Recent Posts

Proactive Cleaning Services

3/20/2020 (Permalink)

Clasroom Photo Anytime, Anyway, Anywhere.

In the light of the recent outbreak, several businesses have been forced to close their doors. Yet because of the nature of our jobs, we're still available, we're still on call, we're still here to support.
SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County has a range of programs to support all kinds of companies in their time of need to propel them back to their feet when it's time to re-open their business.

We are now providing Viral Cleaning, also known as Proactive Cleaning, to make sure that your location is up to code and clean in the event of a viral outbreak in your home. Through using Electrostatic Fogging, we can offer less costly per square foot operation, more extensive coverage, and provide certified evidence that your facility has been cleaned by a qualified IICRC accredited company as opposed to conventional disinfectant and sanitation services. In fact, the drug we use is free of allergens and so healthy that it has been certified for human consumption.

If you are interested in this service, please call us using the button below or, if you are so inclined, call us for further details. We're here to help, we're here to get our nation back on its feet, and we're here to make it "Like it never even happened."

3 Ways to Prevent Wind Damage Due to Spring Storms

3/16/2020 (Permalink)

Spring storms, bringing the potential for severe thunderstorms, strong winds, and even tornadoes, have the ability to cause damage to homes. Specifically, strong wind can cause trees to break and damaged shingles, which can compromise the safety of your home. Wind strength varies from calm to hurricane-force depending on the storm. According to FEMA, strong winds most commonly impact roofs, doors, windows, and garages. Damage to any of those four areas of the home can potentially affect the structure of your home, requiring major repair. Before even hearing news that a severe storm carrying strong winds is on its way, there are several steps that you can take in order to protect your home from serious wind damage.

Maintain Landscape and Trees

First, pay close attention to any trees that surround your home, as wind can cause tree branches to break off or the entire tree to fall, thus risking damage to your home if trees are located close enough. Also, be mindful not to over-water trees, as over-watering often results in shallow, weak root systems, facilitating the possibility of trees falling during gusty winds. In addition, objects such as patio furniture, grills, or other backyard items can become projectiles during strong wind, which can damage your home if they are not anchored down or stored in a safe place, such as a shed.

Inspect the Roof

Because they are not in our usual line of sight, sometimes we are not aware of the condition of our roofs or shingles until serious damage has been inflicted upon them. In order to prevent unexpected, serious roof damage, survey the roof at least twice per year. Watch for loose or missing shingles and water damage in the attic, as both can be signs of damage. Hiring a roofing professional to inspect your roof may also help in spotting underlying issues that can save your roof from further destruction during strong wind. Finally, if possible, it may be beneficial to invest in weather-resistant shingles the next time that they need to be replaced.

Reinforce Windows and Doors

Utilizing storm shutters on windows and doors can help protect them from flying debris caused by strong winds. Storm shutters can be purchased but nailing plywood to windows and doors can also make for effective storm shutters. Lastly, garages cannot be forgotten. If particularly strong wind is expected, garage door bracing kits can be purchased, which will help keep the garage door in place during the storm.

Proactive Cleaning Services

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Crew in PPE SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team preparing to enter a contaminated area.

"The World Health Organization announced the coronavirus to be a global pandemic at a press conference on Wednesday leading to a flood of new steps and initiatives being taken around the world to fight the virus."  What once felt like a distant glimpse of possibility is now feeling too tangible and reaching close home. Towson University, Loyola, Morgan State University, a few public schools in Prince George's County and several more are all taking precautionary measures and closing because of potential COVID-19 exposure. Field trips, conventions, and public sporting events were canceled, and  after school activities. Shelves in the grocery store are bare and everybody asks... what more?

It's a chaotic time and we take comfort in those moments when we know that something is being done to help. SERVPRO has some key messages and most important is "We Are Here to Help." SERVPRO is now out on the streets more than ever working to contain the newly announced pandemic and mitigate its impacts.

The hardest-hit facility so far is in an assisted living facility in Kirkland, Washington. The Disaster Recovery Team at SERVPRO is actively focused on sanitizing, disinfecting and cleaning this building from top to bottom using specialized methods of cleaning and application. In compliance with the guidance issued by the CDC and local authorities, SERVPRO performs all cleanup and bioremediation activities.

It is important to note that the cleaning methods need to be more sophisticated and effective with this level of Bioremediation than just wiping hard surfaces with disinfectant. Health comes first and with the use of PPE and protective masks, our teams adhere to OSHA and CDC guidelines. We use the fogging methods to more deeply disinfect. SERVPROxide, the hospital-grade disinfectant, is released from the fogger, and its particles adhere strongly to surfaces and objects. The procedure must ensure that all surfaces including walls, doors, floors, and ceilings are uniformly coated. Instead, we follow our initial fogging with a wiping of all surfaces followed by a further fogging round. It is an extreme and comprehensive disinfection process, which should be the norm when dealing with this magnitude of a virus hazard.

Our team is ready to assist with preventive or post-contamination cleaning to avoid interruption of industry, education, and events. We are describing "Proactive" as cleaning that occurs when no person is suspected of being exposed to COVID-19. It would be a smaller area of study since no verified case has been identified.

If there was exposure to anyone suspected of either testing positively for COVID-19 or being subjected to someone displaying symptoms in your facility, we call this "post-contamination" cleaning. In this situation, the scope of work and the required safety measures will increase.

Eliminating exposure to this virus is the most important step we can take to mitigate its spread across our world. For more information on how to protect your company, your employees and your building, please contact our team.

Contractor Connections - Golden Hammer Award

3/9/2020 (Permalink)

Golden Hammer Award Plaque Our coveted Golden Hammer Award.

For 2018, we were kindly awarded the Golden Hammer Award for Top Performance in the restaurant industry.

This award is presented to those who perform exceedingly well in various metrics, including customer service, job performance, response time,  turnaround and cleanliness. We would like to thank Contractor Connections for acknowledging the hard work and commitment of SERVPRO of Harford County & Hunt Valley over the past year! Contractor Connection is the national renovation and repair company leader. They partner with a network of top-quality contractors (such as ourselves) to fit customers to their restoration and repair needs as well as possible. All contractor access to their network must be reviewed by their history, insured and approved and must have excellent credentials before accepting them into the network.

Burst Pipes 101

3/2/2020 (Permalink)

Pipe held by wrenches Making routine checkups on your plumbing is pertinent to preventing water damage.

Spring is right around the corner, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that cold temperatures will disappear overnight. Rather, temperatures will fluctuate in the coming months, with some warm days that are characteristic of spring, alongside some cold days. These variable temperatures can wreak potential havoc on your commercial business through their effects on pipes, which can lead to water damage in the event that they burst. Water within the pipes expands and contracts when temperatures fluctuate, which leads to increased pressure in the pipes. Pipes burst under this pressure. Because burst pipes can cause devastating water damage to your commercial business, it is important to understand ways in which burst pipes can be prevented as well as how to best deal with the damage if pipes were to burst in your building.

Prevention

First and foremost, make sure that your commercial business is protected by an insurance plan that covers water damage caused by burst pipes, as cleanup services can be costly. Pipes that are located outdoors or in unheated places should be wrapped in insulated sleeves in order to prevent the water inside from freezing during cold weather. If pipes do freeze, it may be beneficial to let water run through the pipes in order to avoid bursting. Finally, checking pipes on a daily basis for small leaks is a helpful preventative measure to take, especially when temperatures drop.

If Pipes Burst…

Immediately turn off water, electricity, and heating systems at the first sight of burst pipes in order to limit the damage caused by the ruptured pipes. Documents, inventory, and other important items should be moved to a safe location as soon as possible, as they can become damaged or destroyed in water in the wake of burst pipes. If it is safe to do so, check the building for signs of water damage, such as stains or discoloration, musty smells, or mold growth. It may also be beneficial to open doors and windows, as doing so allows air to move through the building, drying any damp areas and preventing the growth of mold or mildew. It is important for your commercial business to quickly get back on its feet following burst pipes, so call SERVPRO in order to restore any areas of your business affected by water damage as quickly as possible.

Home Cooking Fire Safety

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

Pot on Stove-Top Always remember, oil and water can cause large scale fires in your kitchen.

Cooking is an everyday activity that occurs in the majority of households, but did you know that the majority of household fires result from cooking? We cannot simply avoid cooking in order to lessen the risk of a fire igniting in the kitchen, but there are undoubtedly measures that can be taken both before cooking and while cooking to protect your home from a fire.

Before Cooking

Prior to cooking, make sure that your cooking surface is free from any flammable kitchen materials, including paper towels, oven mitts, or wooden objects. Grease, oil, and food debris can accumulate on stove tops and in ovens after cooking, which increases the risk of an unwanted fire igniting, so before cooking, it is beneficial to clean those areas. Finally, like ovens and stoves, pots and pans can become adorned in oil and grease from previous cooking excursions, which can instigate unwanted fires if not cleaned before they are placed in the oven or on a stove top. Taking a moment to wipe down all cooking surfaces and materials prior to cooking will help to significantly decrease the chances of a dangerous fire igniting while cooking.

While Cooking

While cooking, be sure that you remain in the kitchen and stay attentive to what you are cooking. Leaving cooking objects unattended increases the risk of a fire igniting that could quickly become out of control. Therefore, if you must leave the kitchen for a short period of time, make sure to turn off the stove. However, there are some cases, such as baking or roasting a dish for long periods of time, in which it would be unreasonable to never leave the kitchen unattended. When cooking such items, use a timer in order to remember to regularly check on the food.

Even when preventative measures are taken, there is still a chance that a fire could ignite while you are cooking. In order to protect your home, make sure that your home is equipped with smoke alarms and that a fire extinguisher is stored in the kitchen at all times. If the fire is small and manageable, extinguishing the fire yourself may be an option. However, if the fire grows large and becomes too much to handle, exit the house safely, make sure that everyone else in the house has escaped, and call 911. Contacting the fire department will hopefully limit the damage caused by the fire to your home. However, if the damage is significant, remember to call SERVPRO in order to ensure that the damage is remedied quickly and efficiently.

Preventing Basement Flooding Due to Snowmelt

2/13/2020 (Permalink)

Stone Wall Commercial and residential damage both require the proper attention in order to mitigate properly.

We commonly associate basement floods with rainy seasons, but did you know that your basement can flood at any time during the year as long as moisture is present? Even if yours has never previously flooded, most basements are prone to flooding because they are located below ground level. Moisture in the ground can seep through basement walls, which can result in flooding if there is an excess amount of moisture in the ground. During the winter season, winter storms often generate significant amounts of snow, ice, and other forms of freezing precipitation. After particularly heavy snowfall, the melted precipitation is absorbed by the ground, resulting in an excess of groundwater, which can make its way into basements and cause flooding. Consider these tips in order to prevent your basement from flooding due to snow melt this winter and spring:

Remove Snow

When shoveling snow after a heavy snowstorm, make sure to shovel snow at least five feet away from the foundation of the home in order to prevent the snow from immediately seeping into basement walls when it melts. This will create a special barrier between the moisture-packed soil and the basement’s foundation. In addition, it may be beneficial to clear snow from roofs and overhangs so that when snow falls or melts off of those areas, it will not land at the base of the home, contributing to more moisture surrounding the basement.

Fix Cracks in Foundation

Cracks in a basement’s foundation may facilitate flooding, as moisture would have an easier time seeping into the basement. In order to prevent a basement flood, which can damage valuables and facilitate mold growth, cracks must be repaired. Filling in cracks with epoxy can serve as a short-term solution, but a more permanent fix might require professional assistance. A solid foundation and walls will protect your basement from water, decreasing the chances of a basement flood due to snowmelt this winter or spring.

If Your Basement Floods…

Sometimes, even if preventative measures are taken, basements can still flood despite our best efforts. If this occurs, it is imperative that the water is removed as quickly as possible in order to avoid mold growth and further damage. If the flooding is minimal, using a wet vacuum to remove water and dehumidifiers to air out the area may be effective. However, if the flooding is significant, professional restoration may be necessary. Calling SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County will ensure that flood water will be thoroughly removed and that your basement will be restored "Like it never even happened."

Update Your Security With The Emergency Ready Profile

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

Two Men carrying a filing cabinet The Emergency Ready Profile, the next step in property security.

The SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County

Emergency READY Profile Advantage

Did you know as many as 50% of businesses never recover following a disaster? The majority of businesses that do survive had an emergency preparedness plan in place. Being fully prepared with proper planning can bring you peace of mind. When you are "Ready for whatever happens" this provides a solid level of trust with your clients and employees, so that if there is an emergency event and your business is affected by a disaster, you’ll be able to recover as quickly as possible.

By developing a SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County READY Profile (ERP) for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.

  • FREE Program!! We will provide an assessment of your facility at no cost to you.
    This is a high quality, digital profile with no need for you to allocate funds. This program provides exceptional value with zero cost.
     
  • A Profile Document containing critical information needed in an emergency.
    Completion of your profile will only take a little time to complete without taking you away from your current work projects, but it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
     
  • A Digital Guide to help you get back into your building after a disaster.
    Having a complete, updated Emergency Ready Profile can help minimize the amount of time your business is affected by a disaster by having an immediate plan of action.
     
  • Establishes SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
    You’ll have a go-to source with a provider recognized as the industry leader right around the corner.
     
  • Identifies the line of command for authorizing restoration work to begin.
    This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
     
  • Provides facility details such as electrical box and water shut-off valve locations, as well as priority areas such as entrances, exits, and priority contact information.
    Your team will be fully ready with a quick reference of who to call, what to do, and how to do it providing you with solutions in advance of an emergency situation so you’re "Ready for whatever happens."

Are You Ready to Get Started?

Sign up below and a representative of SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County will be in contact with you in the next 24 hours.   

For a consultation, E-Mail our ERP Coordinator, Colleen Kilchenstein @ Colleen@sphvhc.com with the following!

Your Name:
Company Name:
Location:
Dates and Time Available:

We thank you for your interest! Remember, creating an ERP isn't just establishing a plan for Loss Mitigation, it's establishing a Security Standard.

Job of the Quarter (Q4 2019)

2/3/2020 (Permalink)

pipes coming out of a building One of our Air Scrubber's in action.

Job of the Quarter - “One Stop Solution Shop”



Baltimore was founded in 1729, 47 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. In terms of the “new world”, it’s an old city.

 In the last 291 years since the city’s founding, major advances in construction, engineering, and innovation have occurred. Unfortunately, Baltimore city’s sewage system has not made the advances necessary to bring it to modern-day standards. An article from www.cleanwateraction.org summarizes it best:

“Baltimore City’s sewage system was designed with dozens of Sanitary Sewer Overflow Structures: intentional release valves that allowed sewage to overflow into streams, rather than streets or people’s basements. Although this was a best practice in the early 1900’s, using streams as open sewer pipes is a significant public health and environmental threat…”

“In 2002, Baltimore City finalized a Consent Decree… outlining how it would end the chronic sewage overflows into local streams that were fouling the Inner Harbor…”

“Between 2002 and 2016, Baltimore City completed half the work that was described in the Consent Decree - but backups of sewage into homes in Baltimore grew from a minor problem to a major hazard” According to an investigation by the Baltimore Sun, in 2004, the Department of Public Works responded to 622 sewage backups and by 2015, that number had hit nearly 5000.

 “When we closed those other 60 overflows that actually increased the number of basement backups that we saw in the city. Again, because the sewage has to go somewhere.” ~Department of Public Work’s General Counsel

At SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County, we see sewage backups quite regularly throughout the city and counties. In early November, we were honored to help multiple homeowners recover from a large sewage backup affecting the basements in all eight of their attached city row homes. We decided to choose this job as our “Job of the Quarter” not only for our expedited response to completion timeline, but also because it is a great example of our full-service capabilities.

The call came into our office early on a Friday afternoon and we had crews onsite within 30 minutes to start extraction of sewage from the row home basements. Because drywall will wick up water as quickly as 1inch per hour and sewage qualifies as a Category 3 water loss (water containing unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness), it was necessary to cut drywall and remove insulation to 2’ to allow for proper drying and sanitation. All contents in the basement affected by sewage were removed and disposed of as well. Even including a few appliances. We pride ourselves on being the “one-stop solution shop” for all of our customer’s problems. We were able to handle replacing appliances for those homeowners and continued on to provide even more timely solutions.

Many people don’t realize SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County not only mitigates your disaster, but we will put it all back together as well. “Like it Never Even Happened”, remember? That’s exactly what we did for the 8 row home basements affected by this mass sewage backup. Our mitigation teams finished up and our rebuild team moved in, We replaced all of the contaminated insulation, installed fresh drywall, and repainted the entire basement. Our team laid new carpet, tile floors, installed new kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, and tiled the kitchen backsplashes. New doors and trim work were installed and painted and appliances were put in place. All of this, times 8 homeowners and completed in a matter of 35 days. 

Our team members certainly signed up for a dirty, messy, and labor-intensive job. However, the pride they take in making people’s lives come back together quickly and efficiently couldn’t be greater. This is what all of us at Team Wall’s SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team love to do… we love being your “One Stop Solution Shop”!

Why We Love Our New Matterport System

1/28/2020 (Permalink)

Sections of a house The "Dollhouse" viewing option, allows us to get a birds-eye-view of the damage.

Have you ever been disappointed with the amount of time that insurance claims take to settle? If you're a qualified insurance or property manager, you realize that time is money! The cost and time involved in the resolution of a property dispute is usually based on the expertise and quality of the contractor undertaking maintenance and repairs. The retention of your insured or tenant is at great risk when you employ a contractor whom lacks the expertise, training and equipment to provide accurate estimates. Nevertheless, when you hire the right expert to help settle your lawsuit, you'll get pinpoint accuracy with your calculation, quick turnaround time and quality work. At the end of the day, your claim is handled fairly, quickly and your insured or occupant is rewarded with your service.

The Introduction of Matterport! The most sophisticated 3-dimensional camera ever made. With more than 2 million spaces recorded, Matterport holds the world's largest database of 3-D structure files. The Matterport is a game-changer to settle claims more effectively due to high-definition images, accurate measurements of detailed floor plans and guided tours. Imagine if you could literally stroll through a home or commercial structure to assess damage without ever having to leave your office chair... now you can!

No more messing around with hand-drawn sketches and having to take your own measurements because you have no confidence in the contractor you hired to help settle your claim. As an insurer, consultant or property manager, you can now view digital environments from multiple angles to take accurate measurements, access three-dimensional, self-guided tours, OBJ files 4 K print-quality photos and detailed floor plans. As an advanced media company that has created the first end-to-end video capture system, Matterport has transformed the concept of the restoration and rebuilding industry.