Recent Why SERVPRO Posts

Why Choose SERVPRO?

5/9/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO provides many of the services you may need after a storm blows through your area. We provide emergency roof tarping and board-up services to help prevent additional damage from the elements and provide security to your property.

Is my insurance going to cover this water damage to my home?

4/25/2022 (Permalink)

Many homeowner insurance policies do provide some level of coverage in a water damage situation, but you will need to contact your agent for details about your policy. The source of the water damage is important when dealing with insurance. Some flooding related to weather events requires special insurance that is gained through the National Flood Insurance Program.

What should I do after a water damage event in my home?

4/25/2022 (Permalink)

When a water emergency occurs in your home or business, it’s only natural to want to take action immediately. Below are some preliminary steps you can take before we arrive, but only attempt what you can do safely.

  1. Shut off the water source, if possible. If you’re not sure where the water is coming from, we’ll inspect and handle the situation as soon as we arrive.
  2. Remove excess water by mopping, blotting, or wiping. This could include flooring and hard surface furniture which has standing water on it. Do not use your household vacuum to remove water, since it could cause damage to the vacuum or be unsafe.
  3. Protect carpet, rugs, drapes, and upholstered items from further damage. Place aluminum foil or parchment paper between furniture and wet carpet or rugs. Remove books, magazines, or other colored items from carpets and rugs. Hang draperies up with coated hangers to avoid contact with wet floors. Remove pillows or cushions from wet upholstered items.
  4. Avoid using electric or electronic items that have come into contact with water. This may include items such as light fixtures, ceiling fans, televisions, or appliances. If there is a possibility that someone else on the property may turn on an electric item that has come in contact with water, consider turning off the power to individual circuits within the power distribution panel of the property.

How long does it take to dry out water damage?

4/25/2022 (Permalink)

Drying out a structure depends on the severity of the water damage that occurred, and they type of structure, with an average situation taking 3–5 days. This can vary greatly though, depending on the magnitude of damage, amount of contents affected, any demolition that may be required, and the presence of any hazardous materials.

Returning a home or business to its preloss moisture levels is a closely monitored process, with our professionals making adjustments to equipment to help ensure the area is recovering as quickly as safely possible.

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.

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.

3 Reasons To Rely On SERVPRO For Large Loss Response

12/9/2020 (Permalink)

Relying On SERVPRO 

In the event of a major storm, fire or flood in Northern Virginia, commercial property owners may obtain a faster and more professional response from a local franchise location of a national restoration company. Here are three reasons to choose SERVPRO to handle catastrophic loss.

1. Many Franchise Locations

SERVPRO has more than 1,700 franchise locations. This means that the closest professionals can arrive on site in four hours or less, which may be faster than other regional mitigation and restoration services. In the event of widespread damage such as flooding or storm damage, additional experts and equipment may report from nearby locations.

2. National Corporate Support

The backing of one of the nation's leading mitigation and restoration companies enables local franchises to be better trained and equipped than most independent companies. Insurance jobs are only offered to locations that satisfy all of the requirements of a 21-point Participation Agreement. This oversight and company-wide services such as the Claims Information Center elevate the standard of service and make SERVPRO the right choice in the event of catastrophic loss.

3. Industry-Leading Standards

This national corporation is also a certified training school for the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration. Each franchise must employ at least one technician who specializes in a particular area such as storm damage to maintain certification. The IICRC requires technicians to obtain continuing education credits to ensure that professionals keep up with current best practices in the mitigation and restoration field. This means that the work performed by these employees should be up to the highest standards in the industry.

What are Signs of Mold Growth in a Bathroom?

12/8/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO has extensive training to handle any type or size of mold remediation in your home

One thing to remember about mold growth is that it will not stop until the conditions allowing it to flourish in a home get eradicated. Only then will remediation efforts work to halt any further mold colony spread or growth. It is vital not to rely on DIY methods and engage a professional company. Signs that you may have a mold issue in your bathroom include:

  • A musty odor that is persistent
  • Visible signs of mold growth
  • Delamination of tiles or wallpaper
  • Damp conditions that do not diminish due to poor ventilation

Can Tile With Mold Damage Get Reused After Cleaning?

When SERVPRO techs handle mold damage remediation in your properties, their goal is to save as much of the structure as possible. Porous items such as sheetrock and fabrics may require disposal if there is no way to return them to a sanitary standard for reuse. However, if the fabrics and clothing can be washed and disinfected in an Esporta washing system, these can be restored.

Not only do the technicians remove the items that got ruined by the mold infestation, but they also scope the property to discover the reason for it. Frequently seen reasons for this type of issue in a bathroom are unseen leaks behind a wall or poor exhaust ventilation trapping the moist air from showers or baths in the bathroom. In the case of common walls in apartments and condos, the water source should be inspected and fixed. 

SERVPRO is certified to handle mold damage remediation by IICRC and can determine the reason for the infestation and necessary repairs to help prevent recurrences.

Water Crisis in Your Home?

12/4/2020 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Is Uniquely Qualified to Respond to Water Damage

The residential housing in Northern Virginia typically has a long history, with many renovations over the years. When a water crisis occurs in your home, the original structures plus any remodeling or rehabbing that happened can create barriers to hinder water removal and rapid structural drying. We have many talented and multi-certified and experienced employees who have “seen it all,” yet are up for the next challenge. That is why we are confident when we take on your unique project.

Layers of Building Materials Lengthen Drying Times

When water damage in your home is complicated by multiple layers of sheetrock, expect extended drying times and increased potential for secondary damage like mold growth. The drying time for a single layer of saturated drywall typically is five to seven days. Adding layers in place because of DIY or professional remodeling you or previous owners completed requires adjusted drying times, often more than twice as long. Our team is skilled in the use of penetrating moisture meters with non-stick probes to establish the presence of moisture and to monitor progress. We can head off issues that might be brewing deep inside your walls. 

Controlled Demolition 

Floors, ceilings, and built-in cabinetry can funnel water damage into remote spaces and cavities within your home. When we follow the migration of water, the following question arises: can we employ controlled demolition techniques to gain access to caches of water and damp areas challenging to extract and dry? The training and mentoring by more experienced experts our employees receive is another reason why SERVPRO can respond to unusual water damage circumstances with creativity. Opening up moisture-filled spaces with holes and strategically placed cuts allows our extraction equipment to reach the water. Our air movers, heaters, and dehumidifiers are also able to utilize planned demolition to introduce psychrometry - or the science of drying - to mitigate and remediate water damage far from the original loss.

Build Back Support 

Our residential contractor license permits us to offer our customers rebuilding services after controlled demolition. This wrap-around approach is why SERVPRO ensures your water-damaged home eventually returns to preloss condition, “Like it never even happened.”

Does Business Have to Grind to a Halt When Your Building Needs Restoration?

12/2/2020 (Permalink)

ipad and iphone with erp apps SERVPRO Provides Faster Cleanup and Restoration Services to Your Northern Virginia Building when we partner with the ERP Plan-Emergency READY PROFILE

Give the Experts at SERVPRO a Call When You Need Restoration of Your Northern Virginia Business

If anything is more frustrating than the disruption of a water loss on your business property, it surely is when you also have tenants whose operations are affected. Northern Virginia commercial buildings can be full of many shops, cafes, offices, and production sites, so water damage affects dozens to hundreds in our neighborhoods. Add in disappointed customers, and the effect spreads.

Can a Restoration Company Help with Containment, So That “Business as Usual” Can Proceed?

Customers can be fickle, so it is crucial to maintain a presence when your Northern Virginia business needs water damage restoration. You cannot afford to have the customer base you and your tenants built go elsewhere as your damaged building recovers. To ensure that you and your commercial tenants can still honor customer requests, partnering with a restoration company helps immensely. Erecting containment and barriers while building contained workspaces for water damage restoration can carve out safe, welcoming areas that permit your and your tenants’ businesses to continue operation.

Once Was Enough -- Is There a Way to Avoid The Chaos of Water Damage Restoration in the Future?

Think about partnering proactively with SERVPRO by collaborating on an Emergency READY Profile (ERP). We encourage our commercial clients to consider our ERP to prepare for water damage or another disaster much the same way you prepare for other business crises. To access the benefits of an ERP, do the following:

  • Schedule an in-person assessment with one of our experienced water damage restoration project managers
  • Review any recommendations resulting from the evaluation, and implement them
  • Store critical documents off-site or digitally
  • Raise equipment above typical flood lines
  • Repair leaks and upgrade utility configurations
  • Designate employees or others to act on your business’s behalf if you are unavailable during a disaster
  • Discuss the final concise, digital ERP plan with our managers, so you anticipate accurately what a water damage restoration job means to your operations and create planned adaptations to keep you going during the restoration

We are Cleaning Experts

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

Kitchen/Food Areas

Bathrooms

Schools/Classrooms

Offices

Retail Spaces

Water Fountains

Shelving/Racks

Sales Counters

Carpets and Rugs

Stair Handrails

Elevator Cars

Playground Equipment

Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO® product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of McLean, 703-448-8444

Prepare Your McLean Household for Spring

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

house on spring day The Department of Energy (DOE) says weather stripping the windows on your home is an easy and effective way to help save money on your energy bill.

Weather Stripping

The Department of Energy (DOE) says weather stripping the windows on your home is an easy and effective way to help save money on your energy bill. In the spring and summer, weather stripping works by keeping the cool air inside and the warm air out. In the summer, if the cool air is contained inside, then the AC will not have to work as hard, and that may help you save money on your energy bill.

Indoor Maintenance

Test and clean ceiling fans. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, an efficient ceiling fan in each room can help allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees Fahrenheit without reducing your comfort level. Ceiling fans can be a good way to air out the house and generate a cross-breeze.

Replace your AC filter. The National Center for Healthy Housing recommends that you replace the filters in the air conditioner in the spring. A new filter will likely optimize the efficiency of the unit.

Replace torn or damage window screens. If you don’t have an air conditioner, or if you simply like to keep the windows open in the spring and summer, it’s a good idea to make sure your screens are in good shape — you don’t want to let flies in with all that fresh air!

Exterior Upkeep

The National Center for Healthy Housing suggests that in the springtime, you may want to consider these outdoor maintenance projects:

Check your roof shingles. This should be done by a professional, as working on the roof can be dangerous without the proper training. You should ask the professional to make sure the shingles are not curling or clawing.

Replace rotten siding or trim. Make sure your home’s siding and trim aren’t damaged from windy, icy conditions. 

Clean gutters and downspouts. Get rid of any leaves or other debris that accumulated during the winter to make sure your gutters and downspouts are ready to take on those April showers.

Customer Experience and Expectation Management

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

What To Expect When We Arrive

1) On-site personnel is not permitted to give estimates or opinions on pricing and total cost as emergency  services often include  unforeseen costs.

2) Length of Process:                                

  1. The average water damage restoration takes 1-1½ weeks to complete start to finish.
  2. The average mold mitigation takes 1-1 ½ weeks to complete start to finish.
  3. The average fire damage remediation takes 2-3 weeks to complete start to finish.
  4. Please expect multiple visits throughout the project.

3)  PLEASE BE SURE TO CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, if you haven’t already. 

What To Expect During Remediation

1) Regular business hours are between 9AM and 4PM, Monday - Friday.  All other times incur “After Hours” fees at a rate of up to 40%

  1. Some insurance will not cover “After Hours” fees.
  2. Any fees not covered by insurance will be the responsibility of the Authorized Customer.
  3. Request clarification from your insurance company.

2) Appointment reminders are sent to you via text the day before work is to be performed. Customer MUST confirm via text message, failure to respond WILL result in the job being cancelled. 

3) Customers who have missed an appointment or cancelled same-day WILL be charged $200.

4) Equipment is required to run 24 hours every day of the project. Drying equipment is loud and heats the area it is placed in. Please DO NOT turn off equipment as this will result in unsuccessful drying and will cause the customer to accrue additional charges.

 Situations To Be Prepared For

1) If removal of structural materials is required:

  1. Reconstruction can be performed by our construction department after mitigation.
  2. Insurance carriers may require you to use a construction company of their choosing.

2) Contents may be deemed unsalvageable based on:

  1. If materials are porous (containing pores).
  2. What type of damage they incurred.

3) Please take time to inventory and bring to the site manager’s attention any family heirlooms, jewelry, antiques, and items of emotional value.

4) Containment may be required on site to assist with drying or to prevent secondary damage to unaffected areas. While containment is in place, please limit your use of these areas for the duration of the project. Containment is set up for your health and safety. 

5) Please be aware that since this is an EMERGENCY SITUATION there may be unforeseen circumstances, time-frame extensions, structural conditions.

6) We WILL mitigate and remediate to the best of our ability in a timely fashion, following industry Standards, and providing you with a quality result.

What To Expect At Job Completion

1) Invoices will be sent to the customer’s email that they provided. 

2) Invoices will also be sent to the insurance adjuster (if applicable).

3) Payment is required 15 days from date of received invoice.

9 Reasons NOT to Use Bleach on Mold

12/14/2018 (Permalink)

9 Reasons NOT to Use Bleach on Mold

1. Bleach encourages toxic mold growth on porous surfaces because it provides excess moisture. Bleach contains about 90% water. When you apply bleach to a surface, the chlorine quickly evaporates leaving behind a lot of water. Then, when the water soaks into porous surfaces like wood, it encourages mold growth. So, bleach can actually make your mold problem worse.

2. Bleach only removes the color from mold. After you spray bleach, only the surface appears clean. But the problem is, the mold’s roots, or hyphae, continue to grow.

3. The EPA and OSHA specifically advise against using bleach for mold remediation.

4. Chlorine bleach is extremely harmful to surfaces. For example, when you use bleach on wood, it starts to weaken it by breaking the fibers. When you spray bleach on metal, it starts to corrode it almost immediately. Thus, using bleach to kill mold creates problems with the structural integrity of a home.

5. Bleach is extremely corrosive. When you spray bleach and it evaporates, it releases chlorine gas. It irritates and eventually causes damage to the skin, lungs, and eyes.

6. The corrosive nature of bleach is even worse when it’s mixed. Bleach should never be mixed with acids, because it causes dangerous fumes. Remember: Mixing cleaning compounds containing ammonia with bleach and ammonia produces deadly gasses that can kill with just a few breaths. 

7. Bleach doesn’t work as a sanitizing agent when it’s mixed with organic material. To be a successful sanitizer, bleach has to be used on clean materials and surfaces. That’s why bleach products get used in the laundry after the wash cycle. Light and heat compromise the sanitizing properties of bleach. Despite the fact that the chlorine odor lingers for a while after you use it, bleach loses strength so quickly it doesn’t have a residual effect. That is, it doesn’t prevent future bacterial or fungal growth.

8. Most bleach products are not registered with the EPA to be used as antimicrobial agents.

9. And last, but not least, you don’t want to use bleach to kill mold because there are many antimicrobial alternatives readily available. These antimicrobial agents are registered with the EPA specifically for killing mold. Some are formulated to be friendly to the environment, your family and your pets. In addition, they are cost effective, easy to use, and, they have a true residual effect. That means they actually prevent bacteria and mold from re-growing.

The SERVPRO® Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) Advantage

12/14/2018 (Permalink)

The SERVPRO® Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) Advantage

The Best Way to Reduce Business Interruption Following a Disaster is to Plan For it NOW!

As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according

to the latest industry research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming

majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an

insurance policy aimed at peace of mind.

By developing a SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile for your business, you

minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing

what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can

help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.

 Are You Ready?

Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time for planning for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can plan for it. Now is the time to ask yourself, “Are you ready for whatever could happen?”

The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile is a startup approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information. By working with SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile, your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. SERVPRO® is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.

The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile Advantage

  • A no cost assessment of your facility.
  • This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.

  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
  • It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.

  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
  • This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.

  • Establishes your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
  • You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.

  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
  • This saves time, so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.

  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
  • Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are “Ready for whatever happens.”

    Odor Removal Done Right

    12/14/2018 (Permalink)

    Odor Removal Done Right

    As experts in deodorization, SERVPRO professionals are trained to identify and eliminate offensive odors. Malodors can come from a number of sources both inside and outside of a structure.

    SERVPRO Franchises teach IICRC technical classes in the proper removal of odors. SERVPRO has the training and equipment to identify and eliminate these offensive odors. By identifying the cause of the odor and determining the conditions in which it contacts any surfaces, the odor can often be removed over time without a trace. Masking (using air freshener) and other short cuts don't work when your odor problem is serious or persistent. We start by removing the cause of the odor, be it bio-hazardous, mold, smoke, etc. SERVPRO technicians are then able to use SERVPRO’s state-of-the-art equipment and professional techniques to clean and remove the odors that plague your home or business.

    The science of identifying and eliminating odors can be tricky, so give SERVPRO a call, and leave the restoration to us.

    How to Clean Your Own Air Ducts

    12/14/2018 (Permalink)

    How to Clean Your Own Air Ducts

    One of the best ways to ensure that the air in your home stays tidy is to clean your air vents. The air ducts in your house contain millions of particles of dust, hair, dirt, pollen, spider webs and other allergens. Cleaning your air vents will also save you money on heating and air conditioning. So, read the tips listed below and learn about how you can clean the air vents in your house.

    Here's what you'll need:

  • Heavy duty vacuum
  • Face mask (N95)
  • Screwdriver
  • Broom
  • Cleaning Brush
  • Here's what to do:

  • Turn off the power connected to the heating and air conditioning system.
  • Unscrew the air duct covers or grilles from the walls. Use your brush to clean the grates thoroughly. If they're very dusty and grimy, you may want to use soap and water to make them gleam.
  • Vacuum the ducts as much as possible. Consider renting a heavy duty vacuum for this purpose. The standard household vacuum isn't powerful enough to clean deep into the crevices of the ducts. Make sure that the vacuum you rent has a long hose to reach deep into the ducts. If you want the ducts to be cleaned more thoroughly, consider hiring a professional to do the job.
  • Clean the grilles in your ceiling. If you can't reach them with the vacuum or screwdriver, use a broom to attack the dust. Remember that if you haven't cleaned them for a long time, you will want to protect yourself from all the dust and debris that will fall down by wearing a dust mask.