Recent Posts

What is a Puffback?

12/4/2019 (Permalink)

Antique furnace beside wood pile and in front of brick wall Your home's furnace can backfire and blow soot all in your home!

Imagine coming home one cold, fall evening to discover your living room is covered in soot. This is a reality many people in Burke County face in the cold seasons, often catching them by surprise. These incidents are called puffbacks, and they are more common than you might think.

What is a Puffback?

A puffback occurs when a furnace or boiler backfires and shoots soot into your home. These backfires occur because the heaters do not ignite properly and allow fuel to build up in the chamber. Once they do ignite, it can create anything from smoke to a small explosion. Regardless, these incidents push smoke and soot into the home, which in turn damages your belongings.

Cleaning Up a Puffback

Puffbacks are very messy and can be a major disturbance in your home. Although soot is very difficult to clean, our expert professionals have both the techniques and the cleaning products to clean and remove soot. If you have a puffback or any other soot-related incident, know that our team is always here to help!

3 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Disaster

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Dark, wet carpet with spots of mud in a section of an office Heavy storms caused the roof of this local business to collapse and flood the building!

There’s no telling when—or if—your business will have a disaster. You could have a fire, your pipes could burst and flood your office, mold can disrupt your operations, and so much more. Unfortunately, more than 40% of businesses who endure a disaster don’t reopen their doors, and many that do close down a short time later. But if you’re prepared for the inevitable, you can mitigate the risk and increase the odds of your business’ survival.

  1. Make sure your business is properly insured. For many people, insurance is one of those things you don’t want until you really need it. Even though it’s extra expenses upfront, if you ever do have a disaster, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. While you have the opportunity, call your insurance representative and review your policies—and discuss others that might be beneficial!

  1. Develop an emergency plan. Do your employees know what to do if you had flooding or a fire? Do you? If not, work with your team (including other executives, HR, and marketing) to devise both an operational and a PR strategy in the event of a disaster. Once the plan is devised, it should be regularly reviewed and updated, so if something does happen, you can immediately respond and mitigate damages.

  1. Keep backup copies of all documents and data. Equipment can be replaced, but not all documents can. Vital records can be damaged or destroyed in a disaster, so be sure to back them up and store them in a safe location. Generally, it’s recommended to keep digital copies of everything and have them backed up in the cloud.

The last thing any business owner wants is to have a disaster at their property. Although disasters can’t always be prevented, you can take steps to mitigate the damage. If your Morganton-based business does have a disaster, though, our team at SERVPRO of Burke County is always here to help!

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

11/24/2019 (Permalink)

Gold faucets attached to black pipes over a sink Burst pipes can cause major damage, but you can prevent it if you take action!

We’re only in mid-autumn, and temperatures have already dropped below freezing on some nights. At these low temperatures, your home’s water pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. We’ve helped many customers over the years, so we know how devastating a burst pipe can be. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent them from freezing.

  • Insulate your pipes. Pipes that are exposed or aren’t well-insulated are at the most risk of freezing. Naturally, the way to address this issue is to insulate these vulnerable areas, which makes them more resistant to freezing.

  • Let water drip from a faucet. Still water is quicker to freeze than running water, so let faucets fed by exposed lines drip. Sure, this might affect your water bill a little, but it’s much cheaper than having to deal with water damage.

  • Leave your heat on in your home, even if you’re away. If you don’t want something to freeze, warm it up. Although you might want to save some money on your heating, frozen pipes can force you to spend a whole lot more. Even if you’re going to be away, it’s recommended you leave the heat on at least 55° F.

Cold weather brings a variety of risks to your home, but a little precaution can go a long way. If you do have frozen pipes that burst, call your local plumber, then call our team to clean it up. We’re always available to make any disaster “Like it never even happened!”

SERVPRO of Burke County at the Morganton Christmas Parade

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

People walk in front of SERVPRO vehicle with reindeer on top during a parade Each year, we attend the annual Morganton Christmas parade!

Do you love the Town of Morganton? Do you love Christmas? Then you’re going to love Morganton’s annual Christmas parade. And if you love our team at SERVPRO of Burke County, you’ll be excited to know we’re returning to participate in this year’s parade!

On Tuesday, December 3, come to downtown Morganton at 6 p.m. to watch more than a hundred businesses and organizations drive through the streets and share the Christmas spirit. Just like last year, we’ll have one of our green SERVPRO vehicles be driven by The Grinch and his companions—Max the dog and Cindy Lou Who.

We’re excited to be part of the Morganton community and share in the festivities. If you can’t come see us on December 3, you can see us at many other local events in the coming year!

Why Our Customers Love SERVPRO

11/11/2019 (Permalink)

Many employees posed in a group photo We have roughly 60 employees, so we're able to quickly respond to any disaster!

Since we opened our doors in 2009, we have helped thousands of customers recover from disasters. Regardless of why they initially called us, many of our customers have expressed their gratitude for our services. Some have even told us why they would call us again if they ever had another disaster.

  1. We have a fast response time. When we get a call, it gets entered into our system and is quickly dispatched. Because we have roughly 60 employees, we are able to respond to multiple disasters in a short period of time. Even in the middle of the night, we will dispatch our crews to respond to any damages!

  1. We explain the process and answer questions. We want customers to ask questions and understand the restoration process. After all, we’re coming into your home! Our technicians are all trained and certified, so they will gladly explain each process so you understand what we’re doing and why!

  1. We’re friendly and professional. Customer service is very important to us. We know that for many of our customers, they’re facing a low point, so our staff is trained to be polite and friendly. In fact, our professionalism is one of our most frequently praised traits!

At SERVPRO of Burke County, we do our best to ensure our customers have the most positive experience possible. So if you have fire, water, or mold damage at your home or business, know that our team is here and ready to help!

What is an ERP?

11/8/2019 (Permalink)

Green and white sign with stick figure running towards left arrow In the event of an emergency, an ERP can provide your employees with critical information!

In a previous post, we discussed the benefits of an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP). To recap, you and your employees will know the location of the utility shutoffs, you’ll have an immediate action plan, and you will have an incredible asset at no cost. While these are great, we neglected to explain what an ERP actually is!

What is an Emergency Ready Profile?

An ERP is a free tool that SERVPRO franchises offer to commercial property owners to help them react more efficiently in the event of a disaster. The profile compiles all of the critical information you and your employees need to know in an emergency, such as utility shutoff locations, emergency contact information, and more.

At SERVPRO of Burke County, we have found that many businesses have this information, but it’s often scattered around and takes time to dig up. The Emergency Ready Profile we create puts all that information into one location, which you can quickly access at any time. Depending on your local fire department, we will even provide them with a copy, so they can access and assist your building more efficiently!

Getting Your ERP

If you’re interested in getting an ERP for your commercial property, our team at SERVPRO of Burke County is glad to assist. One of our team members will visit your property to gather the necessary information, and they will create you both a physical and a digital copy of the profile. Call us at (828) 874-0966 and get your free ERP today!

SERVPRO of Burke County Supports the Community

11/5/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO employees sit and stand around a brown table and place stickers on coloring books Our team spent a few hours tagging and organizing more than 3,000 Operation EDITH coloring books to help promote fire safety for young children!

When owners Kim & Randy Williams purchased their first SERVPRO franchise in 2009, they knew it would be critical to be a part of the community; after all, we’re in the business of helping others. Even now, our franchise commits to sponsoring and participating in events and organizations around the Morganton area.

  • Old World Bakery’s wishing wall. If you’ve been to Old World Bakery in downtown Morganton, then you probably know about their wishing wall. People write their dreams and goals on the blackboard, and the bakery helps fund some of them. When we learned about the wall, we immediately asked to be a sponsor!
  • Operation EDITH. Parents don’t often talk to their young children about fire safety and home exit drills, but Operation EDITH is out to change that. Operation EDITH (Exit Drill In The Home) is a fire safety program in North Carolina that encourages children and parents to talk about the aforementioned. This year, we partnered with Milestone Insurance to distribute over 3,000 coloring books to every elementary school in Burke County!

  • ACC Chili Cook-off. Each year, Morganton’s Downtown Development Association hosts a chili cook-off while simultaneously showing the current ACC basketball game. We send a couple of our employees to help serve patrons as they come to eat!

We believe that being actively involved in the community is an important part of serving the Morganton area. That’s why we will continue to be a part of the events and organizations that help our community prosper!

How Storms Cause Mold Problems

11/1/2019 (Permalink)

Black mold colonies grow along the base of a yellow wall Storms can cause water damage, which in turn encourages mold growth!

Have you ever unexpectedly discovered mold in your home, especially in the basement or on the first level? There are several possible causes, but one of the most common is rain seepage. Because this is a frequent problem, we’re going to cover how it happens and how you can help prevent it in your own home.

How Rain Can Cause Mold Growth

Your home should have multiple lines of defense to prevent rain from entering and damaging your property. But not all homes are built with these preventative measures, and rainwater will pool around the home and seep into the interior. This moisture—when it’s not quickly dried and treated—in turn encourages mold growth.

Sometimes this seepage occurs behind drywall or other materials where you can’t see it, and that allows for extended exposure. Over time, the growth can cause structural damage, and, if it’s exposed, it can cause some health effects in certain people.

How to Prevent Rain Damage

As we mentioned above, it’s important your home has multiple lines of defense to prevent rain from damaging your home. There are a couple of important things you should make sure your home has:

  • Gutters. Gutters are your home’s first line of defense. If yours are not clean or have functional issues, it can back up and cause water to pool around your home.
  • Sump pump. A sump pump is a good way to remove water from your basement. The devices catch water in a drain and direct it from your house, where it won’t be a problem. A sump pump won’t prevent the water from coming in, but it can mitigate some of the damage.

Your Disaster Restoration Team

Storms may be calming to some, but they can pose a major risk to your home. While the above steps are a good start, it’s still possible you will have water damage. If you do have damage at your Morganton home, you can rest assured that our team of water mitigation specialists is always available to make it “Like it never even happened!”

Fire Safety in the Home

10/22/2019 (Permalink)

Soot and burnt house structure beneath and around window This house fire was unexpected and destroyed the entire home. That's why home fire safety is important!

You only have two minutes to escape a house fire. In just five minutes, a fire can completely consume your home. That’s why an established fire escape plan is vital in every home. National Fire Prevention Week recently ended, but the importance of fire safety never will. That’s why we’re going to cover some basic fire safety tips you should implement in your home today!

Maintain Your Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are perhaps your first line of defense when it comes to escaping a house fire. When one detects smoke in a room, it sounds an alarm, which can give you just enough time to escape. However, it’s important to do regular maintenance to ensure they work when you truly need them. This means testing them once a month, replacing batteries at least once a year, and replacing the entire system every ten years.

Develop a Fire Escape Plan

Does your family know what to do if your home has a fire? If you’re like many families, you don’t have a specific plan. If so, it’s time to put one in place. Create an easy-to-understand escape plan that identifies exits in each room and establishes an outside meeting place. Afterwards, be sure to practice it with in-home fire drills! If you’re not sure where to start, the National Fire Protection Association offers a great resource.

Know How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are great tools for putting out smaller fires, but require a certain level of skill and knowledge. You have to know how to operate it, where to aim, and which kind of extinguisher to use and when. It’s not as simple as it seems in the movies—you can’t just spray and pray. If you aren’t sure how to use one or which one to buy, contact your local fire department!

The Importance of Fire Safety

At best, a fire will damage your home; at worst, it can take a life. Many people live their lives without preparing for a very real possibility, but that can have serious consequences. At the minimum, consider the above three areas of fire safety, but we also encourage you to learn more from your local fire department. If you do have a fire at your Morganton home, however, know that our team of fire restoration specialists is always here to help!

Water Damage Q&A: How Do You Know It’s Wet?

10/15/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO employee places a moisture meter against a  wall Our employees use moisture meters to determine the moisture content of affected materials!

Many materials in our home are porous—including carpet, drywall, and wood. When these materials come in contact with water damage, they absorb the liquid, which can cause hidden mold and structural damages. Unfortunately, there aren’t always clear signs that water’s seeped into unseen places, which can make it difficult to mitigate the damage. Fortunately, our team has the ability to detect and dry this hidden moisture.

How Do You Know It’s Wet?

When our technicians first arrive on the scene, they will assess the affected areas and determine two things: what’s wet and how wet it is. There are a few tools we can use to do this, but our technicians primarily use moisture meters.

These meters determine how wet material is by analyzing either electrical conductivity or the impedance of radio frequency signals (depending on the type of meter). The devices then generate a moisture value that our technicians can use to determine if the material is wet.

When our technicians are drying the affected areas, they are trying to reach a “drying goal.” This goal is generally based on a drying standard, which is the moisture value generated by unaffected material. In other words, our technicians will get a moisture reading of material in the home they are certain is not affected by water damage and use that value as a goal for the affected material. When both the affected and unaffected materials have the same moisture value, then we know the area(s) has been sufficiently dried.

Drying Your Home

The longer water damage is left alone, the more costly it becomes to clean up and restore. Fortunately, disaster restoration companies like SERVPRO of Burke County have the tools and training to detect and dry moisture in your home. If you have water damage and need professional help in the Morganton, NC area, call our team today at (828) 874-0966!