Recent Posts

Potential Thunderstorm Dangers

7/13/2022 (Permalink)

Lightning Always seek shelter if lightning is present

In Vermont, thunderstorms are a fairly regular occurrence during the summer months—enough so that people tend to become immune to the threat they pose over time. While many thunderstorms occur without serious repercussions, there is always the potential that damage will occur, and danger is imminent.

Any storm that produces thunder is considered a thunderstorm. Any time there is thunder, there is lightning as well. A thunderstorm is upgraded to severe if winds reach a speed of 58 miles per hour and hail is greater than one inch in diameter, both of which can cause significant threats to your property and person.

The Threats That Severe Thunderstorms Pose

Damage and injury from lightning strikes. As previously mentioned, every thunderstorm contains lightning even if you are not able to see it. Lightning-related injuries occur approximately 300 times every year, and there are even more incidents reported of lightning causing house fires or causing trees to topple onto buildings. There are many myths about where lightning will and will not strike, but really, anywhere can become a viable target during a storm.

Property damage due to hail. While hail does not occur during every storm, if the thunderstorm is classified as severe that means hail will be present. Hail can present serious dangers to property and can also cause injury if someone is caught outside in the storm. Hail has been known to not only dent cars, but also damage the siding and roofs of homes that are in its path due to the serious speeds it can fall at if conditions are right.

Harm from flash flooding. Though flooding is often associated with waterways, flash floods can occur for a variety of reasons during heavy rain. Storm drain backups and overwhelmed tributaries are extremely common, meaning that nearly anywhere can flood if the conditions are right. Floodwaters can knock people off their feet, carry away cars and cause significant injuries or death, so stay far away from any area that has rising water.

Despite the potential harm that can occur when a storm rolls in, our team here at SERVPRO Burlington/Middlebury has your back. You can have peace of mind knowing that we’re available in your time of need 24/7.

Make Sure You Understand Your Commercial Insurance Policy

7/5/2022 (Permalink)

Our team at SERVPRO Burlington/Middlebury often works with commercial clients who find themselves with various damages affecting their businesses. According to the Insurance Information Institute, for small businesses without specialized risks, a Business Owners Policy (BOP) may offer the basic property and liability coverage that you need. However, if your company is growing in size and complexity or you face specialized risks due to the nature of your business you may want to consider purchasing a Commercial Package Policy, or CPP for short.

Customized insurance under one policy

Like a BOP, a CPP enables you to bundle various types of coverage within a single policy. However, while a BOP has limitations, it is only available for certain types of smaller businesses and covers only a few types of risk. Commercial Package Policies are available for a wide range of businesses and can be better customized to the specific needs of your business. Most CPPs begin with:

  • Property insurance- Covers damage or destruction of buildings, equipment, inventory and more.
  • General liability insurance- Covers costs if someone is injured at your business or from using your product or service.

From there, you can add a range of coverages to your CPP, including:

  • Business income insurance- Also known as business interruption insurance, this replaces lost revenues and covers extra expenses if your business has to shut down or relocate due to fire, wind damage or other covered losses.
  • Business vehicle (or fleet) insurance- Covers vehicles owned and used by your business.
  • Business crime insurance- Covers losses from burglary, computer fraud, employee dishonesty and other business crimes.
  • Commercial umbrella liability- Increases and broadens liability coverage, filling in gaps left by other coverages.
  • Electronic data processing coverage- Covers costs associated with the loss or damage of electronic data processing media or equipment.
  • Equipment breakdown—Also known as boiler and machinery insurance, this covers losses from the malfunction of heating, electrical, air conditioning, telephone systems and other equipment.
  • Employment practices liability—Covers costs tied to disputes with employees over termination, discrimination, sexual harassment and other employment issues.
  • Inland marine—Covers the transport of goods over water and land, providing comprehensive protection for assets that are moveable or mobile in nature, while in transit—such as from a warehouse to a store—or in storage.
  • Pollution liability—Covers costs related to pollution, including clean-up and personal injury.

A range of other types of insurance covering professional liability, supply chain risk, terrorism, farming or ranching losses, and more can also be included in a CPP.

What a CPP doesn’t cover

A CPP can provide your business with coverage against a broad range of risks. That said, it’s important to recognize that your CPP will not include:

  • Directors and Officers (D&O) liability
  • Health and disability
  • Life insurance
  • Workers compensation

These coverages must be purchased separately so make sure to discuss your additional insurance needs with your insurance professional in order to obtain the protection you need.

Key Tips For Reducing Water Damage

6/28/2022 (Permalink)

Running Faucet Never leave a running faucet unattended!

Important Water Damage Response Tips:

Our team at SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury will always be there for you in a pinch. However, we want to make sure that you have all the tips and tools you need to help minimize the damage and keep yourself safe before we arrive. Please keep in mind that these tips are only for Category 1 water situations, which is water that originates from a sanitary source and poses no substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure.

  • Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the home/building when access to the power panel is safe from electrical shock.
  • Remove excess water by mopping or blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove Oriental or other colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Do not use a regular vacuum to remove water.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of areas where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
  • Do not leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpeting.

Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time if not properly mitigated. The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property.  If you have any questions or need help to ensure your property is drying properly, contact SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury at (802) 497-1101. 

Primary Causes of Fires

6/22/2022 (Permalink)

Active Kitchen Fire Kitchens are the most common places of origin for house fires

Our team at SERVPRO Burlington/Middlebury wants you to be aware of statistics regarding primary causes of house fires. Careless smoking is the leading cause of residential fire deaths. Smoke detectors and smolder-resistant bedding and upholstered furniture are significant fire deterrents. Arson is the second largest cause of residential fires and residential fire deaths. In commercial properties, arson is the major cause of deaths, injuries and dollar loss. Heating is the third leading cause of residential fire deaths. Heater fires are the leading cause of fire deaths in the southeastern U.S. Wood stoves are particularly a problem in the northern U.S.. Cooking is the leading cause of apartment fires and the second most frequent cause of single-family residential fires. These fires often result from unattended cooking and human error, rather than from mechanical failures of stoves or ovens.

Top Ten Areas of Origin

  1. Kitchen 27.1%
  2. Bedroom 12.7%
  3. Den 8.7%
  4. Chimney 8.3%
  5. Laundry Area 3.7%
  6. Heating Area 3.1%
  7. Garage 2.6%
  8. Bathroom 2.0%
  9. Hallway 1.4%
  10. Closet 1.3%

Where Fires Occur

  • People living in urban and rural areas have a much higher risk of dying in a fire than those living in suburban areas and small towns
  • About 65% of all residential fire tragedies occur in single-family homes and duplexes
  • At least 785 fire deaths occur in apartments each year. 20% of all structural fires are in apartments -- typically 60, 000 fires per year.
  • About 80 people die in hotel/motel fires annually. Careless smoking is the leading cause of these deaths.

What Saves Lives

  • A working smoke detector doubles a person's chance of surviving a fire. Approximately 86% of U.S. homes have at least one smoke detector.
  • About 64% of residential fire deaths occur in the 18% of U.S. homes with no smoke detectors.
  • Between 75% to 90% of all residential fire deaths could be prevented if residential sprinklers were used in conjunction with smoke detectors.
  • Residential Sprinklers can now be connected to standard home plumbing systems and activated at the point where fire strikes, minimizing injuries and localizing property damage.

You can be rest assured that your home can be cleaned and restored to home again by our team at SERVPRO Burlington/Middlebury. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year in your time of need.

Things To Consider When Buying a Home in a Flood Zone

6/21/2022 (Permalink)

Vermont Flood Damage Hurricane Irene caused immense damage all throughout the state in 2011

There are a handful of areas in Vermont that are prone to the risks of flooding. Before you buy a flood zone home, you should know the different risks and benefits involved. Read on to learn more about the associated risks and if it is worth it for you.

What Are Flood Zones?

A flood zone includes any area that FEMA has calculated the risk of. The designation they receive ranges from low-risk to high-risk for flooding areas. Additionally, they will be categorized into one of the following:

  • Special Flood Hazard Areas
  • Non-Special Flood Hazard Areas


How Can You Determine if a Home Is at Risk?
It is effortless to tell if the house you are interested in is at risk. Often, you can ask the real estate agent if it is in a flood zone. Otherwise, you can visit FEMA's website and check their maps. Either way, it is important to know this information as soon as possible. Visit https://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/rivers/river-corridor-and-floodplain-protection/river-corridor-and-floodplain-maps/fema-updates for FEMA flood map updates and more information.

 
How Does It Affect the Price?
Houses in Special Flood Hazard Areas are often priced lower than houses outside of these areas. Many people choose them because of the community they are in. For instance, waterfront properties are prone to floods. These houses are chosen because of the lifestyle and community they offer. It is important to consider, however, that flood insurance is often required in these areas. Although the cost of the property may be initially lower, these insurance costs will continue to add up over time.


What Should You Look for in a House?
Before purchasing an at-risk house, do your homework. Have a company perform an inspection to look for any signs of previous damage. Some states will require that this information is given to potential buyers. In this case, you will know about the flood history ahead of time. However, other states do not require this information to be disclosed. Because Vermont is not a full disclosure state, you will want to have the structure and damage investigated. Before buying a house, you will want to think about if it is at risk of storm and water damage. It is easy to find out if your potential house is in a Special Flood Hazard Area. While these houses may be cheaper, you should have the house inspected to avoid getting something that is already damaged and keep in mind the potential flood insurance cost.

Regardless of where you choose to set down roots, our team at SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury is here to support you in any event of disaster. We have specially trained technicians and equipment to help mitigate damages from future storms.

Say Goodbye To The Smell Of Fire Damage

6/16/2022 (Permalink)

Soot Residue Soot leaves a thick residue wherever it settles

Our team at SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury is aware of the emotional stress that occurs when one experiences a fire in their home. Fire incidents can cause several uncertainties including whether or not the property can regain its preloss state. Perhaps the most daunting task is removing the noxious odor left after the fire. In many cases, a combination of approaches is required to achieve the desired results. Our team has IICRC certified Odor Control Technicians that can inspect your property and apply the right strategies to restore your home to its preloss state.
 
Partially burnt contents and other residues contribute most of the odor after an incident here in Vermont occurs. Removing burnt remains and cleaning up surfaces are the first necessary steps to greatly reduce the smell. Since it is possible to restore some items affected by the fire, our SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury technicians move salvageable and questionable items to offsite facilities for thorough restorative cleaning. We are happy to store your contents for you while this process ensues. Such removal allows us to establish whether there are other odor sources that require further deodorization.
 
Odor-causing substances penetrate materials in different forms. In the case of fires, they are typically in aerosol or gaseous form. Deodorization is more effective when the removal process replicates the method of deposit so that the deodorizing agent can penetrate as far as the malodor. Our SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury technicians use fogging equipment such as the ULV (Ultra Low Volume) fogger that produces a fine mist with particles 8-15 microns in size. The deodorizing agent combines with the odor particles in order to neutralize them. Our IICRC training ensures that we take all the necessary precautions including removing pets, plants, and people from the areas we plan to fog.
 
After fires, some particles remain airborne for a time, so it is essential to remove them to rid the property of all bad smells. Blowing the air from the property can help remove the particles by increasing the fresh air flowing in. Our team use box fans, which generate airflow of up to 5000 cubic feet of air per minute. We also use air scrubbers with HEPA filters that can remove particles as small as .3 micron. Call SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury as soon as your loss occurs so we can put your peace of mind in our professional hands.

How to Avoid Water Damage From a Failed Hot Water Heater

6/15/2022 (Permalink)

Hot Water Heater Leak Hot water heater failure can cause significant damage if left untreated

Our team at SERVPRO Burlington/Middlebury wants you to be aware of all the potential sources of water damage to your home or business. Water damage from a broken water heater can ruin a home quickly. Fortunately, before they break, these appliances give off warning signs their service life is coming to an end.

Homeowners can avoid water damage from their hot water tank if they pay attention to some of the most common issues that arise before failure. These warning signs include:

  • There is only cold water emitted from the tap.
  • The water gets warm but never hot and goes cold quickly.
  • The water heater rumbles or knocks
  • The hot water has a muddy look from the tap.
  • The water from the tank appears to be rusty.
  • You notice a metallic smell or taste, especially when taking a shower or bath.
  • There is noticeable water leaking from the water heater.
  • Your water has a metallic smell or taste.
  • Water is leaking around your water heater.

Expect a Large Amount of Water

A small water tank holds on average around 50 to 60 gallons of water; larger residential sizes run 80-gallons or more. Now, imagine that water on your floor. When the location of the tank is on an upper story in the home, the amount of water on the floor can quickly affect the ceiling and things in lower levels of the house. 

Common Issues to Avoid

Fast extraction is necessary to limit the damage to the home. Our team of professionally trained technicians use advanced moisture detection equipment to determine if the water is within the floor joints or wall cavities, requiring additional actions such as removal of baseboards or weep holes to assist with drainage. 

At the first sign of water damage from your hot water heater, do not hesitate to contact SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury. Our technicians are available 24/7 to restore your home to its preloss condition, "Like it never even happened."

Vermont State Employee Credit Union

6/14/2022 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Loss Drying out the 2nd floor at the Vermont State Employee Credit Union

Water damage emergencies resulting in flooding don't always happen during normal business hours which is why SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury is available 24/7 to help you in your time of need.

Flooding and water damage are very invasive disasters. Water quickly spreads throughout the structure and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture and more. SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury will always arrive quickly after being contacted and start the water extraction process immediately. This immediate response will help to minimize the damage and the overall restoration costs.

Our most recent emergency water loss call came when a local credit union in Montpelier realized upon opening that a hot water heater on the third floor had sprung a leak. This means that the water damage itself was present on all three floors as it had made its way down to the ground level. Our team at SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury was called in panic and we were there to help in under an hour. Our team of experts came in with a can-do attitude to save this company any further damage.

Where Did These Holes In My Walls Come From?

6/13/2022 (Permalink)

Drying Equipment Storm damage mitigation caused by floodwater

Our experienced technicians here at SERVPRO Burlington/Middlebury have advanced restoration methods storm damage in your home that results in flooding.

During floodwater cleanup in your home, it is not uncommon to see little holes drilled side by side down walls. These are known as "weep holes," and they perform the dual functions of encouraging drainage and allowing for more significant airflow. In some cases, this early action can assist in saving the sheetrock from additional damage.    

What Does Controlled Demolition Look Like During Flood Damage Restoration Services?    

The term "controlled demolition" may sound too destructive to get associated with flood damage to your home or business property; however, it can work in your favor in the following ways:   

 Making flood cuts in sheetrock can save entire portions of a wall, so the whole area does not need to come down

  • Technicians determine the areas of loss using their equipment and remove flooring as required for drying
  • On a case-by-case basis, hardwood floorboards can be dried and reinstalled saving the homeowner the cost of replacement

It is not an unusual occurrence to have to remove carpet and padding that took on too much water. In cases where the sheetrock absorbed moisture and began to deteriorate, entire portions of wall or ceilings may have to be taken down and disposed of. When this situation occurs, our technicians spend adequate time ensuring that the structure's interior is dry. The level of dryness is verified using professional monitoring equipment both during and after the drying phase of mitigation. 

 Cleaning and disinfection are critical components of the cleanup process and ensures the home gets returned for a sanitary standard for habitation. The cleaning agents we use at SERVPRO Burlington/Middlebury are professional-grade antibacterial and antimicrobial solutions, many of which are exclusive formulations.

Never hesitate to call us at SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury for flood damage restoration in any part of your home. Our team is available 24/7 and make sure to arrive quickly to decrease potential damage and return your home or business to its preloss condition. 

Why Did My Hardwood Floors Buckle?

6/13/2022 (Permalink)

Hardwood Floor Buckling Prolonged exposure to moisture can warp even the heartiest hardwood

It is difficult to overlook the obvious when your hardwood floors begin to buckle, but have you ever wondered why? The short answer to that question is moisture. Moisture causes wooden textures to expand as they retain it. The question that requires more thought process is: where is the moisture coming from? Our team at SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury want you to be aware of all scenarios. Here are a few examples of what may have been the cause of your flooring issues:

  • Slow leakage- In some cases, there may be a slow leak that has gone unnoticed and caused damage to its surrounding areas, including wooden floors. Once your floor has buckled it usually has to be replaced due to the expansion of the wood itself. 
  • Seasonal Moisture- During more humid seasons like spring, it is a good idea to set up dehumidifiers in areas of your home or business that are more susceptible to humidity collection. It would take quite a bit of time for this to cause your wooden boards to buckle up, but this is still a possibility. 
  • Water damage- Water damage is the most common reason that we see all the time that causes permanent damage to your wooden floors. The quicker you assess the water damage, the more likely you are to salvage them from buckling up.

 We recommend that you follow your flooring manufacturer guidelines to properly maintain and treat your wooden floors in order to prevent damaging them. When water damage itself does occur, the best solution would be to call us at SERVPRO of Burlington/Middlebury as soon as possible. The sooner we can address the issue, the less damage that will ultimately occur. Our team is here 24/7 in your time of need!