Recent Posts

Understanding HVAC Hazards

5/11/2020 (Permalink)

Air Conditioning Unit Are you in the know?

As the warm summer season approaches, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, better known as HVAC systems, will be working overtime to keep businesses cool. When HVAC systems are used frequently, they can become serious fire hazards. When we think of causes of commercial fires, complications with cooking equipment and electrical circuits or careless mistakes are usually the first to come to mind. Even though fires due to HVAC complications are not overly common, the damage that they impose can be disastrous. Therefore, in order to best protect your commercial business from experiencing devastating fire damage due to a malfunctioning HVAC system, business owners must gain an understanding of the most common fire hazards associated with HVAC systems.


Three Common Hazards
A leaking fuel line is one common HVAC fire hazard. Flammable fuels, such as gas, petroleum, and oil, which reside inside of HVAC units, can leak out of the unit if the fuel line experiences damage. These fuels can ignite easily after leaking from the unit, which can result in a fire. In order to protect your commercial business from this type of fire, make sure that your HVAC system experiences regular maintenance. Oftentimes, it can be difficult to notice a leaking fuel line, so it is crucial that your HVAC system’s condition is assessed on a regular basis in order to avoid a fire due to a leaking fuel line.
Another common hazard of HVAC systems is poor electrical connections in an HVAC unit. Electrical connections within HVAC systems tend to loosen over time, which can result in exposed or burnt wires. These wires can facilitate the ignition of a fire. Fires of this nature usually smell like burning plastic because the faulty electrical connection causes plastic coatings on wiring to melt. If a smell similar to that of burning plastic is emanating from your business’ HVAC system, this is most likely a sign that your HVAC unit has experienced damage to electrical connections.
Lastly, when your commercial business’ HVAC unit is surrounded by clutter, whether it be storage boxes and crates, cleaning supplies, or other types of equipment, your HVAC system can be at risk for damage and the ignition of a fire that can easily spread to other areas of the building. Because HVAC units often find their home in storage areas or closets, they can become surrounded by clutter. If an HVAC unit becomes damaged and a fire ignites, the unit’s proximity to other objects, especially those that are flammable such as cardboard boxes and paper products, increase the likelihood of those objects catching fire as well, making for a much larger fire that can spread to other areas of your business’ building and result in significant, widespread fire damage.

Experienced a Fire?
If your commercial business has experienced a fire loss and water damage from fire cleanup efforts, be sure to call SERVPRO. SERVPRO’s trained fire and water damage restoration specialists will work hard to quickly get your commercial business back up and running.

Spring Mold Prevention

4/10/2020 (Permalink)

Spring Cleaning Graphic If not handled correctly mold can reappear, or even spread.

As we enter April, we’re seeing the first signs of spring. With spring comes more pleasant weather, influencing us to open up our homes’ windows and doors to let in warm, fresh air. Doing so brings humidity and moisture into the home, thus increasing the risk for mold growth. Mold can grow anywhere that moisture is present on a wide variety of surfaces, including wood, carpet, and insulation. Mold needs to be remediated quickly in order to limit the spread and reduce its negative effects on the health on people living within the home. Mold is capable of growing at any time of year, but the increased threat of mold growth during the spring raises the question: How can mold growth be prevented during the spring?
One of the most important methods of preventing mold growth during the spring is to keep air circulating so that warm air and moisture will not become trapped in certain areas of the home. This can be achieved through the use of fans and dehumidifiers. Indoor humidity levels should not exceed 45%. Look for areas in the home where mold could thrive if moisture becomes present, including cold and dark areas. In order to decrease the risk of mold growth in these areas, it may be beneficial to bring in natural or artificial light, as well as warmth.
It is also helpful to keep an eye on windows after it rains. Rain is common in the springtime and moisture from rain water can spur mold growth around windows and windowsills. If moisture is present on windows, dry the surface as soon as possible. During the spring, temperatures differ indoors and outdoors, so condensation can build on surfaces such as windows and doors. In order to prevent mold growth on areas with condensation, it is crucial to thoroughly dry the surfaces as soon as possible.
In the event that mold grows on a surface in your home, make sure to scrub the surface diligently with detergent and water. After the area has been cleaned sufficiently, it is important that the surface be thoroughly dried in order to lessen the risk of further mold growth. On occasion, mold growth can get out of hand and require large-scale mold removal. If you have a major mold infestation in your home, call SERVPRO to inspect, assess, and quickly remediate your mold infestation.

Wha do Waffles Have to do With FEMA?

4/6/2020 (Permalink)

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

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

Proactive Cleaning Services

3/20/2020 (Permalink)

Here To Help Photo Anytime, Anytown, Anyway.

In light of the recent pandemic, many businesses have been asked to close their doors. However, because of the nature of our work, we're still open, we're still on call, we're still here to help.
SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East has a number of services to help all sorts of businesses in their time of need to catapult them back to their feet when it's time to re-open their store.
We are currently offering Viral Cleaning, also known as Proactive Cleaning, to ensure that your location is up to code and clean in the event of a viral outbreak in your building. By using Electrostatic Fogging, we can provide less expensive per square foot cost, more comprehensive coverage, and provide certified documentation that your facility has been cleaned by a trained IICRC certified company as opposed to traditional disinfectant and sanitizing services. In addition, the product we use is free of allergens and is so safe that it has been approved for human consumption.

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

Three Ways to Prevent Wind Damage Due to Spring Storms

3/16/2020 (Permalink)

Booming thunder and howling winds that rattle your home are characteristics of severe storms, which are becoming more prevalent as we turn the corner into spring. Strong wind, in particular, can cause damage to homes by breaking shingles and sending tree branches flying.  Wind strength varies from storm to storm, ranging from calm wind with speeds below 1 mph to hurricane-force when the strength exceeds 73 mph. FEMA states that doors, roofs, windows, and garages are the most vulnerable areas of the home. If any of these four areas become damaged during a storm, the structure of your home may also be negatively impacted, which may require major repairs. To make sure that your home is protected from wind damage before a severe storm even appears in the forecast this spring, consider the following three tips:

Maintain Landscape and Trees

   Strong winds can wreak havoc on the area surrounding your home, resulting in fallen trees and broken tree branches, which can prove to be dangerous to your home if the trees are located close to your home. Be sure not to over-water trees because doing so can weaken the root systems of trees, decreasing their ability to withstand the overwhelming force of strong winds. Finally, be mindful of outdoor objects and equipment, such as outdoor furniture, grills, or sports equipment, as these objects can be moved or manipulated by strong winds, which can risk damage to your home. During storms with strong wind, keep such items either stored in a safe structure, such as a shed, or anchored to the ground if they must remain outside.

Inspect the Roof

   Damage to our roofs often goes unnoticed unless it creates a major problem because we cannot see it Therefore, it is important for roofs to be surveyed at least twice per year, during the summer and winter, in order to identify any damage and make sure that it is repaired. When surveying the roof, be on the lookout for loose or missing shingles and water damage in the attic. Hiring a roofing professional may be beneficial in this sense, as he or she may be able to spot hidden damage due to their experience, which could save your roof from devastation in the event of a storm occurring with strong wind. When it comes time to replace your roof shingles, consider choosing weather-resistant shingles that would be able to further protect your roof from wind damage.

Reinforce Windows and Doors

During storms with strong wind, different types of debris, such as tree branches or other outdoor objects, can pound against your home’s windows and doors. In combination with the power of strong wind gusts, these objects can inflict serious damage on vulnerable areas of your home, including doors and windows. To limit the extent of the damage to these areas, install storm shutters as a protective barrier between debris and the window or door. Storm shutters can either be purchased or makeshift storm shutters can be created with plywood. Garage doors are also a vulnerable area of the home during strong wind, so it may also be beneficial to purchase a garage door bracing kit in order to protect your garage door during severe wind and weather.

Proactive Cleaning Services

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Team In PPE SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team ready to move into a contaminated assisted living facility.

“The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic at a press conference on Wednesday leading to a cascade of new actions and measures taken around the world to combat the virus.” 

What once felt like a distant inkling of a possibility, is now feeling all too real and hitting close to home. Towson University, Loyola, Morgan State University, a few public schools in Prince George’s County, and many more are all taking precautionary measures and closing due to suspected exposure to COVID-19. After school activities, field trips, conventions, and public sporting events have been canceled. Grocery store shelves are empty and everyone is left wondering… what more?

It’s a time of uncertainty, and in those times, we take comfort in knowing something is being done to help. SERVPRO has a few key messages and “Here to Help” is the most important. Now more than ever, SERVPRO is out on the streets helping to curb the recently declared pandemic and minimize its effects.

The hardest hit facility to date, is in Kirkland, Washington at an assisted living facility. SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team is currently working to sanitize, disinfect, and clean this building from top to bottom using advanced cleaning and application methods. SERVPRO performs all cleanup and bioremediation in accordance with the guidelines provided by the CDC and local authorities.

It's important to understand that with this level of Bioremediation, cleaning methods need to be more advanced and efficient than simply wiping down hard surfaces with disinfectant. Safety comes first, and our teams adhere to OSHA and CDC guidelines with the use PPE and protective masks. We utilize fogging methods to disinfect more thoroughly. The hospital-grade disinfectant, SERVPROxide, is emitted from the fogger and its particles aggressively adhere to surfaces and objects. This application will ensure an even coating of all surfaces including walls, doors, floors and ceilings.  We then follow our initial fogging with a wiping of all surfaces, followed by another round of fogging. This is an intense and thorough method of disinfection and should be the standard when dealing with a virus threat of this magnitude.

Our team is prepared to help with Preventative or Post-Contamination cleaning in order to prevent business, school, and event disruption. We are defining “Proactive” as cleaning that takes place when there has been no person suspected of being exposed to COVID-19. This will be a lesser scope of work because there has not been a confirmed case.

If there was exposure in your facility to someone suspected of either positively testing for COVID-19 or being exposed to someone showing symptoms, we consider this “Post-Contamination” cleaning. The scope of work and safety precautions needed will increase in this situation.

 Eliminating exposure to this virus is the most important step we can take to diminish the spread of it throughout our country. To learn more about how to protect your business, employees, and building, please reach out to our team.

Contractor Connections - Golden Hammer Award

3/9/2020 (Permalink)

Contractor Connections Plaque Carrie Jackson is our Office Manager at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County. She accepted the award on our behalf.

We were graciously awarded Contractor Connection's Golden Hammer Award for Top Performance in the restoration industry for the year of 2018.

This award is given to those who exceed expectations in a number of different metrics such as Customer Service, Job Performance, Response Time, Estimate Turnaround, and Cleanliness to name a few. We would like to thank Contractor Connections for acknowledging SERVPRO Team Wall's hard work and dedication over the last year!

Contractor Connection is a national leader for home renovation and repair. They work with a  network of high-quality contractors (such as ourselves) in order to match clients with the best possible fit for their renovation and repair needs.  All contractors allowed access to be included in their network must undergo a background check, insurance, and licensing check, and must have outstanding credentials before being accepted into the network. SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is proud to be a network member for our outstanding Fire Restoration and Water Damage Restoration services.
 

Contractor Connections - Golden Hammer Award

3/9/2020 (Permalink)

Contractor Connections Plaque Carrie Jackson is our Office Manager here at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County. She accepted the award on our behalf.

We were graciously awarded Contractor Connection's Golden Hammer Award for Top Performance in the restoration industry for the year of 2018.

This award is given to those who exceed expectations in a number of different metrics such as Customer Service, Job Performance, Response Time, Estimate Turnaround, and Cleanliness to name a few. We would like to thank Contractor Connections for acknowledging SERVPRO Team Wall's hard work and dedication over the last year!

Contractor Connection is a national leader for home renovation and repair. They work with a  network of high-quality contractors (such as ourselves) in order to match clients with the best possible fit for their renovation and repair needs.  All contractors allowed access to be included in their network must undergo a background check, insurance, and licensing check, and must have outstanding credentials before being accepted into the network. SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County is proud to be a network member for our outstanding Fire Restoration and Water Damage Restoration services.

Burst Pipes 101

3/2/2020 (Permalink)

Burst submerged pipe After a burst pipe creates water damage in your business, call on SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, we keep businesses running.

As we transition from February to March, spring is just around the corner. Spring brings warmer temperatures, but cold temperatures will linger for a while longer. With fluctuating temperatures, the risk of pipes bursting increases, as water within the pipes expands and contracts in response to different temperatures, resulting to increased pressure within the pipes, which can cause pipes to rupture and burst. The water damage that commonly results from burst pipes can have devastating effects on commercial businesses. Therefore, in order to best protect their commercial businesses, it is necessary for business owners to understand the ways in which burst pipes can be avoided, as well as how to effectively react in the event that pipes burst.

Prevention

   Protecting your commercial business with an insurance plan that covers water damage resulting from burst pipes is of the utmost importance, given that cleanup services are often costly. In terms of preventative measures, business owners can wrap pipes that are located outside or in unheated places in insulated sleeves. These insulated sleeves can keep pipes warm in cold temperatures, preventing them from freezing. If pipes do freeze, however, it may be beneficial to run water through the pipes in order to prevent them from rupturing. In order to catch leaking pipes before they burst, inspect pipes for small leaks on a regular basis.

If Pipes Burst…

In order to limit the amount of damage inflicted upon your business, be sure to turn off water, heating, and electricity systems immediately upon noticing burst pipes. Important items, such as physical documents and inventory, should be moved to a safe, dry place where they will not be exposed to water damage. In order to spot water damage, look for physical signs, which include discoloration or stains, musty smells, and mold or mildew growth. You can facilitate drying by opening doors and windows in your building, which will help to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. You can trust SERVPRO to work quickly and efficiently in order to remedy water damage caused by burst pipes in your commercial business, so as to avoid any major workplace interruptions.

Home Cooking Fire Safety

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

Man surrounded by boxes Always abide by safe cooking practices.

Many people cook on regular, day-to-day basis in their homes. However, did you know that cooking accounts for the majority of household fires? While abstaining from cooking would effectively prevent such fires, that solution is simply unreasonable due to the importance of cooking in our daily lives. However, abiding by safe cooking practices can decrease the chances of an undesired fire igniting while cooking, thus saving your home from potential unwanted fire damage.

Before Cooking

Preparing the cooking space holds an incredible amount of importance in preventing an unwanted cooking fire. Make sure that any flammable items, such as paper towels, oven mitts, or wooden objects, are a safe distance from the cooking area. Because grease, oil, and food debris accumulate on cooking surfaces, including stove tops and the interiors of ovens, and such residue can easily ignite, it is crucial that cooking surfaces are cleaned prior to cooking. Not unlike cooking surfaces, pots and pans should also be cleaned before cooking, as grease and oil can build up on the insides and outsides, which can ignite while cooking.

While Cooking

Clearing the cooking space of flammable objects and wiping down cooking equipment are great preventative measures to take before cooking, but even so, many things can go wrong if you leave the kitchen unattended. Fires can start while food is cooking and if no one is present, the fire could grow quickly and become hazardous, as there would be no one present to smother the fire as soon as one ignites. Make sure to turn off the stove if you plan on leaving the kitchen while cooking in order to decrease this risk. In the event that you are cooking an item that must be roasted or baked for several hours, it would be unreasonable to attend to it the entire time that it is cooking. In this case, use a timer to make sure that you are checking on the cooking process regularly.

While taking preventative measures such as wiping down cooking equipment and never leaving items unattended while they are cooking lessen the chances of an unwanted fire igniting while cooking, emergencies can still occur. Having functional smoke alarms installed in your home and making sure that a fire extinguisher is always kept in your kitchen are two ways to protect your home in the event that a dangerous fire ignites while cooking. If a small fire ignites, it may be safe to smother it yourself, but if the fire grows quickly and becomes out of control, assistance may be needed. In this case, escape the house safely, make sure all other occupants have exited, and call 911. Once the fire has been put out safely, remember to call SERVPRO in order to make sure that any damage caused to your home by the fire is sufficiently repaired.