Helping homebuyers avoid purchasing a home with an active mold infestation and mold damage
Blog Summary: When purchasing a home, homebuyers will want to make sure that the house does not have a mold problem that will require mold remediation services. SERVPRO® of Media is sharing a mold inspection checklist to help people identify and avoid mold-infested homes.
The experts at SERVPRO of Media are dedicated to providing dependable water damage restoration and mold remediation services for Newtown Square, PA, clients, including homebuyers who have purchased a house that needs mold remediation.
When and where to inspect for mold
Before ever making an offer on a home, go over the property with a mold checklist in hand to avoid assuming a problem that nobody wants to have, especially a new homeowner. A spot check on both outside and inside the home may reveal evidence of mold. Recommended equipment includes an LED headlamp for hands-free inspection, nitrile gloves, protective eyewear, and a mask. Document the inspection with images and video with a smartphone.
Phase one: Start on the outside of the home.
Begin the inspection before ever entering the home. Outside evidence of mold growth may indicate the presence of mold on the inside of the house.
Step #1: Examine the roof and gutter system for damage and signs of leaks.
Step #2: Check sidings, windows, and doors for damage. Leaks through siding, windows, and doors are a major cause of water damage and mold in homes.
Step #3: Look for cracks in the foundation and moisture in the crawl spaces.
Phase two: Inspect the interior of the home.
Step #1: Do a sniff test.
- A musty, mildewy, earthy smell is a strong indication of moisture and mold issues.
Step #2: Check ceilings, walls, and windows.
- Are there any brown, green, or black stains on ceilings, or especially on exterior walls?
- Are there any discolorations, warping, or swelling trim and baseboards around or below windows?
- Do exterior doors open and close smoothly?
Step #3: Give bathrooms a close look.
Bathrooms are typically the wettest rooms in a home and are vulnerable to mold from moisture and heat.
- Use the flashlight to expose any leaks or mold under the vanity. Feel supply line connections for leaks. Sniff for a mold odor. Test the floor for moisture, softness, or warping.
- Are stains on the caulking around toilets, showers, and bathtubs?
- Do the bathroom fixtures, walls, and ceilings have mold?
- Test all bathroom exhaust fans. Look for stains around the fan. A leaky roof stack can be a harbinger of extensive damage in the attic.
Step #4: Give the kitchen special attention.
- Use a flashlight to shed light on the area under the sinks. Check the walls, floor, drains, and supply lines for leaks. Press on the floor to see if it is dry and firm. Are there any signs of repairs?
- Examine the flooring under the refrigerator and dishwasher. Look for mold on the walls surrounding the refrigerator and on the appliance.
- Test the exhaust fan above the stove. Is the area around the fan and under the hood clean of grease and grime buildup? Is the stove light in good working order?
- Convert the stove light to an LED bulb, which burns much cooler and is just as bright.
Step #5: Shed some light on the attic areas.
- Start out with the sniff test.
- Check for stains or mold on the flooring, trusses, rafters, and sheathing.
- Mold thrives on paper, cardboard boxes, and clothing, which are often stored in the attic. Touch, smell, and visually inspect the contents of the attic for evidence of mold.
- Are all exhaust fans vented through the roof?
- Are there any signs of wild animals living in the attic?
Step #6: Visually inspect the HVAC system.
This system is complicated and technical. Moisture and electricity do not mix well, so be careful when scoping out the HVAC system.
- Open the access panel and perform the sniff test for mold.
- Use the flashlight to check for dust buildup, leaks in the condensate pan, and mold growing on or around the system. If the HVAC blower is in the attic, check the ceiling and walls above the system for signs of a leak. Look for any signs of rust on the unit.
- Check the cool air return covers for dirt, grime, and mold.
Phase three: Contact the mold professionals at SERVPRO® of Media.
If the decision is made to purchase the home, then congratulations! If mold is an issue, the mold removal professionals at SERVPRO of Media can handle any size mold issue and do it quickly, which is crucial when buying a new home or an investment property.
For more information about SERVPRO of Media’s mold remediation services, contact the office by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com or by phone at (610) 566-5720.
Why should homeowners not attempt a DIY restoration project after water damage from a burst pipe?
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media urges homeowners to avoid DIY restoration after burst pipe water damage.
SERVPRO® of Media offers cleanup and restoration of water damage from burst water pipes. Media, PA, residents can trust the restoration specialists to thoroughly clean up and restore water from a ruptured supply line to a washer, ice maker, sink, or toilet. If a water pipe bursts and floods a basement with thousands of gallons of water, technicians can pump the basement dry quickly and efficiently with high-capacity pumps, industrial-strength wet/dry vacuums, and powerful dehumidifiers.
A water damage, fire damage, or a smoke damage disaster can have catastrophic consequences for the homeowner. Property damage can be extensive, and the inconvenience and disruption may be more difficult to handle than the actual property damage. The property owner is faced with a major decision: How to move forward with the cleanup? Should it be a DIY project, or should the cleanup and restorations be passed off to professionals with advanced equipment, the proper cleaning techniques, and safe sanitizing and disinfecting products?
The truth is that the cleanup and restoration process is a challenging and sometimes hazardous undertaking. The homeowner may have experience in general cleaning techniques and basic building construction, including plumbing and wiring, but the disaster cleanup and restoration process are multi-faceted, requiring a keen eye and experience working in disaster settings. Consider these compelling reasons why the best, most efficient, and safest course of action is to secure the services of an IICRC-certified professional restoration company to handle the water damage cleanup and restoration project.
1. Unknown or unanticipated hazards
The homeowner who occasionally tackles a DIY project around the home is often familiar with the structure. A disaster such as extensive flooding from roof damage or a flooded basement from a burst pipe may create a scenario that is loaded with dangers. Storm damage can cause ceilings to collapse when the homeowner begins to probe around while assessing the damage. A flooded basement may increase the risk of electric shock, and debris hidden under the water’s surface can cause lacerations, puncture wounds, or trip-and-fall injuries. Wet particle boards can give way underfoot, leading to a back injury or broken limb. Standing or puddled water on the kitchen floor can create conditions that raise the potential for a slip-and-fall injury.
Health issues abound in a catastrophic property damage disaster. The basement does not have to flood for the risk of electrical hazards to exist. Damaged wiring or a poorly grounded electrical appliance can give a pretty hefty jolt of electricity to the unsuspecting and poorly equipped DIYer. Gas lines may be intact after a flood, but the improper relocation of the appliance can rupture the line or compromise a fitting, leading to a dangerous and volatile gas leak. Unforeseen dangers lurk in the water-damaged home or business, and examples include bacteria, mold, or raw sewage. Raw sewage dramatically elevates the risk factors involved in property damage cleanup and restoration. Protective clothing, eyewear, gloves, and strong EPA-approved cleaning products are required for safe, thorough cleanup and restoration.
Bonus tip: When flooding, fire damage, and smoke damage are extensive, avoid entering the home alone. Damage restoration professionals follow the strictest safety precautions.
2. Lack of proper cleaning equipment
Disaster cleanup and restoration require more than the basic mop, sponge, and bucket. Industrial-grade wet-dry vacuums, high-speed pumps, rapid-spin fans, and commercial-grade dehumidifiers are used to tackle the toughest jobs in the shortest amount of time to prevent advanced secondary damage. Professionals also use deodorizers, disinfectants, and sanitizers that remove bad odors, pathogens, and mold.
3. The danger of hidden damage
IICRC-certified technicians are trained and skilled in finding hidden water damage. The unsuspecting homeowner is likely unaware of the many places water damage can hide. Professionals anticipate moisture and mold behind walls, in appliances, and in outlets. The professionals at SERVPRO of Media carefully and thoroughly inspect the home or business that has suffered a property damage disaster for hidden damage.
4. Advanced secondary damage
A swift response and a fast cleanup and restoration of a water, storm, fire, or smoke damage disaster are essential to prevent advanced secondary damage such as mold, warping, and wood rot. Permanent damage can occur to electronics, documents, books, leather goods, artwork, and furniture if water is not quickly removed and if moisture is not reduced to acceptable levels. A DIY cleanup and restoration project can take days or weeks to execute, and the delay can allow damage to progress far beyond the scope of the original disaster.
A property damage disaster is disruptive, inconvenient, and stressful. Trust the cleanup and restoration to the professionals at SERVPRO of Media to get the job done quickly, safely, and thoroughly. They know what to look for and where to look to ensure that no damage goes unrepaired. The team of professionals at SERVPRO of Media is IICRC-certified and ready to serve the damage restoration and cleaning needs of Media, PA, and the surrounding areas.
Contact SERVPRO of Media for more details about water and fire damage repair and restoration in Media, PA. The office can be reached by emailing office@SERVPROmedia.com or calling (610) 566-5720.
Water damage restoration for water leaks resulting from overstressed plumbing at businesses
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media explains how the holiday shopping rush can lead to an increased number of people needing to use a retail establishment’s facilities and how the extra use can cause clogged pipes, toilet backups, and water leaks.
The holidays are one of the busiest and most profitable times of year for retail businesses, but the extra load of seasonal shoppers could overstress the plumbing, resulting in a water damage disaster that eats into holiday profits. At SERVPRO of Media, the team is highly trained in commercial property damage restoration and understands just how devastating a water damage disaster can be to a business, especially during the holidays. Frustration abounds when a business has to temporarily close down during the peak of Black Friday weekend or Christmas shopping. By inspecting and preparing the plumbing system before the rush arrives, business owners can minimize the potential for a catastrophic water leak that turns a white Christmas into a black water Christmas.
Check for evidence of preexisting stress on the plumbing
Commercial plumbing is designed to withstand the demands and complexities of a commercial environment. However, pipes that are already on their last leg will be more vulnerable to failure due to the pressure of increased use. Signs of compromised plumbing can manifest in several ways.
- Pay attention to flow issues.
Is the water flow through the building restricted or reduced? Are toilet backups a constant problem? Abnormalities in water flow could point to a clog or damaged pipe.
- Look out for leaks.
Take note of all leaks — both large and small — that appear to originate from the plumbing. If the leak is small and is caught quickly, an employee or the janitorial staff may be able to mop up the water intrusion without leaving any lingering issues. However, large leaks or hidden water leaks may have caused enough damage to require the services of a water damage restoration company.
Signs of a hidden water leak include:
- discoloration of walls or floors
- peeling paint
- warped walls
- a musty smell of mold or mildew
- a visible mold infestation that occurs away from any known water sources
- unexplainable increases in water utility costs
Hidden water leaks can be especially disastrous because they are difficult to notice, allowing even a slow, small leak to cause major issues over time.
- Inspect for obvious damage.
Serious losses can be averted if the business owner or an employee spots plumbing damage early so that it can be repaired before the system fails. Keep an eye out for cracks, burst pipes, pipe swelling, loose fixtures, and broken connections.
Remediate factors that stress the plumbing system
The holiday season can be stressful enough for families and business owners, but the plumbing system does not have to be stressed too. While the plumbing cannot take a vacation over the holidays, the business owner can help out the situation by relieving some of the issues that push pipes past their limit.
- Prioritize pipe maintenance.
Every five or so years, bring in a plumbing professional to perform a video pipe inspection of the system. The technician will use a waterproof high-resolution camera attached to a flexible rod to obtain a live video feed of the situation inside the pipes. If the video detects any issues, the plumbing team will provide the appropriate maintenance or repairs.
- Reduce water pressure in the building.
Highly pressurized water can undermine the connections and seals of commercial plumbing, leading to leakage in the affected areas. A commercial plumber will be able to determine if the pressure is too high and can install a water pressure regulator if necessary.
- Encourage proper flushing practices.
When items other than toilet paper are introduced into the plumbing system, clogs can arise. Remind employees that only toilet paper should be placed in the toilets, and post restroom signage communicating the same message to customers.
- Invest in a commercial water softening system.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), “The simple definition of water hardness is the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, largely calcium and magnesium.” These minerals accumulate in a building’s pipes, decreasing the flow of water through the plumbing. Over time, the sludge can completely obstruct the system, and since hard water buildup is difficult to remove, the pipes may need to be replaced. In local areas where hard water flows through the water supply, the business owner can purchase a water softener to remove unwanted minerals.
Call SERVPRO® of Media to restore the holiday cheer
When a pipe bursts or a toilet overflows at a local business in Broomall, PA, the business owner can rely on the water removal and restoration technicians at SERVPRO of Media to remediate the damage. The company provides a 24/7 emergency response and is available year-round, even on holidays. The restoration and cleanup process is completed rapidly, enabling the business to pivot right back into the most important retail season.
For more information about SERVPRO of Media’s water removal, commercial water damage restoration, and sewage cleanup services, contact the office at (610) 566-5720 or office@SERVPROmedia.com.
Does the Carpet Need Cleaning? Seven Signs That Call for Professional Carpet Cleaning Services
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media provides carpet cleaning services for homeowners in Media, PA, and surrounding communities.
SERVPRO of Media, PA, provides property damage cleanup and restoration, including carpet cleaning services. A habit of routine vacuuming and the quick cleanup of spills, stains, and mud helps keep the carpet serviceable and presentable between cleanings. Outlined below are seven signs that carpeting in Media, PA, homes needs a professional deep cleaning.
#1. The carpet no longer matches the upholstery and drapes.
If the carpet’s original color is a mystery and no longer matches the décor, the services of a professional carpet cleaning company are needed. Discoloration sends a strong signal that the carpet needs attention. High-traffic areas typically show wear and dirt by turning a darker shade.
#2. Carpet hygiene has long since been abandoned.
If the habit of taking shoes off at the door has been replaced by the habit of leaving shoes on and tracking grime throughout the home, the carpet not only needs a deep clean but also thorough disinfection and sanitization. Shoes track dirt, grease, and pathogens throughout the residence, making the carpet unsightly and unsanitary.
#3. Carpeting retains its stains.
The impulse is to let mud and spills set up so they will be easier to clean. If a stain has the opportunity to dry, the carpet can be permanently damaged. Pet stains demand immediate attention; otherwise, the stain will not be able to be removed from the carpet. Professional skills and industry-leading cleaning products must be applied to remedy the blemish.
#4. The carpet stinks.
The occupants of a home will grow accustomed to carpet stench. The smell may be noticeable after the homeowner returns from being away from the house for several hours. Close friends and family may comment on the foul smell when visiting. If strangers mention the scent, it is time to schedule a professional carpet cleaning.
Carpet fibers can absorb odors. Scented topical treatments, which are then vacuumed, may mask the smell for a while. Smoke and pet urine call for professional-grade deep cleaning and sanitizing. A strong odor may indicate that the carpet has been stained or contaminated with a fluid.
#5. The carpet is visually unappealing.
If the carpet has taken on a dingy, grungy appearance, professional deep cleaning can refresh and revive the colors and texture. If colors and designs are muted and dull, and if the texture is matted and crushed, a good cleaning will restore the luster, vibrance, and fluffiness of the floor covering. Some carpet manufacturers require that their products receive a particular type of cleaning, and violation of the manufacturer’s specifications may render the warranty null and void.
#6. The carpet is no longer soft and luxurious.
If the carpet feels rough, hard, gritty, or compressed, it is probably loaded with dirt, sand, pet hair, or other debris. Give the carpet a “white sock” test. Rub a clean white sock over several spots on the carpet. If the sock is dirty, it may be time for a cleaning.
#7. The carpet is so old it is valuable.
Premium carpets may be manufactured with delicate materials. Antique or oriental rugs may be woven with wool or other animal hair. These fibers require special training and expertise to safely and effectively clean without ruining the materials or disturbing the colors. Some modern, common fibers require special attention, such as nylon carpeting. Over time, the carpet may flatten and lose luster. A competent, knowledgeable, professional carpet cleaning can revive these delicate carpets.
When carpets need cleaning, disinfecting, and deodorizing, trust the carpet cleaning professionals at SERVPRO® of Media. The IICRC-certified team has the knowledge, training, and expertise to clean carpet that suffers from the normal wear and tear and dirt and grime of everyday use. Because SERVPRO of Media is a full-service damage restoration and cleaning company, technicians also are able to clean and restore carpet that has been involved in a property damage disaster involving fire, smoke, and water damage. Pet stains, nicotine, body fluids, and biohazard cleanup and restoration are carpet cleaning challenges the SERVPRO team overcomes on a regular basis. For effective, professional carpet cleaning solutions, SERVPRO of Media is an excellent choice for homeowners in Media, PA, and neighboring communities.
For more information about the cleaning and damage restoration company, email SERVPRO® of Media at office@SERVPROmedia.com or call the office at (610) 566-5720.
Signs of Tree Damage and What to Do in the Case of Storm Damage from a Fallen Tree
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media offers tips on how to spot tree damage and how to take care of storm damage from fallen trees and limbs.
SERVPRO® of Media is available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays, to provide storm damage cleanup and restoration services for Media, PA, homes, and businesses. In September of 2021, the remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped nearly five inches of rain on the metro Philly area, including Lancaster County. Some areas received over nine inches of rain. Flash flooding and strong winds accompanied the rain. The winds, in conjunction with the saturated soil, resulted in toppled trees, broken limbs, and downed power lines. Many homes suffered structural damage from the flooding and from the storm-damaged trees. The team at SERVPRO of Media offers this advice on tree care to help residents maintain a healthy, beautiful, and safe treescape.
Signs a tree is a potential risk during storms
All trees are vulnerable to the forces of nature. The cold months bring the threat of ice, sleet, and snow. During the warmer months, high winds and rainfall can put trees in jeopardy. High winds can cause limb loss. In extreme conditions, a tree may topple over, creating a domino effect throughout the canopy in which other trees fall or are damaged. If the trees are near a home or business, storm damage to the structure is inevitable. Here are some signs that a tree may be susceptible to limb loss or toppling over during a storm.
Factors contributing to tree failure
Many factors can compromise tree strength and stability. Decay, tree wounds, and shallow root systems are some leading culprits. Normally, a tree’s root system spreads out almost half as much as the canopy, but in urban areas where construction is very active, a root system can be damaged by grading, trenching, and excavating. Encroachment can hinder the outward spread of roots, which not only deliver nutrition but also serve as anchors. A compromised root system puts a tree at risk of windthrow, the technical term for uprooting or toppling.
Tree selection in a subdivision may result in trees with root systems that function best in forests. However, these trees are sometimes transplanted in soil that is shallow or rocky. Once the trees reach maturity, the soil hinders the root system from firmly anchoring the trees. The mature trees are vulnerable to windthrow and put the homes in the neighborhood at risk of property damage should the trees topple over during severe weather.
A treescape with an integrated network of tree limbs and root systems may withstand powerful winds. However, efforts to thin the treescape can leave the remaining trees vulnerable to high winds.
Tall trees are at greater risk of toppling than shorter trees. Tall, fully-leaved trees catch the wind, which transfers lever-like power to the trunk. The forces can rip the tree out of the ground. Broken limbs, peeling bark, and scraped wounds make a damaged tree susceptible to a pest infestation, further rot, and possibly the need to be removed.
Trees, in general, are at risk if wind speeds are high. Some tree varieties have less resilience to withstand wind force. Examples include Bradford pear, balsam fir, cedar, and white spruce, as well as older water oaks, older willow oaks, some hemlocks, and several varieties of pine trees.
How to inspect a tree
Visually inspect the tree from top to bottom, from a distance, and from close by. Use binoculars, if necessary. Drone technology is affordable and accessible to assist with examining the treescape.
Note any of the following issues:
- Deadwood or brown leaves in the crown of the tree
- Wounds caused by prior limb loss
- Unusual lean (which may indicate damage to the anchor root or unequal weight distribution from rot and disease)
- Multiple trunks (in the shape of a ‘U’ or a ‘V’)
- Splits in one or more trunks
Also, note ground disturbances from trenching, ditch digging, grading, and tilling activity within the bounds of the tree canopy. Construction near trees, including driveways, walkways, a garden, or utility line work, can damage shallow feeder roots and destabilize a tree.
Seven signs that a tree needs immediate attention
- Damaged or peeling bark
- New roots have recently become exposed
- Cracks in the trunk or at the base of long limbs
- Soil that is heaving or cracking opposite any tree lean
- Sparsity of foliage for no apparent reason
- Brown or fall colors during the summer months
- Carpenter ants, conks, or mushrooms on or near the trunk
Tree safety action steps
Immediate action steps are necessary to keep the area under the tree canopy safe and to prevent storm damage from falling trees and limbs.
Step #1: Contact a bonded, insured, and certified arborist to schedule an onsite consultation. Some issues can be remedied with treatments for disease and strategic pruning. Removal may be required in some instances.
Step #2: Take extreme precautions to stay safe. Cordon off the high-risk area around the tree. Relocate vehicles at a safe distance from damaged or dangerous trees. Stay out of the part of the home that would be damaged if the tree suffered a catastrophic failure.
Storm damage cleanup and restoration
If a limb or tree should puncture the roof or house envelope, contact the professional storm damage cleanup and restoration team at SERVPRO® of Media, PA, for emergency tarping, water removal, drying, and dehumidification. The water and moisture need to be within acceptable levels to prevent advanced secondary damage, including a mold infestation. SERVPRO can handle the cleanup and restoration, including major repairs to the roof, ceilings, walls, and flooring.
For more information about storm damage restoration in Broomall, PA, and surrounding areas, contact SERVPRO of Media by calling (610) 566-5720 or by emailing office@SERVPROmedia.com.
Helping Newton Square, PA, Homeowners Avoid Fire Damage by Practicing Proper Chimney Maintenance
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media highlights chimney maintenance tips to prevent fire damage from chimney fires.
A chimney fire is a traumatic fire damage event for the occupants of a home. Some chimney fires occur without the residents even being aware of the danger. A chimney fire has the potential to cause extensive property damage as well as personal injury. The proper use and maintenance of fireplaces and wood stoves can prevent chimney fires and save lives. Homeowners can practice the chimney maintenance tips below for a warm, safe home during the winter.
Tip: Schedule a chimney inspection every year in the early fall.
Both the National Fire Prevention Association and the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommend chimneys be inspected and cleaned on an annual basis. An inspection in the early fall will discover any animal or insect nests built the previous spring and summer. The homeowner can light the first fire of the year knowing the chimney is clean and structurally sound.
When hiring a chimney professional, look for these key features:
- Sweeps the flue to remove loose soot and creosote (Animal and insect nests and other debris should be removed from the smoke chamber, smoke shelf, and firebox.)
- Presents a written, well-documented report on the condition of the chimney (This report may include images and video of the chimney.)
- Recommends repairs and offers advice on how to better care for the chimney
- Guarantees to clean up any mess from the inspection and maintenance process
Tip: Use safe firewood.
Dense hardwoods such as oak, maple, and elm are best for the fireplace or wood stove. The hardwoods cure best when split, stacked, and allowed to dry out in a well-ventilated area for six months to a year. The moisture content should be 20% or less. Cracks on the ends of the split logs indicate sufficient curing may have taken place. A moisture meter can verify the moisture content of the wood.
Evergreens dry out more quickly, but the creosote content is much higher. The temptation is to burn cardboard and Christmas wrapping paper in the fireplace or wood stove. Paper fires burn very hotly, increasing the risk of igniting creosote in the chimney. Do not burn wood that has been treated or painted since the wood releases dangerous toxins during combustion.
Tip: Be familiar with the manufacturer’s installation, operation, and maintenance guidelines.
Be able to manage the combustion air intake for the fireplace or wood stove. Fire requires oxygen. Make sure the appliance has adequate airflow for the fire to burn efficiently. Creosote will build up if the fire is smoky and smoldering. If the appliance has a glass front, watch for smoke stains on the glass, which may indicate the fire is not burning hot enough.
The manufacturer’s established maximum burn times, an indication of the fire’s temperature, may vary. The type and condition of the wood, the type of chimney, the season of the year, the location of the appliance, and the stove’s (or fireplace’s) interaction with other heating appliances in the home can and do influence burn times.
Tip: Monitor the fire’s burn temperature.
Two options are a magnetic thermometer and a probe thermometer. A magnet thermometer attaches to the stove surface or a connector pipe. The optimum surface temperature is 300-500 degrees Fahrenheit.
The probe thermometer provides a more accurate temperature measurement because it registers the core temperature of the flue gases rising from the fire. The optimal temperature range is 600-1000 degrees Fahrenheit. By keeping the fire burning at or within optimal temperature ranges, creosote accumulation can be prevented or minimized.
Tip: Have a Class ABC fire extinguisher near the woodstove or fireplace.
Make sure everyone in the home who is physically capable understands how the device works and how to use it in the event of a fireplace fire. Special chimney fire extinguishers are available to prevent a chimney flare, but these extinguishers function best in an airtight system. Never use accelerants in a woodstove or fireplace.
Tip: Consult a licensed professional chimney sweep before using chemical additives to control creosote.
Be aware that the thickness and extent of the creosote may require multiple applications to achieve satisfactory results.
A fire damage disaster often involves structural damage from the flames. Smoke and soot create a toxic environment for humans and pets. Water damage from the fire hose used to extinguish the flames may be more extensive and costly to remediate than the actual fire damage. The professionals at SERVPRO® of Media are available 24/7, 365 days a year, to provide a rapid response and quick cleanup and restoration when a complex fire damage disaster occurs. Delay allows the situation to grow in scope and severity, adding unnecessary expense and hassle to the project. The best time to reach out to a fire damage cleanup and restoration company is before a fire. Waiting until after a disaster has occurred can be a disaster! Call today while the home is not in flames, the roof is not leaking, the ceilings are not sagging, the walls are not warping, the floors are not buckling, the sewage is not backed up, and mold has not made a meal of anything organic in the home.
Contact SERVPRO of Media to learn more about fire damage restoration in Newtown Square, PA. The office can be reached by phone at (610) 566-5720 or by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com.
Strategies to Prevent Fire Damage in Dormitories as Students Return to College This Fall
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media highlights fire damage prevention strategies for colleges as students head back to school.
The team at SERVPRO® of Media, PA, is certified in fire damage and water damage cleanup and restoration services, as well as smoke removal services. When a fire occurs, the damage scene is complex and toxic, requiring a multi-faceted cleanup and restoration solution. Student displacement presents a challenge to institutional administrators who must find accommodations on a campus that is likely at peak residential capacity at the commencement of the fall semester. SERVPRO of Media is available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. SERVPRO can tackle fire damage in a single dorm room fire or scale to meet the challenges of dormitory buildings that sustained extensive damage. The fast response and quick cleanup and restoration have the students back in their rooms and resuming their normal routines as soon as possible. SERVPRO of Media offers these fire safety strategies to avoid fire damage as students return to campus this fall.
Campus life in a college dorm room can be exciting, fulfilling, comical, and sometimes hazardous. FEMA reports the following statistics: “According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 3,800 university housing fires occur each year in the United States with 88 percent being cooking fires. The leading causes of campus-related fires include: 1) cooking (hot plates, microwaves, portable grills, etc.); 2) arson; 3) careless smoking; 4) unattended candles; and 5) overloaded extension cords, power strips, and outlets.”
The last time most incoming freshmen received any fire safety education was many years earlier while they were in elementary school. To prevent fires in campus housing, a culture of fire safety must be inculcated in the student body. This goal can be effectively achieved through ongoing fire safety education. Emphasis should be placed on the primary fire hazards in the dorm room: cooking, careless smoking, candle safety, and the proper use of extension cords, power strips, and outlets. Many colleges and universities are smoke-free and candle-free (except with special permission). Regularly scheduled fire drills are a loud reminder of the need to be mindful of ever-present fire hazards. The drills will also familiarize students with predetermined evacuation routes.
The value of pre-qualifying a damage restoration company
By pre-qualifying a dedicated property damage cleanup and restoration company, institutional administrators only need to make one phone call when a disaster strikes. The SERVPRO franchise family has a solid reputation as an industry leader spanning over fifty years and is a trusted partner with institutions and property management companies around the US. Consider these key factors when formulating a disaster readiness response or when reviewing and revising current response protocols for the upcoming academic calendar.
- Core competencies: Fire damage, smoke damage, water damage, flood damage, biohazard cleanup (drugs), crime scene cleanup, suicide and accident cleanup (blood and body fluids), Certified SERVPRO Clean services (COVID)
- Certification: SERVPRO technicians are trained to the highest industry standards through IICRC, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, a non-profit organization for the Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Industries.
- Bonded, licensed, insured, and a top choice of insurance companies when a disaster strikes
- Massive scalability: SERVPRO has the capacity to respond with one, five, or fifty (or more) crews in the event of a large loss disaster such as a large-scale structure fire, flash flood, tornado damage, or vandalism/graffiti incident. The concentration of franchise service providers in the greater Philadelphia area uniquely qualifies SERVPRO to meet any large-scale need. SERVPRO of Media can tap this asset-rich reserve almost instantly and activate a rapid, highly coordinated response.
- Documentation: Upon arrival, a highly trained technician conducts a thorough inspection and assessment of the damage scene. A detailed, well-documented estimate, including images and videos, is provided to the client. SERVPRO uses Xactimate, the industry-standard estimating software utilized by insurance companies.
- End-to-end service, including working with the insurance company and providing general contracting services for the restoration/rebuild phase of the overall project
- Availability: The fire damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Media are available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays.
- Free consultation: SERVPRO of Media helps businesses, industry, medical facilities, property management companies, and institutions of higher learning formulate a customized disaster response plan. This Emergency Readiness Plan is tailored to fit the client’s individual needs.
For more information about fire prevention strategies, property damage cleanup and restoration, or a customized Emergency Readiness Plan in Newtown Square, PA, contact SERVPRO of Media by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com. The office can also be contacted by phone at (610) 566-5720.
The Value of Safe Smoking Policies for Avoiding a Fire Damage Disaster at Broomall, PA, Restaurants
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media encourages safe smoking practices as a way to prevent fire damage in restaurants.
SERVPRO® of Media provides fire damage restoration, smoke odor removal, and water removal services to businesses that have suffered a fire damage disaster. SERVPRO’s commitment to implementing a rapid response and quick cleanup makes its commercial services a solid choice for businesses, especially restaurants.
The importance of cigarette smoking policies at restaurants and bars
Prior to 2004, only two states had enacted laws completely banning smoking at worksites, restaurants, and bars. In recent years, other states have followed suit. In 2008, Pennsylvania passed into law the Clean Indoor Air Act, which restricted smoking in certain “public places.” The Pennsylvania law defines a “public place” as “An enclosed area which serves as a workplace, commercial establishment or an area where the public is invited or permitted.” The term includes facilities that provide “education, food or healthcare-related services.”
With these restrictions in place, restaurants and other public venues with high foot traffic need to provide proper disposal sites for discarding smoking materials. Designated smoking areas should be clearly marked. Stringent housekeeping practices need to be implemented, as well. The goal of these efforts is to limit the ignition of combustible materials and to reduce the likelihood that a fire will spread if it should start.
By adopting and implementing the following practices, a restaurant or other smoke-free business can accommodate the needs of patrons who smoke while also avoiding fire hazards related to smoking materials. Some of these measures also seek to reduce the potential for spreading should a fire break out.
Commercial insurance experts recommend the following safety measures specifically for restaurants, but other businesses may benefit from implementing these strategies: “Designate smoking areas at least 25 feet away from buildings, combustible materials, vegetation or refuse collection areas. Areas that allow smoking and areas that prohibit smoking should be clearly marked with appropriate signage. All smoking materials should be disposed of in acceptable receptacles and kept away from ignition sources. Disposal devices should be appropriately marked, be constructed of non-combustible materials, and have steep sides to keep materials inside the device. If smoking is allowed inside the building, then properly designed ashtrays should be provided in smoking areas to prevent cigarette butts or ashes from falling or rolling onto combustible materials. Ashtrays should only be dumped into designated disposal containers with a lid and filled with a medium that can safely extinguish a fire, such as sand or water. If smoking materials are going to be placed into a dumpster they should be thoroughly wetted down with water. Smoking materials may still be smoldering, so it is best to wet these down prior to disposal in a garbage dumpster. Make sure your dumpster is located at a minimum of 10 feet away from the building, but further away is preferred. A fire extinguisher should be placed in the area with a maximum travel distance of 75 feet away from the smoking area. By following the advice above, restaurant and bar owners can help protect their businesses from accidental fire while also abiding by smoking bans. Promoting a smoke-free workplace has many benefits, including limiting secondhand smoke exposure and reducing the chance of an accidental fire.”
Why choose SERVPRO of Media to remediate restaurant fire damage
Media, PA, is renowned for its great shopping, fine dining, and live entertainment! These establishments depend on repeat and regular business from loyal patrons, new customers, and out-of-town visitors enjoying the sights, sounds, and cuisine of the Philadelphia metro area.
When a fire damage disaster strikes a restaurant, a rapid fire damage restoration process is crucial to get the doors open and the revenue flowing. A team of cleanup and restoration professionals from SERVPRO of Media can be on-scene in about an hour to inspect and assess the damage and begin the cleanup. A fire damage disaster involves fire, smoke, soot, chemical fire suppressants, and water. Certified, experienced, and well-equipped technicians tackle the complex cleanup and restoration challenges with the goal of helping the damaged establishment resume normal business operations as soon as possible. The SERVPRO franchise family can, without delay, scale to meet any size disaster.
Contact SERVPRO of Media for more details about the company’s fire and water damage restoration services in Broomall, PA. The office can be reached by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com or by calling (610) 566-5720.
Four Landscaping Projects to Reduce the Risk of Basement Flooding in Newtown Square, PA, Homes
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media explains how landscaping projects can both minimize the risk of basement flooding and make the home more beautiful.
SERVPRO® of Media, PA, provides fire damage, smoke damage, and water damage restoration services. When a homeowner is faced with a flooded basement, these property damage services are indispensable. To help homeowners avoid basement flooding, the professionals at SERVPRO of Media offer the landscaping strategies outlined below.
A dry basement is important for a clean, healthy, and safe environment in the home. A wet, damp basement facilitates the growth of mold and mildew, which can damage anything stored in the basement. The excessive moisture promotes wood rot and rust. Pests such as cockroaches, silverfish, centipedes, and earwigs thrive in the moist environment. During dry spells, ants will crawl into a home in search of moisture and respite from the heat.
Remedies for basement moisture can be very expensive. The installation of a French drain, a sump pump system, and waterproofing are examples. However, less expensive landscaping strategies can be pursued prior to implementing the more costly and invasive solutions. A multi-faceted approach may result in significant cost savings as well as a dry basement.
Below are four landscaping projects that can help minimize the risk of basement flooding.
1. Install a rain garden.
Rain gardens are recessed areas designed to capture excess rainwater from walkways and the lawn. The water is diverted away from the foundation. The bedding soil is comprised of sand, organic matter, and the existing topsoil. This blend enhances proper drainage while inhibiting the accumulation of standing water. The prime location for the garden is away from the foundation between the home and the street. Install low-maintenance plants to control erosion and slow absorption into the ground.
Native plants are an excellent choice for these rain gardens. Hardy, drought-resistant native plants serve as a natural barrier to any street runoff. The extensive root systems of native plants filter contaminated water before it can leach into the groundwater below. Native plants also attract insects that help pollinate surrounding vegetation.
2. Improve the grade around the foundation.
Sometimes, something as simple as adjusting the grade around the foundation of the home solves the basement moisture problem. The grade or slope should be steep enough to drain excessive amounts of water away from the foundation. The recommended slope is one inch per foot, up to ten feet away from the structure. If the grading is close to these specifications, a homeowner can improve the grade where needed with a few wheelbarrow loads of dirt. More extensive grading revisions may require the services of a landscape company with the equipment to haul in more dirt and shape it to the proper grade.
3. Create a barrier between planting beds and the foundation.
If a planting bed is nestled next to the foundation, a shallow gravel barrier can be installed as a break between the mulch in the bed and the foundation. Mulch retains water and moisture that may seep into the basement or crawl space. This gravel landscape feature provides an aesthetically pleasing separation between the mulch and the side of the home. The gravel allows water to drain away from the house.
4. Consider installing a dry creek bed.
On a grander scale, some homeowners create a dry creek bed in the middle of the yard. The large trench is lined with long-lasting, water-permeable landscape fabric and then filled with river rock. The feature is sloped to carry water away from the foundation and the larger area surrounding the home. Discharge from the downspouts can be directed to the dry creek bed. Not only is the prominent feature a beautiful addition to the landscape, but it is also a very effective means to conduct water away from the perimeter of the home.
Some new home construction includes the installation of a French drain. Post-construction installation of this solution is exceedingly expensive. A comprehensive drainage solution may include the installation of a sump pump system in the crawl space or basement.
Bonus Tip: Keep gutters and downspouts clean and flowing freely.
Clean and free-flowing gutters and downspouts effectively capture and transfer large amounts of roof water away from the home. If gutters become clogged and overflow, this water is deposited next to the foundation and may cause basement flooding. If a downspout detaches from the gutter or if a discharge pipe disconnects from the downspout, hundreds of gallons of water will be deposited next to the home with any major downpour. The results could be disastrous. Consider installing one of the gutter guard products that keeps debris from clogging gutters and downspouts.
Inspect gutters, downspouts, and discharge pipes to ensure the entire system is free-flowing and functioning properly. Something as simple as cleaning the gutters, repairing a disconnected downspout, and extending discharge pipes to at least ten feet away from the foundation could eliminate the need to spend thousands of dollars on the installation of a sump pump system or a French drain.
Even the best efforts to control drainage issues can be overwhelmed by severe weather or derailed by a malfunction. In the event of a flooded basement, reach out to the professionals at SERVPRO of Media. Experienced technicians have the training, experience, high-capacity water removal equipment, rapid-spin fans, and industrial-grade dehumidifiers to deal with a flooded basement or other water damage disaster.
For more information about flood damage restoration in Newtown Square, PA, call SERVPRO of Media at (610) 566-5720 or email office@SERVPROmedia.com.
Helping Media, PA, Businesses Recover from a Property Damage Disaster
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media highlights the steps a business must take to safely respond to and recover from fire, water, storm, or flood damage.
SERVPRO of Media outlines steps to assist businesses in safely responding to and recovering from a commercial property damage disaster. Business owners, management, and employees experience a range of emotions in the midst of the chaos and confusion. An initial shock is accompanied by uncertainty, helplessness, and grief before the damage is inspected and assessed.
When a business faces a property damage disaster, a clear path forward is important for the success of the business and the morale and confidence of the staff. An accurate property damage assessment and a rapid response are crucial if the business is to survive the crisis. The following steps help a business safely implement property damage recovery.
- Make sure everyone is safe.
- Secure the property.
- Make initial contacts and file reports.
- Take a detailed inventory.
- Document thoroughly.
Step #1: Ensure the safety of employees, onsite vendors, and any visitors that might be on the premises.
First, make sure that everyone is safe and stays safe. If a fire, severe weather, or chemical spill has rendered portions of the building unsafe, confirm that all personnel, including visitors, have evacuated the facility and made it to a safe location. A Readiness Plan will include evacuation routes, central meeting locations, and a check-in protocol to verify the building is clear. Assess any injuries, including emotional trauma. Provide initial first aid and any assistance that might be needed to stabilize immediate needs until first responders and other emergency personnel arrive.
The temptation is to re-enter the facility to recover personal items or important business documentation, account for missing persons, or begin the recovery process. No unauthorized personnel should be allowed back into the building until emergency officials give approval.
Step #2: Secure the location and equipment.
Once the damage scene is safe, take steps to protect equipment, documents, and inventory from further damage. Tarp or shield equipment and other valuable property. Relocate what items can be safely moved to protected and undamaged areas of the building. If structural damage has been catastrophic, relocate machinery, raw materials, and inventory to a safe, secure location. To ensure continuity of coverage, notify all insurers of changes in the status and location of all items. Avoid any unnecessary exposure to further financial loss.
If circumstances permit, implement emergency repairs to prevent damage from the elements, including severe weather. Board up the property to avoid trespassing or theft. Carefully clean up damage and debris to make the facility safe. Inspect the security system for functionality and use it even if the facility has been shut down and evacuated.
Step #3: Make first contacts and file initial reports.
Set aside time to inform the insurance company that a property damage incident has occurred and that a loss claim will be filed. The insurer will clarify if a police report regarding the incident is needed. Cases of vandalism, theft, or arson would be instances where a copy of this report might be requested.
During these initial contacts and reports, take detailed notes of all activities, including date, times, contact information, and a brief summary of conversations. Highlight action steps and follow-up. Loss reports are crucial for reimbursement and replacement payouts from the insurance company. Images and videos of the damaged property are essential. Review the security footage of when the damage occurred. Back the files up and save them on the cloud, where they are safe from corruption or deletion and can be easily accessed by third parties if needed.
Step #4: Take inventory of the damage.
Make a detailed list of equipment, machinery, raw materials, inventory, and any other items that might be covered under the policy. Separate damaged items from undamaged items. Do not discard or destroy items that seem beyond salvaging. If a salvageable item is discarded, the insurance company may not provide replacement value if the decision was made without consulting the insurer.
Step #5: Document, document, document!
Documentation should be thorough, detailed, and accurate when reporting the remaining equipment and inventory. Precise quantities and verifiable costs of equipment and goods are helpful to include in the document. Any reports or filings should be duplicated in hard copy and digital format and then stored offsite or on the cloud for safekeeping. Receipts, bills, invoices, orders, payments, and other documentation related to the commercial property should be retained and put in safe, accessible storage.
The benefits of working with SERVPRO of Media
When disaster strikes a business, every day lost to cleanup, restoration, and recovery translates into lost business, lost customers, employee migration, and possibly inventory degradation. SERVPRO arrives on-scene, inspects and assesses the damage, and provides the customer with a detailed, documented estimate. The cleanup and restoration process begins immediately because insurance companies and customers trust the professionals at SERVPRO. By bringing SERVPRO into the recovery and damage restoration process, a business can be confident that cleanup and restoration will be quick, allowing a swifter return to normal business operations.
For more details about commercial water damage restoration in Newtown Square, PA, contact SERVPRO of Media by calling (610) 566-5720. The office can also be reached by emailing office@SERVPROmedia.com