Recent Posts

Smoke and Soot Remediation Can Protect Your Health

1/10/2023 (Permalink)

Soot particles are microscopic. Soot particles are microscopic in size, and even smaller than a particle of dust. This can pose problems for public health when breathed in.

One of the most difficult situations for people is dealing with the aftermath of a fire.  No matter the size, a fire inside your property, whether it’s a home or a business, can be traumatic and pose dangers to health sometimes unseen.  Here at SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston & Dorchester County we have highly trained technicians who understand the significance of smoke and soot in your property and why it is so important to remediate the problem right away. 

Smoke, and specifically soot, can pose a lot of harm to public health.  The main issue is caused by the microscopic size of the soot particles.  Soot is a byproduct of burning fossil fuels and chemicals, which can come in a wide variety when you consider what may burn inside a home or business, it’s not just wood burning, there can also be harmful chemicals from plastics and other building materials.  Those particles can penetrate deep into the lung tissue and have been known to cause a variety of health issues including asthma, bronchitis, heart attacks, stroke, and even can cause cancer or premature death.  It’s safe to say you do not want to breathing in soot particles at all.

 Soot is released into the environment in a number of ways.  Soot can come as a liquid, solid or a gas.  Most soot is released into the air in small particles or liquid droplets, landing on everything and also staying within the air.  If you can smell it, it’s in the air.  Our technicians work quickly to clean and wipe down all surfaces to help remediate the damage from smoke and soot.  We also set up equipment that helps scrub the air of the tiny soot particles.  It is very important to clean even what you cannot see, because those particles can cause the biggest problems when they are breathed into our lungs.

We are the experts on fire restoration and we understand the process to assuring your property is cleaned and remediated correctly.  When it comes to smoke and soot you want to be sure you don’t have an issue that will persist if it isn’t handled professionally the first time, preventing health issues is the number one reason you want to restore your property after a fire. 

If your property has been damaged by fire, smoke or soot, please call us right away for an assessment at 843-552-1226.  At SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston & Dorchester County we are ready to handle any disaster! 

Did the big Christmas Chill leave your stockings full of water and ice?

1/5/2023 (Permalink)

Burst pipe! Exposed pipes in freezing temperatures can cause them to burst and rupture.

The Lowcountry saw a bitter cold front move in for this year’s Christmas weekend and to finish off 2022.  The cold front brought with it below freezing temperatures during the holiday weekend which caused pipes to freeze all across the region.  The havoc the cold spell wreaked unfortunately caused a few pipes to burst and our phones to start ringing.  Here at SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston and Dorchester County we have seen many of these types of disasters throughout the years, so we wanted to share a few tips with the community to keep your home protected from freezing temperatures.

Typically homes in the Lowcountry are built one of two ways, on a concrete slab or over a crawlspace.  In both cases your home is connected to a water source, either from the city or a well, underneath the ground.  When you have a crawlspace your pipes are typically running beneath the home and are exposed to the air.  With a concrete slab your pipes will be underground, beneath the slab, and then running up into the home.  Both types of homes are susceptible to freezing temperatures and pipe failure due to ice expanding within the pipe, causing the pipe to burst.

There are ways to prevent your pipes from bursting when we have freezing temperatures sustained for over a twenty-four-hour period.  The best thing you can do is insulate your pipes.  You can do this yourself or have a professional do it, if it hasn’t already been done.  With pipes in a crawlspace this is a smart idea to get done right away.  Its good added protection and can absolutely prevent a disaster but you should still consider following these additional steps of precaution.

Another way to keep your pipes from freezing is to make sure you leave your faucets dripping.  Leaving the hot water side of each faucet left to slow drip will allow warm water to consistently flow through the pipes and preventing them from freezing over.  You especially want to do this with the faucets on the furthest side of the house from where the water comes in because those pipes have the longest runs of piping exposed to freezing temperatures.  It’s also good to make sure the cabinets under sinks and faucets are left open.  This will help the pipes directly below the faucet stay a bit warmer. 

For any outdoor spigots it’s important to detached any hose and bring them inside.  Make sure the valve on the outdoor spigots are shut tight.  It is a good idea to cover the spigot with either a combination of fabric and bags or with a protective cover that they sell at hardware stores.   

These are just a couple tips that help prevent major disasters from happening in your home.  Always make sure you keep your Property Insurance information handy and up-to-date, and it’s never a bad idea to also keep our number handy as well.  Flooding your home with water from a burst pipe in the middle of winter is a disaster that needs to be mitigated right away to prevent further damage and expense.  Always be prepared, always think ahead.

At SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston and Dorchester County we provide 24/7 Emergency Water Removal Service and Disaster Restoration, and we always have a team member ready to take your call, every day and minute of the year. 

If you think you have water damage caused from a frozen pipe bursting please call us at 843.552.1226.

Customer Service Is Where Great Reviews Start

1/5/2023 (Permalink)

Frustrated customer. It's not easy dealing with disaster. Call the company that cares about your property, and you.

One of the things about SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston & Dorchester County that sets us apart from other restoration companies is our focus on customer service.  Our SERVPRO is independently owned and operated by local residents of our Charleston community Brandon and Liz Ferm.  When they opened the business they wanted to stand out, and provide a service that people would truly remember and refer to others, with Brandon’s previous experience in hospitality, the answer was high quality customer service.

In all service based industries customer service is what people will truly remember about your business.  People care about how they are treated, and we understand that it is as important as the hard work our production team does.  We emphasize with our team and staff to always be courteous and kind to the people we talk with.  Kindness can go a long way to make someone feel comfortable and trusting in the work you are about to do in their property.

Typically, our customers are under duress when they speak with us, they are dealing with a disaster that has impacted their lives and property, and that is a very stressful situation to be in.  We work to be empathetic and understanding to their concerns and the emotions that are surely running high.  We feel it is important to assure the customer by walking them through the process slowly and calmly.  Being gracious and kind in these scenarios truly help the customer feel comfortable.  Explaining what we will be doing to the customer’s property in detail really helps the customer feel more in control.

When disaster strikes the team at SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston & Dorchester County are not just great at taking care of your property, they are also great at taking care of you.  We pride ourselves on our hospitality background and our focus on customer service, we feel it defines our business in a way that separates us from the pack.  We want people to know we care about their property but we also care about their feelings. 

The best results are not just knowing that we fixed and cleaned a property but knowing that we left a customer truly satisfied.  If you have damage to your home or property and need a restoration company, call the one that cares – 843.552.1226

A Fire Disaster is One Mistake Away

10/26/2022 (Permalink)

Fireplace with a lovely glow. Every fireplace should be inspected and cleaned before using. Always have a professional service your chimney once a year before the winter season.

Winter is coming!  So are the fires…

Here in the Lowcountry of South Carolina it’s not typical to use a fireplace.  It is typically reserved for the very coldest part of the year, which is a pretty brief period between January and February.  With such infrequent use of fireplaces, it becomes even more important to consider fireplace safety.   Here at SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston & Dorchester County we have seen our share of home’s ravaged by fire and smoke due to improper use of a fireplace.  With the winter season approaching we thought it was important to share some key tips with our community.

First off, before you even use your fireplace ask yourself a question, when was the last time you had it inspected?  It’s exciting to think about the holidays and sitting by a roaring fire around New Years and all the warm and toasty feelings it creates but forgetting to take this critical step could risk lives, and your home.  Have your fireplace inspected by a professional, and licensed, chimney sweep company.  It’s so important to have a professional clean your chimney and check it for leaks or damage to the components that make up your chimney, like the flue, heat shield and top.

Here are some more important tips:

  • Keep a clearance zone of a few feet. Items NOT allowed in this zone would include any items made of paper like books and magazines; fabrics, including drapes and blankets; and wood.
  • Always use a safety screen made of metal or glass. This prevents flames or burning embers from escaping the fireplace, and keeps flammable items from getting in.
  • For electric fireplaces always use a grounded heavy duty power cable with the proper gauge and wattage rating.
  • For wood burning fireplaces, always use dry wood. Freshly cut wood has high levels of moisture which means more smoke and the potential for deposits collecting inside the chimney.
  • Keep a metal container handy for removing hot embers and ashes, and always store it outside at a safe distance away from the home.
  • NEVER use gasoline, kerosene or lighter fluid to start your fire. Only use newspaper or dry kindling.
  • Keep your chimney clean, look for soot or creosote buildup regularly.

Everyone should get to enjoy an evening around the ambience of a fireplace, just always make sure you take the necessary precautions to enjoy it without the risks of starting a fire.  And even if you don’t have a fireplace and prefer to stand around a fire pit outside, take the same level of precaution and follow local guidelines and laws.  There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a nice winter season using your fireplace and fire pit without causing a fire.  Stay safe out there! 

Critical Response - 24/7 Emergency Water Removal

8/15/2022 (Permalink)

A SERVPRO team member is waiting for your call. When you are in an emergency we want you to speak to a valuable member of our team to start the critical response from the very first call.

When you are struggling with a disaster like a bad leak or a flood that has caused your property to experience standing water we understand what it means to be available to help.  Here at SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston and Dorchester County we provide a 24/7 Emergency Water Removal service and we want to make sure that you are speaking with one of our personnel every time you call. 

It's important to us to know that we are providing the best care possible when a customer is experiencing an emergency where your home or business is flooded and the race against time, and water damage, has begun.  Our care starts with making sure when you call our business that you are speaking with an actual member of our team.  Sometimes you may find that businesses provide a 24/7 service but when you call them you are speaking with an answering service and not an actual employee of the company.  We make sure that your experience with us is personable and thoughtful from the very beginning.

Our water removal is a critical service but here are a couple tips to be aware of before you make that call to have us come out to extract water:

Stop the Leak – Is the water still coming into your home, has the leak not been stopped?  You will want to make sure the source of the flood and standing water is stopped before having us come out to extract.  You will either need to have a plumber come out to fix the issue, or you will need to try to stop it yourself. 

Start a Claim – If you are experiencing a flood and have standing water, you will want to notify your homeowner’s insurance or property insurance company of the issue and start a claim.  They will provide you with a claim #.  You will want to have that insurance information handy when you call SERVPRO.  It makes your life easier.  We can work directly with your insurance company and you avoid being charged our emergency response fee. 

And for those times where you just aren’t sure what to do, call us.  That’s why we provide a live 24/7 phone service where one of our team members will help you through your emergency, providing you with the proper information and getting a team dispatched to your address. 

We truly believe in a critical response that starts as soon as you call us.  That’s why we don’t outsource our phone service and you can always speak with a SERVPRO team member who works here when you call.  Always keep our number handy, in times of emergency you will be glad you did, 843-552-1226. 

Staying Ahead of Leaks and Floods

8/8/2022 (Permalink)

A screw in a pipe causes problems. After removing the drywall we discovered the culprit of water damage and mold issues. Always make sure your plumbing is inspected annually.

So many of our customers who have experienced water damage in their homes typically find out that it was preventable and avoidable with a bit of maintenance.  Here at SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston and Dorchester County we look not only to help you after the disaster but we also try to help you before the disaster strikes.  This is a reminder to always make sure you are on top of your property and the maintenance required to keep it in top shape.

The little investments that you make now can save you a lot of money and headaches down the road.  One way to prevent disaster is by making sure your plumbing throughout your home or business is running properly and not experiencing any leaks or decay.  It’s a good idea to either check your pipes yourself or have a professional plumber come in for an inspection. 

Many leaks start in the bathroom so that’s the first place you want to keep an eye on.  Look for bad calking around your sinks, toilet and bathtub.  That is something you can remove and replace yourself with some proper online instruction, at minimal cost.  It’s also important to check the grout in the bathtub, on the floors and walls, this assures that water isn’t escaping and causing issues behind or underneath your tile, this is a typical issue that causes a lot of mold where you may not be able to see, yet.  And always check the piping under sinks as that is another cause of leak and moisture intrusions.

If you have a crawlspace have it inspected at least once a year to assure there is no damage to your pipes underneath the house.  You will also want your HVAC checked as well, we find a lot of ducts that are not properly fitted and allow condensation and moisture to build up, which causes mold and water damage. 

And another important area to have inspected and maintained throughout the year is your water heater.  This is one of the number one culprits that cause flood and water damage.  Please make sure your water heater is properly drained and flushed out annually.  This will prevent sediment from building up in the tank and causing it to prematurely decay and breakdown. 

SERVPRO cares about our customers and making sure they are aware of their responsibilities for homeownership or property management.  These basic tips above can save you from a disaster and a lot of headaches down the road. 

Fire Solutions – Step One, Securing the Scene

8/2/2022 (Permalink)

Tarp and board-up for fire damaged home A home with fire damage to the roof and exterior requires tarping and a board-up to secure the property and location.

One of the ways we provide assistance to our local fire departments and first responders is being able to provide them with immediate help with services like Board-ups to secure a scene where fire or an accident has occurred.  Here at SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston and Dorchester County we pride ourselves on our ability to provide relief and support during the immediate aftermath of a house or business fire. 

Fire is one of the worst disasters that can befall a homeowner or business owner.  It destroys everything it touches and requires a lot of water at times to put it out.  Which means you are left with a sometimes burnt out and sopping wet environment that you have to figure out what to do with.  The first thing we do is help secure the scene from intrusion or further damage.

Board-ups are a service that we provide to fire and police departments, and to the community in general, as it shores up the devastation that might have been caused by the fire.   Where you may no longer have windows or doors, or even walls or ceiling, we provide either plywood or tarps to cover and secure the spaces from intrusion by people, animals or weather.   It can take some time for insurance companies or the fire or police departments to conclude their investigations before any restoration and construction work can begin.  Board-ups provide temporary security until our teams can come in and start putting things back together.

We can also have fencing provided and put up around a location for extreme cases where people need to be kept away for their own safety, and the security of the scene.  Standalone chain link fence is an option for situations where you may have a community to keep safe from a building that may be at risk of collapse or poses direct danger to anyone venturing close to it.  

It’s a good idea to keep our number handy for moments like these when disaster strikes and you need the location secured before the restoration process can begin.  Call us today to inquire more about the services provided for fire damage and securing a scene – 843.552.1226 

When Every Dollar Counts

7/21/2022 (Permalink)

Two SERVPRO Technicians pack up a cabinet. Our SERVPRO Technicians take great care with your belongings and contents after you have experienced the hardships of fire and flooding.

Whether you are a business owner or a homeowner, experiencing the hardship of property damage due to fire or flooding, can be quite devastating.  Not only does is disrupt your life and business, but it also potentially damages and ruins your belongings.  That is why SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston and Dorchester County prefers the mentality of “restore” versus “replace”.

SERVPRO has the ability with its expertise in mitigation and restoration, to provide a clear path to helping you save money wherever possible.  One area where we can help is assessing whether your property and belongings needs to be replaced, or whether we can work to restore the item back like it was pre-disaster. 

Our technicians are trained to help you determine if something like a chair or couch is salvageable, where ultimately you decide if you want us to restore it back to how it was pre-disaster or have it replaced altogether.  If a belonging is not going to be covered by insurance, and will come out-of-pocket, then consider our ability to restore, and the cost savings that come with that decision.

We provide a pretest of belongings and contents to determine which can be restored, we use different methods to clean your belongings, this includes:

  • Dry Cleaning – Cleaning light residues or a pre-wipe before wet cleaning.
  • Wet Cleaning – A cleaning method used on moderate to heavy residues.
  • Spray and Wipe – Used for items that cannot withstand getting wet.
  • Abrasive Cleaning – The surface is cleaned using agitation by brush or bristle.
  • Foam Cleaning – Used when upholstery fabrics will shrink or color bleeds with wet cleaning.
  • Immersion Cleaning – Contents are cleaned via dipping into cleaning solution.

Beyond our different methods of cleaning to help the restoration process of your property contents we also have the ability to assist with move-outs and pack-outs where belongings are placed into temporary storage to protect them during property restoration and construction.

SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston & Dorchester County cares about your property, and the contents within it.  Our team has the skills and tools to help you take the appropriate steps towards getting your life and business back on track.  Whenever we can save you money and employ our “restore” versus “replace” mentality, we will.   

If you have experienced fire, water or mold damage to your property call us today for an assessment: 843-552-1226.

Building a New Tomorrow, One Home at a Time

6/7/2022 (Permalink)

Photo of new home during framing and a pile of lumber. New homes are popping up everywhere around Summerville, South Carolina! Can we assist on your new home construction?

It is no surprise to anyone living in the Charleston and Summerville areas how quickly the region is growing.  The construction trucks have been busy for years now and it does not look to be stopping anytime soon.  Entire neighborhoods are being built right before our eyes, home after home are popping up all around Berkeley and Dorchester counties and here at SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston and Dorchester County we have been on the front lines of new home construction assisting contractors with our post-construction cleaning and maintenance services.

One of the great ways we can assist new home builders is with our ability to clean up a site and get it ready for living.  From cleaning up heavy debris and dust to doing deep carpet cleaning, we are ready to assist.  We work hard at developing relationships with Project Managers and Construction Managers in the area to provide support in assuring the houses they build are ready for their new homeowners.

Another way we support local construction is during the pre-drywall phase.  Sometimes lumber can be impacted by rainy weather either during storage or at the construction site during the build.  SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston and Dorchester County provides drying and mold remediation services for framing and trusses.  This can mean the difference between keeping your build on schedule and assuring the lumber is not negatively impacted by moisture and mold.

And the final service we are going to talk about today is our light construction work during the warranty period of new home ownership.   This is another way that we help support and assist new home builders in our community with our ability to do light construction and maintenance on homes that need repair while the home is still under warranty.  If the home has been damaged by mold, water or fire, we are able to come out and mitigate the problem and restore the property.  This allows the contractors to focus on new projects while we work to keep the properties they’ve just built in tip-top condition. 

If you are a new home builder or construction company, please reach out to us today to discuss how we can assist you on your next big project. 

Emergency Ready Profiles are perfect for Hurricane Season

6/6/2022 (Permalink)

Rain falling on a puddle. SERVPRO logo and local emergency phone number highlighted. Preparing for rain in the South Carolina Lowcountry is a crucial aspect of living in the hurricane-prone region. Have an Emergency Ready Plan!

One of the ways we help our customers, and our community, is by providing property owners, or their facility or property managers, with a functional tool called the Emergency Ready Plan, aka, the Emergency Ready Profile. 

Here in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, along the Atlantic shoreline, we are in direct threat of major storms for a good portion of the year that stretches from May into November.  Not to mention, we also see some pretty nasty thunderstorms on an almost daily basis in the spring and summer seasons.  So having a plan for storms is an important step to being prepared.

Our franchise territories stretch from North Charleston to Summerville, South Carolina, and from Moncks Corner to Ridgeville.  Our community is large and apt to see storm damage of some kind across the region when big storms come through. 

One of our community members is Palmetto Rail, and we recently worked with them to provide them with Emergency Ready Profiles for each of their facilities.  Each facility has critical equipment and staff that need to know what to do in case of a storm.   Bad storms can cause all sorts of trouble for people, from down wires and trees, to flooding and wind damage.  Our ERPs will create a visual aid for Palmetto Rail’s staff with critical information like key contacts, infrastructure cutoffs and directions for staff to follow.  Those directions can include where to store loose materials, to where the water and electric cutoffs are during an emergency.

An Emergency Ready Profile comes in a hard copy that you can keep on site, or you can use the app version which allows the Property Owner or Manager to update information and contacts, and share with staff and employees.  It becomes an important tool for those managing large buildings or multiple properties like Palmetto Rail. 

And if our customer, or community member, is in need of help extracting water or mitigating disaster, the ERP gives our SERVPRO teams the lay of the land to plan and respond accordingly.  So whether you have multiple properties and facilities under your management, or you’re simply a homeowner, the Emergency Ready Profile can be an invaluable tool to prepare for the worst case scenarios. 

Call us today to set up an appointment for a FREE property assessment and Emergency Ready Profile @ 843-552-1226