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Three Things To Do When Your Pipes Burst

1/31/2020 (Permalink)

Burst pipe with water Bursting pipe in Philadelphia, PA

Three Things To Do When Your Pipes Burst

When bursting pipes flood your Philadelphia, PA, building with water, quick action can prevent the occurrence of secondary damages, such as mold. Taking action requires knowing exactly what you need to do, however. Naturally, you should contact professional cleanup crews, but what other actions should you take?

Shut off the water and the electricity.

Preventing more water from flooding into your property is probably your top concern. Go directly to the main water valve and shut off the water to the entire building. If you have access to the electrical panel, turn off the electricity as well. Even a tiny amount of water and electricity can create a serious hazard.

Call Cleanup Crews and Insurance Representatives

Once you've put a stop to the water flowing from the bursting pipes, it's time to contact professionals. Water damage cleanup and restoration professionals know much more than how to fix broken pipe situations. They also know how to prevent further damage and treat areas for mold it has a chance to grow and spread. Don't forget to contact your insurance company. Water damages aren't all treated the same by insurance policies, and you should get as much information about your coverage as you can.

Remove Water and Reduce Humidity

Gather mops, towels, wet/dry vacs, fans, and anything else you could use to remove water. It doesn't take long for water to soak into carpets and drywall (eventually leading to mold or mildew,) so you want to get the area as dry as you can in as little time as possible.
The risk of water damage Philadelphia, PA is often influenced by the age of the building and how well maintenance has been handled. If your buildings are fairly old, consider asking about updating the insulation around the pipes. Don't wait until you have bursting pipes to learn more about this situation. Proactively protect your Philadelphia, PA, buildings to avoid costly repairs and restoration.

6 Factors That Can Contribute to Mold Growth

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth in a bathroom Mold growth in Philadelphia, PA

6 Factors That Can Contribute to Mold Growth

Mold requires moisture to grow. A mold issue can mean that you have a water leak somewhere. Mold growth can start within 24 to 48 hours of the moisture collecting in a given area. Prevention and quick action are key when it comes to mold, so it’s important to know what can contribute to a mold infestation:

1. Leaking Pipes

Leaking pipes can go unnoticed for days or even weeks if they’re in inconspicuous locations such as behind the walls, in cabinets or in a basement.

2. Condensation

When warm humid air hits a cool surface and the temperature of the cool surface is below the water vapor’s dew point, condensation will occur. Condensation is common in bathrooms, on windows, pipes and in air conditioning units. It can even form behind paint, wallpaper and tiles.

3. Excessive Humidity

High humidity can be caused by moisture in bathrooms and kitchens, as well as moisture that’s retained in concrete and other building materials. HVAC systems can typically control humidity in addition to temperature. When this isn’t adequate, humidifiers and dehumidifiers can help.

4. Leaking Roof

A leaking roof can cause a lot of damage before you realize it’s even leaking. You might first notice a water-stained ceiling. Since water has to be fairly significant to create a stained ceiling, this is a pretty good sign that mold growth has likely already begun.

5. Poor Ventilation

A building with poor ventilation will cause moist air to become stagnant. Wet or damp surfaces will take longer to dry, exacerbating the problem. Areas such as these are havens for mold.

6. Flooding

Mold is just one of many problems that can result from a building flood. Porous surfaces absorb water, so even items that aren’t at floor level can be affected once water is absorbed. Drywall, furniture and carpets are just a few items that will quickly start growing mold if water damage isn’t responded to immediately.
If mold growth is a problem at your building in Philadelphia, PA, consider calling mold cleanup specialists. They'll return your building to code as soon as possible.

Getting a Fast Response to Your Disaster Cleanup Needs

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

A professional from SERVPRO mopping the hallway of a building and air movers around the place Cleaning services in a Philadelphia, PA building

You're a responsible, conscientious business owner, so you know that quick action is required for the most urgent needs. While some matters can wait, things such as disaster cleanup can't. If an incident such as a flood has infiltrated your office, you need a professional you can count on. The best disaster recovery teams can arrive at your place faster to any size disaster. It's nice to know that expert technicians can clean up messes, repair damaged items and restore materials that the disaster may have ruined.

What the Pros Bring With Them

You may be able to handle minor issues in your Philadelphia, PA, workplace by yourself or with the help of some co-workers. When it comes to large-scale disaster cleanup, you need someone with proven experience. The professionals offer the following advantages:

  • They have the right safety and cleanup equipment.
  • They will respond quickly, 24/7, 365 days a year.
  • They use industry-standard techniques to clean, sanitize and restore your office.

Speed Matters

If your office has water damage, smoke damage or other troubling issues after an emergency, the longer you wait, the worse off you'll be. Any delays could make it much more difficult, if not impossible, to salvage materials in your office. The best cleanup teams can arrive faster to any size disaster because they are locally owned. No matter where you're located, there's an experienced, capable company ready to assist you.

Excellent Communication

From the moment the professionals arrive on-site to assess the damage and begin the cleanup process, you can count on excellent service. The technicians will share with you their cleanup and restoration strategy. The team will also work closely with you as you start the insurance claim process.
It's critical to find a company that can get to you faster to any size disaster. Choose an emergency restoration specialist that you know has these essential traits.

4 Ways to Prepare Your Business For a Fire

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

Testing a smoke alarm Test smoke alarms regularly

4 Ways to Prepare Your Business For a Fire

While it might not be fun to think about a fire occurring in your Philadelphia, PA, building, proper fire preparation is necessary to keep both your business and your employees safe in case of emergency. There are many things that you should consider when preparing for this type of situation. The following are a few steps you can take.

1. Test Smoke Alarms Regularly

Keeping your smoke alarms maintained is an important part of disaster preparation. You will need to have at least one alarm on each floor of the building, but you may need more depending on its size. These should be tested monthly to ensure they are working. If they use replaceable batteries, these should be changed every 6 to 12 months.

2. Create an Escape Plan

If an emergency happens, you need to make sure everyone knows how to get out of the building safely. You should locate any possible exits, including windows on lower floors, and create multiple routes from each area. Practicing at least twice a year will help the plan stick in everyone’s memory.

3. Back-Up Important Data

When creating a fire preparation plan, don’t forget to consider your equipment. Fire, smoke and water from hoses can all cause significant, and sometimes permanent, damage to electronic devices. To keep your data safe, you should make backups of important files. You can upload digital files to cloud storage as well as making physical copies.

4. Purchase an Insurance Policy

If your building suffers from fire damage, the repairs you will need can be costly. You can also lose work hours, and therefore profits, during the restoration process. Having the right insurance policy can help your business with the financial aspects of a disaster.
Fire preparation can help limit the negative impact of an emergency, but it cannot completely prevent damage to your building. To return it to its previous condition quickly, you should hire a cleanup and restoration company to perform mitigation and repairs. They will be able to complete the job in a reasonable time without sacrificing the quality of their work.

3 Things Every Business Continuity Plan Should Have

12/21/2019 (Permalink)

Paper with words BCP Business Continuity Plan For a business in a place like Philadelphia, PA, when storms are frequent, having a continuity plan in place can help save a lot of time

Three Things Every Business Should Include in Their Plan

For a business in a place like Philadelphia, PA, when storms are frequent, having a continuity plan in place can help save a lot of time. Here are three things every business should include in their plan.

1. Emergency Numbers

One of the things many experts recommend including in an emergency plan are important phone numbers, as well as the numbers of any emergency service you may need. These may include the number of your insurance provider, but you may also want to consider keeping contact information for a storm damage restoration service. This will allow you to save time as you will already know who to contact if damage to the property were to occur.

2. Operation Procedures

Many businesses choose to include operation procedures in their continuity plan. This helps insure that a company can stay open if flooding disrupts daily operations. Some things to consider include backups for data, other ways to access the company server if the computers go down, alternate locations to work at, and if one office space can be shared while another is under repair.

3. Insurance Information

In many cases storm damage will be covered under your commercial insurance policy for the building. It’s important for you to know exactly what’s in this policy so you can make sure you have the coverage you need, so you may wish to include this information with your plan. You may also want to include the number for your agent, as well as a list of any specifically insured items or equipment.
When constructing a continuity plan for your business it’s important to remember to include the numbers of emergency services you may need, including that of a restoration professional. You will also want to create steps for how to keep the company operating in a variety of scenarios, and information your insurance may need.

5 Steps for Flushing a Water Heater

12/9/2019 (Permalink)

Hand attaches hose to a home water heater to perform maintenance When flushing your water heater it’s important to follow the correct procedure to avoid causing damage to the unit

5 Steps for Flushing a Water Heater

There are a number of reasons you may want to flush a water heater in your Philadelphia, PA, home. This can be an important part of keeping your heater in working order. Here are five steps to follow.

1. Turn the Heater Off
When performing a water heater flush it’s important to turn the unit off before starting. This will help prevent possible injury from the pilot light or electric heating element.

2. Prepare the Drainage Space
Connect the hose to the tank and place the open end into a drain or other area that can handle any water or sediment removed by the flush. Many people run the hose into a driveway, or drainage ditch. If you can’t direct the water outdoors you may choose to use a large bucket.

3. Flush the Heater Tank
Now it’s time to flush the water heater. Open the drain valve to release the water in the tank. You may also want to turn the hot water faucet in the kitchen or utility sink on to help with the flow. After the first flush you can turn off the water supply line and allow the tank to drain until empty. Repeat this process as needed to ensure all sediment has been washed out of the tank.

4. Inspect the Unit
Once the tank has been flushed and any sediment removed you may wish to inspect it for damage. A damage unit should be repaired or replaced according to manufacturer's instructions. If there is any water damage to the area around the tank a restoration professional should be called.

5. Refill the Heater Tank
Once you have inspected the tank for any damages you can refill the tank by turning the supply line back on. As air is flushed from the system you may see some sputtering action in the water coming from the open faucet, but as the tank is filled and air removed the stream should return to normal.
When flushing your water heater it’s important to follow the correct procedure to avoid causing damage to the unit. If you do find damage a professional may be able to help.

What To Throw Away After a Fire

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

a kitchen with burned walls Remember that your first priority after a fire is to make sure you and your family members are safe.

A fire in your home leaves you with a lot of fire damage cleanup and concerns about what can be saved and what must be thrown away. It can be frustrating to toss out items of sentimental value or to dump items that don't appear to be damaged. However, there are several things that you must throw away, even if they look fine:

Non-perishable food exposed to high heat, smoke, chemicals, or flames
Perishable food exposed to the same or left at room temperature for more than two hours
Medications with warped or charred packaging
Makeup and other cosmetics with affected packaging
Burned or smoky-smelling clothing and bedding

An Official Warning

The U.S. Fire Administration reminds homeowners that even when items haven't been damaged directly by flames, smoke from the fire as well as water and chemicals from the firefighters pose hazards. Even if you want to save your belongings, it may be much safer to throw away and then replace them. As you sort through your belongings work with firefighters and fire damage and remediation professionals to help you make those tough decisions.

What You Can't See Can Hurt You

It may help you to realize that the dirty water left after a fire often contains contaminants and other health hazards. The soot and smoke odors are reminders of the unseen chemicals that linger in the air. It makes sense that you wouldn't want to wear or eat anything that was contaminated by smoke, chemicals, or flames. High temperatures may cause items to spoil, so they aren't safe for use or consumption.

This is as important after the flames are out as it is when you first hear your alarms sounding. When you're in doubt about the safety of the belongings in your Philadelphia, PA home, "throw away" to keep risks at bay.

3 Home Fire Causes and Mitigation Tips

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Gas stove top lit Never leave your stove or oven unattended as it can take seconds for something to burn or catch fire.

Fire Causes and Mitigation Tips

There are a few causes that could lead to a home fire in Philadelphia, PA. Fortunately, a local fire damage restoration professional can take care of any fire cleaning that may be needed. However, knowing fire causes and mitigation tips may help you keep your home safe from the start. Here are three of the most common.

1. Electrical Malfunction

Once of the possible fire causes in the home comes from an electrical malfunction. This is one reason it’s best to ensure your wiring is up to code. Another possible source is every day appliances. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations for maintenance and cleaning, and if you see any damage to the unit discontinue use until you can have it replaced or repaired. Common culprits include dryers, toasters, lamps, and other heat using appliances.

2. Open Flame

A more common cause of a home fire is the use of open flame. This can be anything from a fireplace, to a candle, to a lit cigarette. Never leave these unattended, and ensure they are properly put out when you are done with their use. It’s also a good idea to keep the area around these clear of any debris and to keep them away from children or pets.

3. Cooking

Another common cause for fire comes from cooking. Never leave your stove or oven unattended as it can take seconds for something to burn or catch fire. For this reason you should also keep your cook top clean and clear of any debris. It’s also best to keep a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen in case something should happen.

Knowing the causes of a possible home fire may help you take mitigation steps ahead of time. Remember to properly maintain your appliances and have them repaired or replaced when necessary. Also never leave an open flame unattended, and pay attention to your stove or oven when cooking. If you do experience fire damage a restoration professional can help.

Gobble up Safety for Thanksgiving

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

Body of a turkey as a green air mover wearing a hat and tail feathers. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at SERVPRO of South Philadelphia

For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays.  Keeping fire safety a priority when cooking during this joyful, yet hectic time of year.  We have picked out the top tips to remember when preparing for the big event.  

  • Do not leave kitchen unattended while food is cooking either on the stove, or in the oven.  Don't burn the dinner!
  • Keep the floor clear of any bags, or toys that would cause a tripping hazard.
  • Kids should stay at least 3 feet away from the stove and any hot liquids that may splatter.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working properly for all of the heavy cooking about to be done in your kitchen.
  • Wrap up any loose electrical wires that are not in use.  These can easily get snagged while in transportation of other dishes.  Wires in use such as an electric knife, coffee maker, or plate warmer wires should also not be hanging.

Source: NFPA's Fire Analysis & Research Division

What It Takes To Clean After a Storm

11/14/2019 (Permalink)

A technician wearing protective equipment and bagging up debris Technician cleaning up after storm damage in Philadelphia, PA

Cleaning Requirements That Often Appear On a Flood Cleanup Checklist

When a storm in Philadelphia, PA, floods your home, you may not know where to start the cleanup process. The good news is that flood restoration experts can assess your property and put together a list of tasks that must be completed during mitigation. Here are some common cleaning requirements that often appear on a flood cleanup checklist.

Water and Debris Removal

The first hurdle in the flood clean process is getting the damaging elements out of your home. Experts may use several tools to do this:

  • Industrial pumps
  • Trash pumps
  • Truck mounts

Once technicians have taken out everything that contributes to the damage, they can get a better idea of what needs to be trashed and what can be repaired.

Item Assessment

Because floodwater from a storm is probably highly contaminated, everything it touches must be cleaned or tossed. The cleaning requirements differ for every item in your home. Items that can be submerged in water should be boiled and left to air dry in a clean location. Other items may require strong disinfectants to clean the surfaces. The experts you hire may even be able to salvage your electronics or documents with gamma radiation or freeze-drying techniques.

Structural Cleaning

Once all items have been removed for cleaning or disposal, technicians can start on the structure of the house itself. Part of your walls may have to be removed if they were touched by the contaminated water, as the drywall is likely to have been saturated with bacteria. A flood disinfectant can be used on harder, less porous surfaces. Everything in your home must be cleaned before you can safely inhabit the space again.
The cleaning requirements for your home after a flood may be extensive, but they are necessary to fully restore your house. Restoration experts can give you an itemized checklist of everything that must be done to make your home livable again.