Recent Posts

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

Commercial Water Damage | Tenant Safety

9/25/2019 (Permalink)

Man standing in a flooded office with over a foot of water Commercial Water Damage

Commercial facilities are filled with a variety of different tenants. Any given building may house anything from a manufacturing company to a law firm. However, one thing remains the same. Most people have never been faced with the challenges and chaos that large scale water damages can bring. Here are a list of things you should keep in mind NOT to do if faced with a water damage.

DO NOT

  • Enter rooms with deep water that could have electrical hazards
  • Enter any water effected area that may be under construction or have any electrical issues
  • Leave rugs or any important documents in water damaged areas
  • Turn on or off any appliances such as computers, laptops, TV’s monitors, etc
  • Turn on lights or ceiling fans with water damaged ceilings

Always have a plan in place on how to deal with a disaster. If you do not already have one in place reach out to SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall. We can provide a free Emergency Ready Profile for your business at any time.

800-455-9453

Commercial Services | Document Drying

9/24/2019 (Permalink)

Large document drying chamber in a warehouse SERVPRO Document Drying Chamber

Are you a business professional that has a facility that is required to maintain documents for a set period of time? Lawyers, Dentists, Offices, Medical service providers and a whole host of other types of facilities are filled with vital documents. After a disaster these types of locations may be left with a big problem on their hands. How do they get their paperwork back so they can function or meet legal requirements?

Look no further than SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall. We are fully equipped with our own document restoration chamber and document restoration specialists. No matter where you are in the country, we can help facilitate the shipping, storage, and restoration of your documents. Whether is one filing cabinet or a whole library don’t let wet or damage documents put you behind the eight ball.

SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall

800-455-9453

Where to Look for Mold in Your Home

9/23/2019 (Permalink)

Mold can grow virtually anywhere—in any room of any house, in any commercial building and in any storage room. That said, some areas are more prone to mold problems than others. Knowing where to look for mold can help you detect, eliminate and prevent the problem.

Here are some common places you will find mold

  • Basements: Flooding, leaks, condensation, poor ventilation… The basement tends to be very moist, especially if you have had any flooding down there. Concrete floors in basements are a great place for mold to grow, as are the corners of your walls. The floor being cooler than the humid air causes condensation, which leads to moisture, causing mold.
  • Kitchens: Cooking, washing, inefficient exhaust fans…
  • Bathrooms: Showering, steam, leaks, inefficient exhaust fans… If you are not cleaning, and allowing your shower to dry often enough, if you are not drying your floors after you step out of the shower, and if you are not allowing air to circulate your washroom during, and after you shower, that can all cause mold to grow. The steam from your shower makes the perfect home for mold; it is so warm, and damp. When you finish showering and close the door behind you, not allowing it to air out, not only will your washroom smell like a wet towel, but it greatly facilitates the growth of mold.
  • Attics: Poor ventilation, insufficient air circulation, roof damage…
  • Crawlspaces: Leaks, moisture intrusion, poor ventilation… Your crawl space is usually dusty, which feeds the mold, and damp, which the mold needs to survive. So make sure you don’t neglect your crawlspace, every once in a while, go check it out, make sure it is clean, get any dust out of there, and take a good look at the corners, the walls, the ceiling, and the floor.
  • Laundry rooms: Washing, inefficient exhaust fans…
  • Air Conditioners: Leaks, moisture, poor ventilation… Another place that can cause mold in your home is your air conditioner. They are perfect for helping mold to grow. They cause a difference in temperature, which results in condensation, and they circulate dusty air. Make sure that if you have an air conditioner, you have clean, mold reducing filters, and you check it regularly for any signs of mold. If you see any mold on it, shut it off, put on a mask, to avoid breathing the mold spores in, and clean it thoroughly with a rag or wet vacuum, and mold cleaner.

Despite your best efforts, mold problems aren’t always visible–sometimes they spread behind walls and ceilings or underneath floorboards. This is often the case when there’s a crack in your home’s foundation, a leaky pipe or some other type of water intrusion. That’s why you should also keep an eye out for mold on drywall, carpets, curtains, wallpaper, wood, furniture, food, plants and soil.

If you find mold in your home, give SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall a call to make it “Like it never even happened.” 800-455-9453