SERVPRO of Virginia Beach Owner Explains When and Why You Should Hire a Professional After a Water Damage
The thing about water damage and repair professionals is that no one seems to have interest in knowing one until they're in desperate need of their help! We interviewed SERVPRO of Virginia Beach Franchise Owner, Anna Cheracles, to find out just what it is that a restoration professional does and when and why someone would need to hire one. Here's what Anna had to say:
What exactly does a water damage and repair professional do?
We arrive onsite within 4 hours (usually 1 hour) to remediate a water damage. The sooner you can stop the water and begin to dry the structure, the less damage you will have, which will reduce repairs that will need to be done.
Why is it important to call a professional?
We can restore vs. replace. We have special drying techniques which will save time and money for the insured and insurance company. You don't want to end up with any type of secondary damage or mold that could be prevented by calling a professional right away.
A professional will know when it is necessary to remove materials such as vinyl or laminate floors in order to dry sub floors. We have tools, such as moisture meters, that can detect exactly what's been affected so that we can properly mitigate the loss.
What are the most common problems water damage professionals see?
We often find pre-existing damage. It is important to properly maintain your home so that dry rot or other slow leaks do not occur. If you have a pipe burst under your sink, but you have dry rot already showing on you sub floor, often the insurance companies will not cover this due to the home not being maintained.
Another problem we see is when a homeowner does not take immediate action. They will wait a few days for the insurance company to come out before they call a mitigation company to come out. Or they try to do the work themselves. This will only prolong the process and possibly cause more damage later on. You need special equipment to properly dry a structure.
When should I call a water damage professional?
Anytime you experience a water damage, you should call a professional. The sooner you call, the more you can minimize damage. Even if the cause of the problem is still not fixed, the faster we can begin extracting water, you can lessen the chance of further damage. Often times an area can feel dry to the touch, but it is important to have a professional use a moisture meter to check for water behind cabinets, walls, etc. Dry wall may feel dry, but the insulation inside the wall could possibly be wet. Carpet could feel dry, but the sub floor and padding could have elevated moisture levels.
How much will it cost?
We use industry standard prices, which are set for each region in the country through a program called Xactimate. Most of the charges are done by square foot, by a labor hour or per piece of equipment. It is pricey to properly mitigate your home, but if you do it right the first time, you won't have mold grow and will save money in the long run. We deal directly with the insurance companies so there will not be any type of paperwork that you will need to file. We take care of it all!
What should I do while waiting?
If possible, turn the source of the water off. Begin mopping up water or blotting with towels. DO NOT use a shop vac to remove water. Shop vacs are not meant to extract a lot of water, only a little bit here and there. Put all furniture up on blocks, or even put foil under the legs of furniture to protect it and to also protect your carpet from getting any staining on it. You should also wipe up any water on wood furniture so it does not ruin it. Do not use electrical devices where the moisture is present. Make sure to not stand under any sagging ceilings.
How do I decide who to hire?
You should always try to hire someone who has a national reputation and a brand that stands behind them. Take advice from your insurance company, they work with these professionals everyday and should have a good recommendation.
Virginia Beach Smoke and Soot Facts
Smoke and soot damage from a kitchen fire
Smoke and soot from a fire is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. SERVPRO of Virginia Beach’s smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Virginia Beach will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. The professionals at SERVPRO of Virginia Beach have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call SERVPRO of Virginia Beach at 757-431-1400.
Be Flood Smart in Virginia Beach
Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Here in Virginia Beach, most of us have had to deal with flooded streets, yards and neighborhoods at one time. Whether your home or business is in a flood zone or not, there is always potential for flood damage. Flooding can occur near a coastline like in the Hampton Roads area, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river or even in the desert. Floodsmart.gov reports that in the last five years, all 50 states have experiences floods or flash floods.
Here are a few important tips from the American Red Cross to always follow:
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come up on a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off your feet.
- If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running or contaminated water.
If a flood strikes your home or business, contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Virginia Beach. Even minor flooding has the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated quickly and properly. The cleanup is often an overwhelming task, but our team is prepared to handle any size disaster.
Do You Have Dirty Ducts? Improve Your Indoor Air Quality in Virginia Beach with Duct Cleaning
Spring is a great time to be thinking about your air ducts. Over time, contaminants and foreign objects can collect in your ducts which can diminish your air quality or cause other damages to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit (HVAC) of your home or building. Keeping the HVAC system and ductwork clean can extend the life of the equipment by allowing it to operate more efficiently, which can help save you money. Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants like mold and irritating dust within your structure.
Inspecting the HVAC system is a service offered by SERVPRO of Virginia Beach. We use a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to remove years of dust and grime.
In some circumstances, such as after a fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning may become an essential part of the cleanup process. In these cases, SERVPRO of Virginia Beach can often restore the HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition.
The SERVPRO system can help:
- Remediate bacteria, fungi and mold
- Reduce potential for mold growth
- Restore peak energy efficiency
- Eliminate offensive odors
- Provide free written inspections and estimates
Call SERVPRO of Virginia Beach today to help protect your health and property from ventilation and air quality issues at 757-431-1400.
Virginia Beach Biohazard, Vandalism and Crime Scene Remediation and Cleanup
Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences for building occupants. Failure to property handle and safely remove such substances can contribute to unhealthy or even dangerous environments.
SERVPRO of Virginia Beach professionals are trained to effectively and safely remove hazardous biological substances and prepare waste for proper disposal. Equipped with the needed safety equipment and cleaning products, SERVPRO of Virginia Beach can turn unsafe environments into clean, safe homes and businesses.
SERVPRO of Virginia Beach technicians remove and dispose of bodily fluids, tissue and other potentially pathogenic substances resulting from accident, trauma, crime or death. Our professionals are trained to thoroughly clean, disinfect and deodorize the structure.
Many of the chemicals used in the production of illegal drugs, such as methamphetamine, are volatile and can leave harmful residues throughout a structure. SERVPRO of Virginia Beach follows all applicable federal and state guidelines to clean all surfaces.
Arson and Vandalism
SERVPRO of Virginia Beach provides general cleaning and deodorization services for situations resulting from vandalism including graffiti, egg, spoiled foods and human or animal waste.
Sewage backups and black water intrusions are more than nasty, smelly deposits. These damages also introduce harmful microorganisms into a structure. SERVPRO of Virginia Beach technicians remove the sewage, contaminants and moisture, disinfecting as they clean. Our professionals ensure the structure is cleaned, disinfected and deodorized.
Recognized as a leading fire and water cleanup and restoration provider, SERVPRO of Virginia Beach offers fast and reliable biohazard, vandalism and crime scene cleanup and remediation services to residential and commercial property owners. Give us a call at 757-431-1400.
SERVPRO of Virginia Beach Storm Team is Ready to Travel
SERVPRO of Virginia Beach Storm Team working in Wilmington, NC in 2018
The SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Teams provide help to local franchises when a tornado, hurricane, blizzard or flood disaster strikes. SERVPRO of Virginia Beach has been a part of these storm teams since their inception. We traveled to Alabama after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and in November 2009 franchises from Pennsylvania came to assist us with claims from a Nor’easter that hit and caused record amounts of flooding in Hampton Roads. In 2011 and 2013, SERVPRO of Virginia Beach assisted with microburst flooding in Northern Virginia. In August of 2016, we expanded our storm teams and dispatched 4 crews to Louisiana to assist with flooding cleanup for 2 weeks. In 2017, we dispatched another 4 crews to Texas for 3 weeks to help after Hurricane Harvey. In the spring and summer of 2018, we went to Maryland, Northern Virginia and Pennsylvania to assist with microbursts and localized flooding events when the job load was too much for the local franchises to handle. Our most recent storm activity was assisting after Hurricane Florence caused devastating damage in North Carolina; we sent 4 crews on September 16th and stayed until January 2019 to complete jobs. Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, SERVPRO of Virginia Beach is prepared for the unpredictable and available to travel with any of the 4 storm teams at a moment’s notice.
Virginia Beach: Don't Turn Off the Drying Equipment
When you call SERVPRO of Virginia Beach to help restore your property after suffering a water damage, our professional technicians will place the appropriate equipment to dry out the area as quickly as possible. It is important to always following our instructions and keep the equipment running at all times. We realize that the equipment is noisy and can become bothersome if you remain in your home during the restoration process, however, turning off the air movers and/or dehumidifiers can delay the drying time and can cause further damage to your property such as mold growth. It is also important to note that oftentimes your insurance coverage will only pay for the drying equipment for a specific length of time, depending on the category of damage. Your SERVPRO of Virginia Beach project manager will monitor the moisture readings of the equipment daily to determine the appropriate time for removal. If you have any concerns or questions about the drying equipment, be sure to speak to any of our crew members.
SERVPRO of Virginia Beach Cleans Your Belongings After Damage
Fire and water damage can not only affect the structure of your property but also your belongings. SERVPRO of Virginia Beach specializes in restoring contents damaged by water, fire, or mold. Our expertise and “restore” versus “replace” mentality can help save you money while preserving precious keepsakes, furnishings and clothing that can’t be replaced.
If your home requires extensive restoration or cleaning due to fire damage, SERVPRO of Virginia Beach can conduct an organized, efficient move-out of the affected area. Each item is carefully packed up and transported to our facility for cleaning. We use several methods of cleaning your contents: dry cleaning, used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning; wet cleaning, an effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues; spray and wipe, effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning; foam cleaning, used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if wet cleaned; abrasive cleaning, involves agitation of the surface being cleaned and emersion cleaning, where contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.
After cleaning, we meticulously re-wrap the contents in fresh packing material and place them in new boxes, which are stored, until building restoration is completed.
SERVPRO Spotlight: Anna Cheracles
As a second-generation owner, Anna has held almost every position within the company since she began working at SERVPRO of Virginia Beach. Before SERVPRO, Anna attended Old Dominion University, had a few jobs between high school and college, including managing a couple local tanning salons, while working part time at SERVPRO until 2007, when she came on board full time to learn how to run the business.
Anna is currently running the franchise as the General Manager, alongside operations manager, Jason Cheracles, her husband. Together they have grown the business with a wonderful team consisting of their office team (lead by her sister, Katie Anderton and office manager, Lisa Corley); a phenomenal marketing division and amazing production team of extremely hard-working technicians and managers.
Anna says, “Each and every person serves a very important role in making sure that our SERVPRO franchise is successful. From the very first phone call into the office about a new loss, to the production technician performing the work and all the way to the accounts receivable team collecting the money at the end and leaving us with a happy and 100% satisfied customer. Our customers don’t ask for these water/fire/mold losses to occur, so we do our best to put their lives and homes back together as quickly and effectively as possible, while trying to make a bad experience a less stressful one. It’s a hard job, but by having the right, positive people on our team, we make it work.”
Anna learned everything show knows from her parents, Bob and Beth Simeone, who started the Virginia Beach franchise in 1991. She has grown up in the business and enjoys seeing how her team helps people each and every day. Anna’s interest is not only on the customers, but on the employees as well. It has been fun for her to see so many people grow into their career and personal lives while they are working with the SERVPRO family.
While not working at the office, Anna enjoys spending her time with her husband Jason, and their three children; Ray, Maddox and Charlee. She loves watching her son Maddox play keeper for his Tsunami soccer team, which have been together for the past 4 years, growing from recreational soccer, all the way up to division 1 travel. She also enjoys watching (and listening) to her daughter Charlee play the piano. Her step-son Ray, who just turned 16, keeps her on her toes. She has loved seeing him grow into a young adult during his teenage years.
Anna and Jason also have two dogs: an 11-year-old Shih Tzu named Bella (who also serves as the SERVPRO office guard dog) and 3 year old Australian Shepherd, Molly.
At the end of the day, Anna loves that her family gets to work together every day. They get to share in each other’s successes and build a company together that truly believes in their mission statement, which is “to develop an accountable team of caring people who are committed to excellence and focus on quality service by being honest, fair and enthusiastic in their work.” By following this mission statement, SERVPRO of Virginia Beach has been able to build an incredible team of individuals that care about the work they do, and the customers that are affected by their actions.
SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile for Your Virginia Beach Business
SERVPRO of Virginia Beach has 30 years of experience in restoring property damaged by fire, water & smoke. During those years, we have discovered that businesses that do not have an emergency plan in place, prior to a disaster, sustain much greater losses due in large
part to the additional time it takes them to react and take proper emergency steps to mitigate damage after a loss has occurred. The degree of damage not only increases with the length of time it takes to react, but dollars lost due to business interruptions also increase very rapidly. As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according to the latest industry research. Of the businesses that do survive, many of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at giving you peace of mind.
By developing a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do, who to call and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize the affects water and fire damage can have on your business.
The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile offers:
- A no cost assessment of your facility
- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency
- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster
- Establishes SERVPRO of Virginia Beach as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin
- Facility details such as shut-ff valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information
Give us a call today to get started!