Recent Posts

Surviving Prolonged Power Outages

10/11/2019 (Permalink)

Cloud This could cause major damage to your home.

With the wind whipping, causing flash flooding and fallen trees, shattering windows, and damaging power lines in its path, we all fear the loss of electricity during a strong storm. Power can be knocked out for a few minutes or even seconds, but if enough damage is sustained, power can be lost for a longer period of time. Electricity provides us with many opportunities, from heating and cooling to preserving our refrigerated food. Without power, everyday tasks, such as communicating with others, storing food, and obtaining necessities, become more difficult. Considering the following tips in order to keep your family safe while you wait for the power to return.

Before the Losing Power

In the event of an emergency, you may need to utilize your cell phone. Without a method of charging, phone battery can deteriorate quickly, so cutting down on cell phone use can help to preserve the battery. One way to do this is to write down the numbers and addresses of important people or local hospitals ahead of time. Keep extra batteries at hand for electronic devices such as flashlights and radios. Preparing and eating food should also be an important consideration, as power outages take away our ability to cook or refrigerate food. To have food available, stock cabinets with items such as crackers or power bars that are non-perishable. Finally, have a back-up plan in mind for medications that require refrigeration in the event that your refrigerator is out of commission for an extended period of time.

During the Power Outage

Before scrambling to hook up a generator, remember that they should be as far away from your home as possible. Generators emit high carbon monoxide concentration levels, which can be deadly if the generator is placed within the home or garage. as high carbon monoxide concentration emitted from the generator can be deadly. Besides any electrical appliances being powered by the generator, all other electrical appliances should be unplugged, as they could suffer damage during power surges. Food inside of your refrigerator will spoil once the refrigerator loses its cool temperature, so it is crucial to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed in order to preserve the food inside. Gas stoves can be used to heat food, as they can operate without power, but they should not be used to heat your home.

In the event that your home undergoes any serious damage, from flooding to ceiling leaks, call SERVPRO Hunt Valley in order to make it like it never even happened.

In The Know: Ceiling Stains

9/30/2019 (Permalink)

broken water pipe causes ceiling stains Source of ceiling stains

Water Stain on Your Ceiling? Here’s What You Should Know.

There’s nothing worse than glancing up only to spot a yellow ring or discolored blemish on your ceiling. This is a visible mark of water damage in your home, which can not be remedied with a simple coat of paint, as doing so can facilitate the growth of mold or mildew. Water stains should instead be repaired immediately in order to avoid further damage to ceilings. But before breaking out any tools, determining the cause of your stain can help in deciding the best course of action to take.

Common Causes

Several different scenarios can result in ceiling water stains. The first of which is clogged gutters. Full or clogged gutters are the likely culprit if you’ve experienced heavy or persistent rain. The second scenario is leaky pipes. Leaky pipes could run from a bathroom, air conditioner, refrigerator, or dishwasher if one is located in the room above the stained ceiling. Another common source is a caulking issue. If the caulking that surrounds your bathtub or shower deteriorates, water can leak down into the ceiling below. Think about any recent events that could have kickstarted the leak, such as yesterday’s heavy rainstorm or the last time someone in the house took a shower, as one of those situations could have led to your ceiling’s water stain.

Taking Action vs Calling a Professional

Verifying the source of a leak can sometimes involve drilling holes in the ceiling in order to search for the source, which may be uncomfortable for some homeowners. If the idea of removing the water stain on your own generates unease, hiring a professional may be beneficial. A professional can also get the job done in a fast, efficient, and cost-effective manner, as most homeowners are not equipped with the knowledge or skills necessary in order to repair a leak.

Promoting Fire Safety in the Workplace

9/17/2019 (Permalink)

Most of us are familiar with home fire safety. Habitually testing our fire alarms, replacing their batteries, and being conscious of the location of the fire extinguisher are drilled into our memory. What may not be so habitual, however, is workplace fire safety. Knowing the instigators of fires in addition to what to do and where to go in the event of a fire emergency are essential skills to have in order to best protect your office from a disastrous fire.

Before all else, taking precautions can make a world of difference in the safety of your workplace. Computers, telephones, and other electrical appliances should be inspected for damage, as faulty wiring can very easily catch fire. Immediately eliminating and replacing all damaged electrical equipment in conjunction with educating employees on how to correctly use electrical appliances can decrease the risk of a fire igniting in the first place. Smoke alarms should also be present in every workplace, as they warn employees of a fire as soon as one is detected. In order to ensure that they are always functioning properly, test the alarms, replace their batteries, and make sure that the alarms can be heard by everyone, no matter their location in the office.

Creating an emergency escape plan that can be followed by employees during a fire is extremely valuable. The plan should be explained in detail, covering which exits can be used and pointing out an exact meeting place outside of the building. With a thorough understanding of the emergency plan before disaster strikes, workers will be able to exit the office as quickly and efficiently as possible in a real emergency. Teaching employees about office fire safety can also help to prevent fires. Prior to a fire, employees should be taught to look for fire hazards while going about their daily routine, use all electrical equipment carefully, and alert others when a fire hazard is spotted. Finally, employees should also know where the fire extinguisher is located in the office in addition to understanding how to operate it.

Protecting your office from a destructive fire can be made attainable by taking safety precautions and ensuring that your employees understand the ins and outs of workplace fire safety.

Hurricane Season: Are You Prepared?

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

A structure being destroyed by hurricane storm winds Hurricane Damage

Hurricane Season: Are You Prepared?

September is on our doorstep and therefore, hurricane season is approaching quickly. Summoning strong winds, heavy downpours, and major flooding, hurricanes can wreak havoc on your home. September is also National Preparedness Month, a time when homeowners across the United States can focus on preparing their homes for hurricane season in addition to other natural disasters. Protecting your home from devastation during a hurricane begins with learning the most effective methods of keeping your home’s exterior in top condition.

Prior to hurricane season, it is a good idea to consider your home’s risk of being impacted by a storm, which depends on where you live. For example, if you live in a coastal area, your risk is elevated and you should take extra precautions. It is also important to understand what exactly your homeowner’s insurance covers. Make sure that your policy covers flood damage and rebuild costs if your home suffers devastating damage.

Before a storm, examine your roof and gutters. Missing or loose shingles are a red flag that your roof is damaged and may not be able to handle a strong storm. If your roof is already in poor condition, it’s more susceptible to damage from a hurricane. In addition to replacing shingles, it may also be helpful to seal your roof. Checking your gutters to make sure that they are clear of any debris will help assure that water will drain properly. If your gutters are clogged, water is more likely to splash up against the roof, imposing water damage on the roof.

Hurricanes can bring heavy rains and considerable flooding, so keeping as much water as possible out of your home can help to limit water damage. One effective way to prevent water from entering your home is to use sandbags, which divert flood water away from your home. Finally, check that your windows are sealed properly. Seals can break under the pressure of weather, such as intense summer heat. Without functioning seals on windows, rain water can seep into your home. Call a professional to ensure that your windows will be properly sealed before hurricane season hits.

Why Is My Air Conditioner Leaking?

8/23/2019 (Permalink)

Why Is My Air Conditioner Leaking?

     Even though summer is winding down, hot temperatures will persist and our air conditioning units will continue to work hard throughout the coming months. With this constant use, you may find evidence of water leaking from your home’s air conditioning unit. Although a small leak may not appear to be a cause for concern, malfunctioning air conditioning units and the persistent leaking that they can cause can lead to serious damage. Such damage often includes water damage, which can range from the growth of mold or bacteria to structural damage including ceilings caving in. There are many reasons as to why air conditioning units leak, but a clogged drain line, improper installation, and frozen coils account for the majority.

     When rust, debris, or dirt accumulate inside of your air conditioner’s drain line, it can clog, causing the drain pan to overflow. Overflowing of the drain pan can result in water leaking onto nearby objects, such as walls, ceilings, carpets, and floors. You may also experience leaking if your AC unit was installed improperly, leading to an insufficient fitting of the drain pipe. When its connection is not secure, the drain pipe can loosen and potentially disconnect from the unit, causing water to leak. Lastly, when AC units are working overtime during the summer, your unit’s filter can become dirty and clogged if not replaced regularly. With a clogged filter, ice can form in the evaporator coils and when that ice melts, your air conditioner can leak. In order to prevent your AC unit from leaking, it is crucial that you replace your air filter regularly.

     You may be wondering: what should I do if my AC unit leaks? If you notice a leak, immediately turn off your air conditioner and call a professional. A professional can also install a switch that will automatically shut off the unit in the event of a dirty air filter or clogged condensate line, preventing leaks before they become an issue.

Home Fire Safety 101

8/23/2019 (Permalink)

In the event of a fire starting in your home, time is of the essence. Mere seconds can determine the severity of the damage that a fire can inflict upon your home. Therefore, preparing your home for the worst and having a fire emergency plan in place ahead of time is necessary in order to keep your home and those living in it as safe as possible during an emergency. Follow these guidelines in order to get the best understanding of each necessary element of fire protection for your home.

Smoke Alarms

Make sure that smoke alarms are installed on each level of your home. It may be extra beneficial to have one smoke alarm inside of every sleeping area in addition to the one alarm per level. It is very important that smoke alarms are tested regularly and that their batteries are changed yearly to make sure that they are functioning properly. Consider installing a central carbon monoxide detector in addition to smoke alarms in order to protect your home from deadly fumes.

Fire Extinguishers

Be sure that there is at least one fire extinguisher in your home that is easy to access in the event of a fire. The type of fire extinguisher recommended for household use is an ABC fire extinguisher, which can put out three different classes of fires. Class A covers trash, paper, and wood fires. Class B is for various liquids and gases. Finally, Class C is for fires emanating from electrical sources. Understand how to use your fire extinguisher beforehand so that you don’t have to waste time reading the directions during an actual emergency.

Enforce Safe Practices

Teach your children the dangers of playing with fire and keep matches as well as lighters in a secure location away from them at all times. Lastly, create a fire emergency plan with your family in order to have a predetermined escape route in the event of an emergency that your entire family can remember in case you become separated.

Owner’s Corner 3rd Quarter 2019

8/16/2019 (Permalink)

Every year at this time, all of the SERVPRO franchises worldwide, totalling over 1700 in number, came together for the yearly SERVPRO convention. Learning, networking, and sharing advice as well as stories, we all came together as one team. Doing so facilitated the growth and strength of SERVPRO’s presence in today’s cleanup and restoration business.

This year’s convention was particularly special, as it marked the 50th year of all the franchises coming together. To honor the milestone, the SERVPRO story was told, illustrating Ted and Doris Isaacson’s creation of the company in Sacramento, California in 1967. It was inspiring to learn how the Isaacsons’ business grew into a $2.4 billion franchise thanks to the persistence of a talented couple and, eventually, their three children as well. 

The company that Ted and Doris was initially a painting service, but became a carpet and drapery cleaning service soon after. After this decision was made, Ted and Doris chose to franchise the company. With a considerable amount of hard work and perseverance, SERVPRO has grown into the international emergency restoration, reconstruction, cleanup, and asbestos elimination service that it is today. 

Celebrating our 10 year anniversary this past May, Jim and I can attest to the fact that SERVPRO underwent various significant changes just during our short time here. While change can bring about both positive and negative results, these changes have all had the common goal of keeping the franchise on its toes, becoming a proactive force in the midst of modern customers’ ever-changing expectations. In March, an unexpected press release surfaced that brought about arguably the most significant change:

By Jaewon Kang and Miriam Gottfried

March 18, 2019 3:12pm ET

Blackstone Group BX -0.11% ?? LP is nearing a deal to acquire cleaning- and emergency-restoration services provider SERVPRO Industries Inc. for more than $1 billion including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

The private-equity has emerged as the winner in an auction for SERVPRO run by investment bank Harris Williams & Co., the people said.

SERVPRO, of Gallatin, Tenn., operates a network of more than 1,700 franchises that specializes in fire, water, mold and other cleanup services for residential and commercial customers. The closely held company was founded in 1967 by Doris Isaacson and her late husband, Ted Isaacson, as a painting business and is currently run by their eldest child, Susan Steen. 

Two out of the three Isaacson children who had been serving as leaders of the company decided to step down and retire after their father, Ted Isaacson, passed away in 2017. From this point, Blackstone entered SERVPRO, ushering in tremendous ownership changes. Though franchises and employees were concerned for what this change would mean for SERVPRO’s future at the beginning, attending a convention detailing Blackstone’s intentions of increasing opportunities for our franchises, that attitude has changed. We are so excited about what Team Wall will be able to supply to our customers in the near future.

Finally, we’d like to acknowledge the accomplishments of our 70+ team members whose loyalty and diligence has allowed our franchise to be so successful. In 2018, 0ur franchise was ranked in the top 20 out of all 1700 franchises for the fourth year in a row. Without the everyday hard work and excellence of our team members, this kind of recognition wouldn’t be possible. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge our customers, whose loyalty has been the driving force behind our growth. Thank you for all of your support! 

The future is looking bright and we’re looking forward to sharing the road ahead with all of you!

With thanks,

Jim and Trish Wall

ERP Profile

8/16/2019 (Permalink)

Out of all the businesses damaged in the wake of natural disasters, half never make a complete recovery. What’s the secret behind those companies that do recover? The answer: An emergency plan put in place well in advance. Opting to have an emergency plan can act almost as an insurance policy, ensuring protection that will decrease the stress that you feel no matter what mother nature has in store.

Even though there are a plethora of different types of disasters, no one type is more serious than another. Despite the size of the disaster, from a small leak to major flooding, there’s no harm in being as prepared as possible.

With this considered, SERVPRO has created the Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) app, accessible to tablets and smartphones. A convenient, easy to use, and completely free tool, the app allows you to formulate and control your specialized emergency plan using a method that is as stress-free and simple as possible.

A simplistic process, completion will only take up a small portion of your time. Verifying your preferred SERVPRO, the app can preserve your time and money through its simplification of the process of authorizing the start of restoration.

The profile offers convenient access to various resources that will be helpful in the event of an emergency, allowing you to quickly reference facility details and contact information. Restoration is  a time-sensitive process, therefore having SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile app will prove to be a useful tool, promising that you will be “Ready for whatever happens”.

Roof Damage Due to Summer Sun

8/5/2019 (Permalink)

Spending our days under the sweltering summer sun, we’re all too familiar with the intensity of the sun’s rays and the red sunburn that can damage our skin when we forget to wear sunscreen. Sunburn can result in long-term skin damage, and much like causing sunburn, sun exposure can inflict damage upon roofs of businesses, as they are exposed to the sun’s rays throughout the summer. As time goes by, the severity of this type of damage can worsen, deteriorating the condition of the roof’s materials and structure, just as our sunburn can lead to skin issues later in life. In order to protect your business’ roof from irreparable damage, it is important to understand how the sun specifically causes damage to your roof.

Compared to those of the other three seasons, summer days are considerably longer with more hours of intense sunlight and therefore, increased exposure of roofs to detrimental UV rays. Depriving the roof’s wooden materials from oil by drying it out, serious architectural harm can be inflicted upon the roof. Thermal shock, a phenomenon caused by the significant temperature change from warmer temperatures during the day to colder temperatures during the night that is common during the summer, is another cause of roof damage. The roof’s materials expand and contract under these circumstances, causing their condition to decline over time and eventually damage the roof’s structure.

Once you understand the causes, learning what to look for when checking your roof for damage will further protect it. Decay, evident in the rotting, breaking, or deformation of shingles, is one indicator typically found in older roofs. If your roof is relatively new, warped shingles are far more common and you should be on the lookout for bent or curled shingles instead. Be aware that warped shingles are a sign that damage has been inflicted and will worsen over time, so once you have observed it, remember to check your roof’s condition regularly. When shingles appear to be cracked, it is an indicator that tension overpowered the shingles as they curled, permanently damaging them. Calling an expert once you’ve observed cracked shingles is recommended, as leaving them broken can lead to permanent structural damage if not dealt with quickly.

With an understanding of what causes roof damage due to sun exposure and the types of damage to expect, you will be able to keep your business’ roof safe during the summer.

Summer Weather Calls For Humidity… and Mold

8/5/2019 (Permalink)

Mold is a common result of water damage throughout the year, but mold can grow any time an abundance of moisture is present in your business. There are two ways in which mold can grow in your business during the summer due to warm temperatures. Firstly, warm temperatures that are common during the summer increase the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, causing the air to become more humid. High humidity can therefore facilitate mold growth, as mold can multiply and thrive in the moisture created by a humid atmosphere. Another common cause of mold growth during the summer is a result of condensation. Humidity from outside of the building can create condensation on surfaces if it finds its way indoors.

There are several simple things that you can do in order to prevent high humidity or condensation from spawning mold growth inside your business. In terms of humidity, regulating the indoor humidity levels can be crucial during the summer. Keep the humidity level inside your business below 60 percent during the summer in order to prevent mold from growing. If your business is located in an area that is habitually humid, it may be worthwhile to invest in a dehumidifier. In rooms with surfaces that display condensation, it is important to clean and dry those areas with a dry sponge or rag as soon as possible when condensation becomes visible. Make sure that you also keep windows and doors closed when your air conditioner is on to prevent the cold air from escaping.

If mold does ultimately grow inside your business, continue to circulate air and keep humidity levels low in order to prevent the mold from spreading any further. Call SERVPRO to assess the extent of the damage and to help your business get back on its feet, free of mold, for the rest of the summer.