Recent Posts

Hurricane Ida

9/29/2021 (Permalink)

Recently Hurricane Ida struck causing damage and massive flooding all the way up from the gulf coast to the New York and Jersey areas.  As you can imagine, restoration companies in the affected areas could not keep up with the demand for assistance. 

While SERVPRO locations are franchised and independently owned, they are also part of a national network with the organizational capacity to mobilize and send crews from all over the country to areas hit hard by disaster.  

We here at SERVPRO of Appleton are proud to have the capacity to send an amazing group of employees, who are willing to leave their own homes and families, and travel to other parts of the country to help when the need arises, while still servicing our customers here at home. 

This crew recently spent a couple of weeks out in the New York and New Jersey area and we couldn't be more proud.   

We Are a One Stop Restoration Company

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

In a previous blog post we discussed the fact that making your emergency “Like it never even happened,” is most often a two-step process.  First there is the clean-up/mitigation of the damage done by the water, fire, smoke, mold, or other disaster.  And while our primary goal is to save as much of the structure and contents as we can during the mitigation process, very often we must remove or displace some things so that we can properly mitigate the damage.  For example, sometimes cabinets need to be  removed, in order to get air circulating behind them, so that proper drying can take place. 

This leads to the second step in the process which is the rebuild process.  In this process we put things back in their proper place and replace things that could not be saved like drywall, carpeting etc…In our previous example, the cabinets would be put back in place during the rebuild process. 

Not all restoration companies are able to rebuild after a disaster.  With some restoration companies the customer needs to find a second company to do the rebuild work.  At SERVPRO of Appleton however, we have two full-time carpenters on staff, as well as a host of excellent subcontractors to handle all the customer’s rebuild needs.  While each of these steps is a separate service and billed independently, it is helpful for the customer to have one contractor managing the process and dealing with the customer’s insurance company.

This also means that we are more than just a restoration company.  Our rebuild team would be happy to give you a quote for any of your home remodeling projects.  You need not have an emergency to call SERVPRO of Appleton.  Call our office today at (920) 832-1110 for more information. 

Flash Floods

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

While early June was hot and dry, this past week has brought quite a bit of rain to our area.  Summer rains can sometimes result in Flash Floods. According to Wikipedia, “A Flash Flood Warning is a hazardous weather statement issued by the National Weather Forecasting agencies throughout the world to alert the public that a flash flood is imminent or occurring in the warned area.  A flash flood is a sudden, violent flood after a heavy rain, or occasionally after a dam break.  Rainfall intensity and duration, topography, soil conditions and ground cover contribute to the flash flooding.”

Flash flooding can present a risk for water damage to your home or business.  Flash floods can result in water flowing across the ground like a river.  If the ground around your home or business is not properly graded/pitched so that water flows away from the building, flowing water can flow towards your home and enter through basement windows, doors and other openings causing a significant amount of water damage. 

It is important to periodically take a level and check the ground around your home or business to ensure it is properly pitched away from the structure.  Pay particular attention to planting beds and other areas where the slope of the ground may be hidden by bushes or other vegetation.  What you want to see is a slope or pitch away from your home of 1 inch per foot.

Following is a great video showing you how to check your slope and fill any low areas as necessary.  This simple maintenance can prevent water damage and save you money and stress.  How to Properly Grade Around Your Home - YouTube

Cooking Fires

6/9/2021 (Permalink)

In a blog post a few months ago we discussed space heaters and the fire risk they present.  Space Heaters are the second most common cause of home fires.  But the number one cause of home fires is cooking.

According to the NFPA “US fire departments responded to an estimated average of 172,900 home structure fires per year started by cooking activities in 2014-2018.  These fires caused an average of 550 civilian deaths, 4,820 reported civilian fire injuries, and more than $1 billion in direct property damage per year.”

The top causes of cooking fires are:

  • Placing combustible items too close to the stove or other heat source such as oven mitts, pizza boxes, dish rags etc…
  • Unintentionally turning on the stove or heating element, or forgetting to turn it off
  • Leaving cooking food unattended

Keep these things in mind when cooking because every year we get many calls for fires caused for each of these reasons. 

Water Main Shut Off Tags

5/26/2021 (Permalink)

Water pipes can burst for a wide variety of reasons.  The most common reasons include:

  • Water Pressure Changes
  • Frozen Pipes
  • Corrosion
  • Moving Pipes

But no matter what causes the burst pipe, getting to the water shut off valve quickly and shutting off the water supply is key.  The longer water flows, the more damage will be done and the costlier the clean up and mitigation will be.  This is especially true in commercial buildings where a single pipe can be expected to supply enough water to suppress a fire in a million square foot building.  Millions of gallons of water could potentially be gushing out every minute. 

As discussed in previous blog posts, our sales team would love to help you prepare for such a disaster with an ERP (Emergency Ready Plan).  An ERP will provide a map of the property showing where things like the water shut off valves are. 

Our Water Main Shut Off Tags are also helpful.  They are bright orange and they make spotting the valve particularly easy.  And while the ERP will also contain essential phone numbers during a disaster, our Water Main Shut Off Tags put our phone number right at your fingertips.  Because a prompt response can make all of the difference for your home or business. 

If you would like your own Water Main Shut Off Tag/s, call or stop by our office.  (920) 832-1110

Spring Storm Season

5/20/2021 (Permalink)

It’s spring in Wisconsin.  And with it comes storms and tornado season.  April through September is considered tornado season in Wisconsin.  That said, tornadoes can occur any time of the year, but happen most often in the months of May, June and July.  Of those three months, Wisconsin tends to see the most tornadoes in June.

Tornado season tends to be one of our busiest times because storms pose multiple threats to your home or business.  Lightning strikes can start a fire.  High winds can blow off shingles and allow water to intrude into your home.  High winds can also topple power lines leaving you without electricity and a working sump pump, which can result in water in your basement. Large amounts of rain can result in flooding or run off that can run into your home or business if the surrounding ground is not properly graded.

Unfortunately, you cannot prevent strong storms and tornadoes.  But you can be prepared.  You can make sure your home is in good repair so it can withstand high winds and you can make sure the ground around your home is properly graded so that ground water runoff flows away from your home instead of towards it.  And of course, you can keep SERVPRO of Appleton’s phone number handy.  Prompt response to disaster is key to mitigating the damage.   

SERVPRO of Appleton will help you clean up and insurance will cover the cost of damage to your property.  You need to focus on staying alert and staying safe during a storm.  Local television and radio station typically broadcast weather alerts.  If you do not tend to listen to local stations, a weather radio can be helpful during storm season. 

A WATCH means that the conditions are perfect, and the potential exists, for the development of severe storms or tornadoes but nothing is currently happening.  A WARNING means that severe weather is imminent in your area or is already occurring.  If a warning is issued, you should take shelter immediately. 

ERP's (Emergency Ready Plans) for Businesses

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

What is an ERP (Emergency Ready Plan)?

Whether you own a home or a business, it’s important to be ready for a potential disaster.  But it’s particularly important when you own a business. According to a report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40% of businesses never reopen following a disaster.  And of the ones that do, another 25% fail within one year.   

That’s why your business needs an Emergency Ready Plan.  While an ERP can’t stop a disaster from happening, it will help your business be ready to handle one.

An ERP is a document that contains the critical information you need in the event of an emergency or disaster.  This document can even be loaded as an app on your phone, providing ready access for key employees any day, any time; because disasters don’t just happen during business hours.  An ERP will:

  • Provide a detailed map of your facility showing where to find important things like water shut-off valves, fire extinguishers and other priority areas. This will allow any employee to get to these areas quickly and efficiently.  Prompt response is key in any disaster to help lessen damage.  If there is a water main break, the quicker you get to the shut off valve, and stop the flow of water, the less damage there will be.  If there is a fire, the quicker you get to a fire extinguisher the better. 
  • Put all essential phone numbers in one place. All of the essential phone numbers for things like: SERVPRO, the sprinkler system emergency contact, the building owner emergency number, local fire department will now be at any employees finger tips.
  • Help employees identify the chain of command and who within the organization has the authority to authorize emergency clean up services to begin. In order for any restoration company to begin work, proper authorization forms must be signed.  Any delay in recognizing and reaching the person who has the authority to authorize the work, will result in costly delays to mitigating the damage. 
  • Be free of charge to your business. Our friendly sales staff would love to do an ERP free of charge for your business.  It won’t take much time, and it could save your business.

Be ready with an Emergency Readiness Plan (ERP) from SERVPRO of Appleton and Winnebago County.

Call 920-832-1110 to schedule your FREE plan

Fire Sprinkler Systems in Commercial Buildings

4/7/2021 (Permalink)

When we think of a sprinkler system, we often think of an outdoor system of hydration, watering our lawns in a residential application, or watering a golf course in a commercial application.  But buildings can have sprinkler systems as well. Building sprinkler systems protect against fires. 

A fire sprinkler system is a water piping system in the ceiling, connected to a water supply, with adequate pressure and flowrate, onto which sprinkler heads are attached.  The system discharges water through the sprinkler heads when they detect a rise in temperature adequate to suggest a fire may be present. Historically sprinkler systems were only used in factories and large commercial buildings.  Today they have become affordable enough to be used in smaller buildings and even homes. 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is the main organization that sets the standards for fire safety including fire sprinkler system requirements.  Some requirements are up to local municipalities.  However, according to NFPA 13, all newly constructed commercial buildings that are 5,000 square feet or larger are required to have fire sprinkler systems. In addition, any remodels that add square feet to an existing commercial building so that its footprint is 12,000 square feet or more mandates installation of a fire sprinkler system.  NFPA also states that any townhomes with more than two units per building require an automatic fire sprinkler system.

While early systems dispersed water from every head when one head was triggered, systems today only disperse water from the head/heads that detect excessive heat.  This helps to minimize water damage to areas of the building not affected by fire. This was one of the primary hesitations people had about sprinkler systems.  They felt they were trading fire damage for water damage.  As a result, fire sprinkler systems are extensively used today. 

Worldwide, over 40 million sprinkler heads are fitted each year.  In buildings completely protected by fire sprinkler systems, over 96% of fires were controlled by fire sprinklers alone. 

Hardwood Floor Water Damage

4/7/2021 (Permalink)

Picture of an Injectidry system drying hard wood floor Injecti-Dry system used to dry hardwood floor after a water damage

Natural hardwood floors have been a popular flooring choice for homes & businesses alike throughout time.  They can be a bit pricey but they truly are an investment in your home or business.  If properly cared for, quality hard wood floors can be sanded down and refinished resulting in a floor that can last the life of the building.     

Although sturdy they present unique challenges when water damage occurs. Hardwood is naturally porous and easily holds moisture. Having a large amount of water in contact with the floor for a long period of time can be very damaging. The first 24 hours are the most critical. The longer the floor has contact with water the more damage can be done. 

Water can cause the following damage to hardwood:

  • Cupping - This is when the edges of the individual planks are slightly raised compared to the center of the board. By a visual exam it will look like the shape of a cup, thus the name cupping.
  • Buckling - This is when the floorboards have expanded past their capability. The edges expand upwards at the seams making a peak.

If your hardwood floors become water damaged SERVPRO can help.  We use an Injecti-Dry system on hardwood floors.  This system is extremely quick, easy, and efficient to set up. Injecti-Dry consists of mats and hoses mounted directly to the floor. Hoses are used to extract the moisture out of the seams. A dehumidifier is placed nearby to help combat the humidity given off by this system.

Again, prompt action is essential in saving hardwood floors from water damage.  Some minor cupping can be repaired by sanding down the cupped edges and refinishing the floor, but once buckling occurs, there is nothing that can be done and the floor must be replaced.  

That is why it is important to call SERVPRO as soon as moisture has been detected.

National Mom & Pop Business Owner's Day

3/29/2021 (Permalink)

March 29th is National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day, a day that honors all small business owners.  SERVPRO of Appleton uniquely qualifies as both a big business and a small business. 

SERVPRO Industries was originally launched in 1967 by Ted and Doris Isaacson as a painting business in Sacramento, California.  But with their background in cleaning and restoration, they transformed the company into a franchisor of cleanup and restoration specialists.  They sold their first franchise in 1969.  By 1988, there were 647 franchises and the corporate headquarters was moved to Gallatin, Tennessee.  Today there are over 1,900 franchises in the United States and Canada.

According to Wikipedia, “Despite the franchise structure of numerous relatively small entities, SERVPRO has the capacity and organizational competence to respond to large-scale disasters, including major corporate and government contracts…”  This means we are uniquely positioned to respond to major disasters, much like a large company, while remaining a locally owned, small family business.  

Small businesses are a vital part of the U.S. economy.  According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are more than 27 million small businesses in the United States.  59.9 million people or 47.3% of the private work force are employed by small businesses. 

SERVPRO of Appleton was founded in 1992 by Mr. Kelly Rousso.  Kelly’s first employee was Debbie Soloway.  Together they built a thriving business.  In 2014 Kelly sold the business to C.J. Snyder.  Debbie and a few other key employees, like Joyce Ebajan, stayed on and helped C.J. grow the business to close to double its size in 2021 from when he purchased it in 2014. 

Today SERVPRO of Appleton employs approximately 30 people.  C.J.’s wife and 3 grown kids have all worked for the business at various times.  In addition, we sincerely view all our employees as part of our SERVPRO Family.  They are true heroes helping people during their time of need.