Recent Posts

What Makes SERVPRO Such a Great Business Model?

1/23/2020 (Permalink)

Three green SERVPRO vans parked in front of a furniture store 24-hour emergency service. SERVPRO

When it comes to emergency help, you can't afford anything but the most reliable, capable response. You certainly don't want to clean up by yourself, and you won't get the right service from an inexperienced, unprepared company. It's no wonder so many people in Wind Gap, PA, look to a SERVPRO franchise to restore their workplace. This well-established company has the traits and track record you want if a flood, fire, storm or mold infestation affects your office.

Bringing the Right Tools to the Job

Any task requires certain resources to accomplish the objectives effectively. You can count on a SERVPRO franchise to come through every time. Shortly after your call for help, technicians will arrive with the following:

  • Qualified, skilled team members
  • Industry-standard tools and equipment to clean and rebuild your office
  • Proven techniques to thoroughly accomplish cleanup tasks of any size

Help Is Never Far Away

SERVPRO isn't like other disaster cleanup companies that have to send crews to you from other cities or states. The company is locally owned, so crews are always nearby. This is critical because it allows for a faster response. If a natural disaster hits your office, you need someone there the same day to start assessing the damage. Because offices will be near you, a long wait shouldn't be an issue.

There's a Corporate Presence

Individual franchises manage their own day-to-day affairs and are largely self-sufficient. However, these certified professionals can also call upon corporate help if necessary. The SERVPRO head offices can dispatch additional help to areas where large-scale incidents have affected multiple businesses. Each franchise has this continual support. This also includes getting more equipment and supplies to adequately clean up and rebuild.
A SERVPRO franchise will stand out from other cleanup companies. When it's time to choose an organization during your dire time of need, the decision should not be a difficult one.

The Facts About Mold and the Odor it Causes

1/7/2020 (Permalink)

Side View Of A Shocked Young Woman Looking At Mold On Wall Mold often has a pungent, musty odor

There are a lot of things you never want to see in your office building. Mold is certainly high on the list. As if the sight of this fungus isn't enough, the smell can be unpleasant too. In fact, it's often the odor that gives mold away. You may not easily spot it, especially if it's inside the walls or ceiling, or under a sink. Mycotoxin release is a big reason why the putrid smell permeates the area.

When and Where it Grows

There's nothing magical about the appearance of mold in Easton, PA. This fungus will grow and spread under certain conditions. It's helpful to be aware of the places it can show up and what events lead to the need for mold remediation. Some of these include:

  • After food is left in a break room refrigerator for several weeks
  • After a pipe bursts in the basement boiler room
  • When water leaks through the roof after a severe rainstorm 

Clues Your Nose Can Pick Up

People in your building may first begin to complain about certain smells in the workplace. Mold often has a pungent, musty odor. Some people may describe it as the smell of wet socks or rotten wood. Another way to think about it is how it smells outside after it rains. People may even say mold has an earthy odor. 

Why it Stinks

During particular stages of its growth, mold will release mycotoxin into the air. These organic compounds are a collection of what the fungus consumes to multiply. 

How To Get Rid of It

It is vital to call a professional mold cleanup team to get rid of mold. These specialists will use powerful disinfectant to remove the fungus. Plus, to eliminate the smell, the crews will use HEPA air filtration machines. You can do your part too, but ensuring there is good airflow in your building. 
The terrible smell of mold comes from mycotoxin release. You can do something about this by enlisting the help of experienced professionals.

Winter Weather Water Damage

12/2/2019 (Permalink)

Snow covered house Snow covered house

With the impending wintry mix that is expected this week in the Lehigh Valley, we figured that  it would be a good chance to remind people of the most common water damage events that can happen due to cold weather and snow. For many in the US, the thought of getting home water damage from a cold snap doesn’t even register on their radar. But the truth is, any home can be susceptible to cold weather.  

Ice dam formations on your roof

This is more common in colder climates where snow and cold weather tend to stick around throughout the winter. But ice dams cause a significant amount of water damage each year and can oftentimes becomes a black mold damage problem as well if left untreated. There’s a number of different techniques people apply to try and rid themselves of existing ice dams, but the truth is these can actually hurt your roof and cause more lasting long term damage. So do yourself a favor and read up on the subject so you don’t have to deal with water damage from ice dams.

Roof damages from high winds

Winter storms can often bring with them damaging winds that can rip shingles off your roof. Just a small amount of damaged or missing shingles can end up allowing a lot of water into your attic and/or home if rain or snow accompany the winds. If possible, have a roofing company check your roof after a strong wind storm just to make sure you don’t have any damages that could cause significant water damage.

Pipe bursts

By far the most common winter weather related water damage comes from frozen pipes that burst. It happens all the time when temperatures plunge. If you live in a colder climate, it usually happens when an exterior hose spigot or other pipe in the crawlspace/basement is exposed to the elements. Make sure your pipes are insulated or you’re at risk of some serious flooding issues!

Snowmelt

Melting snow can impact any home, whether it has a basement, crawlspace, or a slab foundation. If enough snow ends up piling up next to your foundation, it’s going to create a lot of water once it melts. Hopefully when it does melt, your lawn slopes away from your house but if not you could end up with hundreds of gallons of water lurking next to your house. With that much water, over time it’s going to soak into and through your foundation and cause damage inside your property!

While these certainly aren’t the only way hazardous winter weather can cause costly water damage, they are the most common causes we see each winter. So like we always say on this blog, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Water damage costs can be high, and many types of damage aren’t covered by homeowner’s insurance policies. So it’s safest to take preventative steps on your own to make sure you greatly reduce the chances you end up with a problem on your hands!

Call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall at 800-455-9453 this winter!

Preparing your HVAC Systems for the Cold Weather Ahead

11/5/2019 (Permalink)

With cold weather rolling in, so is an increased fire risk. Why, you may ask? Home heating systems or temporary heating systems cause serious fire risks and are one of the highest causes of fires in homes. Here are a few tips for you before the cold weather fully hits and heating becomes a must.

  • Make sure that your electric or temporary heater is not plugged into a power strip. It should always be plugged directly into a wall
  • Do not leave an electric heater unattended
  • Inspect HVAC systems to make sure that there is no faulty wiring
  • Change the filters in your system
  • Be sure to consult your instruction manuals before making any changes to the location or set up of any heating system or portable heaters

To add another level of safety be sure to have smoke alarms installed in your home and test them regularly. Having a home fire extinguisher is also recommended item to keep you and your family safe. Please see the link below for more tips on how to make sure you are ready for this winter.

Information sourced from: https://www.esfi.org/resource/space-heater-safety-tips-146

Heating Systems and the Fire Risks Associated

10/28/2019 (Permalink)

With cold weather rolling in, so is an increased fire risk. Why, you may ask? Home heating systems or temporary heating systems cause serious fire risks and are one of the higher causes of fires in homes. Here are a few tips for you before the cold weather fully hits and heating becomes a must.

  • Make sure that your electric or temporary heater is not plugged into a power strip. It should always be plugged directly into a wall
  • Do not leave a electric heater unattended
  • Inspect HVAC systems to make sure that there is no faulty wiring
  • Change the filters in your system

To add another level of safety be sure to have smoke alarms installed in your home and test them regularly. Having a home fire extinguisher is another must have item to keep you and your family safe. Please see the link below for more tips on how to make sure you are ready for this winter.

Information sourced from: https://www.esfi.org/resource/space-heater-safety-tips-146

How to Prevent a Chimney Fire

10/15/2019 (Permalink)

Roof Top Chimney Fire Prevent chimney fires from happening in your home

Imagine you’re curled up in your favorite blanket, surrounded by your loved ones during the cold winter months. But, what happens if you have a chimney fire; have we thought about how to prevent a chimney fire in our homes?

Here are 7 ways to prevent a chimney fire:

  • Have Your Chimney and Fireplace Cleaned and Inspected Annually- A damaged chimney can spread fire to the surrounding areas in your home. A dirty chimney with a lot of creosote and soot buildup is dangerous because these materials burn at very high temperatures, spreading the fire. It is therefore important to have your chimney and fireplace checked annually. For best results, use the services of a certified chimney sweep. Annual cleaning of the chimney will ensure better passage for the smoke and exhaust gases, in addition to regular removal of dangerous creosote.
  • Build Small Fires- A small fire that burns well does not produce as much creosote as a large fire that is burning slowly. This is because a fire that burns brightly produces lesser smoke and soot, thereby reducing the buildup on the inside of the chimney. Small fires are also safer and easier to control.
  • Use Seasoned Wood- Dry, seasoned wood is the best choice for starting a fire. This is because wet wood burns slowly, creating more smoke, which condenses on the inside of the chimney. This results in an increase in the creosote deposits in your chimney. To build any fire, always use wood that has been seasoned for 6 months or longer.
  • Never Use Paper or Combustible Liquids in the Fireplace- Never use combustible materials or liquids to start a fire. The flames can get out of hand very quickly, resulting in disaster. Never burn paper, garbage, plants, Christmas trees or wrapping paper in a fireplace. These materials can float up the chimney when aflame and ignite the creosote deposits on top, resulting in a chimney fire.
  • Use a Chimney Liner- A chimney liner is an essential part of a fire prevention plan. Chimney liners provide better air flow, better exhaust passage for combustion gases and also protect the chimney structure from excessive heating and exhaust fumes. As a result, your chimney is easier to keep clean. The chimney structure is protected from damage, thereby reducing the chances of a chimney fire.
  • Install a Chimney Cap- A chimney cap prevents unwanted elements in your chimney. Animals or birds setting up residence in the chimney could ignite a chimney fire. Also, leaves or twigs that could fall inside are highly flammable and can result in a chimney fire.
  • Ensure Good Air Supply- Restriction in the air supply to the fireplace aids in the formation of creosote. To improve air flow, ensure that the fireplace damper is fully open. Leave the glass doors open to ensure that the air supply is not cut off while the fire is burning.

In case you do have a chimney fire, here are 6 steps to put it out:

  • Step 1 - Safety First- As soon as you are aware that the chimney is on fire, evacuate all family members and pets from the building, and call the fire department. Even if you do end up extinguishing the fire by yourself, it is always a good idea to have firefighters on their way in the event that things go wrong. Before attempting to put out the chimney fire, evaluate the situation to ensure it is safe for you to tackle it yourself. Make sure you put on heat-proof gloves as well.
  • Step 2 - Close Openings- Close any primary or secondary openings into the fireplace or chimney. This helps to deprive the fire of the oxygen it needs to keep burning. This may eliminate smaller fires altogether or just lessen the flames in something larger. You will also lessen the chances of any embers taking light after you've put the fire out.
  • Step 3 - Put Out the Fire in the Grate- Tip a generous amount of sand or baking soda onto the fire. This also helps to starve the flames of oxygen. Keeping a bucket of sand by your fireplace at all times is generally a good, practical idea that might just save your home!
  • Step 4 - Try a Fire Suppressant- A few products are available on the market to help get rid of dangerous fires. Chimfex is similar to a road flare. Once lit, it is tossed into the fire where it consumes all the available oxygen in the flow path. These are fairly inexpensive and have a decent shelf-life. FireEx is another such product that tends to be a bit more expensive, but airtight plastic packaging ensures that it has an indefinite shelf-life. It is a good idea to have a few of these products handy at all times if you use your fireplace frequently.
  • Step 5 - Use a Fire Extinguisher- To be on the safe side, you can use a fire extinguisher on the flames as well. This should left to the last as extinguishers can create a big mess. Direct the nozzle towards the grate and spray in short bursts to make sure that any glowing embers or flames that didn't get extinguished by the sand are completely out. Don't stand too close when using the fire extinguisher as the pressure from the nozzle can throw glowing embers into the air.
  • Step 6 - Hose the Chimney Stack- When you are satisfied that the fire in the grate is no longer alight, go outside and hose-down the chimney. Do this from a standing position. If you have a power attachment on your hose, use it as you will find it much easier to direct the water towards where you need it. Use only a fine mist; the heat from the fire will turn it into steam that will help dampen what's left of the fire. Only perform this maneuver if you're confident that you know the right amount of water to use, as too much can end up damaging the flue liner.

Have a safe and cozy winter from SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall!

800-455-9453

Snow Predictions in the Lehigh Valley for 2019- 2020 Winter Season

10/15/2019 (Permalink)

Camel on the side of road in the Lehigh Valley Snow Predictions in the Lehigh Valley

We are coming towards the end of October, which means winter is slowly creeping up on us. This winter season, we want you to be prepared on how cold it will be and when the snow might start.

Here’s what we know: 

How cold will this winter be?

On an October day when the Lehigh Valley was sweating in 90-degree temperaturesAccuWeather released its long-range winter 2019-20 forecast. According to the forecast: The Northeast as a whole will experience some chilly spells in December, but the real cold comes early in 2020. Above-normal snowfall is expected from New York City to Boston, with rain mixed with snow more likely in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., which will likely put the Lehigh Valley right around the dividing line.

When will we see the first snow?

Data from the National Weather Service shows that the Lehigh Valley on average sees its first snow around Dec. 2. But the actual first-snow date here has a fairly wide range. The earliest measurable snowfall of the season was an inch that fell on Oct. 10, 1979. The latest, on the other hand, was during the winter of 1999-2000 when snow held off until Jan. 13.

While AccuWeather says the first snow should arrive on time, its 2019-20 winter forecast says the worst wintry weather will be delayed: The harshest cold is expected after New Year’s, along with storms and above-average precipitation.

Be Prepared with Team EBW!

SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall

800-455-9453

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes and What to Do if They Freeze Anyway

10/15/2019 (Permalink)

Frozen Pipes Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing

Brrrr it’s cold in here! There might be some frozen pipes in your house this year! Frigid winter temperatures can cause pipes to freeze – or even burst. Do you know how to tell if pipes are frozen? Here are some tips to help prevent frozen pipes and a list of suggestions for you to follow if they do freeze.

SYMPTOMS of Frozen Pipes 

One of the earliest signs of a frozen pipe is when no water comes out of your faucet when you turn it on. If you notice that, head first to the basement and check to see that the water is still turned on and that you don’t have a leak. Once you’ve confirmed these two things, continue your inspection to make sure one of your pipes has not burst.

If your search reveals that your pipes are frozen but none have ruptured, you have two choices:

  • Call a plumber to help thaw your frozen pipes. This is a good idea if you don’t think you can safely thaw the pipes yourself, you don’t know where the frozen pipes are or you can’t access the frozen area.
  • Attempt to thaw the frozen pipes yourself. Be aware this option can be dangerous if not done correctly.

How to FIX Frozen Pipes

If you attempt to thaw the frozen pipes yourself, keep the following tips in mind:
 

  • Keep your faucet open. Water and steam will be created during the thawing process, and your pipes need an opening to discharge this. Keeping the faucet open also allows for moving water to run through the pipe, which will expedite the thawing process.
  • Apply heat to the section of the pipe that is frozen. This can be done by wrapping an electronic heating pad around the pipe, heating the area with a hair dryer or both. If you lack either of these items, using towels soaked in hot water will help as well.
  • Know what not to do. Never use a blowtorch, propane or kerosene heaters, a charcoal stove or any other open flame device to thaw your frozen pipes. You should also avoid using a space heater unless you are sure the area is clear of any flammable material.
  • Continue applying heat until water flow returns to normal. Once you have successfully thawed the pipe, turn on other faucets in your home to check for any more frozen water pipes.
  • Take swift action if the frozen pipes are located inside an exterior wall. Cut a hole in the wall toward the inside of the house to expose those pipes to warmer air.

How to PREVENT Frozen Pipes

While we can’t control the weather, there are things we can do to prevent pipes from freezing. To prevent pipes from freezing and causing major damage, follow these steps:
 

  • Drain water from pipes that are likely to freeze. This includes your swimming pool and sprinkler water supply lines.
  • Disconnect any hoses from the outside of your home, drain the hoses and store them in the garage. Make sure to close the indoor valves supplying these outdoor access points.
  • Insulate the area around vents and light fixtures. This helps prevent heat from escaping into the attic.
  • Seal any wall cracks. Be sure to pay careful attention to the areas around utility service lines.
  • Open kitchen cabinets. This allows the warm air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Keep the garage doors closed to protect water lines.
  • Allow your faucets to drip cold water on the coldest days. The movement will make it harder for the water to freeze.
  • Keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Never let it fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you leave your home.
  • Ensure you have proper seals on all doors and windows.
  • Place a 60-watt bulb in areas where you’re concerned about pipes freezing. Make sure there are no combustible materials near the bulb.

Call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall if you experience frozen pipes this winter season! 800-455-9453

Commercial Services | Industrial Hygienists

9/28/2019 (Permalink)

Industrial Hygienist writing on a clipboard wearing safety vest and hard hat Commercial Services - Industrial Hygienists

Do you have a mold problem or just a dirty basement? To answer these questions professionals, need to be consulted to find scientific answers. Industrial Hygienists are specialists in identifying issues in workplaces or public facilities that could pose risk to those occupying the building. They can provide testing, protocols and consulting to help mitigate, remediate or eliminate these issues.

When dealing with mold there are two tests that can be performed to discover if you truly have an issue or not. The first test is the Indoor Air Quality test. During this test a sample of air is taken utilizing an air pump and special filter that traps air particles that will later be analyzed by a lab. Based on the particles collected the I.H. can determine how contaminated the air is. The second type of test is called a lift test. This is used to identify how contaminated surfaces are. A sticky tape is utilized to take a sample to be analyzed by a lab. Either way before jumping to conclusions about mold be sure that you have the proper science being used to back up your decisions.

Commercial Real Estate Services

9/25/2019 (Permalink)

Two people looking out over a city skyline from a large office window Commercial Real Estate Services

SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall offers a complete collection of real estate services for both residential and commercial facilities alike. While commercial real estate and residential real estate have similar goals, their clients are much different. Business professionals expect a lot from real estate brokers. They require immediate attention and quick solutions to keep their business running.

SERVPRO can offer commercial carpet cleaning, deodorization services, duct cleaning, drape cleaning or upholstery cleaning. For emergency situations we also offer crime scene clean up or biohazard clean up services. Lastly, if a business requires a fit out for their new space, we also offer post construction clean ups. So, if you’re in the Commercial real estate profession, reach out to us so we can show you how SERVPRO can be a vital asset to your business.

800-455-9453