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Estimating Restoration Costs in the Wake of a Fire

7/7/2020 (Permalink)

Boarded up storefronts Board up services in Chester Springs, PA

Estimating Restoration Costs in the Wake of a Fire

The wake of a commercial fire is not the time to start trying to figure out what to do. Contacting a restoration company immediately helps to ensure that the process is handled thoroughly from start to finish. This company assesses the damage, provides a cost estimate to return the building to its pre-fire condition, collaborates with the insurance company, and handles all of your remediation needs. So, what can you expect the entire process to look like? The restoration company will:

1. Perform Emergency Board-Up and Roof Tarping
It’s important to begin the restoration process by preventing further loss resulting from secondary damage, theft, or vandalism. Boarding up all affected exterior doors, windows and walls will do the job until permanent replacements are installed. Any standing water from a fire hose or sprinkler system will also be eliminated immediately. If the roof suffered damage, emergency tarping will be necessary to prevent additional deterioration due to weather intrusion.

2. Assess Damage and Create a Bid
Assessments will be performed to determine the extent of loss and the recommended measures for returning the property to its preloss condition. The professionals will work up an estimate of their costs for completing the total restoration process including the emergency services that have already taken place. Then, they’ll present you with a bid.

3. Remove Odors
Fire damage isn’t only the result of burning, but also includes harm from water, smoke, and soot residue, as well as foul odors. Many odors can be eradicated with the right equipment and procedures.

4. Eliminate Debris
Debris needs to be eliminated as soon as possible to get rid of odors and harmful materials. An inventory of the items that can’t be salvaged will be sent to your insurance adjuster.

5. Clean and Sanitize
Finally, the area and salvageable contents will be cleaned and sanitized. Some of the items will be taken to a facility to be specially cleaned and deodorized.
If your Chester Springs, PA, building suffers fire damage you can count on restoration professionals. You'll receive an accurate estimate to return your property to its preloss condition.

Why Hire SERVPRO for Your Document Restoration Needs

6/20/2020 (Permalink)

Wet documents You don't have to take care of document restoration by yourself

Discovering water in your Spring City, PA, office can be devastating. A flood can quickly destroy your important information. Luckily, the team at SERVPRO has the knowledge and training to take on cleanup tasks such as document restoration. All hope is not lost if these items get wet. With proven processes, the professionals can clean your items and have them back in one piece.

All Types of Documents

As a wise business practice, you should back up all your important files digitally. However, you may still have other types of documents that get wet during a flood. You still want to salvage these belongings. The technicians at SERVPRO have the skill and equipment to dry and clean the following:

  • Books
  • Photographs
  • Maps
  • Magazines

Saving You Money
You should already know that a professional flood cleanup company has the expertise you can rely on to clean up your office following water damage. The team will remove the water, dry the affected area, and sanitize all surfaces to discourage the growth of mold. The cleanup crew can also handle document restoration. Instead of paying a separate company to dry and clean your documents, let SERVPRO take care of these needs. This will help you keep costs low as you mitigate this disaster.

Always Cautious
Not only is the team thorough in its document drying techniques, but you can trust the team to take good care of your belongings. It's vital to handle wet documents carefully. The company knows how important these items are to you, so the technicians will be delicate as they handle these materials. The team will use freeze-drying methods and other proven approaches to dry and clean wet and saturated paper.
You don't have to take care of document restoration by yourself. Leave this task to the professionals. You can save time, money, and a lot of hassle by contacting SERVPRO today.

What To Do About a Noisy Water Heater

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

bald man covering his ears over gray background Water heater noises can generally be addressed before they result in more serious issues

Your Phoenixville, PA, water heater may make a variety of noises over the course of its life. Sometimes these noises indicate a problem, but other times they are perfectly normal. Routine maintenance will minimize the noises and keep your heater in good shape for years to come.

Reasons for the Noise

There are many reasons why water heaters make noise. The following are three of the most common:

  1. Sediment buildup
  2. Vibration
  3. Partially closed valves

Sediment buildup can lead to cracking, popping, or rumbling noises. Vibrations can cause a humming sound. Water being forced through valves that are not fully open often creates a screeching. Noises can also be caused by pipes expanding and contracting, valves closing too quickly, or simply the normal operations of a heat trap.

How To Stop the Noise
As with all appliances, routine maintenance goes a long way to keep the machine running smoothly. Doing a water heater flush every year with a descaling cleaner will eliminate sediment buildup. If you have a lot of buildup and annual cleanings are insufficient, installing a water softener may help. If you have an electric water heater and hear a humming noise, the problem could be a loose heating element. Tighten the element and make sure it is secure. For screeching or banging sounds, make sure that all valves, to and from the heater, are working properly, i.e., opening fully and not closing too quickly. In some cases, it may be necessary to install a water hammer arrestor to stop the banging sound. If you cannot locate or resolve the source of the noise, call a plumber to help you address the situation.
Fortunately, water heater noises can generally be addressed before they result in more serious issues. However, if you do experience water damage from a malfunctioning heater, an experienced restoration company can help you get your home back to normal quickly and safely.

How Furnace Maintenance Can Help Prevent Residential Fires

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

Home furnace air filter replacement Furnace maintenance is an excellent fire prevention step

How Furnace Maintenance Can Help Prevent Residential Fires

It's easy to take some appliances for granted, especially when they are out of sight and mind. Furnaces can be located outside, in basements, or attics. Most people do not venture near these machines because they are controlled inside using a thermostat. However, these machines need constant upkeep and tuning to ensure routine cleaning doesn't become fire cleaning. Any fire restoration company in South Pottstown, PA, can tell you that a dirty or unkempt furnace is a fire hazard. Therefore, make sure to hire a furnace repair technician for the following jobs.

  • Air filters
  • Ducts
  • Thermostat
  • Wiring

Air Filters
While you may not need a professional to replace your air filters, you may want them to look at the filtration system and blower. Small fires can start in these spaces because of dirt and dust buildup, meaning that you may need to hire a smoke cleaning crew if you get lax on maintenance.

Ducts
Like the blower and air filter areas, the ducts are prone to dust buildup. While surplus dust may not be a fire hazard in the summer, when the heat is blasting through the system, it is concerning. While a fire cleaning may not yet be necessary, make sure to have your ductwork cleaned at least once per year.

Thermostat
During a professional inspection, the technician can make sure the thermostat is working appropriately. They will turn the temperature up and down to judge the system's response, making any necessary adjustments or tweaks after their assessment.

Wiring
Overtime connectors can wear away, and wire housing can become worn. During annual inspections, you or a professional should note any potential electrical threats. Faulty wiring is one of the leading causes of residential fires.
Furnace maintenance is an excellent fire prevention step. You can contact fire cleaning experts to discuss other preventative measures you can take, but proper maintenance and upkeep of residential systems is a practical approach to prevention and preparation.

How To Distinguish Mold From Mildew

5/13/2020 (Permalink)

The finger of the hand points to the black fungus on the white wall. Mold and mildew are both fungi

How To Distinguish Mold From Mildew

Mold and mildew are both fungi. In general, the effects of mildew are less severe than mold. This is particularly the case in comparison with toxigenic mold species such as black mold. The following considerations are helpful for distinguishing mold from mildew at a building in East-West Pikeland, PA.

Appearance
Mold and mildew differ in appearance. Mildew starts as gray, white, or yellow spots that turn brown or black. Mildew may be downy or powdery in texture. Depending on the stage of the growth cycle, mold may be any of the following colors:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Brown
  • Gray
  • Green
  • White
  • Yellow

It is impossible to accurately identify mold species based solely on a visual examination. For example, alternaria, aspergillus or cladosporium all may appear black. None of these species of mold are stachybotrys chartarum or black mold.

Location
Mildew primarily grows on plants, organic materials, and damp surfaces. Mold can grow wherever moisture and nutriment are available. Both types of fungus are prone to grow in an indoor area with a moisture problem. It is important to restore water damage caused by plumbing or roof leaks to discourage fungi from growing. Damp surfaces that are relatively undisturbed are ideal environments for fungal infestations.

Testing
There is a simple way to determine whether fungi are more likely to be mildew than mold. Put a few drops of chlorine on the affected area. If growth becomes lighter, it is probably mildew. If the color remains unchanged, the fungus is probably mold. Chlorine bleach is not effective for mold cleanup because this solution does not penetrate to the mycelium, which is similar to a root structure.
While mildew poses less of a risk than black mold, it is important to clean and disinfect any area where fungus is growing at a building in East-West Pikeland, PA. Controlling moisture levels can discourage mildew and mold from returning.

Is Category 2 Water Damage a Health Hazard?

5/12/2020 (Permalink)

Blue background of water with the words WATER CATEGORIES in the middle Three basic categories of water damage

Three Basic Categories of Water Damage

A flooded business is the last thing you need these days. Unfortunately, a leaking pipe is not that rare in Kimberton, PA, especially in older commercial buildings. Before the water pipe repair is accomplished, you’ll need to deal with the excess water.
If it’s a small leak, you may not have much floodwater to deal with. However, if it’s accumulated for a while – or if it’s a broken pipe – you should evaluate the water before touching it. There are three basic categories of water damage, based on the type (if any) of contaminates contained in it:

Category 1 is clean water with nothing significant contaminating it.
Category 2 is grey water with some microorganisms contaminating it, but no sewage.
Category 3 is black water with sewage contaminating it.

Can You Clean Up Category 1 By Yourself?
Potentially, yes. If the damage is localized and only on the surface, you can use towels to soak up the floodwater and fans to remove excess humidity. However, you may need a plumber for the water pipe repair.

What About Category 2?
Usually, you’ll need to at least consult with an expert on category 2 water damage. This type may include water (with urine only) from the toilet, floodwater that came from outside the building that doesn’t contain sewage or any non-septic water from sources other than clean water pipes. If the damage is very light with low levels of contamination and hasn’t soaked into building materials, you may be able to fix it yourself, but you’ll still usually need a professional to perform any needed water pipe repair.

How Serious Is Category 3 Water Damage?
Unfortunately, you’ll always need a certified water damage restoration expert when category 3 is involved. Once raw sewage has entered a building, the germs will spread to everything it touches – often embedding in absorbent materials. Floodwater from a major flood should also always be considered category 3 since it will often contain sewage from the sewer system or septic tank overflows. Impacted areas inside may remain contaminated for months if not cleaned professionally.

How To Prepare Your House For Winter

4/30/2020 (Permalink)

man using a snow rake on garage roof in winter Cold weather strikes in Chester Springs, PA

Before cold weather strikes in Chester Springs, PA, you need to make sure your house is up to the challenge. You will probably remember to dust off the snow shovel and haul the snowblower out of storage, but your house also needs some attention so that a winter storm doesn’t take you by surprise.

How To Winterize The Outside of Your Home

Insulate any exposed pipes to prevent them from bursting.
Blow the water out of your underground sprinkling to eliminate the need for water damage repairs.
Detach all outside hoses and make sure the faucets are turned off securely.
Trim all trees near the house to reduce the risk of damage during a winter storm.
Inspect the gutters and remove all debris. Diminish the chance of roof damage by making sure the shingles are securely fastened. Strong winds during a blizzard can loosen the shingles and expose your roof to damage.

What You Should Do To Protect the Inside of Your House

Insulate windows with caulk to lower the likelihood of cold air drafts.
Make sure the fireplace flue can close securely and check for any combustible objects, such as birds’ nests, inside the flue. If you have a gas fireplace, make sure the gas logs are positioned properly.
Keep the temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even if you are leaving for an extended period of time.
Leave the cupboard doors under the sink open if you are leaving overnight to ensure the pipes don’t freeze.

What Emergency Supplies You Need on Hand
Keep extra batteries for your flashlights and transistor radio, in case the power goes out. Also, have candles and matches on hand. If you have a generator, make sure you have extra fuel. It’s always a good idea to keep food staples well-stocked in your pantry during the winter months as well.
You will get through the ordeal of a winter storm much easier if you are prepared in advance.

3 Common Questions About Installing a Fire Sprinkler System

4/22/2020 (Permalink)

Automatic ceiling Fire Sprinkler at the Office A fire sprinkler system is critical for any Spring City, PA, business's safety

3 Common Questions About Installing a Fire Sprinkler System

While a fire sprinkler at home is a valuable tool to control and eliminate fires, it is even more crucial in a commercial location. It plays a significant role in keeping people safe and minimizing fire damage to your building and property. Whether you are in the process of building the locale or moving into an established structure, you are bound to have a few questions about a sprinkler system.

1. How Does It Work?
This fire suppression system is composed of a piping network that is installed behind ceilings and walls, running throughout the entire building. Additionally, there are sprinklers along the pipes that are installed in every room. The water is always under pressure and the sprinklers are ready to discharge when they are triggered. These devices are activated when a fire grows and escalates air temperature to a certain degree.

2. How Does It Benefit a Building?
The building's fire sprinkler system serves two important purposes depending on the fire's size and intensity. If the fire is hot enough to activate it, but it is rather small, the sprinklers can simply extinguish it with minimal damage. However, if the fire is too large for the sprinklers to extinguish, they can at least control the heat and diminish the smoke. After firefighters finish with the area, commercial remediation services can handle the fire sprinkler cleanup.

3. When Should It Be Installed?
The best time for installation is when you are starting the building from scratch. It is easier to install the devices strategically and it costs less money. When you remodel an older building, you have the option of retrofitting them, but it is more expensive. Additional insurance discounts and tax deductions, as well as the increased safety of people and property, make the investment always worth it.
A fire sprinkler system is critical for any Spring City, PA, business's safety. If you are new to it, asking these questions can help you understand its value in the commercial sector.

Is It Safe for Employees To Work During Restoration?

4/10/2020 (Permalink)

Outside of a commercial building surrounded from flooded waters Storm damage to a building in South Pottstown, PA

When your commercial buildings have been affected by significant storm damage that requires professional repair and reconstruction work, you may wonder when it's safe for employees and tenants to return. For example, when black water from flooding brings dangerous contaminants into your buildings, how soon will it be safe for people to re-enter your property?

OSHA Regulations

One of your main concerns should be compliance with regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Act (or OSHA.) the point of these regulations is to make sure that the people in your place of business are assured of "safe and healthful" conditions. Some of the points to consider include

  • Protection from unreasonable danger, including imminent natural hazards
  • Employers must consider obvious safety concerns before asking employees to return to the workplace
  • Employees who feel that they have been placed in imminent danger may complain to OSHA
  • Fact sheets from OSHA are available for commercial property owners

As soon as your property is affected by flooding and during flood cleanup, it's important that your employees and tenants stay away.

Black Water Concerns

What's the big deal about black water? This contaminated water often comes from backed-up sewer systems, flooding toilets, water from storms and flooding, and similar situations. Its origins mean that this water may contain raw sewage, animal feces, harmful chemicals, and hazardous pathogens. When this water gets into your South Pottstown, PA, buildings, you must keep all employees and tenants away. Water damage cleanup and disinfection professionals have the supplies and personal protective equipment to safely resolve the problem.

Professional Cleaning Results

Once any demolition, reconstruction, and disinfection work have been completed, cleanup professionals may tell you that your buildings can be used again. During the cleanup and restoration process, a variety of cleaning, disinfection, and air filtration supplies are used to create a safe environment. At this point, your commercial property should be safe once again.
Black water and other hazards that result from storm damage pose serious risks. As an employer and property owner in South Pottstown, PA, you have the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the people working and living in your commercial buildings.

The Importance of Using a Certified Mold Removal Specialist

3/27/2020 (Permalink)

Black mold growth on wall Mold growth in Phoenixville, PA

Reasons To Hire A Certified Mold Expert

Do you suspect a mold issue in your home? Have you contacted your insurer? While many home insurance policies may not cover mold damage, some do. While it can be tempting to handle mold removal on your own, there are several reasons that is not a good idea. However, in regards to coverage and reliability, there are at least four reasons to hire a certified mold expert in Phoenixville, PA.

  • Trusted
  • Knowledgeable
  • Trained
  • Reliability

Trusted

The main reason to hire an expert with mold certification is that they are trusted in the industry. Insurance companies also prefer that you use certified companies because these companies have provable qualifications, which is beneficial when making a claim and ensuring a job is completed correctly.

Knowledgeable

A certified mold company is also knowledgeable in state regulations regarding mold removal. While it may seem to the layman that mold is simply discarded, that is not the case. There is a specific set of rules companies have to follow to maintain there license and to ensure that the public is not exposed.

Trained

Beyond the companies knowledge and license, those individuals who work as removal technicians must also obtain training and certification. All certified mold remediation companies take pride in their adherence to state and federal guidelines, and they could not obtain or maintain a license without adherence to those rules.

Reliability

Last, hiring a mold remediation professional is more reliable than a DIY approach. If you remove the infestation yourself and the infestation comes back, you are out that additional money to remove the problem again. Most professionals offer a guarantee of removal, which means if the infestation returns, then they will remove it again at no additional cost.
Always trust mold removal to certified mold companies. True, the job can sometimes appear to be minor, but if it ends up being larger than anticipated, you have put yourself at greater risk financially. Do yourself a favor and call in the experts in certified mold remediation.