Recent Water Damage Posts

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

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

Psychro-WHAT? The Science Behind Structural Drying

9/19/2019 (Permalink)

Laptop computer open to a SERVPRO Psychrometrics chart SERVPRO shares the science behind drying

Psychrometry is the study of the air and its properties. The properties of temperature, humidity, vapor pressure and dew point are measured to evaluate air conditions in the structure, enabling a SERVPRO® Franchise Professional to create the proper atmosphere for more efficient drying.  

Water can damage materials in two ways:  first, by absorption through direct contact with water; and second, absorption of moisture from the air. Measuring the moisture content of the air is critical to the drying process.  

At SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall we employ several tools and techniques to aid the drying process and accelerate it as well.  Our most important asset is our people and the knowledge they bring to the damaged property.  We are highly trained teams of IICRC Certified Water damage restoration professionals.  This means when you call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall you are getting the highest quality of professionals to address any size disaster.  We are very proud to be a leader in the emergency services and disaster restoration industry. 

If you ever find yourself in need of Water Damage Restoration services, call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall at 800-455-9453

What to Do When Making an Insurance Claim

9/18/2019 (Permalink)

What To Do When Making a Flood Insurance Claim

Most homeowners’ insurances do not offer flood coverage. However, if you have a separate flood policy for your home, then you will want to file an insurance claim if your home has been damaged. The process can sometimes be frustrating or confusing, so use the following tips to get through it more smoothly.

Call Your Insurance Agent

The first step in filing a flood claim is calling your insurance agent. In some cases, the company can deny your claim if you have waited too long to contact them. Getting the process started right away will prevent this.

Take Pictures

After you have contacted your agent to begin the process, you should take photos of any areas of the house that have been flooded. Be sure to photograph any affected items as well. This will help the insurance company determine the extent of the damage. Keeping a list can be helpful as well.

Set Aside Affected Belongings

Once you have taken pictures and documented the damage, you don’t need to wait for the insurance adjuster to arrive to begin moving your items. If you allow them to sit in the water, the damage will only worsen, so you should relocate them to a dry area quickly.

Prevent Additional Damage

If the insurance company does not believe that you have taken the necessary steps to prevent further damage, this can affect your flood claim. It is a good idea to call an emergency cleanup company like SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall to do repairs, but you can start on remediation before they arrive. Along with moving affected items, you can board up areas and place tarps to prevent the water from spreading.

Making a flood claim may not always be the simplest process, but there are things you can do to make it easier on yourself. Following this advice will help move it along more quickly and ensure you get the most that you can from your policy. You can call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall anytime at (800) 455-9453.

If you ever find yourself in need of Water Damage Restoration services,

call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall at 800-455-9453

The 5 Most Common Causes of Water Damage in your Lehigh Valley Home

9/18/2019 (Permalink)

Water damaged carpet in a hallway leading to three doors/rooms Water Damage happens quickly. Call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall when disaster strikes.

As a homeowner, you should be aware of all the possible things that could happen to your home. Storm damage, wind damage- and, most frequent of all, water damage. As homeowners, you think things like this would never happen to you, but if they, everyone should be prepared. Below are the 5 most common causes of water damage in a home and advice to help you be more prepared.

  1. Air Conditioner- your air conditioner might seem to be working just fine, but it’s important to get regular service checks (at least once a year) to make sure nothing is malfunctioning behind the scenes. Your A/C removes moisture from the air and sometimes that moisture builds up. If not properly drained, that water could be slowly leaking into your home- potentially ruining the flooring and drywall and, in many cases, introducing mold.
  2. Dishwasher- dishwashers are another possible culprit of water damage in your home. Your dishwasher can cause water damage if not properly sealed, meaning the latch is broken, or if it was loaded with the wrong soap. Make sure that any leaks are immediately addressed and that your dishwasher is repaired or replaced ASAP, so you can avoid costly damage to you kitchen
  3. Washing Machine- perform regular checks on your washing machine, inspecting beneath the unit as well as behind it. Make sure all fittings are securely connected, and that the underbelly of the washing machine isn’t leaking any water beneath the unit.
  4. Leaking Pipes- it might be obvious, but water damage in a home is often caused by leaky pipes. A leak in one place in your home could signify leaks in other areas, too. If you notice spikes in your water bill, a leak is likely present and needs to be addressed before additional damage is caused to you foundation, flooring, and other areas in a home.
  5. Clogged Drains- clogged drains aren’t just annoying, they also cause water damage (and mold growth) if left unchecked. If your toilet is clogged, it means that not only can you NOT use the toilet, but you will likely also experience water backing up into the shower, sinks, or bathroom floor. Sewer water is extremely dangerous because it contains raw sewage and bacteria, and must be cleaned by a professional. If the kitchen sink is backing up, you may experience sink overflow and subsequent damages to you kitchen floor and cabinetry.

If you notice any signs of water damage in your home, call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall to make it “Like it never even happened.” 800-455-9453

Saving Water Damaged Electronics

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Water-damaged electronics can present a serious hazard. Do not attempt to turn on or operate any electrical device that you suspect has been damaged by water. SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall can coordinate the restoration of your electronics, including TVs, DVD players, computers, tablets, cell phones, and more. 

The Key To Electronic Cleanup
The key to restoring electronics is taking prompt action to prevent further damage. SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall starts by cleaning the exterior of your electronic devices to help stop further corrosion and damage. With us, your electronics will be cleaned and inspected by a qualified electronics technician. 

Cleaning Up Corrosion 
When it comes to cleaning up corrosion after water damage, be careful.  If you don’t use proper tools and techniques you can further damage your water-damaged electronic devices. You could also potentially injure yourself. Remember: electronic devices and liquids generally don’t mix. Any time you apply a liquid cleaning solutions to an electronic device, you need to be cautious. SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall recommends that the average consumer never attempt to repair a water-damaged electronic device without professional assistance. When in doubt, take your device to a professional. If you are confident about cleaning up corrosion on your water-damaged electronic device by yourself, please keep these tips in mind: 

1. Keep safety first 
If you’re standing in water or your clothes are wet please remove yourself from any potential shock hazard before even thinking about retrieving a submerged or soaked electronic device. If the device is still on, turn it off. If possible, rotate and shake the electronic device to try to drain out any fluid. 

2. Always remove any batteries or power connectors.
 This not only prevents harm to you, but also prevents any short-circuiting of your electronic device. By doing this, you will also be exposing extra connectors that may already have corroded, so exercise caution. A shorted battery may be a fire and/or chemical hazard. If you see or feel any heat, smoke, steam, bubbling, bulging, or melting avoid handling the electronic device. 

3. Look for white or green “crusty” areas on the device.
You may find them on the battery connectors, charging ports, SIM card connectors, or any other major metal connectors on the device. 

4. Use cotton swabs and a cleaning solution such as isopropyl alcohol.
You can also use baking soda and water or vinegar to clean corrosion. Gently apply the solution to the affected area and wipe back and forth until you’ve removed the corrosion. If necessary, leave some solution on the corroded area and wipe it off later. 

5. Dry your electronic device with a soft cloth or a hair dryer on a cool setting.
Do not use heat to dry out your device. Make sure your device is dried extremely well before attempting to replace the battery and turn the device on. Any water left in the device could cause additional water damage. 

6. Take special care with electronic circuit boards.
If you think water or any liquid has reached an electronic circuit board take the device apart carefully. Follow the instructions and remember the order of the disassembly so you can put the device back together later. Soak up any remaining liquid on the circuit board with a lint-free cloth. Don’t use paper products (they could leave lint or scratch the board). Avoid rubbing any cloth on the circuit board because that might scratch or dislodge parts. Place the cloth over the board and press gently. This will soak up the liquid. Remove the worst of any remaining particles by brushing with a toothbrush. This includes any globs of dried liquid. You don’t need perfection at this stage. Then remove any dust or loose pieces of dried liquid by spraying the board with compressed air. Spray in one direction in quick bursts, since the canister can become extremely cold if used for longer sprays. Rinse the circuit board with clean or distilled water to remove any sticky materials. If your circuit board was wet by clean water and you didn’t have to remove dried materials, you may be able to skip this. Pat the board gently with a cloth to remove the majority of the moisture and allow it to dry completely. Clean any residue off the circuit board using a cotton swab. Moisten the cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol. Do not use a dripping wet swab. Swab gently in stubborn areas and be careful not to upset the components. The alcohol should take care of most of the work without rubbing. 

7. Cross your fingers
When you try to repair a water-damaged electronic device there are no guarantees. The water-damage or corrosion may be permanent. These steps improve your chances of repairing it, but in the end you just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best. 

Call us today! 800-455-9453

Water Shut Off

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

In an emergency you may have to shut off the water to your home. For example, freezing or thawing may cause a water pipe to break. Water pipe breaks are also common with most types of natural disasters (winter storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and more). Broken water pipes can lead to electrical hazards, long-term wood rot, long-term mold, or even drowning.

Where’s The Water Shut-Off Valve?
1. Look for the water shut-off valve where the water line enters your house. In warmer climates the shut-off valve may be outside your home where the water line meets your home’s exterior. But in most climates the water shut-off valve is just inside the house where the water line enters through your home’s foundation or exterior wall. Scott Finazzo, author of The Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook, says that if your water comes in through a ground well the valves on either side of the pressure tank should both be shut off. 

2. Often the water shut-off valve is a quarter-turn ball valve. If that’s what you have, turn the valve a quarter of a turn until it’s perpendicular to the water pipe. Or your home may have a round handle that you turn clockwise until you can’t turn it anymore. Don’t have a master shut-off value in your home? Have one installed. 

If You Have Water Damage Call SERVPRO Of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall At (800) 455-9453

3. Another water shut-off option is closing the municipal water meter shut-off valve. This valve, if you have municipal water, typically is in your front or side yard. Look for a round metal lid or box close to your property line. It’s often 24 to 48 inches from the curb or fence line.

If your water meter has a round metal lid use a wrench or pliers to rotate the lone nut on the lid counterclockwise. This will release the latch and you can open the lid. Another type of metal lid requires a screwdriver. Turn the lid until the tabs line up with the gaps and you can lift the lid off. A third type of water meter lid is square or rectangular. You can pry it open with a screwdriver or pry bar.

Don’t reach into the meter box until you inspect the area for debris and rodents. If the box is old and covered with a lot of growth you may want to wear gloves. Once inside the municipal water meter box you’ll need pliers or a specialty tool to turn the valve. Turn it until it’s perpendicular to the water pipe.
 
If You Have Water Damage Call SERVPRO Of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall At (800) 455-9453

Shut-Off Valves For Single Rooms
Sometimes you only need to shut off the water to one room. Most newer houses have shut-off valves at every sink and toilet. Your water heater may have several shut-off valves. If your issue is one leaking sink just shut off water to that sink. If you know the water heater is leaking just shut the valves to it off.

Water Damage Can Be Disruptive

11/5/2018 (Permalink)

Water leaks within a home or business can seep into carpet, flooring, baseboards, and walls while moving throughout the structure.  SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall Professionals understand how disruptive water damages can be for a family or business. Water leaks in a business can not only disrupt the facility, but also can interrupt day to day business functions, which could possibly close the business and affect revenues. 

Timely mitigation is key to the restoration process.  Quick response time helps ensure that damage is contained and the restoration process begins promptly. This saves on the amount of damage, cost of claims, and assists in reducing losses from business interruption due to a loss.  Timely and proper water mitigation will also help keep mold from developing which could cause people to become ill!  SERVPRO Professionals will be able to identify water regardless of where it hides. Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals cover the Charleston, WV, and surrounding areas.  We offer 24-hour emergency response from our trained professionals to help make it "Like it never even happened."

            Leak Prevention Tips

  •   Check roof for deterioration.  
  •   Check gutters and downspouts.
  •   Check basements and crawl spaces for moisture.
  •   Check appliances in kitchens, break rooms, and cafeterias.
  •   Check sinks and toilets in bathrooms.
  •   Check HVAC for leaks and blockages.

Call us today! 800-455-9453

Saving Water Damaged Electronics

11/5/2018 (Permalink)

Water-damaged electronics can present a serious hazard. Do not attempt to turn on or operate any electrical device that you suspect has been damaged by water. SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall can coordinate the restoration of your electronics, including TVs, DVD players, computers, tablets, cell phones, and more. 

The Key To Electronic Cleanup
The key to restoring electronics is taking prompt action to prevent further damage. SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall starts by cleaning the exterior of your electronic devices to help stop further corrosion and damage. With us, your electronics will be cleaned and inspected by a qualified electronics technician. 

Cleaning Up Corrosion 
When it comes to cleaning up corrosion after water damage, be careful.  If you don’t use proper tools and techniques you can further damage your water-damaged electronic devices. You could also potentially injure yourself. Remember: electronic devices and liquids generally don’t mix. Any time you apply a liquid cleaning solutions to an electronic device, you need to be cautious. SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall recommends that the average consumer never attempt to repair a water-damaged electronic device without professional assistance. When in doubt, take your device to a professional. If you are confident about cleaning up corrosion on your water-damaged electronic device by yourself, please keep these tips in mind: 

1. Keep safety first 
If you’re standing in water or your clothes are wet please remove yourself from any potential shock hazard before even thinking about retrieving a submerged or soaked electronic device. If the device is still on, turn it off. If possible, rotate and shake the electronic device to try to drain out any fluid. 

2. Always remove any batteries or power connectors.
 This not only prevents harm to you, but also prevents any short-circuiting of your electronic device. By doing this, you will also be exposing extra connectors that may already have corroded, so exercise caution. A shorted battery may be a fire and/or chemical hazard. If you see or feel any heat, smoke, steam, bubbling, bulging, or melting avoid handling the electronic device. 

3. Look for white or green “crusty” areas on the device.
You may find them on the battery connectors, charging ports, SIM card connectors, or any other major metal connectors on the device. 

4. Use cotton swabs and a cleaning solution such as isopropyl alcohol.
You can also use baking soda and water or vinegar to clean corrosion. Gently apply the solution to the affected area and wipe back and forth until you’ve removed the corrosion. If necessary, leave some solution on the corroded area and wipe it off later. 

5. Dry your electronic device with a soft cloth or a hair dryer on a cool setting.
Do not use heat to dry out your device. Make sure your device is dried extremely well before attempting to replace the battery and turn the device on. Any water left in the device could cause additional water damage. 

6. Take special care with electronic circuit boards.
If you think water or any liquid has reached an electronic circuit board take the device apart carefully. Follow the instructions and remember the order of the disassembly so you can put the device back together later. Soak up any remaining liquid on the circuit board with a lint-free cloth. Don’t use paper products (they could leave lint or scratch the board). Avoid rubbing any cloth on the circuit board because that might scratch or dislodge parts. Place the cloth over the board and press gently. This will soak up the liquid. Remove the worst of any remaining particles by brushing with a toothbrush. This includes any globs of dried liquid. You don’t need perfection at this stage. Then remove any dust or loose pieces of dried liquid by spraying the board with compressed air. Spray in one direction in quick bursts, since the canister can become extremely cold if used for longer sprays. Rinse the circuit board with clean or distilled water to remove any sticky materials. If your circuit board was wet by clean water and you didn’t have to remove dried materials, you may be able to skip this. Pat the board gently with a cloth to remove the majority of the moisture and allow it to dry completely. Clean any residue off the circuit board using a cotton swab. Moisten the cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol. Do not use a dripping wet swab. Swab gently in stubborn areas and be careful not to upset the components. The alcohol should take care of most of the work without rubbing. 

7. Cross your fingers
When you try to repair a water-damaged electronic device there are no guarantees. The water-damage or corrosion may be permanent. These steps improve your chances of repairing it, but in the end you just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best. 

Call us today! 800-455-9453

Water Damage - Category and Classes

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

Do you know what is the water category of this loss?

Category 1 originates from a sanitary source and poses no substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure. It is important to note, it may not always remain clean after it comes into contact with other surfaces or materials.

Category 2 contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed. It may contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms, as well as other organic or inorganic matter (chemical or biological).

Category 3 is grossly contaminated and may contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents. Such water sources may carry silt, organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or toxic organic substances.

Time and temperature can also affect the quality of water, thereby changing its category. *Refer to the IICRC S500 for complete definitions.

Class 1 is the least amount of water, absorption and evaporation.  It affects only part of a room or area, or larger areas containing materials that have absorbed minimal moisture.  Little or no wet carpet and/or cushion is present.

Class 2 involves a large amount of water, absorption and evaporation.  It affects at least an entire room of carpet and cushion (pad).  Water has wicked up walls less than 24 inches.  There is moisture remaining in structural materials and substructure soil.

Class 3 involves the greatest amount of water, absorption and evaporation.  Water may have come from overhead.  Ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, cushion and subfloor in virtually all of the entire area are saturated.

Class 4 relates to specialty drying situations.  Typically, there are deep pockets of saturation, which require very low specific humidity.  These types of losses may require longer drying times and special methods.

*Refer to the IICRC S500 for complete definitions. 

For your water mitigation and restoration needs call the professionals at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall (800) 455-9453

Highly Trained Restoration Specialists

Our SERVPRO Professionals are highly trained in property restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO's Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, our Professionals are equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our SERVPRO training program includes, but not limited to, the following:

  • IICRC Training
  • Employee Certification Training
  • e-Learnings
  • Continuing Education Classes

Do You Know What To Do When Floods Happen?

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

When a disaster happens, it’s difficult to know what steps to take. But when you’re facing a flood, doing the right things as soon as you can makes a big difference. Check out our tips for what you should do – and what you shouldn’t do – if your property ever suffers water damage.

In a Flood, You SHOULD:

  • Shut off your water. Locate the main shut off valve and turn it off (clockwise).
  • Get rid of as much water as possible. Mop up any standing water and open the windows to help dry things out.
  • Move furniture, carpets, and other belongings off the wet floors. Move valuables, carpets, and furniture out of standing water and off of wet spots. If any of the items are wet, set them down to dry with plenty of space between them – more space means more airflow, which will speed drying. Rugs should be hung up, but not over a railing or against a wall: the drying rug will just get the railing or wall wet.
  • Open and air out all containers. Containers aren’t always watertight; if a box, bag, trunk, or other container is damp on the outside, make sure you unpack it completely and air out the contents.
  • Dry clothing (unless dirty). Leaving clothes wet increases the chance of mold or mildew growth. If the clothing is dirty from dirty water, don’t dry it. Leave any delicate or specialty items for the professionals to handle.

Things To AVOID:

  • Never use a vacuum on water. Household vacuums aren’t designed to suck up water – getting them wet can be a safety hazard.
  • Don’t go near anything electrical. Outlets, plugs, and appliances are all off-limits after a flood. Just because you can’t see damage doesn’t mean all is well. Wait until an electrician has been able to determine safety.
  • • Don’t go into rooms with sagging ceilings. A sagging ceiling is waterlogged and could fall at any moment. Call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall as Soon As Possible 

The sooner we get on scene, the better. With water damage, the first 24 hours are critical: if you call us right away you increase the chances that everything can be salvaged. The longer something is wet, the longer the water has to soak in, the harder it is to remove, and the more likely it is to become mold or mildew.

Aspects to Look at During Water Damage Restoration

9/20/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Effectively Tackles Water Damage Regardless of the Source of the Water

Water damage restoration is not all about extracting water from a structure and ventilating the area so that drying can take place. Professionals in this area understand the drying theory and how to apply its principles to achieve the drying goal. So, do not make a mistake of thinking that placing drying equipment and spraying products are all that professionals do during the restoration process. We are going to look at the various aspects that professionals consider when attending to such incidents in the Lehigh Valley. 
 
The amount of water in your property after a water damage event in Easton, Bethlehem, & Whitehall is also crucial. Our SERVPRO technicians start by determining its source - it can be black water, gray water, or clean water. Clean water does not contain waste products, and it is usually water from a treated source. It can come from faulty appliances, overflowing sinks, leaking roofs and burst pipes. Fewer health risks are associated with this category of water; though, it ceases to be clean once it flows across the soil. In most cases, carpets and pads exposed to clean water are salvageable. 
 
Gray water is also known as category 2 water, and it carries waste products - minus human waste. If your washing machine malfunctions and overflows, the water it dumps on the floor is under this category. It may present health risks if a person drinks, touches, or experiences any form of contact. Our SERVPRO team thoroughly cleans carpets exposed to gray water and replaces saturated pads. 
 
Category 3 water is known as black water - though it does not means the water must be black. It is majorly unsanitary water with much debris which exposes humans to health risks. Burst sewage back-ups and floodwater are examples of its sources. It is advisable to replace porous materials, pads, and carpets that are contaminated with black water. 
 
At SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall, we respond immediately to storm, mold, fire, and water damage disaster. Call us at (800) 455-9453and let us make your property “Like it never even happened.” 

Freeze Drying and Why You Should Care

8/21/2018 (Permalink)

"When water is not your friend!" words on water droplet background Water is not always your friend. Especially if you run an office that requires a lot of documents and secure information to be kept.

Do you have a lot of important documents in your office?

Is your office subjected to HIPAA regulations or client and patient confidentiality laws?

What is your plan for all those if you have a water damage event?

Did you know that SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall has a solution for that?

It starts with a relationship with your facility and an understanding about what the process is and how it works. Here is a snapshot. We need to have someone from your office that can assist with proper labeling of the boxes so none of the files are misfiled.

The next steps are critical and will ensure the largest number of documents survive.

Freezing Documents/Cold Storage

Where to find Cold Storage Facilities. Grocery Stores tend to have a vendor in their area that rents cold storage spaces to store their excess frozen goods until they are ready to be put on the shelf. These facilities regularly have extra space and will store documents as well. Price may vary depending on your location. However, the average rate around the country is roughly $4 a cubic foot per month. These facilities should be used primarily if you need Long-Term storage.  SERVPRO Industries, Inc. also has cold storage available. Call and ask about available space and pricing. Documents should be sent to SERVPRO Industries, Inc. as soon as possible in order to minimize damage to documents and facilitate drying procedures to ensure efficient return.

Shipping

Any of the major shipping carriers (UPS, FedEx, USPS) will work for smaller orders. Overnight Shipping is a MUST. Whether the documents are frozen or not. It is crucial that we receive these documents as soon as possible in order to keep them frozen until they are ready to be cycled through the chamber. This prevents further damage and deterioration. Overnight shipping is most important when dealing with documents that have not been frozen PRIOR to shipping. The sooner we receive documents that have not been frozen the sooner we can freeze them and stop them from further damage/deterioration. Refrigerated Trucks and Trailers (Reefer Trucks) Reefer trucks come in many different sizes, ranging from 16’ box trucks all the way to 53’ tractor trailers. They can be rented from a lot of the major rental companies like Penske, and Ryder. There are even smaller rental companies all over the nation that rent reefer trucks. Reefer trucks work the best when dealing with larger quantities of documents. This is because it doubles as your cold storage as well as shipping! Once you have the truck packed, all you have to do is find a driver to drive it to us and we’ll handle the rest!

Benefits of Vacuum Freeze Drying

Vacuum Freeze drying

  1. Process in which an item containing moisture is frozen and dried using various vacuums and pressures to achieve sublimation.
  2. Sublimation is the direct conversion of a solid (Ice) into a gas (water vapor), without passage through a liquid stage. Take Dry Ice for example. Dry ice is made of Carbon Dioxide, not water. When dry ice is exposed to normal atmospheric conditions it begins to sublimate, it turns directly from its sold stage into its gaseous stage bypassing the liquid stage

Why Vacuum Freeze Drying?

Vacuum Freeze Drying is the most efficient and effective way to salvage water damaged documents. It is the only method that is approved by NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) and the GSA (General Services Administration). Other Methods such as dehumidification can alter the structure of the paper’s fibers and cause the papers to become more brittle and is not recommended by any means.

Other Services Provided Digitizing

With the new age of technology majority of people have begun digitizing their documentation rather than keeping the hard paper copies. However, businesses that have been around for a long time (Hospitals, Law Firms, State and Federal Governments) still have a surplus of paper documentation. Most of these businesses do not have the time to digitize these old files. In the event that these documents need to be salvaged, digitizing may also be a good option. It makes them easier to access as well as easier to store. Many businesses have storage facilities that are specifically for documents, or they subcontract the storage and upkeep to a company like Iron Mountain. This makes accessing a particular file very difficult and painstaking.

In a contaminated water situation (Sewage or Flood water), documents are not only deteriorating but are also infected with all types of bacteria. As you all know, in most storm situations you are dealing with contaminated water. Therefore most of the affected documents that you will encounter will be contaminated. If this is the case then de-contamination is always a must.

Certified destruction:

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Compliance

What is HIPAA?

Requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information.

Why HIPAA is important?

  1. Doctors by law cannot release PHI (Protected Health Information) to just anyone. With that being said, covered entities (Hospitals, Physicians, Doctors, etc.) cannot release PHI for the purpose of recovery and/or restoration to anyone unless that Business Associate (BA) is HIPAA compliant. This is to ensure that their patient records are being handled properly and with minimal risk for any PHI to be compromised.
  2. Chain of Custody is the tracking of sensitive documents (or any documents) through a process. This depicts whose hands the documents passed through and when, allowing any company to track down any leaks of sensitive information (if such situation where to occur). It is crucial when handling sensitive documentation, especially when dealing with protected health information (Commonly Referred to as PHI).
  3. HIPAA Certifications ensure that personnel are Master HIPAA certified to handle PHI. This certification allows SERVPRO not only to handle PHI, but tells Covered Entities that we are held to a high standard and can and will be held accountable if any information is compromised.

We hope that this has given you something to think about. Should you like us to go through this further with those at your office please call us at 800-455-9453 and set up your appointment today.

Being Prepared for Water Damage During the Summer

6/26/2018 (Permalink)

Summertime can be wet. In some areas of the country, rain is almost a daily occurrence during the summer. Flooding can be a hazard when this happens, and that can be inconvenient and even dangerous. Possessions can be ruined, and even the structures of homes and businesses can be negatively affected. A professional water restoration company, like SERVPRO, can be a big help during such times, as they are able to complete all necessary repairs in a timely and efficient manner.

While flooding can’t be predicted most of the time, educating yourself on the most common flood-prone areas will help you be prepared to handle such an event, and even to prevent it! Some areas of your home or business are going to be more apt to experience water damage than others during storms, such as low-lying areas like basements and cellars.

Here is a list of the three most common areas to suffer from summer water damage:

BASEMENTS

Basements and cellars, the lowest parts of a house or building, need to be watched during wet weather since they have a number of easy entry points for water. If there is heavy rainfall during inclement weather, or if the building is near a body of water such as a lake or river, they are going to be in danger. Keep an eye open for cracks in the foundation, ceiling, and walls of these areas!

ATTICS, ROOFS AND GUTTERS

A damaged roof, either from weather or fire, is susceptible to water damage and the areas underneath will suffer. A small leak can turn into a big problem before you know it. If the rain gutters have not been properly maintained, you may experience some problems stemming from standing water - even indoors.

WINDOWS, DOORS, AND ENTRYWAYS

Keep an eye on your doors and windows; if they are not properly sealed against wet conditions, you will know it right away. Entryways are also a potential problem area; make sure they are free of standing water and debris so that people don’t get hurt.

Our team of professionals, at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall, is experienced in repairs and cleanup from damages caused by water, fire, and mold. You can call us at (800) 455-9453, or visit our website: SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall.

Drying Wall Cavities and Cabinets Damaged by Water

2/15/2018 (Permalink)

Drying Wall Cavities and Cabinets Damaged by Water

After major water damage situations, such as those that result from storms, flooding, or burst pipes in a home, it may be necessary to dry wall cavities and other small spaces as part of the total restoration effort. When placing air movers and dehumidifiers close to the wall surface is proving ineffective, restoration professionals must drill holes into the surface to help speed evaporation.

Trapped moisture within a wall cavity can lead to the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria, not to mention compromise structural integrity. This is known as secondary damage. Microbial growth will occur on the paper surface of gypsum wallboard if allowed to remain wet for extended periods of time. In most cases, this form of damage requires the removal of the affected material.

Wall Cavities

Wet walls can present a challenge to water damage restoration professionals. Walls are usually covered with a variety of finished surfaces, making choosing the appropriate drying technique difficult.

For walls with a single layer of wallboard and flat paint, the only drying tool needed is an air mover blowing warm, dry air along the wall surface.

For walls that are covered with vinyl wallpaper, high-gloss enamel paint, or walls with multiple layers of wallboard, it is necessary to drill holes into the wall to allow air to flow into the cavity (the space between the wall studs). Airflow in the cavity will increase the rate of evaporation, which speeds drying. You can enhance drying and evaporation efforts further by feeding air movers blowing into the wall with a dehumidifier, or warming wall surfaces with direct heat.

In order to reduce the need for extensive repairs, it is usually best to remove the baseboards and drill into the wall at the floor level. Before removing the base, use a pencil to score a light line at the top of the base. Remove the baseboard and drill holes beneath the faint pencil line. Repairs will be easier, and after the base is replaced or reset, the holes will usually be covered by the baseboards.

When drywall is installed over concrete block, it is generally dry-able if there is no insulation in the airspace between the gypsum and the block.

For walls with extensive moisture damage, it may be necessary to completely remove all wet wallboard and all wet insulation. Be sure to evaluate the needs of the situation carefully before going this route, as it is the most destructive and expensive to repair.

Typically, gypsum wallboard that has not sustained primary damage will restore quite well. All of the gypsum's strength is restored through the drying process, and sometimes even enhanced. Minimal swelling can sometimes occur, causing tape joints and fastener heads to become visible. If this should happen, and repairs cannot be made, the wallboard must be replaced.

Cabinets / Vanities

When drying cabinets and vanities, it is essential that restoration professionals take extra care to minimize damage while still thoroughly drying the structure. Unlike drywall, which can be easily patched and painted, holes drilled into cabinets cause permanent damage that ruins the entire cabinet (and greatly upsets the homeowner). 

The best place to drill holes for drying cabinets and vanities is through the toe-kick, the cosmetic cover on the very bottom portion of the cabinet. The toe-kick is usually removable and/or replaceable.

If there is no access to the toe-kick, holes can be drilled through the shelving in the bottom of the cabinets, through the wall immediately behind the cabinets, or through the back wall of the cabinet itself. These holes are either located out of sight or can be easily repaired.

When drilling holes for your wall drying system, always use an adjustable drill stop to minimize penetrating plumbing or electrical lines hidden behind the wall.

General Advice

Be sure to follow the EPA's Lead RRP procedures when drilling into drywall in buildings built before 1978. Older buildings may have lead paint, and it is essential for the protection of you, your crew, and building occupants that safe lead abatement procedures are followed.

http://www.jondon.com/how-to/technical-tips/restoration-disaster-recovery/flood-recovery/drying-wall-cavities.html

Call SERVPRO at 800-455-9453 when you have Fire or Water Damage. 

The Water You DON'T See

1/24/2018 (Permalink)

With this cold weather causing plenty of pipes to break, it’s the water you don't see that can cause the most damage. A large portion of the time if you have a water loss you will walk into your kitchen and step into a puddle, although this is not always the case water can just affect behind your walls or between floors so make the right choice. A mop and common household cleaning products may not be enough for the unseen water intrusions.  While the surface may seem dry, the water you do not see can contain bacteria, or cause mold, rot and other unseen damage. Take the right steps at the time of loss to help prevent mold from growing instead of trying to save some money. When the warm humid weather comes your bill will most likely be the same as a water loss.

DID YOU KNOW...The insurance industry estimates that approximately 90 percent of household damages stem from water-related occurrences. The most commonly reported cause is leaky or broken pipes and plumbing fixtures.

AVOID WATER DAMAGE FROM APPLIANCES

Home appliances are considered a leading cause of preventable water damage. By implementing a simple inspection and maintenance program, homeowners can reduce their risk significantly:

  • Dishwasher - Periodically check around the base of the dishwasher, as well as the water supply line under the sink.
  • Refrigerator - For refrigerators with ice makers, periodically check the hose connection attached to the water supply.
  • Washing Machine - Hoses should be inspected regularly for wetness around hose ends, as well as for signs of bulging, cracking or fraying. Hoses should be replaced every three to five years.
  • Water Heater - While the service life of the standard water heater is 10 to 15 years, water heaters should be inspected routinely for signs of leaks or tank rust. Water heaters should be located next to a floor drain or placed inside a drain pan piped to the floor drain.

So before risking the value of your home or further damage by attempting to clean and dry it yourself, or if you want to be sure that a past event is not creating problems today, call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall today at 800-455-9453.

Don't Let a Sprinkler Leak Get You Down

3/21/2016 (Permalink)

Don't Let a Sprinkler Leak Get You Down

Now that spring is on its way, you've likely started watering your grass again with an underground irrigation system. This is a great tool for handling the mundane task of preventing your grass from dying of not enough hydration. Unfortunately, not all good things are without problems. It's time to discuss ways to prevent your sprinkler system from having any problems or causing leaks. 

What is low head drainage?

This is when the sprinkler continues to siphon water once the system has been turned off. This typically occurs at one of the lowest points in your yard as water drains down to that water spout. According to experts at Sprinkler Warehouse, "If a sprinkler head is located in the lowest part of the system, water will flow out of that head until an equilibrium has been reached or all of the water has emptied out of the zone's pipes."

When this happens, puddles start to form and or water flows across walkways and driveways. This can be prevented by a few adjustments being made to your system or the installation of a drain check valve.

How does a broken pipe occur?

A broken pipe can occur in the main line or lateral line of an irrigation system. In the main line, there is continuous pressure, so if there is a break or leak in this pipe, then water is continuing to run. Unfortunately, this can cause erosion or a wet spot. Attention needs to be made to this problem immediately so that the water line can be completely turned off for repair.

A lateral line reaches different zones in your yard and are under pressure when the system is running. It can be hard to detect a leak because it's only visible when the system is on and you have to notice which zone actually has the leak. Regardless of its location, it too can cause erosion or holes in your lawn. If you notice a leak in your irrigation system, it can be fixed and should be addressed fairly quickly.

Use this information to keep an eye out for any leaks or problems that could arise this Spring.

CONTACT US

·  Call our office: 800-455-9453

·  Visit us: 860 N Kiowa Street, Allentown, PA 18109

·  Visit our websitewww.SERVPROEBW.com