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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Prepare Your Home for an Emergency

5/10/2019 (Permalink)

Planning for any emergency requires considering all likely scenarios that could result when things that you rely on daily- such as electricity, water, heat, air conditioning, telephone services and transportation- are disrupted or lost for a considerable amount of time. Consequently, you should plan on having food, water, and other essential goods to get you through the emergency. Most emergency management planner suggests having enough supplies to last you and your family for three to five days for weather -related events. However, many things may affect you decision, including storage space, special needs, number of people I the household and available resources.

The basic items that should be stored in your home include water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools, emergency supplies, and specialty items. Keep the items that you would most likely need at home in one easy-to-carry container such as a plastic storage bin, backpack, or duffel bag. Store it in a convenient place and put a smaller version in your car. Remember to change the stored water and rotate the food supplies every six months (place dates on the containers). Check the supplies and re-evaluate your needs every year. Consult your physician or pharmacist about storing medications, and maintain a current list of your family’s prescription needs.

Tornado Safety

5/10/2019 (Permalink)

Tornado Safety - what YOU Can Do!

Before the Storm:

  • Develop a plan for you and your family for home, work, school, and when outdoors.
  • Have frequent drills
  • Know the county in which you live, and keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movements from weather bulletins.
  • Have a NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio with a warning alarm tone and batter back-up to receive warnings.
  • Listen to radio and television for information
  • If planning a trip outdoors, listen to the latest forecasts and take necessary action if threatening weather is possible.

If a Tornado Warning is issued or if threatening weather approaches

  • In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement.
  • If an underground shelter is not available, more to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture.
  • Stay away from windows
  • Do not try to out run a tornado in your car: get out of your car immediately and seek nearby safe shelter in a sturdy building.
  • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.
  • If in open country and no shelter is available, lie flat and face down on low ground protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away as possible from trees and cars, as they can be blown onto you.

WHAT TO DO UNTIL HELP ARRIVES

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO WHAT TO DO UNTIL HELP ARRIVES Water damage

  • Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building, when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture.
  • Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors.
  • Hang draperies with coated hangers to avoid contact with with carpeting or floors.
  • Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.

Water Heater Maintenance

4/30/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Heater Maintenance Water Heater

Water heaters work hard for you, providing warm baths, clean clothes, and sparkling pots and pans. So show your water heater some love by following a routine maintenance schedule that will keep it running for its 15-year expected lifetime, and perhaps beyond.

Adjust the thermostat to 120 degrees. You’ll save up to 5% in energy costs for every 10 degrees you lower the temperature, plus you’ll reduce the risk of scalding.

Always maintain 2 feet of clearance around the appliance unless the manual specifically states otherwise.

Drain about a quarter of the tank a few times a year to remove sediment and debris. Turn off the cold water supply, hook up a garden hose to the drain valve, then run into a bucket until the water is clear. If the water remains cloudy, briefly open the water supply valve to stir up remaining sediment, and drain the tank again. This also makes the unit operate more quietly.

Is your building sick?

4/30/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Is your building sick? office building

Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a medical condition where people in a building suffer from symptoms of illness or feel unwell for no apparent reason. The symptoms tend to increase in severity with the time people spend in the building, and improve over time or even disappear when people are away from the building. The main identifying observation is an increased incidence of complaints of symptoms such as headache, eye, nose, and throat irritation, fatigue, and dizziness and nausea. These symptoms appear to be linked to time spent in a building, though no specific illness or cause can be identified. SBS is also used interchangeably with "building-related symptoms", which orients the name of the condition around patients rather than a "sick" building. A 1984 World Health Organization report suggested up to 30% of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be subject of complaints related to poor indoor air quality.

Sick building causes are frequently pinned down to flaws in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. However, there have been inconsistent findings on whether air conditioning systems result in SBS or not. Other causes have been attributed to contaminants produced by out gassing of some types of building materials, volatile organic compounds, molds, improper exhaust ventilation of ozone, light industrial chemicals used within, or lack of adequate fresh-air intake/air filtration.

Duct Cleaning

4/29/2019 (Permalink)

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
  • home renovation or remodeling projects
  • Some occupants are more sensitive to these contaminants than others. Allergy and asthma sufferers, as well as young children and the elderly tend to be more susceptible to the types of poor indoor air quality that air duct cleaning can help address.

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.

Through normal occupation in a home, we generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the duct work.

While dirty ducts don’t necessarily mean unhealthy air in your home, school or workplace, they may be contributing to larger health issues or harboring contaminants that could cause serious problems for people with respiratory health conditions, autoimmune disorders or some environmental allergies.

Fire Damage

2/28/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage Soot webs

In 2018, the most recent year statistics are available, 1,319,500 fires were reported in the United States. These blazes caused 3,430 deaths and 14,670 civilian injuries while costing more than $23.6 billion in damage! Though some fires are unavoidable acts of nature or unpredictable accidents, many fires in the home and workplace are avoidable. The following tips, courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association, can help reduce the likelihood of a fire in your business or home.

1        Watch your cooking - Stay in the kitchen if you are frying, grilling or broiling food. Never allow young children around the stove or oven, especially if they are not closely attended.

2        Give space heaters space - Keep space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn.

3        Smoke outside - If you must smoke inside, have a sturdy, deep ashtray. Never smoke in bed.

4        Keep matches and lighters out of reach - Keep matches and lighters in high cabinets, preferably under a child lock.

5        Inspect electrical cords - Replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have broken plugs    or have loose connections.

6        Be careful when using candles - Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn. Blow them out before you leave the room or go to sleep.

7        Have a fire escape plan - Make a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.

8        Install smoke alarms - Install alarms on every level of your office or home and inside bedrooms. Interconnect them so they all sound at once.

9        Test smoke alarms - Test alarms once per month. Replace batteries once per year or as needed.

10      Install sprinklers - Sprinklers can help maintain and sometimes even extinguish fires, giving your local fire department a better chance of saving your property.

Storm Damage

2/28/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Storm Damage storm damage

FLOOD TIPS AND ACTION STEPS

AFTER A FLOOD

SAFETY FIRST (For businesses and home owners)

  •  Account that all employees or family members are safe by establishing evacuation plans in advance, identifying areas outside the building that are designated meeting places. Assign select individuals to keep a list of their assigned team’s names and contact numbers in order to account for their whereabouts.
  • If water enters the building and evacuation becomes impossible, move to an upper floor, and wait for rescuers.
  •  While evacuating, avoid attempting to drive through floods or rising water, nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are auto-related.
  •  Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  •  Do not walk through moving water. Even six inches of moving water can make you fall.
  •  Use no open flames (there may be gas escaping from ruptured mains).
  •  Avoid floodwaters. Water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged. If the water has entered the structure through the flooding of a creek, stream or river, or if it has filtered through insulation during its intrusion, it is considered to be black water and could be hazardous to your health. Avoid contact with contaminated items as much as possible.
  •  Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
  •  Listen for news reports to learn if the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
  •  Return only when authorities indicate it is safe.

SECURE THE PROPERTY

  • Contact local emergency officials.
  • Secure main entrances to building.
  •  Alert Security company and Alarm company of the situation.

STABILIZE THE PROPERTY

  • Open basement or low-level windows to equalize water pressure on the building’s foundation and walls.
  • Begin water damage mitigation steps only if local emergency officials deem the structure safe to enter.
  •  Notify your insurance agent or Risk Manager to determine insurance policy guidelines and steps to take.

Who let the deer in?

2/28/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Who let the deer in? Who let the deer in?

A true story ...We got a call from a panicked customer who had just returned from being out of town for a few days. She found a juvenile white tailed deer had jumped through a window in her basement. The deer was still alive, but disoriented enough to not know how to get out of the house. Additionally, the deer, in its rummaging around through the kitchen area of the basement, had jumped on the counter tops and managed to turn the water on in the kitchen sink. Before long, the basement floor was full of water and one very confused deer. When we arrived on the scene 20 minutes later, the owner had coaxed the deer out of the house. That's when we went to work cleaning up blood, urine and hundreds of gallons of water. Shortly thereafter, we fired up our equipment and dried out the entire basement.

How to put out a kitchen fire

2/28/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How to put out a kitchen fire fire

When a fire starts in the kitchen, you need to act fast to keep the fire from getting out of control. But how you act depends on what kind of fire you have and where it is. Follow these instructions for putting out kitchen fires:

If you have a fire in the oven or the microwave, close the door or keep it closed, and turn off the oven. Don’t open the door! The lack of oxygen will suffocate the flames.If your oven continues to smoke like a fire is still going on in there, call the fire department.If you have a fire in a cooking pan, use an oven mitt to clap on the lid, then move the pan off the burner, and turn off the stove. The lack of oxygen will stop the flames in a pot.

If you can’t safely put the lid on a flaming pan or you don’t have a lid for the pan, use your fire extinguisher. Aim at the base of the fire — not the flames.Never use water to put out grease fires! Water repels grease and can spread the fire by splattering the grease. Instead, try one of these methods:

If the fire is small, cover the pan with a lid and turn off the burner.Throw lots of baking soda or salt on it. Never use flour, which can explode or make the fire worse. Smother the fire with a wet towel or other large wet cloth.

Use a fire extinguisher. Don’t swat at a fire with a towel, apron, or other clothing. You’re likely to fan the flames and spread the fire.If the fire is spreading and you can’t control it, get everyone out of the house and call 911! Make sure everybody in your family knows how to get out of the house safely in case of a fire. Practice your fire escape route.

why should I clean my carpets?

2/28/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO why should I clean my carpets? Steam Clean

Top ten reasons why you should get your carpet cleaned

  1. Prolongs the life of carpeting. Regular carpet cleaning using the extraction method can increase the life of carpets significantly, protecting your floor-covering investment.
  1. Protects indoor air quality. Carpets trap airborne pollutants; however, eventually those pollutants must be removed in order to protect the carpet and maintain indoor air quality.
  1. Makes carpets easier to maintain. Most carpet soiling is made up of dry soils; when carpets are kept thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis, most dry soils can be removed with regular vacuuming.
  1. Removes spots and stains. As with other soils, spots and stains can attract more soiling. Removing them promptly protects carpeting from damage.
  1. Prevents buildup of allergens and bacteria. Moist soiling of carpets can result in the buildup of several unhealthy contaminants.
  1. Enhances the appearance of any room. Clean, well-maintained carpets speak volumes about the overall cleanliness of a home or facility.
  1. Improves worker morale. Workers feel better about their work environment when it is clean. This includes the carpeting.
  1. Makes carpeting look and feel clean and fresh.
  1. Removes dust mites and bedbugs that may have found a home in carpets.
  1. Maintains the carpet’s warranty. Most carpet warranties require that carpets be cleaned using the extraction method within a specific amount of time, usually every 12 to 18 months.

Carpet delamination

2/25/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Carpet delamination delaminated carpet

Carpets consist of four distinct layers. The face yarn is the topmost, and it’s stitched to the next layer, known as primary carpet backing. Made with a pre-developed piece of fabric, it provides support and enhances the integrity of the carpet. Manufacturers then apply a bonding layer that affixes the primary backing to the final section, known as secondary backing. This piece improves the installation process by improving the carpet’s stability.

 The backing layers may separate when the bonding layer fails. Sometimes it’s due to poor installation, but in other cases it can happen when the carpet is damaged by water. A flood, for example, can leave the carpet soaked for days. That’s just enough time to weaken the bonding agent and cause the backing layers to separate. Even overexposure to moisture during carpet cleaning or due to harsh products can cause the problem. Heavy traffic may also eventually lead to adhesive separation between the carpet padding layers.

Emergency Ready Profile

2/13/2019 (Permalink)

General Emergency Ready Profile ERP

Most people don’t plan for a disaster, but you can always be ready for it. Did you know 50% of businesses never recover following a disaster? Preparation is very important to making it through any size disaster whether it is a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is down and get you back in the building following a disaster.

Advantages of the SERVPRO emergency Ready Profile

  • A no cost assessment of your facility
  • A concise profile document containing only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas, and priority contact information

This App is of no cost to you. It is a complimentary service that SERVPRO of Carroll County will provide to you. We hope that you use us in the event of a disaster, but in the end that choice will always be yours!

Are wood burning stove safe?

2/1/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Are wood burning stove safe? wood stove

The chimney for a wood burning stove must be masonry or UL-listed, and factory built. Never, under any circumstances, should an unlined, single brick chimney be used for a wood stove. Single brick chimneys are prone to failure, which may allow potentially dangerous situations to develop.

There are lots older homes that have unlined chimneys constructed of double brick. These may be used for a wood stove after carefully checking for cracked mortar or loose or missing brick. Metal sleeves that are listed by the Underwriters Laboratory may be used as chimney lines if they were designed for such use.

Factory built, metal chimneys must never be used with a coal stove, as the corrosive flue gases produced by a coal fire will cause a rapid failure of the chimney. Metal chimneys should be completely disassembled after a chimney fire and checked for damage. Discoloration of the exterior indicates a possible breakdown of the insulating material. Any questionable section should be replaced.

A wood burning stove should never be connected to a wood stove flue which vents an oil burner. Deadly, unburned vapors from the oil burner could back up into the stove and the room where it is located.If your home came with an existing wood burning stove, you should have it serviced and inspected before use.

Ventilation for your wood burning stove

Venting the stove is the most important part of the wood-burning system. 90% of all stove-related fires start within the venting system. A venting system is not a chimney – it consists of lengths of 24-gauge or heavier, insulated stovepipe which connects the stove to an approved chimney.

Stovepipe clearance is extremely important. It must never pass through an interior wall, floor, or ceiling. Where possible, the insulated stovepipe must go directly into a lined masonry or UL-listed, factory-built chimney. If stovepipe must pass through an exterior wall to reach the chimney, maintain an 18-inch minimum clearance to all combustibles. Consult fire codes and use metal thimbles designed for this purpose.

Use proper fuel

Hardwoods, such as maple, beech, ash, hickory, or oak, are the best fuel for a wood burning stove. Wood should be cut, split and air dried for at least a year before burning. Well-seasoned hardwood will show cracks in the ends. Wood will dry faster and remain dry and protected from the elements if stored in a shed or under a tarp.

Regular cleaning

Use a wire brush to clean your stovepipe and chimney at least once a year. Also, occasionally use controlled high-temperature fires in the stove or furnace. Salt-based chemical cleaners are not very affective.  Never use heavy items such as chains, bricks or a brush on the end of a rope, because they could seriously damage the interior chimney lining.

Avoid creosote buildup

Creosote is a highly combustible fuel that burns intensely. A slow-burning fire such as those found in a modern, airtight stove damped way down, produces a flue temperature in the 100-200 degree Fahrenheit range. These comparatively low temperatures do not sufficiently carry all of the unburned, combustible gases into the atmosphere. Instead, they condense along the walls of the stovepipe and the chimney as creosote. Creosote may take 3 forms:

  • A sticky liquid that will run down the chimney and stove pipe where it will be burned
  • A flaky, black deposit which is easily removed by brushing
  • A hard, glazed tar which is almost impossible to remove, except by a certified professional chimney sweep

Tips for building a fire

  • Season wood outdoors through the hot, dry summer for at least 6 months before burning it. Properly seasoned wood is darker, has cracks in the end grain, and sounds hollow when smacked against another piece of wood.
  • Store wood outdoors, stacked neatly off the ground with the top covered.
  • Start fires with clean newspaper and dry kindling.
  • Burn hot, bright fires. But use smaller fires in milder weather.
  • Let the fire burn down to coals, then rake the coals toward the air inlet (and wood stove door), creating a mound. Do not spread the coals flat.
  • Reload your wood stove by adding at least three pieces of wood each time, on and behind the mound of hot coals. Avoid adding one log at a time.
  • Regularly remove ashes from the wood stove into a metal container with a cover, and store outdoors.

Water class and category

2/1/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water class and category water damage

There are 3 Basic Categories of Water

Category 1 originates from a sanitary source and poses no substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure. However, it may not always remain clean after it comes into contact with other surfaces or materials.

Category 2 contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans. It may contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms, as well as other organic or inorganic matter (chemical or biological).

Category 3 is grossly contaminated and may contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents. Such water sources may carry silt, organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or toxic organic substances.

The 4 Primary Classifications of Water Damage

Class 1 is the least amount of water, absorption and evaporation.  It affects only part of a room or area, or larger areas containing materials that have absorbed minimal moisture.  Little or no wet carpet and/or cushion is present.

Class 2 involves a large amount of water, absorption and evaporation.  It affects at least an entire room of carpet and cushion (pad).  Water has wicked up walls less than 24 inches.  There is moisture remaining in structural materials and substructure soil.

Class 3 involves the greatest amount of water, absorption and evaporation.  Water may have come from overhead.  Ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, cushion and subfloor in virtually all of the entire area are saturated.

Class 4 relates to specialty drying situations.  Wet materials with very low permeance/porosity (eg. hardwood, plaster, brick, concrete, light-weight concrete and stone).  Typically, there are deep pockets of saturation, which require very low specific humidity.  These types of losses may require longer drying times and special methods.

Mold vs Mildew

2/1/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Mold vs Mildew mold

There are 3 Basic Categories of Water

Category 1 originates from a sanitary source and poses no substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure. However, it may not always remain clean after it comes into contact with other surfaces or materials.

Category 2 contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans. It may contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms, as well as other organic or inorganic matter (chemical or biological).

Category 3 is grossly contaminated and may contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents. Such water sources may carry silt, organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or toxic organic substances.

The 4 Primary Classifications of Water Damage

Class 1 is the least amount of water, absorption and evaporation.  It affects only part of a room or area, or larger areas containing materials that have absorbed minimal moisture.  Little or no wet carpet and/or cushion is present.

Class 2 involves a large amount of water, absorption and evaporation.  It affects at least an entire room of carpet and cushion (pad).  Water has wicked up walls less than 24 inches.  There is moisture remaining in structural materials and substructure soil.

Class 3 involves the greatest amount of water, absorption and evaporation.  Water may have come from overhead.  Ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, cushion and subfloor in virtually all of the entire area are saturated.

Class 4 relates to specialty drying situations.  Wet materials with very low permeance/porosity (eg. hardwood, plaster, brick, concrete, light-weight concrete and stone).  Typically, there are deep pockets of saturation, which require very low specific humidity.  These types of losses may require longer drying times and special methods.

Sump pump maintenance

2/1/2019 (Permalink)

General Sump pump maintenance sump pump

Sump Pump Maintenance

Most sump pumps are equipped with water level or flood alarms, usually battery powered, that alert you if the pump isn't working properly and water is backing up. More sophisticated systems can notify your alarm company or call your cell phone if the water starts to rise. Fortunately, this shouldn't happen often! Sump pumps on the whole are quite reliable. But as with any other important piece of equipment, regular maintenance is always a good idea. Spend a few minutes every few months, when heavy rains are forecast and in early spring to ensure reliable sump pump operation. Basic sump pump maintenance is usually as simple as doing these few jobs.

  • Make sure the pump is plugged in to a working ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet and the cord is in good shape. In damp areas, GFCI ­breakers may trip, effectively shutting off the sump pump. Check in on your sump pump periodically so you can reset the GFCI if necessary.
  • Ensure the pump itself is standing upright. Vibrations during operation can cause it to fall or tilt onto one side. This can jam the float arm so it won’t be able to activate the pump.
  • Periodically dump a bucket of water into the pit to make sure the pump starts automatically and the water drains quickly once the pump is on. If the pump doesn't start, have it serviced.
  • Physically remove a submersible pump from the pit and clean the grate on the bottom. The sucking action of the pump can pull small stones into the grate, blocking the inlet or damaging the pump over time.
  • Ensure the outlet pipes are tightly joined together and draining out at least 20 feet (6 meters) away from your foundation.
  • Make sure the vent hole in the discharge pipe is clear.

Another important point is the sump pumps power supply. The fact that sump pumps rely on electricity to operate does make them vulnerable in the event of a power outage. Fortunately, there are backup options available. Sump pumps with backup battery power are also commonly available. The backup power comes from a car battery -- or even better, a deep cycle boat battery. Most of the systems charge the batteries while the power is on, ensuring the battery is fully charged in the event of a power outage. Alternatively, a trickle charger used for car batteries is also an option.

If all else fails, you can turn to a hand-operated bilge pump or a bucket brigade to move water out of the pit during a power outage.

Winter Storm Safety

12/6/2018 (Permalink)

WINTER STORM SAFETY

  • Stay indoors and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater. If you feel too warm, remove layers to avoid sweating; if you feel chilled, add layers.
  • Listen to a local station on battery-powered radio or television or to NOAA Weather Radio for updated emergency information.
  • Bring your companion animals inside before the storm begins.
  • Move other animals to sheltered areas with a supply of non-frozen water. Most animal deaths in winter storms are caused by dehydration.
  • Eat regularly. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
  • Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Drink liquids such as warm broth or juice. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, accelerates the symptoms of hypothermia. Alcohol, such as brandy, is a depressant and hastens the effects of cold on the body. Alcohol also slows circulation and can make you less aware of the effects of cold. Both caffeine and alcohol can cause dehydration.
  • Conserve fuel. Winter storms can last for several days, placing great demand on electric, gas, and other fuel distribution systems (fuel oil, propane, etc.). Lower the thermostat to 65° F (18° C) during the day and to 55° F (13° C) at night. Close off unused rooms, and stuff towels or rags in cracks under the doors. Cover the windows at night.
  • Check on relatives, neighbors, and friends, particularly if they are elderly or if they live alone.

water alarms

12/5/2018 (Permalink)

Water alarms can be very helpful and can save you money! Water alarms are made to detect water leaks, overflowing or broken sump pumps, or an overflowing toiler. That could come in really handy, especially if you’ve spent a small fortune finishing your basement. Even if you haven’t, a water alarm can help you avoid some costly issues, which can include anything from property damage to mold and mildew.

Ideal Locations to Install Water Alarms:

HVAC unit - There are condensation pumps, usually located at the foot of the unit, these pumps clog easily and often leak unnoticed  

Near a Washing Machine – A busted hose can do incredible amounts of damage in short amount of time.

Bathrooms & Kitchens – It could be a leaky pipe or someone simply forgetting to turn off a faucet. Either way, you’re prepared.

            Other locations include under cabinets, in basement corners or near your water heater. Think about your home and all of the places where a water alarm can stand guard against water damage. When choosing your water alarm, you will have several options from a simply battery-powered alarm. These simple alarms can be found at Home Depot or Lowes for under $15.00.

Dryer Vent Fire

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

DRYER VENT FIRE

Dryer vent cleaning is a chore that most homeowners often forget. Dryers are a luxury that many homeowners have the delight of possessing. From a consumer report taken in 2009, about 80% of all households within the United States have a gas or electric clothes dryer. Specifically, 73% of households own an electric dryer, while approximately 20% own a gas-powered counterpart. Despite this amenity, there is a risk to consider when owning one of these machines. Fires can likely occur, in many cases due to both the improper care of dryer venting and the lint trap.

Longer Drying Times

If a dryer vent is clogged, a typical drying cycle could take twice as long as normal. In addition, clothing may appear to be damp or not properly dried. Dryers push the hot air out of the system through the vent. The vent could be blocked by lint particles, keeping the air inside the dryer moist and warm.

Dryer is Extremely Hot

Do you notice that your clothing is very hot at the end of a cycle or the dryer is hot to touch? This warning sign means the vent is not exhausting properly. If your system is clogged, it not only wastes energy but also can cause the heating element and blower in the dryer to wear out faster.

Burnt Odors

Your dryer may emit occasional burning odors due to the buildup of dryer lint. Lint can build up in the exhaust tube connect to the dryer unit. Lint is highly flammable and can combust due to the high temperatures and heat within the unit. To remedy this, make sure to empty the lint trap often.

So, where are the tips to prevent these dangers from happening and benefitting you? Below are benefits to keeping your dryer vent clean.

Increase the Life of Your Clothing

When the vents of your dryer are clogged, this creates more heat. What happens is that your clothes get more heat than they should be getting and end up damaged. The fibers of fabric tend to break apart due to an increase in heat during the regular drying process. Dryers that are clogged require a longer time for drying and cause damage to fibers in the extremely hot environment. To ensure proper working conditions and preserved clothing, get your dryer vents cleaned by professionals.

Save Energy and Money

When the vent line of your dryer is clogged, the running time will have a tendency to increase. The accumulation of line or other vent line blockages will cause inefficient dryer operation and a restriction in vent lines. This might even cause your machine to go to a complete stop for no apparent reason. You may not even notice what is happening. To avoid this, consider cleaning your vents every couple of months. You end up saving money since you won’t have to pay for all the extra run time costs month after month. Plus, you get the job done in half the time.

If you clean your vent on a regular basis, you can extend the lifespan of your dryer. Clogged vents indicate a less than perfect performing dryer. If you were to clean this, you can save money on your energy bills. In some instances, an unclean vent can increase your energy bills by as much as thirty dollars a month. If properly cleaned, you could save money on HVAC repairs and your monthly bills

Protein Fire

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Protein Fire

You had dinner cooking and the phone rang, then you had visitors knocking on your door and lost track of time. An hour or two later you realize your long-awaited meal is now a charred clump of chicken or roast with a pot of burnt beans – with a distinct, overwhelming rancid smell. What you have actually created is what the Restoration Industry refers to as a Protein Fire .Smoke damage resulting from the extreme burn of a protein enriched fiber.

At first glance, protein fires do not appear to cause any damage to your home and contents. But in fact, the aftermath of a protein fire is an invisible and often sticky, foul smelling residue that coats the many surfaces throughout your home.

Restoration after this kind of fire requires special products and experience.

When you experience this kind of damage, DO:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent residue from being embedded into your upholstery and carpeting.
  • Keep your hands clean. Residue on hands can soil upholstery, woodwork and walls.
  • Place old linens on rugs, upholstery and areas where there is traffic..
  • Contact your insurance company to make a claim.

But DO NOT:

  • Attempt to clean anything. Household cleaners applied to the surfaces will not clean away the residue.
  • Use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, as they may be contaminated.
  • Attempt to launder your clothing,  clothing from a protein fire require specialized cleaning.
  • Wait to call our office for professional help!

Mold in my basement

11/23/2018 (Permalink)

Several times a week during this humid rainy summer we get called to inspect a basement with apparent mold growth primarily on furniture, clothing, and some of the drywall or paneling. With no apparent water damage, homeowners are stumped as to why they have mold. Here are some common factors in these outbreaks:

  1. Homeowners don’t go down to the basement much anymore.
  2. Humidity control by dehumidifier or central air conditioning is absent.
  3. If air conditioning is available, many times the vents are closed.
  4. Very little direct light and little or no air-flow.

 So if you have a basement that does have air conditioning, make sure you leave the vents open during the summer heat and humidity – even if you don’t use the space often.

If you don’t have AC, put dehumidifiers in the space and use the manufacturer’s recommendations as to how much space the unit will handle. You may need more than one. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a fan running to circulate the air.

Sharon Miller Memorial: Swing Against ALS Golf Outing

9/16/2016 (Permalink)

ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Every day an average of 15 people are newly diagnosed with ALS. It is responsible for 2 deaths per 100,000 people.

On August 5th, 2016 SERVPRO of Carroll County was honored to sponsor and participate in the 6th annual Swing Against ALS Golf Outing on behalf of the Sharon Miller Memorial. This event is near and dear to the heart of one of our employees. It was a beautiful day and went off without a hitch.

For more information visit: www.alsa.org

Carroll County Emergency Preparedness Expo

9/15/2016 (Permalink)

Community Carroll County Emergency Preparedness Expo The Expo Flyer

Come out the annual Carroll County Emergency Preparedness Expo. This is a wonderful event where families can become more familiar with several aspects of emergency readiness, response and recovery teams. There will be live demonstrations, information booths, give-aways, and even prizes. SERVPRO of Carroll County will have their own booth right next to the MSFA Side by Side Burn Demonstration Trailer. Stop by anytime between 10 am - 2pm on September 24, 2016. We would love to see you!