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How to safely use a fireplace and avoid a fire and water damage disaster

1/26/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Media provides tips for safe burning practices when using a fireplace.

SERVPRO of Media, PA, recommends homeowners exercise safe fireplace burning practices to prevent a fire damage disaster that requires fire and water damage restoration services. Safe burning starts with what goes into the fireplace. Some items should never be burned in a fireplace, and the list of what not to burn in the fireplace may be surprising.

Any treated wood

While arsenic is no longer used in pressure-treated wood as of January 1, 2004, old pressure-treated wood is harmful due to residual amounts of arsenic. Decking, support beams, and plywood treated with arsenic should be discarded appropriately. Never burn the wood in the fireplace, wood stove, firepit, or on an open fire. Woods that have been painted, varnished, or stained will also give off toxic fumes and smoke if burned. The adhesives used in the manufacture of plywood will produce toxic fumes as well.

Cardboard, corrugated boxes, and printed paper

Both solid fiberboard (e.g., cereal boxes) and corrugated boxes (e.g., pizza boxes) should not be burned in a fireplace. Chemicals used in the manufacturing and printing of these items can emit toxic chemicals and fumes. Gift wraps, magazines, coupon inserts, and colorful mailers should not be burned in the fireplace. A page or two of plain newsprint with black print can start a fire. Burning paper can float out of an unprotected chimney, putting the roof and yard at risk of catching fire.

Liquid accelerants

Examples of accelerants that should not be used to start a fire in the fireplace include such items as lighter fluid, charcoal lighter fluid, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, motor oil, engine starter fluid, rubbing alcohol, liquors, fingernail polish remover, paint thinner, hair spray, wasp spray, spray lubricants, or any other flammable liquids or sprays. Most of the above items are highly combustible and can flare up when ignited. Methanol and petroleum-based products give off toxic fumes when combusting, and accelerants generate a very high heat that can damage the chimney or cause it to ignite, which could burn a home to the ground.

Wet firewood

Moisture in wet or green firewood increases smoke production and rapid creosote buildup, elevating the risk of a chimney fire. Use seasoned firewood and avoid burning evergreens such as pine for the same reasons. Make sure logs are free of poison oak or poison ivy.

Other items that should not be burned in the fireplace:

  • Wood pallets may be treated with pesticide to prevent the spread of the ash tree borer.
  • Driftwood contains harmful metal salts absorbed from the ocean.
  • Plastics give off toxins which cause numerous health effects.
  • Fabrics produce lots of toxic smoke, which increases creosote buildup.
  • Small batteries can give off toxic fumes and can explode under extreme heat.
  • Fresh fruit peels smolder, which increases creosote buildup. First, dry the peels of apples, lemons, or oranges, then burn them in the fireplace for an aromatic evening by the fireplace.
  • Leaves burn very hot and can cause a chimney fire. Wet leaves give off lots of smoke that increase creosote buildup in the chimney.

Basic fireplace safety tips

This winter season will see many families relying more heavily on their fireplaces and wood stoves as temperatures drop and energy costs skyrocket. These basic fireplace safety tips will help keep the home both warm and safe.

  • Inspect the fireplace and chimney at least once a year, preferably in the fall, before cold weather arrives.
  • Always use a fireplace screen to prevent embers from escaping the fireplace.
  • Keep combustibles at least three or more feet away from the fireplace.
  • Avoid putting combustible decorative items on the hearth.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher nearby when burning the fireplace.
  • Never leave a burning fire unattended.
  • Install smoke alarms outside every bedroom and change the batteries at least once a year. The kitchen, den, laundry room, and garage should have smoke detectors.
  • Keep children and pets a safe distance from the fireplace.
  • Create an emergency fire escape plan and conduct drills with the family.
  • Pre-qualify a property damage cleanup and restoration company before a fire, smoke, or water damage disaster occurs.

What to look for when choosing a damage restoration company in Media, PA

A locally owned and operated company is invested in the community. Word of mouth, BBB ratings, and social media reviews should validate a solid track record of excellent customer service. Trained and IICRC-certified technicians should have industry-leading equipment, cutting-edge technology, and the latest cleaning techniques and EPA-approved cleaning products. Services should be available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. Can the company promise a quick response time of about an hour or so? A reputable company will inspect and assess the damage before providing a detailed, well-documented estimate that includes images and video. Choose a damage cleanup and restoration company that can handle the insurance claims process from beginning to end.

For more information about fire and water damage restoration and cleanup services for the areas near Regal Edgmont Square, Newtown Square, PA, email SERVPRO of Media at office@SERVPROmedia.com or call (610) 566-5720.

Three ways that water intrusion can damage the garage and create the need for water removal

1/26/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Media advises homeowners to be aware of the damaging effects water damage can have on the garage.

Homeowners may be under the impression that heavy and prolonged rainfall, high moisture levels, and flooding will not cause significant water damage in the garage, and they may assume that they will not need water removal services. After all, the space consists of a concrete floor, bare walls, and a garage door. Windows are few, and no one takes their muddy shoes off to enter the garage. However, serious water damage is quite possible in the garage.

Water damage in the garage may go unnoticed or ignored until the damage becomes evident. If left unchecked, the water damage will require repairs and even restoration. Delays in dealing with water damage will impact the insurance claims process and the eventual payout. Neglecting a property damage issue, especially water damage, may result in the forfeiture of an insurance claim since the damage was more the result of neglect instead of the original water damage incident. Below are some examples of the damaging effects water can have on the garages of homes in Penn Wynne, Wynnewood, PA.

1. Primary and secondary structural damage to the home

Though it may appear that the concrete floor of the garage is rock-solid, in reality, the slab is porous. When the floor becomes saturated from flooding, it cannot absorb any more water. The water in and on the concrete releases moisture that can seep into any wood framing that might be present in the garage. Adjacent rooms and the attic above the garage can be damaged by the water and moisture from the concrete floor.

2. Damage to items stored in the garage

A typical two-car garage ranges in size from 400 (20X20) to 576 (24X24) to 720 (24X30) square feet. The temptation to use some or all of the space for storage is sometimes unavoidable. Items stored in the garage include junk, old magazines, important financial documents, clothing, holiday decorations, unused furniture, memorabilia, recyclables, antiques, and other valuable keepsakes and heirlooms. Constant exposure to moisture and the occasional mini-flood from heavy downpours can ruin these items. Antiques, old records, and photo albums may not be worth much in the event of an insurance claims payout, but their sentimental value is priceless.

3. Mold infestation

The typical garage is warm, moist, and dark. Add to this recipe limited ventilation and lots of organic matter for food. The garage is a prime breeding ground for mold. From the garage, mold and mildew can easily migrate to the rest of the home, including the attic or bonus room above the garage.

Key indicators of water damage in the garage

Watch for these warning signs that can tip off a homeowner to water damage in the garage. Catching and resolving the water damage can save thousands in water damage cleanup and restoration.

  • Unexplained water puddles on the garage floor
  • The deterioration of sections of the concrete floor into small flakes and chips, also known as spalling
  • Large cracks in the floor
  • Exposed structural steel in the concrete floor
  • A musty smell and black, green, or brown stains on the floor, walls, and items in the garage

How to deal with water damage in the garage

First, the homeowner needs to identify the source of the water intrusion and resolve it. Action steps may include the following:

  • scheduling a gutter inspection by a licensed roofing contractor
  • adding a ventilation system in the garage to increase airflow
  • having a landscape architect check the grade around the foundation of the home
  • lowering the garage door when inclement weather is approaching

The best way to take care of any water damage is to hire a reputable property damage cleanup and restoration company to remove any standing water, dry out the affected areas with industrial-strength dehumidifiers, restore any damaged personal belongings stored in the garage, and mitigate mold issues. Do not be surprised if the mold infestation extends far beyond the garage. The crawl space, attic, and any rooms attached to the garage may also be affected.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Media are available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. The rapid response and quick water damage cleanup process return life to normal as soon as possible. The homeowner or business will receive a detailed estimate. SERVPRO of Media can handle all aspects of the project, including the demolition and reconstruction of the damaged structure, and the team manages the claims process from beginning to end with no headaches or hassle for the property owner.

To learn more about Penn Wynne, Wynnewood, PA, water removal services, contact SERVPRO of Media by calling (610) 566-5720. The office can also be reached by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com.

Five landscaping considerations that can help prevent storm damage and flood damage

1/26/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Media advises homeowners about landscaping strategies that aid in flood damage prevention.

SERVPRO of Media has provided flood restoration services for many homes in the Newtown Square, PA, area. The team knows that after flooding and flood damage, homeowners wonder what they could have done to prevent the disaster. One way to avoid flooding is through landscaping strategies. Landscaping offers many benefits to the home, including improving drainage to prevent water damage and reducing the likelihood of storm damage to the house and personal property. Below are five practical landscaping tips to help homeowners tend their yards while keeping water and storm damage concerns in mind.

Tip: Practice proper tree care

A home’s treescape provides shade, saves on energy bills, creates ambiance, and can add significant value to the selling price of a home. Though the project may be costly and involve permitting and paperwork with the governing municipality, do not delay removing dead, diseased, or rotten trees. Secure the services of a reputable, experienced, and well-equipped tree service to extract the trees. The dead tree may drop limbs or, worse, fall over while being tied off or cut down. The collateral damage to the home, vehicles and bystanders could be financially catastrophic. If the price quote for a job seems too good to be true, the reason may be the arborist does not carry adequate insurance. Dead trees and limbs can fall during high winds. Tree removal makes this type of damage avoidable.

Healthy trees need regular maintenance, especially if the canopy is near the home or overhangs the roof. Limb impact damage to siding, trim, paint, gutters, or windows caused by a tree near the structure is considered regular wear and tear over an extended period of time and would not be covered by insurance. A limb puncture to the roof may go unnoticed until a cascade of water pours into the attic, causing ceiling and wall water damage in the rooms below.

Tip: Avoid planting trees and shrubs near the septic system

When designing and installing a new landscape plan, avoid planting trees and shrubs on or near the septic drain field or main sewer line. The sewer line may be damaged during the planting process, resulting in a sewage backup disaster. Over time, roots from trees and shrubs can clog the drain field or crack the sewer line. The repairs to the sewage system will be costly, and a sewage backup in the home can result in costly cleanup and restoration.

Tip: Carefully manage water runoff around the home

Make sure the grade around the home slopes away from the foundation at one inch per foot for at least six to ten feet. Do not pile mulch next to the foundation since the excess moisture can cause mold or wood rot. Periodically inspect downspouts to determine if the connections are secure and do not leak.

Tip: Inspect and clean out the gutter system on a seasonal basis

Clogged gutters frequently cause serious water damage in the attic, siding, ceilings, and walls inside the home. Clean the gutters several times when the leaves begin to fall during autumn. A heavy thunderstorm with high winds can strip a tree bear. A mature oak tree may have as many as 200,000 or more leaves clinging tenaciously to its branches. If the yard has pine trees near the home, high winds and heavy rain can cause a massive needle loss that can clog gutters. Hire a professional to clean the gutters if there is any concern at all about falling from the ladder.

Tip: Install a sump pump as a last line of defense and test it regularly

When the gutters are clogged, when the downspouts are releasing water next to the foundation, when the slope away from the foundation is too shallow to divert water from a heavy downpour away from the structure, and when the foundation is allowing hundreds or thousands of gallons of water to seep into the basement or crawl space, let the sump pump do its work. Clean out and test the system several times a year. Include a backup battery system in case the power goes out.

Pre-qualify SERVPRO as the dedicated property damage cleanup and restoration company

The best time to find and choose a dedicated property damage cleanup and restoration company is before fire damage, smoke damage, water damage, or storm damage disaster has occurred. There is time to review the company’s website, read reviews, check references, and get to know the team. SERVPRO of Media provides a rapid response and a quick cleanup and restoration. The team is available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. Customers received a detailed, well-documented estimate with images and video. SERVPRO handles the insurance claims process from beginning to end.

For more information about flood restoration services in Newtown Square, PA, call SERVPRO of Media at (610) 566-5720 or email office@SERVPROmedia.com.

How clogged gutters can lead to extensive water damage in and around the home

1/2/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media highlights the many ways a home can suffer water damage from clogged gutters.

SERVPRO® of Media highlights the need for water damage restoration that can arise when clogged gutters are undetected or neglected, leading to a water intrusion and the potential for extensive water damage. Gutters clogged with leaves, sticks, pinecones, and living plants are unsightly, and unsightly gutters ruin curb appeal and decrease property values. Clogged gutters can also overflow, causing extensive property damage to the home.

Fall and spring are the best times to clean out gutters. It is recommended to have several gutter checks in autumn when the leaves begin to fall and at least one inspection around the end of March. A mature oak tree may have between 200,000 and 500,000 leaves on its branches, and many of these leaves will wind up on the roof and in the gutters. Only one inspection at Halloween or Thanksgiving is risky, but an inspection at Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas brings peace of mind, especially when temperatures drop, the snow falls, and the risk of ice dams forming is elevated.

While most or all of the leaves have fallen by the end of December, pine needles and other debris can clog the gutters. A Spring gutter clean may involve a visual check of the gutters and roof. The Spring inspection will bring peace of mind when the first thunderstorm of the season stalls over the neighborhood, dropping several inches of rain on the roof. Knowing that the gutters are in good shape eliminates worries about potential water damage.

Damage caused by clogged gutters

Listed below are five types of damage clogged gutters can cause around a home.

1. Damaged foundations

The primary purpose of gutters is to capture water and direct it to the downspouts. The downspouts lead the water away from the foundation of the home. Some homeowners attached extensions to the downspouts to ensure the water is deposited safely from the foundation. Overflow from clogged gutters is deposited very close to the foundation. The saturated ground expands and then contracts when the water evaporates. The positive and negative stress on the foundation can cause the foundation walls to develop cracks. The cracks weaken the foundation and allow water to seep into the basement or crawl space. The compromised foundation can set off a cascade of issues that undermine the home's structural integrity. A bi-annual gutter cleaning can help the homeowner avoid catastrophic water damage and repair and reconstruction of the foundation.

2. Rotting wood

Gutters are attached to wooden fascia boards. Water from clogged gutters can overflow and cause the facia boards to rot, and wooden siding is also vulnerable to wood rot when gutters overflow.

3. Landscaping damage

A well-landscaped yard can experience water damage from overflowing gutters. The excess water can wash away rich topsoil needed for plant nutrition, and some shrubs and plants may not thrive in the wet conditions caused by water overflow. The replacement cost for a mature shrub or bush could easily be several hundred dollars. Mulch can be washed away, littering the yard with debris.

4. Ice dams

During the cold winter months, clogged gutters trap water that can freeze, producing buildup known as ice dams. When the ice begins to melt, the water can seep into the roof, causing water damage to the attic, walls, and interior ceilings. Mold, wood rot, and structural damage are inevitable If the gutter problem is not resolved. Moisture mitigation, mold remediation, and the repair and replacement of sheet rock and structural timbers could have been avoided with a simple gutter inspection and cleanout.

5. Pest problems

During the warmer months, the water and moisture trapped by clogged gutters create an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Moisture that seeps into the attic and behind the siding also creates an inviting habitat for termites. Roaches, silverfish, and ants appreciate the moist environment, as well. An increase in the pest population inside the home may signal the need for a water damage inspection and a gutter check to identify the source of any moisture.

What to do when a water intrusion and water damage have occurred

If a water intrusion from clogged gutters has affected the attic, ceilings, walls, baseboards, flooring, and other home parts, the homeowner should immediately clean the gutters. Next, the services of a reputable, certified, and professional water damage cleanup and restoration company can be secured to remove any water and reduce moisture levels with high-powered, fast, and efficient dehumidifiers. Once the damaged areas are thoroughly dried out, the SERVPRO of Media team can begin repairing and restoring the damaged home. Delays can lead to advanced secondary damage, including mold, wood rot, and pest infestation.

For more information about water damage restoration services for not just homes but also businesses like Regal Edgmont Square, 4777 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, PA 19073, contact SERVPRO of Media at (610) 566-5720 or at office@SERVPROmedia.com

Eight tips on how to prevent a water damage during a holiday vacation

1/2/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Media offers eight steps to help homeowners have peace of mind while on vacation during the holiday season.

SERVPRO of Media, PA, a leader in property damage cleanup and restoration, is aware of seasonal hazards and restoration services that might be needed in the event of property damage at homes in Penn Wynne Wynnewood, PA, and nearby areas.

A holiday vacation can be a time of renewal and refreshment for the upcoming year. However, leaving home unoccupied can be unnerving. What if something goes wrong? Worry and anxiety have the potential to ruin time away from work, spending time with the extended family, celebrating the holidays, reflecting on the past year, and planning for the year ahead.

Below are some helpful tips to prevent water damage and to help vacationing homeowners avoid worrying about their homes.

Water damage is the second most common reason homeowners file an insurance claim. The fact that there are many causes of water damage may explain the frequency of insurance claims. Water damage may be caused by the following:

  • Heavy rainfall and localized flash flooding
  • Roof damage from high winds in combination with heavy precipitation
  • Overflow from clogged gutters that floods the basement or crawl space
  • Icy weather
  • Leaking pipes
  • Appliance malfunctions (burst supply lines)

A water intrusion is always disruptive, inconvenient, time-consuming, and usually involves some expense to clean up and restore. When that leaking water pipe or clogged HVAC condensate pan has been dripping for days or weeks, the damage can be extensive. Water flows from a burst supply line at about five gallons per minute. A much slower leak of 5 gallons per hour will dump 120 gallons of water per day onto the kitchen or bathroom floor. If the bathroom is upstairs, the homeowners could be in for a disheartening surprise when they walk through the front door to find two weeks of water, almost 2,000 gallons, in their flooded home. A minor water leak has escalated into a major catastrophe, including extensive advanced secondary damage. Carpets, rugs, flooring substrates, HVAC ducts, insulation, walls, ceilings, baseboards, and anything touching the wet floor can be ruined by extended contact with water and moisture.

Steps to prevent water damage in the home while on a holiday vacation

These eight steps can help guard a house against most types of water damage and enable the entire family to relax and enjoy the holiday vacation with family and friends.

Step #1: Conduct a thorough inspection for leaks at least two weeks before departure

Check the home for leaks in time enough to make any repairs before leaving for the vacation. The inspection should include the following:

  • Pipes and connections under all sinks
  • Supply lines and connections to the dishwasher, washer, and refrigerator
  • Water heater (Check for cracks, rust, and moisture in the leak pan.)
  • Roof (Look for damaged or missing shingles, clogged gutters, and damaged or missing vents.)
  • Attic (Check for signs of a roof leak or water damage due to overflow from clogged gutters.)
  • Basement and crawl space (Scan the basement or crawl space for signs of a leak.)

During the inspection, sniff for any moldy or mildewy smells. This first step is the most critical since the goal is to identify and resolve any existing water leaks or water damage before the start of the holiday vacation.

Step #2: Shut off the water supply to the entire home

Dramatically reduce the risk of water damage by shutting off the water supply at the main water valve. Run the faucets and flush all toilets to drain the pipes. This action will prevent pipes from bursting in case of freezing weather.

If circumstances do not allow the water to be shut off at the main valve, then shut off the valves to the appliances with supply lines, such as the washer, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Include supply lines to toilets and faucets in this step.

Step #3: Conduct a gutter check

Clean out the gutters before departure. By the time Thanksgiving and Christmas arrive, most of the leaves should be off the trees. Ensure any leaves, sticks, or debris are not clogging the gutters. Downspouts should be connected and extended six to ten feet from the home's foundation. The grade around the house should slope away from the foundation at about one inch per foot for at least ten feet.

Step #4: Test the sump pump

Clear out any debris in the reservoir. Listen for strange sounds in the pump. If a backup system is not in place, consider upgrading before the vacation begins.

Step #5: Insulate exterior faucets and exposed water pipes to make them freeze-proof

Keep the home’s temperature high enough to prevent interior pipes from freezing. Open the doors to cabinets with sinks.

Step #6: Leverage leak-detection technology to prevent water damage

This technology is affordable, effective, and often can be installed by the savvy homeowner.

Step #7: Have a family member or friend check the home once or twice

Leave written instructions for what to do in an emergency, including telephone numbers of a plumber, electrician, and property damage cleanup and restoration company. Include the location of the main water valve, the thermostat, and the electrical panel.

Step #8: Pre-qualify SERVPRO of Media.

SERVPRO of Media is an excellent choice for the dedicated property damage cleanup and restoration professional that will be contacted in case of water damage or other types of property damage. The SERVPRO team is available 24/7, 36 days a year, including all holidays. A crew can be onsite in about an hour or so. A detailed estimate with full documentation, including images and video, will be provided. SERVPRO of Media can handle the insurance claim process from beginning to end.

Contact SERVPRO of Media to learn more about the company’s seasonal hazards and restoration services. The office can be reached by phone at (610) 566-5720 or by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com.

How a frozen fire sprinkler system can cause both fire damage and water damage

1/2/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media explains how frozen pipes in a fire sprinkler system can increase the risk of fire and water damage.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Media, PA, provide fire and water damage restoration services to homeowners and businesses that have suffered a property damage disaster from burst pipes due to an ice blockage in a fire sprinkler system. Homeowners, business owners, and property managers are well acquainted with the disruption, inconvenience, and stress associated with frozen pipes when a winter blast roars through the Northeast and descends on Newtown Square, PA, and the surrounding area. The frozen water inside plumbing pipes expands, exerting greater and greater pressure until the pipes fracture, sending cascades of water into the home, business, or manufacturing facility. The resulting water damage disaster creates a complex matrix of problems.

Ice buildup in a fire sprinkler system elevates the risk hazard in the home, apartment complex, or commercial structure. The safety of residents, employees, and customers is negatively impacted. A blockage in the sprinkler system impedes or eliminates the life-saving capabilities of the affected fire sprinkler system. If the sprinkler system pipes freeze and rupture, a condition known as a “freeze break” in the fire safety realm, the results could be catastrophic unless a shut-off tool is located and employed to shut off the water to the sprinkler system.

Besides the extremes of an ice blockage or a freeze breakage which render the fire sprinkler system useless in a residential or commercial setting, other less obvious but quite hazardous circumstances emerge. The subtle situations can be life-threatening for the people in the structure, whether commercial or residential. Homeowners, business owners, and property managers must pay attention to the issues encompassing fire sprinkler systems.

Incremental impact on the integrity of the fire sprinkler system

Not all ice blockages in a fire sprinkler system completely cut off the flow of water through the system or end in a water damage disaster. Cycles of freezing and thawing may occur in the system’s pipes when the pipes are exposed to low temperatures for an extended period. This unusual occurrence sets up a vicious cycle that dramatically stresses the pipes in the fire sprinkler system. Pipes that freeze and thaw after a freeze event may appear unscathed. However, the integrity of the pipes may be compromised. Hairline cracks may grow progressively worse over time, resulting in what initially is a slight or minor water release. The owner or property manager can be assured that the problem will not remain static and unchanged. Compromised pipes in a fire sprinkler system can burst, causing substantial flood damage to furniture, stock, merchandise, equipment, and buildings. A fire sprinkler shut-off tool is quite helpful in this situation to prevent further water damage.

Difficult to locate and expensive to repair

When ice begins to form in a fire sprinkler system, pressure is exerted on the unfrozen water in the pipes. Now under intense pressure, this unfrozen water can burst pipes in areas of the sprinkler system that did not freeze. It may seem strange that an unfrozen section of the sprinkler system might experience ruptures. These unanticipated leaks are difficult to anticipate and spot. The cost of the water damage repairs and any inventory loss can be high.

The prominent place of prevention in protecting the fire sprinkler system from freezing

The best strategy to avoid fire and water damage from a freeze-related break in a fire sprinkler system is prevention. The following recommendations are a good starting point:

  1. Identify sections of the fire sprinkler system with an elevated risk of freezing during a cold snap. Fire sprinkler systems in stairways, hallways, and unheated warehouse areas are susceptible to freezing.
  2. Mitigate the risk hazard by insulating the sprinkler system pipes or increasing the heat sent to these areas by the HVAC system or other heat source.
  3. Follow a prescribed inspection and maintenance on the fire sprinkler system.
  4. Submit to required annual inspections by regulating agencies such as the fire department. Promptly implement any recommendations and required actions resulting from the third-party inspection.
  5. Have a sprinkler shut-off tool accessible in the event of a sudden, unexplained sprinkler system activation.

Dry sprinkler systems may also have water buildup from condensation. Proper maintenance can eliminate any risk hazards arising from the presence of water in the system.

What to do if a fire or water damage disaster occurs

An ice blockage in a fire sprinkler system prevents the system from extinguishing a fire, putting a home or business at greater risk of fire damage. A freeze break in a fire sprinkler system can cause extensive water damage in a house, apartment, or business. Before a disaster strikes, pre-qualify the fire and water damage cleanup and restoration specialists at SERVPRO of Media. The team is available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. A crew can be at the scene in about an hour or so. Technicians are IICRC-certified, undergo continuous training, and are experienced.

To learn more about water and fire and water damage restoration services for Newton Square businesses, email SERVPRO of Media at office@SERVPROmedia.com. The office can also be called at (610) 566-5720.

Helping homebuyers avoid purchasing a home with an active mold infestation and mold damage

11/16/2022 (Permalink)

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?

11/16/2022 (Permalink)

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

11/16/2022 (Permalink)

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

10/11/2022 (Permalink)

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.