Recent Posts

How Smoke Odors Affect Your Home

4/29/2022 (Permalink)

If you’ve ever sat around a campfire, you know that the smoke odor clings to everything. Your clothes, belongings, even your hair, can smell like campfire smoke for days afterwards. The same is true in the unfortunate event that your home or business experiences a fire. These particles coat your walls and belongings and everything else the smoke touches leaving a residue and foul odor behind that’s difficult to get rid of. In order to understand these odors and how to fix them, it’s important to first understand what smoke really is and how it’s created during a fire.

All of the items in your home are made up of various different compounds, some are flammable, and some are not. For example, in a piece of wood you’ll find water, cellulose, carbon and other minerals, and volatile organic compounds or hydrocarbons (a compound is “volatile” if it evaporates when heated). Smoke happens when there is incomplete combustion of a fuel source. When there is complete combustion, everything is burned and these hydrocarbons are converted into water and carbon dioxide, but in incomplete combustion not all of the particles are burned. Visible smoke is a collection of these unburned particles in various forms. Ash is also another by product of fires and consists of the non-flammable minerals that did not burn.

When these hydrocarbons in the items in your home are evaporating and turning into a gas (smoke) these microscopic particles are spread all over the house through the air. This smoke can also carry tiny solid (carbon/soot) and liquid particles from the burning materials as well. As it travels through your home these particles are left behind on your belongings and everything else the smoke comes in contact with. Some of these compounds left behind include the nasty odor causing particles that we perceive as smells.

Depending on the fuel sources (wood, protein, plastic, etc.) the compounds that make up these smoke particles will be different and will change what’s left behind, how it needs to be cleaned up, and how it smells too. For example, wood fires often create a powdery dry smoke that’s easier to clean up visually, but the particles are small and can easily settle into porous materials making the smells linger even after the house “looks” clean. Plastic fires often create a “wet” smoke that carries extremely sticky particles that are very difficult to clean.

Getting rid of smoke odors can often be a whole separate task on its own from cleaning up the smoke damage like soot and stains, that often requires special cleaners or equipment like ozone or hydroxyl generators. This equipment releases what’s called radicals in the air that can either bond to the odor particles causing them to fall from the air due to the added weight where they can be cleaned easier or help to decompose them and neutralize the smells.

As you can see, there’s a lot more going on in smoke and the odors it creates than meets the eye. Here at SERVPRO of Hampton North our technicians are constantly training to use the latest techniques and equipment in fire and smoke damage restoration to help ensure that we can get your home or business back in order in the most efficient and effective way possible. Remember that the longer the longer these smoke particles sit on your belongings the harder it will be to fully get rid of them and the more damage they can cause! We’re available for emergency services 24/, 365 days a year so please give us a call and let us know what we can do for you.

Tips for Water Damage Clean Up

4/22/2022 (Permalink)

When your Hampton home is struck with severe water damage or a flood it can be hard to know where to even begin. That’s why we wanted to share some tips and for dealing with water or flood damage to help make sure you’re as informed as possible should you find yourself in this scenario.

Flood and Water Damage Best Practices

First and foremost, when returning to your home after a flood, safety should be your top priority. Only return to flood areas when you know it is safe to do so.

  • Safety Check:
    • Turn off water and electric if it is safe to access (not standing in water)
    • Look for damaged gas and power lines
    • Check for structural damage (foundation cracks, exterior damage, broken supports, bowed floors and walls, soft stairs, or shifted stairs)
  • DO NOT:
    • Go inside if you see visible major structural damage
    • Turn on any electrical appliances until it is confirmed safe to do so
    • Turn on lights if ceilings are wet
    • Walk under ceilings that are sagging or showing signs of heavy water damage
    • Walk on floors with heavy warping or sagging
    • Touch anything without proper safety gear (flood waters can be heavily contaminated with sewage, animal waste, etc.)

Once you’ve assessed the safety situation and you are ready to begin cleaning there are some things that you should do.

  • Water Pipes
    • Check and make sure the toilets are not backed up before using
    • Make sure that running water in your home is not contaminated and safe to drink
  • Structure
    • Look for items that may be about to fall over or collapse (cabinets, shelving, etc.)
    • Patch holes in the walls and roof, if you can safely access these areas, with tarps and boards
  • Other
    • Remove as much debris as possible (Wet items are extra heavy, use caution)
    • Use wet vacs (if you have electricity), mops, towels, or anything else you can to remove standing water

While you’re beginning these first steps of clean up, now would be a good time to contact a professional water damage restoration service. Here at SERVPRO of Hampton North our technicians are trained to use the latest technology and mitigation strategies to make clean up as efficient as possible and ensure the job is done right. While it is possible to do some of this work yourself, the costs of DIY clean up can quickly rise between time lost, machine rentals and all of the supplies required. You may also need to work with contractors for insurance purposes. SERVPRO boasts a healthy relationship with home insurance agents, and we can work directly with them to help streamline the process.

Does Bleach Clean Mold?

3/29/2022 (Permalink)

When someone discovers there is mold growing in their home, many will immediately reach for their bottle of bleach. According to the EPA, bleach is NOT recommended for cleaning mold. Continue reading to find out why:

  • Bleach is a surface disinfectant that kills organisms on hard surfaces. It loses effectiveness when used on surfaces that are porous or soft. Mold grows deeper into these porous materials and bleach cannot kill it there.
  • Bleach can breakdown the material you’re trying to clean. In addition to not being affective against cleaning mold off of wood due to its porosity, bleach can breakdown the fibers of the wood as well causing more damage on top of the mold damage.
  • Bleach can give you chemical burns if handled improperly and isn’t good to use unless you are in a well-ventilated area with proper protection. You can use natural products like vinegar to help combat mold.
  • The water in bleach can foster mold growth. If an area is not properly dried out after using bleach, since it is ineffective at killing mold spores in porous materials, the moisture from the bleach can cause the mold to grow back.
  • While bleach can kill surface mold, even dead spores can still arise. In order to properly mitigate for mold, you need to completely remove it.

While small mold issues can potentially be handled by yourself with natural cleaning methods and attentive drying, large growth infestations should be left to professionals. SERVPRO of Hampton North is IICRC certified in mold remediation and is here to help. Fill out a form online, or give us a call and let us know what we can do for you.

Drain Cleaner

3/10/2022 (Permalink)

Clogs in your drains are something most, if not all home or business owners experience at some point or another. Plumbers can be expensive, and sometimes a drain snake just doesn’t do the trick, so many people will use drain cleaner to try and clear up clogs. Drain cleaner can be a useful tool in your home plumbing arsenal, but it’s important to know when drain cleaner can actually cause more problems than solve them.

Chemical drain cleaners rely on a chemical reaction that creates heat to help break up whatever is clogging your drain. This process works well, but here are a few scenarios in which chemical drain cleaners can cause more harm than good:

  • Older, metal pipes – The oxidation that occurs can start to cause pipes to corrode and leak.
  • Incorrect use in plastic pipes – Because of the heat producing chemical reaction, improper use in plastic pipes can cause warping or even melt the pipes.
  • A completely blocked drain – When the drain is completely blocked the cleaner will sit in the pipe for too long and can start to degrade the pipes and cause leaks.

You should try to exhaust your other means of unclogging the drain first but as long as you follow the instructions on the cleaner, are aware of the risks involved, and make sure your pipes can handle the heat that’s produced, a drain cleaner can be a good option for you.

We hope that these tips will help you avoid any damage to your pipes but if a clogged pipe causes water damage in your home give us a call and find out how we can help!

What Are The Difference Types of Floods?

2/7/2022 (Permalink)

Floods are the most widespread natural disaster to occur. They can cause significant damage with only a small amount of water and can happen almost anywhere in the country. 98% of United States counties have experienced a flood event. Here are some of the main kinds of floods so that you can better understand how they work and how to best protect yourself and your property.

Flash Floods – These floods typically cover a smaller area and can happen with little to no notice at all. These floods occur when heavy rainfall cannot be handled by the area where it’s falling (the rain is falling faster than it can be absorbed by the land) and instead rises quickly. These floods are fast moving and can take out trees, cars, and large rocks.

Coastal Floods – These are floods from storm surges in coastal areas. Wind from the storms pushes water inward and when these powerful waves breach the coastal landmasses the areas can flood.

River (Fluvial) Floods – These are floods that are caused by riverbank, lake or streams that overflow due to an extensive amount of rainfall or snowmelt over an extended period of time. River floods typically aren’t the most dangerous, however they can cause dams to break so the damage can quickly become very costly for the surrounding areas.

Urban Floods – Floods in urban areas are typically caused when a city’s drainage system cannot keep up with the amount of precipitation. Sewers can back up, and the streets can fill with water. Many urban floods can also fall under the flash flood category, showing up very quickly. These floods make driving incredibly dangerous and can cause an immense amount of property damage to the affected areas. Because of the nature of these floodwaters, these floods are also considered to be blackwater, that is highly contaminated, and the cleanup should always be left to professionals.

With water damage from any kind of floods it’s imperative that the cleanup and remediation begins as soon as possible to help prevent further secondary damage. That’s why SERVPRO responds faster to any size disaster. We offer emergency services 24/7 365 days a year and our team of highly trained technicians are ready to handle whatever is thrown at us. So, don’t delay and give us a call and let us know how we can help.

What is Safe To Use After a Fire?

1/21/2022 (Permalink)

The dangers of a fire are unfortunately not over once the flames have been put out. One of the more difficult tasks is trying to figure out what is safe to keep and salvage and what should be gotten rid of. Here is a list of the items that should be discarded after a fire.

Perishable Foods – Any foods in cabinets or on counters should be thrown out. It is impossible to tell if the microscopic smoke particles have permeated these items and smoke can even penetrate into packaged goods. If your fridge lost power in the fire or if you see that soot has gotten inside, then everything should be thrown out. The same principle goes for anything in the freezer.

Non-Perishable Foods – Despite the fact that many canned foods are good for multiple years it is possible for harmful particles to penetrate the aluminum and contaminate the foods. Any items regardless of if they are sealed or not should be thrown out if they show any signs that they have come into contact with heat, smoke, or firefighting chemicals.

Cosmetics – Even if there was no damage to the area where your cosmetics are located, soot and smoke can get into them. If there is any signs of soot or firefighting chemicals on or near your cosmetics they should be thrown out. If these harmful contaminants are in your items they can be absorbed through your skin when you use them.

Medicines – This one is difficult because often times medicines are expensive or hard to replace. Unfortunately, medicines are also easily tampered with. Heat from the flames can alter the chemicals and reactions to medication, water or firefighting chemicals from putting the fire out can contaminate the medications and alter their effectiveness, or even cause you to ingest harmful chemicals. The same goes for soot and smoke in respects to medications. It’s best practice to just throw the medicines out and get replacements to avoid anything harmful.

Textiles – While it is definitely possible to salvage clothing, bedding and other items after a fire, anything that has direct heat damage or charring is not savable and should be thrown away as they are not able to be properly cleaned or disinfected.

If you’re ever unsure if a product is safe for you to try and salvage or not, as the saying goes “when in doubt throw it out.” If you have any questions about if an item can be saved or how to clean them your best contact will be your fire restoration company. Here at SERVPRO of Hampton North our technicians have years of experience in fire damage remediation and will be able to tell you whether or not your items can be saved and how to do so.

Is Your Business Ready for Winter Weather?

1/14/2022 (Permalink)

Is your business ready for the incoming winter season? With colder temperatures and inclement weather coming in, there’s a whole new set of things to watch out for and prepare for. We here at SERVPRO of Hampton North wanted to share with you some winter tips to make sure that the holiday season for your business goes off without a hitch!

  • Paths, entrances, and floors should be clear. 
    • Keep mats at entrances that help to absorb any water that may get tracked in
    • Make sure to have someone arranged to clear snow/ice from outside walkways, parking lots and roads
    • If conditions are icy consider sand or salt to help prevent people from slipping
  • Heating your business
    • The inside of your building should be at least 40-45°F to help prevent any pipes from freezing
    • Consider doing a walk through of your business before it gets too cold and make sure that all windows, doors, etc., are all properly weather sealed to prevent drafts and costly heating bills
  • Have a plan
    • Have an emergency plan should something go wrong
    • Make plans on how to communicate with employees regarding storms and how to handle things should the storms get serious
    • Inspect all snow equipment and ensure it’s in good condition

While we hope these tips help to prevent you from being forced to call us in an emergency, should you find your business on the receiving end of a frozen and busted pipe, or any other sort of winter water damage to your property, our team of professionals are equipped to handle any size commercial losses. We’re trained to take care of anything from mom-and-pop shops, to large multi floor hotels. SERVPRO of Hampton North is here to help, so give us a call!

Winter Weather Tips

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Hampton North cares about you and your family and we want you to get the most out of this year’s winter season! That’s why we would like to share this quick tip with you!

Did you know that your ceiling fans are meant to change directions during the wintertime? That’s right! In the colder months when you are using heat in your home instead of cooling it, you can change the direction of your ceiling fans to help keep your home warmer and save on electricity! This works because of the angle of your ceiling fan blades. When it’s warm and you want to cool off you turn on your fan and it blows the air down onto you creating the cooling effect you were looking for.

In the winter, you change the direction that the fan spins, and the air blows up instead towards the ceiling. This helps to distribute the hot air that has risen towards the top of the room and recirculates it back down to the ground around the outside of the room, and it doesn’t blow any air on you, preventing the cooling effect from happening.

We hope you’ll get some use out of this tip now that things are starting to get colder! Don’t forget that if you should find yourself in need of any home restoration help that you can give us a call at any time and we’ll be there!

Saving Your Clothes After a Fire

1/6/2022 (Permalink)

Home fires are traumatic for multiple reasons, other than the dangers and health risks, getting back to normal life after a fire, can be hard when your belongings have been damaged and smell like smoke or are covered in soot. We at SERVPRO of Hampton North wanted to share with you a few tips to help you manage the smoke and soot damage to your clothing so that you can get back to normal life as soon as possible.

First, you should go through and separate all of your damaged clothing from things that managed to get out unscathed. Smoke and soot particles are often oily and easily cause stains and transfer from item to item, so to protect your undamaged clothes you should separate them out and cover them with plastic as soon as you can.

Once everything is separated you should immediately take the clothes outside to dry as to prevent mold growth from occurring.

Take the damaged clothing and gently shake them to try and get some of the soot that is on them off. You can use a vacuum to help with this but be sure to not touch the clothing with the vacuum or use any attachments with bristles as you can run the risk of smearing the oily soot or cause it to permeate deeper into the fabric, and permanently stain your clothing.

It’s important to remember to not wash your clothing normally, before making sure that you’ve removed the smoke odor from them. If you don’t when you wash your clothes, the smoke particles causing the odor will seep into the water and instead of going away will be evenly distributed across the clothing as it sits in this water in the washer. You can use a solution of vinegar and water to help remove the odors before the clothes are washed.

While it is possible to try to remove the smoke/soot damage and odors from your clothing yourself, it’s best to contact professionals, like our highly trained technicians, who have advanced equipment that’s designed with that specific task in mind. This helps increase the amount of clothes that you can salvage as well as a faster solution, that requires less effort from you while you try and navigate the process of saving your home from fire damage.

SERVPRO Handles Restaurant Fire Damage

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

Opening up a local restaurant in your community is no easy feat. When the costs are high and everything is on the line, missing open hours and not being able to serve customers can make or break any business, but especially restaurants. That’s why if you experience fire damage in your restaurant you should call us here at your local SERVPRO of Hampton North. 

We are “Faster to any size disaster.” Our team is ready and waiting 24/7 to come help you address any issues you might have after suffering a fire in your place of business. Oftentimes, with fire damage often also comes water damage from having to put the fire out but fear not, our skilled technicians are equipped to handle it all.

  • Our Dry Book is now the industry standard for drying out properties in the most efficient way possible.
  • We have proprietary cleaning agents meant to get even the worst soot and smoke damage out of your restaurant walls, carpets, upholstery and more.
  • You won’t have to worry about lingering smells either as our team of professionals has the knowledge to address any odor issues that come from the damage to your business.

Our team is specially trained in the latest state of the art equipment for mitigation and reconstruction after experiencing a fire, so you don’t have to be. We’re here to help make your restaurant’s fire loss a thing of the past so that you can get back open as soon as possible, “Like it never even happened.”