Recent Posts

Flooded Basement

2/15/2019 (Permalink)

Unexpected water in your basement can damage walls and floors, destroy carpeting, ruin furniture, and lead - pretty quickly - to mold.  And perhaps the most upsetting of all:  As these places are so often used for storage, a wet basement can ruin irreplaceable items like photo albums, antiques, and family heirlooms.  When you experience a flooded basement for the first time, it's imperative to determine if the water problems are going to recur or if it was a one-time event.  Can you safely leave your property downstairs once you've got the mess cleaned up?  Or does everything need to come upstairs immediately?  What's certain is that if water in your basement is a consistent problem, it's time to start making decisions.  Determining where the water is coming from is the first and most essential step in solving this problem.  Beyond observable flooding around your home and in your neighborhood, there are four common sources of water entering basements:  Surface water running down foundation walls.  Groundwater in water-saturated soils being pushed into the basement by hydrostatic pressure.  Storm sewer water from the municipal storm sewer system backing up into the home's existing perimeter foundation drain and leaking into the basement.  Sanitary sewer water from a clog in your home's sewer line, the municipal sewer line, or the combined municipal storm/sanitary sewer system backing up into the home's drain system, causing sewer water to come up through sink drains and floor drains on lower levels.  Each source has its own specifics and requires it own course of action.  Find out more about your home's drainage system by consulting a contractor or plumber.

What is Sewer Backup?

2/12/2019 (Permalink)

While floods are probably best known for causing extensive water damage to homes and businesses, they can also cause sewage from sanitary sewer lines to back up into houses through drain pipes.  These backups not only cause damage that is difficult and expensive to repair, but also create health hazards.  Most homeowners and business owners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral-the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main, usually located under the street, and the building.  The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that may extend into the street or public right of way.  A cracked or deteriorated lateral or one filled with tree roots can allow groundwater to seep into the system, contributing to the sewer backup problems.  To prevent backups in your lateral and in the city main you need to do several things.  One is to dispose of grease properly.  Do not wash grease down the drain with hot water.  As the grease cools off, it will solidify either in the drain, the property owner's line, or in the main sewer causing the line to constrict and eventually clog.  Another is to dispose of paper products properly. Paper towels, diapers, and feminine products can cause many problems in the property owner's lateral as well as in the city main because they do not deteriorate quickly, as bathroom tissue does.  Next, you may want to replace your line with new plastic pipe.  One way to prevent tree roots from entering your line is to replace your line and tap with new plastic pipe.  If you still have problems with tree roots growing in your lateral, you may have to have roots cut periodically. Shrubs and trees seeking moisture can make their way into sewer line cracks causing extensive damage.  They may start out small, getting into a small crack in the pipe; but as the tree or shrub continues to grow, so does the root.  Tree roots can enter the service pipe at joints and cause blockages.  Sometimes a blockage is the result of a combination of city and private trees.  In this case, costs are split between the city and property owner.   

Smoke Alarms

1/30/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level, including the basement.  Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button.  Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years.  Other alarms need batteries replaced every year and the unit replaced every ten years.  If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately.  Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm.  Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries.  If you need help installing, testing, or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician, or the American Red Cross. 

Emergency Ready Profile

1/29/2019 (Permalink)

With each new year, many people resolve to better themselves or some part of their life.  This year, make a resolution to be READY.  No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can prepare for it.  The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile, or ERP, will help ensure you are "Ready for whatever happens" in 2019.  in the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility.  The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contacts, shut-off valve locations and priority areas.  The ERP is a no-cost assessment; all it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save you time and money in the future. By downloading the free SERVPRO Ready App, this information is stored electronically and can be accessed using your mobile device putting help at your fingertips!  Preparation is the key to making it through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire, or an area flood.  Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster.  Don't wait until a disaster strikes, resolve to be READY!

Commercial Cleaning

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

A commercial cleaning service is more for those things that you will encounter in a business. Commercial waste clean up, or heavy cleaning are all things that define commercial cleaning.  That is why some think that if you hire them for your home, they are going to clean better.  The truth is that a commercial cleaning company cleans not better than a residential cleaning company, they only clean different things.  When it comes to cleaning, the word commercial does not mean more industrial type cleaning, it literally means industrial cleaning and all it entails.  Cleaning machinery, blank spaces, chemicals and other individual solvents, commercial cleaning services deal with a different type of condition and clientele.  A residential cleaning service specializes in things around your home such as cleaning floors, bedrooms, and bathrooms.  A commercial cleaning service cleans things such as offices, buildings, or retail stores.  Commercial cleaning companies also focus on special event cleaning such as a fire or flood clean up.  They have the industrial equipment needed to clean things that have succumb to severe water, or other types of damage.  They are also the company that you call for construction clean ups, or after building renovations are done.

Property Management

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

Property managers have a variety of responsibilities. They may be consulted on setting the rent, as they are familiar with comparable properties in the area. They of course, collect the rent, ensuring an optimal cash flow by setting a date to collect rent each month and strictly enforcing late fees. Property managers are also responsible for filling vacancies.  They know where to advertise the rental and what to include in their ads.  They also understand what attracts tenants, so they can offer tips to help makeover the property.  They have a consistent screening process that includes running credit and background checks, which decreases their chances of being accused of discrimination.  They handle leases and determine the amount of a security deposit. They handle complaints, emergencies, move outs, and evictions. Property managers are responsible for managing the budget and maintaining records. They can even be expected to assist the property owner in filing taxes for the property.

Facts about FEMA

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

If a home is destroyed in a storm that is later declared a disaster by the federal government and grants are made available, claims still need to be made through the homeowner's primary insurance company.  Policyholders should understand that their home insurance is their primary source of coverage.  Fema only pays AFTER insurance.  When Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast in 2012, FEMA determined that there was enough damage to make an "individual assistance" declaration and they provided grants to homeowners to help them with temporary living expenditures such as finding food and shelter.  There grants were not intended to rebuild their homes.

Catastrophic Claims

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

When storms hit, almost every homeowner affected files insurance claims immediately following the event.  This means that insurance company adjusters are inundated with claims, phone calls and questions.  Homeowners need to be patient with the process.  In addition, during catastrophes, insurance companies may send in large teams of adjusters to deal with the high volume of claims. Catastrophe adjusters are often not permanent employees of the insurance company but rather contractors who are hired on a loss-by-loss basis to handle weather disasters across a nation. For that reason, they may only be available for a short time.  They move on to other areas or go back home before claims are closed and then homeowners have to start again when the next group of adjusters arrive on the scene. Homeowners need to keep their own files and document everything so they won't have to start all over again when their file changes hands.

Apartment Management

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Usually apartment buildings with more than 20 units are managed by professional property management companies and those buildings with fewer than 20 units are usually managed by the owner and a live in property manager. Regardless of who is managing the apartment building it is important to follow some general principles and tips to make sure that operations run smoothly.  The management of an apartment building should be efficiently run like any other business.  The manager should look to improve the client-tenant living experience while minimizing costs and increasing profit opportunities whenever possible.They need to remember to follow the Fair Housing Rules, as well as, who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the units. 

Commercial Carpet Cleaning

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial carpeting can be very challenging to clean utilizing the hot water extraction method.  The main problem is that there is no airflow under the carpet; commercial carpet is glued directly to the floor. In your home, this method usually takes about 4 to 8 hours to dry.  Because there is no pad between the carpet and floor to allow airflow in a commercial building, it can take several hours longer to dry.  Slow drying times usually cause a problem known as wicking.  Have you ever had your carpets cleaned and they look great when the job is done, but in the next day or two all your spots and stains come back?  That is wicking.  When carpet dries too slowly it pulls stains from the backing of the carpet to the tips of the fiber. When cleaning commercial carpeting, wicking is a big challenge.