Recent Posts

Hurricane Florence: Class Four to Class Three

9/12/2018 (Permalink)

In recent news, hurricane Florence has led a path of destruction. However, the once, category four hurricane has weakened to a category three hurricane. However, this does not mean that hurricane Florence will not wreak havoc on the Carolina's later this week. With winds up to 125 miles per hour maximum, Florence is forecasted to hit South Carolina by Thursday or Friday where the coast is anticipated to take the most substantial damage. But what is the difference between a category three hurricane and a category four hurricane?
Luckily, but unluckily for South Carolina, a category three hurricane has winds that reach up to 111 to 130 miles per hour. This can cause significant damage to people, property, and animals. With a category three hurricane, damage to poorly framed homes is common, and even damage to buildings framed with wood or steal is not unlikely. During the time after the hurricane lands, electricity and water will not be available for a few days.
Category four hurricanes, formerly hurricane Florence, winds range from 131 to 155 miles per hour. This kind of wind force causes catastrophic damage to all properties, peoples, and animals. If you think you are safe by having enough water and food for four days after a category four hurricane, you are wrong. Power outages and water shortages can last up to a month when a town becomes a victim of a category four hurricane.
Understanding the severity of hurricanes is the first step in preparing you, your family, and your home for any oncoming hurricane damage.
IF YOUR FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY ISSUES AN EVACUATION WARNING, PLEASE EVACUATE YOUR HOME AND FIND A SAFE PLACE.
For any other hurricane damage related issues, please call SERVPRO of Hicksville/Plainview so we can help stop the mitigation of the damage.

How to beat the Long Island Summer Heat

8/30/2018 (Permalink)

Extreme heat is defined as a long period typically 2 to 3 days of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees. In extreme heat , evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.  

Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning. Older adults, children are at greater risk from extreme heat. 

Tips to Beat the Heat wave:

  • Find Air Conditioning: Stay Cool Indoors
  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Watch for heat illness
    • Example: Nausea and vomiting, Headache, Dizziness or Vertigo, Fatigue, Hot flushed dry skin, Rapid heart rate, Profound sweating.
  • Wear light clothing
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • NEVER leave people or pets in a closed car. 
  • Wear Sunscreen 

Staying Informed for up to date alerts and safety tips with your local news station.

If you or someone you know are in need of a cooling station please click  here to find the closest spot to you. 

Good News looks like there is a cold front in the horizon to break these rising temps. 

What Causes Flooding?

7/27/2018 (Permalink)

Besides the unfortunate pipe burst, what normally causes floods? Floods can happen anywhere and can be caused by human-made structures or nature.
The most common cause of a flood is heavy rains. Cities have drainage systems for the sole reason of heavy rains. However, if the system becomes overwhelmed an overflow can occur.
Overflowing rivers are another cause of flooding. Even if you do not experience heavy rains in your area, flooding can occur from rivers if you live upstream of a location that did have heavy rains.
Many urban cities use concrete to build their water basins in case of heavy rains. Even though concrete is durable, it is not permeable so when these basins fill up the water has nowhere else to go and can cause flooding in low-lying areas.
Winter months can also cause flooding. Melting snow and ice, in large quantities, can cause low-lying areas to flood. This only occurs when there is a winter of heavy snowfall.
Flooding can be a severe problem depending on where you live. Check your residential flood maps to see if your home falls in an at-risk area so you can prepare yourself for possible floods. If you home does flood, call SERVPRO of Hicksville and Plainview so we can help you start the restoration process.

Why You Should Never Install Your Carpet Yourself

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

We all have those moments when we think, "I don't need to call a professional. I can do this myself". Where in some cases this may be true, do not try to install your carpet yourself after you have experienced a flood. Flood-damaged carpet and carpet padding need to be dealt with by professionals. Here are some common mistakes people make when they try to DIY their carpet installation.
1. Having a patterned carpet means matching up the pattern as you install. This can be tricky, and some people don't realize that the design doesn't match up until after they completed their installation.
2. People make the mistake of thinking that they don't need proper tools and equipment. When water has damaged your carpet, there is an intensive drying process to make sure mold won't grow under the carpet after installation. This process requires tools not many people have at home.
3. Often when people install their carpet, they come across the dilemma of the floor layout. "Many non-professional flooring installers may not realize that the floor layout has a big impact on how the carpet should be cut. All floors have different shapes and sizes, and usually don't have perfect, clean squares and rectangles. Disregarding this important fact can lead to lumps and mismatched look to the carpet flooring" (SelfGrowth.com, 2018).
4. If you are trying to get the job done as quickly as possible, you might lay the glue down too quickly. Professional carpet installers check to see if the carpet lays right on the floor without puckering before they put the glue down. However, most people overlook this step and go straight to putting the glue down. Once the glue is on, there is no going back so if the carpet was not cut right you might end up with lumps.
Always have professionals install your carpet after a flood. If water has damaged your carpet, call SERVPRO of Hicksville and Plainview so we can start the carpet removal and cleaning process.

What Kind of Fire Extinguisher You Should Have in Your Home

7/24/2018 (Permalink)

State laws do not require you to have a fire extinguisher at your residence. However, knowing what kind of fire extinguisher to buy in case of a fire is imperative. Not all extinguishers can be used across the different classes of fire. So what type of fire extinguisher should you install into your home or apartment? The two most common areas a fire starts are the kitchen and the garage.
The most common type of fire to start in a kitchen is a class F fire that is fueled by cooking oils and grease. Ordinary water will not extinguish these fires due to oil's hydrophobic tendencies. In fact, using water on a class F fire will cause the fire to spread. Having a CO2 extinguisher in the kitchen can help to protect yourself from this common type of fire.
There are a few potential fire hazards that can be present in your garage. The most common are electrical fires and propane fires. These fires can be efficiently and safely put out with ABC powder extinguishers. However, if you are to use this extinguisher, make sure the area is well ventilated because inhaling the powder can cause harm to you or others.
Always know how to safely operate a fire extinguisher before using and check the expiration date every month. If you or someone you know is having a fire emergency, do not attempt to put out the fire yourself. Call SERVPRO® of Port Jefferson for immediate emergency services.

Spring Home Tips & Checklists

3/19/2018 (Permalink)

INTERIOR MAINTENANCE

General Cleaning. Spring is a good time to clean areas of the house that often go neglected. Dust or vacuum chair rails, window casings, tops of wall-mounted cabinets and ceiling fans. Launder or dry-clean fabric draperies and use a damp cloth to clean wood and vinyl blinds. 

If you detect grease residue in the kitchen, consider washing cabinets, backsplashes and walls with warm water and mild detergent. The same is true in the bathroom, where soap residue and fluctuations in heat and humidity combine to create the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. While you’re cleaning tile, look for areas of worn or missing grout, as these may lead to more serious water damage if not repaired.

Air Conditioning. Just as you readied your furnace for fall, now is the time to make sure that air conditioning units are in good working order for the warmer months ahead. Change the filter, check hose connections for leaks, and make sure the drain pans are draining freely. In addition, vacuum any dust that has settled on the unit and connections; over time it can impact the air conditioner’s effectiveness.

Attics. Search for signs that indicate insects and critters have colonized. Also, search aggressively for mold, which often takes the form of “gray or black blotches that look like staining,” according to Tim Gentry, vice president of technical services, DaVinci Roofscapes, Kansas City, KS. Proper insulation and good ventilation will deter mold growth in the attic, so take action now to prevent the problem from developing in the warmer months ahead.

Basements. The basement—prone to dampness and insects—must be part of any thorough seasonal maintenance effort. Dampness suggests higher than normal relative humidity, inadequate ventilation and the need for a dehumidifier. Check the base of poured-concrete walls. 

Leaks. Spring is a good time to check for leaky faucets, clogged drains and sweaty pipes. Check under the kitchen and bathroom sink to make sure connections on pipes and hoses are properly sealed, and look for any wetness around the dishwasher that could signal an existing or potential problem. The same is true of your laundry room; check washer machine hoses for cracks, bulges or dampness. The same is true for hot water heaters, which may show sign of corrosion and leaks.

For more information take a look: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/2355-spring-home-maintenance-checklist/

How to get rid of Holiday stains

12/26/2017 (Permalink)

The holidays are many things: Festive, indulgent, an utter mess. And that indulging, as we all have learned one way or another, can wreak havoc on our clothes and table linens.

More than almost any other time of the year, the holidays are packed with special occasion foods and drinks we consume that create particularly egregious stains.

If your holiday festivities result in all new stains, spills and messes you’d rather not bring into 2018, here’s how to clean them all up.

Gravy and Other Greases

The holidays invite a lot of extra grease stains — delicious, buttery, oily grease stains.

When a grease stain happens, such as when pan drippings splatter on your clothes as you transfer the turkey from the roasting pan to its serving tray, massage a small amount of dish soap into the fabric and flush it with cold running water. Dish soap is designed to cut grease and has the built-in benefit of already being in your kitchen with you and your oily stains, making it convenient for spot-treating.

Of course, if a blob of gravy lands on the tablecloth as you’re ladling it all over your mashed potatoes, you shouldn’t be expected to dash to the kitchen. (The potatoes will get cold!) To treat older or more serious grease stains, dab a small amount of Lestoil or Pine Sol on the stain before laundering the item in cold water.

Because a grease stain can be obscured when fabric is wet, it’s best to air dry, rather than machine dry, because the heat can set stains. If the stain lingers after laundering, retreat it the same way and wash again; sometimes a second treatment is all a stubborn stain needs to be coaxed out.

For older, more set-in grease stains or spots on items that can’t be laundered, cornstarch or talcum will pull up the oil. Simply pile it onto the stain and leave it undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours, then brush away the powder and wipe any residue away with a damp rag or sponge.

Potatoes and Other Starches (Including Sweet Potato and Pumpkin)

Starches present a problem because of their tendency to become so glue-like.

Before laundering, scrape as much of the starchy food off the fabric using a butter knife or the edge of a spoon then flush with cool water to reconstitute the dried-on starch. Then, treat with a small amount of dish soap, liquid laundry detergent or a stain pretreatment product and launder.

Whipped Cream and Other Dairy

Dairy should be flushed with cold water then treated with an enzyme-based stain remover (like Zout) and laundered. It’s important to stick with cold water when treating dairy, whether on your clothes or on the dishes, because hot water will cause dairy to become gummy, making it more difficult to wash away.

Coffee and Tea

When a coffee or tea spill happens, start by flushing the area with running water to push as much of the stain out as possible. Then use dish soap and a light-colored rag or sponge to scrub at the stain, which should come out without too much trouble.

Lipstick

If a guest gets lipstick on your good napkins, don’t panic: Good old rubbing alcohol will take it right out. Apply the rubbing alcohol to cotton ball, rag or light-colored sponge and dab at the lipstick stains. Several passes might be required, so be patient.

If the stain has lightened but a bit of pigment remains, apply a small amount of liquid laundry detergent and wash the item in cold water, checking that the stain is completely gone before drying.

For more useful tips on how to get rid of "Holiday stains" refer to the article from The New York Times

Holiday Cooking Safety

12/22/2017 (Permalink)

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where families gather to cook favorite recipes, share warm meals, and reconnect with each other, especially during the holidays.  Unfortunately, it’s also where two of every five reported home fires start.

  • Take steps to protect your home and family from cooking hazards:
  • Never leave cooking equipment unattended.  Turn off burners if you have to leave the room.
  • Supervise children closely in the kitchen.
  • Prevent fires by making sure your stovetop and oven are clean and free of grease and dust.  Clean the exhaust hood and duct over the stove regularly.
  • Keep the cooking area around the stove/oven clear of combustibles, such as towels, napkins, and pot holders.
  • Wear short or close-fitting sleeves. Loose clothing can catch fire.
  • To protect from spills and burns, use the back burners and turn the pot handles in, away from reaching hands.
  • Locate all appliances away from the sink.
  • Plug countertop appliances into Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)-protected outlets.
  • Keep appliance cords away from hot surfaces like the range or toaster.
  • Unplug the toaster and other countertop appliances when not in use.
  • Be sure to turn off all appliances when cooking is completed.

Fast Facts: 

  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of reported home fires and injuries.  It is also the leading cause of unreported home fires.
  • During 2004-2008, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 154,700 home cooking fires each year.
  • Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires.

Mold during cold weather months

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

The wet season in the winter months is one of the best times of year for molds to grow and expand. Often mold is contained near sources of water where it can easily grow and reproduce. As it grows, mold can breakdown and compromise the integrity and strength of the source in which it lives.

Mold spores are microscopic and are naturally found in the air we breathe indoors and outdoors. Mold can be killed, but if it is not removed properly, it can remain in the area just cleaned and the dry spores can be released into the air. Mold remediation services can help eliminate the mold in your home and personal items affected by water damage.

Prevention, however, is what will help keep your lungs healthy and homes and buildings strong.

General Home and Building Maintenance:

  • Keep all areas clean.
  • Make sure there is good air circulation. Use an exhaust fan or open a window when showering, cooking, and washing the dishes.
  • Prevent mold and water damage by turning off the water flow to broken appliances and pipes.
  • Replace cracked or defective mortar in basements. If you find your basement is wet or has water leaking into it, inspect the outside drainage systems.
  • Spread moisture-barrier materials in crawl spaces over the soil. Heavy roofing paper or plastic film made of polyethylene can be used for this. Make sure there is good ventilation in the crawl space and, if possible, do not enclose it. One may need to use a fan to blow out humid air from under the building.
  • One can get rid of humidity or dampness within a building by heating it for a short time. After heating, open up the doors and windows, or use an exhaust fan, to let out the air that is moist.
  • Hire a professional roofing contractor to cover a damaged roof with a tarp or tent. This will help protect the building from the elements.
  • If there are freezing temperatures, take measures to insulate pipes inside and out to ensure they will not crack and/or burst.
  • Make sure all the seals on the windows and doors are not compromised and in good-working condition.
  • Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
  • Make sure the ground around your building slopes away from the foundation so water does not collect around or enter in to it.
  • Act quickly if you see condensation on windows, pipes, or walls inside a building. Dry out the area and determine if the source of the condensation is from a leak or the result of high humidity.

After a Flood or Heavy Rains:

  • Work fast. Call in a mold remediation service, which will help in the cleaning and disinfecting of your home from toxins and spores mold can release.
  • Lower the humidity and temperature in the building: molds do not like these conditions. Open up windows if the air outside is less humid than the air inside. Otherwise, turn on an air conditioner and a dehumidifier.
  • Dispose of moldy items in a sealed bag. Objects that can be saved should be frozen (which deactivates mold) or dried out. Mold remediation services can assist with restoring many of your items, including documents, pictures, and books.
  • Make sure there is good ventilation within the building affected. Use a fan, if necessary, to promote good air circulation.
  • Remove as much standing water in a building as quickly and safely as possible after disconnecting all electronic equipment inside the building.
  • The two key things to remember in mold prevention are: 1. Keep everything clean, and 2. Keep everything dry. Many simple steps can be taken to prevent mold damage as well as water damage during the winter months. However, keep the number for a mold remediation service handy should you require their services. These professionals can efficiently and quickly ensure your home is safe, dry, and mold-free.

Ways You May Be Ruining Your Wood Floors

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Forgetting to Sweep

Sweeping and vacuuming hardwood floors isn't only a good cleaning tip, but it can also lengthen the life of your floors. Dust, dirt, and other abrasive particles can scratch and dull the finish of wood floors once they’re underfoot. Tidying up often, though, will keep them from causing lasting damage.

Using the Wrong Vacuum Attachments

Vacuuming is an important chore for keeping dust and dirt off of your wood floors and out of tiny cracks and crevices—but use the right attachments. The beater bar on your vacuum can gouge wood floors; instead use the hardwood brush attachment.

Mopping

Water is a wood floor’s worst enemy. Moisture can penetrate the wood’s fibers causing boards to swell, cup, warp, and separate. If your hardwood floors need a deep clean, use a barely damp mop or cloth and then dry the floor immediately and completely with a towel.

Letting Spills Wait

Dried and caked on spills can take a lot of force to remove, if left to sit. Avoid that trouble (and possible damage) by wiping spills up immediately with a soft, clean cloth. If you need to use a spot of water to lift the spill, be sure to dry the floor thoroughly with a clean towel.

Wearing High Heels

No one would ever take a tiny hammer to their floors, but walking on wood with high heels can do similar damage. The force of walking in these sharp shoes can easily ding and scratch wood floors, so check them at the door. You can minimize the risk of scratches from other damaging items by placing floor protectors under table and chair legs, and keeping the dog's claws clipped and trimmed.

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