Why SERVPRO? We answer our Phone!
Where has customer service gone? SERVPRO has never lost it.
Do you ever feel like customer service is a dying art? I’m not just talking about waiting on the phone for 45 minutes trying to get through the “automated system” and talk to an actual human being, I’m talking about human interactions with businesses that make you want to return to that business and recommend that business to friends and family who inquire.
In the restoration industry, word of mouth and return customers mean the world to us. It’s not only the confidence in knowing that we cared for them the right way the first time, but it’s a customer entrusting us to care for them again…that is what really reassures us that we are doing a good job.
So, when did customer service start to be less important? When did people stop caring so much about the entire experience the customer is having and look at them as someone who they are obligated to “Take care of” or “Help” I think many customer service skills have become less important due to more and more interaction via the internet and remotely working.
At SERVPRO, we cannot do Fire Restoration, Water Restoration, Mold Remediation, and Bio-Hazard Clean-up from a remote location. We have had to stay front and center in people's lives, always, even though a pandemic. We are very much a hands-on company, both literally and figuratively.
What we hope to hear as a small business serving the Willamette Valley, is that our customers had a good experience with our services. Because when we come into a home or business that has experienced a loss, we want to leave our customers in a better mood than we found them in…at every single visit.
Back Draft, Not Just a Movie!
One of the biggest warning signs of a possible backdraft is black smoke.
Do you know what a backdraft is?
You may know what it is, or what it looks like, but do you know what causes it?
We have all seen the movie, whether you loved it or not…you remember the epic scene at the end.
Here is a great overview of what backdraft is from Wikipedia: A backdraft (North American English) or backdraught (British English) is the abrupt burning of superheated gasses in a fire, caused when oxygen rapidly enters a hot, oxygen-depleted environment; for example, when a window or door to an enclosed space is opened or broken.
Firefighters are taught to recognize backdraft conditions, due to space fire is contained in, smoke emitting from the fire (how dark is it? How fast is the fire burning?), no visible flame (fires often suffocate in this stage of burning due to lack of oxygen), the biggest sign I think of is the sudden movement of air inward when an opening to the affected space is finally made.
You can learn about all the signs of backdraft more here: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/blog/cb-051920.html
Water Damage can Displace a Family!
One of the things we at SERVPRO have seen repeatedly is a water loss displacing a family. This can be due to several factors, but it is always extremely difficult on the family to be displaced from their home while dealing with a traumatic water loss.
One of the main reasons homeowners have to find temporary housing outside of their homes is due to no bathroom being usable in the current house due to a water loss. When a water loss happens in a 1-bathroom home and the flooring and the toilet need to be removed, it is cause for displacement of the homeowners due to the lack of usable facilities at the home.
Another reason that homeowners are displaced is when a kitchen water loss happens, sometimes the cabinets, stove, fridge, and flooring need to be removed in order to effectively dry the area. A house with no usable kitchen is a common cause of customers finding temporary housing outside of their home.
Unsafe living environments. Unsafe living environments can mean a few different things, the first and most common is mold infestation. Homeowners are sometimes temporarily displaced due to mold that needs to be remediated that has been uncovered/discovered during a water loss. Sometimes the extent of the mold infestation warrants the homeowners to relocate until the mold can be safely and effectively remediated.
Inconvenience. Sometimes homeowners relocate due to the large inconvenience that comes with a water loss. Sometimes flooring, ceiling, walls, and personal belongings are affected due to a water loss. Homeowners may not want to deal with the noises of dehumidifiers, air movers, and the noise that comes with the demo and reconstruction needed at times during a water job, and therefor opt to relocate until the water loss and reconstruction has been finished.
Odor in the home from the water loss. Sometimes water losses can cause odors to emit from the materials that they affect. Sometimes water losses are also from drain lines or sewer lines that cause a strong odor to be present until they are cleaned and dried. Homeowners are often displaced temporarily due to odors.
So the reasons vary for homeowners to vacate during a water loss, but it is much more frequent than you would expect. Depending on the location and the extent of a water damage, homeowners can be displaced for days or months at a time.
Flooding Caused by Storm Drains!
When the rain gets heavy, the standing water can build where it shouldn't!
We have had record calls from homeowners and businesses this past year about standing water in their parking lots, and overflowed storm drains.
Many times this can happen due to debris being built up in the drain filter. Cleaning it out is hard physical labor, but regularly necessary.
Also, sometimes storm drains simply cannot keep up with heavy rainfalls and downpours. If you notice a storm drain in your town that is flooded and not draining properly, you can reach out to your local public works department at the city and report the problem.
If the storm drain is located on your private property you are responsible for servicing the storm drain yourself. Most likely it is a build up of debris in the upper portion of the drain filter, but sometimes it is a failure of the line that runs undergroud. the later is a much more significant cost to fix.
Plumbers have specialty equipment to clear drains. SERVPRO has provided such services, but if the problem is more than a clogged drain filter, a plumber and excavator company will most likely be needed.
You can check your storm drains with a flashlight periodically when they are free of standing water and see if you can spy any clogging or build-up of leaves and rubbish that is preventing the drain from working optimally.
SERVPRO unclogged our own parking lot storm drain this past year, it was due to leaves and branches and dirt build-up. Often times it can clog very suddenly. So best to inspect seasonally if possible.
Water Damage to a Kitchen Can be Costly!
When we think about the kitchen in a home we think about cooking, food, dishes, and appliances.
Often these days we also think about the finishes in the kitchen. It’s fairly common for counters to be made of Quartz, Marble, or Granite. Also, cabinets have become more costly in the last decade, and even more costly in the last year with the lumber prices skyrocketing. Often the thing people splurge on is the appliances in a kitchen, which can run anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
The average cost of a kitchen renovation today in America is $22,184 dollars. Or roughly $150 dollars per square foot! This makes the kitchen the most expensive square footage in your home. With bathrooms only coming in at $18,000 (Master Bath, much less for guest bath).
So taking all the costs into account, it’s easy to understand how a customer can be very upset when we arrive onsite at a water loss in a kitchen. Many times water losses in kitchens means we have to take out all flooring and cabinets to dry the underpayment (and sometimes subfloor!) Most of the time water losses in kitchens are due to dishwashers, refrigerators, insta-hot devices, and freezers. Sometimes kitchen losses are due to an adjoining laundry room having a water loss from the washer.
This is why our SERVPRO technicians will try and dry wooden floors in place if possible. It saves the homeowner time without a kitchen if it can be achieved, and also many times saves the customer from having to file a costly claim with their homeowner's insurance.
If the water is contaminated, that is another situation entirely, and SERVPRO always recommends that the flooring be removed and replaced if saturated beneath the surface area.
How Hot is Too Hot?
Drywall that has been affected by the severe heat of a house-fire.
How hot is Scorching?
Did you know that “Scorching Hot” is slang?
There is indeed no clear cut answer to what temperature is considered Scorching.
It can be defined as a temperature that can burn you if you come in contact with it (like a hot pan on the stove), or a weather temperature that humans are uncomfortable being outside in for any period of time.
Have you ever seen a picture of heat affected drywall taken after a house fire? That is what comes to mind when I think of scorching.
Weird things happen when drywall has gotten so hot, it has almost caught fire…Drywall in this condition is usually black and the paint/sealant on the drywall is bubbling. Drywall and the minerals that make drywall start to damage at around 175 degrees F, drywall can spontaneously catch fire at 350 degrees F.
There is such a great heat fluctuation in house fires that at floor level it may be 100 degrees F (which is why humans are told to get low or crawl in the case of a fire), at ceiling height it can easily reach 1500 degrees F. No human can survive in that type of heat. In fact, the hottest temperature humans can withstand (short-term) is 248 degrees F.
Our human bodies are made up of water and other elements that heat can affect severely.
It’s a delicate balance to keep our bodies at an optimal temperature. Even if our internal temperature fluctuates a few degrees our bodies respond with flu-like symptoms.
Fire safety is so important. Many fires can engulf and destroy entire houses in a matter of minutes. With each changing season check your smoke alarms, have an exit plan, and educate your family and loved ones on the importance of fire safety.
Total Loss House Fire!
Total Loss House Fire
Anytime a fire strikes, its devastating!
Most homeowners never really expect a fire damage to their own property. This Dallas, Oregon home experienced a fire damage to their home and vehicle.
In all instances of home and business fires, the most important thing to do is to keep, people safe first.
The initial urge to run back in to grab a few things could cause harm to you and others who follow in after you.
Please exit the structure immediately and dial "9-1-1"
Your life and those you love is more important than any possession you have. It can all be replaced.
When you need help cleaning up the mess, please call us anytime, day or night. We're always here- to help. Give us a call here at SERVPRO 541-745-2097.
Condensation from Water
Condensation from a AC Unit can Cause damage!
The discovery of wet feet while strolling through your home is always a unwelcomed shock. Typically the kitchen, bathroom or wash room is where you will find this.
As it starts to warm up, many are turning on their air conditioning units. They do not think that this could be a source of a water loss. However it is, the water condensation from these systems can wreak havoc and cause a major water loss. We here at SERVPRO see this annually.
Here are some tips to draining your air conditioner.
1. Turn off the power to your HVAC system at the thermostat and at the breaker.
2. If you have an indoor air handler in your attic or utility closet, you'll need to find the condensate pan. This is usually located directly under the unit. It may also be covered by a removable access panel.
3. If you see standing water in the drain pan, your drain line is probably clogged. Use a handheld or shop vacuum to remove the moisture. You can also use rags to soak up the water. At this point, you can clean the drain pan with soap.
4. Generally, clogged drains can be cleared with suction. If you have a shop vacuum, use it to pull the clog through the drain opening, which is located outside your house near the foundation. Place your hand around the pipe to improve suction and allow the vacuum to run for a minute. Then, check the vacuum canister to see if the clog was successfully removed.
5. Next, you'll need to identify the access point on the drain line. Usually, the drain will have a T-shaped vent with a PVC cover. Remove the cover and inspect the drain. Use this port to flush the drain with distilled vinegar. If you don't like the odor, you can use peroxide to gently bubble away the remaining debris. Alternately, you can use hot water and a drop of dish liquid.
6. Allow the solution to sit for 30 minutes. Complete the cleaning by flushing the pipe with water. Have a helper watch the pipe outside and tell you if the water is running freely.
Local Storms Knock Down Trees!
Attic is affect by tree puncturing through!
Trees were hit hard this past February...when the Ice Storm hit Salem and the surrounding areas hard. Most people with vegetation on their land lost trees, if not to the wind, to the broken branches and trucks giving up due to the heavy weight of the ice pulling them down.
SERVPRO responded to loss here in Salem, that had the occupants still living there, but they had a tree on their roof…in one place, they had part of the tree through the roof. It punctured through the shingles and plywood without any trouble at all. The shear force of the tree smashing through the roof was shocking. The homeowners described it as “Louder than anything they had ever heard” and “Scary”. The water intruded through the broken roof, down through the insulation, saturated the beams and back of the drywall on the ceiling and finally ran down the interior walls in the family room.
The water made its way through the attic, the family room, and finally ended in the garage. The wall in the family room was paneled and painted…the water warped the paneling beyond repair and the paneling and drywall in the family room had to be replaced. The garage also had part of the drywall of the ceiling removed to treat/dry behind.
Overall, most of the damage was secluded to the roof, family room, and garage. Once we got the non-salvageable materials removed and dry, it was just finishing touches from there. As you can imagine, we had to wait until the roof was secured/not leaking before we did any work. Throughout this time, we stayed in touch with the customer, the insurance, and the vendors involved. This home had good insurance in place that covered the losses due to the storm. If you haven’t checked up on what your policy covers, ask for a review with your agent. Going into a storm and dealing with damage from a storm is much more manageable when you know how the process goes, and what you are covered for.
Below is a press release issued by oregon.gov and includes insurance tips for ice storms/winter storms.
Oregon.gov provides insurance tips after Ice Storm
What are secondary damages in Water Restoration?
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What are secondary damages in Water Restoration?
Water damages that are left unmitigated quickly develop secondary damages. The most common secondary damage is mold growth. Mold growth can begin as soon as 3 days following a water loss. It’s extremely crucial for homeowners and business owners to get water damages properly mitigated as soon as they happen, because most insurance policies have zero mold coverage/secondary damages coverage.
Another secondary damage is dry rot. Dry rot is what happens when spores in the air combine with wood that is holding more than 20% moisture, so it’s most likely when the structural integrity of the wood is compromised due to prolonged exposure to water. Dry rot can affect the foundation of your home and present very expensive repairs.
Unmitigated water damage also can encourage rodent infestations. Many times, even in brand new buildings, one small supply line leak can cause mice to occupy the structure. Rodents follow water and will go where there is a steady supply. Rodents can also more easily chew through affected drywall and wood.
Corrosion is also a clear sign that a water damage has been going on longer than it should have. With metals like pipes and nails, if there is rust or corrosion buildup that is an indication that coverage may not be a guarantee on your insurance claim.
Bottom line, if your home or business suffers a water damage, it’s important that you take immediate action and call a restoration company like SERVPRO of Salem West to mitigate the damage and prevent further issues. It may be an expense to mitigate a water loss, but it’s far more affordable than paying for secondary damages!!