Recent Posts

Thunderstorm Hazards

5/11/2022 (Permalink)

Around the world approximately 16 million thunderstorms occur each year, 100,000 of which occur within the United States.  About 10% of those 100,000 storms are considered to be severe. A severe thunderstorm, as defined by the National Weather Service, is when the winds during the thunderstorm reach 58 mph or greater, possibly accompanied with ¾ inch hail, and even tornadoes. Typically, there are only a few ingredients to form a thunderstorm: moisture, especially in the lower levels, unstable air, cold air over warm air, and a source of lift such as a cold front, sea breeze, or low-level overflow boundary from a cluster of smaller thunderstorms. Lightning occurs in all thunderstorms and is very dangerous. The rising and descending air within a thunderstorm that separates positive and negative charges is what cases the lightning.

What Kind of Damage Can a Thunderstorm Can Cause?

Thunderstorms carry an array of difficulties, bring with them several types of dangerous weather events. Rainfall that is associated with thunderstorms can cause flooding, tornadoes, and of course lightning. Lightning can easily cause fires to homes if contact with certain materials is made. Additionally, hail is also a possibility and can cause damage to roofs, glass, vehicles, and even livestock. Wind damage is also a threat during thunderstorms, it can rip up powerlines and trees, and damage the exterior of a home. Damage to your property can culminate in wind, fire, and water damage, all of which need to be addressed as soon as it is safe.

How to be Prepared

You can prepare you home for a thunderstorm by removing loose branches and regularly clearing rain gutters. Make copies of personal property records and of important documents to store offsite. Above all, stay informed! The National Weather Service issues watches and warning of potential thunderstorm. Ensure that your family has an emergency plan and emergency kits with water and non-perishable foods, along with other essentials like chargers, batteries medications, comfortable shows, and even pet supplies.

SERVPRO® of Columbia County can help mitigate the damages that occur during a thunderstorm. Whether it be wind, water, or even fire damage, we can handle it all – give us a call at (706) 868-5441, where trained professionals are “Here to help. ®”

The Aftermath of Fire Damages

5/6/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO technician cleaning soot after a fire damage Call SERVPRO® of Columbia County for any fire restoration needs!

What is Black Soot?

Soot is made up of fine black particles of incomplete combustion. It occurs when something in the home does not completely burn during a fire, whether it’s from fuel, coal, or combustible items around the house, such as plastics, metal, and paper. Soot is mostly made up of carbon but contain low levels of tar, acids, dust, or carcinogens.

Soot vs. Ash

When a fire occurs, there are two types of particles that can normally be found in the homes. Ash is the white or gray powder that is visibly made up of large particles. They are dry, powdery, and papery. It is made up of mostly carbon and other compounds that did not completely burn, much like soot.

Where Does Soot Come from and How Does it Get Everywhere?

Soot occurs during any fire, but it is most prevalent when wood, coal, oil, or plastics burn. Air drafts caused by flames allow the fine particles to float away before they can finish burning, resulting in soot.  Due to that, soot can easily spread throughout the home, even further than the fire damage.

Other Common Causes of Soot

While soot mostly occurs because of fires, there are other causes. Over time, and under the right conditions, you may find soot build up for the following reasons:

  • Cooking food
  • Burning wood in a fireplace
  • Burning candles
  • Melting or burning plastics
  • Appliance malfunctions
  • Furnace malfunctions

Leave soot clean up to the professionals at SERVPRO® of Columbia County! Our trained technicians can make soot damage “Like it never even happened.” For more information, contact us at (706) 868-5441.

The Long-Term Effects of Water Damage

4/26/2022 (Permalink)

A SERVPRO® Technician removes damaged flooring, revealing the subfloor and saturated subfloor. A SERVPRO® Technician removes damaged flooring, revealing the subfloor and saturated subfloor.

The Usual Suspects of Water Damage

Water damage has several opportunities to occur within your home. The most common causes of water damage are from broken fixtures and appliances. Leaks from dishwashers and washing machines are often the source to major water damage, and it could be sometime before a homeowner may recognize that there is an ongoing leak. Unfortunately, there is always a danger of damage to a home as long as there are pipes and appliances that use water.

What Water Damage Can do to Your Home

When a flood does occur, it can harm the home’s fixtures and cause long-term damage. Pooled water can seep into the carpets and flooring, ruin your furniture, soak into drywall and insulation, and even cause mold to grow, especially if it is stagnant. Even if the water is believed to have been cleaned up, there is still a chance that the materials are damp. That is why it is important to have the areas affected removed and properly mitigated. Not removing affected or waterlogged items could lead to microbial growth. Additionally, if left to fester, odor can develop and permeate throughout the entire home.

How SERVPRO® Can Solve Your Problems

SERVPRO® of Columbia County is prepared to access the damage, perform water extraction, make necessary demolition as well as removal of affected materials, and place professional drying equipment. Our Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning Technician (UFT) utilize the best stain removal strategies, including spot cleaning when the affected items such as carpets, rugs, drapes, and upholstery furniture are still wet. However, the longer these items are left to absorb the water, the more difficult it becomes to restore.

Another issue with extenuating water damage is the development of pungent odors. The odor can develop with a clean water loss or otherwise, if the water is left to stagnate for long. In addition to extraction, our trained SERVPRO® technicians can use dehumidification to remove any traces of excess moisture that is causing these bad odors. A technician may also use air scrubbers to extract the contaminated air. If the odor persists, we can apply a chemical process for its elimination.

Have you experienced what you believe to be long-term effects of water damage? SERVPRO® of Columbia County is, “Here to help®” no matter the crisis. Contact us at 706-868-5441 for more information and advice on how to move forward.

How to Be Prepared for a House Fire

4/26/2022 (Permalink)

Fires in the United States

In the United States, there is an estimated 358,500 house fires occurring every year. About 50% of these fires occur in the kitchen, 7% begin in the bedroom, and 6% are caused by chimneys, 4% start in the living room, and 3% occur in the laundry room. Most fires that happen in the kitchen are from cooking, either from grease or from leaving a dish unaccompanied for too long.  Other common causes are from heating equipment, faulty electrical distribution and lighting equipment, and smoking materials such as a cigarette. 

Follow These Steps

  1. Ensure that the correct number of smoke alarms are installed and regularly checked.
  2. Teach your children what a smoke alarm sounds like and what they should do if they hear one.
  3. Make sure all household members know at least TWO ways to escape from every room in your home and where the meeting spot is outside of the home.
  4. Create a household emergency communication plan and confirm that all members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
  5. Practice the escape plan twice a year, which would include pressing the smoke alarm test button and yelling “Fire” to alert everyone.
  6. Teach every household member to STOP, DROP, and ROLL if their clothing catches on fire.
  7. Check and ensure that everyone knows how to call 9-1-1 and that they know the address in case there is an emergency.
  8. Have a running log or inventory of the items you own, with photo or video documentation.

Safeguard Your Home

  • Every level of your home needs to have smoke alarms, outside of every sleeping area.
  • A carbon monoxide alarm in a central location, outside each sleeping area.
  • Ensure that your house number is visible and readable from the street, especially at night.
  • Make sure that the heating sources in your home are clean and properly functioning. This includes furnaces or stoves, chimneys with creosote buildup, or cracked or rusted furnace parts.
  • Check electrical wiring of your home and avoid overloading outlets.
  • Only use kerosene heaters if permitted by law and always refuel them outside, after they have cooled.
  • Only purchase appliances and electrical devices that have the label of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Always store combustible materials in open areas and away from heat sources, placing rags used to apply flammable household chemicals in metal containers with tight-fitting lids.

Have you experienced a house fire? SERVPRO® of Columbia is ready and available to make fire damage "Like it never even happened.®” Call our office at 706-868-5441 to schedule a consultation today.

SERVPRO® is Here for You During the Easter Holiday

4/25/2022 (Permalink)

A Colorful Holiday

Easter is the Christian holiday that celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus. The holiday always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon, which is known as the spring equinox. This year the holiday occurred on April 17th. Over the last 200 year, the holiday has continued to evolve.

What is the Importance of the Eggs?

Like Christmas, Easter has accumulated several traditions, some of which have little to do with the Christian celebration of the Resurrection but derive from folk customs. The use of pained and decorated Easter eggs was first recorded in the 13th century. At that time, the church prohibited the act of eating eggs during the Holy Week, and yet chickens continued to lay eggs. That is when the notion of labeling and decorating those eggs first began; thus, the egg itself became the symbol of the Resurrection. Just as Jesus rose from the tomb, the egg symbolizes new life emerging from the eggshell. According to Orthodox tradition, eggs are painted red to symbolize the blood of Jesus on the cross.

Why are There Easter Egg Hunts?

In the United States, Easter egg hunting is tremendously popular. Kids love searching high and low for the bright, color plastic eggs filled with chocolate. First lady Lucy Hayes, the wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes, is commonly credited with sponsoring the first annual Easter egg roll on the White House lawn in 1878, though the event was ultimately moved to the U.S. Capitol Building, to the dismay of congress. However, this is certainly not the first occurrence of Easter egg hunting. In 16th-century Germany, Martin Luther held hunts at the church for his congregation. The participants were women and children, while men were tasked with hiding the eggs around the property. This practice was symbolic of the women who discovered that the tomb was empty after the resurrection.

SERVPRO® of Columbia County is prepared to help 24/7/365 in the event of any type of emergency. Contact us at 706-868-5441 for professional help in your time of need! Keep your family safe during the holidays!

Mold Can Happen Anywhere – Even in Businesses!

4/20/2022 (Permalink)

A commercial office with mold damage on the walls If you suspect mold or excessive moisture, give SERVPRO® of Columbia County a call at 706-868-5441.

Can Mold Happen at an Office? 

Mold in commercial properties is much more common than the average person realizes. It may be challenging to detect, quite difficult to remove, and if left alone, could cost a pretty penny to repair. Fortunately, if you are properly educated, it is simple and inexpensive to avoid!

Common Causes of Mold in Commercial Properties

Often, the presence of mold occurs unexpectedly and can appear anywhere, without discrimination. The most prevalent cause is due to unregulated moisture likely stemming from faulty plumbing or even a leaking roof. Any damp areas within the building are prone to attract mold, as the moisture is digestible and enables the pesky growth to expand, indiscriminately causing damage to the property. Mold is particularly fond of attaching itself to organic, porous objects such as upholstery, paper, and wood. Additionally, mold spores could possibly enter from the outside via air vents and HVAC systems. Fortunately, there are easy ways to prevent any type of mold from forming at your place of business.

Best Practices to Prevent Mold in Buildings

While mold can be a major frustration to deal with, and not a situation you want to be in, there are steps you can take to prevent growth from forming—easy ones! 

  1. Repair any leaks: It is essential that any leaks are addressed as they are found. Doing so will eliminate the risk of further water damage. Roof damage, clogs, and faulty plumbing are often the culprits behind the leaks.
  2. Timely repair of water damage: If there is any flooding or pooling of excessive water, it is important that the area is properly dried as the stagnant water could soak into floors, furniture, and walls. If left alone, those areas could become prime breeding grounds for microbial growth. Speed is crucial here because mold colonies can start developing within 24-48 hours after the initial water damage.
  3. Invest in a dehumidifier: The humidity level of a facility should be regulated and ideally kept below 50%. This could be a difficult task manage, but an industrial dehumidifier will certainly help with that. Having a dehumidifier will aid in any instances where there is excessive moisture as well.
  4. Proper ventilation throughout the property: Keep the air vents and air filters clean and well maintained. Regular maintenance will ensure that even the most enclosed areas on the property are properly ventilated and dry.

When dealing with mold, prevention is key! However, if you do find yourself faced with some troublesome fungi, SERVPRO® of Columbia County is “Here to help. ®” Our experienced team of professionals are available to help you get rid of any mold infestation and excess moisture that your building may have.

April Showers Bring in the Flood Season

4/20/2022 (Permalink)

Savannah River shoreline between Augusta, GA and North Augusta, SC The beautiful Savannah River borders the Augusta area!

It’s Part of Nature!

Around the world, large rivers experience flooding as part of their life cycle, and the people who live along these rivers have grown to expect flooding every year. Despite this fact, floods can happen in any part of the country and sometimes occur with very little warning.  April to September is often known as “flash flood season”, with much of the rainfall occurring between April to June, and August to September. Floods can result from rapid melting of winter snows, severe thunderstorms, tropical storms, and other precipitation events.  

Flooding in Augusta

Most of the flooding that occurs in Augusta is caused by heavy rains. Augusta’s drainage systems, drainage channels, streams, tributaries, and creeks may exceed their capacity during times when there is heavy or prolonged rainfall, thus resulting in a flood. October 12, 1990, marks the worst flooding experience in the area. In total there was a culmination of 15 inches of rain during the 100-year storm event, causing millions of dollars’ worth of property damage. The areas that experienced the heaviest flooding were in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), commonly known as “floodplains”. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have published Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) which show flood hazard areas, along with the degree of risk in those areas. For more information, be sure to check with the Augusta Planning & Development Department to see if your home is in a SFHA zone. The department hosts regular meetings at 3:00pm the first Monday of every month.

Additionally, the Emergency Management Agency of Augusta regularly monitors the National Weather Service’s advisory bulletins and storm tracking services. The agency advises the Mayor and Administrators of evacuation plans during floods. To keep up with up-to-date weather information, residents can tune in to local network television and radio stations.

Flood Safety

It is very important to learn the safest route from your home or business in the event of a flooding. The best thing to do is to move to higher, safer ground if you have to leave in a hurry and stay tuned in to your local news for reports of changing flood conditions in your area. The best practice is to have a safety plan in your home that has more than one route to get to safety, and to talk with your family what you will do to stay safe. Below are even more tips for keeping safe during a flash flood:

  • Keep a portable radio, flashlights, and emergency cooking equipment, along with extra batteries on hand
  • If emergency officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home – go immediately to a safe place.
  • Never walk-through flowing water!
  • Do not allow anyone to play in or near a flooded or fast-moving stream.
  • If you come across an area covered with water, remember “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”.
  • If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it as soon as possible as floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car (and its occupants) away.
  • If you are caught in your home by rising waters, move up to the second floor or even to the roof if necessary. Be sure to bring warm clothing, a flashlight, and portable radio. Do not try to swim to safety! Wait for help, rescue teams will be looking for you!
  • Bring in all pets and make sure you have the appropriate supplies for them.
  • Only if time permits:
    • Turn off all utilities at the main switch and close the main gas valve
    • Do not touch electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area and you are standing on a piece of dry wood while wearing rubber shoes and gloves. Every source of electricity can be dangerous during and after flooding.
    • Fill bathtubs, sinks, and jugs with clean water in case supplies are contaminated.
    • Board up windows
    • Move valuable and paperwork (especially insurance policies and a list of valuable) to higher elevation.
    • Bring in outdoor possessions or tie them down securely
  • After the flood:
    • Always check for structural damage before entering the building.
    • Be alert for gas leaks! Use a flashlight to inspect damage, never an open flame. If a gas leak is found, report it to the appropriate utility provider.
    • Never touch power lines and electrical wires! Report any downed power lines to the appropriate electric provider. Furthermore, do not turn on any lights or appliances until an electrician has checked the system for short circuits.

Water Damage Caused to Your Home Due to an Unforeseen Flooding? Call SERVPRO® of Columbia County at 706-868-5441 and our professional crews will make it, “Like it never even happened. ®” 

Keep Your Basement Safe From Floods

4/14/2022 (Permalink)

An unfinished basement filled with eight inches of water Preventative measures such as these can help keep your home safe!

Preventative Basement Flooding Tips 

According to FEMA all areas in the United States are susceptible to flooding issues. Annually, more than 60% of American homes suffer from below-ground wetness. Water seeps into basements through cracks in the walls or flooring, through windows and doors and through sewer lines. However, there are some preventative measures you can take to prevent basement flooding such as:  

  1. Installing a Sump Pump: What is a sump pump and what does it do? A sump pump moves water from your basement and out of your home. A sump is a naturally created pit, or hole, that is carved beneath the main surface of your basement floor. This hole is known as a basin, and it is where the sump pump is stored. A sump pump has valves that sense water levels and pressures rising and removes the excess water away from the home.  
  2. Install a Backwater Valve: Backwater valves close off the drain to sewer lines. A backwater valve is a great investment for a home that is connected to a municipal sewer system. Backwater valves are installed in the main outgoing sewage line from your home, usually under a basement floor, and flow sewage out of your home and never into it.
  3. Grade Around the Home’s Foundation: The key benefit of grading around your home is grading prevents water from flowing back into your home’s foundation. Excess water and the weight of water can break down the foundation wall, which causes cracks and structural damage.

Pro Tip: When testing your grading levels, pour a bucket of water slowly onto the surface of your driveway or patio and see which way the water runs. If the water begins to travel towards your home, you know you have some grading work to do.  

  1. Seal Your Basement: Sealing any potential or existing openings to your basement means installing weather stripping around doors and caulking any windows. An easy step, but a commonly forgotten one as well.
  2. Keep Gutters Clear & Use Downspout Extensions: Keeping gutters clear and free of debris can consist of two separate methods- regularly cleaning gutters by hand or installing roof gutter covers. A gutter cover is a covering installed on the top of your gutters, typically made up of mesh material that allows water to pour off the roof while still blocking large pieces of debris.   Downspout extensions are also inexpensive additions to your home’s gutter system that could save you tons of money from preventative water damage. If you happen to see water pooling around your downspout, adding extensions will move the water away from the foundation to prevent any damage.
  3. Keep Landscaping Updated: Even though plants absorb water from soil, they can also cause unwanted water intrusions in your basement. If landscaping is too close to the foundation, roots may penetrate through, which could lead to cracks or bowing walls allowing water in.

SERVPRO® Can Handle Any Water Job, Big or Small! Our crews are here for you 24/7/365, call us today at 706-868-5441 to schedule a consultation today!  

Hail Damage to My Grovetown Home! Help?

4/6/2022 (Permalink)

Image of a grey roof with hail damage This roof shows hail damage after a heavy storm.

What Is Hail Exactly?  

Hail is a form of precipitation that is made up of solid ice. Hailstones are formed when raindrops are carried upwards by a thunderstorm into cold areas of atmosphere where they then freeze. Hailstones will then grow by fusing with liquid water droplets that freeze on the stone’s surface. If water freezes instantly when the water collides with it, ‘cloudy’ ice will form as air bubbles become trapped in the newly formed ice. Alternatively, if the water freezes slowly air bubbles won’t become trapped, leaving the ice clear. Hail begins to fall when the thunderstorm’s updraft can no longer support the weight of the hailstones inside of it.  

What is an updraft? An updraft is an upward current of air. 

The color that a hailstone takes is entirely dependent upon the amount of water the stone encounters and the temperature inside of the thunderstorm. Winds inside a thunderstorm are not moving just up and down, meaning that horizontal winds play a part in the many layers of a hailstone. Hailstones don’t grow from being thrown to the top of a thunderstorm. At higher altitudes, air is cold enough that all liquid water will freeze into ice, hailstones however need ample liquid water to grow to a decent size.  

 
How Can I Protect My Home from Hail Damage? 

The first step you can take to ensure your home isn’t damaged by hail is to make sure that your roof is in good condition. Make sure you are periodically checking your roof of any wear and tear or replace shingles when necessary.  

If your roof does need to be replaced, it’s always best to select a steep-sloped roof as it protects from hail damage more efficiently.  

You can also protect your home by choosing hail-resistant siding. Selecting fiber-cement siding is proven to be a lot more resistant to hail.  

Make sure that during a hailstorm any loose lawn décor, are put away in a safe place. Cars are in a garage or under a covered area. Be sure to keep blinds closed and drapes down in case hard impact hail breaks a window. Doing these steps will prevent any injury from loose, broken glass due to a hailstorm.  

Water Damage Caused to Your Home Due to an Unsuspected Hailstorm? Call SERVPRO® of Columbia County at 706-868-5441 and our professional crews will make it "Like it never even happened®."  

What Services Does SERVPRO of Columbia County Offer?

4/6/2022 (Permalink)

Picture of a large SERVPRO®  desiccant placed outside a building This SERVPRO® desiccant is used to absorb moisture inside large-loss facilities.

Why Choose SERVPRO®?  

SERVPRO® is a reputable franchise, with over 1,900 locations nationwide, this means that we are "Here to help®" wherever you need us. SERVPRO locations are open 24/7/365, so whenever you’re facing a disaster, our professional crews are here to make it "Like it never even happened®." SERVPRO® was rated the #1 in the cleanup and restoration industry and has over 50 years of experience in the disaster relief field.  

At SERVPRO we’re known mostly for water and fire cleanup and restoration, but we also service a variety of needs such as biohazards, mold remediation and specialized cleanings. That means no matter the problem, big or small, you can count on our highly trained crews to get you back to preloss condition.  

COVID-19 Cleanings 

With COVID-19 restrictions being the new normal, we introduced our Certified SERVPRO Cleaned Program®, or CSC for short. Our crews are trained in how to properly clean biological contaminants, whether that’s surface grade or structure. You can rest assured that your business will have taken the extra precautionary measures for cleanliness that your customers expect after a CSC Cleaning. CSC cleaning involves disinfecting porous and nonporous surfaces, disinfecting equipment and supplies and removing waste. Our professional team members will also disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as light switches, doorknobs, and other everyday used tools. After each cleaning, the front window of your business will be labelled with a CSC shield logo signifying the date of your last cleaning, bringing peace of mind to your customers and employees within the building.  

Large Loss Capabilities 

Owning a commercial business comes with enough challenges of its own. It’s important to know that when disaster strikes you have a trained large-loss team available to get the restoration process started as quickly as possible. Our ‘Disaster Recovery Teams’ have the training and resources it takes to handle losses in businesses ranging from local owned stores and apartment complexes to hospitals and universities. Your large loss will be managed by a project manager from your local SERVPRO® and will be backed by SERVPRO® Headquarters team, to ensure the transition to preloss condition happens as easily as possible.  

Ready To Call SERVPRO For Your Disaster Needs? SERVPRO® of Columbia County is here for you. Give us a call at 706-868-5441 Today to schedule a consultation.