Recent Posts

Protecting Your Home This Winter Season

12/13/2020 (Permalink)

Protecting Your Home This Winter Season

A winter storm can produce beautiful scenery in its wake, and it can be easy to overlook the level of damage that is sustained when overwhelmed by the snow globe-like appeal. However, as a homeowner, it is essential to remedy any potential threats before they cause significant structural damage.

1. Avoid an Indoor Blizzard

A blizzard belongs outside of your home, but with the combination of strong winds and ice, it is possible that the storm may end up overwhelming your property inside and out. Blizzards have a reputation for blowing open doors or even sending ice chunks through windows, and when no one is around this can lead to interior water damage. Invest in durable storm doors and windows to help prevent this type of loss.

2. Prevent Potential Roof Collapse

Living in Northern Virginia it is not uncommon for a winter storm to unload significant amounts of snow, and while that may not be an issue for people with a steep roofline or metal shingles, others may experience significant roof damage and possibly even collapse. Thankfully there are tools and other solutions to prevent snow buildup on your roof.

  • Roof Rakes
  • Heating cables
  • Calcium chloride tablets
  • 3. Ensure You’re Using Snow Removal Equipment Properly

    While winter can cause several problems for your home, damaging your property in the process of removing snow is not unheard of. Snow blowers are powerful machines, and when chutes are not correctly controlled that machine can send ice hurling through the air and your beautiful bay window.

    4. Have Assistance on Speed Dial

    While there are many ways to prevent storm damage in the winter, no method is foolproof. It can be a good idea to have the contact information of emergency restoration services in your area. Additionally, it may be worthwhile to customize an emergency response plan as a precautionary measure.

    A winter storm is easy to overlook as a threat because inside you are removed from the immediate danger, but that snow and those winds can be detrimental to the structure of your home. Therefore, to avoid damage, invest in precautionary tools and solutions and always have a backup plan.

    Is Water Damage on the Menu at Your Restaurant?

    12/12/2020 (Permalink)

    How to Prepare Your Restaurant for Water Damage Recovery 

    Restaurants throughout the Northern Virginia area are plentiful, so you need to work continuously to set your business apart from the competition in the area. While part of this comes from your commitment to providing your customers with top quality food and service, it is also about how quickly you can respond in the face of adversity. When situations like water damage occur, you need to work fast to prepare the property for restoration – even if it is out of your skillset to perform it. 

    With how quickly emergencies like water damage in a Restaurant can get out of control, you have much more than your building to protect. In addition to structural concerns, you have the investment that you have made in the food and supplies to consider, as well as the foot traffic of your loyal customers. Even without the ability to handle widespread water loss as our SERVPRO professionals can, there are steps you can take to prepare your property for restoration work to come. 

  • Start by shutting off any water that is feeding the loss incident. If there is a break in the plumbing or you have an appliance that has malfunctioned, you can often locate an independent valve to shut off just this portion of your shop to keep everything else running normally.
  • Do your best to contain the spread of the water loss incident when possible. You can even begin employing specific water removal efforts, such as using a mop and bucket, to slow the progression of these damages with our SERVPRO professionals are in route.
  • If the restaurant must close for a brief period, make sure you protect the investment you’ve made in the perishables, supplies and other food items by relocating them if consistent power becomes an issue in the building.
  • 5 Tips for Avoiding Candle Fires

    12/12/2020 (Permalink)

    Many homeowners light candles to freshen up a room or to have lighting during a power outage. However, candles still have the potential to create a fire that spreads throughout the building. Avoid a candle fire at all costs, and follow these helpful tips to stay safe.

    1. Do Not Leave Candles Unattended

    If you are leaving a room with a candle in it, first extinguish the flame. After all, you can always relight a candle if you desire.

    2. Keep the Area Around Candles Clean

    The shelf or stand where you place the candle should not have anything flammable on it. Additionally, you should avoid placing a candle on a nightstand near your bed. The bedding may catch fire if you are not careful.

    3. Toss It Once It Is Less Than Two Inches Tall

    You do not want to risk a candle fire by allowing the flame to get too close to the base of the candle. It is better to simply throw away a candle once it is less than two inches high. They are relatively inexpensive to replace.

    4. Keep Candles Away From Pets and Children

    Candles should be placed high enough that kids and animals cannot get them. It is dangerous for children to play with anything lit. If the candle is left on a coffee table, then a dog’s tail may accidentally hit it and cause it to fall onto the floor.

    5. Do Not Put Out a Candle With Water

    It is preferable to put out a flame by blowing on it rather than pouring water. The reason is that water can cause the wax to spill all over the place. The hot wax may still catch fire, causing flames to spread throughout a home in Northern Virginia. Candles are meant to be enjoyed, so always follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions to avoid a nasty candle fire and the impending smoke cleanup.

    We Are The Crew To Call If Your Home Experiences A Flood

    12/12/2020 (Permalink)

    Removing Damage And Restoring Homes After A Flood

    To remediate the effects of flood damage in Northern Virginia, SERVPRO technicians pay close attention to the walls and other places where water collects and remains after the flood retreats, and we remove standing water. Quick removal helps to eliminate further damage and reduces the effects where damage already started.

    Response team members quickly remove furniture outside for cleaning, but efforts inside center around replacement or restoration. As an example, interior walls often absorb much water, but can still be restored to a clean, usable condition.

    SERVPRO technicians start by removing floor trim and drilling holes into drywall to release standing water. If the drilling shows that an affected panel is already crumbling or it cracks upward, then it absorbed too much moisture and required replacement. Team members then carefully break up the damaged panels, bag them, and remove them for proper disposal.

    If there is no cracking or crumbling, then we take steps to dry each panel and the space behind them. For the exterior, this means directing an air mover to generate warm, dry air over the surface that carefully forces out moisture, so it evaporates into the air.

    For the interior, our technicians use another air mover with an attached hose to force air into the wall cavity. That helps to dry the panel and the wall frame where it is attached. One of our inspectors uses a moisture meter to check that everything is back to a normal level and then team members patch the holes and reattach the floor trim.

    For SERVPRO it is not really about customers. We work to help our neighbors return their residences to a clean, dry condition so they can get on with their lives. If this situation includes your home, call us today to find out what we can do for you.

    Helpful Hints About Toilet Replacement

    12/12/2020 (Permalink)

    A toilet is expected to be reliable, and they can last for 30 years or more. But sometimes the porcelain material they are cast in can develop a crack or the tank may break. When that occurs and water begins to escape, it is time to replace the leaking toilet. Here are a few tips to help you master the plumbing repair.

    Preparation

    After discovering the leak, there are a few steps to take before you can replace the toilet.

    • Before beginning the project, purchase a wax ring gasket, water-supply tube, and toilet.

    • There are different types of water a broken toilet can leak. If the toilet bowl itself is leaking, consider calling a professional cleanup crew to make sure the water is not contaminated and hasn’t seeped into your walls and flooring.

    • Once the water is removed, allow the area to dry thoroughly.

    • Remove all standing water from the toilet tank and toilet bowl.

    Removal

    Once the area is dry and disinfected, you are ready to remove the old toilet.

    • Disconnect the water supply line from the toilet.

    • Remove the bolts securing the toilet to the floor.

    • Lift the cracked toilet away.

    • Scrape the wax ring and check flange for cracks.

    Replacement

    Time to replace that leaking toilet with a new one.

    • Center new wax gasket over the flange.

    • Connect the water supply to the toilet base.

    • Set the toilet in place over the wax gasket and press softly until the toilet meets the floor.

    • Tighten bolts or hex nuts at toilet base.

    • Connect water supply to wall shut-off valve.

    • Sit on the toilet to compress further and re-tighten bolts.

    Once the water is restored to the toilet, flush the unit several times. If water leaks between the toilet and floor, it probably means the wax ring was not properly seated or didn’t seal correctly. To correct the issue, consider installing a new ring to finish the toilet repair.

    How to Take Care of The Aftermath of Broken or Bursting Pipes

    12/11/2020 (Permalink)

    Dealing with water damage is never fun. Bursting pipes can lead to flooding, which can cause a lot of problems in your home. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to fix a broken pipe quickly so that the damage is lessened.

    Keep Pipes in Good Condition

    The best way to handle flooding is to keep it from ever happening in the first place. While there’s not always a way to prevent bursting pipes, there are measures you can take to help keep pipes in good condition and lower their chances of breaking:

    • Keeping pipes from freezing

    • Checking pipes regularly

    • Turning off water while on vacation

    Act Fast When Things Go Wrong

    Even though you may take good care of your pipes, things can still occasionally go wrong. If flooding occurs, one of the most important things is to act fast. The more water that floods into your home, the more damage there is to be fixed and cleaned up. A damage restoration company can help you handle bursting pipes and the aftermath of flooding. The faster everything is dried out, the less risks there are of unpleasant aftereffects such as mold and odors.

    Identify What’s Happening

    There are several things to be identified when flooding occurs. You not only need to figure out where the water is physically coming from but also decide if it is clean water, such as water from a tap, or black water, such as sewage. A restoration company can help you handle all types of water and hopefully get the problem taken care of quickly.

    Bursting pipes can cause a lot of problems, but you can get them fixed without too much trouble by keeping pipes in good condition, acting fast, and hiring a professional company to help you. If repairs are done quickly and well, you should be able to avoid other problems, such as mold, later on.

    Water Classification: Making the Claims Process More Accurate

    12/11/2020 (Permalink)

    Water Classification

    As an insurance agent in the Northern Virginia area, it is your job to move the claims process forward. However, it is also necessary that claims are accurate assessments of the damage sustained to a property. Pretesting water damage can help you deliver an accurate insurance claim.

    1. Water Categorization

    Water categorization refers to the type of water and its level of contamination. There are three categories.

  • Category 1
  • Category 1 is considered clean water. It comes from a sanitary source, but prolonged standing could lead to contamination from other sources.
  • Category 2
  • Category 2 is contaminated water. This water presents as a darker color and likely has unsafe levels of chemical and biological matter. Avoid contact with the skin and do not consume as it may make you ill.
  • Category 3
  • Category 3 is contaminated and dangerous. This water is likely contaminated with sewage and other toxic chemicals. Contact or consumption could cause serious illness or disease.
  • 2. Category Classification

    Pretesting will also provide a classification to the damage. Each category and level require different restoration and mitigation practices which effects price. There are four classifications.

  • Class 1
  • Class 1 water damage means minimal exposure. This means that water is affecting a small area of a room and that there is minimal absorption into the surrounding materials.
  • Class 2
  • Class 2 water damage involves an entire room and a lot of water absorption into surrounding materials. This level also involves affected structural materials.
  • Class 3
  • Class 3 water damage involves the highest level of water absorption. This level of damage typically requires significant repair or replacement of all materials in the space.
  • Class 4
  • Class 4 is more related to drying times than water damage. This level involves specialty drying equipment and times due to deep pockets of saturation.
  • Pretesting provides an overview of the damage inflicted on a property. The higher the category and classification level the more extensive the repair. Therefore, testing the water before a restoration provides an accurate picture and price point for the claim being made.

    Don't Let Mold Damage Close Your Business

    12/10/2020 (Permalink)

    Mold Damage in Your Northern Virginia Business Is No Need to Panic 

    Much hype exists in the media about the dangers of mold, leading to your need for a fast fix if an infestation manifests in your commercial space. We have the certification to offer professional mold remediation services and are happy to evaluate your scenario and discuss the process from start to finish. Our crews master the techniques during the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) training. We also invest in the equipment needed to abate mold growth efficiently and safely. 

    Avoid Long-Term Shutdowns  

    Every minute your business is on hold because of mold damage, your customers lose access to your products and services. We are sensitive to this issue as statistics bear out that nearly half of companies that shut their doors even temporarily because of a disaster might not reopen. When our project manager arrives, we discuss ways to partition off the moldy area safely and according to local ordinances. Permitting you to operate in at least a portion of your commercial building with as few limitations as possible during mold remediation is a priority. We also make every attempt to find and help arrange to eliminate the water source fueling the mold growth. 

    Adherence to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Protocols 

    Containment

    Our Applied Microbial Remediation Technicians (AMRT) follow the procedures developed by the EPA for commercial buildings and schools. After we locate and determine the dimensions of the mold outbreak, the SERVPRO team partitions the affected space off from the rest of your business. Heavy-duty sheeting defines the perimeter. We then use negative pressure air scrubbing technology for two purposes. First, it seals the partitioned spaced, preventing drift. Second, it pulls airborne contaminants, including spores and other moldy residues, through HEPA filters, exhausting the air to the outside.  

    Removal 

    Scraping and brushing remove active mold colonies from solid surfaces. SERVPRO also works hard to save porous materials with innovations like soda blasting. Through gentle abrasion to agitate and dislodge the surface mold, the soda also inhibits the rebound of mold growth. Vacuuming and wipe-downs ensure we collect all debris for appropriate disposal as hazardous waste. 

    Disinfection 

    To inhibit mold regrowth, SERVPRO applies EPA-registered antimicrobials to affected areas. We might consider the use of disinfectant-infused sealers to provide a barrier and a smooth, mold-free surface for refinishing.  

    Residential vs Commercial Fire Damage

    12/10/2020 (Permalink)

    Commercial fire damage is very difficult to get rid of on your own, especially when you consider what goes into fire restoration. Fire restoration involves many different steps and processes, and this is why it is imperative that you hire a fire damage expert who can come to your home and do the cleanup for you. They will be able to come and take care of the electrical fire or utility room fire that has happened after firefighters have left using their fire trucks and fire hoses.

    Along with having this type of commercial fire damage repair done, you may also want to consider a fire sprinkler system and fire suppression system along with fire restoration. Fire restoration alone is simply not enough, since you will want to prevent the issue from happening in the future using a fire sprinkler system and fire suppression system for your own needs. This is why a lot of people have made the decision to contact the experts after dealing with an electrical fire or utility room fire.

    Another wonderful benefit hiring commercial fire damage experts and those who deal with basic fire damage is that they will take care of the smoke damage and soot damage that has been left behind. Both the smoke damage and soot damage is problematic for homeowners and business owners. This is why it is so important to call the fire damage experts and Commercial fire damage professionals after you have dealt with an electrical fire or utility room fire. Firefighters alone with their fire trucks and fire hoses are not going to be able to do the fire restoration for you.

    The fire suppression system and fire sprinkler system is also important when it comes to ensuring that fire damage is no longer problem for your home. Firefighters will also recommend that you put in a fire suppression system and fire sprinkler system in order to prevent an electrical fire or utility room fire from getting out of hand in the future. They are not going to be able to put out a significant fire with their fire trucks and fire hoses alone. Smoke damage and soot damage can be handled by the professionals as well.

    Once you have made the decision to hire the professionals to take care of the smoke damage and soot damage left behind after a fire, it is important that you work with the experts and understand what firefighters have recommended using their fire trucks and fire hoses. There are many different options available to you when it comes to hiring a professional company to come in and do the work for you. One of the main issues that a lot of people face is the fact that they cannot handle the issues on their own, so they are left trying to figure out how to handle it themselves.

    Thankfully, there are tons of different reputable companies out there that will be able to help you in one way or another. This ensures that your home or business is put back to its former glory and that you will find it to be incredibly beneficial in many different ways. If you have some type of insurance on your property, you will also find that this is incredibly helpful when paying for the services that are rendered. It can be incredibly expensive for you to do the repair work on your own, so make sure that you consider this as an option and work with the professionals in a way that is going to be beneficial for you and your loved ones. You might be amazed at how inexpensive this type of work can be once you work with the right experts and have some type of insurance that will help to pay for the costs that are associated with having all of the work done on either your home or business.

    Preparing Yourself for Winter Storms

    12/10/2020 (Permalink)

    PREPARE YOUR HOME & VEHICLE

  • Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Insulate you home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
  • Keep a supply of Sand, Rock Salt, or Non-clumping Kitty Litter to make walkways and steps less slippery.
  • PUT TOGETHER A SUPPLY KIT

     A basic emergency supply kit should include the following recommended items:

  • Water – at least a 3-day supply; 1 gallon per person per day
  • Food – at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable, easy to prepare food
  • Battery powered radio (extra batteries)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight and Multi-purpose tool (pliers or wrench-to turn off utilities)
  • Medications (7 day supply)
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Baby Supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Pet supplies
  • Warm Clothing –Jacket/coat, long pants and long sleeved shirt
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  •  When evacuation is deemed necessary:

  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Extra Cash
  • SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Whether you need emergency winter storm damage remediation or other restorative services, you can trust us to make your house feel like home again. We have the training, experience, and equipment to quickly get your home looking its best.