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What To Do: Fire & Smoke Damage | North Prince William County

11/15/2023 (Permalink)

Fire and Smoke damage can be devastating! We hope you never have to experience a fire; in case you do, we are here to help and will walk you through the steps to bring your home back to preloss condition. 

There are numerous ways fire damage can devastate homes and businesses. It’s destructive and can leave lingering odors behind not to mention the extensive water damage that results from the firefighter’s efforts to extinguish the flames. The professionals at SERVPRO of North Prince William County, have specialized training, equipment, and experience that will restore your home or place of work back to the way it looked before or even better!

The first steps for SERVPRO of North Prince William County to take your home back to preloss condition.

Step 1: Initial Inspection-

If possible, it’s always good to have your Insurance adjuster present during the first initial inspection but it’s not necessary. We work for you and will work with your adjuster to make the restoration process go as smoothly as possible. It is best if we can all meet at the same time so we can all be on the same page regarding the cleaning and restoration of your home or business. Once the inspection date is set, our Production Manager will meet with you at your home or business to inspect the damages and discuss the cleaning process. They will guide you through step by step, so you know what to expect.  

Once the inspection is complete, they will go over the authorization form and a customer information form to be signed prior to beginning the restoration process.   

Step 2: Content and Structure Cleaning

SERVPRO of North Prince William County has the knowledge, professional equipment and ability to eliminate all traces of a fire. Besides the easily accessible areas, we also examine wall cavities, ductwork, crawl spaces, and plumbing chases to establish whether they also suffered any smoke or fire damage. We will make sure that all fire damage is cleaned, repaired, or removed and leave your home or business "Like it never even happened." Because that is the SERVPRO® way! 

After you, the Adjustor and SERVPRO of North Prince William County have chosen the correct course for your home. SERVPRO will begin the cleaning process of your home or business. Depending on the severity of damage it may be necessary to box up your belongings and bring them back to our cleaning facility. This enables us to clean your contents in a clean environment while the structure cleaning and demoing is being completed. Once all cleaning is finalized of both the structure and your contents, we will bring your belongings back to your home.

Step 3: FINAL WALK Though –

When the cleaning is complete our production manager will do a final walkthrough to address any questions or concerns you may have. Once that is complete, they will present you with a Certificate of Satisfaction form for you to fill out and sign. Your satisfaction is very important to us and we appreciate any feedback you have regarding your experience with SERVPRO of North Prince William County. 

It is our SERVPRO goal to ensure that our customers understand the process and are happy they call us to make their loss “Like it never even happened.”

Who Should You Call? | North Prince William County

11/15/2023 (Permalink)

Marketing rep and State Farm rep at an event. Give us a call 703-368-4399!

After a long rainy season, you notice what looks like mold climbing up the walls of your damp basement, so what’s your next step? Now’s the time to call SERVPRO of North Prince William County! Our production managers are quick to inspect mold growth, determine how it was caused and make a plan of action to remediate and prevent future growth. We know it can be stressful to discover a problem like this in your home, so we are dedicated to walking you through the process of remediation from beginning to end. All our employees, from technicians to office administrators, marketing to managers are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have, and to ensure the process moves quickly and effectively. Of course, we want to help you prevent growth in the first place. Some ways to do that are run a dehumidifier in damp areas of your home, be vigilant for leaks, especially during heavy rains, keep an eye out for any unusual growth as it best to catch it early. If you have any questions about possible mold growth in your home or business or want to learn more about what you can do to prevent it, call the experts at SERVPRO of North Prince William County. We are always Here to Help. We work with all insurance companies. 

Decorate Safely In Your North Prince William Home

11/13/2023 (Permalink)

Pretty lights, candles, and decorations are just a few of the items bringing charm and cheer to the holiday season; however, if they are not used carefully, your holidays may go from festive to frightening. 

The American Red Cross offers the following safety tips to help great reduce the fire risk in your home or business this holiday season: 

  • Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents, and candles.
  • Make sure light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving the property or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or before going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire - like potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains - away from your stove top.
  • Designate one person to walk around your home or business to ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

SERVPRO of North Prince William County professionals wish you all a safe and happy holiday season! 

Christmas Safety Tips | North Prince William County

11/13/2023 (Permalink)

Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. But that also means a greater risk for fire. Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season.

Holiday decorating:

  • Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn. The recommendation is at least 3 feet away.
  • Make sure to water your live trees on a regular basis.
  • Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors.

Holiday Entertaining

  • Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
  • Ask smokers to smoke outside. Remind smokers to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.
  • Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding.

Before heading out, or to bed:

  • Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.

Not So Fun Facts

  • More than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles.
  • More than two of every five decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.

And Remember, SERVPRO of North Prince William County is here if the unfortunate happens 703-368-4399.

The Vital Basics of Smoke Alarm Maintenance

11/10/2023 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms are essential to your North Prince William County home, and you may not realize it until the day comes when they save your life. While it is easy to forget about this tool when it isn’t beeping in your ears, you must keep it in order to keep everyone in your home safe.

Smoke alarms shouldn’t be ignored once they’re installed, and they’ll require your ongoing maintenance to stay in good working order. When flames finally appear, the work you put in to keep your alarms in working order could mean the difference between life and death!

Follow our recommendations for maintaining your smoke alarm and keeping your home free of fire for years to come:

What’s That Beeping Noise?

When you first hear a smoke alarm beep, it can make you panic and cause you to run around your house looking for a fire. If there is no smoke, that annoying chirping could indicate that your smoke alarm needs to be serviced.

Low batteries are the most common cause of a misbehaving smoke alarm. When the batteries in your alarm begin to fail, you’ll hear a chirping sound every now and then, indicating that it needs to be replaced.

Another common cause of beeping is that your alarm needs to be completely replaced. Replacing the batteries will not suffice in this case, and you will need to have a new model installed.

Keep Everything in Check

To protect your ears from that painful beeping when there’s no fire to be found, you’ll need to perform constant TLC! These actions will ensure your smoke alarms are on the job if flames were to break out.

You shouldn’t just check the batteries in your smoke alarms when the time changes; you should check them at the end of each month! This will ensure all of your alarms are in good working order all year long.

With working batteries, smoke alarms can stay in working order for a long time, but they don’t last forever! Retire all of your alarms after 10 years and replace them with a new model.

Are They in the Correct Location?

Your smoke alarms will work best if you install the appropriate number in the appropriate spots in your home. This ensures that your home’s alarms notify you as soon as there is a fire.

The amount you need in your home will vary depending on its size, but it’s a good idea to keep one on each level, inside each bedroom and hallway. Keep them a safe distance away from your cooking appliances, bathrooms and windows to avoid false alarms.

Once your alarms are placed perfectly, remember to test them every month to ensure every alarm inside your home is good to go!

When you have major fire damage, SERVPRO of North Prince William County is here to help. Give us a call, and we’ll rapidly eliminate traces of smoke, soot and flames!

Avoid a Winter Water Emergency in Your North Prince William County Home

11/10/2023 (Permalink)

Winter weather can be a stunning sight to behold. The beauty of snowflakes falling and blankets of white snow covering our town can be breathtaking. But while this weather might be lovely, it also brings an increased danger of water damage to your property.

The accumulation of snow and ice surrounding your home is a water emergency waiting to happen.

Winter’s effects don't have to put your property at risk for water damage. You can take in its beauty while keeping in mind some of the ways that winter weather might cause a water crisis.

Check Your Gutters

  • When it comes to protecting your property from the effects of winter weather, your gutters are a crucial tool. When your gutters are clogged with debris or ice, water can leak down and ruin your roof, basement and foundation. Due to restricted water flow, clogged gutters also increase the risk of an ice dam forming around your home.
  • Make sure your gutters are free of any leftover fall debris like leaves and twigs to allow water to flow smoothly away from your home. If you find your gutters are frozen solid, hot water can help melt any ice stuck inside.

Look Out for Melting Snow

  • It only takes a few inches of snow to create a water damage threat all around your property. And given that the North Prince William County area has been hit by some severe snowstorms in the past, we should take the time to prepare for the unexpected.
  • Snow melt is a common cause of leaks in the winter. As soon as the weather begins to warm up and snow begins to melt, water can flood your foundation, leak through your roof and damage your drain pipes.
  • The potential for snow melt is another reason you should keep your gutters clear of debris. As long as your gutters and downspouts are clear, melting snow will have somewhere to go! 

Protect Your Pipes

  • You aren't the only one who’s freezing cold in the winter, your pipes can get really chilly, too. When the water in your pipes expands when temperatures drop, excess pressure can lead to a rupture. An unfavorable winter water emergency can result from this sudden surge of water flooding into your home.
  • Keep your pipes warm and cozy by adjusting your thermostat and opening up your cabinet doors. If you are wanting to go the extra mile, insulate any exposed pipes and wrap your pipes in heat tape for added protection.

Standard Homeowners Insurance Coverage

11/9/2023 (Permalink)

A standard homeowners insurance policy provides coverage to repair or replace your home and its contents in the event of damage. That usually includes damage resulting from fire, smoke, theft or vandalism, or damage caused by a weather event such as lightning, wind, or hail. Other covered damage could come from external forces like a falling tree.

That coverage includes your heating and cooling systems, along with kitchen appliances, furniture, clothing, and other possessions. Coverage for outbuildings on your property, such as a garage, barn, or shed, along with outdoor grills or fireplaces, swing sets, walls, or fences is also included. A swimming pool or other recreational equipment may also be covered, but those higher-risk items may require additional liability coverage.

In addition, you’re typically covered for living expenses if you need to find alternate lodging while your home is rebuilt. Liability coverage is typically included as well. That means you’ll be reimbursed for medical expenses and legal fees if people that are not living in your home are injured on your property.

SERVPRO of North Prince William County understand the details of your policy, and how much coverage you can expect in the event of a claim. Some lenders only require sufficient homeowners insurance coverage to pay off your mortgage, but in most cases that will not be nearly enough to rebuild your home and replace everything in it.

It’s also important to consider that rebuilding costs may increase. Improvements or additions to made to your home, increased labor or material costs, and changes to zoning requirements might require more coverage.

For all these reasons, you may want to consider a replacement cost homeowners insurance policy rather than an actual cash value policy. The former provides coverage to make repairs or replace your home and its contents at current costs. A cash value policy factors in depreciation due to age, wear and tear, and other factors.

As an example, let’s say a falling tree damages your roof, which was last replaced 10 years ago. A replacement cost policy will pay to replace the roof at today’s cost for labor and materials. An actual cash value policy will deduct 10 years of depreciation. The same logic applies to your furnace, washing machine, and other possessions. Replacement cost is more expensive, but industry experts say it is worth the added cost.

“Know the difference between an actual cash value policy and a replacement cost policy,” says Lynne McChristian of the Insurance Information Institute (III), “The former pays the depreciated cost, so you get less at claim time. With replacement cost, you may pay 10 to15% more for coverage, yet you get much more when you file a claim.”

To estimate how much homeowners insurance coverage you need, multiply the square footage of the home by the local building costs per square foot in your area. For example, if your home is 2,200 square feet and local building costs average $80 per square foot, the cost to rebuild your home would be about $176,000. A local insurance agent should be able to help determine costs in your area. You’ll calculate costs the same way for any outbuildings.

Next, take an inventory of all your possessions with an estimated value. Take photos or videos to provide a visual record. Make a note of where and when you purchased things on your inventory, especially big-ticket items. This will not only provide a record, it will also help determine how much coverage you need, and what items might require additional coverage.

According to the III, most homeowners insurance policies typically cover your belongings at a rate of about 50% to 70% of what your home is insured for. Meaning that if your home is insured for $400,000, you can expect to be reimbursed for somewhere around $200,000 to $280,000 for your furniture, clothing, and other possessions. If your inventory determines that isn’t sufficient for your needs, consider additional coverage.

Riding the Wave: Navigating the Intricacies of Water Damage Restoration

11/9/2023 (Permalink)

Water Seeping Into Structure Don't panic, SERVPRO of North Prince William is here to help! Give us a call at 703-368-4399

The sudden onslaught of water damage can leave anyone feeling overwhelmed. Whether it's caused by natural calamities or plumbing malfunctions, the swift and often unexpected nature of such incidents makes understanding the restoration process incredibly valuable. At SERVPRO of North Prince William County, we aim to demystify this process and guide you through the essential steps to reclaiming your property from water damage.

Water damage restoration, as the name suggests, is a process of mitigating and restoring a property that has been subjected to water intrusion or flooding. It's not merely about extracting the visible water but involves an intricate series of steps designed to address both the immediate and long-term effects of water damage.

One of the most pressing concerns in the face of water damage is the ticking clock. As the minutes roll by, water can seep into the structure of your property, leading to more extensive damage. Structural elements like walls and flooring can absorb moisture, leading to weakening over time. Furthermore, the damp environment becomes a fertile breeding ground for mold and mildew, posing additional health risks. It's essential to promptly seek professional help to limit these escalating issues.

A reputable water damage restoration company like SERVPRO employs specialized equipment and techniques to address this damage efficiently. The restoration process begins with an assessment to understand the extent of the damage. Water extraction tools are then used to remove the bulk of the water from your property, after which drying, and dehumidification techniques come into play. These processes help eliminate residual moisture, averting mold growth and further structural damage.

Water damage doesn't just affect your property physically; it can leave behind odors and potential health hazards. That's why professional restoration also involves cleaning and sanitizing the affected areas, ensuring a safe environment for occupants.

The end goal of any water damage restoration process is to return the property to its pre-damage condition. This involves repairing any damages caused by the water and possibly redecorating the space to its former glory.

Choosing a professional for water damage restoration can save you time and potential financial loss, not to mention reducing the risk of health hazards associated with mold growth. By seeking professional help, you're not just salvaging your property; you're reclaiming your peace of mind.

The devastation of water damage can be immense, but understanding the restoration process can turn the tide in your favor. Remember, the sooner you act, the better your chances of mitigating the damage and reclaiming your property. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be better equipped to navigate the stormy seas of water damage restoration.

Fall Maintenance Checklist

11/8/2023 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of North Prince William County is here to help. Take the time to reduce property damage by taking a few steps this fall to prevent property damage. Winter is around the corner and Virginia temperatures can become cold and harsh. Be prepared by taking a little action by doing a little fall preventative maintenance. 

  • Seal any air leaks
  • Check your roof
  • Clean your gutters and downspouts
  • Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide 
  • Adjust your thermostat
  • Have your furnace inspected 
  • Check your air and water filters 
  • Drain your water heater
  • Check your chimney for any blockages. 

When damage happens SERVPRO of North Prince William County is a phone call away! 703-368-4399.

Fall Fires

11/8/2023 (Permalink)

When the cold weather comes around, more residential homeowners begin to use heating elements to warm their space. Incidents and mishaps with these elements can lead to fires that damage the property. The American Red Cross even notes that the amount of house fires increases in the fall and winter months. 

SERVPRO of North Prince William County knows how frequent fires occur, so we want you to know tips to stay safe this season. If a fire does occur in your residential or commercial space, know that SERVPRO has the professionals to restore the damage. Our teams use their expertise and experience to make a fire disaster “Like it never even happened” and provide 24-hour emergency services. To stay safe this fire season, make sure to test your smoke alarms. Also, check that space heaters are clear of surrounding objects and do not leave them unattended. If you will be using a fireplace, be sure to have it inspected and cleaned of debris. Additionally, replace furnace filters and keep the area clean.