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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Preventing Flood Damage to Your Property

9/16/2021 (Permalink)

Flood damage According to the Federal Emergency Management Association, “Flooding is the most common and costly disaster in the United States.”

Flooding is a year-round concern, but hurricane season may increase the likelihood of severe storms that are capable of producing flooding. According to the Federal Emergency Management Association, “Flooding is the most common and costly disaster in the United States.” FEMA also recommends that homeowners take 3 important steps to minimize flood damage: “Know Your Risk”, “Insure Your Property”, and “Reduce Your Risk.” In this blog, we’ll discuss ways in which you can reduce your property’s risk for experiencing flood damage in accordance with FEMA’s guidelines.

Preventative Measures Inside and Outside

There is a wide array of indoor and outdoor preventative measures that you can take in order to best protect your home or business from flooding damage both well in advance or immediately before the storm hits. Outside, be sure that you clean out your gutters regularly, as doing so prevents them from becoming clogged and helps rainwater drain properly during a storm. Outdoor equipment and utilities, including heat pump or air conditioning units, can be elevated at least 1 foot off of the ground in order to decrease the potential for costly water damage during a flood. Inside, it may also be beneficial to elevate your indoor units, such as your HVAC system, in the event of indoor flood damage. Lastly, be sure to keep valuable indoor items, which may include important documents and sentimental objects, in watertight containers within a safe, elevated location. This step prevents such items from enduring irreversible water damage in the wake of a flood.

Call SERVPRO for Professional Storm Damage Restoration

Even with preventative measures in place, storm damage due to flooding is never 100% avoidable. However, taking the steps outlined in this blog and those recommended by Ready.gov can help minimize serious damage. That’s why SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County is standing by and always ready to help in the event that your home or business needs to be restored to its preloss condition after a damaging flood. Our website contains various flood and storm damage resources, including our Storm Damage Cleanup and Restoration, Commercial Storm Damage, and Water and Storm Damage Tips pages. Call us at (410) 229-0012 at the first sign of damage after a flood or severe storm for immediate, professional assistance and restoration services that you can trust.

Breaking Down Our Water Damage Restoration Process

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

Water droplets Consistency and professionalism are what our team of water damage experts displays on a daily basis.

When your home or business experiences a water damage emergency, what can you expect from SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County? Consistency and professionalism are what our team of water damage experts displays on a daily basis, as they follow a specific water damage restoration process and series of steps to ensure that your property receives the fastest and most effective restoration services after any storm. In this blog, we’ll break down our Water Damage Restoration Process so that you can gain a deeper understanding of what to expect from our services after any water damage emergency.

Our 6-Step Water Restoration Process

  • Emergency Contact

The whole water damage restoration process begins with your call. Immediately, we ask preliminary questions so that we can be prepared to arrive onsite with the most helpful resources and equipment to get the job done. 

  • Inspection and Water Damage Assessment

Once our team arrives onsite, we work to assess the scope of your property’s water damage and determine the severity of the water damage based on industry standards set by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification. The final step before we begin removing the water involves examining how far the water has traveled throughout the property in order to ensure that we complete a comprehensive water damage restoration of all affected areas. 

  • Water Removal and Extraction

Using pumps and vacuums, our team works quickly to remove and extract the water. This step is crucial in order to prevent secondary water damage as well as the growth of mold and mildew.

  • Drying and Dehumidification

In this stage of the water damage restoration process, we focus on removing the water that is more difficult to reach and was subsequently not able to be extracted in Step 3. We also take measurements of temperature and relative humidity in order to determine the number of dehumidifiers and air movers that will be necessary to remove this excess water and thoroughly dry your property.

  • Cleaning and Sanitizing

Water damage can often leave items unsanitary, which is why Step 5 focuses on cleaning and sanitizing in addition to removing odors from your belongings that have been impacted by water damage. Various techniques are utilized to achieve these goals, including Dry Cleaning, Wet Cleaning, Spray and Wipe, Foam Cleaning, Abrasive Cleaning, and Immersion Cleaning.

  • Restoration

Our final step is restoration, which is all about getting your property back to its preloss condition, making it “Like it never even happened.” Our team of professionals take care of everything from major repairs, such as rebuild and reconstruction services, to minor repairs, including the installation of new drywall or carpet replacement. 

Here for You Throughout the Entire Process

Water damage emergencies resulting from storms in residential and commercial properties alike can be stressful and scary, which is why you need a team of water damage restoration specialists by your side. As soon as you call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County at (410) 229-0012, our professionals will have your back throughout the entire restoration process until your property has been restored to its preloss condition. For more information about our Water Damage Restoration and Commercial Water Damage Restoration services, as well as additional Water Damage Tips, check out our website.

How To Clean Your HVAC System After a Fire

9/2/2021 (Permalink)

HVAC System Tubing A crucial component of minimizing damage after a fire involves an element of your property that works behind the scenes: your HVAC unit.

After any fire emergency, your mind immediately goes to structural damage and destruction of personal belongings. However, a crucial component of minimizing damage after a fire involves an element of your property that works behind the scenes: your HVAC unit. After any fire, it is important to clean the affected areas in order to prevent further fire damage to your property. Because HVAC systems facilitate air circulation, they can carry smoke and soot through the air, causing it to travel to previously unaffected areas of your property. Additionally, it is important to clean HVAC ducts because after fire damage restoration, HVAC systems can still distribute smoke-filled air back into restored areas if they are not included in the initial cleaning. Let’s learn more about HVAC systems and fires in order to determine when HVAC cleaning after a fire may be necessary.

When Should HVAC Cleaning Be Implemented?

Typically, moderate to heavy fires, which produce increased amounts of smoke and soot residue, require HVAC cleaning. Additionally, your property may benefit from HVAC cleaning depending on which side of the HVAC unit (either the supply side or the return side) the fire took place. Regardless of the scope and location of the fire, however, it may be beneficial to enlist the help of a professional who can assess the severity of the fire damage and determine whether or not your property requires HVAC cleaning. In the event that your property’s HVAC system cannot be cleaned normally, we offer duct sealing services, which involves removing, cleaning, and replacing vent registers and air intakes, as well as vacuuming out soot and dust.

HVAC Cleaning Reduces Health Hazards

Smoke and soot that linger in homes following fires can be detrimental to the health of those inhabiting your property. HVAC systems circulate this residue in the air, thereby increasing health effects. Therefore, HVAC unit cleaning is essential in minimizing the potentially detrimental health and air quality effects of fire damage. 

For Professional HVAC Cleaning, Call SERVPRO

Fire emergencies of any size deserve quick and professional fire damage restoration services. You can trust SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County to arrive as soon as possible after you call us at (410) 229-0012. Our Fire Damage Restoration specialists and HVAC cleaning professionals will be with you every step of the way until your property is restored to its preloss condition. Learn more about our Fire Restoration Process and Air Ducts and HVAC Cleaning services on our website.

What is Biohazard Cleaning?

8/26/2021 (Permalink)

Biohazard situation Our Biohazard Cleanup and Restoration Services aim to quickly remove and properly dispose of biohazards.

Found on the long list of professional Cleaning Services that we offer is “biohazard,” a service whose meaning may not be immediately apparent. What is biohazard cleaning and what does it entail? Why is it important to remediate biohazard situations as quickly as possible? All of these questions and more will be answered in this blog.

What Is a Biohazard?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a biohazard is defined as “a biological agent or condition that is a hazard to humans or the environment.” These agents and substances may include bodily fluids, animal waste, and microbiological waste. Because these agents may present dangers to health, our Biohazard Cleanup and Restoration Services aim to quickly remove and properly dispose of biohazards. 

Examples of Biohazard Cleaning Scenarios

Now that we understand what biohazards entail and why it is critical to properly dispose of them in a timely manner, let’s consider potential scenarios in which biohazard cleaning may be required. Some of these scenarios, such as tear gas cleanup, crime scene residues, and chemical spills, are rarely found in residential and commercial properties. Sewage backups and accident cleanup are much more common. However, whatever the severity of your property’s biohazard damage, our biohazard cleanup specialists are prepared with the tools to carefully restore your home or business to its previous condition.

In Need of Biohazard Cleanup Services? Call SERVPRO

We understand that biohazard situations can often be traumatic and emotional experiences, which is why we strive to empathize with our customers and handle every biohazard job with the utmost care. Trust SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County’s team of highly-trained biohazard cleaning professionals and specialized resources to remove your home or business’ biohazard situation in accordance with OSHA and health guidelines as quickly as possible. Call us at (410) 229-0012 at the first sign of any biohazard scenario, as we are available at any time of day with our 24-Hour Emergency Service. In the stressful moments before help arrives, consider our Biohazard Emergency Tips, which can help you safely navigate the situation and prevent health risks until our team reaches your location.

Our Top Hurricane Season Tips

8/19/2021 (Permalink)

Hurricane Waves The risk of water damage from hurricanes can be decreased when additional safety and preventative measures are put into place.

As we near the end of August, we find ourselves in the middle of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, which began on June 1st and stretches until November 30th. Preparing your property, whether it be residential or commercial, is difficult during any given year due to a variety of factors. This year brings its own set of challenges, as NOAA has predicted a strong hurricane season yet again this year and there is a 60% chance that this season will be above-average. While they do not believe that the 2021 hurricane season will be as strong as the disastrous season of 2020, the risk of damage can be decreased when additional safety and preventative measures are put into place. In this blog, we’ll share a few tips about ways in which you can protect your residential or commercial property from water damage caused by hurricanes during this unique year.

Hurricane Season Preparation Tips

Create a Hurricane Emergency Kit

Having an emergency kit for hurricanes is a beneficial tool for your home or business. Ready.gov provides a thorough list of items to include in your emergency kit, including water, food, flashlights, maps, and portable cell phone chargers. When designing an emergency kit, consider creating three kits so that they can be stored in three different locations: Home, work, and in your car. In this way, you can take comfort in knowing that wherever you happen to be when disaster strikes, you will have access to the tools that you need.

Utilize Resources from FEMA

The United States’ Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA, offers a plethora of online resources to help homes and businesses alike prepare for hurricane season. One tool that we would like to highlight is FEMA’s Mobile App, which places you in touch with the information that you need in the event that a hurricane is imminent. For example, the app will send you live updates from the National Weather Service, locate nearby centers for disaster recovery, and provide hurricane safety tips.

Experience Water Damage This Hurricane Season? You Know Who To Call

When a hurricane strikes the Hunt Valley and Harford County area, as with any other weather-related event, it is difficult to know exactly what to expect in terms of damage to your property. Luckily, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County possesses years of experience in Storm Damage Restoration and is a proud member of SERVPRO’s national Large Loss Disaster Recovery Team. No matter the scope of your home or business’ storm damage, SERVPRO is ready to help with advanced training and resources. Call us today at (410) 229-0012 or visit our website to learn more about our Commercial Storm Damage Restoration Services and to read more of our Water & Storm Damage Tips.

Lithium Battery Fire Safety

8/13/2021 (Permalink)

An assortment of batteries As portable electronics become a larger part of our lives, lithium battery safety concerns, especially in terms of fire safety, must be considered.

You may know lithium as atomic element number 3 on the periodic table from chemistry class, but among its many real-world uses, lithium is used in batteries, including lithium batteries and lithium-ion batteries. The difference between these two types of lithium-containing batteries is that lithium batteries are primary cells that cannot be charged, while lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable, secondary cells. Both lithium batteries and lithium-ion batteries are capable of storing portable energy, which allows them to be used for a multitude of electronic devices. As portable electronics become a larger part of our lives, lithium battery safety concerns, especially in terms of fire safety, must be considered.

Why Are Lithium Batteries Such a Concern?

It is true that all batteries present risks to safety, however, we use them frequently in our day-to-day lives. Only when they short-circuit or overheat do they become a significant safety concern. During the summer, the chances of batteries overheating in objects like cell phones and other portable electronics increase. In lithium-ion batteries in particular, their lithium-ion cells can reach a maximum temperature as a result of damage, overcharging, or overheating, which causes the battery to begin releasing heat. In recent years, stories detailing cell phones and hoverboards catching fire in the heat could frequently be found in the news. According to the United States Postal Service, lithium batteries are categorized as Class 9, which involves miscellaneous hazardous materials that only present dangers during transportation.

Preventing Lithium Battery Fires This Summer

Because lithium and lithium-ion batteries are utilized in many everyday electronics, including cell phones, laptops, and even electric toothbrushes, fire safety involving these types of batteries is critical. With temperatures heating up this summer, electronics can easily overheat. Therefore, be sure to avoid leaving electronics in a hot car for extended periods of time. Additionally, an unwanted fire can be prevented by making sure not to charge electronics in the heat. When charging your electronics, having a reputable and reliable charger can decrease the risk of a fire. Lastly, it may be beneficial to protect your phone and its lithium battery with a high-quality, strong phone case in order to prevent damage to the battery that might ignite fire. 

Have You Experienced Fire Damage? Call SERVPRO 

Electronics that use lithium and lithium-ion batteries can be used safely and fires resulting from either are rare. However, the unexpected can happen, which is why it is advantageous to be prepared for anything and we here at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County are ready to help. In the event that your home or business experiences fire damage resulting from a battery or any other source, you can call us at (410) 229-0012 for an immediate response. We offer Fire Damage Restoration Services and Commercial Fire Damage Restoration Services that fit any scenario so that normalcy can be restored as soon as possible. Be sure to also check out our Caring for Your Belongings page specific to fire damage, as we provide various services, such as electronic cleanup for television sets, computers, and more that may be affected by lithium battery malfunctions.

Independently Owned and Operated: Owner’s Corner

8/7/2021 (Permalink)

Convention photo We came home with ideas buzzing through our heads to make Team Wall the best it can be.

“Independently Owned and Operated”. We have all seen this tagline a million times, but I’d bet most probably don’t fully recognize what it means.

Independently owned and operated businesses are franchised businesses owned and operated by individuals, but with the guidance, support, and architecture for growth designed by its founders, corporate team, or central board.

Just having a predetermined plan to follow does not translate to instant success, however. It certainly takes owners with an entrepreneurial spirit, a strong team with hustle in their DNA, and loyal customers to move the needle.

SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team – Team Wall began as a one license franchise in May 2009 – a husband and wife team trying something new amid a recession that rocked our country. We became small business owners for the first time with the amazing blessing of youth and ignorance on our side – never thinking of the possibility of failure or the “What If?” consequences. We followed the path set out by those SERVPRO franchisees who came before us. It was awesome. But, awesomely hard work as well.

Fast forward, Team Wall now operates 12 franchise licenses throughout 3 metro markets. The architecture designed for us as we started our journey in 2009 was invaluable, but now as we enter a world of unknown – becoming “Multi-Market Operators” – we find ourselves carving our own path in an unraveling (and exciting) time for SERVPRO franchise owners.

Multi-Market Operations by individual franchise owners is not a new concept. Being a part of navigating this concept in the service sector with SERVPRO Industries and about 20 fellow franchisees has been an honor for Team Wall.

Team Wall started down the Multi-Market Operator path in 4th Quarter 2019. In walked the warmest winter on record in 100 years and then a global pandemic. Whew. Not a time we’d like to repeat, but let me tell you, it made us appreciate the week of July 20th, 2021 more than you could ever know. It was SERVPRO’s 52nd Annual Convention and the first time we were able to see our SERVPRO family in person in well over 2 years.

The fellowship, guidance, and inspiration we receive from these events is second to none. We learned about technology, integration, automation, new marketing strategies, industry best practices, key accounts and new relationships, and better ways to serve our customers. We networked with our peers talking through our triumphs, challenges, and lessons learned. After all, Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

The enthusiasm during convention week is contagious. We came home with ideas buzzing through our heads to make Team Wall the best it can be and to rock this opportunity we have been so blessed to pursue... the Multi-Market Operator.

We will always and forever be humbled by the opportunities our customers have given us through the years. And for the continued enthusiasm and dedication by our team members. Without these two factors, none of it would be possible.

With sincere thanks and heartfelt gratitude,

Jim and Trish Wall

How Do We Recognize Our Employees?

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

Crab Feast Employees enjoy a crab feast at our annual office picnic.

Here at SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team- Team Wall, we do a lot to recognize our employees for all that they do and show them that their hard work and dedication are appreciated. In a recent corporate blog series spotlighting our team, one of our owners, Trish Wall, expressed, “Culture really is the ultimate competitive advantage. Recognition is a big part of culture, and it’s so important to make recognition a consistent part of our core practices.” In this blog, we’ll walk through some of our favorite ways in which we have emphasized employee appreciation this summer.

Crab Feast and BBQ

Perhaps nothing is more quintessentially summer than sitting down with friends and enjoying a barbeque or crab feast, especially here in Maryland. Across all three of our offices, the office barbeque has become an annual event that celebrates our employees in a relaxed setting away from the sometimes stressful ins-and-outs of our daily disaster recovery work. 

Department Outings

Getting out of the office and spending the afternoon with coworkers is another way in which we strengthen the bond between our employees and recognize everyone’s efforts. In June, our Sales and Marketing teams came together for an afternoon at Big Truck Farm Brewery for a team outing. After over a year of seeing each other only through our computer screens, the outing allowed some team members to finally meet in person and share a few laughs while partaking in Big Truck’s archery activities.

The “Wall of Praise”

One of our conference rooms features a custom-made decal and notepad sheets that places our employees’ efforts front and center. We call it “The Wall of Praise” and it provides employees with the opportunity to write shoutouts to their coworkers and post them on the wall. At our quarterly meetings, we pick 4 or 5 of these shoutouts to read aloud, recognizing team members for all that they do behind the scenes and boosting team morale.

Employee Highlights and Awards

Every quarter, we spotlight team members in-person at our quarterly meetings and on social media through employee highlights. Various awards are presented at our quarterly meetings, including tenure and anniversary awards, as well as specific sales and marketing team awards, such as “Top Producer”, “Most Improved”, and “Coach’s Award”. These in-person meetings provide a special setting for employee appreciation, as we are able to gather the entire SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall together in one place, creating a large audience for employee recognition. The “Employee of the Quarter” award recognizes one employee who best embodies our “7 Pillars”: Hustle, Solutions, Team, Accountability, Quality, Persistence, and Consistency. The recipient is then highlighted not only in our quarterly newsletter, but on our blog and social media platforms as well. 

Trust Our Team

While we recognize individual employees for their strengths and dedication, our team is stronger together. “Team” is an important component of our SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County’s “7 Pillars” and values. Call us today at (410) 229-0012 and know that our tight-knit team is always standing by for our community, ready to restore your residential or commercial property after any disaster. 

Employee of the Quarter: Norma Hernandez

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

Employee of the Quarter This quarter, we would like to highlight Norma Hernandez, our Fire and Smoke Crew Chief.

Every quarter, we recognize one employee who embodies SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall’s “7 Pillars” that describe an outstanding team member. This quarter, we would like to highlight Norma Hernandez, our Fire and Smoke Crew Chief. After starting with SERVPRO Team Wall back in October of 2013, Norma has consistently expanded upon her skills and gained valuable experience in fire damage restoration. 

An Exemplary Employee

On a daily basis, Norma displays our “7 Pillars,” which make her an exemplary employee for her team members. These pillars include hustle, solutions, team, accountability, quality, persistence, and consistency. Norma especially excels in hustle, solutions, persistence, and accountability. Her co-workers can count on her every day to produce quality work. She hustles and comes up with solutions to obstacles when needed. On top of it all, she consistently shows up with a smile on her face and a great attitude.

Dedicated and Consistent Team Members

While Norma received the most votes in our office-wide “Employee of the Quarter” voting, four other team members tied for second place. These four employees, Reconstruction Technician Juan Duarte, Mitigation Crew Chief Brian Haines, Job File Coordinator Megan Badorrek, and Scheduling/Dispatch Coordinator Kristina Dubyoski, are all deserving of recognition as well. They are all important members of our team that produce high quality work within their departments, showing up each and every day to deliver solutions with smiles on their faces. They each care about what they do and will go the extra mile for our team, which is exactly what makes a praiseworthy SERVPRO employee.

Learning More About Our Emergency Ready Profile

7/16/2021 (Permalink)

Emergency Ready Profile We guarantee that our Emergency Ready Profile is customizable, mobile, shareable, and secure.

Here at SERVPRO, we strive to be “Ready for Whatever Happens.” One way in which we accomplish this goal is through our Emergency Ready Profile. Keep reading to learn more about what our ERP can do for you and your clients.

Components of the ERP

We guarantee that our Emergency Ready Profile is customizable, mobile, shareable, and secure. Your business can customize the ERP by utilizing features such as key contacts, individualized emergency shut off valve locations, access points, key maintenance and details unique to your facility, preferred vendors, and so much more. Because the ERP is accessible on mobile devices such as cell phones and laptops, we make it easy to react immediately when an emergency occurs at your facility. Multiple team members can also gain access to your ERP when facility information needs to be shared, which facilitates the maintenance of business as usual. Lastly, your ERP will be secure, as encrypted data and one-way hash passwords are utilized to keep your information safe.

Check Out The SERVPRO Ready Plan Mobile App

You can create and customize your home or business’ Emergency Ready Profile at your fingertips with our Ready Plan App, which is available for download in the App Store. All you need to do is register with your email and a password, select your preferred franchise location, and begin setting up your individualized emergency plan. 

Schedule Your ERP Walkthrough Today

SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile is a trailblazer in setting the highest security standards and offers risk management at no cost. To schedule a 60-minute walkthrough of what you can expect from our Emergency Ready Profile, call us at (410) 229-0012. Your home or business deserves reliable emergency protection that you can trust, which starts with downloading SERVPRO’s Ready Plan Mobile App and developing an Emergency Ready Profile today. View a sample ERP here.

Job of the Quarter: Water Loss Close to Home

7/9/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded warehouse Our team got to work pushing water out of the bay doors and into drains only 30 minutes after we initially received word of the flood.

The following blog is an excerpt from our upcoming newsletter:

The “Job of the Quarter” article in our quarterly newsletters is characteristically devoted to highlighting a job that our team responded to away from home, whether it be another location within our community or another region of the country altogether. This quarter, however, our standout job did not require our crew to travel at all. As a matter of fact, the job in question occurred right here in our own Hunt Valley office and warehouse.

Strong storms rolled through the area during the evening of Thursday, June 3rd. While office manager, Tracy Summers, was working late in the office and Water Crew Technician, Brian Rhodes, was preparing to head home for the night, they discovered water rushing into the warehouse due to the heavy rain. Entering through our warehouse’s closed bay doors, the rainwater quickly became a significant concern. In just one hour, we received almost 4 inches of rain. Thanks to Tracy and Brian’s quick thinking, they were able to get people in to help that evening, which prevented us from discovering an overwhelming water loss the next morning. 

The process of remediating the water damage that we had endured was no small feat, as a large area of the warehouse was covered by approximately 1 inch of water and several other areas of our office, including the main entry hallway, main conference room, and a few individual offices, were also affected by the water. According to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification’s categories of water involved in water damage, the water damage in our warehouse and office fell under Category 3, which is the most significantly contaminated, as it often contains “harmful pathogens'' and poses risks to human health. Therefore, it was critical that our team remediated the area quickly and safely.

Our team got to work pushing water out of the bay doors and into drains by 5:30 PM, only 30 minutes after we initially received word of the flood. Working quickly, we were able to successfully extract all of the water, cut walls, remove wet insulation, and set up drying equipment by 10 PM that evening. This was made possible by the help of about 20 crew members working late into the night. Even after the water was extracted, several members of our rebuild team worked to complete drywall and painting. By Tuesday, June 15th, work on all of the projects was finished and the affected area looked as good as new.

Making it “Like it never even happened,” for our customers and getting the job done quickly are hallmarks of every job that we complete. However, what makes this job worthy of our “Job of the Quarter” title is that it happened on our own turf, a place in which we don’t usually directly experience the stress of water damage and its possible impacts on our office’s schedule. Our team had to deal with an overwhelming amount of water and was faced with the task of removing and repacking contents from boxes that got wet in our office, while juggling an influx of calls from customers due to the storm. In order to get the job done and keep up with our clients’ needs, many of our team members made the selfless decision to turn around and head back to the office after arriving home from a long day of work. Our team members’ dedication incontrovertibly saved the day. 

In order to best serve our customers, it is critical that we first know how to handle an emergency on our home turf. The storm that moved through our community that Thursday night inundated our office with calls from customers in need of immediate help. Our ability to deal with a crisis in our offices and warehouse while simultaneously responding to those in need in our community emphasizes our persistence and determination to be there for our community at all times. Here at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County, we know firsthand the disruptions to business that damage of any kind can bring, whether it be flooding from a storm or scorched documents after a fire. Therefore, when you call our offices at (410) 229-0012 in need of a helping hand after a disaster of any type or size, our team will arrive immediately, ready to work quickly to make it “Like it never even happened,” for your home or commercial business. Visit our website to learn more about our many services that can be of assistance to your property, such as our Water Damage Restoration Services, Storm Damage Restoration Services, Commercial Storm Damage Restoration Services, and more.

What is Matterport?

6/25/2021 (Permalink)

Matterport is the standard for 3D space capture and collaboration in multiple industry sectors. They are the leading spatial data company focused on digitizing and indexing the built world. Matterport’s all-in-one 3D data platform enables anyone to create an accurate and immersive, digital twin of a physical space, which can be used to design, build, operate, promote, and understand any space.

How Does Matterport Help Our Customers?

Matterport provides two key components that benefit our clients and insurance industry professionals alike: Velocity and accuracy. Gone are the days of measuring a property by hand and utilizing a camera phone to document damages. By utilizing Matterport, SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team- Team Wall can now capture the measurements and photo documentation simultaneously while significantly reducing human error. In fact, Matterport’s Pro2 Camera provides measuring accuracy within a 1% margin of error. The 3D space generated provides unbiased information that cannot be manipulated to the benefit of any party. This 3D space also offers a snapshot in time, giving any insurance industry professional the ability to collaborate on repairs. This in turn expedites the overall claim settlement process, getting the property restored back to our client and adhering to our slogan, “Like it never even happened.”

Matterport In Action

Overcoming Pandemic Obstacles

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many insurance companies restricted their field adjusters from visiting properties. Limitations on inspections put many adjusters in a precarious situation. SERVPRO Team Wall cemented their trust with Matterport coupled with stellar services performed for our mutual clients. 

Faster to the Finish Line

 When a multi-family condominium suffered structural damage to their roof, an engineer was engaged to determine the necessary repairs. Once he found out that we had scanned the property with Matterport, he utilized the 3D scan to generate a detailed report. This reduced the turnaround time on the report and allowed our team to begin the repairs to the structure.

Caring for Your Belongings

After a fire impacted our client’s residential home, we engaged Matterport to document the personal property and structural damages. Due to our client’s health, she had to limit her time on site. Instead, we opted to scan the property on multiple occasions to put her mind at ease. In addition, she was able to assist with the non-salvageable inventory process with our team.

Matterport is Here For the Assist

SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team – Team Wall strives to create the premier customer service experience. We utilize state-of-the-art technology such as Matterport and continue to implement emerging products that will benefit the overall property restoration process. If you are interested in learning more about SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County or our Matterport services, please give us a call at (410) 229-0012 or visit our website, where you can learn more about our water, storm, fire, and mold restoration services, as well as our other Advanced Technologies that are designed to restore your home or commercial business to its preloss condition as soon as possible.

Navigating the 3 Types of Water Damage

6/16/2021 (Permalink)

The phrase “water damage” is an umbrella term that describes a variety of different situations and conditions. Every incident involving water is unique and its resulting water damage varies. It may come as a surprise that even the water itself can be categorized into a variety of classifications. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification details three different “Categories of Water” that are involved in water damage in homes and businesses alike. In this blog, we’ll break down these three categories of water, which can help you assess the severity of any water damage that should occur in your home or business.

The IICRC’s 3 Categories of Water

The three water categories presented by the IICRC in its S500 Standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration” article aim to classify water by its contamination level, “considering both its originating source and quality after it contacts materials present on the job site.” The document also asserts that the amplification of the water’s contamination level can be increased or decreased by both time and temperature.

Category 1- Clean Water

Water that is classified as Category 1 is commonly referred to as “clean water,” as the water’s source is sanitary and does not pose any risks from exposure. Category 1 water examples may include melting ice or snow, rainwater, and broken water supply lines. While it does not appear as though Category 1 water poses a significant risk, this water can deteriorate depending on how long microorganisms remain wet after exposure and the environment’s temperature. If the water develops an odor, its sanitation has likely worsened, dropping its classification to category 2.

Category 2- Gray Water

When water falls under Category 2, it is significantly contaminated. Upon exposure or consumption, humans can experience symptoms ranging from discomfort to sickness. A wide variety of circumstances fall under Category 2, including common household water damage situations like dishwasher discharge, washing machine overflow, and toilet bowl overflows. Category 2 water also includes a few surprises, such as punctured water beds and broken aquariums. Like Category 1 water, this water can also deteriorate to Category 3, also known as “black water.”

Category 3- Black Water

The most severely contaminated category of water according to the IICRC, Category 3 water, is commonly known as “black water.” Water of this category is “grossly contaminated,” according to the IICRC, and sometimes contains pathogens, toxins, or other “harmful agents.” Category 2 water is known to occasionally cause health concerns, but upon contacting or consuming Category 3 water, humans can experience very serious health concerns. Types of water that fall under this category include sewage, flooding that originates from seawater and rivers, as well as wind-driven rain from tropical storms or hurricanes. It is important to understand that Category 3 water is capable of carrying harmful substances like toxins and pesticides, so it is best to allow a professional to handle the situation.

We Have the Expertise That You Need

Our team of water damage professionals at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County abides by the IICRC’s S500 Standards, as every team member undergoes training with SERVPRO Industries Inc., an IICRC-approved school. When you call us at (410) 229-0012, our team will arrive onsite immediately, identify the category of water damage onsite, and tailor the water damage restoration services to your home or business’ specific needs in accordance with industry guidelines. Additionally, we offer unique services, such as Sewage Cleanup for different categories of water scenarios. To learn more about our water damage restoration team’s qualifications and the Water Damage Restoration Services that we offer, be sure to check out our Water Brochure.

Summer Storms Spark Lightning Damage

6/8/2021 (Permalink)

Every summer brings its fair share of storms, ranging from light rain showers to severe squalls, risking damage to homes, commercial buildings, and other structures. In an effort to help homeowners and business owners navigate the increased risk of storm damage with summer storms, we dedicate one or two blogs to storm safety every summer. In the past, such blogs have dealt with hurricane preparation and flash flooding. However, it is important to also emphasize the hazards of lightning in addition to flooding, fallen trees, and other forms of storm damage. Lightning can spark fires, power surges, and even major structural damage when it directly strikes commercial buildings and homes. In order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the damage that lightning can do in addition to what steps you should take in the event that your home or business is struck by lightning, keep reading.

Types of Lightning Damage

Fire damage is perhaps the most predictable type of damage that would result from a lightning strike. Attics and top floors of buildings, due to their proximity to the roof, are especially vulnerable to fire after a lightning strike. Traveling via electrical circuit and wires, fire can also ignite in other areas of a home or business. In terms of the structure of a building in the aftermath of a lightning strike, roofs and attics can be destroyed, scorched by the lightning. Personal belongings can also be placed in jeopardy when lightning strikes a building, which propels electrical surges throughout the building’s structure. As a result, electronic devices, such as computers, televisions, and appliances, can be damaged significantly or become destroyed.

I Think That Lightning Struck My Building- What Should I Do?

If you hear a loud crash that transcends the usual volume of a distant roll of thunder or lightning strike, it is possible that your home or business has experienced a direct lightning strike. The risk of experiencing a direct lightning strike is low, but it is essential to know what to do in the event that it happens in order to minimize damage to your home or business as best as possible. The first step is to check for fire. As soon as it is safe to go outside, look for damage to your roof and your home or business’ surroundings. Inside, you should also check electrical switches, breakers, and outlets for signs of damage, as well as piping for leaks, which can lead to flooding. In the event that you discover damage of any kind, call a professional immediately.

SERVPRO Is Here to Help

Here at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County, we are a team of storm damage professionals who are ready to help your home or business recover after lightning damage or storm damage of any kind. By calling us right away at (410) 229-0012, you can ensure that our team will be onsite quickly, prepared to make it “Like it never even happened,” by providing reputable Storm Damage Cleanup and Restoration Services. To learn more about the specific storm damage remediation services that we offer, check out our pages dedicated to such topics as Commercial Storm Damage Restoration. After storm damage of any shape or size, we also offer various cleanup services to fit your home or business’ unique needs, including Building Services such as Roofing Services in addition to Fire Damage Restoration Services and Mold Remediation. We know that every storm is different, presenting distinct and individualized challenges for every home or business that it affects. That’s why our team here at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County tailors our services to every customer, working as quickly as we can to get you back to business as usual.

What Do These HVAC Warning Signs Mean?

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

HVAC systems play a critical role in the day-to-day functioning of commercial businesses. The letters “HVAC” stand for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, which are three elements that create a safe and comfortable environment for employees within businesses. If properly maintained, HVAC systems can last for many years, but there comes a time when every HVAC system begins to malfunction, whether it be the result of old age or insufficient maintenance. Keep reading to learn more about HVAC warning signs and what they might mean in order to keep your commercial business’ HVAC system running smoothly and know when it needs maintenance.

3 Common Warning Signs: What Do They Mean?

  1. Odor

The first common warning sign of HVAC system malfunctioning is a strange odor emanating from the unit. Occasionally, this is referred to as “Dirty Sock Syndrome,” which entails an unpleasant smell, resembling that of a dirty sock, that spreads throughout the business as a result of a dirty HVAC system. HVAC systems’ unpleasant odors may be caused by mold growth within the unit. Without proper maintenance, an HVAC system’s evaporator coil can accumulate dirt, bacteria, and mold or mildew growth, creating an odor that will spread throughout the commercial business as the HVAC unit circulates air.

  1. Weird Sounds

In the event that you hear a low, humming noise coming from your commercial business’ HVAC system, there should not be cause for concern. However, if your HVAC unit begins to emit louder, harsher, or rattling sounds, this may be a warning sign that something is not quite right. The rattling noise may be the result of loose parts or a failing compressor within the unit.

  1. Increasing Cost

HVAC units are a necessary expense in order to maintain a comfortable work environment within any commercial business. Therefore, it is understandable if a sudden increase in your HVAC bill sparks anxiety. Usually, if your HVAC bill skyrockets, it is an indication that the unit’s filters are dirty or clogged, which causes the HVAC unit to work harder to do its job, leading to an increase in cost.

Trust SERVPRO’s HVAC Services

If your home or business’ HVAC unit displays any of the aforementioned warning signs, it is important to seek the assistance of a professional who can effectively diagnose the problem and guide you through the process of fixing the issue. You can start by calling SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County at (410) 229-0012. Our team of HVAC professionals are ready to help get your HVAC unit running properly once more and get life in your business back to normal as quickly as possible. Visit our pages dedicated to our HVAC Services, as well as our other commercial offerings, including our Commercial Restoration Services and Commercial Cleaning Services. Want to learn more about the many other commercial and residential services that we offer? Be sure to also check out our long list of Building Services

The Need to Know on Mold

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

Mold in Bathroom Mold in Bathroom. Source: Unsplash.

Mold is a common issue in residential homes and businesses alike. Because mold problems and infestations are somewhat frequent occurrences, it is beneficial to gain a thorough understanding of what mold is, how it spreads, how it can be contained, and what we here at SERVPRO can do to help.

The Biology of Mold

Mold is a type of fungus and is more specifically classified as saprophyte. We know that there are at least 20,000 different species of mold, but there may be even more. Deriving the nutrients it needs to survive from organic matter that has decomposed, mold grows on various different types of surfaces, branching out in order to spread. These branches are called hyphae.

5 Common Types of Mold in Buildings

There are five different varieties of mold that can grow on indoor surfaces inside of buildings. The first is penicillium, which is often blue or green in color and has a texture similar to velvet. Aspergillus tends to grow in oxygen-rich environments. A third variety, chaetomium, usually takes on a cotton-like texture. On fabrics, cladosporium is the most common variety of mold that will grow. Lastly, the fifth variety is stachybotrys, which tends to grow in areas that are high in humidity and damp.

Containing the Spread of Spores

While it’s impossible to completely get rid of mold because there has always been some mold in the air and on surfaces, mold remediation seeks to contain mold spores in order to prevent mold issues from reaching extreme levels of severity. Mold begins as small spores, but its structure is capable of holding thousands more spores. Aerosolization, or any event that causes airflow to pick up mold spores, facilitates the spread of mold. When remediating mold infestations, it is critical to prevent the spread of mold spores to other, clean areas as best as possible. Therefore, we utilize advanced containment procedures, such as negative air chambers, to contain areas contaminated by mold through the use of physical barriers while we clean affected areas.

Why Should We Be So Worried About Mold?

Some types of mold, like Penicillin or bleu cheese, are not a cause for concern. Bad molds, on the other hand, can cause health effects. Additionally, while large colonies of mold become visible to the eye, mold is generally an enemy that we cannot see, making it difficult to know if materials in your home or business are contaminated.

Mold in Buildings

When buildings become infested with mold, “sick building syndrome” (or SBS), in which occupants of the building experience minor health effects that result from spending time in the building, sometimes occurs. These problems can worsen over time if air circulation is lacking in the building or the building is not being properly maintained. Above all else, HVAC systems often serve as the impetus of mold growth in buildings. Mold can quickly and easily grow in the malfunctioning drain pans, filters, and piping of HVAC systems if they are not maintained and if mold grows in HVAC systems, they double as a delivery service, spreading mold spores throughout the building.

Mold Growth Requirements

In order for mold to grow successfully, several factors are required to be present. These include mold spores first and foremost, an organic material to serve as a food source, a temperature between 32 and 122 degrees fahrenheit, water or moisture, and as little as two days’ time. In terms of organic matter, mold can feed on wood, paper, drywall, insulation, paints, starch in wallpaper paste, and caulk, just to name a few surfaces.

Preventing Mold Growth

When preventing mold growth, the response to water damage must be immediate and moisture is the most critical factor to get under control?. Often, it is more beneficial to mitigate than to remediate? mold-damaged areas. There are also several things that building owners and occupants can do to prevent mold growth. These actions include frequently surveying areas that are often overlooked, such as dishwashers, ice maker connections, washing machine connections, shower doors, and space behind the dishwasher. Additionally, washing machine connections should be replaced every 5 years. Ultimately, good ventilation, maintaining a dry environment, limiting food sources for mold, and utilizing fungicides and biocides all help in preventing mold growth in homes and businesses.

Mold Remediation Basics

Here at SERVPRO, we follow the IICRC S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation. There are three condition levels for mold remediation as stated by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification. Condition 1 is Normal Fungal Ecology, which describes an indoor environment that may contain spores or traces of growth that are characteristic of a natural environment. Condition 2 is Settled Spores, indicating that indoor areas have undergone secondary contamination from settled spores. Lastly, Condition 3 is Actual Growth, in which the indoor environment is contaminated with actual mold growth.

Our 5 Principles of Mold Remediation

As we explained earlier, our primary concern when working with mold is containment in order to prevent further spread. We achieve successful containment through the use of negative air chambers, which are used to isolate the area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to prevent mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process. ?In order to ensure the best results, we adhere to 5 principles of mold remediation:

  • Safety and Health;
  • Documentation;
  • Control Contaminants;
  • Remove the Contamination;
  • and Correct the Moisture Problem.

    As soon as the moisture problem has been corrected, an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) conducts final clearance testing, surveying all Condition 3 and Condition 2 areas as suggested by the IICRC S250 Standard in order to make certain that all areas have returned to Condition 1 before containment can be removed.

Have a Mold Problem? Call SERVPRO

Learn more about our Mold Remediation and Restoration Services by clicking here and in the event that your home or business experiences mold growth of any capacity, call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County at (410) 229-0012 immediately for trustworthy and efficient mold remediation services. Check out our website to read more about our Commercial Mold Remediation Services, as well as our Mold Remediation Process.

Restoring Fort Sill: A Team Effort

5/19/2021 (Permalink)

Every so often, we’re granted the opportunity to combine the forces of our three SERVPRO Team Wall locations on a job in order to help our customers. In March, all three of our locations, alongside SERVPRO Team Bowen, took on our largest job ever, providing our services to Fort Sill, a historic military base in Oklahoma. After enduring around 200 pipe bursts in the wake of this winter’s deep freeze that hit Oklahoma and Texas, Fort Sill was in need of all the help they could get to restore the base to its preloss condition.

What Is Fort Sill?

The largest field artillery complex in the country, Fort Sill sits on 94,000 acres of land. Additionally, Fort Sill is a National Historic Landmark and over the years, it has hosted many troops, including the famous African-American “Buffalo Soldiers,” and today, Fort Sill is the site of the grave of Geronimo, a Chiricahua Apache religious and military leader.  It is a U.S. Army base in addition to serving as a base for the Marine Corps, which meant that there were many people depending on our help to restore Fort Sill.

Combining Our Resources

The Fort Sill job was the largest project that SERVPRO Team Wall has ever faced, which makes our successful work all the more rewarding. We inspected about 110 buildings throughout the base using thermal imaging cameras and moisture meters in order to detect moisture and eventually went on to work in 50 of those buildings, all of which experienced at least one burst pipe. In order to meet Fort Sill’s needs, all three of Team Wall’s locations joined forces alongside SERVPRO Team Bowen. Eight crews supervised a total of 70 to 100 people on any given day, with supervising roles ranging from overseeing demolition and drying processes to monitoring equipment, which included small format equipment as well as four tractor trailers. These tractor trailers carried about 1,000 air movers and 200 dehumidifiers. Over the course of the 17 days that our crews were onsite at Fort Sill, we provided temporary power and climate control, descants, dehumidifiers, and ran generators in six different buildings simultaneously. Completing this job was no small feat, but SERVPRO Team Wall was able to restore Fort Sill to its pre-storm condition by combining the resources of each of our three locations.

Trust SERVPRO Team Wall’s 3 Locations for Your Storm Needs

While the Fort Sill job may appear larger than life, this is the reality of what SERVPRO Team Wall does on a daily basis, albeit at a smaller scale. Whenever a storm rolls through your area, whether it be a localized thunderstorm or a widespread storm, SERVPRO is standing by with the resources to handle any size emergency. You can learn more about our professional Storm and Flood Services, as well as our Water Restoration Process by checking out the Storm Damage page on our website. Remember that we also offer Mold Remediation and Restoration services, which may be needed if water damage leads to mold growth. For both storms and disasters alike, know that you can call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County at (410) 229-0012 for storm damage restoration services and professional resources that you can trust.

Understanding Electrical Outlet Guidelines

5/12/2021 (Permalink)

We’ve all had that moment, electrical cord in hand, wondering, “Can I plug this in here?” We weigh the pros and cons of plugging a hefty number of cords into one outlet or filling an extension cord. Just one more shouldn’t make that much of a difference, right? According to the National Fire Protection Agency, the second leading cause of fires in homes between 2012 and 2016 was electronic malfunctions. In the moments when we desperately need to charge our phones or laptops, however, it is important that we remember the consequences of taking risks with electrical outlets and seek clarification. How many cords is too many? How can we ensure that we are protecting our homes from electrical fires?

Statistics About Electrical Fires

First, developing an understanding of the causes of electrical fires in residences is crucial in order to prevent such fires from occurring. In 2018, FEMA published a report on Residential Building Electrical Fires between 2014 and 2016, in which it was concluded that electrical wire was often one of the first items to catch fire in residential building electrical fires. Additionally, outlets and receptacles accounted for 12 percent of the electrical fires ignited, while extension cords also resulted in 5 percent of these fires. Therefore, exercising caution when interacting with electrical wires, cords, and outlets, is key in protecting your home from the dangers of electrical fires.

Guidelines

The FEMA report also outlines a number of guidelines concerning fire safety when interacting with appliances, outlets, and extension cords.

Appliances

The report asserts that appliances, which range from refrigerators and washing machines to microwaves, should only be plugged directly into wall outlets. It also suggests that the electrical cords and wires used with appliances be closely monitored, as the faster you can identify damage, such as cracking or loosening, the better you can prevent an electrical fire.

Outlets and Extension Cords

When interacting with outlets, be sure to never overload an outlet with more plugs than it is designed to handle. That being said, electrical cords should also always be fully inserted into sockets and three-pronged cords should never be forced into a two-prong outlet. It is especially important to never overload extension cords, as they are only intended to serve as temporary power sources. You can often find out about an extension cord’s capacity by checking its packaging. The report also suggests using extension cords that possess internal overload protection in case of an accident.

Where SERVPRO Can Help

Even with our best efforts, electrical fires can ignite unexpectedly as a result of an accident or emergency. Here at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County, we understand just how stressful residential fires can be. You can trust our reputable Fire Services to help restore your home to its preloss condition, making the fire “Like it never even happened.” Learn more about our Fire Restoration Process and check out our other fire-related website content, such as our Fire Damage Tips, which can help guide you through the appropriate steps to take after a fire emergency. If your home experiences a fire, call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County immediately at (410) 229-0012.

Highlighting Our Employees: Jaime Orellana, Brian Barry, and Darrin Grant

5/5/2021 (Permalink)

This quarter, our Hunt Valley and Harford County office would like to congratulate Jaime Orellana as our “Employee of the Quarter.” However, we would be remiss if we did not also highlight two additional outstanding employees, Brian Barry and Darrin Grant, for their noteworthy efforts in combating the damage left behind by Winter Storm Uri in Oklahoma and Texas. A common thread that runs all three of these employees is that they are friendly and hard working team players who are willing to put in the extra time to produce excellent results.

Jaime Orellana

Starting as a Fire Technician with the company in 2017, Jaime has experienced multiple sides of SERVPRO. Transferring from the fire sector to water, Jaime worked as a Water Technician and eventually worked his way up to his current position as Water Mitigation Crew Chief. If you ask any of Jaime’s coworkers about his character, they’ll tell you that he is a hard worker and a team player.  He is friendly, always willing to help out his teammates, and consistently produces excellent work.  Jaime recently traveled with his team members to Dallas, Texas to help in the recovery from Winter Storm Uri. There, he led a crew to produce what became our “Job of the Quarter,”  directing a large crew to restore a school that had a lot of water damage from a broken fire suppression pipe, which left water flooded throughout the school.  After several days and a lot of hard work, the school was left dry, clean, and ready for the reconstruction services that we are currently in the midst of completing. Our success in Dallas would not have been possible without Jaime’s leadership. Thank you for all that you do, Jaime!

We would like to extend honorable mentions to the following team members:

Brian Barry

Brian started with us only six months ago as an Estimator but in that time, he has become our Fire Production Manager.  Brian jumped right in with a great attitude and has made himself available to help his colleagues with everything from estimating and Matterporting to lending a hand on water, fire and COVID cleaning jobs.  On social media, Brian also posts great updates about SERVPRO Team Wall, keeping customers in the loop with our work. Brian recently returned home from thirty-three days in Oklahoma as a part of our team’s effort to help with mitigation and reconstruction work due to Winter Storm Uri. Thank you for your hard work this quarter, Brian!

Darrin Grant

Since joining our SERVPRO team in 2013 as a Water Technician, Water Mitigation Crew Chief Darrin has demonstrated his role as yet another team member who is always willing to go to any lengths to help others. His colleagues describe Darrin as positive and cheerful.  This quarter, Darrin also spent several weeks in Dallas, Texas and Oklahoma with our storm response team before a brief return home. Currently, he is back in Oklahoma with his technician, Eric to help finish up mold remediation work.  We expect them back home soon and we can’t wait to congratulate them on a job well-done. We are grateful for all that you do, Darrin!

Owners Corner: 1st Quarter 2021

4/21/2021 (Permalink)

The following article is a small excerpt of our most recent Quarterly Newsletter. If you find this to be an interesting read, please consider signing up.

It was the most heart wrenching moment of my life. Jim, his brothers, their wives, and my mother in law’s eight grandsons circled around her as she said her last and final goodbye to her husband of 48 years. It is a moment that will stick with me for perpetuity. And one that made me understand the wide footprint left behind with a life well lived.

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ~ Shannon L. Alder

The first time I met my father-in-law, I was dating his son for a mere few weeks. We sat down to dinner and he asked me two questions… “What was your college GPA?” and “How much money do you make?”. (Insert that emoji with big, wide surprised eyes here). Yikes! Seventeen years later, I know that was just Dr. Jim Wall’s way. He cared fiercely for his children and did everything in his power to give them the best life possible. Even vetting a few potential girlfriends here and there.

His impact on my husband was immense. And little did Jim Sr. know, his unwavering direction and guidance would go well beyond his son’s life with a rippling effect touching thousands of people he would never have met.

You see, Jim Sr. was an entrepreneur himself. He and his wife, Jane, saw from a very early age their son’s innate ability to lead. They knew a path of entrepreneurship was in his future. The word “encouraged” may be a little too delicate and the word “forced” doesn’t represent my father in law’s intentions fairly. Let’s just say the direction he gave my husband fell somewhere in between these two verbs (and if you ever knew Jim Sr. this would make perfect sense).

He taught his son that “work” and “goals” will never be incongruous. He taught him the fine art of balancing frugality and treating yourself occasionally. He taught him to experience as much of life as you are able (I am going to thank Jim Sr. for his son’s incubator idea and the resulting 5 baby chicks in my house). And he taught his son to always be curious. Asking questions and learning from others every step of the way.

Those were the soft skills. In that grey area between “encouraged” and “forced” was how my husband ended up with a degree in Accounting from a top ranking college, fluent in a second language, and with his dad’s unabating voice in the back of his head guiding him towards the path of entrepreneurship.

It worked. Many, MANY small business ideas were considered from the time Jim was in high school all the way through his early 30’s. In 2009 the timing and opportunity was finally right; we took the plunge as I supported Jim in the dream his dad originated and he had finally realized. We opened our first SERVPRO franchise in Hunt Valley, MD and throughout the next 12 years expanded our geographic reach from Baltimore into both Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

12 franchise licenses, 133 employees, and over 3100 jobs completed in just the last year alone. It’s the latter two statistics that exemplify that “rippling effect” I mentioned earlier. That’s a lot of jobs created, families supported, customers helped, and lives touched because a father believed enough in his son to push him towards a dream.

Don’t ever underestimate the effect you have on those around you. Your words and actions, whether big or small, aggregate into the architecture of the footprint you leave behind in this world. I’d consider myself one of the lucky ones if mine is half as wide as the one my father-in-law built.

His presence is missed every second of every day, but our family - along with our SERVPRO family - is grateful for the legacy Dr. James R. Wall created and the echoing reverberations that will be felt for years to come.

Storm Recap: Winter Storm Uri

4/14/2021 (Permalink)

This February, our team went head-to-head with Winter Storm Uri after it made its mark on Texas and Oklahoma. In this article, we’d like to share some experiences from the various job sites, as well as testimonials from our crew members describing their most meaningful moments from the Winter Storm Uri experience.

“We had the privilege of travelling to Oklahoma and Texas to assist local franchises, residents, and businesses affected by winter storm Uri.  Team Wall had participation from all three of our offices.  The one thing that stands out to me the most is the teamwork I witnessed between local franchises and our team members from different offices.  We travelled thousands of miles to perform the work and the One Team approach was easily recognizable.  Our teams worked long hours to help homeowners and businesses restore their lives.  Participation and support was needed by the travelling teams as well as those who remained at home to continue servicing our local business.  I couldn’t be more proud of our team.”

- Jim Wall, Owner

“Every storm you go to is different and it’s nice to be out helping. Everybody’s so backed up, so when you go out and help the people, it means a lot.”

- Vinny Matthews, Resource Coordinator

“The satisfaction of knowing our clients are happy and content with the work that we performed makes it all worth it at the end of the day. The support from all aspects of this brand is amazing. This team is united in our efforts to help our clients out in the worst of times.”

- Brian Barry, Fire Production Manager

We’re always grateful for opportunities to get out into the community, no matter we may travel from home, in order to help those in need regain a sense of normalcy after a disaster. Whether it be storm, water, fire, or mold damage, you can count on SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County to restore your home or commercial business to its preloss condition. Call us today at (410) 229-0012 for our trusted Storm Restoration Services and Commercial Storm Damage Restoration Services, as well as our professional Building Services, which together cover the entire remediation and rebuild processes that your home or business needs.

Job of the Quarter: The Immaculate Conception Catholic School

4/7/2021 (Permalink)

This February, the state of Texas was paralyzed by Winter Storm Uri, bringing a deep freeze and winter weather uncommon to the state that inflicted serious storm damage upon homes and businesses state-wide. Dallas was hit especially hard, leaving homes and commercial businesses looking for help in picking up the pieces. Here at SERVPRO, we recognized our responsibility to do all that we could to help those affected. Our crews set out on the road to Texas as soon as they could, ready to be of assistance and make it “Like it never even happened.” Our crews’ ability to drop everything, travel across this country, and help our customers find relief are precisely the characteristics that qualify their efforts for the title: “Job of the Quarter.”

Storm Damage at the ICCS

We set our focus on the Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Denton, where we set up camp. We learned of the damage sustained by the school after receiving a call from an adjuster on Friday, February 19th. As a result of the winter storm, the school fell victim to a broken fire suppression pipe and water damage at least one-inch deep throughout several rooms and hallways. The entire gym floor, which was made of VCT, needed to be removed. Additionally, drywall required replacement in hallways and classrooms in addition to carpeting in classrooms. In order to effectively dry the school and complete all of the restoration and rebuild work, we needed ten temp workers, fifty fans, and two desiccant dehumidifiers. In sum, our team had a lot of work on their plate.

Challenges Faced

The storm took place the week of February 13th through the 17th and our process of demolition and drying out the school took a total of eight days. Each day, eight to twelve crew members were needed in order to complete this tremendous job. In addition to the gym floor removal, our team also faced a flood of challenges. Firstly, the school was in session throughout the entire job, which forced our team to utilize containment and try to minimize noise as best they could. Our team also had to relocate six entire classrooms of contents to various storage & temporary storage solutions, which was no small job.

Our Team Is Resilient

Considering that our team was 1500 miles away from home while facing such challenging work, as well as the scale of the project, our team members’ efforts and contributions should be celebrated. After initial evaluations, Jamie ran the entire production portion of the project, documenting the damage and scope of work, managing the staff to complete the necessary demo as well as mitigation work, and allocating the drying equipment as needed. Jamie ensured that all of the onsite requirements were met with the school’s staff, which enabled us to sufficiently meet every one of the school’s needs. 

SERVPRO’s Emergency Storm Response

Like Winter Storm Uri, severe storms can seemingly come out of nowhere, leaving customers overwhelmed and unsure as to how to pick up the pieces. Our 24-Hour Emergency Service is designed especially for this purpose and everyday, we strive to be “Faster to Any Size Disaster.” If a severe storm takes you by surprise, gain the help and reassurance of our storm damage professionals by calling SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County at (410) 229-0012. While we provide local services, we are also a part of a larger network of national storm resources, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team, which is made up of SERVPRO franchises located across the country. Whether it is a major storm like Winter Storm Uri or smaller-scale storm damage, we hope to have the opportunity to make it “Like it never even happened,” for you or your client in the future.

How Invasive Can Smoke Be?

3/29/2021 (Permalink)

The scariest things always seem to be those that we cannot see. This is true even in fire damage, as the often invisible companion of fire, smoke, can be equally as destructive as fire damage. Capable of invading virtually any area of your home, smoke infiltration in homes and businesses can lead to more restoration work than one may expect. In order to gain a better understanding of the restoration work that may be required following smoke damage, it is important to learn more about the invasive nature of smoke as well as the visible and invisible damage that it can impose upon your home or business.

Why Is Smoke Invasive?

Smoke can make its way into cracks and crevices. This can create staining when homeowners try to clean the soot, as doing so only causes smearing on affected surfaces. Additionally, drywall is a porous material, which increases the ability of smoke to infiltrate. In the event that the smoke extends its reach to insulation, demolition may be needed in order to remove the smoke odor. Depending on the type of contents affected and its proximity to the source, smoke damage can vary.

Surprising Effects of Smoke Damage

Sometimes, after a fire, soot can leave visible residue that resembles spider webs. These are actually webs of smoke that adhere to walls and ceilings. A protein fire, for example, does not leave visible residue like dark smoke or soot. The smoke damage that results from a protein fire is therefore invisible, which leaves homeowners and business owners confused as to why there is nothing visible to clean, but the smell of smoke won’t disappear. Soot residue is also highly acidic and therefore, soot is capable of corroding metal substances within homes and businesses, which can lead to less apparent, long-term damage.

Why Is Demolition Necessary?

Demolition is an important aspect of the restoration process as a result of smoke damage, even though smoke damage does not commonly leave visible residue. In instances of heavy fire damage, it's important to pull out the walls in addition to scrubbing the surface. Soot and smoke find their way into cavities, nesting between drywall or plaster and the firewall in the interior. Smoke odor often becomes trapped in these cavities and insulation. The next time the weather is hot and humid, the smoke smell will come back in full force, as though it was never cleaned in the first place. Therefore, the demolition process is integral to conducting a thorough cleaning. How Do We Combat Invasive Smoke Damage at SERVPRO?

Here at SERVPRO, our general course of action when remediating smoke damage after a fire involves a range of practices and techniques. First and foremost, we remove any charred or burned material as soon as possible. Often, it is necessary that we “chase” smoke, a process in which we track smoke through open areas in order to calculate how far the smoke has travelled. Once all of the areas in which smoke can hide have been revealed and inspected, we can begin the cleaning and smoke remediation process. Usually, there is also a presence of water that needs to be extracted or removed following smoke damage. Additionally, equipment is usually placed in the home to help eliminate the smoke odor. Following demolition and cleaning, we utilize a sealant to encapsulate residual smoke odor that is left in tiny crevices or areas that cannot be easily reached.

Trust SERVPRO with Smoke Damage

If your home or business has been the victim of invasive smoke damage, don’t wait. Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County immediately at (410) 229-0012. We use specialized equipment and techniques, including deodorizing services as well as both structural cleaning and contents cleaning, to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and surfaces. While we are renowned for our Fire Damage Restoration Services, keep in mind that we also offer a plethora of Building Services, which renders us capable of tackling the entire job, top to bottom. When your home or business experiences a fire, you can count on SERVPRO to handle the fire restoration, smoke and soot restoration, and the demolition and rebuild process, saving you valuable time and reducing stress. Learn more about our Building Services here. No matter what comes your way, we are committed to making it “Like it never even happened,” for your home or business.

Surviving the Polar Vortex

3/24/2021 (Permalink)

Every winter, the phrase “polar vortex” means suiting up in our warmest winter coats, hats, and gloves. The Polar Vortex refers to a zone of cold air that gravitates toward the Earth’s two poles, according to the National Weather Service. We experience the Polar Vortex when that air takes a trip south during the winter, bringing us our own slice of Arctic air. It creates almost unbearable, cold conditions for us, risking such conditions as hypothermia, but it may come as a surprise to know that our homes and businesses can suffer just the same. Just as we need our heavy coats and cozy scarves, our homes and businesses need protecting from the cold.

Our homes and businesses can fall victim to freezing pipes and ice dams, which can both lead to serious water damage, during the polar vortex of the winter. The freezing, Arctic temperatures characteristic of the polar vortex can cause the water inside of pipes to freeze and expand, resulting in burst pipes. On the roof, when snow and ice accumulate, ridges of ice can form and block melting snow from leaving the roof. As a result, the water may leak down into the roof. Keep reading for our checklist of actions that you can take to protect your home or business from the potential dangers presented by the polar vortex.

Our Polar Vortex Survival Guide

For Ice Dams

  • Clean snow off of your roof as soon as possible. However, be sure that you wait until the snow has stopped or there is a break in the storm. Before a snowstorm, it is helpful to remove any lingering snow or ice from a previous storm from the roof.
  • Be sure that your attic or top floor is properly insulated before a storm. If your amount of insulation is lacking, it may be beneficial to add extra insulation.

For Freezing Pipes

  • Before a storm, be sure that all pipes are insulated and any cracks that they may have are sealed.
  • When temperatures drop, let your faucets drip in order to keep water flowing, which prevents the water from freezing.
  • Maintain consistent, warm temperatures inside of your home or business. Additionally, make certain that your insulation is sufficient throughout the home or building

Trust SERVPRO This Winter

It’s impossible to predict exactly what will come our way this year, but regardless of what this year has in store, look no further than SERVPRO. If your home or business experiences water damage as a result of the polar vortex or harsh winter weather in general, our team of storm and water damage specialists can be trusted to provide water mitigation services that will get things back to normal in no time.

Hardwood Floor Repair: We Do That Too

3/17/2021 (Permalink)

Hardwood floors look stunning when running throughout commercial businesses, but they come at a price. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to keep your business’ hardwood floors in good condition for as long as you can. Water, fire, storm, and other kinds of damage can all negatively affect the quality of your business’ hardwood floors. However, sometimes, there’s no way to predict a flood, fire, or storm that will threaten the integrity of your hardwood floors. Luckily, SERVPRO is standing by, always ready to help.

How Are Hardwood Floors Damaged?

Damage to hardwood floors is usually instigated by intense heat or excessive moisture. Your business’ hardwood floors can be exposed to these elements in fire, water, or storm damage. If the damage is significant, they may require replacement.

Heat Damage

When exposed to intense heat, hardwood floorboards tend to shrink, which can cause gaps to form in the floor. On the other hand, if your floors have sustained solely soot or smoke damage, they can often be salvaged and restored. In order to prevent hardwood floor damage due to heat, be sure to prevent the temperature from climbing too high inside of your commercial business.

Moisture Damage

While intense heat causes hardwood floors to shrink, excess moisture causes floorboards to expand, as they absorb the water. In their expanded state, hardwood floorboards can buckle, become concave or convex (also known as cupping and crowning), and even come loose. Another danger when hardwood floors are exposed to moisture is mold growth. The moisture residue stemming from water damage or high humidity levels inside of your commercial business can both produce ideal breeding grounds for mold. Moisture damage and mold growth can both be prevented in your commercial business by maintaining low humidity levels indoors. Should you discover mold growing on your hardwood floors, be sure to give us a call and take advantage of our Commercial Mold Remediation services.

Let Us Be Your “One-Stop-Shop”

While we’re known here at SERVPRO for our commercial mitigation and restoration services, it is important to note that we also offer an extensive list of building services, such as hardwood floor repair. We take pride in being our customers’ “one-stop-shop”, as they can trust us to take care of the entire job from start to finish, instead of complicating the process by going through multiple companies. We understand that damage of any kind to your commercial business, whether it be water, fire, storm, or mold, disrupts business and interrupts schedules. Trust SERVPRO to make it “Like it never even happened,” after any emergency by letting us handle both the mitigation and rebuild processes. Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County today at (410) 229-0012 or check out all of our building services to learn about the many ways in which we can help restore your business after an emergency.

Caring for Fire-Damaged Curtains

3/3/2021 (Permalink)

Fires have a nasty habit of tearing through homes and businesses, creating tremendous damage that affects the overall structure of the building, personal items, and everything in between. In order to keep damage to a minimum, it is important to take action as soon as possible once the fire has been put out. Guides to cleaning surfaces after a fire are commonly found online, but what about cleaning textile objects and upholstery? More specifically, what should you do if you discover that your curtains have sustained fire damage? It may come as a surprise, but your fire-damaged curtains shouldn’t immediately be sent to the garbage can. Rather, they may be salvageable with the help of some cleaning. How do you do that? You have a few options. Let’s learn about some of them:

How to Care for Fire-Damaged Curtains

After a fire, your curtains may have experienced either smoke or soot damage. Both types of damage require their own, different cleaning procedures.

Smoke Damage

If the curtains in your home or commercial business have experienced smoke damage as a result of a fire, eliminating the odor is first on the agenda. It is important to remove the odor prior to any other cleaning efforts in order to prevent the smoke smell from becoming trapped in the fabric. Here at SERVPRO, we offer deodorizing treatments, which you can learn more about here. Once the deodorizing process is complete, you can also trust our Drapes and Blinds Services to give your curtains a professional, thorough cleaning.

Soot Damage

Not unlike smoke damage, the first step when dealing with soot damage after a fire is removing the soot particles themselves. This must be done first in order to avoid soot stains, as soot is oil based and can do serious damage to the fabric. Some types of curtains can be dry cleaned, but if you’re unsure of the best way to clean your curtains after soot removal, give us a call. We offer an exclusive process of dry cleaning draperies and have the equipment necessary to provide a quality cleaning that you can trust.

Preventing Additional Fire Damage

When dealing with the aftermath of fire damage, you run the risk of imposing further fire damage on items in your home or business. Refrain from touching curtains that have sustained fire damage and if they happen to be wet from efforts to put out the fire, make sure that they are dried as soon as possible in order to prevent mold growth. It is also helpful to keep windows open or keep air circulating as best as possible. To protect against future fires, consider investing in curtains made of fire-resistant material and stay up to date with fire safety by regularly testing fire alarms as well as practicing fire safety.

Got Fire Damage? Protect Your Belongings with SERVPRO

Have you recently had a fire in your home or business? With SERVPRO, you can ensure that your belongings receive the care that they need. We offer a range of contents restoration services and can help restore your home or business after fire, water, storm, or mold damage. Know that by trusting the fire damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County, your fire-damaged belongings, whether they be curtains or a beloved photograph, will be in good hands. Call us today at (410) 229-0012 or check out our Fire Caring For Your Belongings page for more information.

Black Mold in the Shower

2/24/2021 (Permalink)

When you’re taking a shower, the last thing you want to see is the detestable substance that you fear to be mold. Mold, which grows and thrives in damp or humid environments, is not uncommon in bathrooms. There are many different types of mold, but perhaps the most feared and dreaded variety is the infamous black mold. Oftentimes, it’s stated that black mold causes health effects, which has made it synonymous with the name “toxic mold”. But, is black mold really as alarming as it’s often depicted? And, either way, what should you do if you discover black mold in your shower?

What is Black Mold?

For a more detailed breakdown of black mold, check out our page “Black Mold, What is It?”.

Black mold, or “Stachybotrys chartarum”, is a variety of mold that is often dark green or black in color. It also releases mycotoxins, which are toxic substances believed to pose effects to health. However, it has not yet been proven that inhaling mold spores directly causes these effects, according to Medical News Today. Many varieties of mold do, however, cause allergies and irritations. Therefore, if you spot black mold or mold of any kind in your shower, it is important to eliminate it as soon as possible in order to limit its health hazards to those living in your home. In order to keep those living in your home safe, don’t attempt to clean or remove the mold on your own, as handling mold is dangerous and requires specialized equipment. Instead, call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County at (410) 229-0012 immediately for our professional black mold removal and mold remediation services.

Black Mold Infestation in Your Shower

Where does black mold grow? Just like other types of mold, black mold grows in areas with excessive moisture or humidity, making the shower a prime location. You can usually spot black mold in your shower by its black or dark green color and slimy texture. At first sight, you may wonder if there is a treatment for black mold or anything that you can do to prevent the mold growth and its effects. However, it is best to leave the mold alone, as attempting to touch it in any way may facilitate the spread. Upon discovering mold growth that resembles black mold, give us a call.

Preventing Black Mold

There are also several steps that you can take to prevent the growth of black mold in your shower. First, limit the amount of moisture and humidity in your shower by making sure that your bathroom is properly ventilated. This can be achieved by keeping a fan on or window open for the duration of your shower. You can also hinder the accumulation of moisture by drying damp areas or using a squeegee after taking a shower. Lastly, should you discover any broken pipes or leaks in your bathroom or shower, be sure to have them fixed as quickly as possible to avoid mold growth.

Call SERVPRO Today for Professional Mold Remediation

Here at SERVPRO, we know from experience just how quickly a minor mold problem can turn into a dangerous mold infestation. That’s why we’re committed to arriving on the scene immediately, prepared to begin the mold remediation process. With our comprehensive training in water and mold remediation, as well as our advanced mold remediation equipment, we can take on any type of mold problem. By picking up the phone and calling SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County upon first notice of mold growth in your shower, you can protect your home from further mold damage. Check out these articles on our website, Overview of Mold Services and Mold Restoration Process, to learn more about the wide array of mold services that we offer.

Three Common Sources of Mold in Your Commercial Business

2/17/2021 (Permalink)

Interrupting business, risking the health of employees and patrons, and threatening the structural integrity of the building, mold in the workplace is nothing short of a nightmare. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration details the impact of mold in their article, “Guide to Mold in the Workplace”. They assert that mold is able to grow on “virtually any substance”. All that’s needed for mold to grow and thrive is moisture, oxygen, and a food source. OSHA also emphasizes that mold growth indoors should be avoided at all costs. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the most common areas in which mold can grow in businesses so that you can know where to look, allowing you to catch it before it grows into a more dangerous problem.

1. Windows and Doors

Windows and doors are susceptible to mold growth, as moisture and warm, humid air from outside can easily sneak into your business through these entrances. On rainy days or days when condensation is present, monitor windows and doors for accumulating moisture. If you notice an abundance of moisture, be sure to dry it quickly in order to prevent a buildup.

2. HVAC and AC Units

Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) units and air conditioning units are common in a variety of different kinds of commercial businesses. The units require regular and proper maintenance in order to prevent them from malfunctioning, which can have many negative consequences to your business. A malfunctioning HVAC or AC unit can lead to increased humidity and leaking, which both perpetuate mold growth. Luckily, with regular maintenance, this is easy to prevent. Be sure to also change your unit’s filters and clean its drip pan regularly to keep it from becoming obstructed. At the first sign of a leak, call a professional for help to avoid mold growth. It may be beneficial to also seek the help of a certified commercial mold inspector if you suspect that mold growth has already taken place. Be sure to also read about our Commercial Mold Remediation services, as well as our HVAC Cleaning Services.

3. Employee Areas

While they’re not usually on display in a commercial business, employee areas such as kitchens and bathrooms can be hotspots for mold growth. These areas often contain sinks, drains, and toilets, which are all susceptible to moisture accumulation and mold if excess moisture goes unnoticed. The best way to prevent mold growth in employee areas is to clean and inspect them frequently, as well as keep an eye out for early signs of mold growth.

Remember: It Can Happen Anywhere

The aforementioned areas in commercial businesses are especially at risk for mold growth, but it’s important to remember the OSHA’s warning that mold can grow on “virtually any substance” and can therefore be found anywhere. When going about business as usual, pay close attention to any areas of your business dealing with water, including plumbing, pipes, faucets, and drains, for leaks or buildups of moisture. If any areas of your business have experienced leaks in the past, be sure to add them to your list of high-risk mold growth spots and inspect them for leaks often.

Call SERVPRO for Your Business’ Mold Remediation Needs

If you discover significant mold growth in your business, don’t wait. Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County immediately at (410) 229-0012. We are commercial mold remediation professionals, who are committed to reducing the disruption to your business as best we can so that you can continue working as usual, making it “Like it never even happened.” For more information about our Mold Remediation Process, click here.

Meet Our Employee of the Quarter: Q4 2020

2/10/2021 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO, we select one exceptional employee each quarter to receive the title, “Employee of the Quarter”. This quarter, our Hunt Valley and Harford County office selected Labon Hardy. The following article is an excerpt from our most recent quarterly newsletter:

Meet Labon

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County’s “Employee of the Quarter” for 4th Quarter 2020 is Labon Hardy! Since starting as a Crew Chief at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County in December of 2016, Labon has demonstrated that he is an outstanding member of our water mitigation team.

Following Our “7 Pillars”

Labon is a perfect example of an outstanding SERVPRO employee, as he follows our “7 Pillars”, Consistent, Quality, Team, Solutions, Hustle, Accountability, and Persistence, to a T. Labon never fails to be consistent, arriving at work either on time or early every single day. He is someone that everyone can count on to produce high-quality, thoroughly documented work on every job. When it comes to teamwork, Labon is always willing to lend a helping hand to his coworkers and train new technicians. When problems arise on the job, Labon is skilled in thinking of quick solutions and proactively foreseeing potential issues. There’s no doubt that Labon has tremendous hustle, as he is always willing to go the extra mile. Reliably delivering on his commitments, our team recognizes Labon’s accountability and knows that he is someone on which we can always rely. Finally, Labon’s persistence shines, as he always sees things through, regardless of how difficult a job may be.

Thank You!

Labon’s coworkers praise him for his stellar work ethic, communication, professionalism, and respect for others. Thank you for all that you do, Labon!

What To Do After A Fire: Moving Forward With Preparation

2/2/2021 (Permalink)

Residential fires are undoubtedly overwhelming and devastating. It may seem as though there is chaos around every corner, leaving you unsure of what to do. You are eager to do whatever you can to get your home and your life back to normal, but one wrong step can actually do more harm than good. It’s crucial to do everything possible to protect your home from additional damage, so keep reading to learn about some helpful things that you can do when dealing with the aftermath of a fire, as well as measures that you can take to protect your home from a future fire.

Fire Damage Restoration Tips

Taking these steps can help facilitate the restoration process.

  1. Keep Movement to a Minimum

Moving around in your home as you normally do kicks smoke and fire soot particles up into the air, which can be detrimental to your carpets, fabrics, and upholstery. Therefore, limit movement or be careful when inside of your home.

  1. Don’t Attempt to Clean Without Professional Guidance

Cleaning without the guidance of a professional may actually do more harm than good for your home. Consult expert fire damage cleaners before attempting to wash walls or carpets after a fire. Additionally, don’t attempt to clean electronic devices or appliances after a fire if they have come in close contact with fire, water, or intense heat. These appliances can be dangerous if they have been damaged.

  1. Keep Hands Clean

This one may come as a no-brainer, but it’s important to keep your hands clean when handling objects in your home after a fire, as you may expose them to fire soot particles, which can cause additional, unnecessary damage. It may be beneficial to handle items with clean gloves to further decrease this risk.

Preventing Future Fires

Although repairing and restoring your home to its pre-fire condition is crucial, it is equally important to protect your home from future fire damage or smoke damage. According to the American Red Cross, the following actions can be beneficial in protecting your home from a devastating fire for years ahead.

  1. Check on Your Smoke Detectors

Make sure that your smoke detectors, which should be placed in multiple places within your home, are functional and have their batteries changed regularly. It may also be beneficial to install interconnected smoke alarms so that when one alarm goes off, so do the others.

  1. Fire-Proof Your Home

When furnishing your home, you can decrease the chances of a fire spreading in your home after igniting by choosing pieces that are fire-resistant. It doesn’t have to stop at a fire-resistant couch. You can even buy fire-resistant decorative plants!

  1. Limit Fire Risks

You can protect your home from future fires by making small changes to your everyday home activities, such as using electronic devices and heating your home. Don’t let frayed cords or wires continue to be used, even if they appear to still be functional. Instead, take the safer route and replace them ASAP. During the winter, make sure that your stove tops, chimney, or other heating sources are clean prior to use.

Fire Damage? Call SERVPRO

If your home has experienced devastating fire damage or smoke damage and you feel unsure of what to do, call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County at (410) 229-0012 to get the ball rolling with our remediation fire damage services. We’ll provide a full fire damage assessment, as well as the professional guidance that you need. During such uncertainty, let us help you get back on your feet by handling the fire damage cleanup and restoring your home to normal as quickly as possible. Check out our website for more of our expert Fire Damage Restoration Tips.

What Is A Polar Vortex?

2/2/2021 (Permalink)

Every winter, the phrase “polar vortex” means suiting up in our warmest winter coats, hats, and gloves. The Polar Vortex refers to a zone of cold air that gravitates toward the Earth’s poles, according to the National Weather Service. We experience the Polar Vortex when that air takes a trip south during the winter via the jet stream, bringing us our own slice of Arctic air. It creates almost unbearable, cold conditions. It may come as a surprise to know that our homes and businesses, too, can suffer from the cold. Just as we need our heavy coats and cozy scarves, our homes and businesses need protection. 

Effects of The Polar Vortex

Our homes and businesses can fall victim to freezing pipes and ice dams, which can both lead to serious water damage, during the “polar vortex” of the winter. It's freezing, Arctic temperatures can cause the water inside of pipes to freeze and expand, which can result in pipes bursting. On the roof, when snow and ice accumulate, ridges of ice can form and block melting snow from leaving the roof. This is called "Ice Damming" and causes water to leak down through the roof and into the home.

How Do I Prepare?

  • Clean snow off of the roof as soon as possible. Be sure to remove any lingering snow or ice from a previous storm off the roof first.
  • Be sure that your attic or top floor is properly insulated before a storm. If your amount of insulation is lacking, adding extra insulation may be helpful.
  • Before a storm, be sure that all pipes are insulated and any cracks are sealed.
  • When temperatures drop, let your faucets drip in order to keep water flowing.
  • Maintain consistent, warm temperatures inside of your home or business. Additionally, make certain that your insulation is sufficient throughout the home or building

Job of the Quarter: The Phoenix Buildings

1/18/2021 (Permalink)

Hurricanes are infamous for being forces to be reckoned with.

There’s a reason that the Scorpions produced a hit rock song with the title “Rock You Like A Hurricane” in 1984. Hurricanes tear through whichever unlucky towns sit in their path and leave behind colossal damage, resulting in millions of people unsure of how to get back on their feet.

This is Where SERVPRO Comes In

Racing across the country to help those in need. The 2020 hurricane season was relentless, with hurricanes that proved to be too much for even the English alphabet to handle, and it kept us on our toes with storm work. Each quarter, we select one job that particularly showcases our team’s strengths in its process and completion. This quarter, after such a busy hurricane season, our selection is the Phoenix Buildings, a job that required a trip all the way down to Orange Beach, Alabama in order to mitigate water damage in two condo buildings that had been seriously impacted by Hurricane Sally, which hit in September. What makes the Phoenix Buildings job worthy of our distinguished “Job of the Quarter” title is a combination of the teamwork that this large-scale job required, our impeccable turnaround time, and our ability to be our customers’ “one-stop shop”.

The first storm to make landfall in Alabama since 2004 with Hurricane Ivan, Hurricane Sally introduced itself as a powerful force and left a path of destruction in Orange Beach. When we received the call from Storm Team Wilson concerning a condo building that was in need of our storm restoration services, our team immediately headed down to Alabama in order to help those living in the building pick up the pieces. Initially, we were only tasked with work on one of the Phoenix Buildings, but after showcasing our ability to quickly and efficiently complete work on the first building, we were given the opportunity to provide our services to yet another one of the Phoenix Buildings, offering a helping hand to even more residents.

Because the Phoenix Buildings job involved work on multiple stories of condos, our team faced challenges in a variety of matters, from obtaining keys for specific units to completing work while residents were still living in them. Hurricane Sally brought driving rain that seeped into the condo units through sliding glass doors, resulting in water damage from the top to the bottom of each building. Our customers were in need of a speedy restoration that would get their lives back to normal after a devastating weather event and its ramifications- things that were all completely out of their control.

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

Restoring the condos as quickly as we did required all three of SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team Team Wall’s offices to band together. We completed work on both buildings within two weeks, while it took our competitors the same amount of time to finish work on one

building. Our success was made possible by the tremendous scope of Team Wall’s resources and coordination between our three offices. One of our hallmarks is our ability to be our customers’ “one-stop shop”, as we handle everything from water restoration services to rebuild services, which range from drywall installation to hardwood floor repair. Because of the wide range of services that we provide, our customers don’t need to waste time looking for other companies to finish the job. We take care of the entire job, top to bottom, saving our customers valuable time.

Even Though the 2020 Hurricane Season is Over

We’re feeling some weight lift off of our shoulders, we’re already starting to prepare for the 2021 hurricane season. In the new year, although we hope it isn’t quite as aggressive as this year’s hurricane season, we’re excited to obtain more opportunities like the Phoenix Buildings job to showcase our team’s strengths while helping people who are going through unforeseen circumstances as a result of uncontrollable weather events. At the end of the day, no matter the severity of the upcoming hurricane season, we’re looking forward to the opportunity to make it “Like it never even happened,” for you or your client, whether it’s storm, water, fire damage, or whatever else comes your way this year.

Owners Corner: 1st Quarter 2021

1/12/2021 (Permalink)

There is no doubt 2020 was filled with challenges… just check out 2020’s own Wikipedia page (it’s all itemized by month and day). Log into your favorite social media outlet of choice - within seconds you see a meme, a video, a friend’s “vent”, an article, an advertisement – all taking you down the rabbit hole of “holy crow… is there any light at the end of this 2020 tunnel?”. 

This feeling even crept its way into our holiday cards from friends and family. There were humorously staged pictures, kitschy tag lines, and even thoughtful “year in recap” notes that all played on the negative events and feelings that seemingly defined 2020. Until January 2nd, 2021. That’s when I received my last and final holiday card, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.

The words printed on the back of the card caught my breath and changed my perspective as I trudge into 2021:

“And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” 

 ~Excerpt from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

I am going to take from 2020 the lessons of good that rose from the times of challenge. Especially in the core parts of Jim’s and my world:

  1. Family: Our kids are growing so fast. We had a chance to slow down, spend time together – not in separate cars racing to the next sporting event. We ate dinner at the SAME table and at the SAME time. We got to talk – really talk – with our kids and watch their personalities grow. And speaking of grow… our 12-year-old grew 6 inches in 2020 all in front of our eyes (not amid the chaos where we had been so accustomed to residing). Being present and not distracted was one of the greatest blessings of 2020 and one I hope we can hold onto in the coming years.
  1. SERVPRO: Humility is an ongoing lesson, but it was kicked into high gear for us in 2020. We can plan, strategize, and control as much as we are able, but we are ultimately vulnerable to circumstances that will always lie out of our jurisdiction:
  • 1St Quarter 2020: A large geographic expansion of our business in October 2019 followed by the warmest winter on record in 125 years. A halt in business occurred, sweat on our brows accumulated, and the very real conversation of layoffs began. It was a kick in the gut. But, ultimately, reminded us the world does not revolve around our plans… we revolve our plans around the world. It was the first of many times the word “pivot” would be used this year.
  • 2nd Quarter 2020: I probably do not even need to say it. Shutdowns, fear, anxiety, and COVID-19. Our business and our team became “essential”. Within days our core service lines flipped. Restoration took a back seat as we focused on doing our part to “flatten the curve” through viral pathogen cleaning. We worked with the intent to keep businesses open, bring peace of mind to our communities, and do our part to slow the economic effects of prolonged shutdowns. This was a time we will never forget as entrepreneurs. Of course, the fear of all the unknown resonated, but surpassing that fear, was the pride we felt watching our team come together, accept our new circumstances, and utilize our synergies to live up to the “Here to Help” tag line.
  • 3rd Quarter 2020: It started with Arthur and ended with Iota. The 2020 hurricane season was a record breaker in so many ways. We got back to basics for a few months sending our Storm Response teams to Philadelphia, Delaware, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida in the wake of Hurricanes Isaias, Laura, and Sally. One of our favorite projects is detailed in our “Job of the Quarter”. Not because it highlighted the capabilities of our team alone, but because it showed the strength of our SERVPRO franchise system and our “One Team” mentality. As with 2nd quarter, our takeaway in humility mirrors the age-old proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
  • 4th Quarter 2020: Dolly Parton’s “Here you come again” started echoing in the back of my mind. The dichotomy in temperature from winter 2019 to winter 2020 is large. It has been a cold one and for the curbing of COVID-19… not helpful. A surge in cases returned in late October and our team was back to full throttle completing well over 400 COVID-19 related cleanings this quarter. The presence of the virus had resurged and so had our focus to help our communities. It was a blessing and a relief to know that we did not have to pave a new path as we did in the spring. Our team knew the ropes and all we had to do was refine the process to make our service capabilities that much better.

There is a lot of good that sprouted out of the challenges of 2020 and I urge you all to recognize it and celebrate it. Life’s too short to wrap yourself around and around again with the disappointments.

“…it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” How fitting for those to be the last and final words I would hear from 2020? I’m folding those sentences up, putting them in my pocket, and living them fully for 2021. I hope you will too.

Stay well and be happy,

Trish and Jim Wall

Caring For Your Water-Damaged Contents

12/23/2020 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO, we know that your home is much more than its physical foundation. Rather, what makes your house your home is its contents- your personal belongings. When your home undergoes water damage, the risk for destruction extends beyond just your property. Your home’s contents, your cherished photographs, furniture, and other personal belongings, can sustain serious water damage as well. By placing more value on restoring than replacing, we believe that it is our responsibility to take the utmost care of not only your property but your personal contents as well. Regardless of the type of water damage that your home has endured, SERVPRO has a contents restoration service that will fit your needs. Continue reading to learn about the different ways in which SERVPRO can protect your belongings.

Contents Restoration

Because every restoration is different, we offer a variety of contents restoration services depending on your individual needs. For example, if there is light residue, we will utilize dry cleaning. Wet cleaning will be used for moderate or heavy residue. Additionally, we often utilize spray and wipe cleaning for any items that cannot withstand wet cleaning and foam cleaning for fabric items. We may also use abrasive cleaning or immersion cleaning, depending on the item affected.

Move-Out and Pack-Out Services

In the event that your home’s contents are in need of substantial cleaning services, it is possible that a move-out of the affected area can be initiated. A move-out can facilitate the remodeling process and protect your belongings from any further damage. Depending on your insurance, move-in day services may vary.

Electronic Cleanup

If your electronic devices have been affected by water damage, it is important that you do not attempt to use them, as the combination of electronics and water can be incredibly dangerous. Electronic devices may include the computer, T.V., or DVD player. Our team will work to clean the exterior of the electronics in order to preserve the insides. Additionally, all impacted electronic devices will be inspected by a professional electronics technician.

Document and Photograph Drying

Physical documents and photographs can be destroyed by water damage, so it is critical that we prevent further damage of any kind. Even if documents can’t be completely restored to their condition before the water damage, our goal is to dry the contents and mitigate the possibility of additional damage. We offer 5 different options for drying services, including air drying, dehumidifier, freezer drying, vacuum freeze drying, and vacuum thermal drying, based on the type of document/photograph and severity of the damage.

Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS)

Here at SERVPRO, we offer Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS for short), which helps limit some of our customers’ feelings of anxiety during such a stressful event. What does our CCIS do? By developing a detailed and thorough list of your belongings, it helps you keep track of all your belongings and the damage that they’ve endured during your water damage emergency. We construct this list by going room by room, making note of each item and its value prior to the water loss through a process of taking photos and sometimes barcoding. These elements ensure that we compile an accurate report of the belongings in your home.

Our CCIS program has many benefits, but the most important perk of all is its ability to give you peace of mind when you need it the most.

Need More Information?

If you’ve experienced water damage and are in need of our services, don’t delay. Pick up the phone and call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County right now at (410) 229-0012. Have questions about how we care for belongings after water damage? You can click here for an overview of how we care for the items that make your home your own. You can also learn more about our water damage restoration services by clicking here. We understand that the value of your home lies in its contents, so you can trust us to handle them with care and work our hardest to restore any water-damaged belongings to their pre-water damage condition.

Surface Cleaning With Soda-Blasting

12/16/2020 (Permalink)

For Technicians at SERVPRO, staying informed on technology and techniques is imperative. That’s why SERVPRO is one of the leading companies in the Water and Fire Mitigation industry. One of our more specific cleaning techniques is soda-blasting and it just might be exactly the service you have been looking for. 


So What is Soda-Blasting?
Sodablasting is a technique performed with specialized equipment, similar to a power washer, that uses sodium bicarbonate as an abrasive material to deep clean surfaces. Commonly used on concrete walls and wood floors, soda-blasting allows our technicians to clean off layers of grime, filth, and discoloration without seriously harming or degrading the surface in question. Unlike ice blasting, soda-blasting seeks to keep the material completely intact. This is incredibly useful for working on historical pieces, support beams, and all sorts of plastic and wooden material as the structural integrity of the surface is not in question at any point.

Over the year of 2020, we had to use this technique a few times, most notably in Howard County Maryland, to deep clean the surfaces of a log cabin that had had a substantial fire which, not only charred the wood, but stained it from all the ash and soot. We suggest that this is one of the best ways to clean the surfaces of wooden materials affected by fire damage or mold as again, it deep cleans the surfaces without severely harming the structural integrity of the wood.


Why Choose Us for Your Deep Cleaning Needs?

Mostly, because we know what we’re talking about. When you call a plumber, you don’t want a guy to come and just fix the problem, you want a guy that’s investigating the problem to find out what happened and prevent it from happening again. Our techs are taught, on day one, how to spot the problem and know the correct way to go about solving it. We believe that there is never a  One-Size-Fits-All solution and that each situation is uniquely different, therefore our crews need to be knowledgeable enough to make the right decision for YOU.

If you believe that our commercial soda-blasting services are right for your home or commercial business, call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County today at (410) 229-0012. We understand the importance of getting your business back up and running as quickly as possible after enduring devastating mold, fire and smoke, or water damage. Trust SERVPRO and its soda-blasting cleanup services experts for a clean that won’t disappoint.

Make it "Like it never even happened."

12/7/2020 (Permalink)

Whether commercial or residential, fires can have devastating effects on not only homes and buildings but on the lives of those who live or work in them as well. For this reason, it is of great importance that your home or business is restored to its pre-fire condition so that you can get your life back on track. Here at SERVPRO, we strive to make it “Like it never even happened.” With so many unknowns after a fire, you can be certain that we will begin our trusted, 7-step fire restoration process immediately. Let’s take a moment to walk through this process, step by step.

  1. Emergency Contact

As soon as the fire has been put out, be sure to make SERVPRO your first call. Because every fire is different, we work with you to personalize and tailor our restoration services to your individual needs. By calling SERVPRO, you can guarantee that we will respond immediately, equipped with the right resources and equipment for the services that your property requires.

  1. Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment

Once onsite, our team of experts will carefully inspect the scope of your property’s fire damage in order to determine the extent of fire, smoke, and soot damage. With this information, we are able to build the best plan of action.

  1. Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Services

Before we begin work, our team will place boards or tarps over any areas that have become exposed as a result of fire damage, which may include the destruction of windows, doors, or roofs. These services are necessary in order to prevent further damage during the rest of the restoration process.

  1. Water Removal and Drying

Oftentimes, after a fire has been put out, there may be water damage to the property as a result of the fire having been extinguished with water. If this is the case for your property, we will completely remove all of the water. First, we will get rid of any standing water. Following this process, we will employ dehumidifiers and air movers in order to remove the rest, leaving your property completely dry.

  1. Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces

Next, our team targets remaining soot and smoke left on surfaces such as walls and ceilings, using our specialized equipment.

  1. Cleaning and Sanitizing

The next step in our process is cleaning and sanitizing any items that have undergone fire damage. For every item that can be restored after a fire, we clean, sanitize, and disinfect. In order to do so, we utilize a wide array of cleaning techniques and eradicate odors by making use of industrial scrubbers and fogging equipment, giving your home or business a thorough and high-quality clean.

  1. Restoration

The final step of our fire restoration process involves putting the final touches on restoring your home or business to its pre-fire condition. These final steps range from minor repairs, such as painting, replacing drywall, and installing new carpet, to major repairs, including the reconstruction of damaged rooms or areas.

In Need of Fire Damage Restoration? Give SERVPRO a Call

Our number-one priority is helping our customers get back to normal after a destructive and devastating event. If your home or business has undergone fire damage and is in need of restoration services, look no further than SERVPRO. During such a distressing time, take comfort in our thorough, 7-step fire restoration process and know that we will take every step to make your home or business’ fire damage “Like it never even happened,” restoring it to its condition before the fire. Click here for more information about our fire restoration process and call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County today at (410) 229-0012.

3 Hidden Fire Hazards In Your Home

12/2/2020 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, 27% of fires occur in residential homes. The majority of homeowners are familiar with the most well-known fire hazards in the home, such as those involving an open flame or electricity, including the stove and electrical wiring. However, other objects in the home that aren’t commonly considered fire hazards can also be dangerous. The following are 3 hidden objects that risk the ignition of a fire in your home.

  • Loose Outlets

Faulty electrical wiring is known to be a fire hazard, but what about electrical outlets? As time passes, the blades inside of electrical outlets loosen. Have you ever tried to plug in a cord and it falls out? This is a common sign that the blades inside of the outlet have loosened. These blades can conduct intense heat, which may lead to a fire igniting.

  • Laptops

We’re all too familiar with experiencing our laptops overheating while using them for long periods of time. When laptops overheat, leaving them sitting on fabric surfaces such as a bed comforter, a blanket, or a sofa, for extended periods of time can risk the ignition of a fire.

  • Glassware

You may remember the classic science experiment of starting a fire by focusing a ray of light on a flammable object through a magnifying glass. Certain types of glassware, which may include vases or drinking glasses, can serve the same purpose as the magnifying glass, instigating a fire if a concentrated ray of sunlight passes through them and focuses onto a flammable object. Be sure to keep glassware away from windows in order to prevent an unwanted fire.

Residential fires can ignite and spread quickly, risking the safety of anyone inside your home and devastating fire damage in the blink of an eye. Keep a lookout for these hidden fire hazards and practice caution when dealing with wires, electrical appliances, and flames in order to prevent a potentially dangerous fire from igniting in your home.

Hidden fire hazards can cause unexpected, devastating damage. If your home has experienced fire damage, call SERVPRO today and click here to learn more about our fire damage services. You can also check out our Fire Brochure. You can trust our team of fire damage specialists with extensive expertise in residential fire damage to restore the damaged areas of your home quickly and thoroughly.

Chris Employee Highlight Writeup

11/25/2020 (Permalink)

In summary of our most recent Employee Highlight video about Chris Hoeltke, Hoeltke is the kind of man who seeks unpredictability and challenge, while valuing loyalty and family.

Chris Hoeltke, the Warehouse Coordinator of SERVPRO, a full-service disaster-recovery company, has lived an interesting life. From his childhood spent working on cars with his father, to the boat he and his wife, Shannon, have decided to live on full-time.

During our conversation with Chris, we talked about his job history. He told us that he never stays at any place of work for too long. Since his first job position, he’s lasted roughly five years at any given job. He explained how he starts from the bottom, works his way up to the top, then moves on. 

“I get bored,” he explained. If his work is no longer challenging for him, Chris no longer finds excitement in what he does. He says this is why working as the Warehouse Coordinator for SERVPRO has been the perfect job, because he never knows what the day will bring when he arrives at work. Something that is broken might need fixing, a storm may have hit that he needs to travel to, a nearby job might need his assistance. Whatever the case may be, Chris is happy to do it because it’s always different from yesterday.

In the recent late August, you may be aware that Lake Charles in Louisiana was struck with the devastating Hurricane Laura. Shortly thereafter, the town was struck by Hurricane Delta. Hearing about the back to back devastation, SERVPRO sent several teams down to the scene to help any businesses or families in need. Hoeltke was part of those teams. 

“I was happy ‘cause I got to see my family,” Hoeltke stated. 

Prior to his scheduled Louisiana visit, Hoeltke had already spoken with Jim Wall, owner of SERVPRO Team Wall, about his roots in Louisiana. 

“[Jim] let me go down a day early so I could spend a day in New Orleans… I got to see my parents who I hadn’t seen in 15-18 years.” 

Hoeltke’s home reunion was successful to say the least. He got to meet nieces and nephews that he had never met before. 

In all, we appreciate the years Chris has spent with us thus far and are happy to have gotten to know him the way we have. Thank you Chris, for everything.

Asbestos Abatement - We do that too

11/17/2020 (Permalink)

Asbestos Abatement – We do that too…

Asbestos. It is a term we hear a lot and one that immediately brings to mind deadly health risks linked with prolonged exposure to the material.  Mesothelioma, a tumor of the tissues lining your lungs, stomach, and heart, is one of the most prominent.

Large scale production of asbestos began in the early 1900s and its popularity in the use of building materials was a natural choice for building materials during this time due to its natural fire resistance, sound absorption, and insulation properties. It wasn’t until the 1980s when the damaging effects of exposure to asbestos was fully realized.

It was found that “when stray asbestos fibers enter the air, they can enter the body and get lodged in major body parts like lungs. These fibers remain in the body forever once inside and slowly irritate healthy cells until asbestos diseases develop.” 

In our line of work, potential exposure to asbestos is a real threat to our production team, homeowners, and businesses as we complete restoration, cleaning, and rebuild services. Specifically, as it relates to the demolition phase of our restoration process in buildings constructed prior to 1980 (when the manufacturing of asbestos-related products was not restricted or regulated). Common building materials that could contain asbestos include:

  • Resilient Floor Tiles (the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives used for installing floor tile)
  • Soundproofing or Decorative Material sprayed on walls and ceilings
  • Patching and joint compound for walls and ceilings
  • Textured Paints
  • Asbestos cement roofing, shingles, and siding

It has become commonplace practice by our team to perform asbestos testing on materials described above before entering the demolition phase of our process. We utilize a third-party Industrial Hygienist to perform testing on samples and compile a protocol for abatement in the case of positive results.

In the past, we subcontracted any Asbestos Abatement services needed to third party providers. However, in 2018, our team completed the training, testing, and certification processes required to perform Asbestos Abatement in house. It is a very similar process to mold remediation and so we felt our franchise group readily able to handle this much-needed service.

We recently completed an Asbestos Abatement at a senior living facility in West Virginia. A kitchen fire weaved its way into the attic space of a 4-unit townhome. Two of the four units along with the attic suffered extensive fire damage.

Upon asbestos testing, it was found that both the mastic (glue) underneath the tiles and the joint compound on the walls and ceilings returned with positive results. Before any demolition or reconstruction could begin, our Asbestos Abatement team had to move in and do what they do best.

We set up containment, decontamination chambers, and contained showers within each townhome unit. Then the work began where we could safely remove and dispose of the tile, glue, and drywall.

At the completion of Asbestos Abatement, we then bring in the independent Industrial Hygienist for another round of testing to clear the building of any remaining traces of asbestos.

Our team received clearance and we are now currently finishing up reconstruction services. On the exterior, we replaced siding, windows, and the roof. On the interior, we installed all new electrical wiring, new ductwork, plumbing, and insulation. We installed all new kitchen cabinetry, countertops, and appliances. Drywall, flooring, trim, and painting throughout the homes were completed as well.

SERVPRO is most thought of as solely water and fire restoration, but our book of services reaches far and wide. If your home, facility, or customer needs a team that can truly handle it all, please know you will be in safe hands with SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team – Team Wall.

Halloween Fire Safety Tips

10/29/2020 (Permalink)

Anytime there's an excuse to dress up at work, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley Harford County loves to really go all out. It's not uncommon to see a few of us here wearing demon horns or witch hats as early as October 1st. So, when it comes to Halloween, we don't mess around. In fact, a lot of us here deck out our houses with huge rigs of lights, animatronic skeletons, fog machines, speakers, you name it. What does all of this require? Tons of electricity and that can take your relatively safe Halloween night into an actual nightmare. So what precautions can you take to ensure the safety of your house and still keep it spooky?

 

  • What Are Your Decorations Made of?

Generally speaking, putting dried out hay bales or corn stalks next to open flames is not the best idea. Be sure to take into account what you're setting up and if it could be a hazard or not. One of the biggest culprits of this are paper bag luminaries.

  • Try Swapping Flames for LEDS

While it's nice to have an open flame once in a while, if not properly watched, even something as simple as a jack o lantern can catch fire to something. Try swapping out your run-of-the-mill candles for some color-changing LEDs to not only spark up the action but make your set-up safer.

  • Keep an eye on your costume

Some pieces of dress or costume can have long dangling threads or even just highly flammable material such as acrylic. Always check your surroundings to make sure there isn't an open flame near these materials that could accidentally light. If this does happen, however, always remember; Stop, Drop, and Roll.

  • ALWAYS CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT

Things like fog machines, chainsaws, and riding lawn mowers have a tendency to leak oil if not properly taken care of, always remember to check your gas caps before starting any gas powered equipment near an open flame.

  • Remember to Test Your Electrical Outlets Before You Plug In

Especially those that are outside and exposed to the elements, even if "it worked fine last year" does not mean it will be safe again this year. Take the time to test your outlets and ensure that you're using the correct power outlets to prevent an electrical fire.  Along with this, a good "haunted house" can cost you OVER $281.32 A WEEK (according to electricchoice.com). That’s a LOT of watts, and you wouldn't want those running all night unsupervised.

Accident prevention is the key to making smart, calculated decisions that could cost you in the long run. We always strive to provide customers with solutions to everyday problems in hopes that they will never need our services again. We know how hard house fires can be for families and we will always be here to get people back on their feet in their time of need. If all else fails, remember, you can always call on your local SERVPRO for assistance.

Job of the Quarter (Q4 2020)

10/20/2020 (Permalink)

PrimeCare Medical Rebuild

Let’s face it, 2020 has handed us some pretty bizarre circumstances across the board. Adapting to these circumstances, finding alternatives, and embracing that “let’s figure it out” attitude have been the keys to those still smiling and thriving this year. We would argue to say these attitudes help people succeed at any moment in time… not just in a year filled with unpredictability.

At Team Wall we promote the “7 Pillars”. These are qualities we look for our team to embody on a day-in, day-out basis: Solutions, Hustle, Persistence, Team, Accountability, Consistency, and Quality. These are not just buzz words written on a wall, but attributes that set our customer service experience apart.

When choosing our “Job of the Quarter” we look for an example where all 7 Pillars are clearly displayed and embraced. There was no question. Our work at PrimeCare Medical not only checked this box, but squashed a common stereotype, “SERVPRO doesn’t do rebuild work”. Simply not so. We handle everything. You can count on us for every aspect of the job, from beginning to end.

It was an early morning just after 3 AM, when we received a call requesting emergency water mitigation services at an office building in Harrisburg. The building had suffered a sprinkler head malfunction, causing water discharge on the second floor that impacted over 2 dozen offices and, in short, water damage to the building’s entire structure. By 4:20 AM that morning, our team was onsite and ready to get to work. We’re not lying when we say our response time is on point.

After a meeting with the building’s ownership, we agreed to perform the rebuild upon completion of our mitigation and demo services. That sounds like a quick conversation, but a lot of dialogue surrounded the topic of “Rebuild”. The ownership had no idea SERVPRO performed reconstruction work. They were hesitant to hand this piece of the job off to us, but our lead time is what got us the opportunity. We can close up mitigation services one day and begin reconstruction the very next. That’s a hard metric to match when you are using multiple vendors and, as we know, time is always of the essence in commercial work.

Throughout the next 3 ½ weeks, our team hustled to complete water mitigation and demo work for the building’s structure and contents. Behind the scenes, we began planning for reconstruction of the affected areas. We committed to a turnaround time of 60 days. Preparation and planning, we knew, would be key to execution.

And execute we did. The customer was so pleased with our response and fulfillment of requests, that we were given additional repair work to fully complete the building’s restoration and rebuild process. Working quickly and efficiently, we agreed to have these additional repairs complete and get their company back to occupying the building within 30 days.

We know that every job is unique. That is why we keep in regular contact with our customers, making sure that we tailor our services to their specific needs. This job was no exception. We engaged in daily communication with the customer and key stakeholders in the process, keeping them updated on our progress and making sure we were meeting their needs.

SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team – Team Wall strives to be your “one-stop shop” after any disaster. We have built a strong and talented Reconstruction department that helps our team truly live up to that oh-so-famous line, “Like it never even happened.” We are extremely grateful for opportunities to help companies like PrimeCare Medical and hope to be given an opportunity to help you and your customers in the future.

Running Towards the Storm

9/24/2020 (Permalink)

Storm Trucks outside of building A few of our storm trucks stationed outside after Hurricane Sally

Ever get that eerie feeling? You’re cruising down a 4-lane highway and you’re the ONLY person on the southbound side of the road. Northbound is jam packed with cars and you can’t help but wonder, “What did I miss?”.

We get that feeling a lot, but wouldn’t categorize it as eerie, more just… this is what we do. When hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and natural disasters strike, SERVPRO is headed towards the storm ready to jump in and get to work.

Easy? Heck no. Never an adjective we’d use to describe storm response work. But, worth it? In every aspect of the word.

This year alone we have helped home and business owners in Cleveland, OH; Chicago, IL; Saginaw, MI; Philadelphia, PA; Bear, DE; Washington DC; Cleveland, OH again; and most recently, Pensacola, FL and Orange Beach, AL. And the year’s not over yet.

Team Wall’s Vision Statement is to “Restore peace of mind to EVERY customer. EVERY day.” At home, this is of utmost importance, but when running towards the storm to help those in need, this takes on a whole different meaning. People’s lives are rocked to the core by mother nature, a force completely out of their control. We send our seasoned team members to help walk these people step by step through the restoration process – from demolition, debris removal, drying, insurance coverage and approvals, and even rebuild – we are the facilitator and advocate for our customer to get them through a life changing event. And we love it.

We’d like to give a special shout out to our team members currently responding to storm damage caused by Hurricane Sally. You are special people and we can’t thank you enough for all you do!

The Clothes Dryer: A Potential Fire Hazard

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

Dryer In addition to cleaning the lint filter daily, it is also crucial to take several other precautions in order to lower the chances of a fire igniting i

There’s perhaps nothing scarier for homeowners than the ignition of an unwanted fire in the home. When we consider our ideas of the most frequent catalysts of residential fires, the laundry room is most likely not included in that list. A whopping 92% of residential fires originate from an object in the laundry room, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. It may come as a surprise that this object is something that you use on a daily basis: the clothes dryer. Because fires have the ability to spread rapidly to other rooms and areas of the home, it is crucial to learn why clothes dryers can ignite fires and understand what steps you can take to protect your home.

Clean That Lint Filter!

One of the leading causes of clothes dryer fires is neglecting to clean the lint filter, a simple action that only takes seconds. It’s important to clean out the lint filter because lint is highly flammable and with each load, more and more lint accumulates in the lint filter. Additionally, too much lint in the filter can prevent proper airflow, which increases the risk for fire. Therefore, be sure to clean out your dryer’s lint filter between every load. It isn’t sufficient to only clean it out once a week or even once every few days. It’s a small action that can protect your home from disaster in the long run.

Other Ways to Prevent Dryer Fires

In addition to cleaning the lint filter daily, it is also crucial to take several other precautions in order to lower the chances of a fire igniting in your laundry room.

  • Pay Close Attention To Clothing Labels

Be sure to check tags for drying instructions on every item that you intend to put in your dryer. Often, tags will tell you the specific heat setting required for that particular item, which can range anywhere from “tumble dry low” to “high heat”. Following these instructions is incredibly important. Some items that require a low drying temperature can contain types of rubber and, if exposed to high heat, the likelihood of a fire igniting may increase.

  • Check the Outdoor Vent Flap

While we’re most familiar with managing the dryer inside of the house, it’s important to remember that dryers have outdoor vent flaps as well. This vent flap plays a key role in filtering out lint and hot air from the dryer. As a result, a fire can ignite if the vent flap becomes obstructed. Check your vent flap for debris on a regular basis in order to prevent an unwanted fire.

  • Move Flammable Objects Away from the Dryer

In many homes, the laundry room stores general cleaning supplies for the household. However, keeping cleaning supplies located in close proximity to the dryer is risky, as cleaning materials are generally highly flammable. In the event that a fire ignites in the clothes dryer, the fire can spread quickly if there are other flammable materials nearby. Therefore, while it is best that cleaning supplies be stored in another room, be sure to at least keep them a safe distance from the dryer.

If Disaster Strikes…

While it’s a hard reality to face, it’s important to understand that unexpected fires can ignite, even if you take precautions. In the event that your home experiences fire damage as a consequence of a dryer fire, look no further than SERVPRO. We respond immediately and our experienced team of fire damage specialists will restore your home quickly and thoroughly. Damage to your home as a result of a fire is often a stressful and upsetting situation, but know that SERVPRO will be there every step of the way until your home is back to normal. Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County today and for more information about our fire damage services, click here.

Why Do Sump Pumps Fail?

9/7/2020 (Permalink)

Sump pumps are drainage systems that are commonly found in the basements of commercial buildings. They work to pump water out of the basement and away from the building, preventing flooding and water damage. A sump pump failure can lead to a flooded basement and cause water damage to furniture, essential materials, and other important objects, which could prove costly. Understanding why sump pumps fail is the first step in preventing a sump pump failure in your commercial building.
Causes
Power outages are one of the most common causes of sump pump failures, especially during the stormy summer months and hurricane season. Storms can dump large amounts of rain water for the sump pump to drain, but a power failure that prevents the sump pump from doing its job can leave your building defenseless and at risk for flooding. To prevent disaster, consider having your sump pump hooked up to a backup generator.
Sump pumps require regular cleaning in order to function properly, so infrequent maintenance can have serious consequences. To keep your sump pump from failing, clean its vents and run a vinegar solution through the unit.
Lastly, your sump pump might fail simply because it’s old. Over time, sump pumps will start to feel the effects of usage and therefore, failure is inevitable after 7-10 years. It’s recommended that your sump pump be replaced after 10 years in order to protect your building from a sump pump failure.
Sump Pump Failure? Call SERVPRO
If your commercial building’s sump pump has failed, resulting in water damage, remember that SERVPRO has you covered. We’re trained in flood and water damage and will use our trusted, advanced drying techniques to prevent mold and mildew growth, rapidly restoring any water damaged areas. Don’t hesitate. Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County today and learn more about the commercial water damage services that we provide here.

Top 3 Sources of Water Damage in the Kitchen

8/21/2020 (Permalink)

Kitchen sink While water damage can occur anywhere in the home, the kitchen is a particular hot spot.

While water damage can occur anywhere in the home, the kitchen is a particular hot spot. Think about it: kitchens are used daily to cook meals, wash dishes, and so much more. For the majority of the time that you are using the kitchen, most of your activities involve water in some capacity. Knowing where problem spots are in the kitchen can help you know where to keep an eye out for leaks and ultimately, protect your kitchen from the harmful effects of water damage.
Here are the top 3 sources of water damage in the kitchen:
The Dishwasher
Everyday, plates, cups, silverware, and many more kitchen items need to be washed in the dishwasher. This frequent usage increases the chances of a leak forming, whether it’s the result of the dishwasher door latch becoming bent, using the wrong type of detergent, or the dishwasher overfilling with water. Frequently check for water accumulating beneath the dishwasher in order to catch any leaks as soon as possible.
The Sink
Sinks are another appliance that are used all the time in the kitchen for hand washing, washing the dishes, or filling up a cup of water. Sink leaks can have a variety of causes, ranging from a drain or faucet leak to corroded sink parts. Be sure to inspect piping underneath the sink about every 6 months and keep an eye out for puddles of water and corroded sections.
The Refrigerator and Ice Maker
We all love a nice, cold glass of our favorite drink during the heat of the summer, which calls for ice cubes. The refrigerator and ice maker can be helpful in this regard, but they are also notorious for causing unwanted leaks and water damage. Leaking refrigerators and ice makers are not limited to just one cause. Instead, they can be the result of improper installation or worn-out parts. In order to catch a leak before irreparable damage is done, look for pools of water on the floor beneath the fridge and ice maker. For further water damage prevention, refrigerators and ice makers should receive regular maintenance and inspection.
Leaks in the kitchen causing water damage can result in major structural damage, as well as the growth of mold and mildew. These issues can be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that SERVPRO is here to help. We are water damage specialists, experienced with all types of residential kitchen water damage. Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County today at (410) 229-0012 and click here to learn more about our water damage services.

Taking It To The Streets: 3rd Quarter 2020

8/14/2020 (Permalink)

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned signage As fall approaches, many are wondering: Will students be able to return to school or will virtual learning continue for the foreseeable future?

Way back in mid-March, the governors of Maryland and Pennsylvania announced the statewide closures of public schools due to COVID-19. Teachers, parents, and students adjusted to new methods of virtual learning and stayed at home for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Now, as fall approaches, many are wondering: Will students be able to return to school or will virtual learning continue for the foreseeable future?

Will Students Return to the Classroom?

A recent article in the Baltimore Sun, titled “Superintendents say schools in Central Maryland unlikely to return to normal in the fall, explains the dilemma that Maryland schools are facing as superintendents of Baltimore-area schools consider several options for the fall. By all accounts, the likelihood of students returning to “in-person classes five days a week” is slim (Bowie, 2020). Pittsburgh Public Schools and some counties in Maryland have decided that the fall will be entirely virtual. However, some schools will offer a hybrid method with a mix of in-person and online classes for the fall. 

Schools Consider Different Plans

Similar hybrid models, in varying degrees, are under consideration in the ranks of regional colleges and universities. Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania will not offer in-person classes this fall, opting for entirely remote learning. However, the University of Maryland and the University of Pittsburgh will both reopen campus this fall, providing a mix of in-person and online classes. Additionally, both schools have communicated that they will have extensive safety measures in place, including mandatory mask wearing and social distancing as well as isolation facilities, designed to protect students on campus (coronavirus.pitt.edu, 2020; umd.edu, 2020). But the million-dollar question is, do the safety precautions go far enough?

SERVPRO Can Help

Regardless of the model adopted by the schools, SERVPRO has a solution that fits. SERVPRO’s “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program can be implemented into schools’ reopening plans. By using the CSC program, schools will receive a thorough, hospital-grade clean that adheres to the Centers for Disease Control‘s guidelines, using EPA approved disinfectants. The cleaning targets both frequently contacted touchpoints, such as desktops, stair handrails, and chair backs, and less frequently contacted touchpoints, which include the backs of desks and bathroom stall walls, alike. After receiving CSC cleaning, SERVPRO provides both physical and digital signage that can be displayed in an effort to show students, parents, and faculty that the school has received the highest level of disinfectant cleaning and is “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned”. Schools can receive defensive CSC cleanings prior to the start of the school year or, if the school has a confirmed case of COVID-19 during the fall, SERVPRO will be standing by to quickly disinfect the building. 

Amidst all the uncertainty that this fall will bring, ensure that your school receives the highest standard of clean by making SERVPRO’s “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program a part of your reopening plan. 

Need a Temporary Roof to Protect You From the Storm?

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

Roof with half of a tarp on it We use high grade equipment in order to ensure your buildings protection.

We're making progress on our temporary roof installment for a condo in Frederick! The condo had a fire last week and was in desperate need of some serious protection. Here at SERVPRO Hunt Valley & Harford County, we do things right!

For more information, and progress photos, check out our Facebook post!

"SERVPRO of Frederick County SERVPRO of Gaithersburg/Germantown along with SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County were recently called to mitigate a devastating condo fire. The roof of the 12 unit building in Frederick County was completely destroyed. Check out these pictures to show the installation progress on the temporary roof and shrink wrap installed last week. This will protect the condo units through the restoration process until a permanent roof can be rebuilt. Isais didn’t stand a chance!"

How to Deal With Toilet Overflow

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Abandoned Bathroom In some cases, it is possible to handle a toilet overflow on your own if it only requires a simple fix and minimal cleanup.

It goes without saying: No one wants to deal with a toilet overflow. It’s unpleasant, messy, and something that you want to avoid at all costs. The consequences of a toilet overflow can be devastating, damaging bathroom floors and even leaking down into the ceiling below. Keep reading to learn more about why toilets overflow in order to avoid disaster or, if you’ve experienced a toilet overflow, make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

What Causes a Toilet Overflow?

Several different events can trigger a toilet to overflow, including a clogged drain, a blocked vent, and sewage complications.

A clogged or blocked drain prevents proper flushing, causing the toilet to overflow. In this situation, plunging the toilet may relieve the problem.

Every time you flush, air is pumped and needs replacing from the vent pipe. If the vent pipe is blocked, proper flushing isn’t possible and can eventually result in a toilet overflow. This issue usually requires the help of an experienced plumber.

Finally, two issues related to sewage, a clogged sewer line and a full septic tank, can be the catalyst of a toilet overflow. A clogged sewer line occurs when the sewer line becomes blocked by items ranging from tree roots to sanitary wipes. A full septic tank can be problematic, as excess water will have nowhere to go but back up into your home, potentially resulting in a toilet overflow.

How to Clean Up

After you’ve expressed your fair share of “ew gross!”s, it’s important to quickly clean up a toilet overflow in order to best protect your home from serious water damage. Before taking any action, make sure that the overflow has stopped and that the water is turned off. Then, clean up standing water as quickly as possible using a wet vacuum, a mop, or towels. The longer water sits on a surface, the more damage it may inflict. After this, dry out the bathroom to your best ability using a high-power fan to eliminate moisture and prevent growth of mold and mildew. Finally, clean and disinfect the affected surfaces as well as any surfaces situated close by.

We’re Water Damage Specialists

In some cases, it is possible to handle a toilet overflow on your own if it only requires a simple fix and minimal cleanup. However, if your toilet overflow has created a major problem, it is necessary to call a professional for help. SERVPRO’s team of experienced and trustworthy water damage experts will arrive quickly and restore any and all water damage resulting from a toilet overflow. Click here to learn more about our trusted water damage services.

Is Your Business Prepared for Hurricane Season?

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Satellite Hurricane If your commercial business sustains storm damage during this hurricane system, remember that SERVPRO has your back and is ready to help.

In the United States, hurricane season stretches from the beginning of June to the end of November. As we approach the latter half of July, we move closer to peak hurricane season on the east coast, which is typically the beginning of August through October. This year’s hurricane season has already proved to be intense due to the large number of storms that have been named thus far. In addition, a study from Colorado State University supports that this year’s hurricane season will be 50% more severe than the average hurricane season. In order to survive after a hurricane, it is crucial that commercial businesses have a hurricane emergency plan in place before disaster strikes. Consider the following proactive measures that your business can take to up your hurricane preparedness.

Take Action Before The Storm

Information is a critical component of every business. Having up-to-date contact information for every employee will facilitate getting in touch with them and confirming their safety should a hurricane emergency occur. During a time when many employees may be working remotely, being able to contact them is more important than ever. Additionally, essential data that the company needs in order to operate should be saved digitally if possible so that they can be accessed outside of the building, as hurricanes can destroy original documents. If creating digital copies is impossible, consider making additional paper copies and storing them in waterproof containers. Finally, steps should be taken to protect your property. Consider having a professional inspect your business’ roof prior to a storm in an effort to ensure that it can sustain strong, hurricane force winds. Investing in storm shutters can prevent windows and doors from sustaining damage from flying debris during a hurricane. Before the storm hits, sandbags can also be placed around doors in order to prevent flooding.

Have A Plan In Place

Physically protecting your commercial business and your employees is also of grave importance before a hurricane strikes. Create an emergency evacuation plan specific to your business, including which stairwells and doors to utilize if a hurricane were to hit while employees are in the building. It may be helpful to have employees familiarize themselves with the plan and post the physical copies in various locations throughout the building so that they will understand what to do during an emergency.

SERVPRO Is Here To Help

Taking precautionary steps can decrease the chances of a hurricane devastating your commercial business but during a hurricane emergency, there is always a risk that the storm will cause unexpected damage. If your commercial business sustains storm damage during this hurricane system, remember that SERVPRO has your back and is ready to help. Our professional, experienced storm damage experts will work to restore your workplace to its pre-storm condition.

Owner’s Corner: 2nd Quarter 2020

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Our owners We are grateful our company is able to make a positive impact during such a turbulent time.

In our 3rd quarter 2020 newsletter, our own Trish Wall took a moment to reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic and SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team’s Team Wall response in this quarter’s Owner’s Corner:

Our last quarterly newsletter was published in January. And here we sit at the end of July with the second “Quarterly” newsletter of the year. The math doesn’t add up, right? I will give you 2 guesses as to what happened and I bet you would get it on the first try… COVID-19. 

I wrote our last “Owner’s Corner” article on New Year’s Eve. I was a bag of emotions that afternoon as the new year – 2020 – sat on our doorstep. Pensive, anxious, hopeful, excited… I ultimately summed up our strategy for the coming year as “Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable”. I had no idea how telling this would be. 

COVID-19 affected everyone in this country in very unique and personal ways. On a professional level, the pandemic catapulted our team into a hard, abrupt change. On 3/11/20, we were a restoration company that provided cleaning services. On 3/12/20 our first COVID-19 cleaning job commenced, and we were suddenly a cleaning company that provided restoration services. You can’t get any more uncomfortable than flipping your business model overnight.

Our entire team jumped in with both feet and took on the challenge of pivoting on a dime. After all, our company had the tools and resources to help “flatten the curve”. We felt (and still do feel) an immense social responsibility to be there for our communities. Four months and countless COVID-19 cleaning jobs later, our team has an incredible sense of pride for the contributions they have made in curtailing this pandemic. 

For Jim and I, the pride we hold for our team is even more broad. To quote John Maxwell, “Change is Inevitable. Growth is Optional”. Our team members made a conscious decision to choose growth when the uncertainties of life surrounded them. To us, the choice they made brought us an overwhelming sense of awe. 

The pursuit of both professional and personal growth has always been a mindset we strive to instill in our team. To see it played out in front of our eyes was more gratifying than we could have ever expected. We are grateful our company is able to make a positive impact during such a turbulent time for our country. And even more appreciative for a team that truly lives out Team Wall’s Vision statement “Restoring peace of mind to EVERY customer. EVERY day”.

Stay healthy, Stay safe, and keep growing!

Sincerely,

Jim and Trish Wall

P.S. One of my favorite podcast series is Entreleadership. John Maxwell was a guest on an episode in May speaking about Personal Growth. It was very impactful and, I believe, it would be worth your time to take a listen: https://www.entreleadership.com/blog/podcasts/john-maxwell-success. One of many of my favorite thoughts from this podcast:

“I’m going to live til I die and I’m not going to get the two confused.”

"Job of the Quarter: 2nd Quarter 2020"

8/4/2020 (Permalink)

Debris chute in warehouse Our quick turnaround time required everyone’s involvement and when we say everyone, we mean everyone all the way from technicians to one of our owners

Picking the job of the quarter is always a tough decision. Every day we have the privilege of helping our customers with a variety of needs, and similarly, every day our team members shine throughout each job with the work ethic they display and customer service experience they produce. So how do you choose one particular job that stands out? This quarter it all came down to hustle and teamwork. 

Getting The Call

At 3 PM on a sunny Saturday afternoon in June, our phone rang with a large fire damage to a 375,000 square foot logistics warehouse in Southcentral Pennsylvania. They needed service then and there. The prominent retail client this customer manages could not afford downtime, delayed shipments, and upset customers. It was up to Team Wall to make it “Like it never even happened.” However, when COVID-19 cleanings were filling our after-hours production schedules, one office alone could not guarantee the response time and resources this job demanded. But, here is what sets this job and Team Wall apart from most: Labor and Resource Efficiency.

Combining Our Powers

Forgive me for getting cheesy, but do you remember Captain Planet? “With our powers combined”? It’s the real deal for Team Wall’s SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team. We have offices in Baltimore, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh. This gives us the unique ability to service customers easily in a far-reaching geographic area and combine labor and equipment resources when needed. This is exactly how we were able to respond so quickly and efficiently to this fire loss and make our customer happy “beyond measure”.

Management and Production team members from both our Baltimore and Harrisburg offices arrived onsite within 1 hour of initial contact. They developed a mitigation plan and began water extraction, drying, and cleaning services immediately. A team of 45 people worked from Saturday evening through Tuesday to complete the fire mitigation and keep this busy logistics warehouse running seamlessly.

All Hands on Deck

Our quick turnaround time required everyone’s involvement and when we say everyone, we mean everyone all the way from technicians to one of our owners, Jim Wall! Check out his picture above on the scissor lift helping to install a debris chute. It was truly an all hands on deck experience.

From day one, our company has been built on hustle and superior service. Going on 12 years later, we are still exemplifying these traits in every job we produce and it’s our goal to do so for perpetuity.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve when you and your customer’s need it most. We appreciate your support and truly enjoy being “Here to Help”!

2nd Quarter Employee of the Quarter

7/27/2020 (Permalink)

Employees of the quarter Congratulations to our employees of the quarter: Chris Hoeltke and Tracy Summers!

Each quarter, we recognize one exemplary employee as our “Employee of the Quarter”. With so many incredible employees, you may be wondering: How do we choose the employee of the quarter?

Here at SERVPRO, we ask our employees to strive for our 7 “pillars”, which include: Quality, Persistence, Consistency, Team, Hustle, Solutions, and Accountability. The employee of the quarter not only follows and models all 7 pillars, but also surpasses expectations. This quarter, two employees possessed these qualities, so we couldn’t pick just one! Congratulations Chris Hoeltke and Tracy Summers!

Chris Hoeltke

One of Hunt Valley and Harford County’s employees of the quarter is our phenomenal equipment manager, Chris Hoeltke! He embodies an exemplary employee because he follows the company’s 7 pillars to a T and is flexible. Chris takes on a slew of daily responsibilities in his position, as he keeps the fleet in tip-top shape, inventories everything in the warehouse from pieces of equipment to every spec of dust in the warehouse, and sets up the morning crews. Even though he has so much going on, Chris is always willing to go above and beyond by going out of his way to run supplies up to our Pittsburgh and Harrisburg locations, fix trucks, repair equipment, and so much more. If there’s ever a crack in the seams, Chris can always be trusted to understand exactly what’s going on and fix it fast, keeping SERVPRO Team Wall supplied and moving right along. According to his coworkers, Chris is incredibly knowledgeable and always “does what he is asked and asks what he can do”. We love having Chris on our team!

Tracy Summers

Our second employee of the quarter for Hunt Valley and Harford County is our excellent receptionist and dispatcher, Tracy Summers. She has been with the company since October 2016 and has a multitude of responsibilities in her role. Tracy performs several general office duties, which include creating reports, drafting correspondence, and filing, in addition to many office administrative tasks related to job management and tracking, customer calls, job scheduling, and customer satisfaction activities. She exhibits strong teamwork, hustle, customer service, and multitasking skills. During the COVID-19 outbreak, Tracy has kept not only her head cool, but she has kept the day-to-day schedule organized and made sure that estimates were sent out to customers. Aside from her skills, Tracy was chosen as employee of the quarter because of her loyalty to the company and her unwavering willingness to help others and learn new things. She is known to her coworkers as being someone who is always willing to lend a helping hand, “even if she has 10,000 things to do”. We’re so lucky to have Tracy on our team!

2nd Quarter Meeting

7/24/2020 (Permalink)

Clear and consistent communication between our team is an ongoing goal for Team Wall. Our quarterly meetings are a big part of this, but COVID-19 definitely threw a wrench in those plans for 2020. Our 1st quarter meeting was canceled altogether, but letting another meeting slip by was not an option. We moved our meeting to the open-aired warehouse, placed chairs 6 feet apart, and kept to the key topics for discussion to minimize meeting length. We were grateful to find solutions that made coming together as a team a possibility.

Choose Commercial Ice Blasting For Your Business’ Cleanup Needs

7/21/2020 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County, we provide a wide array of commercial restoration services. One such service is commercial ice blasting, which can be used to combat fire and smoke damage, water and flood damage, and even mold growth. Keep reading to learn more about our commercial ice blasting services.

What is Ice Blasting?

Ice blasting involves carbon dioxide in its solid form, which is commonly referred to as “dry ice”. When sprayed, the pellets of dry ice travel toward the contaminated surface at a high speed and upon coming into contact with the surface, sublimation occurs. In sublimation, the dry ice converts to a gas and works to remove unwanted residue from the surface, such as mold or soot.

How Can It Be Used?

Ice blasting combats several different types of damage, including mold, fire and smoke, and water. When utilized for mold removal, ice blasting successfully removes 99.9% of mold spores. Additionally, ice blasting eliminates the unpleasant, musty odor that commonly accompanies mold. When an area in your business has sustained fire or smoke damage, ice blasting works to get rid of contaminants and deodorize the affected area. Finally, when dealing with a water damaged area, ice blasting can be used to remove mold and quickly remediate flooded surfaces. Ice blasting can reach affected areas that are hard-to-reach, such as corners and crevices, making it a good solution no matter where the damaged surface may be. It’s also important to note that ice blasting is effective on many different types of surfaces. Our ice blasting services offer brick, metal, and wood ice blasting, just to name a few.

Why Choose Our Ice Blasting Commercial Services?

Ice blasting offers a solution to mold, fire and smoke, and water damage that is both effective and efficient. A non-abrasive treatment, ice blasting will not inflict any further damage to surfaces or impact surrounding areas. Another reason to choose ice blasting is that it is an environmentally-friendly, chemical-free cleaning service. Ice blasting also won’t produce any secondary waste and because the process is dry, it doesn’t add moisture to the damaged surface.

If you believe that our commercial ice blasting services are right for your commercial business, call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County today at (410) 229-0012. We understand the importance of getting your business back up and running as quickly as possible after enduring devastating mold, fire and smoke, or water damage. Trust SERVPRO and its ice blasting cleanup services experts for a clean that won’t disappoint.

Local Church Trusts "Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned" to Protect Parishioners

7/15/2020 (Permalink)

Table topper sitting on table at church The Bible Fellowship Church of Reisterstown recently trusted SERVPRO and our "Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned" program.

A recent survey found that 68% of respondents think about avoiding COVID-19 exposure constantly when out in public. Additionally, of respondents who constantly think about COVID-19 exposure when out in public claim that the venue must be professionally cleaned by a commercial cleaning company before the event that they would attend. In light of these concerns, SERVPRO’s recent initiative, “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned”, has stepped in to help commercial businesses ease their patrons’ concerns about potential exposure to COVID-19 upon return to public life. One such business, the Bible Fellowship Church of Reisterstown, recently trusted SERVPRO and our CSC program to thoroughly clean the church in order to ensure parishioners a safe return after Pastor Jim Crocker learned that “people were concerned about coming into the church.”

The “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program’s three C’s, Consult, Clean, and Certify, work to tailor the type of cleaning to the business’ specific needs, provide a hospital-grade disinfectant cleaning that adheres to CDC standards, and make the business’ employees and customers aware that by relying on SERVPRO’s trusted brand, the business has taken the proper steps to protect patrons. Pastor Jim Crocker at the Bible Fellowship Church of Reisterstown knew that by trusting SERVPRO’s “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program, he would “guarantee the church will be cleaned and sterilized properly.” The church is now undergoing regular cleanings to ensure both the safety and peace of mind of parishioners.

The “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program serves as a proactive and defensive cleaning service to reassure customers and employees that your business is regularly receiving the highest standard of cleaning. Additionally, the CSC program can be used to respond to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. SERVPRO will arrive within 24 hours in order to get your business back on its feet. For your “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” consultation, call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County today at (410) 299-0012. For more information about the “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program, check out our recent blog post.

Thank You Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company

7/6/2020 (Permalink)

Team standing infront of a fire truck We couldn't be more proud of our SERVPRO team

Thank you so much Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company for these gorgeous plaques. We really enjoy your team's attitude and all the friendly faces of the company during our return visit. We're so honored to be able to give back to you all!

A few months ago we made it our duty to go out and service as many emergency services locations as possible in order to give back to our friends on the front line. All of this was done on our dime. These are men and women who truly take a stand and give back to their community in inspiring ways.

We worked with Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company a few times to wipe down and apply disinfectant to their apparatus and firehouse. When Larry Gribble invited the few of us to come out and meet them as a team we were so delighted to meet everyone and to finally put a face to the name. Larry was so kind and presented our team members with two plaques, and even offered to pull on of the trucks out for some great photos! We asked him if he ever feels like a big kid sometimes riding around in 'the thing' and a volunteer nearby responded "the only difference between men and boys is the size of the toys". We couldn't agree more. All in all, it was such a great experience. We look forward to being able to go out again and do more volunteer service for Cockeysville VFC and more in the local area. 

We're all about giving back to our community in their time of need!

Bathroom Mold: A Growing Concern

7/3/2020 (Permalink)

Bathroom Tile It’s no secret that mold adores bathrooms.

It’s no secret that mold adores bathrooms. Mold thrives in bathrooms because they’re isolated, damp, and dark spaces. These characteristics create the perfect conditions for mold growth, which can escalate quickly. Mold infestations can lead to serious damage to your bathroom and threaten the health of those in the house, so protecting your home from mold growth is incredibly important. While preventing moisture in bathrooms is a relatively impossible feat due to the moisture that results from taking baths and showers, there are a few things that you can do to protect your bathroom.

Understanding the Causes of Bathroom Mold Growth

The top cause of mold growth in bathrooms is lacking ventilation, which causes moisture to linger, creating a damp environment. Leaking sinks, toilets, and plumbing can also be the catalyst of bathroom mold growth due to the excess moisture that they leave behind. Finally, after taking a bath or shower, fabric materials in the bathroom, such as rugs, hand towels, or shower curtains, can become damp and present an opportunity for mold to grow.

How to Prevent Mold Growth

In order to avoid mold growth in your bathroom, there are several steps that you can take. First, to combat lacking ventilation, make it a habit to turn on the bathroom fan for at least 30 minutes after taking a shower or a bath. It is also helpful to maintain a humidity level that is below 45% throughout the house. To decrease the chances of mold growth on damp fabric materials, be sure to wash towels, rugs, and other bathroom fabrics frequently. You can also check plumbing for leaks on a regular basis in hopes of catching a leak before it gets out of control. Finally, habitually using a squeegee to remove stagnant water on your shower walls can be effective in removing moisture that can lead to mold growth.

What to Do If You Spot Mold Growth

Oftentimes, mold grows in hidden areas of the bathroom, including corners and between tiles, making it difficult to spot. If you see mold growth, it is crucial that you follow these steps. First, don’t touch the mold, as doing so may result in allergic reactions. Secondly, don’t attempt to get rid of the mold or dry it out. Both activities can kick up mold spores and risk them traveling to other parts of the bathroom. Finally, don’t panic. While mold growth may appear frightening, remember that you are not alone. Call SERVPRO at (410) 229-0012 for an inspection and mold damage assessment, We provide professional and reliable mold remediation services to ensure that your bathroom quickly and safely returns to normal. For more information about our mold remediation services, visit https://www.SERVPROhuntvalleyharfordcounty.com/mold-remediation.

Employee Highlight: Carrie Jackson

6/24/2020 (Permalink)

Female Employee Smiling in front of green wall This month’s employee highlight is one of our favorite office managers, Carrie Jackson!

This month’s employee highlight is one of our favorite office managers, Carrie Jackson! This June marks 15 years since Carrie began her journey with SERVPRO, so we sat down with her to look back on the years she’s spent with the company, her role as office manager, and even talk about her love for murder mysteries! 

The Office is the Heartbeat

Carrie’s role as SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County’s office manager involves giving estimates, scheduling jobs, and getting billing out to customers. Because the office reaches and supports every area of the company, Carrie likens the office to the “heartbeat” of SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County. The office’s support is critical to the company’s success. Carrie says that her favorite aspects of working at SERVPRO are assisting people when they’ve faced a flood, fire, or water damage and helping them find peace of mind. 

Get to Know Carrie Outside of the Office

Even though Carrie was supposed to be on an exciting trip to Jamaica this month, she has been able to enjoy spending time with her family in Virginia during this time. Carrie’s dog, Izzy, recently turned three in May. Izzy is a rescue dog who Carrie met and adopted when her sister, who fosters rescues, convinced Carrie to meet the adorable Izzy. Carrie brings Izzy into the office occasionally, which Izzy loves because she’s given lots of treats. In addition, Carrie enjoys doing volunteer work for our veterans.

Carrie also loves delving into murder mysteries in her free time! Her fascination stems from the challenge and puzzle of figuring out what happened. She is particularly captivated by unsolved cases, such as a local case that took place in Maryland many years ago. Another fun fact about Carrie is that she likes ghost hunting in Gettysburg. 

Reflecting on Her Time at SERVPRO

Carrie has seen immense growth over her 15 years at SERVPRO. According to Carrie, the team has become a melting pot of people from contrasting backgrounds, bringing new ideas to the table and working together as a cohesive group. She feels as though the COVID-19 outbreak has challenged the company to adapt and grow, as SERVPRO has learned how to most effectively aid individuals, nursing homes, and the entire community. Carrie says that, strengthened by overcoming the pandemic’s challenges, SERVPRO has gained an understanding of what it can do to help and how to always be there to support the community.

Flash Floods: Know Your Risk

6/19/2020 (Permalink)

Summer rain showers can change from calm to severe in a matter of minutes. NOAA reports that flooding claims an average of 81 lives every year. While flooding in general is ranked the second most deadly weather-related killer in the United States, flash flooding can be even more dangerous. During a flash flood, rain rapidly creates a forceful rush of water that can destroy anything standing in its way, including buildings, roads, and homes. Due to the elevated humidity levels and slower jet stream characteristic of the summer season, flash flooding is particularly prevalent during the summer. Because flash flooding can strike at any given moment without warning, it is essential that you gain an understanding of how flash floods develop in order to best protect your home this summer. 

Causes of Flash Flooding

The jet stream has a significant impact on weather events. During the summer, the jet stream slows, causing storms to spend a longer amount of time than usual over one area. As a result, the area experiencing the storm observes a large amount of rainfall and has a greater risk of a flash flood developing. Generally, increased duration and greater intensity of rainfall contribute to flash flooding. A handful of different storms, such as severe storms (hurricanes and tropical storms) and slow-moving thunderstorms, can produce these conditions. 

Topography also plays a prominent part in the development of flash floods. If you live in a coastal town or any area located near bodies of water, including streams and rivers, you may be at greater risk for flash flooding. Urban areas are also at increased risk for flash flooding because they tend to lack drainage systems that can handle large amounts of rainfall. 

Know Your Risk

Unfortunately, early warning can often not be given prior to flash floods due to the rapid rate at which they develop. Additionally, homes can undergo major water damage or structural damage when no warning is given before a flash flood. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you understand your area’s risk of flash flooding. If you live in an area that is at risk, be sure to stay alert when the forecast calls for storms. It may also be helpful to put together an emergency flood kit that you can have on hand during a flash flood. In the event that a flash flood strikes unexpectedly and results in damage to your home this summer, call SERVPRO. Our team of storm damage experts are here for you and will restore your home to its pre-flood condition “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Up the Barbecue: Gas Grill Safety

6/5/2020 (Permalink)

BBQ Grill, Open Flame It is estimated that an average of 8,900 home fires are the result of gas grills each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The month of June is famous for backyard barbecues and cookouts. The grill is a staple for
these events and often, they are gas grills, which are usually powered by propane tanks or
cylinders. While grilling should be fun and enjoyable, it is important to recognize that gas grills are a prominent fire hazard. It is estimated that an average of 8,900 home fires are the result of gas grills each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. By understanding
how to safely go about each step in the grilling process, you can minimize the risk of a fire
igniting while keeping your summer cookouts enjoyable and safe.


Using a Propane Cylinder Safely

It is important to check your propane cylinder for damage, such as rust or dents, prior to use. If
you find that the propane cylinder is damaged, refrain from using that particular cylinder.
Additionally, make sure that the propane cylinder is not overfilled before firing up the grill.
Maintaining a distance of at least 10 ft between the propane cylinder and any combustible items
is crucial at all times. It is also extremely unsafe for children to be within close proximity to the
propane cylinder while it is in use. When not in use, propane cylinders should never be stored
inside. Instead, they should be kept in an outdoor location with sufficient ventilation in an upright
position. However, they should not be kept beside or underneath the gas grill.


Gas Grill Safety

Before any kind of cookout, be sure to check your grill for gas leaks. In order to do this, spray a
soapy water solution on the grill fitting and turn on the gas. Bubbles forming on that line
indicates a leak. Another important step is to check the hose that runs from the propane cylinder to the grill for any holes, which may leak gas. Also, be sure to remove any blockages that you find in the grill, which can range from bugs to old food grease, before you use the grill. Make
certain that the grill is located on a level surface in a ventilated outdoor space and don’t leave
the grill unattended while grilling. At any point while grilling you begin to smell gas, evacuate the
area and call the fire department from a safe distance. In the event of an emergency, it may be
beneficial to have a fire extinguisher on hand.
Once you’re finished grilling and the food is smelling wonderful, don’t forget to completely close the valve of the propane cylinder and turn off the grill’s burner controls. Before placing a cover over the grill, make sure that it has thoroughly cooled down.


In the Event of a Fire…

Adhering to safe grilling practices can reduce the chances of the ignition of an unwanted fire,
but regardless of how careful you are, accidents cannot be completely voided. If your home has experienced fire damage due to a gas grill mishap, be sure to call SERVPRO. From fire damage to smoke and soot damage, our team of skilled fire damage specialists will speedily remediate the damage so that you can continue to enjoy your sizzling summer barbecues and cookouts
this June.

We are Cleaning Experts

6/2/2020 (Permalink)

CSC Sticker Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO Of Hunt Valley & Harford County - (410) 229 0012

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned - a defensive cleaning program

6/2/2020 (Permalink)

Table tent signs describing the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program on top of a wooden table. Our defensive cleaning program gives your business a way forward by providing your employees and customers ongoing safety and assuredness.

Let us help you get back to business

As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Extensive training and specialized products

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.  Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.

3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify

When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

  • Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
  • Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.  In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
  • Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.

Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation

We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.

Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County today at  (410)229-0012 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.

Understanding HVAC Systems

5/11/2020 (Permalink)

Air Conditioning Unit Are you in the know?


HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems will soon be kicking into gear to keep businesses cool during the hot and humid summer season ahead. When used frequently, HVAC systems can be fire hazards. Commercial fires can have many origins, including cooking equipment complications, electrical circuit malfunctions, or even careless mistakes. Fires caused by HVAC complications are not incredibly common, but the damage can be devastating, so it is important to gain an understanding of the common hazards of HVAC systems in order to most effectively protect your commercial business from damage.

Three Common Hazards
The first of the three common fire hazards associated with HVAC systems that will be discussed is a leaking fuel line. When flammable fuels, such as petroleum, gas, and oil, leak out of an HVAC unit, they may ignite, thus increasing the likelihood of a fire. Regular maintenance is helpful in preventing this type of HVAC fire hazard, as leaking fuel lines can be difficult to detect otherwise.


A second common hazard is compromised electrical connections within the HVAC unit. As they become older, connections loosen, which can result in burnt or exposed electrical wires. These loose connections can be the catalyst of HVAC fires. Such fires often smell like burning plastic and therefore, this smell can be an early warning sign of this type of fire.


Finally, clutter in the area surrounding your HVAC unit can not only risk damage to the unit, but it can also increase the probability of a fire that ignites within an HVAC unit spreading to other areas of your commercial business. HVAC units are often stored in closets or other types of storage areas. Therefore, objects such as crates, boxes, cleaning supplies, or other equipment may be situated in close proximity to the unit. These surrounding objects can damage the HVAC unit itself and in the event of the unit catching fire, these objects can quickly and easily catch fire like a line of dominoes falling, spreading the fire to other areas of your business. This spread can make for an even larger, more devastating fire in your commercial business.

Experienced a Fire?
If your commercial business has experienced an HVAC fire and is left with fire damage and resulting water damage from emergency cleanup, contact SERVPRO. Our highly trained fire and water damage restoration specialists are here to your commercial business back up on its feet as quickly as possible.

Tips for Dealing With a Leaky Dishwasher

4/27/2020 (Permalink)

So many of us rely on our dishwashers on a daily basis for washing and cleaning dishes, cups, and silverware. Because dishwashers are an everyday appliance, they are used frequently, which can instigate leaks or flooding. If enough water escapes the dishwasher at once, your kitchen and surrounding areas may be at risk for serious water damage. Additionally, even a small leak that can be resolved easily and does not appear to be a major threat to your home can have significant repercussions if a series of small leaks creates a large enough buildup of water over time. For these reasons, it is important to note some of the common causes of dishwasher leaks and floods, as well as effective means of cleaning them up in order to reduce the amount of water damage that your home must endure as a result of a leaking dishwasher.
Causes
While there are many reasons as to why your dishwasher might flood, there are three common causes to consider. The first common cause is an issue with the dishwasher door, such as the door latch becoming bent or not being latched properly. If you observe water accumulating directly underneath your dishwasher’s door, the leak or flooding is most likely due to a complication with the door. Using the inappropriate type of dishwasher detergent can also lead to leaking or flooding. Regular dish soap creates a plethora of foam and suds, so if it is used in the dishwasher in place of detergent, the excess suds can push against the dishwasher door and potentially escape, resulting in a significant leak or flood. Finally, the third common cause is the dishwasher overfilling with water. Occasionally, a dishwasher unit can take in a greater amount of water than it should, which prevents the unit from being able to drain properly. When this occurs, water can be forced out of the dishwasher and pushed onto the floor.
Cleaning Up
The first step in the clean up process should always be to shut off both water and electricity in order to stop water from flowing out of the unit and prevent electric shock if electrical outlets are located near the unit. Next, it is important to remove as much standing water as possible in order to minimize the amount of restoration needed. This can be achieved by mopping or using towels to absorb the water. Once this has been completed, check for water damage in any surrounding areas, such as cabinets, pantries, and furniture. Be sure to remove items from cabinets or pantries that have experienced water damage, as well as those nearby if the water spreads and affects other areas. Finally, use a wet-dry vacuum to remove any remaining standing water from the floor. In order to prevent the growth of mold or mildew, it is important to disinfect any surfaces that came into contact with the leak or flood from the dishwasher in addition to opening any kitchen windows and utilizing dehumidifiers to keep air circulating.
Need Additional Help?
Call SERVPRO for help resolve water damage to your home caused by a leaking dishwasher. SERVPRO’s trained water damage specialists and advanced drying equipment offer fast and effective remediation, making it “Like it never even happened.”

Spring Mold Prevention

4/10/2020 (Permalink)

Special Cleaning Mold needs to be handled properly, in the wrong hands, mold can regrow.

Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and temperatures are getting warmer little by little. It’s evident that spring is in the air. Spring weather motivates us to open windows and breathe in the fresh air, but it may be surprising to know that doing so can increase the chances of mold growth in your home due to the presence of moisture and humidity in the air.

What Do I Look For?

Many different surfaces, such as carpet, wood, and insulation, can serve as reservoirs for mold as long as moisture is present. It is also important to note that mold is capable of growing at any point during the year, but warmer temperatures and greater humidity in the spring increase the risk of mold growth during the season. Understanding what actions you can take in order to prevent mold growth will prove absolutely essential in protecting your home and those living in it from the potential health effects of mold this spring.

How Do I Handle Mold?


It is extremely important when protecting your home from mold growth during the spring to facilitate the circulation of air within your home so that warm air will not become stagnant in one area. Air can be circulated efficiently with the help of fans and moisture in the air can be decreased through the use of a dehumidifier. It is important to remember that humidity levels indoors should not be greater than 45%. It may also be beneficial to keep an eye on areas of the home that are cold or dark, which are especially susceptible to mold growth. To help prevent mold growth in these areas, do your best to expose these areas to natural or artificial light.
Finally, after rain showers or storms, which are prevalent during the spring, make sure to frequently check areas around windows and doors for mold growth. Moisture from rainwater can gather around windows and doors, which can lead to mold growth if not dried immediately. Additionally, because temperatures indoors and outdoors differ during the springtime, condensation is often prevalent on doors and windows. Moisture from condensation, when met with humidity, can also lead to mold growth if the area is not dried.


If mold becomes visible on a surface in your home, be sure to diligently scrub the surface with water and detergent. After doing so, make sure that you dry the surface thoroughly in order to prevent further mold growth in that area.

When Mold Gets Out of Hand -- Call a Pro.

Small-scale, isolated mold growth is typically manageable, but larger-scale mold growth can be overwhelming and require professional remediation. Call the mold remediation specialists at SERVPRO in order to assess the situation and take care of your home’s mold infestation in a timely manner.

What Does FEMA Have to do With Waffles?

4/5/2020 (Permalink)

Waffles These are waffles

A storm roared through the East Coast many years ago, in 2004. FEMA went to work, doing what they could to assess the damage and to help the disaster-stricken communities. Around the same time, out of this slew of hurricanes would grow an informal measure which would confuse civilians for years to come. The Waffle House Index. What is The Waffle House List exactly? What does delicious fluffy syrup-ey goodness have to do with Emergency Management?     
Well, a researcher working for FEMA at the time found that by examining the actual operating state of Waffle Houses in the affected area one could potentially measure how serious a natural disaster was to the communities in the surrounding areas. When the store is open, green light, if the store is running on a small menu, yellow light, and if the store is shut down entirely, red light. Those were the key measurements.   Although the theory may have seemed strange, it turned out that FEMA could get a fairly good idea of the extent of the situation in a certain area. It began as a sort of joke until FEMA administrator Craig Fugate coined the word in May 2011 (https:/n.pr/2JznNEc).
Now, with the current epidemic, The Waffle House Index is being put to the test again but now on a nationwide scale. If we can take anything from this story, its that being able to support your community in its time of need is the most important thing one can do. Whether that's staying inside at all times, or gearing up and going out to help the good of mankind. Good risk management is one thing, but understanding how to prepare for any size disaster, and being able to hold the foundation of our communities because of our preparedness is a trait that we hold pride on as well. SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team-Team Wall, chooses to be that foundation for our community every day we put our boots on the ground. We are here to help. We are here to commit. We are here to serve.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, why not start at the Wikipedia page? If you're feeling so kind, they are in need of donations in order to stay running. All donations are appreciated. 

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)

"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.

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.

Employee of the Quarter (Q4 2019)

1/17/2020 (Permalink)

Man with SERVPRO Logo Stamp Enrique Moran, excited to be praised for his excellent reconstruction work here at SERVPRO!

The following is an official write up from Jamie Alder, our Operations Manage for Reconstruction, regarding the exceptional work of one of our team members. This was presented at the End of the Year meeting last week for all to see and hear.

Jamie Alder:

EMPLOYEE OF THE QUARTER

This guy has been with Bella & SERVPRO since December 2015. He has worked his way up from a Production Crew Member to a Production Lead. He has a great work ethic and shows that on a daily basis with the Quality of Workmanship that he produces. Over the years he has improved greatly by learning new skills, running jobs, and having an "I can do anything" attitude, all while performing this with little to no supervision.

His Consistency of work shows by getting positive reviews and high scores on our Certificate of Satisfactions on a regular basis.

A lot of times we go onto jobs where we are under the gun so to speak and the people are upset due to the length of time that it has taken to get to this point by the Insurance Company. After speaking with the customer, he has been able to relax some intense situations with his Hustle and coming up with the Solutions needed to perform the job accurately and efficiently so he can exceed the expectations of our customer.

He is a problem solver by knowing there is always more than one way to do something. He also helps to show other employees how to gain the needed skills for them to be successful as well as by instructing and showing them how to do things in order for them to succeed. Everyone that has worked with him has stated “they enjoy working with him” along it is shortly followed with “He is a work horse!!!”

With that being said will you please help me in Congratulating

THIS QUARTERS EMPLOYEE OF THE QUARTER:

ENRIQUE "KiKi" MORAN

Owner's Corner: 1st Quarter 2020

1/3/2020 (Permalink)

Photo of the Owners Jim & Trish at the top of Mt. Mansfield

Owner's Corner

The following is an excerpt from our quarterly newsletter. It is an anecdotal tale from our own Trish Wall, simply recounting her vacation, but leaves us all with a lesson about understanding and triumphing over our human nature. Fear and the unknown.

Without further ado, a journal entry by Trish:

Here I sit. 2pm on New Year’s Eve with 10 more hours left in 2019. My mind has been reeling the last few days reflecting on what defined us in 2009 and what defines us now turning over into a new decade. Perhaps most of you won’t set eyes on this stream of my consciousness until well into the start of the New Year, but if you don’t mind my rumination, I’d love to share my “ah-ha” moment that is setting the tone for our second decade as entrepreneurs, leaders, and, most importantly, parents. I hope you get a little something out of it, and if not, at least you can come away with a new word of the day… rumination (www.dictionary.com never fails me).

"If you don’t step out of your comfort zone and face your fears, the number of situations that make you uncomfortable will keep growing."

When you start to think back through the defining moments, heartbreaks, and triumphs you have lived the last ten years, it starts to feel a little heavy. Ten years can seem like such a vast expanse of time, yet fly by faster than Usain Bolt in the 100M dash. The natural human instinct is to want to look back only to see how far you’ve come. It’s in our DNA to evolve after all. Survival of the fittest means constantly striving to create a better version of ourselves. But, are we? How can 10 years; 3,650 days; and countless moments pass us by and we haven’t become the person we want to be? Maybe you’ve made strides towards it, but what’s the secret to getting to the finish line? I’m not claiming to have THE answer, but my family vacation this week sure got me thinking.

We decided to spend our Christmas a little differently this year. We skipped the big presents, hosting of the families, fancy dinner that took me all day to cook, and endless cleaning. Instead, we headed north to Vermont to try our hand at skiing. Just the 5 of us for a few days of family, fun, and relaxation. Have we ever skied? No. Not really. Jim had taken our 3 boys for an afternoon a few years ago, and me, well I took a ski class in college. Yes, ski class is a legit thing! I got an A, thank you very much, however, that was 18 years ago. And it was on a “mountain” with a 500 foot vertical drop. According to my fuzzy memory that seemed pretty high. But, then we rolled into Stowe, VT and my palms started getting sweaty. 

Day one we dropped the kids off at ski school, awkwardly locked our skis into our boots, and headed blindly up the lift to the top of Mt. Mansfield (which I later learned is the highest mountain in Vermont, 3rd highest in New England... just for a little perspective). We were above the clouds. We were above the ever… loving… clouds. Let me just review. I learned to ski in college on Tussey Mountain, a 500 foot vertical drop. I now stood, two decades later, at the top of Mt. Mansfield, a 2,360 foot vertical drop, with only one way down. And all I could think was, “Jim did it to me again” (and maybe a few other select words sprinkled in there).

It’s what drew me to him at the start of our relationship. I had grown up very “stay in your lane”; adventure was something I saw in the movies; my risks were always heavily calculated; and the most dangerous thing I’d ever done was riding my bike to Dairy Queen without my mom knowing. Don’t judge. My mom could make Dirty Harry shake in his boots.

Jim was the complete opposite. He was 27 when we met and he had already had more adventures than I could hope to have in a lifetime. And his visions for his future were filled with challenges and opportunities that would never have crossed my mind in a million years. “Stay in your lane”, remember? He’s pushed me past my comfort zone more times than I can count. I truly give him credit for giving me the drive and confidence to jump into uncomfortable situations and find my way out. And I have grown exponentially because of it. 

So let me bring you back to the top of Mt. Mansfield. Jim had done it to me again. He put me somewhere I was completely uncomfortable, forced me to jump in, figure it out, and hopefully have some fun along the way. And I did it. Twice. It wasn’t pretty and I won’t be considered for the Olympic Ski Team anytime soon, but I conquered my sweaty palms, frayed nerves, and Mt. Mansfield on skis. 

I wouldn’t say this “being comfortable being uncomfortable” is a personality trait Jim learned. It’s ingrained in his DNA. It’s who he is without thinking twice about it. But, I’d say for most of us out there, that is an anomaly. Who would want to live in a constant state of discomfort? Sounds like a prescription for Xanax to me. 

All kidding aside though, my “ah-ha” moment was looking over the crest of that daunting mountain, the 3,578th time Jim had pushed me to sink or swim. If we are looking for a life of comfort, we might very well miss the opportunities to become who we want to be. We will wake up on New Year’s Eve 2029… another decade passing us by… and have nothing to show for it. Don’t get caught in the trap of “staying in your lane”. Do what scares you. Find someone that pushes you. Move the things that make you uncomfortable to the top of your to-do list. I promise you, one day they will become second nature and you will probably wonder why on Earth you found them so scary in the first place? And then, most importantly, make sure to fill that list back up with more things that scare you. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Ready or not… ski down that mountain!

Team Wall is running into 2020 with this mentality and I hope you all will too. There are big things to conquer out there. Godspeed and go forth and conquer, my friends!

Sincerely,

Trish and Jim Wall

P.S. We are challenging our team members to submit 3 things that make them uncomfortable. In 4th quarter 2020, we will pass them out again to our team and see how far they’ve come in conquering their fears. Please feel free to participate! I’ll keep it confidential, but hopefully be someone to keep you accountable.





Space Heater Safety

11/20/2019 (Permalink)

Firefighters After Space Heater Fire

With temperatures dropping as we turn the corner into November, a heated home is becoming more necessary to relieve us from the chilly temperatures in Hunt Valley & Harford County. For many homeowners, space heaters are a popular method of providing that desired warmth. While they perform a helpful function, space heaters can also become dangerous. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated in 2013 that 25,000 residential fires and 300 deaths are caused each year by space heaters. However, with a thorough understanding of space heater safety, you can utilize your space heater while keeping your home and family members safe.

   Space heaters can ignite fires if they come into contact with combustible items. Therefore, space heaters should be situated at least 3 feet away from combustible items, which can include curtains, rugs, papers, furniture such as sofas or beds, and clothes. They should also be kept on flat surfaces, away from major walkways in which someone could bump into the heater, knocking it over. Before using a space heater, always check to make sure that it has not been damaged in any way. Examples of damage can include frayed cords, cracks, and loose plugs in addition to damage to the heater itself. If you find that your space heater has been damaged, do not plug it in. Finally, it is a good idea to never leave your space heater unattended while it is in use, as it could ignite a fire with no one present who could notice the smoke or smoke smell and contain the fire. This is why it is crucial to unplug and turn space heaters off before leaving the house or falling asleep.

   It may also be beneficial to have smoke detectors and alarms installed on every level of your home in order to detect fires as soon as possible. If you have children or pets in your home, make sure that they don’t get too close to the heater while it is in use in order to avoid injuries. In the event that a fire ignites as a result of space heater usage, call SERVPRO for any fire damage restoration needs.

Freezing Rain

11/20/2019 (Permalink)

Frozen House Frozen Rain stuck to a house

With colder temperatures moving in, the Hunt Valley and Harford County areas are beginning to see their first glimpses of snowfall and experience the first freezes of the season. During this time, the chance for freezing rain becomes heightened due to cold ground temperatures. Freezing rain occurs when the atmosphere is too warm to produce snow, so the precipitation falls as rain and freezes into ice upon hitting a freezing surface, such as the ground, roads, or bridges. Freezing rain can be dangerous due to its effects on roadways, sidewalks, and even power lines. For this reason, it is important to understand how to deal with freezing rain and what precautions you can take before a storm producing freezing rain.

   Freezing rain is significantly more difficult to deal with than snow or other winter precipitation, as it cannot simply be shoveled. Because the rain forms ice upon hitting the ground, surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, and roadways can become covered in a layer of ice that is not always easily visible. Icy roadways and surfaces often simply appear to be wet, which can be deceiving, as driving or walking on ice is significantly more dangerous than driving or walking on a wet surface. Another threat that freezing rain poses is the accumulation of freezing rain on power lines and branches. As the rain freezes into ice on the cold surfaces of power lines and tree branches, accumulate large amounts of ice, which weigh down upon them, eventually causing them to break. This can leave homes or businesses without power until power lines are repaired and risk damage due to heavy, falling tree branches.

   With these dangers considered, it is beneficial to take precautions prior to a storm that is forecasted to produce freezing rain. Firstly, purchasing salt will be helpful so that you can salt your home or business’ sidewalks and driveways, which will begin working to melt the ice as soon as it hits the ground. Because freezing rain can cause power lines to break, your home or business could lose power for a certain amount of time. The ice produced by the freezing rain can also make it unsafe to leave your home until it has melted. In either of these cases, stocking up on essentials such as batteries, flashlights, toilet paper, bottled water, and blankets will alleviate the need to venture out of the house for those essential items while it is unsafe to go anywhere.

Owners Corner: 4th Quarter 2019

10/31/2019 (Permalink)

mand and woman standing on green grass Jim and Trish Wall at the start of it all.

Owner’s Corner: 4th Quarter 2019

    Wowza. Has it been a year! Last quarter’s “Owner’s Corner” focused on the big, surprise announcement that occurred earlier this year.

Just as a quick recap, Blackstone entered into a recapitalization and long term partnership deal with SERVPRO Industries in March 2019. Blackstone did an incredible amount of market research and determined there is huge growth potential for the SERVPRO franchise system in the restoration market. This single conclusion has been THE catalyst for innovation and change for SERVPRO franchises across the country.

So how has it affected Team Wall’s business and franchises? One word… “wholeheartedly”. 

In January of this year, we had a total of 3 franchises and were a month away from opening up our very first out of state office in Harrisburg, PA. Now, here we are, midway into fourth-quarter 2019, and we have acquired a total of 11 franchises and are operating in 3 locations. This is the most in SERVPRO history and Team Wall is honored and proud to pave the way for others in our franchise community.

So let’s get down to it. Where in the world is Team Wall’s SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team? Well, here’s the rundown:

  1. Hunt Valley & Harford County: Our office is located in Sparks, MD; Employs over 70 people; Services Maryland, Virginia, Southern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and travels the East Coast for Catastrophic Storm Response; We offer full service mitigation and reconstruction in this office.
  1. Harrisburg West: Our office is located in Camp Hill, PA; Currently employs a team of 15; Services Central PA and travels the East Coast for Catastrophic Storm Response; We offer full service mitigation and reconstruction in this office.
  1. Metro Pittsburgh East: Our office is located in North Versailles, PA; Currently employs a team of 30; Services Western PA, Eastern Ohio, West Virginia, and travels the East Coast for Catastrophic Storm Response; We offer full service mitigation and reconstruction in this office.

Running 3 offices and a team of 115 plus employees may seem like a daunting task, but we have searched high and low for some amazing team members to help make this adventure a successful one. Please check them out in our 4th Quarter hiring class article! These added members to our team really have made a significant impact already and have been so helpful in navigating our new business model. 

Expanding geographically means nothing but good things for our customers:

  • Larger Geographic Territory: Operating 3 offices spaced out throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region enables us to service customers who have multiple locations as well. We can be the go-to vendor to count on no matter where a property is located.  
  • Larger Team: We have 4 crews in our smallest office and 15 crews in our largest… and that number is only growing. If a large influx of work affects one office, we can share resources from our others to ensure a quality and timely job is produced. These shared resources apply to production staff, equipment, office responsibilities, training, and so much more. Sharing resources and best practices makes Team Wall a more effective and reliable team no matter what region we are serving. 
  • Focus: Growing from 1 to 3 offices in a 250 mile radius within a mere 10 months may seem disorienting, but we have been able to focus more than ever. Focus on our processes, on our team, on our service lines, on our training programs… bottom line… on our business in every aspect. This has made our team more reactive, more knowledgeable, and completely focused on a superior customer service experience. Jim and I are focused on working “on” our business and not “in” our business. We have seen the positive impact this has made in the short term and we’re confident this will make us the restoration vendor of choice in the long term. 

Looking back through this article, we have used the words “change”, “daunting”, and “disorienting”. But, we’ve also used the words “innovation”, “impact”, and “successful”. 

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

We are excited to see where this road leads us and, as always, thank you for your support and loyalty as a customer!

Sincerely,

Jim and Trish Wall

Jaime the Employee of the Quarter: Q3 2019

10/18/2019 (Permalink)

Hunt Valley & Harford County Hunt Valley

This month's Hunt Valley & Harford County SERVPRO Employee of the Quarter is Jaime Orellana!

Below is our Senior Production Managers official statement regarding Jaime's hard work and dedication over the last quarter:

"Jaime Orellana exemplifies everything we look for in an employee by consistently displaying SERVPRO’s “7 Pillars of Success” in his work without fail.  He produces high quality work in every job he performs and he consistently hustles to get his assignments complete.  He is a team player that is willing to assist other crews by lending a helping hand even when he is not obligated to do so.  His persistence to perform at his highest ability and his willingness to continue to learn is contagious while helping to motivate other employees around him.  He also is accountable for every issue, decision and solution that may arise on his jobs.  It’s because of his consistent hustle, quality, persistence, and his willingness to be a team player that we have chosen Jaime to be the Team Wall Hunt Valley employee of the quarter.  We are excited to see where Jaime’s drive and positive attitude can take him within the company and look forward to watching his continued development."

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.

Preventing Garage Fires

7/29/2019 (Permalink)

Thousands of garage fires occur every year across the country, putting homes at a greater risk of catching fire, especially if the garage is attached to the home. Considering their frequency, it is important to identify the causes of garage fires as well as how to prevent them from igniting in order to protect your home from damage.

Electrical complications such as faulty circuits and overloaded outlets can cause sparks to fly, which can ignite combustible items that may be located nearby. To decrease the chances of this happening, have an electrician investigate the condition of your garage’s wiring. Also, be sure to refrain from using extension cords to power electrical appliances in the garage by instead solely utilizing wall outlets.

It may be helpful to store unwanted items in the garage, however, clutter sitting idly in garages increases the chances of a large fire igniting, as the clutter allows fires to spread quickly and easily. To combat this issue, declutter your garage on a regular basis.

Commonly found in garages, flammable liquids including gasoline, paint, paint thinner, and oil can spark when making physical contact with a flame or when fumes coming off of the liquid reach a flame. Instead of housing these flammable liquids in your garage, opt to store them in sheds of someplace distant from your home.

Alongside flammable liquids, propane tanks used for outdoor grills may also reside in your garage whenever they are not in use. There is a chance that the tanks may not be stored or sealed correctly, so keeping them in an outdoor area that is dry and ventilated would be a much safer storage practice.

Although these tips will help to decrease the probability of a fire igniting in your garage, there is always a chance that a fire will start. Therefore, it is imperative that you keep a fire extinguisher either in your home or in the garage that can be accessed quickly in the event of an emergency. Installing a heat alarm in your garage may also be beneficial in catching a fire before or as soon as it starts.

Protecting Your Business From Summer Storms

7/29/2019 (Permalink)

Severe storms frequently rock areas across the country during the summer months, as the combination of moisture and rising warm air in the atmosphere creates the perfect conditions for a storm to brew. As hail pummels the roof and wind whips outside of the building that houses your business, you may be anxious about damage that could potentially be inflicted upon your business in the event of a severe storm. That anxiety is completely warranted, as hail and vicious winds can cause structural damage such as damaged roofs and shattered windows. This kind of damage can lead to rather costly repairs, so preventing such damage is of utmost importance.

Firstly, make sure that your company has business insurance, since it can cover the cost to repair any damage directly caused by the storm. In addition, it would also be wise to take your own precautions by inspecting your roof regularly and cleaning out any debris that may clog gutters, therefore preventing sufficient drainage. Consider installing impact-resistant glass for windows in order to decrease the chances of windows shattering, projecting glass across the floor of your business and damaging any items in its path. In the event that windows do shatter, store valuable equipment in areas that are high off the ground and away from windows so that they cannot be damaged by flying glass. For outdoor equipment, make sure that it is secured before a storm hits.

In general, it is safe practice to monitor weather forecasts, especially if your business is located in an area that is subject to severe storms. Taking extra precautionary steps and having an emergency plan in place when storms hit will alleviate some of the stress surrounding the cleanup process and simultaneously keep your business as safe as possible.

How Do Electrical Fires Start?

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

When we think about residential fires, the first things that usually come to mind are accidents with matches, candles, or other items that involve a visible flame. However, electrical issues are often invisible culprits, erupting in electrical fires, which account for a significant margin of all residential fires. Electrical fires are most common during the cold, dark winter months due to increased use of heating systems as well as light fixtures. Understanding what causes electrical fires can help you to prevent them from igniting in your home.

Common Causes of Electrical Fires

The use of inadequate electrical wires in the home can often cause electrical fires to ignite if the wires are torn or frayed. When plugged into outlets, appliances with frayed wires can relocate heat to nearby combustible items such as curtains and rugs, which can catch fire. Refrain from running faulty cords under or on top of rugs in order to prevent carpets from igniting.

Be sure to utilize the correct wattage bulb for light fixtures, as installing a bulb with a higher wattage than what is recommended for the fixture can cause a fire. Make sure to also keep combustible items such as cloth on lightbulbs, as the contact with the bulb can cause the item to overheat and subsequently ignite.

Relying on extension cords instead of wall outlets to power appliances may be convenient, but they can increase the risk of an electrical fire igniting because they are only temporary devices for wiring. All major electrical appliances should be plugged into wall outlets to prevent extension cords from creating electrical shock or igniting fires, which can occur if extension cords are utilized over an extended period of time. Call an electrician to install more wall outlets instead if you have a shortage.

Finally, the age of your home and its wiring can be problematic due to the increased amount of electricity demanded by modern electrical appliances if your home was not built within the last 20 years. In theory, the breakers in your home should be triggered if there has been an electricity overload, but aging breakers may not be capable of giving that warning and immediately cause an electrical fire instead.

Urban Flooding

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

With the prevalence of urban developments in our society today, flooding in urban areas is quite common. Cities are prone to flooding due to their lack of soil. Rain and flood water should theoretically be absorbed by soil, but since soil is scarcely found in cities, all of the water must be drained through draining and sewage systems beneath city streets.

This particular type of flooding can have detrimental effects on daily life, as standing water in city streets can block roads, preventing people from getting to work or school. A phenomenon known as “dancing drain covers” can occur when pressure or flood water builds up in drainage systems, causing covers to elevate off of the street level and shift their position off of the holes. This can prove to be dangerous, as vehicles attempting to drive on city streets will encounter those holes in the street and pedestrians could fall into the holes if they do not notice the absence of a cover.

When flooding hits urban areas, the majority of those affected usually do not receive the attention given to massive floods from hurricanes or major rivers, even though the damage may be just as serious. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the risk of flooding in your area if you live or work in an urban area. Coastal cities or cities situated near rivers are at a greater risk for flooding due to their proximity to bodies of water that could cause high tides or overflow respectively when impacted by heavy rain. If your home is located in an area that is prone to flooding, consider creating an emergency flood kit, filled with food, water, batteries, and flashlights in the event of a flood emergency in your city.

Job of the Quarter: Q3 2019

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

Ken Matejek and our storm team celebrating their last night as SERVPRO heroes in the Iowa floods

We typically use this portion of our quarterly newsletter to describe a particular job we produced that sparked an out of the ordinary sense of pride and accomplishment by our team members. After reviewing the losses we have serviced throughout the 2nd quarter of 2019, it quickly became apparent that is was not just a singular job, but a new branch of our franchises’ business that has brought a sense of achievement to our team. 

Ken Matejek has been an owner/operator of SERVPRO of Plymouth/Wareham, Massachusetts for 10 years. He bleeds green and believes wholeheartedly in the SERVPRO brand, but found what brought him the most joy and gratification was in helping those folks across the country affected by catastrophic storm situations. Ken took the leap of faith to simplify and focus his life on what he truly enjoyed. It was bittersweet, but he closed the doors to his Massachusetts franchise and began a partnership with Team Wall to make his passion for helping people in need a reality. 

Since our partnership’s inception earlier this year, Ken and members  of our travel storm team have helped service losses all over the country. They have been a part of Chicago’s deep freeze in February, Minnesota and Iowa’s spring floods in March, a microburst of flooding in June affecting a small portion of Central New Jersey, and most recently the DC floods this July. Between all of these storm travel experiences, we have helped over 115 homeowners nationwide make it “Like it Never Even Happened”. We are thankful Ken took that leap of faith to join our team and create a residential catastrophic storm response team that makes such a difference throughout our country. We’re looking forward to highlighting many more of their SERVPRO hero stories.

Surviving Summer Storms

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Torrential rain and flash flooding hit the nation’s capital and various areas of Maryland, notably Frederick, Maryland, during the July 4th holiday weekend. The tremendous amount of rain that the thunderstorm carried caused widespread flooding, which transformed streets into rivers and caused even The White House basement to flood. Thunderstorms are most common during the summer due to the surplus of moisture in the air as well as rising warm air. These two factors combined together create prime conditions for thunderstorms. With their prevalence throughout the summer season and sporadically during the rest of the year, it is important to understand the threats to homes and businesses posed by the lightning and flash flooding brought by thunderstorms.

Damage Caused by Lightning

Lightning can cause both physical and electrical damage to homes and businesses if the building is directly hit by lightning during a thunderstorm. Lightning can burn through roofs, rip shingles or gutters from the building, and even tear into attics. In terms of electrical damage, lightning can increase the risk of an electrical fire igniting. Electronic appliances inside of your home, such as computers and refrigerators, can be harmed or destroyed if left plugged into an outlet during a thunderstorm.

Damage Caused by Flash Flooding

When a flood strikes your home or business, especially one like that which dumped excessive amounts of rain on Frederick, Maryland and Washington, D.C this past weekend, water levels can rise quickly and inflict a significant amount of damage. The flood water can carry mud and sediment, therefore contaminating the water and whatever it touches in your home or business. From this water damage, mold can grow and spread if the affected area is not remediated quickly. Flood water commonly affects drywall, flooring, and electrical systems such as cooling and heating systems, so it will be crucial to assess these areas for damage after a flood. On a larger scale, flood water can move houses or buildings off of their foundation, so be sure to watch for signs of that as well.

What to Do After the Storm

Immediately following the storm, survey your home or building for any visible indicators of lightning or water damage. This includes making sure that electrical breakers, outlets, and light switches are still functioning, checking plumbing systems for any leakage, and looking for any visible signs of water damage to items within the house or building. While cleaning up any damage, be sure to turn off all water and electrical systems so that when the electricity is restored, the water and electricity do not react with one another, which would result in further damage.

What to Do When Your Washing Machine Floods

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Considering how often we use washing machines in our daily lives, simply the idea of them  inopportunely breaking and flooding is one that evokes dread and an aggravated groan. Unfortunately, washing machines can flood and strike at any moment if a seal or hose inside the machine breaks. When this does occur, cleanup must be hasty in order to protect surrounding objects from the harmful effects of water damage.

When you notice that the washing machine is flooding, immediately turn off the water to prevent any more water from escaping and unplug the washer to eliminate the chance of electric shock during the cleanup. Be sure to also empty any clothes out of the washing machine while you clean up. Use towels, a mop, or a wet water vacuum to remove any standing water from the surrounding area. To dry out the area, turn on fans and dehumidifiers. You could also open windows if the weather is pleasant. Sanitize the area and replace any items that could not be salvaged after the flood. Examples of such items usually include carpets and walls, which can be replaced by the instillation of new carpet and fresh drywall.

There are several things that you can do in order to prevent your washing machine from flooding. Refrain from using too much detergent when running loads of laundry, as excess detergent can create too many suds, which can overflow. Regularly check the condition of the washing machine’s hoses and be on the lookout for corrosion, which can signify that they may be on the verge of breaking. Be sure to also monitor the drain line, as it can cause the washer to flood if it becomes clogged.

How to Prevent Grease Fires

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

From the title of a hit musical to its use as an industrial lubricant, grease plays a variety of roles in our lives, but it may be surprising to many that grease is also a common instigator of kitchen fires. It is crucial to prevent grease fires from starting in your home, as they can get out of hand rather quickly. Consider these do’s and don’ts in order to protect your home from the detrimental effects of grease fires.

Before cooking, do make sure to remove any combustible items, such as towels or cookbooks, away from the cooking space. Next, pay close attention when cooking. The majority of grease fires are caused when no one is monitoring what is cooking. Grease fires can ignite and grow in a matter of seconds, so looking away for even a quick moment could enhance the risk. If you’re planning on drinking cocktails before dinner, save those drinks until after you’ve finished cooking dinner, as cooking while intoxicated can increase the risk of accidents occurring or misjudgment, which can subsequently increase the chance of a grease fire igniting. Keep a metal lid close by when cooking in case a grease fire ignites, as you would need to smother this particular type of fire in order to put it out. It would also be wise to keep baking soda handy, since it can also be used to put out grease fires, but only if the fire is small.

When cooking, don’t throw food into the hot oil. Doing so can cause the oil to splatter and potentially catch fire when met with a hot burner. Exercise caution when placing food into the oil by slowly and carefully dropping the items into the oil, especially if the food was previously frozen. Allow frozen food to thaw before cooking it in hot grease. Also, do not throw liquid onto a grease fire if one breaks out, as doing so will cause the fire to spread.

What Causes Pipes to Leak?

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

Leaky pipes is a common cause of flooding in homes, which can ultimately lead to water damage. By understanding what causes pipes to leak and learning how to identify warning signs, you can prevent water damage due to leaky pipes in your home.

Corrosion can eat away at pipes, rusting and consuming them until they begin to leak. Be sure to keep your eyes out for any discoloration of the water or warping of pipes, as these can be signs signifying corrosion, alongside any common visible signs of corrosion, such as rusting, on the pipe itself. Ways to avoid pipe corrosion include inspecting pipes before buying a home to make certain that they are in decent shape, having the pH of your water professionally tested, and stifling any leakage with sufficient clamps until professionals can repair the damage.

When pipes are installed, seals are secured in order to attach water connectors. These seals can break with age and/or wear, which can result in flooding. You can tell that seals are breaking or have broken if there is condensation present on the pipes or if there are any puddles of water gathering on the ground beneath the seal. In order to prevent the seals from cracking and breaking, watch for the aforementioned physical signs of broken seals and refrain from neglecting to run water for extended periods of time. Doing so can dry out the pipes and cause seals to crack. If you leave to town for several days, it might be wise to ask a neighbor to stop by and run the water to make sure that everything is working properly.

Rapid and drastic changes in temperature can force pipes to expand and contract, which can cause the pipes to crack under pressure and therefore, leak. A heightened water bill, a musty smell around the drain, and changes in water pressure or its flow can indicate broken pipes. To prevent pipes from freezing in cold temperatures, allow warmth to circulate by opening cabinet doors, running water through the pipes, and keep your thermostat set at a consistent temperature.

Preventing Water Damage To Carpets

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

What Causes Water Damage to Carpets?

Whether you’re dealing with flooding, leaky pipes, or any other household event that can cause water damage, wet carpets are an issue that should not be taken lightly. Water damage in carpets can be caused by plumbing issues, weather, or buildup of water in areas such as basements or attics that collect water.

How Can I Detect It?

Water damage is not always evident in carpets, so it is important to be aware of other warning signs that could signify it. A foul, musty odor that won’t go away when the area is cleaned and constant illness or allergy symptoms of family members or pets living in the house are signs that water damage to carpets is occurring somewhere in the house. Another physical indicator of water damage to carpets is discoloration of the affected area.

What Will Happen If It Isn’t Removed?

Leaving such water damage to sit would be unwise, as it causes harm to the sub-floor in addition to the carpet itself. The longer the damaged carpet remains untreated, the risk of mold and mildew growth is amplified. Once it grows in the carpet, it cannot be destroyed through cleaning and would therefore have to be eliminated through complete removal. It is crucial to get rid of mold and mildew, as it can contaminate the home’s air supply, which can cause detrimental effects to the health of anyone living in the home.

What Can I Do To Prevent This?

To eliminate water damage to carpets, the moisture should be removed using a wet water vacuum. Furniture surrounding the affected area should be checked for damage as well. Dry out the room by opening windows and utilizing fans or a dehumidifier. The carpet padding that lies under the carpet should also be replaced. When it comes to treating the specific area, it can be steam cleaned to remove dead mold spores or baking soda can be sprinkled onto the affected area and then vacuumed. It would also be wise to scrub carpets and walls within the room to prevent further mold growth. Trust SERVPRO to sufficiently re-mediate any water damage to your carpets.

Preventing Fire Damage in Your Home

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

Preventing Fire Damage in Your Home

What Causes Fires in Homes?

It is important to recognize common flammable household items in order to prevent fires.

Some of these objects including anything from kitchen items such as flour and oranges to hair spray, shaving cream, and even hand sanitizer.

Electrical

Hot plugs and sockets as well as blown fuses can often serve as instigators of fires in homes. Exploded wires can spark, thus resulting in a flame, but a flame does not need to be present in order for there to be a risk of fire.

Smoking

Caution when smoking indoors must be taken, as neglecting to completely put out a cigarette, falling asleep with a cigarette still burning, and the use of improper ashtrays can lead to fires in homes.

Candles

Lighting candles in a home can increase the risk for fires to start in homes. Drafts of wind, such as those emanating from nearby open windows, can push candle flames toward flammable objects, thus resulting in a larger fire. Neglecting to keep candles in proper candle holders can also increase this risk.

Hazards

Certain combinations of household objects can increase the risk for a fire to spark. Among those combinations are: open fire and grease, electricity and water, and keeping linens/clothes next to heaters. Fireplaces can also instigate fires if they are not protected by a screen or glass doors.

5 Tips For Avoiding Fires in Homes

  1. Routinely check and maintain heating sources
  2. Test smoke alarm batteries once a month
  3. Replace frayed wire cords immediately
  4. Keep fire extinguishers handy
  5. Keep hot surfaces clear

Emergency Ready Profile App

6/28/2019 (Permalink)

As much as 50% of businesses never fully recover from a natural disaster. The overwhelming majority of the businesses that did fully recover from these events had prepared a readiness plan ahead of time. Pre-Planning can serve as a type of insurance policy that provides not only the peace of mind in case a disaster does happen, but also lessen the mental stress that comes from the fear of an event happening in the first place.

There are a multitude of different types of disasters that are easy to lose track of, and none of them are less important than the others. From a small water leak to a massive fire or flooding, there’s no downside to being as ready as possible

As such SERVPRO has developed the Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) app for mobile smart phones and tablets. This is a great tool that is completely free at no cost to you, and provides many convenient and simplified processes that allow you to create and maintain your ERP with the least amount of stress or confusion as possible.

The process is very streamlined and doesn’t take very long to fill out at all and will not take you away from other important projects. The profile also establishes your SERVPRO of choice and simplifies the process of authorizing work to begin on the damage relief which can save you time and money.

Perhaps the most convenient aspect of the profile is having a quick reference for facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information which gives you immediate access to information during an emergency so you can be “Ready for whatever happens.”

Flooding in Iowa

6/22/2019 (Permalink)

This May, SERVPRO crews traveled to Burlington, Iowa, after 13 inches of rain inundated the region over a 2-day period. Along with rain, golf ball-sized hail, high winds, and tornadoes rocked the area, resulting in widespread flooding as well as the flooding of nearby rivers.

At the time, Iowa also happened to be recovering from a major snow melt, which flooded the Missouri River earlier in the year. A record-breaking 25 inches of snow fell in Des Moines, Iowa during February of this year. After the extensive snowfall, the ground was unable to absorb any more liquid due to the soil saturation, and the 13 inches of rain spread across the ground, flooding highways, roads, and homes. SERVPRO received approximately 30 job files and three crews were sent to Iowa for this restoration.

Flooding can contaminate and damage drywall, support beams, and the foundation of homes. The damage to homes consisted of wet finished basements that range from 500 square ft to 3,000 square ft, wet flooring, walls, and content. The risk for mold to grow is most heightened during the first 24 hours of the flooding, so remediation had to be hasty.

The most rewarding aspect of working the Iowa storm was the ability to help flood victims’ lives return to normal as well as the good feeling that arises from helping those affected by the floods!

Broken Pipes in Chicago

6/22/2019 (Permalink)

In Chicago, Illinois, five consecutive days of  -50 degree temperatures froze over the windy city, turning The Chicago River to ice in its path. These frigid temperatures were then followed by a heat wave just shortly after the deep freeze, with temperatures soaring into the upper 40s and 50s. This radical shift in temperature caused Chicago homeowners’ pipes to break.

This occurrence is not, however, specific only to Chicago. Pipes can burst and initiate flooding wherever conditions are favorable. The water carried by pipes tends to freeze over when faced with negative temperatures, so when those subzero temperatures rise, the water begins to thaw and the pressure inside of the pipes increases until it reaches its maximum. The pipes then burst, resulting in flooding.

Flooding caused by burst pipes can trigger a wide range of water damage: carpets and even walls can be prone to water damage as a result of burst pipes and basements can flood. Mold commonly grows in flood-damaged homes or damp areas, as the moisture allows for mold to grow and multiply. To protect against mold, objects that cannot be cleaned, such as drywall or ceiling tiles, should be removed, while items such as glass or ceramic may be cleaned.

SERVPRO was presented with about 30 job files and three crews were required to confront the issue. Among the factors motivating the crews to make the journey to Chicago were the elation surrounding the prospect of helping victims to recover and devising a plan to combat the widespread flooding.

Job of the Quarter - April 2019

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

Our team at work!

Each quarter SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville highlights our “Job of the Quarter”. Basically, a loss we cleaned and restored that highlights not only our breadth of services, but the scale of work we are able to complete.

This quarter was no exception. A storage facility in Virginia Beach suffered a devastating fire started inside one of the storage units. The fire quickly turned to 167 units that were emblazoned and ended in only 80 of those units being salvageable.

We were called to the job to help clean up this unfortunate situation. “Wait a minute?”… you might be thinking, “Virginia Beach?”. That’s right. We have large loss teams that specialize in servicing our commercial clients in whatever location they may need us. The ability to respond directly to our customer’s needs outside of just our local market sets us apart from our competition. We are here to help, no matter where you need it!

Our teams hit the road running and were able to work with each individual storage unit owner to determine which items they would like to salvage and which items were to be disposed. After the debris removal was complete, the 80 salvageable units were cleaned, sanitized, and restored to pre loss conditions. The work did not end there, however. Our team then was responsible for the demolition and removal of the 87 units that were deemed a total loss. Please see our picture to the left of our team in action operating an excavator to complete the demolition portion of this job.

Helping people is certainly our passion, and in this case, we were able to get this business operational quickly and help their customers clean and organize their affected belongings quickly. We were honored to be chosen to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Happy 10 Year Anniversary!

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

Our SERVPRO family!

May 2019 marks a very big milestone for the Wall Family. 10 years as SERVPRO owners and operators!

Many people don’t know the personal journey behind our SERVPRO franchises and many more don’t realize that SERVPROs are independently owned and operated.

There are over 1800 SERVPRO franchises throughout the United States and Canada. Our family runs and operates three of these offices: Hunt Valley, Harford County, and New Cumberland/Carlisle, PA. It’s been a path of quick growth and an incredible amount of dedication and hard work by an entire team of people.

We thought sharing our SERVPRO story might be appropriate for our 10-year anniversary. So, here’s how we got here…

Jim and I met while working in Philadelphia, PA at a public accounting firm, KPMG. We were engaged quickly… 6 months! And, at the same time, left our public accounting firm jobs to pursue other career paths. Newlywed life was good and our jobs were solid. That is until the recession rocked our country to the core. We found ourselves laid off (both of us), living with Jim’s parents, and pregnant with our first child. Life never goes the way you plan it, does it?

An opportunity to open a SERVPRO franchise in Hunt Valley, MD presented itself and we are thankful every day for taking the chance. SERVPRO corporate provides tremendous support to their franchisees and their core values aligned directly with ours. It was a great fit, and luckily due to the optimism youth can bring, we took the risk, moved our life to Northern Baltimore County, rolled up our sleeves, and got to work.

This is very much the abbreviated version and those 10 years hold a lot of trials and tribulations along our path to growth. It is ultimately the solid team we have been so lucky to build that has helped us grow to be among the top 20 of 1800 SERVPRO franchises. Consistently. Year after year.

We want to take the opportunity to thank all of you directly for your continued support through out the last decade. Ultimately, if it wasn’t for a customer, we would not have the opportunity to be a business. Thank you very much for giving us a chance to earn your business not just once, but for a lifetime.

Many thanks and looking forward to another great 10 years on this SERVPRO journey!

Jim and Trish

Why Did My Basement Flood?

4/3/2019 (Permalink)

Water will find the least path of resistance and it could be into your basement. Be prepared and know how to prevent a flooded home!

Why Did My Basement Flood?

Flooding of basements is one of the most common issues most homeowners face. Although flooding occurs during heavy rains or rapid snowmelts, it can also occur in dry weather.

There are many reasons for basement flooding including seepage, storm sewer backup, and improper grading among others. As the basement lies in the lowest level of a building, it is prone to flooding.

What causes basement flooding?

These are the most common causes of basement flooding:

Foundation Leaks: Water can seep into the foundation if there are cracks in it. The risk of flood in your foundation is more if your home is near groundwater. Cracks in the foundation can lead to significant water leakage into the basement.

Leaking basement windows: Windows in the basement can leak and let water creep in during rains. Whenever it rains, there could be a significant collection of water on the windowsills. Fixing the windowsill is the only option to prevent basement flooding.

Blocked sewer: If the manifold that connects the public sewer system to your house is blocked it can lead to floods in your basement. It is important to call local authorities immediately to address blocked gutters and SERVPRO of Hunt Valley to mitigate the sewage and water damage.

Debris in gutters: The gutters play a critical role in preventing basement flooding as they carry away rain water from the home.  If they are clogged or damaged, they can overflow during rains and allow water to build up. If the ground near the basement soaks up too much water, it can seep into the basement as well.

Improper grading or sloping: If the yard does not slope away in the right manner, rain water does not drain effectively. If the sloping is towards your home rather than away, excess water can result in basement flooding. 

Improper downspouts: Downspouts channel water away from the foundation and should be at least 5 to 6 feet away from the wall of the basement. If the downspouts are missing or broken, water tends to pool near the house and slowly seeps into the basement.

SERVPRO provides professional emergency clean up and restoration services on a 24/7 basis. Should you encounter water or sewage damage call our office directly at 410-229-0012.

Top Reasons to Clean HVAC and Ducts

3/4/2019 (Permalink)

Top Reasons to Clean HVAC and Ducts

Your HVAC system not only helps maintain an optimal temperature inside your building, but also prevents dust particles and other harmful contaminants from entering the interiors. A malfunctioning HVAC system, however, is more of a liability than an asset and fails miserably at performing its job. Additionally, a dysfunctional HVAC system can cause mold growth. More often than not unclean ducts are the culprits behind malfunctioning HVAC systems. Getting your HVAC system and ducts cleaned regularly pays dividends in the long run. Not sure about whether to get your system cleaned regularly? We, in this post, will give you not one but four reasons to show some love to your HVAC and duct. Take a look.

1.Helps avoid health issues

With time dirt, dust particles, mildew, mold, and allergens settle in and around HVAC ducts. The system circulates these particles with air. Inhaling air laden with these contaminants can give rise to a number of health issues such as skin allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. Your HVAC's filter cannot trap all these contaminants, which is why it is necessary to get your ducts cleaned regularly.

2.Helps improve performance

Unclean and clogged ducts drag down your system's performance and can result in high energy bills. Cleaning ducts regularly help improve the airflow, which is one of the essential prerequisites for ensuring flawless performance.

3.Adds years to the system’s service life

Studies suggest that 9 out of 10 systems do not last long due to improper or inadequate maintenance. Getting your system cleaned regularly not only adds years to its service life, but also helps avoid costly fixes. Getting your system cleaned regularly can expose underlying mechanic and other issues before they snowball into major concerns.

4.Helps eliminate musty odors

HVAC systems with unclean ducts often circulate stale air with a strong metallic or musty smell. Moisture builds up in the duct often results in a burning smell. To maintain the quality of life, contact an HVAC repair expert who will perform a thorough checkup and address system issues.

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville is a trusted leader in the clean-up and restoration industry. We are NADCA certified and have completed HVAC and duct cleaning for both large and small commercial facilities. Please give us a call directly at 410-229-0012 for an estimate to help improve the efficiencies of your property.

Does Insurance Cover Mold Remediation?

2/15/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage that goes unaddressed can lead to a much bigger and more costly problem!

When Insurance Will and Won’t Cover Mold Remediation

One of the unwelcome consequences of water damage, dampness or humidity is mold overgrowth. People who are sensitive to mold experience wide-ranging health problems including wheezing, nasal stuffiness, coughing, throat irritation, skin and eye irritation. Those who are allergic to mold can experience severe reactions. Mold can worsen the health condition of those who are immune-compromised or have chronic lung/respiratory illnesses. The costs of mold-related diseases are as high as $22.4 billion annually in the U.S. alone as per the Journal of Environmental and Public Health.

Mold is a fungus that occurs naturally and is not visible to the naked eye. Reproducing with the help of spores, mold can infiltrate buildings easily. Mold insurance is an absolute must for homeowners given the high cost of repair and maintenance of buildings that have been damaged by mold.

What does insurance cover mold remediation?

Homeowners insurance typically covers mold damage only when a "covered peril" causes it. The “covered perils” for which mold remediation is covered by insurance companies include:

  • Fire
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Malicious mischief
  • Lightning
  • Damage due to vehicles
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of snow, ice, or sleet
  • Frozen pipes
  • Accidental water overflow from heating, plumbing, sprinkler systems, air conditioners, and household appliances

When does insurance not cover mold remediation?

Home insurance policies do not cover mold remediation if it resulted from preventable causes such as flood, water damage, or high humidity. Homeowners are expected to take preventive measures to avoid mold damage that includes professional cleaning, drying, and regular maintenance.

Standard homeowners’ policies will not provide mold remediation cover for “maintenance” problems such as repeated water leaks, continuous water seepage, humidity problems, and ongoing issues related to condensation, landscaping or drainage. Most homeowners’ policies also do not cover flood damage which is usually provided as a separate add-on.

Addressing water damage at it's onset with the help of professionals at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville is the ideal way to prevent the costly expense of mold remediation.

Coastal Carolina Condo Development

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Damaged interior caused by Hurricane Florence

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville was quick to respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Florence's destruction of the Carolina Coast. Our crews were called into help restore eight condo buildings on the coast of North Carolina which suffered varied degrees of water damage from the storm. 

Our team walked each and every room of the eight buildings affected with a member of the condo association board. We worked with them closely documenting the steps to be taken to restore their buildings and educating them on the process along the way. 

Each room had varied degrees of damage and so a thorough and detailed scope of action was necessary. Our team continued to work very closely with the condo association board and property manager keeping them up to date and fully informed on our daily progress for the duration of the project.

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville successfully mitigated water damage in 70 of the condos in this coastal development within the expected time frame of two weeks. We are known for our quick response, but also have a long resume of large-scale jobs with quick turnaround times. We couldn't be more proud of our team and the kind accolades they received from this condo development's property manager:

"SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville was onsite less than 24 hours after contacting them, ready to work...they were able to scope the damage in all units and begin placing drying equipment within 48 hours of arriving onsite. Demo of wet and damaged areas began shortly thereafter and was extremely organized. The SERVPRO staff was courteous and worked amazingly well with my owners and guests onsite. They made a huge job, and even bigger mess, something manageable. I highly recommend them because of their professional attitude, meticulous work ethic, and unmatched experience." 

Mold Growth

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Mold growth in a basement after significant water loss

At SERVPRO we are not only dedicated to helping our customers get back to their lives after a disaster, but we also feel it's important to educate our customers so that they can make informed decisions. Mold is a common problem that most homeowners in the area deal with. What is mold? They are a type of fungi that exist everywhere and only need moisture and a compatible surface to survive. There are at least a hundred thousand different species of mold. While some types of mold are benign, some other types can be toxic. 

To address mold growth, it’s important to know the different types of mold you’re dealing with. Each one comes with its unique characteristics, and growth patterns. It’s also important to know what areas are attractive to mold in your home.

Here are some of the common mold species found in your home:

Acremonium: Found on dead plants and soil, it grows indoors on paper and drywall tiles.

Alternaria: This mold is very commonly found on food, plants, rotting farmland manure and is resistant to most fungicides. 

Aspergillus: There are many species of Aspergillus

Botrytis: Associated with plants, high humidity levels and plenty of plants attract this mold.

Our technicians receive advanced training to deal with your mold issues. When you are looking for the best mold remediation services, SERVPRO is the only name to trust. Committed to providing excellent remediation and restoration services, SERVPRO has the dual advantage of highly trained staff and cutting edge technology.

Causes of a Flooded Basement

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

Sump pump failure caused this flooded basement

Main Causes Of Basement Flooding

Whether in Towson, Timonium, or Parkton, flooding of basements is one of the most common issues homeowners face. Although flooding occurs during the rains or rapid snowmelts, it can also occur in dry weather.

There are many reasons for basement flooding including seepage, storm sewer backup, improper sloping and others. As the basement lies in the lowest level of a building, it is prone to flooding.

What causes basement flooding?

These are the most common causes of basement flooding:

Foundation Leaks: Water can seep into the foundation if there are cracks in it. The risk of flood in your foundation is more if your home is near groundwater. Cracks in the foundation can lead to significant water leakage into the basement.

Leaking basement windows: Windows in the basement can leak and let water creep in during rains. Whenever it rains, there could be a significant collection of water on the windowsills. Fixing the windowsill is the only option to prevent basement flooding.

Blocked sewer: If the manifold that connects the public sewer system to your house is blocked it can lead to floods in your basement. It is important to call local authorities immediately to address blocked gutters.

Debris in gutters: The gutters play a critical role in preventing basement flooding as they carry away rain water from the home.  If they are clogged or damaged, they can overflow during rains and allow water to build up. If the ground near the basement soaks up too much water, it can seep into the basement as well.

Improper grading or sloping: If the yard does not slope away in the right manner, rain water does not drain effectively. If the sloping is towards your home rather than away, excess water can result in basement flooding. 

Improper downspouts: Downspouts channel water away from the foundation and should be at least 5 to 6 feet away from the wall of the basement. If the downspouts are missing or broken, water tends to pool near the house and slowly seeps into the basement.

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville provides professional cleanup and restoration services on a 24 x 7 basis to ensure your building and basement is free from flooding and other water-related damage.

Ice Damming

1/9/2019 (Permalink)

Illustration of ice damming

What Is Ice Damming?

Weather is often the most obvious culprit behind a host of problems including building or structural damage, injuries, mold growth, water damage or flood.

An ice dam is a common occurrence in winter in areas where snow is in plenty such as the Hereford Zone. Basically, an ice dam refers to build-up of ice on sloped roofs’ edges of heated buildings. The build up occurs when melting snow beneath a snow pack reaches the roof edge or eave and freezes there.

The frozen snow on the eave prevents the meltwater drainage that further builds the ice dam. The backup of meltwater causes water leakage and structural damage to buildings and their contents. Ice dams can also damage ceilings, walls, insulation and other areas. When there are areas of dampness, the risk of mold growth is also high.

What causes ice dams?

Along with snow, the outside surface temperature on the roof should be more than 32 degrees F with lower surfaces on the roof being less than 32.  When outer surface temperature is more than 32, the snow begins to melt. The melted snow flows down into the roof and reaches the lower surface where the temperature is less than 32 and here is where it freezes forming an ice dam.

Sources of heat within the building lead to formation of ice dams include:

  • Chimneys
  • Air leakage
  • Improper insulation
  • Exhaust systems

Ice dams and injuries

Ice dams can cause serious injuries and some businesses and homeowners have experienced property damage up to $20,000 because of this phenomenon.

Many of the claims are because of property damage that occurred due to pooled water in the ice dam or roofs collapsing.

Why choose SERVPRO? SERVPRO is the leading specialist in water removal and clean-up when your property or structure is at high risk of damage from ice damming or water leaks. With state-of-the-art drying techniques and water removal equipment, SERVPRO can help restore the building to its original glory.

What to do When You Have Frozen Pipes

1/8/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO responded to a burst pipe at a 12 story office building in Cockeysville, MD in the midst of the freeze-and-thaw winter pattern

Every year when winter arrives, homeowners and commercial establishments brace for icy conditions and plummeting temperatures. Close to 250,000 homes experience burst or frozen pipes in the U.S. every year. In fact, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville responded to a burst pipe at a 12 story office building in Cockeysville, MD in the midst of the freeze-and-thaw winter pattern. A pipe broke on the top floor of a 12 story office building affecting every floor beneath it and 30 occupied units. Our team was able to extract and dry the building in 72 hours with minor demolition required. All tenants were able to stay open for business throughout mitigation.

Apart from cutting off access to running water, frozen pipes can damage property when they burst because of the immense pressure created in the faucet, so what should you do when pipes are frozen? Here are some of the emergency measures you can take to thaw frozen pipes:

  • The most popular pipe-thawing option is with hot water. Wrap the pipe with a burlap bag or a heavy towel to concentrate heat against it. Place a bucket to catch excess water and pour boiling water on the towel.
  • Some plumbers also advise pouring a big bowl of hot water to which some salt is added down the frozen drain. The slurry acts like rock salt that is used to melt sidewalks that are covered with ice. Repeating this a couple of times can get water flowing again through the pipe.
  • A thaw machine is a portable device used by plumbers to thaw the frozen pipe. The thaw machine provides high currency, low-voltage electricity to thaw the pipe. As sections start to thaw, warm water flows through the ice and melts it. 
  • Propane torch with flame-spreader nozzle is used by some, but this can be a dangerous device to use. When not used carefully, the torch flame can ignite or damage wall behind pipe. Placing fireproof material between the wall and pipe can be a precautionary measure.
  • Using a garden hose is also one of the safer options to thaw pipes. Insert a hose as far as possible and feed hot water using a funnel at the other end.

Calling a plumber immediately is always the best course of action to prevent serious consequences of a frozen pipe, but if you need mitigation from a burst or frozen pipe, SERVPRO is the trusted leader in the cleaning and restoration industry and has the required expertise, technology and training to handle wide-ranging water damage restoration services.

SERVPRO Cares

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville was thrilled to raise $2,700 for the children of St. Vincent's Villa.

It has always been important for SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville owners Jim and Trish Wall to give back to the community. They were thrilled to be a part of St. Vincent's Villa Pancake Breakfast with Santa, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus on Saturday, December 8th in Timonium, MD.

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley reached out to friends, family, vendors and to the public, and boy did they respond! We collected $1,350 which was matched by the company for a total donation of $2,700 for gift cards for the children of St. Vincent's, a comprehensive residential treatment facility for children, ages 5-14 operated by Catholic Charities of Baltimore. Our generous donors had their names written on ornaments placed on a tree which was presented to St. Vincent's along with gift cards and small gifts by our festively dressed marketing staff, and our very own SERVPRO Storm-troopers.

As you can imagine, the Storm troopers were a big hit with the children. According to Trish, "This morning was truly one of the most special and rewarding experiences I have ever had. Watching those kids’ faces was priceless and getting to interact with them to make them smile was amazing. Thank you all for making this a possibility and I really hope we can make it an annual event."

5 Steps to Putting Out a Kitchen Grease Fire

10/24/2018 (Permalink)

Concentrate while you are cooking

Over 160,000 home fires happen while people are cooking and, unfortunately, cooking is the leading cause of home fires. About two-thirds of those fires began when food and other cooking materials caught on fire. If you know how to respond to a kitchen fire, and specifically a grease fire, you'll be prepared to minimize damages when an emergency happens. Quick action could reduce the need for fire cleanup and the cost of hiring restoration professionals.

1. Prevent fires by removing flammable items from the area.

Towels, flowing sleeves, curtains, and ingredients that could catch on fire should be moved away from the stove. Clean out burners, so that crumbs and caked-on grease can't burst into flames while you're cooking.

2. Stay with your food.

Too many home chefs get food cooking and then walk into the other room while they wait for pots to boil or pans to heat up. If something in the kitchen does catch on fire, you should be there to quickly respond.

3. Cut off the fire's fuel supply.

One of the quickest ways to put out a cooking fire is to cover the flames with a cookie sheet or a large metal lid. DO NOT POUR WATER ON THE FIRE. Turn off the heat source.

4. Put out the flames with appropriate materials.

Throwing water or baking powder on a grease fire could cause heavy damage and serious injuries. Be very careful to use baking soda or even a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher to put out kitchen fires if the flames haven't died down. Never use water to put out a grease fire because it will cause the grease to splatter, hitting people and flammable items throughout your kitchen.

5. Contact the fire department from outside the home.

If you haven't been able to put out the fire at this point, it's best to evacuate the home. Once the fire is out of control, you only have a couple of minutes to get everyone out of the house and to safety. Use a cellphone or the neighbor's phone to contact the Timonium,MD, fire department.

Flood Damage and Storm Damage

10/18/2018 (Permalink)

Damaged roof caused by storm that impacted our Cockeysville,MD area

When looking into purchasing more weather protection for your business, it is important to recognize the types of damages you could end up with. One problem associated with storms that many people may not consider a risk at first is flooding, which can wreak havoc on your business structure and ruin your inventory. Business owners in Cockeysville,MD, have often prepared for storm damage, but preparation for flood damage goes one step further.

Kinds of Damage

High gusts of wind and excessive rain can be caused by storms, but in addition to the types of damage that can occur under these conditions, flooding can also create these problems:

  • Cause erosion in the base structure of your building
  • Destroy inventory, especially electronics and paper supplies
  • Create conditions for mold growth
  • Carry in unsanitary chemicals and harmful debris

It is clear that these problems can present a real risk to your company, so it is important to figure out what the next steps should be.

Damage Prevention

Regardless of whether you are focusing on general storm or flood damage, there are several preventative measures you can take. Do this for general weather protection:

  • Install a lightning rod on the roof of your building
  • Keep more valuable inventory away from windows
  • Strengthen walls with an extra layer of construction

Of course, flooding can bring about a whole new list of damage possibilities, so there are many other precautions you can exercise:

  • Reconstructing the floor so it does not slope down
  • Sealing shut areas where utilities enter the building
  • Keeping valuable inventory above ground level

Final Step

Even though you can often carry out some of these preparatory tasks without much trouble, there is always the potential for damages when a major storm occurs. Calling a professional cleanup service after suffering flood damage is the smartest thing to do. They will assess the situation through a lens of expertise and ensure safety standards are practiced when restoring your business to its former glory.

Understanding Why Your Sewer Backed Up

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

Sewage back up in Towson North,MD

One important part of a residential sewer cleanup in Towson North, MD, is figuring out why your home was flooded with sewage. Your team of water damage experts can help you figure out the source of the damage, which helps you create a better repair plan. You can also use this quick guide to learn more about the potential causes.

1. Damaged Pipes

A damaged pipe may allow sewage to leak into your home. If a tree root has cracked open the pipe in your yard, the sewage may fill the ground and travel into the lower levels of your home. In some cases, a pipe in your walls could have burst and unleashed sewer water.

2. Faulty Fixtures

A flooded toilet could also be the source of dirty flood water. While this water may not contain fecal matter, it may still have traces of urine from the bowl of the toilet. A broken or clogged toilet can cause the water to fill your bathroom.

3. Heavy Rainfall

When there's a lot of rain in Towson North, MD, the water table level can rise exponentially. This extra water can flood into the city sewer line. When this line reaches its capacity, the water and sewage have to go somewhere. You may not think of a sewer cleanup being tied to a storm, but it does happen when the system gets overloaded.

4. Clogs

Clogs and blockages are another common cause of a sewer backup. The blockage could be located in your plumbing or it could be in the sewer main pipes. No matter where the clog is, it causes the same problem. The sewage leaving your house cannot travel past the clog. The pressure builds up and causes the contents of the pipes to travel backwards into your home.

Sewer doesn't often fill a home, but when it does you need to start sewer cleanup as soon as possible. Understanding the potential cause of your flooding can make creating a repair plan easier.

Water Damage: The Reason You Pay for Business Insurance

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

Water supply line burst causing flooding in a Lutherville, MD store

Water damage can be one of the costliest repairs made by business owners. Between the broken pipes and water cleanup, owners can be left paying the expense of not only the damage caused but for the loss of business during the restoration. This combined loss is what makes business insurance so important; however, it is also essential to understand what business insurance covers, standard exclusions, and why you may benefit from additional coverage.

1. Broken Pipes

As anyone living in Lutherville, MD, knows, the winter can be problematic for even the most prepared business owners. Frigid temperatures can potentially lead to frozen water lines, which cause increased pressure and may eventually burst the line. Most commercial insurance policies likely cover the sudden damage caused by burst lines.

2. Storm Damage

Additionally, most policies will cover storm damage, like broken windows or damaged roofs, but this can depend on the type of damage. For example, hail damage that causes a broken window is likely covered; however, heavy rains that cause a flood is most likely not covered under a traditional business insurance policy.

3. Be Aware of Exclusions

Every policy will have exclusions. Some of the typical exclusions that will require additional coverage are flooding and sewer backups. The water damage caused by these two issues alone can create dire situations for a business and its continued operations, often requiring the work of a restoration company. If you want to cover these two disasters, then you may want to add an endorsement to your current policy as well as purchase flood insurance separately.

4. Combining Flood Insurance and Business Insurance

The combination of flood insurance and business insurance with an additional sewer and drain endorsement can be a balanced policy that protects you from numerous potential disasters; however, it is still essential to be aware of any exclusions or deductibles.

Water damage can cripple a business and, depending on your coverage, you, as the owner, may be left footing the bill; however, if you choose the right combination of insurance policies and endorsements, the potential risks of flooding and burst pipes may not seem like that big of a concern.

How to Maintain a Sump Pump

9/24/2018 (Permalink)

Sump pump ready to prevent flooding in Towson North, MD

A sump pump is a handy tool, especially in Towson North, MD, that helps to prevent flooding; however, it does require a certain level of pump maintenance to ensure that it is always operating to its full capability. To maintain your pump, there are six areas that you should check before severe weather hits.

1. GFCI

Every so often, it is important to check that the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) that your unit is plugged into is properly working. To ensure the outlet is working correctly simply plug any electronic into it and make sure that you can power it on.

2. Discharge Pipe

As an essential part of any pump operation, the discharge pipe can become clogged by debris, like dirt and gravel, so it is necessary to inspect the pipe and clean out any blockages.

3. Intake Screen

Like the discharge pipe, the intake screen of your pump can become clogged with debris and will need to be cleaned once in a while to ensure the free flow of water.

4. Float Component

The float mechanism in the sump pump housing can become obstructed, which means that it will not activate the pump mechanism. This area of the pump should be inspected regularly for debris to ensure proper operation.

5. Pump

The pump mechanism can be tested by merely pouring a bucket of water into the pump basin. As the float rises in the water, it should activate the pump. If the pump does not activate and there is no debris, you may want to call in a professional to inspect it.

6. Battery Backup

Many pumps come with a battery backup. If your pump is one of these types, then every few years, 2 to 3, you will want to replace the battery.

A sump pump, while an essential tool in the prevention of home flooding, is not without its quirks, and it is normal to have to perform routine maintenance to keep it functioning as intended.

Most Effective Ways to Remove Black Mold From the Shower

9/17/2018 (Permalink)

Mold damage developed in this Cockeysville, MD bathroom

If you’ve ever stepped into a dirty shower, you know how unpleasant the experience can be. If you’ve seen shower mold in your Cockeysville,MD, bathroom, you don’t want to waste any time cleaning it up. These unsightly spots can be embarrassing and disgusting. Luckily, with a few simple steps, you can get rid of this mold once and for all and reclaim a clean shower.

Call a Professional

If you don’t want to deal with black mold on your own, you can call a trained professional to take care of it. You’ll have to pay for quality work, but you can have confidence the expert will do thorough work. Here are some advantages to calling the pros:

  • They have experience cleaning up shower mold.
  • They have the right equipment and cleaning materials.
  • They can work quickly and efficiently, saving you time and effort.

Use Baking Soda

Baking soda can be exceptionally useful for many household needs. If you’ve got moldy shower walls or floors, you can put baking soda to use and watch it do its amazing work. Baking soda won’t leave harmful fumes, and it’s easy and cheap to purchase. Just combine a cup of this with a teaspoon of liquid soap, along with enough water to make the mixture into a paste. You can even add some oils such as lavender or peppermint if you want to leave a pleasant smell behind. Take this solution and scrub out the mold.

Try Bleach

You can use bleach for much more than whitening your clothes. If you fill a spray bottle with half-bleach, half-water, you may be amazed with the results. Spray the cleaner on, let it sit for a minute and then scrub it off with a brush.

You shouldn’t have to contend with shower mold in your bathroom. These household remedies and professional services can take of this annoyance in a hurry.

Don’t Blame the Rain: Other Ways Storms Can Damage Your Business

8/22/2018 (Permalink)

Pipe break after significant rain and storm can cause flooding in your home

When a huge storm rolls through Towson, MD, you might worry most about heavy rains. After all, significant rainfall can find its way into your building and flood your office. However, this isn’t the only flooding that can occur, nor is it the only concern you should have with storms. It’s important to be aware of dangers such as a burst pipe, or flooding situations so you can prepare and act appropriately.

Pipes Burst

Within the plumbing and water systems of your office building, there is a network of pipes carrying water, sewage, and possibly other chemicals throughout the facility. A burst pipe could empty gallon upon gallon of water into your building, leaving standing water and severe damage. Here are a few ways in which pipes burst:

• Pressure buildup
• Corrosion
• Extremely cold temperatures

If a winter storm brings low temperatures, you may be at risk for these issues. Make sure your building has sufficient insulation and that you drain any outside lines before winter hits.

Pipes Freeze

If your building pipes do freeze, you need to act quickly to ensure they don’t burst and cause flooding. A professional restoration company can help you clean up the mess and mitigate damage, but you don’t want to get to that point if you can avoid it. If you do find a frozen pipe, keep faucets open, as running water can help melt the ice. You can treat the pipes by wrapping pads around them, or you can even use space heaters.

Pipes Flood

At worst, bursting pipes can cause significant flooding and render your office unsafe. The floodwater can damage furniture, carpet, walls, or equipment. Also, a frozen pipe could prevent water from reaching the building.

As winter approaches and during large storms, make sure you keep an eye on your interior and exterior pipes. A little effort and mindfulness can help prevent the major disasters a burst pipe can cause.

For more on Towson click here.

Don't Neglect Your Bathroom Water Supply Line

8/17/2018 (Permalink)

Supply lines should be checked frequently to avoid flooding

Every homeowner in Towson, MD, needs reliable water. Since bathrooms account for 71 percent of daily water use, a simple check for water supply line damage may help prevent a bathroom leak.

1. How do I evaluate a supply line? Look behind the toilet for either a plastic or stainless steel pipe with a metal shut-off valve at the base. There will be a similar pipe under your sink. Check for cracks in the plastic or corrosion in the stainless steel.

2. What causes a bathroom supply line to fail? Water damage can come from aging plastic. A water supply line leak or burst can occur in either plastic or stainless steel lines if they are not rated correctly for the city water pressure. Stainless steel pipes have a robust metal skin and a tougher internal sheath, but even they can corrode from small amounts of airborne bathroom chemicals. Supply line damage can be detected in most cases before water escapes.

3. Will my warranty cover a damaged supply line? Your homeowner's policy may cover certain types of water damage. Plastic pipes last only a few years and are unlikely to have significant warranties, whereas metal pipes usually have lifetime warranties. If your house is not new and you have plastic lines, it may be a good idea to upgrade them to stainless steel.

4. What if my water supply line is already leaking? Turn off the valve to the line. Mop up any water, and then notify your homeowner's insurance company. If you have a supply line warranty, call to report the damage. You may want to immediately call a professional water control expert in Towson, MD, to help salvage property and stop hidden damage from progressing.

With a quick, routine check, you can lessen the possibility of impending water supply line damage. In the event trouble is brewing, preventive measures can pay off.

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First Aid Tips for Burns in the Workplace

8/17/2018 (Permalink)

Burns in workplace can be dangerous and need to be treated differently for different people

Undeniably, when you own a business in Towson, MD, you must expect the unexpected. This also applies to the health, safety and well-being of your employees. If a fire occurs onsite, you trust your commercial property insurance and fire restoration specialist to handle fire damage to the building. But, are you prepared to handle burn first aid if the damage is to one of your staff?

Care for Minor Burns

A burn is considered minor when the diameter is less than three inches. Pain, blisters or superficial redness are characteristic of this type of injury. You do not typically need to seek professional medical attention for minor burns.

• Train your staff in basic first aid skills, including burns.
• Have a kit of medical supplies on hand in the case of an emergency. This includes cold compresses, sterile gauze bandages, antibiotic ointment, aloe lotion and an over-the-counter pain reliever.

Care for Major Burns

A major burn is greater than three inches in diameter and covers a person’s face, extremities or major joints. These burns may be deep and exhibit a discolored appearance. If an employee suffers a major burn, seek professional medical treatment immediately. Here are some steps you can take until help arrives.

• Keep the injured employee safe from further harm. If fire damage continues to occur to the grounds, evacuate staff promptly.
• Loosen restrictive clothing and accessories to allow for swelling of the burned area.
• Elevate and cover the burned skin with a cool cloth.
• Be alert for reduced respiration or signs of shock.

Your employees are an integral part of your business in Towson, MD, and it is important to provide a safe working environment. In the unexpected event of a fire, care for your staff first and worry about the fire damage to your property second. Train and plan for proper minor burn first aid on the premises. For major burns, call 911 and care for the injured staff member until help arrives.

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Setting Those Stormy Expectations

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Waters can cause flooding in your Maryland neighborhood

If your home suffered damage as a result of a storm in Towson, MD, complete and accurate restoration is your overall end goal. Storm restoration can only be achieved after you assess water damage, tear out appropriate items and reconstruct as necessary. It is critical to manage your expectations of damages. Understanding the process involved can minimize your storm stresses.

1. Extraction of Water

Begin water extraction by making sure it is safe to be inside your property. Opening doors and windows allows pooled water to drain. Mop saturated areas and blot floors and walls with towels and other dry materials. Move wet furniture and articles into the driest spaces available and turn the air on in your house (blasting the air conditioning in summer or heat during winter).

2. Tear Out of Wet Materials

Removing wet materials from your home in a timely manner is crucial. Mold quickly begins to form on items that are not dried, removed or torn from their location. Extremely damaged carpets or drywall should be removed, though take care not to tear any loadbearing structures from your home without seeking a professional opinion.

3. Drying of Structures

Dry and dehumidify structures as soon as possible. Ceiling fans and box fans can be utilized to dry open areas of the home. Certain areas of your property are harder to access; however, restoration service professionals should have advanced methods, including industrial fans and treatments, to reach these areas and shorten the drying process.

4. Restoration

The last and final step of restoration varies in scope. Occasionally only some drywall and furniture will need to be replaced, while other instances may require expansive rebuilding and landscaping.

Dealing with a storm and its aftermath can be a tricky, cumbersome experience logistically and emotionally. It is important for homeowners in Towson, MD, to know what to expect as they deal with the cleanup process. Remember before, during and after the storm that you have four basic steps to complete in order to restore your home to its previous glory: extract, tear out, dry, restore.

For more on Towson click here

How To Prevent Grill Fires

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Proper grill maintenance is key to preventing future fires during cooking

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 9,600 home fires are started from grills each year. The leading cause of those grill fires was that the grills had not been properly cleaned. It doesn't matter if your grill is gas, charcoal or a smoker, all grills need cleaned just as you already clean your stovetop in Towson, MD to prevent a grease fire. Take this fire safety precaution and learn the art of grill cleaning. Here is how:

Turn off gas. Close the valve and move the propane tank away from the area. Begin grill cleaning when the grill has cooled to just warm.

Wipe the outside. Just use soapy water and a cotton cloth.

Clean cooking grates. When cool enough to touch, start brushing the bars with a wire brush, then remove them and place in soapy water.

Empty the catch pan. For gas grills, empty the drip pan. For charcoal grills, you simply lift the charcoal grate and rotate the bottom mechanism to dump ash into the catch pan. Empty the ash catch pan. If ash is still hot, store in a metal covered pail.

Clean the cook box of the grill. Grill cleaning the interior of a gas grill includes burner tubes and heat deflectors. For either grill, you can scrape carbon and grease build-up from the interior of the grill with a wire brush and scrub with soapy water.

Reassemble your grill and enjoy safe use. Keep the grill a safe distance from the house when in operation and never leave the grill unattended while food is cooking.

Another important fire safety precaution is to keep children away from grills. Declare a three-foot area around the grill to be a no-kid zone and stay in the area. Proper grill maintenance is the key to preventing structure fires from your grill. If you do have fire damage, at least you can trust restoration specialists to help assess and restore your property to its pre-fire conditions.

For more on Towson click here

A Claim Against Mold

7/18/2018 (Permalink)

Bathroom Mold Damage

Mold can grow in any climate, even in Towson, MD. It takes only 48 hours for growth to take root, beginning life unseen and unknown. By the time the fungus is detected, it may have already affected the structure and employees of the business. Because mold damage requires professional expertise and equipment to eradicate it properly, fiscally responsible business owners should look to commercial insurance coverage for assistance.

Covering Mold or Fungus

Whether purchasing a new policy or reviewing an existing one, it is important to note that mold insurance may never be mentioned. Instead, many companies refer only to fungus, broadening the scope to address additional concerns that fall under that category. The following issues are often covered under Limited Fungus Coverage:

• Mold
• Mildew
• Released spores
• Emitted toxins

Getting to the Root of the Policy

It is a good practice for business owners to be personally familiar with the company’s commercial insurance coverage, taking time to sit down with an agent to get a clear understanding of what situations are included. Not every occurrence is honored by the insurance company. Instead, there may be exceptions, which can vary from state to state. Therefore, it is essential to make sure the rules of Towson, MD, meet the needs of the business.

Proactively Ensuring Success

Having a full understanding of the insurance policy helps a business properly execute mold damage remediation, and it also creates an opportunity to explore proactive plans. Long-term leaks that cause fungi to grow are often not covered, so establishing routine maintenance and inspections could save thousands of dollars. It is also common for insurance policies to have a cap on how much will be paid to cover damages. Knowing this dollar limit can help a business budget for extra costs that may arise.

Good policies and good coverage are always desirable. In addition, awareness and aggressive measures make any commercial insurance policy stronger and more effective.

For more on Towson click here

What to do about drywall water damage

6/28/2018 (Permalink)

If your drywall is actually compromised by water, you will need to address the situation before development of mildew or mold takes place.

When you have Baltimore drywall water damage in your home, which often happens after a flood or fire, it is not always necessary to get new drywall. In order to successfully deal with drywall water damage, you will need to follow a series of steps. This kind of damage can vary quite a bit in extent; if the damage is severe, it may be necessary to call a professional for assistance. If your drywall is actually compromised by water, you will need to address the situation before development of mildew or mold takes place. The development of these fungi can present danger to everyone in your home and can lead to even more severe damage.

Detection of Drywall Water Damage
The first thing you should do is assess how much Baltimore water damage has happened within your drywall. This kind of damage shows up as softened or discolored areas within the drywall. If you have just dealt with a house fire, it is probably that any drywall water damage present will be spread all through the home. If the damage is widespread, it will be important that you contact a professional restoration company for help. However, if the damage is more mild or only has an effect on a small number of panels of drywall, you can actually consider replacing the panels yourself, as long as you have experience with drywall and can safely complete this task. It is important that you make sure to hire a professional company in any case where there is extensive damage to the home.

Mildew and Mold As A Consequence of Drywall Water Damage
If the drywall panels are not dried to an adequate extent, the possibility will exist that mildew and mold can start growing. This is a great danger to the inhabitants of any home. If black spots are visible, or if a foul smell starts to emerge from the drywall, you must call a professional right away. These fungi will most often start to grow in cases where there is damp or moist drywall in an area that is poorly ventilated. You can easily see that there is no mildew on the outside of your drywall, but what you may be missing is that the interior may have a high amount of spores. This is a determination that is best left to experienced professionals; you should not try to make this assessment on your own if you do not have the appropriate qualifications.

Actions That You Can Take to Prevent Drywall Water Damage
No matter where the damage is located or how severe it is, it is important that you use machines that can force air to circulate and provide the maximum amount of ventilation, such as dehumidifiers. The standard oscillating house fan will not be capable of moving enough air for the room to be able to dry adequately for safe and sanitary conditions. You will find that there are special machines that move air that you will be able to rent. However, once again, if the damage is extensive enough that these machines are necessary, you should probably contact a professional to make sure that everything is being done correctly. These professional restoration companies will have all of the necessary equipment for the job, as well as the experience needed to use it properly and the expertise to ensure that your home is safe.

When you are dealing with Baltimore drywall water damage, make sure that no additional damage (typically an infestation of mildew and/or mold) occurs. A professional restoration company will have all of the resources to be able to tackle any job that involves drywall water damage. With all of their experience, expertise, and equipment, these professionals will be able to assess which parts of the drywall need to be repaired or replaced. If you want to know more about the process, you should call a professional restoration company.

Why You Need A Cockeysville Water Damage Company

6/28/2018 (Permalink)

Another advantage of hiring a water damage company is that they can offer high-quality mold and mildew prevention services.

Once a flood or fire damages your residential property, attaining an excellent Cockeysville water damage restoration services is important. This is the case for numerous reasons, including the fact that the restoration process is complicated and requires completion by a team of trained experts. There is a broad range of remediation services that water damage companies can offer to help restore your property. Refer to this quick reference guide to get a basic understanding of how professional remediation specialists can assist you:

Speedy Home Restoration
When your property is impacted by a natural disaster, getting immediate assistance is important. If you do not, your house can suffer from secondary Cockeysville water damage, structural weakening, and serious sanitation issues. Luckily, water damage restoration companies are highly skilled in completing the cleanup, repair, and restoration services with excellence and expediency. By working quickly and efficiently, remediation specialists prevent secondary water damage and help whip your home back into its original state.

Mold and Mildew Growth Prevention
Another advantage of hiring a water damage company is that they can offer high-quality mold and mildew prevention services. These services are important because mold and mildew accumulation can pose serious health risks to you and your family. Additionally, mold growth can cause severe damage to the structure of your property. In the event that water damage specialists find mold growth on your property, they can use industrial cleaners and disinfectants to eradicate the problem quickly. Although some homeowners are inclined to complete this process for themselves, it is best left to professionals who possess the extensive experience and specialized equipment necessary to expedite the process speedily and safely.

Don't Delay: Call SERVPRO Now
When Cockeysville water damage impacts your residential property, the best thing to do is call a company you can trust to offer you cutting edge, efficient restoration services. We are that company. As a team of talented technicians who offer 24/7 emergency assistance and impeccable customer service, we're your first choice when you want to have your home restored with speed and skill. Our fast response helps limit costs, repair damages, and decrease the likelihood of secondary water damage. Additionally, our commitment to excellence has made us industry leaders as well as the preferred vendor for numerous insurance companies. We're ready to restore your property right now, so call us today at (410) 229-0012 to attain a free estimate and consultation.

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville is strategically located to respond quickly to your water or flood damage event. When a major flooding event occurs, we can call upon our national network of 1,650 SERVPRO Franchises and special Disaster Recovery Teams if we need additional resources or personnel. 

Our expertise in fire damage and water restoration is extensive. SERVPRO utilizes IICRC training as part of our on-going education to stay ahead of the curve. Call us for help. (410) 229-0012

How To Choose a Fire Damage Restoration Company for a Home in Cockeysville

6/28/2018 (Permalink)

After the House Fire, Tarps and Boarding

When you find that your property in Cockeysville is subjected to a fire, responding effectively and immediately is important. If you don't take the appropriate course of action, your home could be victimized to not only fire damage, but secondary water damage from the fire extinguishing efforts by the local fire department. Structural weaknesses are always issues along with potential health hazards. A prudent course of action to take during the aftermath of a fire is hiring a fire damage restoration company. Learn more about how to select the company that best fits your needs by reading the following information.


Obtain A Referral from Your Insurance Agent

One strategy you can employ to secure assistance from an experienced fire damage restoration company is to request a referral from your insurance company. This should be your first call once the smoke has settled, your insurance company or agent. Your insurance agency has gained enough industry experience to know which fire damage restoration companies will be able to offer the most efficient, expedient services. An added benefit of following a referral from your provider is that it increases the likelihood that your agent has worked well, in the past, with a company like SERVPRO. We are preferred vendors for over 300 insurance companies, government entities (we did extensive clean up for the Pentagon), and property management companies.  SERVPRO have developed excellent communicative and coordinated cooperation with many insurance adjusters. Our policy of cleaning and restoring, rather than simply replacing fire damaged materials and personal items, saves you money and may help to control your insurance premiums, also.

Do Your Research

The impact to your house from the fire will dictate the degree of restoration required to return your home in Cockeysville to its preloss condition. After the flames are put out, a careful assessment must be made to ascertain the best course of action. The goal is to get you back into your home, if you must vacate during restoration, as soon and as safely as possible. Below is a step by step approach to how SERVPRO executes the fire damage restoration service necessary for a large house fire event.

* Water Removal--post-fire using water pumps, wet vacs, and even mops
* CCIS inventory for all affected items and materials
* Cleaning and wiping of smoke and soot
* HVAC system cleaning
* Debris removal
* Extensive drying utilizing air movers and dehumidifiers
* Sanitize and Odor Removal using various air scrubbers, foggers, and chemicals
* Potential structural rebuild including initial tarping of roof or walls and boarding up for security and safety

Why SERVPRO for Fire Damage Restoration for Your Cockeysville Home.

6/28/2018 (Permalink)

Why Choose SERVPRO?

Once a fire has hit your residential property, your living space may become dangerous. To ensure that the fire damage restoration process is completed quickly and correctly to restore safety and sanitation, you should hire the best fire restoration company on the block. That company is SERVPRO. Here are just a few of the great benefits that we have to offer:

• 24/7 Emergency Services
• Highly Trained Fire, Water, and Mold Remediation Specialists
• Fast Response, Local Company
• Trusted Industry Leader With More Than 1,650 Franchises
• Preferred Vendor For Many Local And National Insurance Companies

Over the years, our SERVPRO's trained and certified IICRC technicians and owners, have offered our clients in Cockeysville the customized, cutting edge services they need and deserve. We will alleviate your stressful situation and return you to your home "Like it never even happened."

Locally Owned, with National Resources

We live and work in Cockeysville too; we might even be neighbors. As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville is close by and ready to respond to your fire damage emergency also in Towson and Lutherville. We are proud to be an active member of the Cockeysville community. We are close by, call for assistance. (410) 229-0012

What To Do With Belongings After Water Damage

6/25/2018 (Permalink)

Professional help to restore belongings to original state

If your Towson, MD, home has experienced water damage, salvaging your valuable belongings should be dealt with quickly. Any water in your home resulting from a flood, severe storm, broken pipe, or a leaking roof or window can lead to significant damage to your household items. Whether you are concerned for your everyday tools or sentimental keepsakes, your objects will benefit from quick action to preserve whatever possible.

Salvaging Your Water-Damaged Belongings

It’s important to quickly take stock of affected items if damage from water in your home has recently threatened your possessions. Follow these tips to recover items as best as possible:

• If objects are still wet, rinse with clear water first. You can also wipe off dry debris with a soft cloth or brush. This prevents any remaining debris or silt from further harming your items.


• Whenever possible, allow objects to air-dry indoors. Avoiding sunlight can help prevent warping and buckling of many materials.


• Air-dry photographs, documents, and books for best ventilation and recovery. Papers are very fragile when wet – be sure to handle important documents carefully and utilize indirect airflow to dry.


• Airflow and quality is important while recovering your items. Use open windows, fans, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers to your advantage while drying out your belongings. Also, be sure to preclude any mold or mildew from growing in the space. If you have visible mold growth, clean it with a disinfectant to prevent further growth and moisture in the air.


• If there are metal objects that have been exposed to flood water, wash with clear water and dry with a clean cloth as soon as you’re able.


• For clothing and other textiles, dry cleaning is often the most effective method of preservation. Air dry first and take to a professional soon.

Get Help From a Professional

With quick action, many objects can be saved and restored to their original state. It is possible, unfortunately, that some items may be damaged beyond repair after a natural disaster. It is always a good idea to contact a restoration specialist or professional conservator to help treat damaged goods while recovering from water in your home.

For more on Towson click here

4 Common Causes of Water Damage to Commercial Properties

6/18/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage can happen anytime in your commercial property

As a business owner in Towson, MD, you take great pride in your company. You have property insurance and conduct regular maintenance. Although you do everything right, sometimes problems arise. From a toilet overflow to a broken pipe, know the four common causes that may have your property under water and how to handle them:

1. Toilet Overflow

A toilet blockage or tank malfunction causes the water in the bowl to rise and overflow. The damage is easily contained when noticed right away by turning off the water valve on the toilet. However, with a commercial property you are not always notified as soon as the problem occurs. Rather, a regular cleaning of the restroom may reveal significant contaminated water flooding the facility.

2. Broken Pipe

At your property, a pipe may burst suddenly or a gradual leak may occur. Bursting pipes typically result from water expanding when the pipe freezes and could quickly cause flooding. Leaks usually happen due to age or degradation of the pipe and may slowly damage your property over time.

3. Supply Line Breaks

A water main often breaks due to corrosion of the pipe over time or extreme change in temperature. Although not specifically on your property, this type of damage can cause flooding at your business and in the street and surrounding areas.

4. Fire Sprinklers

A sprinkler system is an excellent way to prevent fire damage. However, sprinklers may accidentally activate if not maintained properly. In this case, turn off the water to the sprinkler system as soon as possible to prevent the need for additional water repair.

Regardless of the cause, water damage can cause significant problems to your business in Towson, MD. There are two important actions to take when a broken pipe or other malfunction wreaks havoc to your property. First, call a water restoration specialist to assess the damage, make a plan and restore your premises to preloss condition. Second, call your insurance agent, as water damage is typically covered under your commercial property policy.

For more on Towson click here

Cleaning Up Your Business After a Flood

6/13/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Flooding in Towson, Maryland

Floods are dangerous and unpredictable, and they rarely recede without leaving their mark. The problem is that floodwater isn’t usually clean water – it can be filled with sewage, termed “black water” – and is not always easy to clean up. Whether from a storm, a busted pipe or a sewage overflow, facing the aftermath of a flood is never fun for any business.

If you’re worried about flooding in your Towson, MD, business, then it’s important to become familiar with some of the basics of content cleaning after such an event, such as what can be disinfected and restored, and what must be thrown away.

What To Throw Away?

Unfortunately, not everything survives a flood. Some things simply have to go. Here is a list of items that often need to be disposed of during the content cleaning process.

• Porous materials – contaminated wood, drywall, insulation
• Medication and food
• Furniture made with veneer or upholstery
• Carpeting and rugs
• Books

What To Keep?

Not everything in your business will likely be destroyed by contaminated floodwaters. While these tips can help you identify what can be saved, a content cleaning service can certainly help to speed things along. Here is a list of salvageable items that can potentially be sanitized and restored.

• Nonporous items – objects made of metal, glass, porcelain, hard plastic, silver, etc.
• Photographs
• Carpeting (only if floodwater is not contaminated)
• Wood furniture (if not soaked for too long)
• Appliances – heating, air conditioning, air ducts and vents
• Textiles, linens and clothing

What To Do After?

Although some items will need to be discarded and others can be restored, it’s important to remember that the best mitigation measure your business can take is to prevent disasters before they have the chance to happen. Whether you’ve suffered flooding already or are just planning ahead, it may be worth upgrading your business’s infrastructure so that it is more prepared for floods, storms and sewage overflows in the future.

Take measures to prevent a flooding from happening to your commercial building. However, if black water does enter the premises, take note of what can be saved and what must be thrown away when cleaning up afterwards.

For more on Towson click here

Fun Mold Experiment

6/12/2018 (Permalink)

You can contact SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville to get an estimate for mold remediation in your home: (410) 229-0012

Mold can easily grow within 24 to 48 hours after a water damage occurs. It begins to colonize in 1 to 12 days! SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville decided to put this to the test...

The photos on the left represent the control group. The pieces of drywall pictured encountered zero excess moisture.

The photos in the center mimic a water damage that occurs during the winter months and goes undiscovered until the spring when weather warms up and mold spores reach their "happy" place (70+ degrees). These pieces of drywall were submerged in water for ten minutes then placed in Ziploc bags to observe.

The column of pictures on the right represents a DIY water mitigation job. This happens more than you would think. A homeowner dries and cleans the water damage on their own without the help of a professional. Approaching a water damage this way often leads to the structure not being fully dried and susceptible to mold growth. These pieces of drywall were submerged in water for 30 seconds and then placed in the Ziploc bags for observation.

The results are right on. Mold growth was seen a mere 7 days after encountering moisture... and after 4 weeks?!? No thank you! It's of utmost importance to have water mitigated correctly after a loss. But, if it's not, we are here for you as well. Mold mitigation just happens to be one of SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/ Lutherville specialties. 

Prepare Your Business for Emergencies Now

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

Being prepared for business fire emergencies is important for your employees to know the procedures

You hope to never have a fire in your Towson, MD, business, but if one were to occur, you don’t want to be without a contingency plan. The best way to prepare for an emergency is to create an action plan before the actual emergency. Here are four steps to take before a fire strikes.

1. Create a Thorough Plan

Discuss with your employees or managers how to make the most effective emergency strategies possible. In the written plan, include methods for reporting safety concerns, emergency contact information, the evacuation plan, emergency shut-down procedures, and individual safety policies.

2. Distribute the Contingency Plan

Your employees should be able to respond quickly to emergencies if they already know what to do. Include emergency plans in all your new employee training and hold regular meetings to make sure everyone is up-to-date on current procedures. Make it clear who is responsible for reporting emergencies and whose responsibility it is to make use of fire extinguishers or other emergency equipment.

3. Maintain Clear Evacuation Routes

Keep emergency exits clearly labeled and clear of obstacles. Keep pathways clear of loose cords or spare objects, such as garbage cans or unused furniture that sometimes gets set in back hallways and might become hazards when people try to evacuate.

4. Monitor Emergency Equipment

You have smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in your building, but are they in good working order? Take time to check smoke alarms at least once a month to make sure the batteries are still good and there are enough alarms for the whole building. Check the expiration date on all fire extinguishers. If you have other emergency equipment such as sprinklers or defibrillators, you can include these in your regular emergency equipment checkups.

While no one ever expects a fire, taking the time to create and maintain a contingency plan can keep your employees safe and save time and money when it is time to restore your business after a fire.

For more on Towson click here.

Towson Flood Damage - Overcoming Flood Damage in Towson

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

Towson Home Damaged from Flooding

Call SERVPRO for Towson Flood Damage Remediation

The unfortunate reality is that many homeowners will have to contend with flood damage Towson at one time or another. Flooding can occur for any number of reasons, such as a leaky or burst pipe, a natural weather event that brings floodwaters into the home, and more. Whether you have a few inches of water or several feet or water in your home, you need to find a company that offers a fast response to water remediation and flood damage in Towson if you want to return your home to normal.

Why a Fast Response Is Needed
Water may be an essential for life, but it also can be very destructive. Consider that water can cause your wood furnishings and fixtures to warp, mold or mildew. Mold can begin to grow on various other surfaces when water is not removed promptly. In addition, water staining is common. Such issues with staining, warping and mold growth can wreak havoc in your home, but you will find that the damage to your property is significantly reduced when you set up fast efficient Towson flood damage service. Keep in mind that mold and mildew damage can quickly spread to other areas of the home where water damage is not present, posing a health and safety hazard to your loved ones. Preventing the growth of mold in the home is a top priority, and a fast response to water damage is the best option to take.

What to Expect From Flood Damage Services
While flooding is common in homes in this area, you may have never had a reason to contact a professional service provider for Towson flood damage services in the past, and you may not know what to expect from the service. With SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville, you can expect a team of skilled and hardworking professionals to arrive at your home promptly and begin extracting the standing water from the home. As soon as the standing water has been removed, additional steps will be taken to reduce the humidity level in the home. Keep in mind that high levels of moisture can be almost as damaging to a home as water itself. The restoration work will begin once the water and humidity have been removed.

When to Call for Help
If you have discovered standing water in your home, you may not be certain when you should contact a professional for assistance with water remediation services. Towson flood damage services are available to help you with all aspects of water remediation, and this includes water extraction, which should begin as soon as possible. This can start as soon as fresh water is no longer pouring into the home. After you have turned off or stopped the flow of water into the home, you can begin eradicating the water through remediation services.

Water damage can be difficult to deal with, but there is a fast and easy solution to your problem available. Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville for Towson flood damage services. As a locally owned and operated company, we have the resources and personnel to help restore your home. Contact us today at (410) 229-0012.

How To Deal with House Mold

5/14/2018 (Permalink)

Take precautions in your home to keep mold and mildew from growing

How To Deal with House Mold

Many types of mold growth can occur in your home in Towson, MD, and most mold problems can be traced back to water damage. Any time there is high humidity in your home, you raise your risk of having a serious mold problem develop. Most issues with mold must be handled by a mold remediation specialist so that the problem does not spread or return after cleanup.

Types of Indoor Mold

Almost any type of mold can grow indoors, but some are more common than others. The molds that grow most often in homes are the ones that are particularly attracted to surfaces found therein:

• Penicillium – wallpaper, air ducts and mattresses
• Cladosporium – carpets and fabrics
• Alternaria – showers and leaky sinks
• Aspergillus – hard surfaces
• Stachybotrys – wood and drywall

If you see mold growth or smell its telltale musk, it is better to contact a mold remediation specialist to see what kind of mold it is rather than try to figure it out yourself. Professional experts are better equipped to solve the problem and avoid further growth.

Controlling Humidity

Other than taking care of water damage as soon as it occurs, you can help prevent mold problems by lowering the high humidity in your home. A dehumidifier keeps the air from dampening surfaces and making them more prone to a mold infestation. Running your air conditioner regularly helps keep air flowing throughout your HVAC system, reducing the likelihood of moisture buildup. Keeping outside humidity out of your home by having holes, cracks and air leaks repaired can bring your indoor humidity level to the 30-60 percent range where it needs to be.

No matter what type of mold may grow home, any type is unwelcome. You can take precautions against mold growth by limiting your home’s moisture levels, both on surfaces and in the air. If a mold problem does occur, make sure you have it handled by the experts as soon as possible.

For more on Towson click here.

Have the Skill To Keep the Fire in Your Grill

5/9/2018 (Permalink)

Skills to keep the fire in the grill is needed during this time of the year

The weather is warming up in Towson, MD, and you can mentally smell the BBQ food you’re eager to cook outside. Unfortunately, a grill fire can surprise you as something that wasn’t on the menu if you are ill-prepared. Before looking up new recipes or seasonings to try, it’s worth learning the basics of grill safety.

Preparation Is the Key to Prevention

After ensuring the grill’s footing is stable and removing low-hanging tree branches and other flammable items near the grill, it’s time to start your grill the safe and proper way:

• Gas grills: Check the connections on both ends of the gas tank to make sure they are tight. After securing the connectors, coat the hose with a 50/50 water and soap solution before turning the grill on while its lid is open. If you witness any bubbles on the soapy hose during this test, immediately turn off the grill and have it serviced because those leaks put you at risk for a grill fire.


• Charcoal grills: A charcoal grill should be safely lit only with charcoal starter fluid or a charcoal chimney starter. Using other flammable liquids instead, a fire can get out of hand and cause flare-ups that can spread to your residence or cause BBQ smoke damage.

Meat Temperature Shouldn’t Be the Only Thing Monitored While Cooking

While cooking outside, exercise vigilance by following these tips to prevent a BBQ fire:

• Supervise the grill until it is off
• Turn the grill off if you suddenly smell gas
• Call emergency services if a gas smell doesn’t subside after turning the grill off
• Wear clothing that has no loose or hanging parts that could catch fire
• Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it

If Fire Spreads Despite Precaution

Following these tips, most accidents can be prevented. If a grill fire occurs and cannot be contained with an extinguisher, contact your local emergency number. If the fire damages your property, a professional fire restoration crew is worth considering to restore your home’s condition and remove any residual smoke smell.

For more on Towson click here.

3 Mold Containment Methods To Keep Your Employees Safe During Remediation

4/24/2018 (Permalink)

Keep your Employees safe during Mold Remediation

Finding mold in your Towson North, MD, commercial building can be troubling for you as a business owner, especially when it comes to the well-being of your employees. While your first instinct might be to try and eradicate any fungi on your own, mold removal is best left to experts who have the knowledge and equipment to handle the job correctly. However, there are a few containment methods you can use that may keep your employees safe until help arrives.

1. Evacuate Affected Spaces

Once mold is discovered, it is a good idea to evacuate the area. Mold growth can be affected by employee or operational activity, which can send spores into the air and allow them to settle in other areas to grow anew. Evacuating and sealing off the area until mold mitigation and restoration specialists arrive can lower the risk of additional contamination.

2. Shut Off Ventilation Systems

If your building has suffered water damage and you have a black mold problem, temporarily shutting off your ventilation and air conditioning system can prevent the spread of spores to other areas. Moist air ducts can encourage fungi growth where you cannot see it, so shutting them down until they can be cleaned and sanitized can keep mold from spreading to other parts of your building.

3. Allow Specialists To Work Unfettered

Restricting access to affected spaces so your restoration techs can focus on mold removal may help them resolve the issue faster. Do not allow employees to enter rooms where mitigation is being performed, as negative air pressure chambers may be in use to kill mold spores in the air. Move operations from the area to another floor to give your techs plenty of room to work.

Mold removal at your Towson North, MD, business may take up to a week to complete. However, taking steps to protect your employees during mitigation and restoration can lower their risk of exposure to mold and allow your techs to work more efficiently.

Click here for more on Towson North.

3 Steps for Handling a Flooded Furnace in Your Commercial Building

4/21/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage in Commercial Building

When a plumbing mishap occurs in your Lutherville, MD, commercial building, electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems can be vulnerable to water damage. If you discover that a pipe burst in your basement during a cold snap or because of some other issue, you may also be facing a furnace flood. While this can be troubling, there are a few actions you can take to handle the situation and resolve it as soon as possible.

1. Avoid Operating the Furnace

When you realize your furnace is flooded, your first instinct may be to try and operate it to see if it is still functional. However, this can be dangerous and cause further damage to the unit. If your furnace is electric, it is especially important that you avoid touching the furnace or its controls, as this could result in a serious electric shock. Seal off the basement and contact your local electric company to inform it about the furnace flood.

2. Call In Professional Flood Cleanup Services

Contacting a qualified flood cleanup and restoration company can be an effective step in dealing with a flooded furnace. Flood technicians have the equipment and experience needed to drain flood waters from your basement and employ drying and cleaning techniques that can prevent the growth and spread of mold, which can be especially important if flood waters have sat for more than 24 hours. Removal of the water may also help your furnace repair crew reach and repair your unit with more efficiency.

3. Have the Furnace Repaired

Once flood waters are cleared, HVAC experts can assess the damage to your furnace and advise you about whether it should be repaired or replaced. They can also perform air duct cleaning to ensure your building’s ducts are free of mold, which can spread quickly after a flood.

Dealing with a furnace flood in your Lutherville, MD, commercial building can be a stressful experience. However, when you know how to approach the problem, you can resolve it with confidence and get your heating system up and running again as soon as possible.

Click here for more on Lutherville.

Safeguarding Your Home Against Potential Flood Damage

4/16/2018 (Permalink)

Severe Flooding Damage can ruin your Hardwoods in your home or business

When there’s a severe storm making its way toward your Towson North, MD, home, the most important task is to get you and your family out of harm’s way. However, if you have a few days to prepare for a potential flooding event, there are ways to organize and safeguard your property from impending flood damage. Help eliminate your chances of getting hit with extreme storm damage by following these few handy rules for flood preparation.

? Elevate your electronics and necessary utility panels. Place any objects like wiring, sockets, appliances, electrical panels or heating systems at a higher elevation in your home if possible, or simply disconnect them before you leave to prevent a potential electrical fire before any flooding occurs.

? Waterproof your basement or cellar. This can help protect your valuables from becoming part of the flood damage, as well as prevent the interior drywall or insulation from soaking up excess water — a situation that could potentially lead to mold growth later on.

? Clear away any debris caught in your home’s gutters, downspouts or storm drains. Any buildup in these areas won’t allow water to flow naturally, which can cause it to get backed up and seep into your home. Clearing the way gives the water a place to escape and increases the likelihood of your home avoiding a major flood issue.

? Move your home’s furniture and valuables to higher ground if the option is available. Keep all important documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, social security cards and the like contained in a steel lockbox or safe that won’t be affected by the presence of water.

Though it’s nearly impossible to be prepared for every extreme weather event that occurs in Towson North, MD, it is possible to take preventative measures to secure your home from the worst that flooding can do. Furthermore, seeking professional help from restoration specialists to clean up and secure your property after a disaster can help you return home that much faster.

Click here for more on Towson North.

Recovering from Home Fire Damage in Baltimore

4/12/2018 (Permalink)

After your home is aired out and clean, professionals will repair any damage the fire may have caused.

Recovering from home fire damage

Cleaning up the damage from a fire can be a time consuming task. Recovering from a home fire often involves expensive repairs to your home. When dealing with fire damage, you must contact your insurance agent and work to restore your home to its former glory. On top of that, your home likely won't be livable, which forces you to reside in temporary housing. All of these things can certainly take a toll, and that is why hiring a professional Baltimore fire damage contractor can be a worthwhile investment. They take care of cleaning and restoring your home, so you have one less thing to worry about. 

Cleaning Your Home

The first thing a professional Baltimore fire damage contractor does is clean your home. Bringing in a professional to do this can be extremely helpful because the cleaning process is not always something you can do yourself. Cleaning up after a fire is a long process involving special equipment and expertise in order to ensure that the job is done well. A professional fire damage contractor will first assess the damage caused by the fire. This helps him or her to determine how extensive the damage is, what equipment is necessary to repair and clean it, and how long it will take.  

After the damage is assessed, the fire damage contractor will immediately begin to air out the home so that mold and mildew do not begin to grow. Mold and mildew can start growing in your home in as little as 24 hours after a fire, and if they are left untreated, they can eventually cause health problems to the home's residents. 

Repairing The Damage

After your home is aired out and clean, professionals will repair any damage the fire may have caused. They will repair things like structural, drywall, carpet, and plumbing damage. They will also work to repair any other extensive damage the home may have endured. Professionals will also work quickly to fix your home. They often bring in multiple experts to assist them in making repairs so that the process is quicker. Typically, it can take anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months for repairs to be completed, but it depends on the extent of the damage.  

If your home has suffered Baltimore fire damage, it is important to contact a professional. They have experience repairing this type of damage and the proper equipment to get the job done right. No matter what the extent of the damage to your home is, it is helpful to have professional help so you can be sure the repairs will be done correctly.

Air Duct Cleaning

4/6/2018 (Permalink)

WHY CLEAN AIR DUCTS?

by NADCA (North American Duct Cleaning Association)

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville have been members since 2015

In addition to normal accumulations of dust and dirt found in all homes with air ducts, there are several other factors that can increase the need for regular HVAC system cleaning: pets, occupants with allergies or asthma, cigarette or cigar smoke, water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system, and home renovation or remodeling projects.

Indoor air quality is one concern that homeowners have when they decide to investigate air duct cleaning. Your heating and cooling system is the lungs of your home. The system takes air in and breathes air out.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system.

TAKING IT TO THE STREETS

Applying industry knowledge to a real life situation

Before a couple moved into their newly purchased home, they had mold mitigation services preformed before closing. After 5 years they were afraid that the mold had come back because of ongoing sickness in the family. SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville came out and informed them that it was, in fact, not mold but a vent cleaning problem. After cleaning out the ducts in their home, the family felt much better and the constant sickness subsided. They stated that they could tell a difference instantly.

An Introduction to Black Mold

3/26/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Black Mold Remediation

With so many news stories about black mold, you may be worried about whether you have mold growing in your home. Before you panic or spend a large sum of money for a mold test in Hampton, MD, here are the things you need to know about mold and the signs that you may have it in your house.

What Is It?

Mold is a type of fungus, distantly related to the mushrooms you put in your salad and the yeast used to brew beer and make bread. While much attention has been given to Stachybotrys Chartarum, a species of black mold that is particularly toxic, there are actually many species of mold that appear black. Other species may appear as green, brown, white or even pink.

Mold reproduces by releasing spores, which are carried on the breeze new locations. If the spores land in a moist, dark, warm environment, they will flourish and grow into a large colony. This is what you see on your bathroom tile.

What Makes It Grow in Your Home?

Moisture is the number-one factor that determines where mold grows. If you have any areas in your house that are always damp, then you have prime real estate for mold. The most common causes of excess moisture in houses are:

• Leaks in the roof or around windows and doors
• Broken water supply lines
• Broken water pipes
• Leaking bathtubs or showers
• High humidity
• Condensation
• Flooding

If you don’t have a problem with excess moisture in your home, you likely don’t need to worry about mold.

How Can You Prevent It?

The best way to prevent mold from growing is to prevent moisture build-up. Keep your home in good repair, do regular maintenance on your plumbing and keep rooms well ventilated. If you live in an area where humidity is an issue, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep indoor humidity below 50 percent - 60 percent. If you do notice black mold in your home, don’t attempt to do a mold cleanup on your own. A professional mold remediation service in Hampton, MD, can return your home to a healthy state.

Visit us at http://www.SERVPROhuntvalleylutherville.com for more information. 

Wanda and Elenor have worked for SERVPRO 37 Years!

3/26/2018 (Permalink)

Wanda and Sissy Holding up a signed thank you poster for their dedication.

What makes a SERVPRO Crew Chief show up for work 37 years, and counting? Just one little comment…

Wanda Albright, and her sister, Eleanor “Sissy” Helmick, have been SERVPRO of East Harford County Crew Chiefs for nearly four decades, through countless restoration industry changes and three different franchise owners, giving their all for customers and co-workers, too!

Since 1981, this dedicated pair have seen many changes in the restoration industry, and drastic growth for the company, but their focus remains the same: on those experiencing stress and trauma from damages to their homes. Wanda sums up her work’s greatest reward, helping customers and their homes return to normalcy, “I just love going into a home where it’s a disaster and I make it perfect… I like to make a difference.”

Owners Jim and Trish Wall, SERVPRO of East Harford County; SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville; and SERVPRO of Bel Air, understand employees are what makes a business great, and Wanda and Sis are, no doubt, exceptional in their dedication to customer, company, and team. “Throughout their 38+ year careers, Wanda and Sissy have always dreamed of visiting the corporate headquarters, so this past January, we made their dreams come true with an anniversary trip to Tennessee. With the help of our East Harford County General Manager, Toni Townsley, Wanda and Sissy visited SERVPRO Industries, Inc. headquarters, toured the facility, met several corporate employees, and made the SERVPRO TV news in a segment dedicated to them!” Then to top off the fun, the pair spent two nights downtown, enjoying themselves and the sights and sounds of Nashville. It was quite a memorable trip and well-deserved for such dedicated and loyal people.

And while recognition of their accomplishments and acknowledgment of their dedication is surely important to good employee morale, what exactly could keep these crew chiefs coming back year-after-year to the very same job? According to Sis Helmick, just one thing… “It makes me feel good. It makes me feel proud when someone comes to me and tells me ‘Thank you so much. You’ve helped us tremendously.’ That’s what I do it for. That one little comment.”

3 Tips for Cleaning Up After Your Home Is Damaged by Water

3/21/2018 (Permalink)

Water loss in Hampton

When you think of water damage, you might think of issues caused by heavy rains or hurricanes. However, your Hampton, MD, home can be affected by flooding as the result of a plumbing disaster or a failed water appliance, such as a washing machine or dishwasher. When this type of problem occurs, there are a few steps you can take to clean up the water and assess the damage.

1. Avoid Flooded Rooms

Water from your dishwasher or washing machine can contain detergent chemicals that might harm your skin, and a malfunctioning water heater may burst and give you serious burns. It is wise to shut off the water supply to the broken appliance and then seal the room until help arrives. Do not let anyone go into the room, especially if you know electrical systems might have been damaged.

2. Call in Restoration Services

A professional flood cleanup and restoration company can help get the cleanup process started when you are dealing with water damage. Flood technicians may assist with removing any remaining water and advise you on what kind of repairs you might need to make. For example, if broken pipes have caused a flood in your kitchen, restoration experts can help you understand whether wall sections or flooring can be repaired or if they will need replacing.

3. Sort Through Wet Items

Once the area is safe to enter, you can then take stock of water damage by retrieving wet items and sorting them. Dry what you can in a low-humidity area, out of direct sunlight, and then disinfect smaller objects. You may want to ask your restoration company which items are safe to keep and which you must throw away after the water cleanup.

When a water appliance breaks and causes a flood in your Hampton, MD, home, it can cause a variety of problems. However, knowing how to deal with water damage may go a long way in keeping you safe and preventing long-term harm to your home.

Visit us at http://www.SERVPROhuntvalleylutherville.com for more information. 

Identifying Your Flood Water Threat Level

3/12/2018 (Permalink)

Air Scrubber in Store Commercial Store Flooding

No flood is a good flood, but did you know that some floods are much more dangerous than others? Flood water is graded on a system, ranging from clear, safe water to “black water,” which tends to carry a wide range of dangerous contaminants. In order to keep your business and employees safe in the aftermath of a flood in Towson North, MD, it’s imperative to learn the defining qualities and natures of:

• Clean/Clear Water
• Gray Water
• Black Water

Learning the differences could very well help to save a life while you wait on your preferred cleanup crew to arrive.

Clean Water

This type of flood typically results from broken water lines, rainwater, toilet tanks and snow melt – sources of water that’s typically considered clean enough to drink. While floods of this water type can be pesky and promote mold growth, they’re not considered a health threat.

Gray Water

Gray water is, simply put, water that comes from sources that may be tainted with chemicals. This can include dishwasher and washing machine overflows, aquariums and other household belongings that deal with water and any sort of cleaner. While it’s mostly harmless, this type of flood water should still be handled by a professional cleanup crew.

Black Water

This is the type of water you’ll find in the aftermath of heavy storm damage, septic tank issues, sewage backup and other issues where unclean water and fluids find a way into your business. This water is likely to carry a wide range of bacteria and diseases, and has a high likelihood of making those who come into contact with it ill. A professional team should always be consulted for cleanup.

Identifying your flood water type is only the first step, of course. You’ll need to work alongside a team of professionals to dry out your property, replace damaged flooring and perform other restoration tasks to get your business back in shape. However, learning the difference between clean water and dangerous water can go a long way towards creating a safe cleanup environment in the meantime.

Visit us at http://www.SERVPROhuntvalleylutherville.com for more information. 

Mold Can Spread Quickly, So What Can You Do To Stop It From Wreaking Havoc?

2/19/2018 (Permalink)

Mold spores are extremely lightweight, and they can easily spread from one room to the next with a single puff of air. Black mold can wreak havoc on the structure of a building, which is why immediate and professional mold cleanup should be your number one priority upon the discovery of the fungus. While you’re waiting for a professional to arrive, there are a few things you can do to keep the mold from spreading:

• Identify and address moisture issues, as any moisture problem can lead to mold growth in as little as 24 hours.
• Prevent moisture buildup with proper ventilation.
• Turn off your HVAC system until a Gravestone, Maryland, mold remediation expert has eradicated the issue.
• Monitor your building’s humidity level (ideally, it should be between 30 and 60 percent).
• Improve airflow in your building, as when temperatures drop, the air is able to hold less moisture. Without good airflow, that moisture will attach itself to your walls, ceilings, floors and furniture.

The Mold Remediation Process

You should never attempt to clean up black mold yourself, for two reasons:

1) This mold is extremely toxic.
2) Only a professional can tell just how bad the problem is and understand what measures are necessary to not just clean the mold, but kill it.

The team you hire will be well equipped to deal with the issue safely and effectively. They may begin by identifying any moisture buildup and drying those areas out. Some situations may require a vet vacuum, which is designed to suck up standing water. They may also seal off any doorways or air ducts that lead from room to room. If the mold hasn’t already spread, it will later, which can increase the cost and length of the mold cleanup process. Finally, the team will clean and disinfect any contaminated areas and possibly apply an EPA-recommended mold inhibitor to prevent future infestations.

If your building has black mold, don’t try and attempt the cleanup process on your own. Reach out to your Gravestone, Maryland, mold remediation team for help today.

Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for your mold remediation emergencies. 

Board Up Services Keep Out Looters

2/10/2018 (Permalink)

If your business incurs storm or fire damage, you may need emergency board up services in Hampton, Maryland, to prevent more damage or theft. There are many reasons you may need to board up your business: storms can do a lot of damage, fires can leave your building vulnerable and weather can cause further damage.

Benefits of Board Up Services

Whether you are preparing for bad weather or recovering from damage, there are many advantages to boarding up your commercial building until the storm passes or the damage can be fixed.

• Discourage Looting. The biggest advantage is deterring theft and vandalism. Gaping holes and broken windows may invite vandals, thieves and looters to enter your facility. Don’t allow a bad situation to become worse. Board up your office to keep unwanted individuals out until the situation can be taken care of.
• Prevent further damage. Fire cleanup may take some time, depending on the level of damage. Broken windows can allow further weather in after a devastating natural disaster. Boarding your windows and holes can help secure your building.
• Maintain insurance coverage. Many insurance companies require that businesses pursue board up services to be eligible for coverage. Boarding up increases your likelihood of being able to show the damage you are claiming is due to the disaster or fire damage and did not occur in the days following.

Boarding Up

You want to make sure that your business is not easily accessible. Board up doors, windows and other points of entry accessible from a porch or fire escape. These are places that can be easily gotten into. Use plywood, 2x4s, nails and bolts for these entrance points. For holes, windows or doors more than ten feet off the ground and that are not easily accessible, plywood and nails should be sufficient.

After fire damage or a devastating natural disaster, you may have a lot on your plate dealing with damages alone. Boarding up your building can help deter vandals and protect your business from further weather damage.

Visit us at http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for your commercial restoration needs. 

How to Effectively Stop a Grease Fire From Spreading

2/1/2018 (Permalink)

Woodbrook, Maryland Grease Cleanup

It’s something most people don’t expect to experience, but a grease fire is a dangerous situation that can happen to anyone, including experienced cooks. If you ever end up dealing with the unfortunate situation of having this type of fire in your home in Woodbrook, Maryland there are three steps you should follow to effectively stop it from spreading any further.

  1. Cover your pot with a metal lid. If the grease fire is just starting inside a pot or pan on the stove, you may have time to put a stop to it before it spreads to the other burners and to other areas of your home. Grab a metal lid belonging to one of the pots or pans you’re using and quickly place it on top of the pot.
  2. Turn the stove burners off. After you’ve covered the pot with a metal lid, make sure to turn the burners off. If you leave the burners on, the pot will continue to stay hot, and that may cause the fire to spread out of control. The goal is to shut everything off before it has any time to spread throughout the home.
  3. Call for help to keep the fire from spreading. If covering the pot with a metal lid and turning the burners off hasn’t helped and you can see the grease fire spreading to other areas of the stove, call for help. You shouldn’t waste any time contacting firefighters.

Any fire is dangerous, but one caused by grease can spread quickly. Knowing how to protect yourself if you’re ever in that situation in Woodbrook, Maryland, is important for your safety as well as the overall protection of your home. You must act quickly to cover the pot, turn the stove off, and call for help to keep the fire from spreading out of control and causing serious damage.

Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for any fire tips. 

The Benefits of Hiring a Fire Restoration Company

1/30/2018 (Permalink)

One of the benefits to dealing with a fire restoration company is that they can clean up after a fire sprinkler system or fire suppression system has gone off in your building. This fire sprinkler system and fire suppression system is essential for when it comes to getting your company protected from future fire damage.

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville will take care of smoke damage and soot damage that is left behind after fire damage has taken over the home. This is why it is important to hire a fire restoration company specializing in commercial fire damage.  The utility room fire and electrical fire that you have dealt with when it comes to commercial fire damage can easily be dealt with from a fire damage expert.

One of the problems when it comes to an electrical fire or utility room fire is the amount of smoke that stays inside the room and then gets filtered through the vents. Cleaning the vents is an important part of deodorization.

Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on fire damage.

Local Fire Restoration Company

1/30/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Fire Damage Help

There are so many different options available to you, so be sure that you contact a local company that can respond right away and are certified for fire cleaning. If you have some fire and content insurance on your property, you may also want to contact the provider to see if they will be able to cover the costs of restoration. Restoration is something that you should never attempt to do on your own, as there are many different skills and tools that you need to get the job done. This is why it is so important that you look for a local company you can hire and they will come to your home and assess the damage. Once the assessment has been done, they will be able to let you know what exactly needs to be done and other types of options that are available to you. This is something that you will find to be incredibly beneficial if you have recently dealt with some type of fire in your company office.

Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on fire damage.

Mold and Deodorization - Trust the Experts.

1/30/2018 (Permalink)

Many people assume that mold is not a natural occurrence, but it does grow everywhere and even in your home. Your home shouldn't grow fungus but if it has a water damage then it will have the opportunity to root itself. Mold is fungus that requires a wet environment to grow. One way to notice if you have mold is if you smell a smelly odor with musty scents, it might be mold. This smelly odor is one of the most common indicators mold is growing behind walls.

Deodorization techniques might work for a while, but every deodorization technique someone tries will fail. This is why a restoration company should come in and handle the deodorization process when there is a smelly odor from mold. Remediation, mitigation, and the use of proper deodorization techniques are often the only way to help mold damage. Whether it's a smelly odor bothering homeowners or a business owner who suspects black mold is a problem, calling the professionals is the answer to any mold issue. DIY techniques are a terrible idea, and they only serve to make the situation that much worse.

Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on fire damage.

When the Bowl Runs Over

1/8/2018 (Permalink)

The scene caused by an overflowing toilet is all too familiar to many Towson North, MD business owners. If you're reading this, you have probably stopped the flow coming from the flooded toilet. If not, commercial toilets usually have a shut-off valve that you can locate and use a screwdriver to activate. If you can't find it, a sewage company should be able to stop the water easily. Act quickly, because this kind of sewer damage can cause:

• Health hazards
Facility water damage
• Lingering bad smell
• Secondary damage

Immediate Action

Your first step should be identifying the problem. Most situations involving sewer damage are far from pretty, but some are worse than others. If there's a presence of feces, for example, you should take extra care if attempting cleanup. If you aren't going to handle the problem yourself, you should ideally rope off the whole bathroom until help arrives.

Secondary Steps

After you determine the nature of the issue and take protective measures, it's time for cleanup to be performed. It's also important to make sure the area is completely sanitized and dry during this stage to prevent issues later on from lingering pathogens or high humidity.

Other Causes

Sometimes, damage outside of your facility can cause backflow that pushes material back through the lines. While this is less common cause of flooding than a clogged toilet or broken fixture, it does happen. Contact your utility company in cases like this as soon as possible. They are likely to have specific advice for Towson North, MD businesses in your situation.

Nobody wants to deal with a gurgling toilet, but this problem is an unfortunate fact of doing business. Sewer damage might come from inside or out of your building, but either cause needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. It's a good idea to prevent long-term issues and potential liability by dealing with all water issues decisively.
 Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on commercial water damage.

What To Do After Your Toilet Overflows

1/8/2018 (Permalink)

It can happen in an instant. You flush the toilet, and without warning, it backs up and overflows onto the bathroom floor of your Cockeysville, MD home. If you’re lucky, a flooded toilet is all you have to worry about. If you’re not so lucky, sewer damage may spread to other rooms and, in a worst-case scenario, the entire basement. Your first call should be to a plumber to stop the backup, followed by another call to a sewage company that can help you begin immediate cleanup and restoration.

What Not To Flush

Sewer backups seemingly come out of the blue, and nobody is ever really prepared for one. To help prevent a blocked sewer line, never flush items such as:

• Cotton balls or Q-tips
• Feminine products
• Baby wipes
• Paper towels
• Cigarette butts
• Dental floss

These things may or may not cause a blockage by themselves, but they can accumulate and block the toilet trap and pipes. Even too much toilet paper at one time can create or add to a blockage and the resulting sewer damage.

Removing the Clog

A professional plumber may be able to break the clog with the help of a sewer “snake,” or auger line. These handy tools can reach up to 100 feet in length to dislodge whatever is causing the clog. If a snake fails to resolve the problem, you’re likely going to need to reach the clog from outside, digging down to the line through your yard. This is often the only way to repair a line that is blocked by roots from a tree planted too close to the sewer line.

Cleanup and Restoration

Sewage is obviously full of contaminants and requires special cleanup and disposal of contaminated items, which may include flooring, baseboards, drywall and insulation. If you have a flooded toilet in your Cockeysville, MD home, contact a sewage company with restoration expertise that can help you assess the sewer damage, remove affected surfaces and clean and sanitize items that are salvageable. Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on water damage.

2 Instances When a Flood Cut Is Necessary

1/8/2018 (Permalink)

Extreme flooding can leave you with a basement in a state of disarray. To get the room back to normal, a professional team from Cockeysville, MD can attempt a tear out known as a flood cut. This is when the team removes a portion of your drywall, usually 12 inches above where the water damage ends. While it is not necessary in every single case, most homeowners will find a flood cut to be highly advantageous.

1. When the Water Is Contaminated

When your home has been flooded with normal, clean water, the team may not have to cut out any part of the drywall. However, flood water can carry various hazardous substances, including

• Raw sewage
• Fecal matter
• Chemicals
• Other forms of contamination

Flooding with these substances can result in a variety of problems, and it may mean parts of the walls need to go. It is the only way to ensure the pathogens are removed from the building entirely. This most often occurs when the inside of a house has been flooded from the sewer line. Anything the sewage touches needs to go.

2. When the Walls Have Insulation Behind Them

If your basement walls do not have any insulation behind them, then the professionals may be able to dry the other side of the walls with a technique known as injectidry. This is when small holes are drilled into the wall and the experts use them to carefully dry the interior. However, if there is insulation, then a flood cut is necessary. It is practically impossible to dry insulation, so the walls will need to go to get the insulation out from the area.

When it comes to extreme water damage, professionals sometimes need to resort to drastic measures, but it is to ensure your house is safe to inhabit. If your house in Cockeysville, MD ends up flooding, then you can ask the experts what they would recommend for your specific scenario. Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on storm damage.

Answers to All Your Questions About Mold

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Answers to All Your Questions About Mold

Mold growth is not a popular topic, generally, but it’s something every property owner and even every renter ought to know about. A lot of factors contribute to the growth and spread of mold - things like high humidity and previous water damage. Knowing the risk factors can help you identify a problem in the early stages, when it is still easy and inexpensive to fix.

Facts About Mold

Mold can grow in as little as 24 hours, given the right conditions. A warm, wet climate is all that is really required.
Often, mold growth is accompanied by a strong, pungent odor that is fairly easy to recognize. Even if you can’t see it, mold hidden by carpeting or drywall might be evident due to the smell.
Mold isn’t always preceded by a flood; it can grow and thrive in indoor spaces with high humidity. For best prevention, keep humidity below 45 percent.
Water-damaged materials are a prime location for mold colonies. If the materials are not properly dehumidified promptly, mold can set in on the inside. Porous materials should always either be professionally treated or replaced after flood conditions.

Mold remediation by a professional is the best solution for dealing with mold in your space. A qualified contractor can use a specialized process to return mold levels in your space to a normal and safe status in order to maintain your property. They’ll employ the use of pumps and dehumidifiers to remove all excess moisture and negate the possibility of water damage. They’ll test your air quality and advise you on high humidity and how to correct it going forward. The restoration of your property will follow, with removal and replacement of all materials permanently altered by flooding or leaky or busted pipes.

Don’t let mold growth flourish in your space; learn to recognize the risks and the signs of present danger before you have a problem.
Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on mold.

Tips To Make Cleanup After a Fire Easy

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Tips To Make Cleanup After a Fire Easy

One of the most devastating events you and your family can experience is losing your home and belongings to a fire. Dealing with finding a temporary place to live while rebuilding your life can be a stressful time, especially if there was extensive smoke damage to some or all of your belongings. You may think your possessions are a total loss following a fire and that you should throw them away, but you may be surprised by the number of items you can save through dry cleaning and other professional cleanup efforts. Consider these tips on how you can clean smoke-damaged items and possibly preserve prized family heirlooms.

1. Inspect Your Home

After a fire, do a thorough inspection of your home and belongings to see what you can try to save. There may be some objects that have been thoroughly destroyed that will need to be tossed, but others may have simply suffered smoke or water damage.

2. Separate Objects by Damage

The type of damage your items suffered will determine how they’ll be cleaned and restored. For example, belongings ruined by water from when firefighters extinguished the fire will not be treated the same as possessions affected by smoke.

3. Clean and Store Items

After you’ve separated your items for cleanup, you’ll want to begin the restoration process. You should have higher-priority objects, such as clothing, treated first since they’re items you’re more likely to use daily. Dry cleaning your clothes can remove any smoke damage that may be present. When it comes to content cleaning, most fire remediation professionals in Towson North, Maryland can restore non-porous items using ultrasonic cleaning. Once your items have been restored, you’ll want to use a content storage facility to keep them safe until your home has been repaired or rebuilt.

It’s important to begin the post-fire cleanup and restoration process as soon as possible. The sooner you’re able to get fire damage restoration professionals in your home to assess the damage and begin dry cleaning, the more belongings you’ll likely be able to save. Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on fire damage.

How a Flood Cut Can Protect Your Property

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

How a Flood Cut Can Protect Your Property

Whether it is from a hurricane, a downpour or a broken drain line, each flooding event is unique. Flood restoration experts are trained in a variety of cleanup techniques and know how to operate industrial and technical equipment needed for the job. One of the more advanced techniques they employ is a flood cut. Here are four questions commonly asked about flood cuts.

What Is a Flood Cut? After a room has flooded, an area of drywall is often cut out and disposed of. That cut is usually 12 to 18 inches above the line of water damage, which means that flood damage cleanup technicians will tear out a bottom section of the drywall. This enables a more efficient removal of materials that were tainted by the water.

When Is a Flood Cut Necessary? There are several situations where a flood cut is needed:

In the case of sewage backups
When there is insulation behind the walls
When there is chemical contamination
When harmful pathogens might be present

When Is a Flood Cut Not Needed? In cases where the flooding is from clean water, and where no insulation is present, a flood cut will most likely not be needed. In this situation, the room can be cleaned by normal methods of pumping out the water and then using vacuums and fans to dry the area.

What Happens After a Flood Cut Is Performed? This depends upon the situation, but in most cases, a flood cut allows for a more thorough cleaning and drying out of the affected area. Once that is completed, a contractor can come in and replace the drywall and the insulation.

Flooding in Towson North, Maryland is always a traumatic event, but not every flood should be handled the same way. It’s important to become educated on the various flood damage restoration options before the waters flow. Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on flood damage.

How A Restoration Company Will Restore Your Home After Water Damage

9/26/2017 (Permalink)


How A Restoration Company Will Restore Your Home After Water Damage

After a long rainfall, hurricane, or any kind of storm, many people suffer from water damage. A pipe break or a supply line break can also cause water damage. Water damage can ruin your furniture, cause structural damage to your home, ruin your appliances, and make your home unlivable. Supply line breaks and pipe breaks are fairly common and can cause unexpected damage. If you have water in your home or water in your business, you’ll need to take the right steps towards the mitigation of future damage and the restoration of your flooded home. That will involve drying the water in your home and doing water cleanup. To do that, it is best to call a restoration company.

A restoration company will come down to your flooded home as soon as possible after you give them a call. They will do an inspection of your flooded home and find out the extent of the flood damage. This is something they need to do before starting the mitigation, water cleanup, drying, and restoration process. They will take steps towards the mitigation of future flood damage. This includes fixing whatever is causing the water in your flooded home or the water in your business, which may be a pipe break or a supply line break. They might have to shut off the valve which controls the flow of water in your home or water in your business.

They will use special equipment to clean up the water in your home or the water in your business. This includes flood pumps and other special tools. You do not want to try to do this yourself, as the water may be contaminated and the electric circuits must be turned off. You also do not know how to fix a pipe break or supply line break yourself. You also do not know how to do the kind of deep drying and water cleanup that is necessary after water damage occurs.

Keep in mind that water seeps into your furniture, walls, floors, ceiling, and anything else in your home. There will be pockets of moisture hiding behind tiles, in the walls, in your HVAC system (such as your air ducts), and in corners. This requires special equipment, and it is an aspect of flood damage that not everyone knows about. A professional restoration company will use special equipment to detect pockets of moisture around your home. Then they will use special tools to do a deep drying and water cleanup. Cleaning up the water that is hiding and which has seeped into your furniture is an important part of the mitigation and restoration process. This is because the longer the water stays there, the more water damage there will be. For example, mold, a common part of water damage, usually grows when water lingers around.

Next, after your home is completely dry and there is no more water left, the restoration company will take steps to restore your home to the way it was before the flood damage occurred. The restoration process requires repairs to parts of your home that are damaged. A restoration company is experienced with making these repairs.

There will be parts of your home that are damaged beyond repair. This is not a cause for concern, however. Whatever can not be fixed can easily be replaced. You may only have to replace parts of something. For example, perhaps only a few planks in your wall may need to be replaced. Replacing damaged objects is important in restoring your home back to normal. Any structural damage must also be repaired so that your home is safe to live in.

The restoration company will do a final inspection before they finish. The goal of this second inspection will be to make sure that everything is truly restored to the way it was before. Once your home is ready to be lived in, they will let you know and you will be able to safely move in without any concerns.
Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on water damage.

Getting Help for Commercial Fire Damage

9/26/2017 (Permalink)

When it comes to the fire damage in your building, it is imperative that you get a fire restoration company to come in and help with the cleanup. Whether you dealt with an electrical fire or utility room fire, it is nice to know that there are professionals out there besides the firefighters with their fire trucks and fire hoses to help you out. This is why so many people have hired Professionals for the commercial fire damage they have dealt within their own building. Commercial fire damage is difficult to remediate yourself, and this is why it is so important to hire a professional who deals with fire restoration.

Most insurance agents will recommend that you get rid of smoke damage as well as any remaining soot damage as soon as the firefighters leave with their fire trucks and fire hoses. The reason for this is due to the fact that it can be a problem for your building if it is left to linger. There are too many things that need to be done when it comes to fire restoration, so it is always a good idea for you to contact the experts and have them work with you on a regular basis to restore your home to its former glory.

Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on fire damage.

What to Expect From Storm Damage Restoration

9/26/2017 (Permalink)


What to Expect From Storm Damage Restoration

Hurricane damage, storm damage, wind damage, ice damage and hail damage can wreak havoc in your home. When this happens, you may feel like all is lost. However, you will be surprised by how much can be saved through expert home restoration or storm remediation. Before you count your losses, give storm restoration a chance.

Home restoration services can be sought after calamities such as hail damage, river flooding, ice damage, wind damage, flood water damage, ice damage and hurricane damage. It is best to have the contacts of experts on storm remediation. This is especially in the wake of the recent hurricanes rocking the country.

Another harsh weather element is wind damage after a storm. Wind damage can cause extensive roof damage. This happens due to loose shingles or tiles. Wind damage can also cause moisture from ice dams or ice damming to penetrate the roof. This can lead to wood swelling. The outcome is a sagging ceiling and roof damage which needs extensive roof repair.

The ice dams or ice damming also pose a risk to the roof. A roof leak can develop into a crack. This has the potential to damage the structure. Ice damming also weigh down the roof due to the ice dam pools. Homeowners who live in areas prone to wind or winter damage should consider roofs with a higher slope to reduce roof damage. This will reduce the need for regular roof repairs and the possibility of a roof leak. A roof leak from ice damming or formation of ice dams should be repaired immediately. Putting off a roof repair means that the homeowner incurs more costs later.

Roof inspection before the harsh weather also minimizes the roof repair costs. Any broken or lose shingles should also be fixed. Storm restoration experts will advise you on the appropriate roof repairs to be done ahead of any harsh weather. They will also assess the roof leaks before they get worse.

When you engage the services of storm restoration experts after flood water damage, storm damage, ice damage, hail damage, river flooding, wind damage, flooding or hurricane damage, the experts are sent to your home immediately. The water restoration efforts begin after a careful assessment of the flooding.

The water restoration professionals will also conduct an examination of the exterior and the interior of the home. They also check the extent of the flood water and ground water levels. This helps them to come up with the home restoration plan based on the flooding, storm damage and ground water.

The teams work together after agreeing on where to start. Hurricane damage, storm damage, hail damage, flood water damage, roof damage and ice damage all have different water restoration processes. It is ill advised for home owners to attempt the storm restoration process without seeking professional storm remediation.

Storm remediation. experts also come equipped with the appropriate work gear and tools. An important tool is in the water restoration process is a flood pump. Flood pumps are designed to drain water in flooded areas. These flood pumps can be placed in rooms and left to drain the ground water automatically. The floods can also handle ground water as it rises to higher levels. River flooding pumps are also available for extensive flood water damage. Flood pumps are also used alongside vacuums.

Winter damage is another common weather calamity. Winter damage leads to frozen pipes. The frozen pipes are not able to allow for the flow of water. It can take time for the frozen pipes to unfreeze. It is best to call in the experts to deal with the frozen pipes. Applying heat on the frozen pipes can lead to damage and the pipes may need replacement.

Today, home restoration and storm restoration experts are fully equipped to handle flooding, river flooding and other harsh weather elements. Enlisting their services in good time can help to save your valuables after a storm.
Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on storm damage.

Reasons to Get Professional Water Damage Restoration

8/31/2017 (Permalink)


Reasons to Get Professional Water Damage Restoration

When a flood or any other water events like supply line break or pipe break destroys your home, it's necessary for you to act quickly by getting professional flood restoration services. Cleaning up water damage involves more than just drying and wiping the residue away. Additionally, delaying makes the damage worse because the water will seep into the walls, furnishings, floors, and this may result in mildew and mold growth. Water mitigation can be devastating, but when one gets professional services, restoring the home becomes easier and you can put the traumatic event behind.

Water damage mitigation

Water/flood damage is the destructive process which occurs when water gets into a building. This can be caused by a pipe break, supply line break, or floods after it has rained heavily. Water in a home or water in a business can cause damage like oxidation of metal (rust), rotting wood, composite building materials de-lamination, and microbial growth. Immediately water seeps into the building materials, a chemical reaction begins to occur hence breaking down the strength of the material. In case water cleanup and drying aren't done immediately, the stability of the structure can be compromised. This makes the flooded home unsafe for human occupancy. Sometimes the effect just comes from a simple pipe break.

Restoration Solutions

The first step for handling flood damage when you have a flooded home is emergency mitigation. This involves locating the cause of the problem (be it a pipe leak or a supply line break) and eliminating the problem. The next step in managing water in home or water in business damage would be assessing the water damage and any dangers to humans. All these services are to be handled by licensed and trained water cleanup professionals. What follows is the drying and dehumidifying all the affected areas.

After the restoration company team assess the documents, equipment as well as other items to know if the contents can be restored or not. Mold mitigation services also come in handy as they help with getting rid of any microbial growth associated with a flooded home. Once the structure is safe for occupation, your family or employees can get back to their normal operations.

Reasons to get professional help

Rapid restoration

Tackling the task of restoring your flooded home or business after flood damage can be slow and exhausting. This increase the probability of further damage especially when the cause of the problem, like supply line break or pipe break, hasn't been addressed. By working with a reliable restoration company, water damage mitigation becomes manageable. The water cleanup and drying process is handled efficiently and quickly by flood damage professionals.

Preventing mold and mildew

In case you have experienced mildew or mold after water in home or water in business, you know how hard it is to get rid of the problem. Prompt water and flood damage restoration can reduce the chances of mold growth.

Insurance issues

When you have water or flood damage coverage in, the mitigation firm will assist you to deal with the needed procedures and forms. The restoration company helps its clients to document the losses they suffered so that they can get the proper settlement from the insurance company. With the water cleanup company, you will get a list of the needed repairs and proof of damages in case the insurance company decides to dispute the claim.

In case you have suffered water in home or water in business damage, consider contacting a restoration company immediately to prevent further damage. Although hiring experts will cost you to get restoration services, the expenses can't compare to the costs you'll incur if you do nothing or decide to handle the restoration all by yourself.
Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on water damage.

How to Recover Your Home or Business After a Fire

8/31/2017 (Permalink)


How to Recover Your Home or Business After a Fire

Recovering from fire in home or fire in business can seem like an insurmountable task on first blush. A fire damage restoration service can provide you with invaluable assistance when it comes to the aftermath of a fire in home or fire in business.

Immediate Restoration Company Response

When it comes to understanding how to best recover from a fire in home or fire in business, you must never underestimate the importance of immediate restoration company response. The reality is that fire damage can best be remediated successfully when efforts at fire damage restoration commences directly after a fire is put out.

When it comes to fire damage, even a slight delay in beginning the fire cleanup process permits the situation to deteriorate further. Indeed, the rate of deterioration associated with fire damage is based on a rate measured in hours, not days.

A prime example of what needs to be done immediately is the board up of a fire damages property. Board up is vital to ensure that the elements do not cause further damage to a property. In addition, board up protects the premises from intrusion by people with no business being at the premises. A professional fire damage remediation company understands the vital necessity of the prompt board up of a residential or commercial property following a fire.

Comprehensive Fire Damage Restoration Services

When you are in need of assistance after a fire in home or fire in business, you are best served engaging a fire damage restoration firm that provides a comprehensive range of services. This includes everything from initial board up and fire cleanup to remediating issues like smoke damage, soot damage, and smoke smell.

When a company provides comprehensive services for smoke damage, soot damage, and smoke smell, you are in a better position to accomplish a thorough and efficient fire cleanup and recovery.

Cost of Restoration Company Services

When in need of residential or commercial fire damage assistance, you want reliable services but you also desire reasonable pricing. The reality is that when it comes to residential and commercial fire damage recovery, there can be some fairly significant disparity between pricing from one restoration company to another. Although you want a company on site as soon as possible, you are best served carving out at least some time to a bit of price comparison from one fire cleanup and recovery company to another.

A reputable restoration company will be quick to come to the scene of a fire and undertake an appropriate inspection. Via this inspection, a recovery firm will be able to provide you with a reliable estimate for services necessary to restore your property after a fire in home or fire in business. Indeed, there are some firms that take this a step further and guarantee the initial estimate provide for a recovery and restoration project on a home or business.

Fire Damage Restoration Specialists

When in need of residential or commercial fire damage recovery assistance, you need individual specialists that are properly suited for the task. You need to access a residential or commercial fire damage recovery firm that maintains a properly trained, licensed, bonded, and insured team of specialists.

Proper Fire Cleanup and Recovery Equipment

The equipment utilized by a fire restoration company is a crucial consideration. This includes equipment designed to address issues like smoke damage, soot damage, and smoke smell. There exists some highly effective, recently developed technology associated with this type of equipment that is now being used by some restoration companies.

As an aside, you also need to ascertain what types of chemicals might be utilized when addressing smoke damage, soot damage, and smoke smell. You might have some definite preferences when it comes to the chemicals that might be utilized as part of the overall fire cleanup and recovery process.
Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on fire damage.

Why DIY Mold Removal is A Terrible Idea

8/31/2017 (Permalink)


Why DIY Mold Removal is A Terrible Idea

A professional restoration company is in business to help home and business owners when mold in the home and commercial mold damage occur. Whether there’s been a flood or someone’s building experienced a burst or leaking pipe, mold removal is mandatory. DIY mold removal is the worst thing anyone can attempt to get rid of mold growth, and it’s not something any restoration company recommends when someone finds mold in the home or commercial mold damage.

Mold growth happens fast, and it spreads even faster. Sometimes mold growth is obvious, and sometimes people realize months later they’re dealing with mold growth behind walls due to improperly cleaned water damage or even a small leak in a pipe. Whatever the cause, it’s unwise to assume mold, fungus, or mildew of any sort is problematic in any capacity. Mold in the home and commercial mold damage must not be ignored, and no one should ever attempt DIY mold removal.

What Happens When People DIY Mold Removal?

When someone finds mold in the home or commercial mold damage, they might be tempted to assume they can handle the mold damage on their own. Mold removal is not meant to be done by anyone but a restoration company with the proper equipment, remediation, and mitigation skills. When people attempt to remove mold growth at home or work without help, they risk making the mold damage worse.

Sometimes mold is black mold that causes additional problems. Sometimes home and business owners have no idea which black mold is more dangerous than others, and sometimes black mold is harmless. Some people mistake mildew or fungus as something other than mold, and sometimes they don’t know that mold growth behind the walls is also occurring.

When they try to clean up mold on their own, they disturb the spores and cause them to spread faster. If their air conditioning unit or heating unit is left on, the spores travel even faster through a building and cause further mold damage. If there is water damage due to flooding or a leaking pipe, home or business owners might not properly clean it up the way a restoration company can with their own mitigation and remediation knowledge. This makes mold growth behind walls worse.

The Signs of Mold Growth

Mold growth behind walls is one of the most common problems in homes and offices. When people find mold in the home or commercial mold damage, it’s often mold growth behind walls that causes the biggest issues. Dry rot is one sign of this kind of mold. When dry rot appears in a home or office, it signals there could be too much moisture. Most people view dry rot as a problem, but they don’t view dry rot as the appropriate kind of problem. Another problem is any mildew or fungus around a home or office. It requires remediation and mitigation to handle this problem.

Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on mold.

Restoring a Flooded Property

7/26/2017 (Permalink)


Restoring a Flooded Property

There are few events more serious for a property owner than incurring major water damage. A pipe break, supply line break or other source of water damage, even if the amount seems small and has apparently been contained, has the potential to cause major damage to the property, up to and including its total loss.

As a result, water damage must be treated as an acute emergency. The only effective way to deal with a flooded home is to call in a professional restoration company. A team of restoration professionals, with the high-powered and sophisticated equipment that the emergency calls for, will be able to act quickly, minimizing or eliminating the chances of permanent flood damage befalling the property. However, if the restoration of water damage is delayed, the chances of the property incurring costly superficial or structural damage begins rising quickly.

If a home experiences a pipe break, supply line break or other source of potential flood damage, there is an established protocol for dealing with the problem. A flooded home doesn't have to fall victim to serious flood damage or even being condemned. With the right restoration and mitigation techniques and with a timely response, the flood damage can be contained and completely reversed.

Any time there is water in a home or water in a business, the first and most crucial step is to call in a professional water restoration company. The sooner the mitigation process is started, the higher the likelihood of a complete success. If the water cleanup process is started within five hours of the initial flooding event, the likelihood of a successful mitigation is near 100 percent. But if the water cleanup is delayed more than 24 hours, the chances of the property incurring serious and lasting damage begin to rise starkly, with every hour that goes by.

When the water cleanup team arrives, they will use high-tech gear to assess the extent of the water in the home or water in the business. They will be able to determine if water has seeped into the materials that make up the subflooring or if structural elements, such as beams, joists and studs, will require a thorough drying.

If there is any standing water in the business or home, the team will begin extracting it. This will be accomplished through the use of heavy equipment. Industrial pumping systems and specialized vacuum hoses will be used to remove up to 2,000 gallons of water per hour. The water extraction phase should only last an hour or two, at the maximum. During this stage, if there are any active leaks from pipe breaks or supply line breaks, they will be addressed. In some cases, pipe breaks or supply line breaks may need to be welded.


Once all the water in the home or water in the business has been removed, the drying process can begin. The cleanup team will use industrial-strength drying apparatuses to both dry materials in the home as well as dehumidifying the air. The drying process is usually the longest part of the total restoration effort, usually taking between a couple of hours and an entire day. Once completed, the structure will no longer be at any risk of further damage. And it is likely that a full restoration to the property's prior condition will be nearly complete.

Finally, the home or business will be cleansed and sanitized. This will be carried out on furniture, household items, carpeting, flooring and walls. At this point, the property will be fully restored.
Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on water damage.

How to Effectively Address Fire Damage

7/26/2017 (Permalink)


How to Effectively Address Fire Damage

After a fire damage in your property, you will need to replace a lot of things. However, you can only know what you need to replace after undertaking a thorough fire cleanup. A fire cleanup will entail removing the burnt items and sweeping the floor so that you can begin to estimate the cost of repair. The cleanup can be a tricky exercise after the commercial fire damage if you have a lot of debris and charred items that could pose some dangers. Beware of the sharp things such as nails and steel rods that could be risky. While cleaning up, you need all hands on deck. While you might not want to rush the job and expose the workers to these risks, procrastination is not a good idea. Remember that the water used for firefighting could carry some corrosive chemicals that might affect your house. The best idea when it comes to fire cleanup after commercial fire damage is to hire as many workers as possible. While undertaking the job, ensure that the workers have the protective gear they require to avoid injuries. Alternatively, you can hire a commercial fire damage specialist to undertake the job. The restoration company will have the necessary gear and expertise to do the job safely in the event of a fire in business premises.

Smoke and soot

The commercial fire damage will leave some ugly discolorations of soot and smoke damage. The restoration company will start with a fire cleanup to eliminate the soot damage before embarking on the renovation. If you renovate your home without taking these considerations, you are likely to have some problems in the future. Be sure to complete the fire cleanup before you apply a coat of paint on the walls. Soot contains lots of carbon-based toxins that can be harmful. Besides, the presence of burnt plastics can lead to lots of problems that the restoration company will address as soon as possible. A restoration company will come in handy if you are dealing with fire in home floors, fire in business walls, smoke smell, soot damage, or smoke damage. You can save money if you salvage some things after a fire in home walls.

Avoid DIY fire damage restoration

Fire damage restoration is not a DIY exercise. With so many issues to handle, you must engage a professional company to address the effects of fire damage on your behalf. While dealing with the fire damage, you will notice that the board up is the most difficult issue to address. The board up entails removing the burnt ceiling and roof to replace it with new materials. As you undertake the board up, you will need to support these structures to prevent them from crumbling and causing some accidents. Since you might not have the necessary props and stakes, a fire damage restoration company will work to your advantage.

Safety precautions

Dealing with the effects of fire in home ceilings is a major board up operation that requires professional assistance and special equipment. Commercial fire damage restoration might even be more difficult than dealing with the fire in home roofs and ceilings since some commercial ceilings are quite high. When repairing the building after you experience a fire in business premises, you must hire a contractor if you want to get back on track as soon as possible. Avoid using your staff to undertake the job. If your staff members are injured in the process, you might have some lawsuits to handle. Engaging a restoration company to deal with the soot damage, smoke damage, and any other effects of fire in business premises will save you a lot of time and money. Repairing your floors and walls after a fire in home ceilings is a daunting task that calls for professional intervention. Since you have to consider the risks of soot damage and smoke damage, you do not want to expose your family to the smoke smell. The smoke smell can linger in your home for days after the fire damage. Instead of using deodorants to get rid of the smoke smell, you should open the windows. A proper ventilation system will come in handy when dealing with the smoke smell and addressing the soot damage.
Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on fire damage.

Professional Mold Remediation Techniques

7/26/2017 (Permalink)


Professional Mold Remediation Techniques

Mold damage usually results from warm, wet, dark and humid conditions. In case you have water lying on surfaces in your house, expect to see some mold damage after some time. It is especially common to find mold growth behind walls because of the darkness present in such sections. You will first spot the fungus as black mold spots on the wall. The smelly odor will also alert you to the presence of fungi. Restoration company personnel can spot mold growth long before dry rot occurs as they are better trained and have access to better tools that also help with deodorization. Mold removal and mitigation are quite complicated processes. Deodorization after commercial mold damage is also a challenge.

Once you note black mold in home environments, you should quickly get rid of water around the house. You can use vacuums to dry the water completely and also fix water leaks in the house as these will make the black mold problem recur in the future. Professionals from the restoration company can detect the source of water leaks using advanced equipment and then work to separate the mold in home from other surfaces by applying negative pressure.

The pressure will slow down the dry rot and mold growth behind wall. This will allow effective mold removal. It is not advisable to use fans or air conditioners since they will spread the fungus spores and lead to faster growth of mildew.

Mold removal can be done by scrubbing with anti-fungal and antimicrobial detergents and deodorization. Water is used to make a less concentrated mold growth removal solution with these products. Once you are done scrubbing the fungi off the surface, it is important to dry the area. This technique will usually work for fungi that grow on hard surfaces. You can employ this method to mitigate home or commercial mold damage.

Lots of other natural and safe products can be used in the place of detergents for mold remediation. Tea tree oil is one common natural fungicide that has been used in professional mold removal. This method might cost you a lot more money but has been discovered to be more effective than common detergents and toxic chemicals. Besides helping with fungi mitigation, tea tree oil also helps to prevent mold growth behind wall and other surfaces.

Commercial mold damage on carpets or similar materials is quite difficult to mitigate. You might have to simply dispose of the entire material. The mildew usually grows between the crevices, and this makes it very hard to control. If you leave these materials in the house, the mold will spread faster, and deodorizing will be very difficult. The smelly odor of black mold will linger in your house for much longer. There is also a greater risk of dry rot.

It is important to note that painting will not help with commercial mold damage mitigation. The paint will eventually peel off, and you will still have to deal with the dry rot. If you need to repaint a surface with mold growth behind wall, be sure to get rid of the fungus first. Painting can be part of the restoration process, and should only be done once the fungus has been eliminated. Call the restoration company in case you have trouble mitigating mildew.

Conclusion

Mold damage is a problem that affects all home and business owners. If water spills or leaks over the floor, fungus will grow in just a short period. Mitigation of home or commercial mold damage is quite a challenge, and that is why you need to take advantage of professional mold remediation companies. Besides getting rid of the fungus, the restoration company will also help with deodorization and offer recommendations on how to prevent future mold growth.
Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on mold.

Four Reasons To Hire a Water Damage Professional

6/30/2017 (Permalink)

Four Reasons To Hire a Water Damage Professional

Encountering water and flood damage in your home or business can be a stressful situation. Accumulated water in an inside area can damage belongings, electrical systems and equipment. Without proper drainage outdoors, water can flow into low-lying areas of your home or business, including basements.

Professional Water Damage Restoration and Mitigation

Our company offers professional services for water damage restoration, water cleanup and mitigation and drying services. These types of situations are best handled by professionals instead of dealing with the problem yourself. What follows are three reasons to use a water damage and restoration company to help you remove water in home or water in business effectively.

Detail-Oriented

A professional water restoration and mitigation company will cover every square inch of your home that’s affected by flood damage. It requires multiple comprehensive steps to fix, and each step has to be completed correctly before moving onto the next one. These steps include:

Full visible water cleanup, including water extraction from the area
Repairing and cleaning sections of walls and floors
Inspect for signs of mold and mildew
Inspect electrical systems for any issues
Complete drying of the area using large fans to circulate air and dehumidifiers.

Professional Equipment

Professional flood damage restoration and mitigation companies like us have industrial-grade, professional equipment for addressing water in home or water in business. This equipment helps us complete proper water extraction, cleanup processes, mitigation and drying. These types of tools are not available to the average consumer and many of them require special training to operate correctly. Special tools and equipment also ensure we’ll complete the job thoroughly and as efficiently as possible, so you can proceed with normal operation of your business or normal day-to-day living at home.

Even Though It Looks Dry, It May Not Be

Even after visible water is removed, there are often areas underneath the floors or behind the walls that have soaked in lots of moisture, creating a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Our specialized fans and dehumidifiers help remove built up water to help with drying and removing moisture in areas that you can’t see until the water cleanup process is complete.

Training & Experience

Finally, the last reason to hire a professional for flood damage repair and water damage restoration is our team of professionals has the proper training and experience to handle these situations. We’ve performed these tasks on a routine basis for many years, and that experience helps us do a better job for our customers.

When we repair the area that’s been affected by water in home or water in business, we’ll make sure to apply preventative measures, such as installing flooring and wall materials with moisture barriers, to prevent the future growth of mold and mildew. We’ll also make recommendations for how to avoid flood damage in the future. If the water entered from the outside as a result of a powerful storm, for instance, it may require making changes to your home or business’s drainage system. If it occurred as the result of a malfunctioning appliance, like a washing machine or dishwasher, that appliance may need to be repaired, replaced, or have some of its essential parts replaced, such as the hoses if they ruptured.

As a professional water damage company, we’re required to wear special clothing and gear to safely address your home or business’s flood damage problem. The average consumer doesn’t have this type of protection, and can end up exposing themselves to harmful water or chemicals.

If you’re in need of water cleanup services for your home or business, look no further than our professional water damage and mitigation company. Give us a call today to find out how we can provide you with excellent customer service and help restore your home or business to much drier levels. Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on water damage.

Why You Need Professional Help with Fire Damage Restoration

6/30/2017 (Permalink)


Why You Need Professional Help with Fire Damage Restoration

Fire damage is no joke, and it affects millions of people worldwide. It can be devastating to deal with some type of fire damage in your home, but it's great to know that there are professionals who are there to make life easier for you. Fire damage restoration professionals will come in and take care of the smoke damage and soot damage that has ravished your home or business.

What are the Effects of Fire Damage?

The problem with fire damage, smoke damage and soot damage is that it can linger for years if it is not properly cleaned. Another issue that homeowners and business owners have is that the water used to put out the fire causes additional damage that needs to be restored. If the soot damage and smoke damage is allowed to linger, it can weaken floor boards and make the structure of your home or building very unstable. This is why it is imperative that you work with an expert fire damage restoration team. Fire cleanup is beneficial for so many reasons, and it can be a lot cheaper than you think.

Professional Fire Cleanup

Professional fire cleanup is readily available to you if you're currently dealing with this problem. Fire damage restoration uses a variety of different tools, meters and commercial fire damage machines to get rid of the soot damage, smoke damage and the smoke smell that is left to linger. The reason it might be a better choice for you to let the experts deal with the fire in your home or fire in the business is because they have the tools and skills necessary to get the job done. Most homeowners are not skilled enough to get the full extent of the damage cleaned up in the proper manner.

Hiring a Fire Damage Restoration Company

In order for you to hire the pros, you need to find a commercial fire damage cleanup team who can come to your place of business or home and begin the work. They will take care of the damage left from a fire in your home or a fire in a business and rid the air of that lingering smoke smell. You can read reviews online to get a feel for the type of company you're looking to hire for this specific job.

What to Expect with Fire Cleanup

Once you make the decision to hire a commercial fire damage company, you'll be working with experts who bring all of their own tools and machines to get the job done. It can take several days to a few weeks to handle the aftermath of a fire in a home or a fire in a business when the experts get involved. The pros may also have to make multiple trips back to ensure that the smoke smell is totally gone from the air. They use specialty air monitoring devices to measure the smoke smell that is apparent and is being breathed in by you and your loved ones.

Preventing a Fire in Your Home and Fire in a Business

The most important thing that you can do in your home or for your business is to prevent a fire altogether in order to reduce the chances of dealing with commercial fire damage. The way to do this is to continually have the home or office inspected for any mechanical, electrical or fire hazards that might be an issue in the future. You will also want to make sure that you have the proper steps put into place to prevent a fire from getting out of hand, like having extinguishers readily available and teaching everyone how to use it in the correct manner. These extinguishers may not get rid of a large fire, but they will be ideal for when a fire is just getting started and has not yet spread.
Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on fire damage.

Reasons to Hire a Professional Mold Removal Company

6/30/2017 (Permalink)


Reasons to Hire a Professional Mold Removal Company

Finding mold damage at home or in the office is stressful for many. It means paying for professional mold removal companies to come out and handle the problem, and it means learning as much as possible about mold damage and mold removal as possible. Finding mold in the home or commercial mold damage certainly changes the face of anyone’s day, but it’s not a problem anyone can ignore. Mold damage spreads quickly and efficiently. It takes less than two days for mold to spread rapidly, and that causes more expensive and much larger problems.

Calling for professional mold removal, remediation, and mitigation is necessary when mold in the home or commercial mold damage is discovered. Handling the job without the help of professional mold removal and remediation is dangerous, and it’s not recommended. There are benefits to calling professional mold removal companies, and remediation and mitigation are just two of the primary benefits.

To Save Money

When mold in the home or commercial mold damage is a problem, many people believe they can handle the issue on their own. They can’t. They want to because it’s cheaper than calling for professional remediation and mitigation, but it’s only cheaper right now. Those who aren’t trained in mold removal might not handle the situation accordingly, and they can make the mold damage grow. This means it’s going to be more expensive in the future to fix the problem that could have been easily handled right away by a pro.

To Do the Job Correctly

No one likes a job that’s not well done, especially when the consequences mean paying more money and potentially re-building areas of a home or office. Commercial mold damage and mold in the home must be removed correctly the first time to prevent it from coming back or spreading. When it’s not handled correctly the first time, it comes back a second time. It could continue to grow where it’s not visible, which means it might cause massive damage to a home or office.

To Use Professional Equipment

Professionals have the right equipment and the right knowledge to do this job correctly. This equipment is designed to reach places not typically reachable. It’s designed to locate mold at the source, to find where mildew might be growing, to locate any other fungus, and to get rid of it. It’s not easy to find fungus, mildew, or mold when it’s not in plain sight, but this equipment makes the job much simpler and much more successful.

To Learn

Professional remediation and mitigation is designed to educate. It helps people learn the most common signs of mildew and mold damage. The most common is a smelly odor. It might come from the walls, from a room, or be slightly noticeable in the air throughout a building. Many use deodorization to make this smelly odor go away, but the deodorization only works for a short period of time. It’s not a bad idea to use deodorization to make a home or office smell much better, but a smelly odor must be removed rather than remedied. Deodorization helps temporarily, but remediation is needed to get rid of a smelly odor associated with mold damage and mildew.

Mold is a fungus, and no one wants to find fungus at home or work. It needs professional help, and there is no getting around it. People should never try to remove mold on their own without a professional. It’s best to handle something that’s potentially hazardous with help from those who know what they are doing, what they are working with, and what they must do to handle the situation correctly the first. There are plenty of DIY projects available for home and business owners, but this is not one of them. Call for professional help now to guarantee success.
Visit http://www.SERVPROofhuntvalley.com for more information on mold damage.

Providing You With The Water Removal Services You Deserve To Protect Your Lutherville Area Home

6/9/2017 (Permalink)

Having a flood in your house can be a terrible, unfortunate experience, and it could happen to anyone of us at any time.

Water Removal Services To Protect Your Home

Having a flood in your house can be a terrible, unfortunate experience, and it could happen to anyone of us at any time. The sheer destructive power of water can be nightmarish and amazing to behold at the same time.

When water begins inching its way into the living area of your Lutherville home having highly-trained water removal technicians on your side can benefit you greatly. You can learn a lot about what to do, or what not to do, as an event unfolds that makes a severe difference in your experience. SERVPRO water removal technicians greatly increase your chances of survival and decrease any losses you might experience when flooding incidents occur on your property. As always, we instruct customers to look at flood waters as if contaminated with a life-threatening biohazard. Even fresh water floods can develop biohazards over time that pose a significant risk to you and your family, never take chances.

At SERVPRO our IICRC certified water removal technicians follow strict guidelines to deal with floods on your property. We handle all of the contents of your home and your home itself with great care and professionalism. Our technicians remove water from a variety of objects found in your home, making drying, cleaning, and restoration easier, saving many of the items you thought lost forever. SERVPRO takes the time to address each area of your home, including those with hidden pockets of moisture that often cause excessive damage over time. We use infrared moisture detectors and a variety of water extraction equipment to reach even the smallest areas, ensuring total water removal on your property after an event occurs.

Never attempt to remove flood waters from your home on your own, especially without the proper protection. We can help you make your restoration as stress-free and safe as possible and give you an opportunity to concentrate on more important issues, the safety, and well-being of your family. Contact SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville at the first signs of water intrusion, or before. We can provide the solutions you deserve, make changes to your home, and prevent massive loss during situations that you have no control over. We are available anytime, 24-hours, day or night, call today (410) 229-0012.

For more information about the wonderful city of Lutherville, Maryland visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutherville,_Maryland.

Restoring Your Property In Cockeysville After A Flood

5/23/2017 (Permalink)

Storms can force an incredible amount of water through a home in a very short amount of time.

Flood Damage Repair

Storms can force an incredible amount of water through a home in a very short amount of time. The flood waters left behind can be clean or contain dirt and other soils which complicate the cleaning and restoration process. Regardless of what is in the water, it is the amount of time that it covers floors and personal property that causes the most damage.

Restoring a Cockeysville home from the effects of flood damage requires training and patience. When it comes to saving moisture soaked hardwood floors, SERVPRO has developed a set of procedures which take into consideration the time under water, moisture levels, and how to prevent cupping, warping or buckling.

All three effects on hardwood floors begin quickly after exposure to excess water. Our task is to keep it from becoming permanent. We eliminate cupping and warping by sanding down the bulging or twisted areas. Technicians disguise this action by making it part of the refinishing process to keep the wood surface with a smooth look. Sanding is very efficient unless the damage is very severe; if it is, then we remove the damaged board and sand a replacement to match the shape and appearance of the original wood. Buckling damage is more evident, but it can be sanded down in some cases. More often, our technicians remove the buckled wood and then sand a replacement to match.

Before we start any work on the floorboards, we test and lower the moisture content. If the moisture levels are very high, it may take four weeks or longer before we can begin work without causing secondary damage to the wood. The level must test out to twelve percent or lower to avoid this.

We start by reducing the relative humidity of the room to under forty-five percent. Technicians set up air movers to force airflow over and under the floorboards. Lowering prevents most of the damage and reduces the chance of mold growth after we get the humidity under twenty percent. Once the levels test under sixteen percent, we use specialized heaters to raise the temperature of the room to speed up evaporation.

Some varnishes and other floor finishes act as a vapor barrier. They slow and even prevent evaporation from happening. If our technicians determine this is the case, they use a pin roller to carefully pierce the finish in corners and out of the way areas. That increases the effectiveness of the air movers and speeds up evaporation.

Repairing and restoring your home after a flood can be a lengthy and expensive process. It is best accomplished by a professional company to avoid subsequent damage and keep costs to a minimum wherever possible. SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville helps you through every step. Call us today at (410) 229-0012.

Looking to learn more about Maryland click here http://www.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Commercial Mold Damage Can Turn Retail Shoppers Away, Impact Image and Profits in Lutherville

5/9/2017 (Permalink)

Moldy Bread in a Restaurant or Musty Odors in a Lutherville Office Need SERVPRO for Mold Remediation

Lutherville Businesses Benefit from SERVPRO Mold Remediation


When people go shopping, they expect not only great deals for the money they spend, but also to have an enjoyable shopping experience. Everything matters, from the lighting to the overall cleanliness of the store (both inside and out) to the customer service staff to the quality of the displays to the air quality.
 
Musty odors are one element that often makes customers decide to not return to a particular shop, and in Lutherville, commercial mold damage can cause this odor to permeate a building's interior. However, odors are not always caused by mold, and an absence of an odor does not guarantee that a retail shop is free of a mold problem. While mold exists everywhere, while it is under control and not growing wildly, it poses few problems.
 
The professional technicians at SERVPRO are trained in the remediation and monitoring of mold and have IICRC certifications in that area and several others. An entirely mold-free environment is a misnomer. Mold control and mold remediation are what we do, and we accomplish this with different measures.
 
These methods include cleaning nonporous materials, cutting away and replacing other materials that have been affected by mold, non-toxic mold-encapsulating sprays, and humidity control measures. As we work, we also use plastic sheeting and air scrubbers to contain mold spores further. This keeps the spread of mold to a minimum. When these spores cannot spread, new growth patches of fungi are mitigated.
 
Without continued humidity control in your retail store, the mold is very likely to return, so it is recommended that the source of the elevated moisture is eliminated, and also that dehumidifiers be installed. We often provide these services to our customers with excellent long-term results.
 
When you need professionals experienced in the remediation of commercial mold damage, call us, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville. Locally owned and operated with many certifications, we are the right fit for any size disaster. Our number, (410) 229-0012, is always answered, whenever you call.

Historic Homes in Lutherville Need Special Care With Water Removal

4/28/2017 (Permalink)

When hardwood flooring is not dried out properly after damage, staining and discoloration can result. Call SERVPRO for certified water removal.

SERVPRO Technicians Have Years of Experience Remediating Historic Properties

Our area boasts spacious yards and pre-World War I housing stock, a very special, not to be recreated ambiance. When water seeps, leaks or floods into any interior space of a one-of-a-kind home, it is critical you seek out an experienced water removal specialist. SERVPRO is a trustworthy source of water removal knowledge and practical experience.
 
Beautiful hardwood floors have some natural defense against superficial moisture, but significant soaking requires expert water removal from your Lutherville house. A sudden leak in the aging radiators threatens the integrity and elegance of century-old parquet and strip flooring. When hardwood floors are at risk, we make sure the crew assigned has advanced training in targeted water removal techniques.
 
SERVPRO follows professionally researched protocols when removing water from antique flooring. First, water is extracted using specialized equipment, pulling standing water from the surface. Our technicians take care not to dislodge individual strips during the extraction. Visible water is removed from the surface, and then staff positions air movers to reduce the moisture content of the wood further. Since water often remains under the floorboards, we also employ efforts to dry from beneath. Aiming fans at the subflooring beneath the affected area, drilling small holes to release moisture, and lifting up some boards are all in the repertoire when stubborn water deposits remain.
 
We also use hardwood rescue or drying mat systems, consisting of special absorbent pads applied to the floor to draw moisture out gently yet persistently. This technique requires monitoring by our well-qualified technicians. Our staff continuously monitor moisture levels as sanding and refinishing of the soaked floor occurs only after the moisture content of the wood dips below 12 percent. Patience is essential as it can take weeks or months for the wood to reach that level. Pressing ahead before the wood has nearly all water removed results in unsightly warping.
 
To remove the remaining water, SERVPRO technicians recommend dehumidifiers and routine use of air conditioners, which remove water from the air to achieve cooling. In some cases, heat is added as an accelerant to the drying process. All efforts aim to restore the beauty of the original hardwood flooring, a highly sought after feature in traditional older homes.
 
Explore your options for expert water removal with the staff at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville. Schedule an appointment at (410) 229-0012 now.

Reconstruction Efforts in Towson North

4/11/2017 (Permalink)

Some damaged carpets may need to be replaced after your home experiences a storm damage event. Call us to discuss and start the restoration process.

Your Home Can Be Restored By SERVPRO Technicians After Experiencing Storm Damage


Storms in our state (not to mention all of New England) have broken records over winter and spring so far. Rainfall has been excessive, and the winds have knocked down more trees than many residents have ever seen. Unfortunately, this also means area homes have suffered more damage than in previous years.

Storm reconstruction needs to be done by a professional service, regardless of the extent of the damage to your Towson North home. SERVPRO has decades of experience in reconstruction and restoration of homes and businesses after storms, and other disasters have happened. We are licensed to handle all aspects except major construction (building a complete, new roof for example); from reframing interior walls to that final coat of paint on the trim of your new windows.

After we remove all damaged property and secure the home from the weather and trespassers, technicians start with the interior. If wood flooring is damaged, we replace the affected pieces and stain the new ones to match the existing area. In the case of carpets damaged past restoration, technicians pull up the carpet and pad and replace the tacking strips before laying new carpet.

With the floor back to its original state, technicians install new wall framing. We carefully measure to match the original floor plan and then hang new drywall or other paneling to return your rooms to their pre-damage dimensions and appearance.

Now, our team repairs the ceiling. If the damage is extensive, we recommend pulling down the framing as well as the tiles or panels. Our team members can install a wood or aluminum frame depending on the type of ceiling you choose to place in your home. If there are beams in the attic that need to be replaced or require additional support, our technicians are trained to do that as well.

Finally, we return the face of your home to normal. Our reconstruction crew can replace the windows and doors in most households in a single day. We can also reframe many windows and doorways if you decide to change the type or size of your windows and doors.

Although severe storms are not in the forecast, there is more rain expected this week. Contact us here at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville to begin reconstruction before further damage happens to your home. Call today at (410) 229-0012 to begin.

Professional Fire Damage Restoration in Cockeysville

4/10/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke & Fire Restoration Is a Cornerstone of SERVPRO Cleanup for Your Cockeysville Property

SERVPRO Holds the Answers to Smoke & Fire Damage Restoration


After a fire, your home and possessions are damaged, and you may feel devastated and unsure of what to do next. Your family is emotionally traumatized and in shock. You need to have SERVPRO come to your home to clean up the damage from fire. A professional fire damage restoration company, we are courteous and understanding as well. Our experts know how to perform cleanup for damage from fire efficiently and quickly while keeping you and your loved ones in mind.
 
At SERVPRO, we do everything needed to restore your Cockeysville home to its original state after fire damage. We clear out soot, smoke, and odors, wash surfaces and repaint, repair or replace areas of the structure so that your home is as good as new.
 
Inspection
After you hire SERVPRO to take care of your cleanup from fire damage, a representative and our certified technicians come to your home and conduct an inspection. They establish the scope of the damage. After it is approved by you and your insurance company, we can begin the work. For emergency situations requiring immediate cleanup, you can sign off on the work with a form and deposit. We need to start the restoration process as soon as we can after the fire. The damage worsens the longer you wait.
 
Clearing Odors
Large, industrial axial box fans are brought in to get rid of smoke and odors from the area which is damaged if there is access to the exterior in the damaged areas. We do this important step because smoke can contain substances which are corrosive and continue to damage the items in your home if it remains. The fans also assist in drying out walls and floors which have been damaged by water.
 
Removing Residues
We clean soot from ceilings, walls, and floors, which involves coating metal surfaces with petroleum jelly to keep them from corroding, getting rid of wet carpeting to protect wooden floors or other steps to prevent mold growth. Ceilings, walls, and woodwork are washed with special cleaners to remove soot. Circumstances guide the SERVPRO technicians on particular courses of action.
 
Protecting Unaffected Sections
Some areas of your home may not have suffered from the fire, so our team closes them off to keep odors and soot from traveling into them and creating more damage. Some items like furniture, appliances and personal items which are not damaged can be taken out and put in storage until after repairs and cleaning are complete. If the smoke and fire damage is limited, pack-out is not required.
 
Replace, Repaint, Repair
Some parts of your home may need repainting once smoke odors and soot are gone. Alternatively, they may need to be repaired or rebuilt completely. Sometimes, cleaning takes soot off ceilings and walls. However, many times repainting is necessary. We may at times sand and scrub flooring, but as with carpeting, at times these elements may not be restorable.
 
Your home is your sanctuary, and when it is damaged, you want to find someone you can depend on to restore it, so do not hesitate to contact us at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/ Lutherville after a fire. When you call us at (410) 229-0012, we are at your home quickly to efficiently perform restoration for fire damage.

Flood Damage can Harm Your Home, Your Belongings, and Your Health in Hampton

3/22/2017 (Permalink)

Flooding happens. SERVPRO's quick response can resolve the issue fast and with less chance of secondary damages.

SERVPRO's Quick Response Can Help Prevent Mold Growth


Flooding in your home can happen in several different ways. A broken water line or kids playing a prank with a hose placed through a window and then turned on can fill a home with water faster than might seem possible. Sewer backups from clogs can also happen. Moreover, there is always the traditional flood, caused by too much rain or melting snow.

Regardless of how your Hampton home goes underwater, any of it can cause flood damage. Even clean water from a busted water line or a misplaced hose can cause enormous amounts of water damage. This water can also become contaminated and create health problems in addition to the damage it causes to walls, floors, furniture and doors.

With flood damage, SERVPRO knows that we need to remove as much water as we possibly can and as quickly as our trucks can pump it out. For smaller floods, any secondary water damage can still affect the entire home if it is not sufficiently removed.

Water will damage many items on contact, including walls and floors. Painted walls can bubble or blister, and those with wallpaper can do the same. Both types need to be replaced wherever there is damage. Floors can either be damaged and swell, causing dangerously weak areas or warping, depending on the floor type.

Walls and floors must be repaired or even replaced for your home to be safe again. Quick action can decrease the amount of damage and save thousands of dollars over waiting. These areas of your home cannot easily dry out by themselves as they are saturated on the inside. Waiting leads to increased deterioration.

Furniture can also end up in bad shape because of flood damage. SERVPRO can restore furniture so that it no longer poses a risk of harming someone. If mold has begun to grow, or if metal fasteners have rusted, this can cause once safe furniture to become unstable, and also dangerous. The metal pieces can also become loose because swelling and shrinking of the wooden parts they are attached to will allow them to come loose.

Secondary flood damage includes mold growth in areas of your home. These areas may not have been affected by the flooding to begin with and can be anywhere in your home. Quick and prompt attention to the initial flood damage can stop this from happening.

When flood damage is destroying your home, call us, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville at (410) 229-0012, and we can arrive within an hour after your call.

After 48 Hours: Dealing With Serious Mold Damage In Hampton Homes

3/2/2017 (Permalink)

The forty-eight-hour window is crucial for repairs.

Dealing With Severe Mold Damage After 48 Hours


When it comes to residential water damage, there is a clear deadline which all technicians must follow. The forty-eight-hour window is crucial for repairs. Up until this point, almost all flood affected materials can be dried and restored to their original condition.

After this point, repairs are still possible, but they are tough, and the outcome is not certain. Part of the reason for this is because two days is all that’s needed for flooding to turn into mold in Hampton homes. At SERVPRO, we are trained to handle these severe cases and can use a variety of strategies to neutralize mold spores and prevent them from spreading. Keep reading to find out what happens to household materials after the window has passed and mold is developing.

Carpeting
Heavily affected areas of carpet are heard to clean. Usually, it is more economical to remove them and find a replacement. We can help you to do this, as we have a wealth of industry contacts. Unless you would prefer to arrange your own replacement, our technicians are happy to source and install new carpeting. Replacement flooring is installed only after the subflooring is completely dry. It requires the use of high-powered fans, air movers, and dehumidifiers to draw water vapor out of materials. Concrete and cinder block surfaces respond very well to dehumidification and water extraction using motorized pumps.

Wallboard
Wallboard which is not dry within 48 hours (after the initial incident) requires removal. However, it is rare for the whole wall to need disposal. The SERVPRO technicians measure twelve inches above the water line and take away all material beneath this boundary. It leaves a hole which is helpful for drying. Fans are either pointed up into the cavity or placed inside it to deal with wet conditions between the boards. New wallboard only gets installed once the restoration experts have tested the moisture levels and found them to be safe and suitable.

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville specializes in fast, effective mold damage repairs. Our remediation strategies are designed to protect your home from further damage and mold breakouts. Call us 24/7 on (410) 229-0012 for a professional restoration service.

Water Removal In Your Hampton Office Building

2/17/2017 (Permalink)

Water damage of any type can shut down your office building.

Water Removal


Water damage of any type can shut down your office building. Water can cause damage which you can see and damage that is not easily visible. No matter the damage, you need to call a professional remediation service in, such as SERVPRO, even if you think the repairs are small. Water takes the path of least resistance, so it finds its way through building materials where the water eventually gets trapped and can create rot and mold growth.

Emergency water removal is the first step in preventing more damage to your property in Hampton. Once the water is out, and the area has been dried by our technicians at SERVPRO, we thoroughly inspect your property and figure out what has been affected and what is okay. We can then focus our effects on drying just what is damaged. This drying process can usually be finished in a few days and is monitored closely to ensure proper drying. Water damage can be from any of the reasons below:

Failures In Your Plumbing
These events can release hundreds of gallons of water quickly into your office building. Malfunctions can result from broken pipes, malfunctioning sprinkler systems, loose hoses and other plumbing sources.

Local Flooding
Flooding can come from sudden, heavy local rain falls. Downpours this intense can flood gutters, drains, and down spouts quickly, and the overflow can cause severe water damage to your business.

Long-Term Moisture And Humidity
Small leaks usually hide and are and overlooked, however, over time they lead to water damage problems that need repair. Ceilings, wall cavities, bathrooms, hallways, and attics are the most susceptible areas to mold growth and wood rot from continued exposure. Basements and vented crawlspaces are also environments which can be humid, leading to similar water and mold issues. Standing water can fast turn into damage that is more widespread if it is not cleaned up right away. Mold starts growing in as little as twenty-four hours after a water intrusion and can spread through your building and do much harm to the structural integrity, plus to the health of your employees and any equipment inside.

Therefore, you need to have SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville come out to look at the damage immediately. Someone is always standing by at (410) 229-0012 to receive your call. Our powerful truck mounted water extraction equipment, and our specially trained technicians are just what you need when a water disaster strikes your office building.

Protect Your Responsible Renter Reputation after Fire has Caused Damage to Your Hampton Apartment

2/1/2017 (Permalink)

Fires in Hampton Can Destroy Rental Properties and Personal Possessions

SERVPRO Helps Renters with Fire Damaged Units

The small fire caused by one little candle falling over when you were relaxing in the tub caused more than a little bit of damage. It is a sad way to find out that the counter top in your bathroom is only imitation marble. Now the bathroom needs some serious work to get it back to how it used to be. It was bad enough that the fire ruined the little bit of time you managed to get chiseled out of your daily schedule, just for yourself. Now you have a mess that needs to be cleaned up before your landlord sees it. SERVPRO can help you set things right again, protecting your security deposit, and ensuring you can still use your bathroom for the remainder of your lease.
 
In Hampton, finding an apartment is not always easy, and having fire damage in a rental unit can cause problems for renters in the future, too. Potential landlords can locate and access not only court documents from previous landlord-tenant suits, but also fire department reports. Finding that there was a fire in a unit that you rented in the past has been known to be the reason many landlords refuse to rent to those who have had fires in the past. It is better to make sure that any fire damage in the apartment or home you are renting has been eliminated before the end of your lease.
 
SERVPRO employees are well-trained and educated in the many areas you are going to need to make things normal again, such as our Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT). We can significantly decrease odors if they are noticeable. Our belief is always to help our customers in ways that can provide the most benefit to them, long-term. We know that having one fire in your lifetime is more likely to make you more cautious with fire-causing materials in the future, not less cautious, as many believe. One small mistake in the placement of a candle should not cause you grief the next time you search for a new place to rent.
 
When you are facing the responsibility head-on of repairing fire damage that you caused instead of letting it wait until your landlord discovers it after you have moved out is commendable, but the work should always be top-notch. Call us, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville at (410) 229-0012, so we can provide you with the best in repair and restoration work.

Protecting Your Health Around Mold in Timonium

1/20/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Recommends Professional Clean Up of a Mold Infestation in Timonium

SERVPRO Tip:  Call US for All Mold Remediation Treatments

Mold can seem almost benign due to its slow rate of visible damage and sluggish spreading but make no mistake; it can pose a health hazard to you once it has taken hold. SERVPRO technicians take entire courses on mold safety. There are many species of fungi that can create widely varied situations and problems depending on a high number of factors. If you have uncovered mold in your home, protecting your health and safety becomes a concern, and should top your list of priorities. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind as you live and work in your home during the remediation service. SERVPRO stance is that mold does cause health effects, we do not diagnose, but we do remediate.

You May Want to Wear a Mask
Timonium mold damage has a potential to cause respiratory health issues, in particular for individuals with weakened immune systems or asthma. SERVPRO technicians have access to industrial-grade protective masks and even suits when needed, and you should, at the very least, try to protect your mouth and sinuses with a mask when working near mold damage. For those with asthma or respiratory issues, the urgency of this precaution is even higher. We firmly recommend that you do not grapple with this problem. Our main advice is to call us to tackle your mold problem. Be safe, not sorry.
 
Hands Off
Some types of mold can produce toxic or infectious byproducts, making the act of touching mold with your bare hands potentially dangerous. In general, you should never touch visible mold growth, as doing so can not only hurt you but also spread the mold to other surfaces. If you touch mold by accident, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before touching other surfaces.
 
Be Mindful of Other Dangers
Many mold damage cases come with additional problems, whether you are aware of them or not. That patch of mold could be the result of a five-year-old water pipe leak, and in addition to allowing mold growth, it may have already long weakened the surrounding structure. Being aware of structural issues and other types of damage could save you money while protecting your home investment.
 
SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville is ready 24/7 to respond to local disasters and home damages. Just give us a call at (410) 229-0012.

The Water Removal Process In Blue Mount

1/9/2017 (Permalink)

Just a few inches of standing water can create thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs if it is not removed quickly and efficiently.

Water Removal

Flooding from overflowing creeks and streams can destroy a home in under a day. Even if the damage is not immediate and obvious, just a few inches of standing water can create thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs if it is not removed quickly and efficiently.

It is not likely that Big Gunpowder Falls is going to flood your Blue Mount home, but water removal will be required for nearly every house, condo and duplex at some point. SERVPRO has the expertise and equipment needed to accomplish it quickly and efficiently.

Our response teams will start with one or more commercial pumps. The size and number will depend on the amount of water present and the size and type of your home. For example, a duplex will require at least two pumps even if there is only an inch or two total. A single family home may require a single but large capacity pump if there is an excessive amount of water left standing.

Once the standing water has been extracted, then our technicians will deploy specialized vacuums that remove water from carpet fibers and the cracks between floorboards without damaging them. If done quickly enough, these extractors can draw water from the pads underneath carpets to restore them as well. This process also serves to prevent floorboards from warping due to extensive submersion in water.

While extraction from your floors is being performed, other team members will place fans in key areas to help draw water out of the surrounding walls. It may also be necessary to set up heaters and dehumidifiers to extract water from drywall before it is compromised and has to be replaced. Besides the physical damage, extracting the water will also help prevent the expansion and growth of mold. Water soaked drywall is a perfect food source for mold spores.

It is dry now, but rain is expected next week. If you want to get ahead of the next rain, call us today for an inspection to see where we can help you prevent or lessen the effects of flooding. When you do have water in your home, call us at (410) 229-0012. SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville is here to help.

Dealing With Commercial Fire Damage in Hampton

12/14/2016 (Permalink)

Fire damage can escalate quickly. Call SERVPRO to help sort it out!

SERVPRO Technicians Handle All Aspects of your Commercial Fire Damage

With more than enough interruptions revolving around your normal day-to-day life, the last thing you want to deal with is a fire damage situation on your commercial property. Disaster can strike fast, though, and even small fires need the attention of a professional restoration company to limit the additional damage they may cause. Fire, soot and smoke cause damage to surrounding areas not caught up in the actual flames or heat of a fire require the proper services to be performed to restore them correctly.
 
When this sort of disaster strikes your property in Hampton, our commercial fire damage specialists are ready to help. Take advantage of our expertly trained technicians and get the services that you need to restore your property to a quality pre-fire damage condition.
 
Fires can easily get out of control; people forget that pouring water on a grease fire or an electrical fire, for instance, can cause disastrous effects and introduce a lot of additional damage to your property that didn't need to happen. SERVPRO technicians highly recommend the installation of fire extinguishers and proper fire suppression systems to add safety and security to your business.
 
Whether you experience a small localized fire or a full structure has been affected by an event, you should have the professional technicians at SERVPRO assess the damage and perform the proper restoration services to get the repairs done correctly the first time around. Having professional services attend to the situation will protect you when dealing with your insurance company or even a property owner, if you rent your business space.
 
Handling things correctly can assist with insurance documentation and limit the costs associated with damage to blackened walls; soot covered surfaces, damaged electrical wiring, flooring replacement or other company assets that have taken damage during a fire. SERVPRO has the equipment and personnel available with the experience in handling these sorts of situations, regardless of the size or extent of harm to your commercial property.
 
Work with our professionally trained staff at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley - Lutherville; we have highly skilled professional technicians with years of experience in all types of commercial fire damage restoration and clean-up available. Call us today at (410) 229-0012.

The Hidden Dangers of Flood Damage

11/27/2016 (Permalink)

Fast Water Removal Mitigates Storm Damage to Your Parkton Home

Cost of Flooding Includes Extraction of the Water and Salvaging Possessions

Dealing with flood damage is troublesome and stressful enough, but such a water emergency also leaves behind some hazards and dangers. Many issues do not become apparent until well after the water has been extracted from a home, but they can be just as disastrous the water that caused the problem in the first place.

Being a homeowner with flood damage in Parkton, it is important that you know what dangers can lurk well after the water is gone. Here's information about the side effects of flooding and how SERVPRO can help get your home back in great shape.
 
Mold
Mold is one of the most notorious secondary water damages associated with flood damage, and it can lead to health effects in humans and animals. It is also unsightly and causes bad odors that are difficult to eliminate. Whether your home had dormant mold spores that became active during a flood or new spores have started to grow, our technicians can spot and help remedy the situation.
 
Damage to Electronics and Appliances
Water and electronics are never a good mix, but the damage typically goes beyond causing appliances and electronic devices to stop working. It can also cause wire corrosion and electrical fires, and even devices that aren't directly exposed to water can start to fail due to the excessive humidity in flood damaged house. We work to get your home's humidity normalized, and we are also able to restore a broad range of electronics and appliances. For some electrical devices, we strongly advise a third party that specializes in restoring sensitive computers, phones, and other equipment. When we salvage your belongings, we can save you money.
 
Structural Damage
Depending on the volume of water that flooded your home, you may have already witnessed the effects that a water emergency can have on your house's structure. However, any amount of water that's allowed to sit will cause serious damage eventually ranging from cracks in the floors and fissures in your walls. SERVPRO technicians are IICRC trained to look for these types of problems while restoring homes with flood damage, which can prevent unwelcome surprises in the future.
 
The team at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville can quickly restore your home after any flooding emergency and help guard against the potential hazards that come along with it. To receive a quote or get more information about our flood damage services, call us 24/7 at (410) 229-0012.

Air Conditioner Based Mold Damage In Timonium

11/17/2016 (Permalink)

Mold spreads quickly. Call SERVPRO to assess the situation.

Mold Appears in Unsuspecting Places

After the long, hot and humid summer fall has not provided much of a respite. Many homeowners, perhaps including you, continue to run their air conditioners to cool and dehumidify the air as we await the crisp, cool air of autumn that seems to be delayed indefinitely. Unfortunately, air conditioners that are overdue for a thorough cleaning can become the home for significant mold growth within the unit itself as well as the drains and ductwork. You may be noticing a damp, musty odor in your home for which you cannot find the source. If this describes your situation contact SERVPRO for an inspection and consultation before the moldy smell gets completely out of control and the potential for microbial growth possibly contributes to health concerns for your family.

Air conditioners, whether free standing window units or central HVAC systems, naturally deal with water and moisture in their operation. One of the ways that air conditioners cools your home’s interior is to remove moisture from the air, effectively dehumidifying it. Less humid air feels cooler, allowing perspiration to evaporate from your skin more easily, creating a cooling sensation. As the higher humidity air blows over the air conditioner coils water condenses. A well-maintained air conditioner drains the water collected efficiently. Poorly maintained or dirty air conditioners may become plugged, creating areas where water collects. When water collects spores feed, resulting in mold damage in Timonium.

SERVPRO technicians can evaluate whether your hard-working air conditioner is actually contributing to a mold problem in your home. Rather than reducing the humidity it may be encouraging the microbial growth that is affecting your indoor air quality in a negative way. Cleaning of your central air conditioning’s ductwork may be precisely the solution to mold overgrowth in your home. Even if the mold is inside the system, invisible to the naked eye, it can still be damaging your air quality. If drains are obstructed it is just a matter of time before the water leaks through, damaging walls, ceilings or floors as it also spreads the mold.

Make it a point to schedule an appointment to have your air conditioning system inspected as a source of mold damage by the expert staff at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville. Our operators are waiting for your call at (410) 229-0012 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will dispatch trained technicians at your convenience.

Immediate and Long Term Water Damage Issues in Hampton

11/3/2016 (Permalink)

Appliances that are water damaged can create problems. Call SERVPRO to assess!

Quick Remediation After Water Damage Can Prevent Secondary Damage

There are unforeseen dangers from flooding and different water damage events. Inundation by water creates present and future consequences. Long-term damage is often delayed and isn't visible until time has elapsed. Dealing with the dangers of flooding means to mitigate the immediate problems after an incident. You must also be prepared to prevent hidden after-effects from water damage that is not visible.
 
Any water damage experienced in a home or office in Hampton can present several problems, including toxic mold growth. Mold spores exist everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. They remain dormant and harmless unless they are activated. An activation trigger is water. When mold spores become wet, they grow exponentially, within 24 to 48 hours. For this reason, qualified mold remediation specialists, like SERVPRO experts, should always be called for time-saving water damage remediation services.
 
Flooding may damage the foundation of any building, in ways that aren't immediately obvious. A flooded basement places a great deal of weight on a building's foundation, causing cracks in the floor and walls. Removing flood water is a gradual remediation process. Pumping water out too quickly after flooding, saturates the soil around the foundation, exerting external pressure on the basement sub-structure.
 
When appliances are affected by flooding, this is very dangerous. Heavy water levels and gas operated appliances like a furnace or water heater is not a safe mix. Water causes corrosion in contact with gas burners and electronic controls like igniters which cause failure problems. These situations could also be the cause of a fire.
 
Our professional technicians at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville are nearby and ready to help. We are locally owned and operated. Water damage is an unanticipated event, but we are ready to help you. We are available 24 hours a day. Call us at (410) 229-0012 and let us restore you quickly to a normal condition.

Common Cleaning Methods Used For Fire Damage

10/14/2016 (Permalink)

When residential or commercial damage occurs due to a fire, restoration is needed to restore families and businesses back to a pre-damaged condition.

Different Cleaning Techniques

When residential or commercial damage occurs due to a fire, a storm, mold or water, restoration is vitally needed to help restore families and businesses back to a pre-damaged condition. SERVPRO uses various methods to help restore personal belongings and furnishings. One such successful method is called “immersion” which employs the scientific advancement of ultrasonic cleaning technology.

Ultrasound cleaning is a technologically advanced method of cleaning contaminants. It is based on the use of sound waves in a specially formulated cleaning fluid. When SERVPRO uses ultrasound as a cleaning method for fire damage in Cockeysville, it successfully helps to restore your valuable contents. Its strength to clean even the most stubborn substances from items affected by fire, water, or mold, stems from the industry approved use of a “transducer.” A transducer is only used by professional remediation technicians who are highly trained in OSHA and IICRC techniques. Professionals know how to safely use ultrasound cleaning because of the complex factors involved.

The factors include heat, power, frequency, detergent type and time, all of which affects the cleaning process to achieve the most effective results to help you become whole again. The method of using ultrasound in the restoration process, involves ultrasonic energy entering a liquid within a tank, causing agitating formation and the collapse of tiny bubbles or “cavitation.” The bubbles quickly increase in size until they implode against the item being cleaned which violently and safely lifts contamination from its surface and recesses. For efficient cleaning, the restoration industry rule is that the lower the frequency, the larger are the cavitation bubbles and higher is the level of energy released.

Ultrasonic cleaning technology works without harming metals, plastics, glass, rubber, ceramics and more. Ultrasound waves completely remove contaminants such as dirt, rust, dust, soot, grease, carbon deposits, mold, wax, lime scale, pigments, bacteria, fingerprints, fungus, algae, biological soil, etc.

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville specializes in a “restore” versus “replace” mentality to help our residents preserve as much of their precious keepsakes and belongings as possible. Our technicians are licensed professionals who are prepared to restore and repair any disaster your home may be experiencing.

We are available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us today and let us explain our restoration services. Our experience and training are designed to give you peace of mind, from a remediation company that is compassionate and trusting – (410) 229-0012.

Contact A Professional Restoration Company When Dealing With Flood Damage

9/23/2016 (Permalink)

No matter the business, an interruption of any kind can make the difference between closing up or staying afloat.

Flood Damage

No matter the business, an interruption of any kind can make the difference between closing up or staying afloat. Even if your insurance policy covers business interruption, an unexpected closure can damage the relationships you have with customers and force any long-term clients to go elsewhere for their needs as a consumer. With this in mind, unexpected catastrophes and disasters can happen, and when they do, whether fire or flood, it is crucial that you get your property restored to a condition of pre-loss as fast and as possible by a reputable company like SERVPRO.

Flood damage in Hampton can strike when you least expect it, and when it comes to restoring your property to its condition before the loss, the faster a team can get to the scene and begin the work that is needed, the better. That is why you will want to call our professionals at SERVPRO, as we are proud to offer emergency response, and we will arrive quickly to start working on the job, any time of day. A large commercial loss due to flooding is a whole different situation than a leak in a wall cavity or a flooded basement. This is why you need to leave a job like this to a professional commercial restoration company like SERVPRO, as we can adequately handle the job. Our contractors have the training and experience needed, plus our fast response time will get your business back up and running quickly.

As a business proprietor, you never want to experience a catastrophe. However, if it does happen, you want to resolve the issue as soon as it is possible so that your business can go back to normal operations. Prompt response time any day or time, combined with the experience, knowledge, and professionalism is what sets our technicians above the rest. Contact us today at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville by dialing (410) 229-0012 for more information on our commercial flood damage restoration services.

Mold Damage Experts

8/21/2016 (Permalink)

Mold Attaches to Porous Surfaces and Spreads Quickly

SERVPRO is Trained in the Latest Effective Methods to Remediate Mold

Molds are natural fungi that are found both indoors and outdoors. These fungi grow exponentially without a clear picture of how many species there are. Molds grow best in damp, warm and humid conditions. The fungi spread and reproduce through spores. Mold spores thrive on moisture and within 48 hours, they can quickly spread through a home or business. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies, which can produce allergens and irritants.
 
If you suspect mold damage in Timonium, whether seen or unseen, we can inspect and assess your property with advanced equipment and expertise to remediate your mold problem. “Stachybotrys chartarum” is a mold type, often called “black mold.” You must treat any type of mold with caution. The question is – can you handle mold removal yourself? There are special precautions to take and special circumstances.
 
Mold remediation includes a DIY cleaning only if mold is covering a small area or if mold is on a non-porous surface like glass, tubs, tiles or sink. Make sure that you don't have any health issues before you come in contact with the mold. If mold is growing on carpets, then you can clean it, if you have the proper techniques and equipment. If not, then quickly remove the carpeting. Aside from these tips, if the opposite is true of these events, then you definitely need a professional to keep your home or office healthy.
 
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only professional technicians should be used if mold covers a large area, such as larger than three feet by three feet. Also, only use a professional if mold is a secondary damage after any type of water damage, especially a storm flooding, where the water can be contaminated. Whether at home or in a business, there can be mold in your HVAC system which must be addressed by mold remediation experts.
 
We at SERVPRO understand mold growth and how it can spread. We don't use fans or heating/cooling systems, which actually spread the spores. Our advanced mold remediation process includes a thorough inspection and assessment solution. Our professionals use various state-of-the-art containment procedures to prevent mold from spreading. We also use specialized filtration equipment, antifungal and antimicrobial treatments, a variety of cleaning techniques to disinfect and clean your belongings.
 
As water and mold professionals of SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville, we have the experience, the expertise, and advanced IICRC training. We are locally and owned and operated. We live and work within the Baltimore County community and are ready to help you with your mold damaged property. Call us at (410) 229-0012 to learn the facts about mold and to dispel any misconceptions. Let us give you peace of mind and a healthier indoor breathing environment.

Mold Damage Found in Your Home

7/26/2016 (Permalink)

Bathroom Mold Damaged Bathroom - Result of Damp Conditions

Regardless of Type, Mold Damage Must be Remediated Thoroughly

Many people are concerned about mold growth they may have found in their home, or because of musty odors they have encountered. Some wish to know which kind of mold they have, although according to the CDC, this will not provide anything beneficial to them. Mold is mold, and all types can cause health effects in people.

But what can mold do to your home's health? In Lutherville, mold damage can affect any part of your home where moisture exists, including walls and ceilings, floors, under stairways, and the contents and belongings you have in your home. These can all be damaged by mold. You need to remove any mold growth, and then have the air cleaned so that spores are filtered out.

Air ducts in your heating and cooling system should be scraped and then vacuumed with a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner.  If your home does not have central air, then your air conditioner should be examined to ensure that it does not have mold growing inside of it. At SERVPRO, we have mold detecting equipment that can quickly determine how much mold is present. We are certified in IICRC methods of not only measuring mold contamination but also remediation of mold.

Mold can grow on the surface of painted drywall, spreading underneath the painted surface. Because of this, it is tough to control without training and specialized equipment. While many sites online claim that mold can be controlled with a bleach and water solution, what they fail to point out is that mold is very hardy, and thrives in damp conditions. This is why many homeowners who attempt to get rid of mold on their own find that the mold not only comes back but comes back in additional locations. We do not recommend homeowners to clean mold because of this, and the fact that when mold is disturbed, it will send off spores, which is a part of its life cycle.

Mold can also grow inside the crevices of natural wood, in the porousness of concrete that never can dry out, and under your roof's eaves outside. Mold can grow anywhere, and scientists have found that while most strains of mold enjoy living in warmer temperatures, there are strains that find it easy enough to survive temperatures that were once thought to kill them off. This means that mold can make it through the winter in warmer states and not be killed off. The most reliable solution is to have certified professionals who are experienced in remediating mold growth in homes and other settings assess your home for mold growth. If mold damage is found, SERVPRO professionals are also skilled and experienced in performing the work needed to protect your home from further damage while restoring and repairing the damage that currently exists.

When mold damage is a concern in your home, call us at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville at (410) 229-0012. We can assist you in cleaning and repairing mold damage and ensure that mold does not easily return. We can also point out practices that we observe that may be the reason behind the mold damage's presence.

What You Should do if You've had Residential Fire Damage

6/27/2016 (Permalink)

If your Cockeysville home has sustained fire damage, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville can quickly restore it back to pre-loss condition!

What You Should Do When Dealing with Fire Damage in Your Home

Life has enough interruptions and bumps along the way without the unwanted disaster of a house fire. The aftermath is almost as bad but much longer-lasting. Even small fires can merit the use of a professional restoration company. Cooking fires that spread beyond the stove, barbecue grills that go haywire, and even small appliances that catch fire can cause damage to surrounding areas. 

Small Fires can Pose High Risks 

While you should never pour water on a grease fire, nor on an electrical one, many times that is a person's first reaction anywhere. This can cause even more damage. Cooking fires and electrical shorts are common causes of Cockeysville fire damage. It can also create physical risks to people standing nearby. With grease fires, baking soda should be poured into the skillet and any grease or oil that has caught fire outside of the cooking pan or skillet instead of water. 

With electrical fires, the appliance should be unplugged if it can be safely done, but not by pulling on the cord. This can cause the cord to snap, leaving the plug, without the cord, still in the outlet. The power to the area where this is happening should be shut off at the fuse box as quickly as possible to eliminate the hazard. 

After the Fire is Out, It's Time to Repair the Damage 

When there's been a localized fire, you should have someone assess the damages for you. This can often help with insurance documentation. Landlords, if you are renting, will also appreciate if you inform them of the fire, and they can see the damage for themselves. It is every landlord's worst nightmare to have a fire or flood damage their properties. If they can see the amount of damage, they can rest easier knowing the extent of the repairs required. Fires do happen, through nobody's fault, and your landlord will know this. 

Damage can range from blackened walls and countertops to heavily burned surfaces, electrical wires being damaged and requiring replacement, to floors suffering damage so severe they must be replaced to be safe again. Having experts conduct the repairs needed can greatly facilitate insurance claims being resolved, as well. 

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

At SERRVPRO of Hunt Valley and Lutherville, we have highly trained and skilled professionals who are experienced in all sizes of fire damage clean-up and restoration. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you clean-up and repair fire damage, no matter how large or small. Call us at (410) 229-0012 to get the necessary damages repaired and the mess eliminated so you can go back to your daily routine. 

Water Damage Experts Restore Residential Lutherville Homes

5/24/2016 (Permalink)

When you are dealing with a water damage emergency in your Lutherville home, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville will take care of it!

Restoring Residential Lutherville Homes From Water Damage

It is a stressful occurrence when you have water everywhere in your home, and there seems to be no stopping it. This is the time when your local residential water damage Lutherville professional is on hand to mitigate the problem. To get water situations under control, the next step is to get you and the family back to some form of normalcy. That begins with the latest and most powerful drying equipment in the industry. SERVPRO technicians are certified in water restoration, so you will have the confidence in knowing things are done properly. 

Occasionally, Lutherville residents experience flooded basements due to storms or burst pipes. A rising water table can shift the soil beneath your home's foundation. This action can cause some structural movement of your home's foundation. In an extreme case, it can cause a home to collapse. Now, most of the time, basements don't flood in Lutherville, but they do experience some minor seepage. 

Seepage is when your basement floor gets little rivulets and water puddles. This type of standing water is not deeper than 1/4" to 1/2." But, just this amount can easily soak and ruin any carpeting and furnishings in your basement. Seepage can happen when there are cracks in your basement's concrete walls or if you have an older home, or when the CMU, the brick or stone foundation leaks. 

It is one thing to get the job done, but it is another to do it with compassion and genuine care. Our professional team will work with you and your insurance company to find out what your immediate concerns are. They will walk you through the cleanup process to make sure that everything goes well. Lutherville water damage extraction is our area of expertise. As an established local business with a strong reputation of quality service in Maryland, we are competent and effective in resolving any water damage concerns. 

Remember, if standing water is not addressed immediately, you could be at risk of many germs causing bacteria and even microscopic mold growth to occur. Our SERVPRO team has the skill needed to disinfect, sanitize, and cleanup after water damage emergencies. We have multiple Disaster Recovery Teams on call 24 hours a day for emergency services, and we are ready and willing to rescue you in the worst of situations. All of our specialists are IICRC-certified and experienced in residential water damage restoration. 

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville is locally owned and operated. We are a part of the community which enables us to respond quicker with the right resources. We will work diligently to help you and your family get back to a pre-water condition. We are proud to serve all of our Maryland communities, including Timonium, Hunt Valley, and Towson. Call us today at (410) 229-0012 to alleviate your emergency concerns. 

Forest Hill Flood damage - Flood damage in Forest Hill and Protecting Your Home

5/2/2016 (Permalink)

One of the greatest ways to protect your Forrest Hill home from flood damage is to devise a plan for prevention.

Protecting Your Home from Flood damage

One of the greatest ways to protect a home from flood damage is to devise a plan for prevention. Even though homeowners cannot predict when a flood will occur or how extensive it will be, they can still take certain measures to minimize the Forrest Hill flood damage. In order to develop the best plan, here're a few recommendations listed below.
 
Recommendation #1 - Do Your Homework on Forrest Hill Flood Damage and How it Applies to the Area
Because some people live on the flood plains, it is important that they carefully consider what needs to be done in these situations. One of the first tasks is to make certain that the family knows how to follow safety guidelines in advance. By knowing what to do before problems occur, it can assist with minimizing issues with fear and everyone can react proactively to get to the safest places as quickly as possible.
 
Recommendation #2 - Public Works Department Provide Flood Maps
Knowing how to prepare for the worst or best possibilities is also a key factor in protecting the family members, the home and the assets within. To assist homeowners with this portion of the preparation, there is information available that is needed and available. In particular, the Public Works Department can provide the property owner with a flood map of their area so that they can review it for the potential impact. For instance, the flood maps will show the homeowner what type of damage that may occur. In some cases, the homeowner may reside in the area that is at the highest level of risk. Which means, in these situations, the owner must be prepared to protect their appliances, water heaters, and other items from damage. In some situations, the owner, and the family may need to move all of these items to a higher floor so that the flood waters cannot cause any unnecessary damage.
 
Recommendation #3 - Electrical Switches and Fuses most positioned above the flood line.
In addition to finding out the severity of the damage that can occur to the home from the Public Works Department, homeowners can also ensure the home’s electrical fuses and switches are seated above their flood line, whenever it is possible. If these items are taking care of in advance, it can also prevent the home’s electrical systems shorting out and causing substantial financial damages.
 
So, for those of you who are interested in finding out more information about preventive measures and how these professionals can help you with your flood damage needs, you can contact SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville at (410) 229-0012.

Commercial Water Damage Cockeysville - To Do or Don't List

3/17/2016 (Permalink)

When water damages your business or commercial property, it is crucial to handle the situation appropriately and safely.

Cockeysville Commercial Water Damage - To Do or Don't List

To Do or Not to Do 

When water damages your business or commercial property in Cockeysville, it is crucial to handle the situation appropriately and safely. 

Always remember you can call a commercial water damage expert in Cockeysville to help you address these challenging situations. Here are some things to do and not to do after water damage has threatened your business or property. 

To Do 

Remember whenever you are dealing with water damage you want to turn off the electricity. This eliminates the possibility of accidental shock or death by electrocution. 

Determine what type of water is present. Is it clear or clean water? Is the water black or contaminated with sewage? 

Remove all types of saturated building materials such as drywall, particle board, among others. These items include wet carpet, drywall, or even insulation. Don't be afraid to call a commercial water damage technician in Cockeysville if the damage is too large to handle on your own. Finally, remember to act quickly. The time you take to respond to the water damage helps reduce damages and costs to your commercial property or business. 

Not To Do 

Do not bite off more than you can chew. In other words, if the job is too large, call a professional right away. They have special equipment, expertise, and trained technicians to reduce damage and cost.

Don't try to dry everything on your own. Typically a damage restoration company in Cockeysville has the right tools to eradicate water from all places. They also know if something can be saved or if it needs to be replaced for health or safety reasons.  

Don't try to restore and replace things too fast. It takes some time to dry the area and treat it with sanitizers and deodorizers. This process can take more than 48 hours. Please be patient. If you rebuild too soon, mold and mold spores can grow rapidly if the area has not been thoroughly dried or cleaned. 

When commercial water damage threatens your business in Cockeysville, Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville at (410) 229-0012 

Lutherville Fire Damage: Why a Fast Response Is So Important

2/26/2016 (Permalink)

It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames.

Why a Fast Response Is Important For Fire Damage In Lutherville

After a fire in Lutherville, you should immediately notify your insurance company. Once you've put in your call to your local restoration specialists, they will secure your home, assess damages, and put together a cost estimate for restoration work. Damage caused by smoke, water, and other factors will be included in an estimate for cleaning, restoring and deodorizing. The experts will go through the entire house, assessing and inventorying all items that may have been damaged by fire, smoke or firefighting efforts. Types of fire damage include burnt structure, personal goods, soot, smoke, water and mold damage. Items assessed include everything from dishes, electronics and clothing to jewelry, furniture and artwork.

What Does the Fire Restoration Process Include?

A professional team will conduct a complete and comprehensive treatment and restoration after Lutherville fire damage. Items that have been affected by the fire will be removed, and personal property that is salvageable will be cleaned, dried and deodorized. The pungent odors caused by various types of smoke will be eliminated throughout the home. Smoke damage can be even more devastating than damage from the fire itself, and special equipment is required to track down the origin and eliminate residual pungent odors. Water damage from firefighting or damaged water pipes will also be mediated. Charred contents like burned wood and insulation can seal in smoke and may need to be removed. Carpeting, flooring, framing and subflooring will be inspected for safety and odors.

What Specific Services Will Help Restore a Home?

Lutherville Fire damage recovery services include comprehensive restoration and cleaning of all structure and property involved in the fire. Starting with board-up service and removal and inventorying of damaged items, our experts will take care of every last piece of property that has suffered fire, smoke or water damage, from electronic equipment repair to furniture refinishing and upholstery cleaning. From structural damage restoration to soot removal, HVAC duct cleaning, content restoration, biohazard cleaning and water damage mitigation, your local restoration specialists will attend to all aspects of restoring your home after the devastation of a house fire.

Fire damage mitigation experts have the experience and specialized equipment necessary to safely restore your home and property, eliminate the source of all post-fire odors, ferret out and repair water damage, and prevent the insidious growth of mold. 

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville is strategically located to respond quickly to your flood and water emergency event. When fire damage occurs, we have the resources and personnel to help. Call us today! (410) 229-0012

The Bathroom: Towson Water Damage Hot Spot

12/23/2015 (Permalink)

Don't Let a Leaky Faucet Become a Service Call from SERVPRO

Call SERVPRO to Restore Your Water Damaged Towson Bathroom

Water damage in Towson often originates in the bathroom. Given the fact that multiple plumbing systems are often confined to a small space, it's not surprising to find that bathrooms tend to experience a wide variety of water damage emergencies. Although these issues can pose serious problems in your household, especially if a sewer or septic tank backup is the cause, learning more about them can prevent your property from becoming a mess. SERVPRO offers the following information you need regarding water damage in the privy.

Leaking Shower Pipes & Pans. Water damage that transpires from a small constant drip over time can be problematic for several reasons. First, it can cause mold problems. Second, the insurance company may not support your claim. And unfortunately, you may run into both of these problems if you experience a leaky shower fixture, pipe or a cracked shower pan. Over the course of time, the water can wick into your subfloor and wall voids. The accumulation of moisture in an enclosed, dark space is an open invitation for mold spores to start a colony. To prevent these issues from taking place, be sure to inspect your shower visually and ensure that there are no cracks in the shower pan area. Keep jointed areas with tile well caulked. If you fear a hidden leak, call SERVPRO to inspect the bathroom and offer suggestions or service.

Sinks. The most common type of water damage results from the breakdown of the supply line connection. When this connection is broken, pooling water will accumulate in the base cabinet of the sink. Don't put a pan there. Fix the leak before it becomes a deluge requiring water damage service. Be aware of this problem area.

Toilets. Toilets can be a big culprit for water damage. Even toilets that were installed and well maintained can malfunction and generate excess standing water in the bathroom. With this idea in mind, make sure that you inspect your toilet every couple of months to detect any tiny cracks in the porcelain. Replace the water tank float at the first hint of sticking. Also, be sure to check the toilet's supply lines and taps. If the commode rocks, the wax seating leading to the drain should be replaced.

Let The Professionals Of SERVPRO Assist You. While maintaining your household appliances and equipment is a great way to prevent water damage in Towson, it's important to know that disaster could still strike at any moment. To ensure that you can secure professional remediation services from a team of IICRC-certified technicians, keep the experts of SERVPRO in mind. If possible, we will assist you with your insurance claim. Don't let a drip become a flash flood. Call us 24/7 to restore your home to its pre-loss condition.

Highly-Trained Water Restoration Specialists

As leaders in the water damage industry, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville has advanced training and expertise, not to mention a tremendous amount of hands-on experience. We use this training and experience to quickly dry your home and restore it back to pre-water damage condition. Call us for 24/7 service. (410) 229-0012

Why Time is of the Essence in Lutherville Water Damage

11/24/2015 (Permalink)

According to the EPA, the first 24-48 hours are the most crucial when dealing with water damage.

Lutherville Water Damage Time Crunch

Water Damage: A Brief Overview

Once your home or office is affected by water damage in Lutherville, there are numerous things you will need to do to restore order and safety to your property. In many cases, residential and commercial property owners feel overwhelmed upon considering all of the steps they will have to take to accomplish this objective. However, learning more about water damage and companies that offer restoration services can empower you to optimize and expedite the remediation process.

 Water Damage: The Basics

Water damage can result from numerous factors, including a natural disaster. In addition to surfacing as a result of a flood or fire, Lutherville water damage can be caused by household issues such as a burst pipe or malfunctioning washing machine. Irrespective of the cause, excess water in your home or office is a serious issue that must be addressed immediately and effectively. This is the case for several reasons, including the fact that water can begin seeping into your walls, carpet padding, hardwood floors, and other property structures. If left unattended, water damage can cause serious issues such as the collapse of your ceiling.

 More Consequences Of Water Damage

 In addition to compromising the structural integrity of your residential or commercial property, water damage in Lutherville can lead to a plethora of health problems. This is the case because water damage creates the ideal conditions for mold to thrive in. Once property residents haven been exposed to mold, they become increasingly susceptible to health complications like skin infections, respiratory problems, lung complications, sinus infections, and cancer. Additionally, mold growth and proliferation can give rise to unwanted smells that begin to permeate ceilings, floors, and walls.

 Getting Professional Assistance

 After you realize that your home has been impacted by water damage, you should immediately call for professional assistance. Trained remediation specialists will be able to offer you comprehensive services that restore your property. The first step in the restoration process is the property inspection and assessment. This process will enable the remediation specialists to determine the extent of damages done to the property. Once these determinations have been made, the restoration experts will know which equipment and techniques to deploy to restore your property to its original condition.

 The Importance Of The Drying Process

 One of the best ways to prevent water damage from creating a high moisture environment that gives rise to mold is to thoroughly dry the property. Water remediation specialists understand this principle, and they use specialized equipment such as dehumidifiers and air movers to accomplish the objective. In many cases, a thorough drying of the property can eliminate the need to replace hardwood floor, carpet, and walls.

 The professionals of SERVPRO possess advanced water damage restoration skills, and we also offer the type of exceptional customer service that will set you at ease throughout the process. Our IICRC-certified technicians utilize a proven six-step restoration process to ensure that your residential or commercial property is made new with lightning speed.

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

 As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville is strategically located to respond quickly to your flood and water emergency event. When water damage occurs in Lutherville, Parkton, or Towson, we have the resources and personnel to help. Call us today! (410) 229-0012

Mold Remediation Can Be a Serious Matter in a Towson Home

9/25/2015 (Permalink)

Mold on a wall Don't Let Mold Take Over Your House

SERVPRO'S Mold Remediation Process Will Make Your Towson Home Healthy Again

Most homeowners know mold growth that occurs in your Towson residential property can pose a variety of health risks to you and your loved ones. Additionally, mold growth can cause structural damage to your property. For these reasons, it is important that you handle any mold issues you experience as soon as they surface. To learn more about mold and the importance of obtaining professional assistance with the mold remediation process, consider the information found below:

Mold Assessment

Although you may be inclined to remove mold by completing a do-it-yourself project, this is not the most practical way to get rid of the fungus. Mold removal is difficult for several reasons. Though household mold is likely not toxic, there is a great chance that the infestation caused by growth due to excess water or humidity is toxic. Second, using incorrect cleaning techniques to remove mold can cause the spores to proliferate and grow in other regions of your home. SERVPRO will assess the situation in your home environment and then start to execute a plan of action specific to your home in Towson.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you should contact a professional company in the event that the infestation covers a region totaling over 10 square feet. A mold remediation company like SERVPRO has all of the training, experience, and tools necessary to expedite and optimize the remediation process. Careful protocol must be followed to prevent mold proliferation during the removal and remediation processes. This may include containment devices (negative air chambers), "air scrubbers', and HEPA vacuums. Other equipment and chemicals are at the ready.

When Should You Call A Mold Remediation Company?

There are several situations in which you should call a mold remediation company. Some of them include:

• The mold is covering 10 square feet (a rule of thumb)
• You think there may be some hidden mold on the property (odor)
• You don't know how expansive the mold issue is
• The mold returns despite your repeated cleaning
• There are moisture issues in your home
• One or more people in your household suffer from allergy symptoms or asthma

If you are currently experiencing mold issues at your residential property in Towson, it's important to know that professional solutions exist that will successfully eradicate the mold. By calling a team of well-trained, highly skilled remediation specialists, you can receive the expedient assistance necessary to get your home back in healthy condition. When you're ready to get this process started, the team to call is SERVPRO. With over 50 years in the industry, we possess the knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to quickly return your home to its previous healthy condition. Contact us today so we can get the mold remediation process going!

Call us at (410) 229-0012

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