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Preparing Your Coastal Carolina Home for Winter

11/1/2019 (Permalink)

The swing bridge connecting Topsail Island to the mainland covered in snow after the winter storm of 2018. Swing Bridge on Topsail Island after the winter storm of 2018. Photo Credit Dave Allen

The weather is cooling off; the leaves are changing, and the holidays are quickly approaching. All these things mean that it’s time to make that list of winter preparations for your home and start checking them off! We have compiled a list of things that will need attention whether you are staying in your coastal home through the winter or if you are leaving. You should plan to complete this process in late November to early December.

  • General Exterior Tips
    • Clean the gutters and downspouts—This is essential because ice build up on leaves and debris can freeze and cause excess weight that will add weight and volume that can increase the potential for damage.
    • Inspect Siding, Flashing, Windows, Doors and Roof—This is a great opportunity to do a visual inspection of the siding for cracks and gaps. Check your flashing for leaks and your roof for missing shingles. Not only will this prevent damages, but you can fill those gaps with caulk to help keep the interior of your home well insulated. Check the weather stripping around your doors, and on a windy day see if any air is entering your home around your windows. Fill any gaps with caulk to prevent drafts that will increase your heating bill.
    • Winterize your Air Condition Unit/Remove window AC Units- Now is the perfect time to clean the condensing unit (the big air conditioning unit outside your house) of the AC System. Remove any large pieces of debris and use a high-pressure hose to rinse any residual debris off the blade and the condensing coils. You may want to consider purchasing a breathable waterproof AC cover to protect the unit and add longevity to the unit.
    • Trim any tree limbs, dead trees and foliage against your home—Ice and snow can weigh down the limbs of dead trees and make them fall, which could cause significant damage to your home, fences, or car. You may be comfortable doing this on your own, but you may want to consider hiring a professional. Additionally, you should trim any foliage that is up against the home. Foliage allows moisture to sit up against the foundation and siding of your home for prolonged periods of wet weather.
    • Prepare your outside space—Drain hose pipes, cover or bring in outdoor furniture and consider giving your deck a fresh coat of weather protectant sealant. Leaving your furniture outside and uncovered will deteriorate the quality quicker as well as the potential for those items to be damaged. You should also winterize your sprinkler system at this juncture—turn off the water supply, and blow out the sprinkler lines to prevent freezing, cracking or bursting.
    • Inspect all water pipes that may be vulnerable—Insulate any exposed water or drainpipes in attics, crawlspaces and outside walls. Wrapping the pipes with foam. Insulate any exterior outlets and switch plates with foam insulation.
  • General Interior Tips
    • Flush out and insulate your water heater—Open the drain valve located near the bottom of your water heater to let the sediment run out and keep it functioning optimally. Insulate your hot water tank with an insulating blanket to increase the efficiency of the water heater.
    • Test/maintenance on Heating system—Set the thermostat to an unusually high number (80 degrees)-Once you hear the furnace turn on, check to make sure that warm air is

blowing out of the vents. If necessary, schedule maintenance. Replace your air filters. This is also a good time to vacuum vents and baseboard heaters to avoid the burning dust smell. If you were considering buying a programmable thermostat, this may be a good opportunity to take that plunge as well. You can set the thermostat to not heat the home when no one is there, and some are even controllable remotely with your phone. Refuel any propane tanks necessary for usage. Test your carbon monoxide detector to ensure it is functioning properly.

  • Chimney maintenance—Before using your fireplace for the first time, make sure to inspect it for any debris or nests. Open and close the flue to verify that it is functioning properly. Inspect the bricks and mortar joints of a brick chimney and have any openings repaired. It is also worth considering hiring a chimney sweep to properly clean the chimney.

If you are going to be vacating your property, there are additional precautions that need to be taken:

  • Vacant Home Tips:
    • Prepare and protect your plumbing—Completely turn of the water supply, drain your pipes by opening all faucets and flushing all toilets to empty the water from the tank and bowl. At this juncture you could hire a plumber to blow compressed air through the pipes to ensure they’re completely drained. If you do not drain the pipes keep your thermostat at 55 degrees which will keep the interior temperature-the floor and wall cavities where the piping is located above freezing temperatures.
    • Prevent against pests—Clean your home thoroughly, including refrigerators, freezers and oven. Do a thorough inspection of all windows, doors and chimneys to be sure that they are sealed completely and capped to prevent intrusion.
    • Routine Maintenance—This is a good time to perform the routine maintenance on the appliances in your home such as your HVAC, and an electrical inspection if the home is older. Additionally, cleaning out gutters and visual inspection of the roof as well as inspecting the weather stripping and insulation of the doors and windows will protect the home. It is also important to remove any dead trees or overhanging limbs that are close to the home to prevent against damages from ice or blustery wind gusts.

Winterizing your home will likely prevent costly repairs and escalated deterioration of your property. A little bit of time and sweat equity is all it takes to reduce these risks.

Christmas Parades

11/1/2019 (Permalink)

A boat decorated with Christmas lights participating in the NC Holiday Flotilla The NC Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach will take place at 1 Bob Sawyer Dr, Wrightsville Beach on November 30th.

The community holiday parades will be as follows: 

November 23rd-- 9:30am Raleigh Christmas Parade (Downtown Raleigh)

November 30th-- NC Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach (1 Bob Sawyer Dr, Wrightsville Beach)

November 30-- 3p-9p Emerald Isle Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting (Emerald Isle)

December 7-- Christmas by the Sea (Oak Island)

December 7-- 3p-5p 2019 New Bern Christmas Parade (New Bern)

December 7--A Very Broadway Christmas Parade (Broadway at the Beach-Myrtle Beach)

December 8--Wilmington Holiday Parade (Wilmington, NC) 

December 14-Southport Christmas Flotilla (Southport)

December 14-- 12p 2019 Morehead City Christmas Parade (Downtown Morehead City)

December 14--1 PM Wake Forest Christmas Parade (Downtown Wake Forest) 

Does your Coastal North Carolina home have a Mold Problem?

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

A Servpro Technician in their PPE removing mold growth from behind a wall in a highly affected home. In Coastal North Carolina, mold can grow and begin to spread in as little as 24 hours.

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation. Give us a call at 910-319-0600 for a free inspection. 

Preparing Your Children for Emergency Situations

9/16/2019 (Permalink)

A family meeting discussing their emergency plan with their children. Week 3, Sept 15- of FEMA"s Month of National Preparedness is Youth Preparedness.

Youth Preparedness

Preparing your kids with what to expect and how to plan for an emergency is essential to mitigate their fears as well as prevent confusion. When discussing the plan be sure to include what to do if they are at home as well as if they are away from home at school or at extracurricular activities. ??The first topic that should be covered with your children is communication. Just like with any other relationship—teacher and parent, student and teacher, boss and employee, spouses, friends communication is key! Be sure that they are comfortable sending text messages, that they know the emergency contact numbers and that they know how to use the emergency features on their cellular devices. Next be sure to make sure that the school records have the correct contact information for the people who you want to be their emergency contacts should they be unable to reach you. When you have your family meeting make sure that you discuss who is on the list with your children so that they know who they can expect to pick them up in an emergency situation.

The next topic that should be reviewed with your children should be the emergency items that need to be taken with them in the event of an emergency. Any medications, pertinent medical instructions, supplies or documents that they will need should they be displaced should be listed and an emergency kit should be put together.

Finally you should have a family meeting where you discuss the plan and role play different scenarios that could happen so that they can familiarize themselves with the situations. Emergency situations can be very stressful for children and the best way to prepare them is to walk them through all the possible scenarios and arm them with as much information as you can so that they feel informed.

Saving for a Disaster

8/30/2019 (Permalink)

The calendar for each weeks focused topics for the Prepared Not Scared theme for September. FEMA has declared September the National Preparedness Month.

FEMA has declared September the National Preparedness Month. We will discuss the ways that are most important for local families to prepare for emergencies, and how to set you and your family up for the least impact possible. Simple things like taking photos of critical documents, having small amounts of cash on hand, and being sure you have appropriate coverage with home, life and property insurances can drastically change the outcome of any disaster situation. A huge part of planning for a disaster is financial preparedness.

Families in any income bracket can experience detrimental setbacks following a disaster or serious emergency. It is imperative to setup a small savings account and begin saving for a crisis event. Additionally you can complete an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit which will have you gather all of the important documents in order to complete it. Once you have completed it, you will have everything in one place. It is also important to review the deductibles for all of your insurance policies. Some policies have a flat rate deductible such as $3,500, while others will have a percentage based on the home’s insured value, 2-3%. Be sure that you understand the coverage. Not all types of events are covered by one policy. For example your wind and hail policy will not cover ground water intrusion and you will need additional flood insurance for those instances. This flood insurance can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program. This is important as many local residents found out during Hurricane Florence.

Each member of your family will need to have the proper identification with them should you need to apply for FEMA financial aid following the disaster. When gathering and securing your documents make sure you have:
Photo ID to prove identity of house hold members such as-

*Birth certificate to maintain or re-establish contact with family members

*Social security card to apply for FEMA disaster assistance
*Military service ID or record
*Pet ID tags

You will also need the following legal and financial documents to maintain your records.
*Housing payments to identify financial records and obligations
*Insurance policies to re-estabish financial accounts
*Sources of income to maintain payments and credit
*Tax statements to provide contact information for financial and legal providers & apply for FEMA disaster assistance.

Be sure to store all of your documents in a water proof and fire proof container.

What is Secondary Damage?

8/12/2019 (Permalink)

Secondary damage is caused when an initial loss occurs and the primary source isn't addressed or mitigated quickly. This additional damage may happen quickly as long as the original conditions persist or worsen over time. For instance, if water damage goes untreated or high humidity levels persist, black mold may develop. The water damage is the primary damage, and the mold growth is secondary. Take timely measures such as contacting a plumber to find any leaks, contacting SERVPRO to perform extraction services or a roofer if the issue is on the exterior of your home--to restore primary damage and fix the source of the problem to prevent conditions from worsening.

What Are the Major Types of Damage?

There are several secondary types of damage that can affect your home following water damage. Including

  • Additional damage to contents or building materials
  • Corrosion
  • Electrical damage
  • Mold growth, including black mold
  • Wood rot 

How Can You Prevent Secondary Damage?

Resolving the source of the primary damage is the first objective. Once you have established where the water is coming from, you can begin to mitigate the area and prevent secondary damages from occurring. Secondly you will need to fix the source and begin to remove the water. Depending on the class and category of water you may need professional help. Category one water will originate from a clean source, a faucet for example. Any water that has passed through materials or originates from an unsanitary source is either Category 2 or 3 depending on the severity of the contamination. These categories of water will contain bacteria and sometimes solid waste and will need the affected areas cleaned and disinfected. Once the area is decontaminated, thoroughly dry the affected area and lower high humidity levels. To achieve this goal you may need to set drying equipment such as dehumidifiers and fans. 

When Does Primary Damage Turn Into Secondary?

Primary damages will turn into secondary damages when the original loss isn't identified right away or circumstances do not allow for immediate resolutions. For example, during storm situations power outages are a large contributor to secondary damages where water may have entered the home and it had become and unconditioned space due to the air conditioner not running. This creates the perfect environment for mold to grow. Another example would be a small leak in behind a wall in a bathroom. The homeowner would most likely not know it is there until a secondary damage has occurred like mold or damaged subfloor. 

Should you find yourself in a situation where you have a secondary damage and need assistance, SERVPRO of Pender/West Onslow Counties is here for your residential or commercial needs. 910-319-0600.

Grease Fire

7/24/2019 (Permalink)

Grease fire DO's and DON'T'S are essential!

There you are, cooking up an amazing dinner. You've got your sweetheart coming over and you are singing along to that amazing Adele song, belting out the emotion and you look over and see.... FLAMES?! That was not what you planned. What now?!!? 

At any point during the cooking process, a grease fire can occur. These fires can quickly become devastating and potentially fatal.

A fire only requires THREE components to burn: oxygen, heat, and fuel. The safest and smartest way to kill a grease fire is by removing one of the components. Oxygen will be the fastest to remove because it takes time for the electric burner to cool down and it’s not safe to remove the fuel (grease).

Here are the CORRECT steps to kill a grease fire:

  1. Turn off the electricity supply to the stove top.
  2. Eliminate the oxygen supply.

        - Put on kitchen mitts so you don’t burn yourself

        - Grab the lid that fits the pot/pan and slide it across the top of the pot/pan


        -  If you do not have a lid, you can use a cookie sheet and repeat the step above

  1. Call the fire department.
  2. Call SERVPRO and we can come clean your mess up and make it look “Like it never even happened”.

Alternative methods:

        - Fire extinguisher

        - Pour a large amount of baking soda on the flames

        - Use a soaking wet cloth, and carefully drape the cloth over the pot/pan

Here is what NOT to do:

  1. Use water to put out the flames.

         - Water is heavier than oil; therefore the water will sink to the bottom. This causes the water to rapidly heat up, and an explosion to occur.

  1. Swat the flames with a cloth
  2. Throw flour on the flames (flour is combustible)
  3. Move the pot/pan (not even to another stove burner)

If the heat gets to be unbearable--get out of the kitchen and call 911.

Share the Table's Topsail Turtle Blast

7/23/2019 (Permalink)

A bin full of the turtles that will be used for the Share The Table races. They will be resting up for their next race August 1st! Please consider adopting a race turtle to help feed our neighbors in need!

Share the Table is a faith based community Food Ministry supported by nine churches within Pender and Onslow, NC counties. Dawn and her team at Share the Table work incredibly hard all year to feed the people in our community who have to make the heartbreaking decision between food and other basic family needs. This organization helps families through their free community meal, food pantry and school backpack programs. Each week they are feeding over 950 Pender and Onslow county residents. 

Each year Share The Table puts on their Topsail Turtle Blast to raise funds for their financial needs throughout the year. The proceeds go to stock the food pantry, aid in the soup kitchen and fill the school food back pack program. Participants adopt turtles for $5.00 a piece and on race day (weather permitting) the Rubber Turtles will race down water slides in three heats with the top prize of $500! There will be plenty for the family to do as well that day with food vendors, music and other kid activities on site at the Topsail Moose Lodge beginning at 5:30. 

Now, if you wanted to contribute to Dawn and her incredible team by adopting a turtle and cannot attend the Topsail Turtle Blast on race day, you do not have to be present to win. If you want to make donations to Share The Table, follow the link below to see the schedule for those times. 

If you or your family need the services that Share The Table are providing, follow this link to see the schedule for grocery shopping days and community meal opportunities.

Pender/West Onslow 24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service

7/16/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Pender/West Onslow Counties is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - 910-319-0600

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Pender/West Onslow Counties has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Pender/West Onslow Counties:

SERVPRO of Pender/West Onslow Counties  specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

4th of July Events

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

Pool Parties, Beach Days, BBQ’s, Live Music and FIREWORKS
All of the fun that surrounds celebrating our nations Independence Day! If you are looking for a fun filled 4th of July here is a list of the things that are going on around Hampstead, Surf City, Topsail Beach, Jacksonville, and Wilmington.

July 3, Independence Day Celebration at Soundside Park (Surf City)—Wednesday starting @ 5:30pm at Soundside Park—Food vendors, Johnny White & the Elite Band, and the Fireworks at dusk. Parking at Soundside Park for handicap and VIP only. Lawn chairs welcome, coolers are subject to search, no alcohol allowed. **standing access on the bridge only**

July 4, Holly Ridge—Holly Ridge Liberty Fest and Fireworks at Holly Ridge Municipal Park—Thursday @ 2pm-10pm. Fireworks, entertainment will start at 6pm, children's activities, face painting, balloon animals, whiffle ball, arts and craft vendors, retail vendors, and concessions! Come and celebrate America's birthday!

July 4, Wilmington’s Fourth of July Riverfront Celebration and the Annual Battleship Blast-Thursday @ 5pm-10pm. Fireworks scheduled to begin at 9:05. Street fair, food and entertainment along the riverfront. Best view is from downtown.

July 4, Jacksonville’s Annual Fourth of July Freedom Festival will be held at Onslow Pines Park- Thursday @ 2pm to 9:15pm. Vendors, children’s activities, food, karaoke, live entertainment and fireworks scheduled for 9:15pm.

July 5, Surf City Movies in the Park—Captain Marvel Pre-show Activities & Food Vendors @ 7pm.

July 5-7, Ocean City Jazz Festival—North Topsail Beach. 2649 Island Drive. Tickets—prices vary-