Recent Posts

Is House-Sitting a Good Strategy to Prevent Water Damage When the Homeowner Is Traveling?

6/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media helps homeowners determine if hiring a house sitter is the right decision.

The water damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Media understand the reservation and angst that homeowners feel when taking an extended vacation or long business trip. The thought of leaving a residence unattended for a couple of weeks or even a month or two to visit family or travel the country leaves a pit in the stomach. What if something happens, such as a fire, smoke, or water damage disaster. What if the home is broken into, vandalized, and robbed? Imagine a river of water from a burst water pipe snaking its way through the upstairs hallway, then cascading down the stairs for two weeks, a month, or longer. A flow rate of ten thousand gallons of water per day (seven gallons per minute) is a lot of water flooding into a home. After a week of unrelenting water flow, there would be seven feet of water in a basement measuring 2500 square feet. The homeowner’s concern and worry are legitimate!

The Benefits of Hiring a House Sitter

Hiring a house sitter to live in the home or apartment while the owners are away or to check on the residence daily offers many benefits.

Benefit: Provides a measure of home security

A house sitter can ward off unwanted opportunists who would burglarize, vandalize, or take up residence in the home while the owners are away. Activity in the home or the presence of a vehicle in the driveway alerts potential criminals that someone is present and will protect the house.

Benefit: Ensures claims payment should the home be robbed

A home left vacant for more than 30 days might not be covered by insurance if the residence is robbed. Also, insurance premiums may increase once a house is burgled.

Benefit: Cares for pets

A house sitter providing care for two medium-sized dogs can save the traveling homeowner several thousand dollars in boarding fees over a period of a month. Boarding kennels and catteries can be expensive in the Metro Philadelphia area.

Benefit: Provides basic home maintenance

A house sitter will collect the mail, keep the yard clean, and take care of any home maintenance emergencies, including property damage disasters, that might occur while the owners are away.

Caution: Be aware of potential liabilities should the house sitter cause a property damage disaster.

If the house sitter is a friend or family member and causes water damage by allowing the tub to overflow or causes a house fire by unsafe smoking practices, insurance may not cover the damages. The homeowner may be responsible for damages to the home, apartment, or other apartments in the complex.

Real estate experts offer the following advice: “If you’d hired a professional house-sitting service, you’d have a better chance of getting them to cover the damage. But not so with a friend looking after your place for free.”

Alternative Options to Hiring a House Sitter

Options other than a professional house-sitting service or a family or friend staying in the home or apartment are available, but these alternatives have some drawbacks.

Option: Install a home security system with optimal camera coverage.

Modern surveillance technology is affordable and features amazingly clear video and audio that can be managed from an app on the homeowner’s smartphone or other devices. However, constantly monitoring the app while on vacation, in a business meeting, or visiting the grandchildren can feel like a chore.

Option: Install leak sensor technology.

Advanced leak detection technology is capable of sending a notification of a leak to a cell phone or computer. Some devices can also shut off water flow to the leaky pipe. Devices can also be installed to shut off the water main in the event of a burst pipe. Shut-off mechanisms limit the scope of the water damage, but the homeowner will not have access to running water until the leak is repaired and the water main is turned on.

Pre-Qualify SERVPRO of Media for Water Damage Cleanup and Restoration

Experienced, trained, certified, and trustworthy technicians from SERVPRO of Media can be on the scene in about an hour, which is a more rapid response than many plumbers can provide when a call comes in at 2:00 am in the morning. Arrangements can be made so that if a property damage disaster occurs while the occupants are out of town, the SERVPRO team can enter the premises, mitigate the water leak, inspect and assess the damage, and provide an estimate with images, video, and written documentation. Meanwhile, the crew is at work beginning the water damage cleanup and restoration process. SERVPRO is a franchise built on a solid foundation of integrity, trust, and exceptional customer service. For the homeowner planning a lengthy vacation or just wanting to remove the guesswork from dealing with a property damage disaster, pre-qualify with SERVPRO of Media, PA, today.

To learn more about emergency water damage restoration services in Springfield, PA, and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Media at (610) 566-5720. The office can also be contacted by emailing office@SERVPROmedia.com

Commercial Property Damage Restoration for Media, PA, Businesses

6/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Media, PA, is home to many types of thriving businesses. SERVPRO of Media can address commercial property damage situations for a wide variety of different commercial environments.

The team at SERVPRO of Media, a residential and commercial property damage restoration company, counts it a privilege to be a member of the Media, PA, business community. The SERVPRO of Media family lives and works in the community, and they know and experience firsthand the quality of life and the deep sense of community that unites residents in “Everybody’s Hometown.”

For almost 30 years, SERVPRO of Media has enjoyed the many benefits of doing business in Media, PA, and the surrounding area. The town of Media strives to foster a business-friendly environment, making the borough an attractive place to start or relocate a business.

Media possesses a rich history and stays grounded in this heritage. Progressive leadership remains tethered to the historic, social, and economic moorings that make Media a great place to live and work. Solid home values and a brisk real estate market in Media reflect a robust local economy and demonstrate that many folks find Media a wonderful town in which to live and work.

Media boasts a thriving downtown that has blossomed into a bustling and vibrant hub of commerce and entertainment. The district features dozens of restaurants, pubs, and retail stores, and residents and visitors have access to eight banks and dozens of offices and service firms. In addition, the Media Theater has garnered national attention. Media’s gravitas has made it a backdrop for many political events, including visits from prominent political leaders from the White House to the State House.

There is plenty to do in Media, and people are talking about it! Newspapers, TV and radio stations, and other news outlets in Delaware County and Philadelphia provide broad media coverage of Media’s Veterans Day parades, The Blues Stroll, the Media 5-Miler, and other events.

Property Damage Restoration Services for the Media Business Community

Available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays, SERVPRO of Media can provide property damage solutions for many different commercial environments. Commercial damage restoration occurs on a large scale, and the disaster environment often encompasses a complex matrix of structural, electrical, chemical, and toxic hazards. The restoration professionals must possess the technical knowledge and skill to clean up and restore the disaster. They must also be able to work effectively and efficiently in environments that put their own personal safety at risk.

Every day a business is shut down or operates at below capacity negatively impacts the bottom line. A quick response and a rapid restoration process can determine whether a company is able to continue to provide services, produce its products, meet payroll, and pay bills.

SERVPRO of Media prides itself on its quick response, rapid cleanup and restoration, and ability to scale to meet any size and type of disaster. Powerful equipment can tackle the largest jobs. IICRC-certified technicians overcome cleanup challenges using advanced cleaning techniques and EPA-approved products. The SERVPRO team takes every precaution to keep everyone, including themselves, safe and out of harm’s way.

Be Ready before Disaster Strikes

Media-area businesses should pre-qualify a local restoration company before a fire, smoke, or water damage disaster occurs. Frantic early-morning calls to local restoration companies for emergency services create unnecessary and costly delays that can prolong recovery. Hours lost searching for and then interviewing potential service providers can be avoided. One phone call to SERVPRO of Media, a trusted name in the property damage restoration industry, will have a crew on the scene in about an hour to inspect and assess the situation. Cleanup and restoration begin immediately. The detailed and thoroughly documented estimate meets or exceeds the requirements for filing insurance claims. In fact, SERVPRO of Media is known for its expertise in handling the insurance claims process from end to end, including documentation certifying the completion of work.

Locally owned and operated, SERVPRO of Media stands with Media businesses that need damage restoration services. The team also stands behind its work and is dedicated to meeting the highest standards and providing excellent customer service. Whether Media, PA, businesses need water, fire, storm, or mold restoration services, they can turn to the experienced technicians at SERVPRO of Media.

Call SERVPRO of Media at (610) 566-5720 for more information about commercial water damage restoration in Broomall, PA, and surrounding communities. The office can also be contacted by emailing office@SERVPROmedia.com

Newtown Square, PA, Damage Restoration Professionals Provide Mold Remediation for Basements

6/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: The IICRC-certified technicians at SERVPRO of Media remediate basement mold growth in Newtown Square, PA, homes and businesses.

For nearly thirty years, the team of professionals at SERVPRO of Media, PA, has been providing property damage restoration services, including mold remediation services. They have the training, experience, cutting-edge equipment, advanced cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved products to tackle any type or size mold problem.

Basic Facts About Mold Growth in the Basement

Mold is everywhere. It is impossible to achieve 100% elimination of mold in the home. The key is to reduce moisture and dampness and remove or minimize any food sources.

Consider the following mold facts: “Mold can grow anywhere it can find oxygen, moisture, and organic material, and it’s particularly happy in damp, humid areas of the home — so it’s no surprise that mold in the basement is a common problem for homeowners. Basement mold is often the result of a source of moisture — leaky foundations or condensation from appliances are typical culprits. One of the first steps in the prevention of basement mold is to ensure that your basement is free of any moisture and doesn’t support a damp, humid environment where mold can thrive.”

Mold in the Basement

Dark and slimy mold in the basement is smelly and unsightly. Like a chameleon, mold can color shift from green to black or gray. The presence of mold in the basement or anywhere in the home may signal a moisture problem or water intrusion. If neglected or ignored, a moisture problem can cause extensive damage. Procrastination on the part of the homeowner to deal with the problem may result in a denial of an insurance claim to repair the damage.

A knowledge of the causes of mold growth in the basement empowers the homeowner to halt or prevent mold growth, saving money on remediation and expensive repairs. Here are some of the most common causes of mold growth in the basement.

1. Plumbing Problems

The basement often contains many plumbing touchpoints such as pipes, drains, and faucets for a variety of home systems. A detailed inventory of the basement yields many potential sources of water, moisture, and elevated humidity.

  • Toilets (supply lines, tank leaks/condensation, overflows, and backups)
  • Tub and shower overflows and leaks
  • Sinks and faucets (supply line leaks, drain backups/leaks)
  • Washing machines (tub and pump leaks, supply line breaks, drain blockages)
  • Dryer

Any water release or inadequate drainage provides the moisture mold needs to get a foothold and thrive in the basement.

2. Wood and Fabrics

Mold requires organic matter for food. Flooring, framing in the walls and ceiling, and furniture are mold favorites. The fabric in clothing, bedding, upholstered furniture, and drapes is porous and absorbs moisture, making it a prime target for mold.

3. HVAC Ductwork

HVAC ductwork is a prime location for mold growth, given the moisture in the moist air being pushed through the system. The condensate drip pan is a breeding ground for mold and should be inspected and cleaned annually. Condensation on the exterior and interior of the HVAC ducts adds moisture into the basement ecosystem, accelerating mold growth.

4. Inadequate Ventilation

Poor ventilation contributes to mold growth in the basement. Restricted airflow elevates the moisture and humidity in the basement environment, which is a recipe for a mold explosion. Signs of poor air circulation include:

  • Strong, lingering odors
  • Discolored, dull flooring
  • Glass surfaces (windows, mirrors, tabletops) that have a frosted appearance
  • Rust stains on metallic pipes

Enhanced air ventilation reduces the moisture and humidity mold spores need to survive and thrive.

5. Exterior Flooding

Heavy rain and melting snow can oversaturate the soil around the foundation of a home, causing water to seep into the basement or crawl space. The influx may be so great that the basement waterproofing system and sump pump are overwhelmed.

Cracks in the foundation can compound the problem. Mold may grow in the space between walls and the foundation. A mold inspection can detect any hidden mold growing behind drywall. A technician can drill a hole in the wall and insert a tool that tests for mold.

Why Choose SERVPRO for Mold Remediation

If not quickly treated, a minor mold problem can rapidly expand into a major infestation. Highly trained and IICRC-certified technicians arrive within an hour after the initial contact to begin the mold removal process. This rapid response interrupts the progress of mold damage, lessens additional damage, and reduces the expense of the remediation project.

For more information about services offered in Newtown Square, PA, and nearby areas, contact SERVPRO of Media by phone at (610) 566-5720 or by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com

Steps for Safely Dealing with Sewage Damage in the Basements of Newtown Square, PA, Homes

5/24/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media removes sewage backups in the basement. Using the best equipment and cleaning techniques, the cleaning professionals leave the basement clean, sanitary, and odor-free.

SERVPRO of Media provides sewage backup and water damage restoration services 24/7, 365 days a week, including holidays. When a sewage backup occurs, beginning the cleanup process as soon as possible is crucial to maintaining a sanitary and safe environment.

When dealing with flooding or a sewage backup in the basement of a Newtown Square, PA, home, follow the safety precautions listed below.

1. Avoid contact with raw sewage.

A sewage backup in the basement is a very unpleasant and undesirable situation. Raw sewage has a foul smell that will eventually spread to the entire structure if preventative measures are not taken to reduce or restrict airflow. The smell of raw sewage is caused by hydrogen sulfide.

Do not allow sewage to come in contact with the mouth or eyes. Pay special attention to any open wound, such as a cut, scrape, or sore, and make sure that the wound is protected from exposure to the sewage.

2. Stop the flow of sewage and water into the basement.

Do not flush the toilet since each flush introduces more raw sewage to the basement. Shut off water to the entire basement if burst pipes are the source of the water intrusion. Clean water released through a tub overflow or a burst pipe can mix with raw sewage, elevating the risk hazard to a black water incident. Black water refers to water contaminated with raw sewage.

3. Wear personal protective gear (PPG).

Rubber gloves, long sleeves, a face shield or protective eyewear, and a mask are essential to preserving safety. Rubber boots or hip waders should also be worn.

4. Take special measures to prevent the spreading of raw sewage throughout the home.

Cross-contamination can expand a localized sewage spill into a whole-house disaster scene. An expanded contamination site enlarges the scope of the project and adds significant expense to the cost of the cleanup and restoration. Ways through which contaminated liquid and residue can be spread through the home include:

  • Foot traffic from contaminated boots and shoes
  • Paw traffic from household pets
  • Touching doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, and toilet flush handles with contaminated hands or gloves
  • Sharing cell phones or other devices

These and other touchpoints can elevate a minor, messy inconvenience into a major cleanup project that costs thousands of dollars to remediate.

5. Hire a reputable property damage cleanup and restoration professional to handle the sewage cleanup and restoration.

The service provider should be bonded, licensed, and insured, and technicians should have IICRC certifications. The right equipment, cutting-edge moisture detecting technology, advanced cleaning techniques, and high-quality cleaning, disinfecting, and deodorizing products are necessary if the disaster site is to be restored to an odor-free, sanitary, and safe condition.

6. Evacuate vulnerable adults, children, and pets from the home.

Do not re-enter the structure until the sewage has been removed and the cleaning and restoration professionals acknowledge the site is clean and safe. Re-entering the house before the sewage is cleaned up can lead to cross-contamination.

How to Be Prepared for Sewage Damage

Pre-qualify a dedicated cleanup and restoration professional before a disaster strikes. A worst-case scenario is making frantic phone calls to damage restoration companies at 1:00 am while raw sewage spills out of the toilet or floor drain into the basement. Add a plumber to the pre-qualification list. In most instances, a reputable cleanup and restoration company will be able to turn off the main water valve or shut off the valve to a supply line. The solutions for a sewage backup may be more complex and involved.

SERVPRO of Media has the experience, certifications, equipment, cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing products to clean up and restore a basement sewage backup.

A Best-Case Scenario in a Bad Situation

After receiving cleanup services for wastewater that caused basement water damage, a satisfied SERVPRO customer wrote in an online review, “Dominick and his team were very respectful of my belongings, they had great customer service, they were always on time and communicated well when they would be arriving, they were extremely thorough with their cleaning and sanitizing of the basement that was affected by wastewater. I will be recommending them to my friends & family if anyone is in need of restoration or for any of their other services.”

For more information about SERVPRO of Media’s water damage restoration services, contact the team of damage restoration professionals by phone at (610) 566-5720. The office can also be reached by emailing office@SERVPROmedia.com

How to Prevent Flood Damage from Affecting Springfield, PA, Office Buildings

5/24/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media offers tips to prevent flood damage at office complexes in Springfield, PA.

Flood restoration services are vitally important for an office complex that has suffered a storm and flood damage disaster. SERVPRO of Media, PA, understands the importance of providing a fast response and rapid cleanup and restoration so that business operations can return to normal as soon as possible. The owner of an office complex needs to embrace a two-pronged approach to address flood damage: adequate insurance coverage and effective flood damage prevention strategies.

The Importance of Sufficient Flood Damage Insurance

Commercial property damage insurance can protect an office complex from fire damage and acts of vandalism. However, inadequate flood damage coverage could spell the end of a business if severe weather causes flooding. Typical commercial property damage policies do not cover weather-related flooding. Coverage is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Federal flood insurance is not without its challenges. NFIP insurance adjustors may not cover water damage resulting from roof damage caused by high winds. The NFIP policy may only cover actual cash value, which leaves the business owner liable for depreciation and any deductibles. NFIP also offers federal disaster loans. These loans must be repaid, and failure to understand the repayment terms can be financially catastrophic.

The Benefits of Commercial Property Damage Insurance

The NFIP policy should be supplemented with commercial insurance that specifically covers flood protection. The private policy should cover adverse events such as internal flooding (pipe leaks), a water intrusion (roof leak), and natural disasters (flooding in the wake of a hurricane). Though costly, the supplemental coverage saves millions of dollars in losses.

Flood Damage Prevention Strategies

Securing comprehensive insurance policies is an effective strategy to protect the property owner’s investment and mitigate flood risks. Property owners can also reduce the risk of flood damage costs by implementing several practical tips.

Tip #1: Conduct scheduled inspections of the facility, focusing on flooding and water intrusion issues.

The recommended frequency is two or three times a year. If the summer months are unusually wet, a midsummer inspection might be needed. In the event of severe weather such as a hurricane, tornado, or tropical depression, initiate an inspection with the facilities manager to check for signs of flooding or high humidity. A mold infestation could be in progress. A strong smell of mold or mildew may require a closer examination by a professional.

Tip #2: Pay special attention to the walls and the basement floor.

Look, smell, and feel for signs of a water intrusion. Residue, mold, and mildew trailing down the wall are key indicators of an issue. Puddled water or water stains on the floor signal the possibility of a leak. Listen for dripping water. Cracks in the walls or flooring may eventually progress to the point where water intrusion is likely. Fire sprinkler heads should be included in the inspection protocol. An annual inspection by a professional is advisable.

Tip #3: Conduct tests on the sump pump system.

Test not only the main sump pump but also the backup system. Clean out any debris in the drain. In some instances, a commercial dehumidifier may need to be installed. If a dehumidifier is in place, include it in the inspection. A heavy-duty dehumidifier can be expensive, but the quality is worth the price, the peace of mind, and a mold-free basement.

Tip #4: Invest in pre-emptive measures to prevent flood and water damage.

These measures include waterproof sprays, caulking, or wraps. In an older structure, the property owner would do well to consider taking on the extra expense of ordinance and law coverage in the commercial property insurance policy. This rider covers the added cost of restoring damaged property to local construction ordinances and current building codes.

Tip #5: Know the extent and limitations of coverage on private flood insurance.

A specific flood policy may not automatically cover all flood-related losses. Payment for inventory losses and structural damage are covered. The private flood policy should also cover the following items:

  • Drying and dehumidification
  • Replacement of the boiler if needed
  • Cleaning the HVAC system, including ductwork
  • Mold remediation
  • Debris removal

Tip #6: Consider choosing cost replacement endorsements.

The business owner has a variety of policy endorsement options from which to choose. These endorsements offer added protection against a covered loss. Careful consideration must go into each decision.

Business income loss is an endorsement that replaces the following losses in the event of flood damage that interrupts normal business operations:

  • Net profits
  • Payroll
  • Regular expenses

Coverage is limited to a specific time frame after the adverse event. Coverage for extra expenses is included. A business that has been severely damaged may have to vacate the premises for a time. This payout for additional expenses can be used for construction costs, rent for temporary office space, and other miscellaneous costs related to a covered event.

In the event of a flood damage disaster in an office complex or other commercial setting, trust the professionals at SERVPRO of Media. The company’s fast response and rapid cleanup enable a business to restore normal business operations as soon as possible, saving time and money. SERVPRO leverages the best equipment, advanced technology, and the latest cleaning techniques and products to complete the job in a timely and safe manner. Pre-qualify a property damage cleanup and restoration company before a disaster strikes.

For more information about flood damage restoration services in Springfield, PA, contact SERVPRO of Media by calling (610) 566-5720 or by emailing office@SERVPROmedia.com

How Proper Use and Maintenance of the Stove Can Help Prevent Kitchen Fire Damage

5/24/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media highlights strategies to prevent the stove from becoming the source of kitchen fire damage.

SERVPRO of Media offers fire damage restoration services to help homeowners recover from a fire damage disaster. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the #1 cause of house fires in the US, and 172,900 home cooking fires are reported each year. Forty-nine percent of all reported home fires in the US are cooking-related. Ranges or cooktops were involved in sixty-one percent of reported home cooking fires. Cooking safety, especially around the stove, is a key factor in kitchen safety.  Here are some stove safety, usage, and maintenance tips to deter fire damage in the kitchen.

Gas Stove Safety and Maintenance Tips

Most homeowners who currently have a gas stove inherited the appliance from the previous owner, and the stove came with the house when it was purchased. Most rental homes have the stove or cooktop that was installed by the previous owner, occupant, or the original builder. The stove is one of the essential appliances that comes with and stays with the home at the time of sale. Unless the homeowner brings their own stove, they need to know how to use, clean, and service the unit that came with the home or apartment.

Homeowners who are not accustomed to a gas stove’s open flame may be somewhat intimidated by the new cooking experience. The solution is to be familiar with how the gas stove works, how to safely enjoy its many benefits, and how to properly maintain this versatile appliance.  Follow these stove safety, usage, and maintenance tips to avoid fire damage in the kitchen.

Tip #1: Inspect the gas line for damage and possible leaks.

When first moving into a home, inspect the gas lines for visible damage and leaks. Even very small leakages can create a hazard in a home. An effective method to determine if a line is leaking is to use a gas leak detector substance. After being applied to gas line connectors, the substance will produce bubbles if any gas is escaping in the areas where the substance was administered. Gently nudge or jiggle the gas line to see if a slight movement can allow gas to escape. If the line and connections do not produce bubbles, then the homeowner can begin cooking on the appliance.

Tip #2: Purchase and install several carbon monoxide detectors in adjacent rooms.

Gas leaks can arise without warning. A device to detect a leak is vital to home safety. A home with gas lines should have at least three or more carbon monoxide detectors. Position the devices low to the floor as instructed in the installation directions. Natural gas is heavy and sinks to the floor, filling a room from the bottom up. Do not place a detector in the kitchen because the normal operation of the stove will set off the alarm. The real danger is when residual gas builds up throughout the rest of the home.

Occasionally test the devices to ensure they are functioning correctly. If a detector activates, the homeowner should introduce fresh air into the home by opening doors and windows. Evacuate the structure and contact first responders or a gas line service technician.

Tip #3: Clean gas burners periodically or as needed.

Gas burners are simple and easy to clean. Electric burners are more difficult to clean and often do not receive the necessary attention to keep the elements clean and safe.

The process of cleaning a gas stove involves removing the grate, burner cap, and burner. Soak and scrub the pieces. Removal and replacement are relatively easy, and there is no danger of electrical shock.

If a burner is only partially lighting, clean out any grease or gunk with a few strokes from a wire brush or a brush with stiff nylon bristles. Disassembly is not required.

Tip #4: Monitor the burner flame.

The burner flame should not extend beyond the bottom of the pot or pan. Chefs like cooking on gas stoves because they have more control over the process. Flames that lick up the side of a pot can catch clothing on fire or cause serious burns to the cook’s hands or arms.

Tip #5: Always use the proper knob setting for an efficient and safe flow of gas through the burner.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for lighting the stove. If the flame is turned down too low, the light could be lost while gas continues to flow out of the gas line, creating a fire hazard. Always be sure to turn the burner completely off when finished cooking.

Tip #6: Exercise caution with burner knobs.

Burner knobs open and close the gas lines and may also create a spark that ignites the flame. Protect the knobs from being damaged by an impact from heavy pots and iron frying pans. Avoid leaning on the knobs. Burner knobs are sturdy but can be damaged.

Tip #7: Exercise extreme caution when moving a gas stove.

The gas line has very limited or no flexibility. Avoid disturbing the gas line when cleaning the stove.

The tips listed above are intended to promote gas stove safety and prevent fire damage. If fire damage does occur in Broomall, PA, turn to the fire damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Media. The office can be reached by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com or by calling (610) 566-5720.

Why Odor Removal Is a Key Part of the Fire Damage Restoration Process

4/22/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media highlights the odor removal process, an essential part of a fire damage remediation project.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Media are skilled at tackling the many challenges of fire and water damage restoration. A fire destroys personal belongings and causes structural damage to a home or business. The damage restoration company is tasked with cleaning up not only damage directly related to the flames but also damage resulting from extinguishing the flames. The water and chemicals used to put out the fire must be cleaned up, and smoke and soot residue must be removed. Once all the water is evacuated, the contents have been cleaned, and the structure has been repaired, restoration specialists must remove the smoke odor. Even if the residence is physically restored to its pre-disaster condition, the lingering smell of smoke is a very strong indicator that the fire damage cleanup and restoration project is incomplete. The structure that has been damaged by fire must not only look great, but it must also smell smoke-free. Odor removal is an essential service that caps off a fire damage restoration project.

One of the greatest challenges facing a fire damage restoration professional is the removal of the smoke odor. The success of this crucial phase of the restoration process involves the utilization of specialized equipment and advanced cleaning techniques and products that only a property damage restoration professional can provide. Technicians should be IICRC-certified and must be knowledgeable, experienced, and skilled to operate the equipment in a safe and effective manner. They must also be aware of the hazards of working in an environment that has sustained fire and smoke damage and take the necessary precautions, including wearing the appropriate personal protective gear (PPG). A DIY fire damage cleanup and restoration project is not advisable for the untrained, ill-equipped, and inexperienced. The risk hazards and complexity of the cleanup and restoration are too great.

The Sources of Smoke Odors

Incomplete combustion produces lots of smoke. The smoke is rich in toxic gases, soot (particles), and oils. The combination of volatile molecules from these particles, oils, and gases released during combustion produces a noxious smoke odor.

Smoke odor is so pungent because of the diverse materials in a typical home, such as the following:

  • Protein: hair, wool, meat, leather
  • Cellulose: Wood, cotton, hemp, plants
  • Synthetic materials: Vinyl, plastic, nylon
  • Toxic metals and chemicals: particleboard, OSB, electronics, aerosols, paints, solvents, household cleaning products

The wide variety of combustible substances calls for knowledgeable technicians who are proficient in the complex procedures required for fire damage cleanup and restoration.

Steps to Remove Smoke Smells

Step #1: Identify and eliminate the source of the odors.

Remove fire- and smoke-damaged items such as drywall, flooring, furniture, cabinets, electronics, appliances, and personal belongings, including clothing. Once removed from the fire-damaged area, the items may be restored or discarded, depending on their condition.

Step #2: Clean salvageable items.

Exterior surfaces are pressure washed, scrubbed, and disinfected. Mild soap and thorough rinsing are applied to interior walls and surfaces. Closets, drawers, and cabinets are cleaned inside and out. Furniture, fabrics, and carpet are cleaned at a remote location.

Step #3: Clean the HVAC system, including air ducts.

The HVAC system must be cleaned early in the restoration process to prevent recontamination of the site. The complex, delicate system requires professional expertise and special equipment.

Step #4: Eliminate the airborne smoke smell.

Once the sources of the odor have been identified and eliminated, the smoke-contaminated air must be completely removed from the structure. Complete smoke odor removal can be achieved using proven technologies.

  • HEPA filtration removes 99.7% of the airborne particulate matter that triggers the smell of smoke. Once the air is scrubbed and the sources of smoke odor have been eliminated, other technologies and techniques can be utilized.
  • Thermal fogging neutralizes smoke odors with fragrance modification technology. A thermal fogger emits a misted, petroleum-based deodorizer which permeates the entire structure. Strict application guidelines are followed to ensure everyone’s safety, and the application process requires everyone not using PPG to evacuate the building.
  • Vapor modification is a method that deploys vaporized non-flammable, non-toxic, non-oily aromatic mineral oils throughout the home with fans and blowers. This technology is effective on porous materials in furniture and upholstery and is also safe for humans and pets.
  • Ozone machines use ozone to neutralize stubborn protein smoke, but technicians follow safety guidelines to avoid risk hazards associated with breathing ozone.
  • Hydroxyl generators destroy pathogens and eliminate VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and odors from indoor air using an advanced oxidation process.

Smoke odor removal requires knowledge, expertise, and the right tools and cleaning products. The odor removal experts at SERVPRO of Media are trained to identify and eliminate the smoke odor at its sources. Technicians receive IICRC training in odor removal and deodorization technology and methods.

To learn more about Broomall, PA, fire damage restoration, call SERVPRO of Media at (610) 566-5720 or email the office at office@SERVPROmedia.com

When to Choose Professional Restoration Services Over a DIY Project

4/22/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media highlights six types of people who should avoid DIY damage restoration projects.

SERVPRO of Media understands that a water damage disaster can be a stressful, frustrating, and disruptive situation, especially for homeowners who are unable to undertake the water damage restoration process on their own. The property damage restoration specialists at SERVPRO are committed to providing a rapid response and efficient and thorough cleanup and restoration services, as well as a sense of encouragement for homeowners who cannot manage the situation as a DIY project.

A DIY water damage cleanup and restoration project is not practical or feasible for everyone. 

Circumstances where enlisting the services of a professional is the best practice.

  1. The elderly

A slip-and-fall injury can put an elderly loved one in the hospital and rehab for months. Also, a broken leg or hip can lead to aging parents having to move out of their own home to recover with a relative or to stay in an assisted living center.

The emotional stress of dealing with a major property damage disaster such as a supply line bursting or a sewage backup can be overwhelming for an older person. A large-scale water intrusion or a cooking fire is a situation that the elderly with physical limitations should not attempt to remediate on their own.

Finally, the physical stress of mopping, lifting heavy buckets of water, climbing a ladder, or getting up and down from one’s knees can put a strain on the joints, the back, and the heart. Past or present injuries can become aggravated, and recent surgeries can be negatively impacted. Also, older individuals are more susceptible to straining a muscle or other injuries.

  1. People with physical limitations

People with limited mobility, poor eyesight, lack of physical strength and stamina, or recent injuries should avoid undertaking a water damage cleanup project. A chronic illness or a recent surgery are compelling reasons to call in a professional to take care of the remediation process after a property damage disaster.

The realization that the job is too big to tackle alone can be frustrating and disappointing. A call to the professionals at SERVPRO of Media can begin the process of remediating the property damage and remedying the anxiety resulting from the disaster.

  1. People suffering from health conditions aggravated by poor air quality

Property damage to a structure can create poor air quality, which can negatively affect people who suffer from breathing related health conditions. In a water damage situation, bulk water needs to be removed immediately. Rapid-spin fans and commercial-grade dehumidifiers must be deployed to dry up the remaining water and moisture. Allowing the residual water to linger is an invitation for a significant mold infestation, which could lead to health effects.

  1. Homeowners who lack knowledge, equipment, and training

Property damage cleanup and restoration require knowledge, training, expertise, the proper equipment, specialized cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved cleaning, disinfecting, and deodorizing products. Personal protective gear such as protective eyewear, masks, gloves, boots, face shields, respirators, hardhats, and knee pads are essential for safety. Advanced moisture-detecting technology is indispensable to ensure and certify that the site meets drying standards. Many of these items need special instruction for proper use. The homeowner or business owner who does not know what to do and who does not have the needed tools, equipment, and safety gear should not proceed with a DIY property damage cleanup and restoration.

  1. Homeowners with scheduling issues

Tight schedules at work, school, and home can make a DIY water damage cleanup project impossible to accomplish quickly enough to avoid advanced secondary damage such as a mold infestation. An upcoming vacation or business trip may be impossible to reschedule. Entertainment in the home for a holiday, anniversary, or birthday necessitates immediate action from the homeowner to secure water damage cleanup services.

People with physical limitations, health concerns, or heavy life and work commitments should avoid water damage DIY projects. The professionals at SERVPRO of Media offer a rapid response, 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. Customers are provided a detailed, documented estimate. The SERVPRO team can manage the insurance claims process from beginning to end, avoiding headaches and hassles for the homeowner.

For more details about Newtown Square, PA, water damage restoration, contact the SERVPRO of Media office by phone at (610) 566-5720 or by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com

Helping Businesses in Springfield, PA, Recover ROI after Property Damage Disaster

4/22/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media highlights several steps a business can take before and after a disaster to recover ROI in the wake of property damage.

SERVPRO of Media understands that when a business suffers a property damage disaster and needs storm, fire, or water damage restoration services, the consequences can be devastating to the building, the business’s daily activities, and the bottom line. Cleanup and restoration must be rapid and thorough for the resumption of normal business operations, a stable revenue cycle, and a return to profitability. Weathering a natural disaster or recovering from fire damage, a water intrusion, or sewage backup now shifts to the overall survival of the company. Effective management of the disaster recovery process is pivotal for a business’s success and ROI going forward.

Steps to Follow to Recover ROI After a Disaster

A solid, stable enterprise can weather a property damage disaster disrupting a day or two of normal business operations. The key to survival is a rapid cleanup and restoration that avoids a prolonged interruption of the business’s revenue cycle. Here are steps to disaster recovery that will have a positive ROI.

When Disaster Strikes

Step #1: Reach out to the insurer and inform them of the property damage disaster.

An immediate response neutralizes inertia, stimulates activity, and generates momentum in the cleanup and restoration process. Unnecessary and prolonged delays in reporting can impact claims coverage.

Disturbing the disaster site can complicate the assessment and estimating process. Document the disaster scene with photos and descriptive video. Take the initiative to protect lives, important documents, data, electronics, equipment, product, and inventory. Some commercial insurers may dispatch a rapid-response team to assess the site.

Cleanup immediately following the disaster may involve the removal of damaged inventory, merchandise, equipment, insulation, or flooring. Do not discard any of these items, which provide evidence of the severity of the disaster on the business.

Step #2: Seek assistance to overcome financial hurdles.

Assistance to weather the “financial storm” after the storm or other disaster may be available through the Small Business Administration and the Office of Disaster Assistance. Any business, large or small, located in a declared disaster area qualifies to make an application for a low-rate, long-term loan to fund recovery from property damage. The SBA recognizes that a business may sustain real economic injury and accepts applications from eligible businesses seeking relief in the form of a working capital loan.

Loan amounts, interest rates, and repayment terms are generous to subsidize the repair and replacement of machinery, inventory, and property. Additional monies above the disaster damages may be obtained for uninsured or under-insured losses to protect the property against future disasters of the same type.

Homeowners and renters can secure SBA disaster relief loans to repair or replace personal belongings and for home repairs needed as a result of the impact of the natural disaster.

Step #3: Keep the lines of communication open and flowing.

As soon as possible, provide customers, clients, and relevant vendors with a status update. Update the company’s website to reflect the status of business operations moving forward, including:

  • Ordering
  • Shipments
  • Inventory
  • Re-opening and business hours

Reach out across multiple channels, including texts, voice mails, and various social media platforms. Inform clients, customers, and vendors of the company’s status. Transparency in the moment of crisis demonstrates the management team, staff, and employees know how to overcome challenges that build trust with customers, clients, vendors, and fulfillment partners.

Step #4: Do not expect a rapid federal relief response.

Be aware that FEMA may be slow to deliver aid, especially if the disaster is widespread. Private insurance or an SBA loan will deliver needed capital at a faster pace than FEMA.

What to Do Before a Disaster Strikes

Preparation is the key to surviving a property damage disaster and re-engaging business operations.

Step #1: Formulate a coherent, executable backup plan.

A business continuity plan is a pathway to recovery. The business continuity plan includes the following elements:

  • Preparation, planning, and drills before the disaster
  • Response during the disaster, which may be several days if the culprit is a slow-moving tropical storm or hurricane
  • Data backup action plan before, during, and after the disaster
  • Cleanup and restoration immediately after the disaster
  • Strategies to fill and track orders or provide client services
  • Vendor workarounds
  • Short-staff solutions such as remote work and critical-needs staffing
  • Rapid funding pipelines to supply pressing needs for working capital during an interrupted revenue cycle

Consult with data recovery vendors and cloud services providers for an integrated, seamless, and secure response and recovery.

Step #2: Review and update insurance coverage.

Private sector insurance coverage is more agile and responsive than FEMA. Be aware that many policies do not cover earthquake and flood damage. A rider may be needed to cover wind damage from a hurricane or a power outage from severe weather.

Step #3: Pre-qualify a damage restoration company before a disaster strikes.

Look for these vital features:

  • Rapid response within one hour
  • 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays
  • Solid references and reviews
  • Experienced in handling the challenges of cleanup and restoration in a commercial setting
  • Licensed, bonded, insured, and possessing the industry-standard IICRC certifications
  • Rapid scalability to handle any size and type of disaster
  • Locally owned and operated

SERVPRO of Media provides commercial damage restoration services for Springfield, PA, businesses, both large and small. The office can be contacted by phone at (610) 566-5720 or by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com

Water Damage Prevention Tips for the Spring Cleaning Season

3/14/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media highlights water damage prevention practices that homeowners can incorporate into their 2022 spring cleaning process.

Home maintenance is a never-ending list of chores, many of which must be repeated on a regular basis to ensure the home runs smoothly and without interruption from dust and dirt, as well as water damage or fire damage. Spring is accompanied by an extra load of home maintenance inspections, chores, and repairs. The harsh winter months take their toll on the roof, gutters, landscaping, and hardscapes around the house, and preparations must be made for the summer’s hot temperatures and severe weather. High winds, hail, heavy downpours, and potential flooding are seasonal challenges every homeowner faces. The period from June to November brings the threat of hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy thunderstorms, and tornadoes.

Besides these severe weather conditions, other causes of a water damage disaster include faulty plumbing, a ruptured appliance supply line, a messy sewage backup, or burst pipes from an unexpected late freeze. The opportunities for a surprise water intrusion are numerous.

With a few minor adjustments to the spring-cleaning list, Springfield, PA, homeowners can protect their homes from an unwanted water damage disaster. Any property damage disaster is disruptive and stressful. Below is a list of tips with some proactive steps to help prevent a water intrusion from happening at all.

Six Water Damage Prevention Tips for 2022

#1: Inspect the roof and give the gutters a good cleaning

Leaves and sticks can clog gutters during the winter. Spring and summer cloudbursts can dump inches of rain per hour onto the roof. If the water flow in the gutters is impeded in any way, an overflow is sure to occur. Clean and flush gutters so they are free-flowing. Inspect downspouts to ensure they are connected and are removing water away from the foundation of the home.

#2: Consider a sump pump solution to a basement and crawl space water intrusion

A sump pump system is a reliable solution to evacuate excess water from the basement or crawl space before it becomes a problem. A backup pump and an alternative power source are crucial to ensure the system functions properly during a power outage. The exhaust pipe should be located away from the foundation to prevent evacuated water from seeping back into the structure. The configuration and installation of the system are best left to licensed, bonded, and insured professionals who know sump pumps.

#3: Install backflow valves

Heavy water flow can overwhelm the capacity of a home’s plumbing system. When drains overflow and sewage systems back up, the sewage must go somewhere. The path of least resistance sends sewage into sinks, tubs, and showers. Appliances such as the washing machine and dishwasher are not immune to the sewage backup into the home. Since it contains raw sewage, the water is toxic and a danger to the health and well-being of both humans and pets. A certified, licensed, and bonded plumber can install valves and plugs that effectively prevent a hazardous backflow in the event of flooding.

The pathogens in contaminated water make for a hazardous cleanup scene requiring PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), special cleaning products, and certified technicians who know what they are doing. The odor must be eliminated, and the damage zone must be sanitized to make it a livable and safe environment for humans and pets.

#4: Install septic tank flood alarms

Septic tank flood alarms alert the homeowner that the septic tank may be close to full. During periods of heavy rainfall, such as in the aftermath of a hurricane or a stalled tropical storm, the sewage leach field may become saturated and unable to absorb water from the septic tank. The full tank will back up into the home if the household’s water usage is not immediately curtailed. Even if the septic tank was recently pumped, the excess wet weather may necessitate an immediate re-pumping to prevent a sewage backup. Once the weather clears and the ground dries up, the leach field will be able to disperse the liquids and absorb more of the fluids in the septic tank.

#5: Inspect for leaks while spring cleaning

When spring cleaning, look, listen, and smell for leaks around faucets, under cabinets, around toilets, and under appliances. Secure the services of a certified, licensed plumber to remedy these issues. A DIY disaster could be much more costly than the expense of hiring a plumber.

#6: Pre-qualify a property damage restoration company before a disaster strikes

If a large-scale spring storm strikes the Media, PA, area, the homeowner may find it all but impossible to reach a damage cleanup and restoration company. Thousands of homeowners and businesses may all be calling at the same time. With a pre-qualified service provider, one call achieves results. If the damage restoration company selected is SERVPRO of Media, a crew arrives on the scene within an hour.

To learn more details about Media, PA, water damage cleanup, call SERVPRO of Media at (610) 566-5720 or email office@SERVPROmedia.com