. Eventually, this force can overwhelm the material the pipe is made of and lead to a burst, which means there will be an outpouring of water from the weakened area.

WHAT To Do If You Find a Frozen Pipe

If there is a frozen pipe in your commercial property, you may be able to remedy the situation. Making the area around the pipe warmer can help thaw the ice inside, preventing a burst from occurring. Calling a trusted plumbing professional is always recommended. Whatever method you choose to utilize, please do so safely and follow all fire prevention protocols.

HOW To Prevent a Frozen Pipe

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent pipes from freezing in the first place. Insulating or wrapping pipes during the winter, keeping the heat on in your building, at least above 55 degrees, even when your business is not operational and turning on faucets to a trickle during any extreme cold spells can all significantly reduce the likelihood that a pipe will burst in your business. Please keep in mind, running a space heater in less-insulated rooms is NOT a long-term solution, it’s only a major fire hazard. Short-term use of a space heater, properly plugged into a wall outlet and not an extension cord, can help for a short period of time. If there are exterior spigots or sprinkler heads, take extra precautions in the fall to ensure those are winterized or serviced by professionals. 

*If you experience water damage due to a burst pipe or any other cause in your commercial property, SERVPRO® of Columbia & Greene Counties is here to help. We’re local, highly trained and experienced and available 24/7. Contact us today so we can help make the water damage, “Like it never even happened.”

How to avoid frozen pipes in your vacant Hillsdale home.

5/15/2024 (Permalink)

A kitchen ceiling falling down and insulation and debris on the floor from a pipe break above. Frozen pipes can cause major damage, call SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties to help with the restoration, 24/7!

If you own a 2nd home, rental property, Air BnB or have a vacant property for sale, it's important to have it winterized or take precautions against the extreme elements the Catskills and Berkshires throw at us in the winter months.

While there are always unforeseen issues that can happen like appliances failing or storm damage, it's the water that causes the most damage. Water can and will get into everything, continuously finding a way out is the name of the game. Water always takes the path of least resistance, and as we say in the remediation industry, water always wins.

Some key tips for your vacant property to help avoid water damage:

-Don't turn the heat off in the colder months, rather keep it set to at least 55 degrees and make sure you’ve had an oil delivery or are on a schedule for a rotating one if needed.

-Take care to protect your pipes like wrapping them with pipe insulation, keeping windows and doors sealed and emptying outside spigots and water sources. Even something as simple as a lightbulb left on in a poorly insulated area can prevent pipes from freezing.

-Have your furnace, heating systems and hot water heater checked regularly. All too often, our professionals see these systems fail in the winter for various reasons and they can cause significant water damage and secondary issues like structural problems and mold growth.

-Have someone check on your house regularly for any issues, making sure to pay attention to mechanicals, pipes and leaks. Even tree branches near or on the roof can puncture and cause a leak. The last thing you want is a phone call telling you that your house is now an igloo.

-Consider hiring a property manager or management company. They offer many services to help with unoccupied homes and that can help reduce the chance of a plumbing problem going unnoticed for a long time.

- Speak with your insurance agent about tips they have and make sure your policy is where it needs to be. If you have a sump pump in the basement or crawl space, make sure you have the necessary coverage for it if there is a system failure. Make sure you have made them aware if your property is not your full-time residence or used as a rental. If your policy isn’t written to your need, it could potentially affect damage coverage in the event of a loss.

-Invest in a generator, speak with an expert about what you would need one to do for you in the event you’re not around and the power goes out.

-Keep SERVPRO® of Columbia & Greene Counties’ contact info at the ready, even taped to your fridge should anyone ever need it on your behalf. 

Should you ever suffer from water damage, or any kind of loss to your property, call the experts in damage restoration. SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties has been the local leader in the damage restoration industry for over 30 years, we're here to help 24/7 with certified technicians, extensive experience and the best technology around.

Don’t try to clean soot or smoke in your Windham, NY home

5/15/2024 (Permalink)

The corner of a once-white ceiling covered in soot webs from a fire. Soot and smoke cleaning is never a DIY project, call the experts at SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties to take care of it!

DIY home improvements make great weekend projects at your house in Windham. However, not everything can be tackled on your own, even for the handiest or most experienced of homeowners.

If you’ve been affected by a fire or your oil burner malfunctioned and caused a puff back, it can be tempting to immediately start the cleaning process, but this can often hurt more than it helps. It’s not easy to understand the degrees of cleaning that go into soot removal. That’s why we’ve listed three reasons it should not be something you should tackle by yourself:

1. Soot Won’t Stay Put. Because soot goes airborne, it doesn’t always remain contained to the area the fire originated in. Soot travels into crevices, cabinets, doorways, nestles on ceilings and can even infiltrate your HVAC system. Additionally, absorbent textiles such as fabrics, carpets or upholstery are a magnet for soot, often soaking up soot particles.

While it might be tempting to launder these items and scrub down the walls right away, improper cleaning can lead to ruining your belongings beyond repair. Soot from a puff back tends to be mixed with oil making it a much harder mess to clean up. Not having years of experience and the right equipment to get rid of it will only leave nasty black smear marks all over the house.

2. Soot Composition Can Vary. Because every fire is different, soot can vary greatly in its composition. While some soot has a powdery texture, others can be thick and viscous. Appearances can be deceiving, and it’s impossible to know what type of soot you’re dealing with before you interact with it. Often, burned materials can create an oily-based particle that can be a nightmare to try clean. Likely, it will migrate to areas you haven’t even thought about or can tackle, making this an undertaking that a professional restoration company should handle.

Additionally, soot from fires and puff backs contain noxious odors that are difficult to truly get rid of. Tackling soot without knowing what type is on your hands means you run the risk of making it worse and leading to more costly damage to remedy. If the property is not cleaned correctly, the smell will never go away. All affected materials, surfaces, textiles, and areas you can’t even see, or reach must be restored properly to be fully effective.

3. Soot Can Contain Toxic Chemicals. Fires require chemicals to stay active, and all those chemicals are contained in soot. Carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen are big factors, but there are also chemicals released from every material that was affected by the flames. Materials such as plastics, textiles and paint can be extremely toxic once heated, and improper soot cleaning causes these toxins to be re-released into the air.

SERVPRO® of Columbia & Greene Counties has specially trained and heavily experienced fire damage and puff back technicians available 24/7 to get your damaged home back to preloss condition efficiently and effectively.

If you’ve been affected by a fire, don’t risk a DIY disaster. SERVPRO® of Columbia & Greene Couniteshas restoration teams on standby to help get your life back to normal, faster. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

I found Water Damage in my Chatham home, what do I do now?

5/23/2023 (Permalink)

White paint and drywall peeling and coming off of a ceiling When the toilet supply line in the bathroom burst, this homeowner called SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties to handle the cleanup and restoration.

When it comes to water damage, the cause of the loss (or whatever is causing the water) must be repaired first. Call a plumber to get the problem repaired right away. At the very least, find the water shut off in your home and turn off the water in that area.

We highly recommend you then file a claim with your insurance company. We can help no matter what, but if it’s covered by your homeowner’s insurance, that means less out of pocket cost to you.

Next step, call SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties, no matter the size of the disaster and no matter what time of day. Our dedicated professionals will gather all needed information and schedule an estimator to meet you.

How much is this going to cost?

Our estimates are FREE and we’ll work directly with your insurance company to help cover the costs of the damage. In most cases, you’re only responsible for your insurance deductible. However, no two losses are ever the same, we’re happy to explain the course of action. If this isn’t something you’re putting through insurance, we’ll work out a self-pay estimate for you instead.

What about my damaged items? Our teams are trained and certified in Water Damage Restoration. They will remove all damaged contents and create both salvageable and non-salvageable lists and photos for you as well as storing them if needed. Your items will be cleaned, dried and returned to you promptly. We have state of the art drying equipment to take care of it all from couches to clothing to important documents, photos and electronic equipment.

Everyone talks about mold, do I have to worry about that too?

Fixing the leak and drying out all affected areas as quickly as possible helps stops the growth of mold spores. Mold likes warm and damp environments, that’s why you’ll often see it in basements, crawl spaces and sometimes attics. As part of our drying process, we use green- based anti-microbial products to inhibit any mold growth, in addition to our mold prevention techniques and protocol. Time is key here, the quicker the areas are remedied, the less of an issue mold growth will be.

How long will this all take? It sounds lengthy.

This answer often depends on the size and severity of the damage but our estimators, production managers and technicians will be with you step by step. We pride ourselves in using effective methods as well as being efficient and timely. We understand how stressful this type of situation is and we’re eager to help get your life back to normal as quickly as possible. Check out some of our testimonials from some previous clients!

SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties is here to help 24/7 with an emergency response to your water damage. Call us if you need us, no matter what, 518-943-5005.

The top FAQ's we get about Mold in Greene County, NY

5/23/2023 (Permalink)

Brown-colored microbial growth visible on ceiling tile in a home. Mold growth occurs all year long, call the experts in Mold Remediation to take care of it the right way, the first time!

Doesn't matter the season, there will always be mold in N.Y. Here's some of our most popular questions and answers to this irritating product of nature.

“It’s 20 degrees out, there’s no way that is mold growing in my basement, it’s not warm enough.”

The hard truth is that mold, or microbial growth, happens whenever there is a consistent moisture or water source and it’s above 32 degrees. That means a leaky hot water heater or pipe in the ceiling can very well be the source of mold in the winter in your basement.

“Ok, yes it smells funky and we noticed a leak in the wall, but it’s been fixed, now what?”

Ah, yes- the undeniable smell of mold. The dirty, musty, earthy, mushroomy, slightly bitter, off-putting, something-is-weird-here smell. Now, put down the bottle of bleach. Trust us, that will only touch the surface of the mold growth. Even if you see a difference when you scrub it, the inside of the material is still harboring a whole colony of microbes.

“Yuck, where does it even come from?”

Microbial growth is naturally occurring in the environment and gets into your home through hitching a ride on clothes, shoes and pets. But it will always be present when water is present. Mold spores just need moisture, comfy temperature and a good food source like wood or sheet rock to live and grow.

“But it’s cold out, how is it growing?”

It’s not 20 degrees inside your walls unless they’re completely uninsulated from the environment. A basement, crawl space and attic usually are insulated to help keep pipes from freezing in the winter and to keep heat inside. If you have an unknown pipe leak in the wall or ceiling, mold can start growing in as little as 48 hours. It does take longer to grow in the winter months, but it will still be there.

If bleach won't work, how do I get rid of it?”

The first step is to call a certified mold remediation company, like SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties. Our experienced team will ask a few questions to get a good idea of what you might be dealing with. In some cases, they’ll recommend you have the mold tested by a mold assessor. Those are independent companies who focus on the science behind the mold and what kind you could have.**

What the mold assessor finds by lab testing is what our remediation techs use as a protocol for treatment and mitigation. We’ll be happy to give you a few names of companies we’ve worked with before and you can choose whoever you feel is the right fit for your situation.

Utilizing the protocol, our certified mold remediation pros will handle the containment, removal and treatments of the affected areas in your home, that can also include drying equipment and specialized treatments depending on the scope of the project.

Once the mitigation is complete, the assessor will come back to re-test to make sure all is clear. This is crucial to get documented as well when you sell or if you’re buying a home.

If you think you might have a mold issue in your home or business anywhere in Columbia or Greene Counties, trust the local experts who have been taking care of the Hudson Valley for over 30 years. We’ll walk you through every step of the way, and always here to help-24/7.

**Per NY State guidelines- the remediation company and the mold testing company can not be one and the same, that’s a significant conflict to you as the consumer.

SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties is your Trusted Partner for Damage Restoration for your Hudson, NY Business

5/23/2023 (Permalink)

2 SERVPRO green vans inside a sparkling white warehouse If your business suffers any kind of damage, SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties is the partner you can trust to get you back to business quickly!

Sometimes, life throws curveballs your way and you’re dealing with flooding, sewage or fire and smoke damage at the Hudson business you’ve worked so hard at building. No matter the cause, chances are you might need to make a quick decision on who can help you get your business back to normal.

When you’re choosing a restoration partner to get your business back up and running, there are a few important questions that you should most definitely ask.

Is It a Legit Company?

Important to remember: Not everyone who shows up after a disaster is there with your best interests in mind. Often, there are scammers who do nothing other than flee with your money. It’s unfortunate and happens every time there’s damage reported. Companies will show up promising everything but not having the experience or the credibility to handle everything you, your staff and your company needs to get back to normal.

With SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties as your commercial restoration company, you can rest assured that we are no newcomers to this situation. We have been locally owned and operated in this industry for over 30 years and have worked hard to earn a reputation that shows how we put our customers first.

We are also trusted by national brands like the PGA Tour. The PGA Tour accepts nothing less than high-quality service to maintain their facilities and tour stops. We have national account status with State Farm Insurance and many other insurance companies, no matter who the carrier is.

Additionally, our company is Large-Loss Certified, meaning we have the staff, resources, and equipment to handle any size disaster. Whether you have 500 or 500,000 sq. feet, rest assured, we’ve got you covered and are here to help with an emergency response.

Can They Be Reached?

When disaster strikes your business, time is not on your side. You need to be assured that you have someone that you can contact at any given day or time.

That’s why we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have a live staff ready to help no matter the time of day or holiday. We’re the ones to depend on and we’ll work hard so that you don’t have to.

Who Else Can Help?

SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties is locally owned and operated, which means we see our community members and neighbors as family. We all live and raise our families right here in the Hudson Valley and we are ready to act when second disaster strikes.

Sometimes, there are times in which there is a surge of neighbors needing our help, and in that case, you can be confident that with a nationwide network of SERVPRO franchises to back us, we will still have you well taken care of.

When you call SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties, you can rest easy knowing your local business has the trusted leader in the restoration industry on the other end of the line. When disaster hits, contact us to get our local experts and our nationwide network on your side. We're here to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Water Damage Due to Leaking Water Heater - Cleanup & Restoration Process

3/1/2022 (Permalink)

A leaking water heater may cause severe mold and rust build up in a home.

Water restoration is one of the main jobs we handle here at SERVPRO. When there is flooding in a home, there is more that comes along with the water damage. Overtime, any excess water can lead to unwanted mold and mildew in the home. It is imperative to get ahead and move forward with the restoration process in order to successfully recover from the damage that has occurred.

SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties has a team of certified experts that specialize in Water damage and mold remediation. We are an IICRC certified firm. IICRC stands for the Institution of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification that focuses on innovative teachings and most advanced technical information that are required to take on complex jobs and return normalcy from a chaotic environment – "Like it never even happened."

Once you call us here at SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties, you are one step closer to bringing your home back to normalcy. For example, if you experience water damage from a water heater leaking, the following steps is the cleanup process of restoration you can expect from SERVPRO.

1.) Emergency Call

When a customer first noticed initial signs of a water heater leaking, we advised them not to attempt handing the situation on their own. Reason being, it may cause additional damage to their property. Instead, we recommend calling us! We have a 24/7 answering service you can call with your emergencies. We strongly recommend to not waste any time and call as soon as possible. Any delay of even just a few hours may lead to further damage.

2.) Assessment of the Job

One of our project managers will come to the home immediately and assess the leaking water heater to determine the extent of damage and what entails in fixing the heater and any water damage that it caused.

3.) Removal of Water

Our project manager will schedule a crew to come to the house with truck mounted vacuums or extraction machines to get rid of any excess water in the home. SERVPRO utilizes moisture meters which help determine how much saturation is in a room and uses infrared cameras to discover any hidden moisture.

4.) Drying Process

Once all the water damaged materials are removed from the home, SERVPRO will install drying equipment thoroughly dry the structure.  Air movers and de-humidifiers are used to extract and evaporate remaining water from the structure so that mold has no opportunity to grow.

5.) Cleaning Process

During and after the drying process, SERVPRO technicians will utilize air scrubbers and other sanitizing equipment to ensure the household is clean, odor-free and ready for the repair process to begin.

6.) FINAL STEP: Reconstruction Process

SERVPRO will be working to keep your insurance adjuster informed of all the damages caused by the water loss. At the completion of the drying phase, your house will be ready for repairs to be made. SERVPRO is available for reconstruction of the damaged residence if you so choose and typically can get started sooner than most other contractors. Since we have been working with the adjuster, SERVPRO will most likely already have and estimate to perform the repairs that is consistent with the insurance adjuster’s expectations.

Call SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties at (518)-943-5005

So, if you ever go through the unfortunate experience of having water damage loss at your home, be ready to call SERVPRO to help you through the process as stress-free as we can make it. We will truly make it…"Like it never even happened."

Winter Storms and Freezing Temperatures

2/8/2022 (Permalink)

Where should you be checking your Columbia or Greene County home when major winter weather strikes? As a Nor’easter heads up the coast this weekend, it is a great reminder to check over your homes or businesses and their readiness for severe winter weather. After a major storm, clean-up can be a pain in the neck and some obvious forms of damage can make themselves apparent, but it is important to inspect your home for even the most minor or insignificant-looking damage to avoid issues in the long run. Here are three great places to start when inspecting your home for any damage after a big winter storm:

  • Standing water or ice around the exterior of your home. The Hudson Valley has experienced high levels of rainfall over the past few months which has led saturated grounds to freeze over. This can lead to drainage issues around your home. If water does not properly drain or move away from your home it could lead to seepage in your foundation, basement, or crawlspace.
  • Ice damming or snow build up on your roof. When looking over your roof, be sure to look for damage such as missing shingles, debris on the roof, or pockmarks from where hail, branches, or other debris may have struck. These can be indicators a bigger problem with the seal of your roof. Also be sure to clear away any snow build-up to avoid ice damming and water accumulation.
  • Ceiling Discoloration. A more obvious sign something could be wrong in your home would be to see any ceiling discoloration inside of your home. This is a common sign that water is leaking from somewhere above, whether it be from a roof leak or compromised or frozen pipes.

By staying vigilant this winter, your home can hopefully stay safe through the roughest of winter weather. Addressing damage after a storm quickly, you are able to avoid more costly issues down the line such as structural damage or even mold.

If you find any level of damage to your home due to a storm this winter, or for any other reason; do not hesitate to give SERVPRO of Columbia and Greene Counties a call 24/7 at (518)943-5005.  

Levels of Commercial Loss

2/1/2022 (Permalink)

Give SERVPRO of Columbia and Greene Counties a call 24/7 at (518)943-5005 for your Commercial Migitagtion needs

The professionals with SERVPRO of Columbia and Greene Counties are not only your number 1 resource for residential damage mitigation, but we can also assist you with your business or commercial buildings as well. There are three levels of loss when it comes to commercial properties that we take into consideration when assessing the damage.

Level 1: A Level 1 commercial loss is the smallest of affected spaces, whether that be an entire building affected that is about 15,000 square feet or less or a small portion of a much larger overall structure. Some examples of this size of loss are stand-alone retail stores, restaurants, garages, storage facilities, or small churches.

Level 2: A Level 2 commercial loss is a midsize business building in the range of 15,000 to about 60,000 square feet of affected space. These types of buildings are usually multiple levels or have spaces that are divided such as an apartment building or multi-family home, a small shopping center, or midsized facilities such as warehouses.

Level 3: A Level 3 commercial loss is the largest loss involving more than 60,000 square feet of affected space. This could also be considered for a property with multiple buildings that experienced damage or one large facility. Some examples of this kind of level would be large churches, schools, hospitals, manufacturing buildings, or shopping centers.

Whether you’re a small “mom and pop” business on the Main Street of Windham or a major industrial building in Hudson, NY, the team with SERVPRO of Columbia and Greene Counties can help assess your level of loss and assemble the appropriately sized team to get your business back up and running…”Like it never even happened.”

Freezing Weather & Frozen Pipes

1/28/2022 (Permalink)

Frozen Pipes

One of the biggest reasons for water remediation calls every winter is the damage caused by frozen pipes. When water freezes, it can expand by almost 10% of its liquid volume size. Frozen water in your pipes can increase the pressure so much that the pipe itself can crack or even break open completely. Here are some tips to prepare your pipes for the extra cold weather heading our way in the upcoming weeks.

  • Even if your home or business is vacant, you should keep the internal temperature around 68 degrees.
  • Wrap pipes, especially those along external walls, with insulation or heating tape.
  • Disconnect outside garden hoses and place overs on all outside faucets.
  • Open cabinet doors below sinks if located along exterior wall to allow home’s heat to circulate around sink and dishwasher pipes.
  • Add additional insulate outside walls that house any pipes or plumbing.

With freezing temperatures forecasted in the coming days, it is more important now than ever to keep an eye on your home or business’ water pipes. If a frozen pipe leads to water damage in your home this winter, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Columbia and Greene Counties 24/7.