After a House Fire Waiting for the Restoration Company
SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside knows exactly what steps to follow after a fire. Give us a call and we will assess the damage to your home.
Things to Do After a House Fire While Waiting for a Cleanup Company
A fire in your home, even if it is a small fire, can create a lot of problems that you need to deal with. While the majority of the cleanup is often contracted to a clearing and restoration service, you can do some things while waiting for the restoration company to start your cleanup.
Limit Traffic in the Home
Once the fire department releases the home to you, keep the number of people walking through the house to a minimum. Things like soot and other debris can quickly grind into carpets and upholstered items, and it will be much harder for the restoration company to remove from the fabric.
If you do need to move around in the house, lay down some plastic runners in the traffic areas, and try to keep everyone out that does not need to be in the building. People often want to see the aftermath of the fire, but if they don't need to be in the house, they just add to the potential problems and could be a safety concern.
Cover Your Furnishings
If the furnishings in your home are still relatively clean after the fire, put some plastic over them to keep dirt, soot, and ash off the upholstery. The upholstery may smell like smoke or other odors from the fire, but if the fabric is still clean, dealing with furnishing restoration is much easier.
Clean Out the Fridge and Freezer
The electricity to your home is often shut off during fire suppression efforts, and if you can’t move back into the home for a while, take the time to clean out the refrigerator and the freezer so that the food does not spoil and ruin the appliances. Once all the food is out, prop the door open on both the fridge and the freezer to keep them from getting musty or growing mold inside.
Unplug Appliances and Electronics
If appliances or electronics are in the house that may turn on when the power comes on, unplug them from the outlets. If the items do not appear to have damage on them, they could have water damage inside or a short that you can’t see.
Something as simple as a wire with the insulation melted off could create a spark and start another fire when the power comes on. Unplugging the attached electronic or appliance is the safest way to isolate it and make sure everything is in working order.
Retrieve Your Important Documents
If you have documents in your home that are important like birth certificates, death certificates, your marriage license, or important insurance documents, retrieve them from the home as soon as possible. The longer these documents stay in the home, the more likely they are to sustain damage, and some of the documents will be hard to replace.
Locate the documents and put them in something secure to protect them. Move them to a safe deposit box, or invest in a lockbox to keep with you until you are able to return to your house. If you decide to keep the documents with you, make sure the lockbox is fire-, water-, and tamper-proof so that you don't risk losing these documents again.
At SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside, we specialize in cleaning up after a fire in your house. We have the experience, tools, and manpower to help you pick up the pieces after a fire of any size. Give us a call and we will assess the damage to your home, let you know what it will take to clean it up, and get started right away so we can get you back in your house.
What to Know About the Water in Your Crawl Space
A water disaster can create issues in your crawl space. If you experience water damage of any kind give SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside a call.
What You Should Know If You Have Water in Your Crawl Space
Your home's crawl space is one of those areas you may not often think about since you likely rarely see that part of your home. However, when you have a problem with water damage in your crawl space, you realize how essential this area is to your home.
Water damage can easily occur in a crawl space, so you should look at it every few months to scan for problems. The question often remains, however, is how the water damage happens in the first place. Unless you had a major weather event or other obvious leaks, you may be puzzled to find water damage in your crawl space. Read on to learn more about water in your crawl space.
What Causes Water in the Crawl Space
Some houses have a higher level of humidity. This is often the case with older homes with broken seals or homes that need more sealant around the windows and doors. If your crawl space is not sealed, the problem is often worse.
The excess humidity in a crawl space can cause a variety of problems for your entire home, including bad air quality, water damage, or mold growth. Your crawl space can even take on a thin layer of standing water in some cases.
Broken or Leaking Pipes
If you see a large puddle of water in your crawl space, you may have an issue with one or more of your pipes. The water may be from different pipes in your home, from fresh water pipes going to your sinks and showers to used water from the toilet.
The smell in the crawl space will help you determine which pipe is broken or leaking. If you smell a sewage smell, you will know the water is from the toilet. A mustier smell is likely due to a fresh water pipe. When fresh water sits stagnant for a long time, it can take on an unpleasant smell, but not the same as sewage.
Crawl spaces are located in different areas in homes. If your crawl space is near the bottom of your home, chances are you will notice a roof leak before the water makes it to the crawl space. If your crawl space is at the top of your house as part of your attic space, you may not notice the roof leak right away.
You may also have a leak into the attic that is going down a wall and into the crawl space. You may not notice the leak right away until you see water damage to the walls. Most homeowners look for roof leaks in the ceilings as they are more noticeable. A leak into the crawl space and down the walls are not generally noticeable until they have done great damage.
How to Clean a Wet Crawl Space
Once you notice wetness in your crawl space, you first need to locate the source of the water and make the necessary repairs or adjustments. You then need to remove the water and dry the area as much as possible.
If you want to do this yourself, you can use a wet vacuum to remove standing water. You can then wipe up any excess water with towels, and dry the area with a fan.
However, if the water is excessive or if it contains contaminated water from your toilets, you should leave the clean-up to professionals who have the proper equipment to deal with the water. Contaminated water can make you and your family quite ill.
If you have water damage in your crawl space, or in any area of your home, please contact us at SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside right away.
Storm Damage and Your Home’s Structure
SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside responds immediately to any storm emergency. We repair your home to its pre-disaster condition.
Ways a Storm May Damage Your Home's Structural Integrity
One of the reasons why prompt storm damage remediation is so critical is because a storm may damage your home in ways that aren't always obvious. A professional can help you identify and solve any storm damage to the structural portions and other inner workings of your home.
Discover some of the ways a storm could damage your home's structural integrity.
Your roof can have obvious structural damage if a tree falls on it. However, that's not the only way that a storm could damage the structure of your roof. For example, large tree branches that fall on the roof can also cause damage even though they don't cause an evident cave-in.
Another way a storm can structurally damage your roof is by overloading it with weight. Too much snow can have this effect, especially if it's very wet snow or accompanied by ice.
One type of storm damage that can affect your foundation is flooding. Another is erosion. Localized flooding can increase the pressure of water against your foundation wall, which could result in cracks, shifting, sinking, and bowed foundation walls.
Erosion can be more insidious. Rivulets of water from the storm can wash away dirt from around your home's foundation. At first, this may not seem like a big deal, but the ground around your foundation is what holds it in place. And erosion can eventually result in similar types of foundation damage as it allows water more access to your home's foundation.
Interior Water Damage
Whether it enters through a broken window or a roof leak or rises up from the ground, water can be one of the biggest forces of storm damage. Although water may not destroy literally everything it touches, it can come close. Water can cause structural failure in commonly used building materials in your walls, ceilings, and floors.
Drywall can soften once it's been soaked in water and will need replacing. Other building materials such as particleboard may swell up and need replacing as well. Water can also cause plywood to delaminate and make other types of wood crack or split.
Floors, sub-floors, structural beams, rafters, and other significant structural components of your home could be susceptible, depending on what they're made of.
Although storms don't actually create pests, they can send wildlife looking for places to shelter and can sometimes create damage that allows pests into your home. While most pests are just a nuisance (and sometimes a potential health and safety hazard), some can actually affect your home's structure as well.
Termites may be the most significant example of an insect that causes structural damage. Other wood-destroying insects (typically carpenter ants and powder post beetles) can also cause structural damage to wood components of your home. Prompt storm damage repair can reduce the chances of picking up any of these pests due to storm damage.
Mold can be a byproduct of storm damage. Because the visible growth of mold exists on the surface of a wall, floor, or other object, homeowners may think of mold as more of a staining problem than a structural problem. But mold has deep-reaching roots that can also eat away at the interior of the object it infests.
Mold uses the organic substances in the wall or other structure as food, so a more severe mold growth may mean a faster deterioration of structural stability. Fortunately, this damage doesn't occur quickly. But mold growth does begin quickly; the EPA recommends remediating any moisture problems in under 48 hours to prevent mold.
As you can see, your home's structure is susceptible to many other types of damage than just large falling objects. For more information on storm damage, how you can prevent storm damage, and what to do if you suspect your home has sustained damage from a recent storm, get in touch with SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside today.
First Response Actions | SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside
Fire damage can be very devastating for a business or commercial property. We are the fire and smoke damage restoration experts.
After a disaster, the only thing a business owner likely wants is to clean up the mess and get back to work. However, property damage from a fire or flood could suffer smoke and soot damage, water damage, and mold. Biological hazards from sewage and chemicals in the floodwater runoff make the cleanup a dangerous task.
Professional restoration services can salvage property that others may think are beyond help. The 24-hour services normally arrive on the scene within a couple of hours after a call, but anxious business owners can begin the process with caution.
Inspect for Safety
Stay away from evacuated areas until the authorities allow people to return. Do not enter a building with structural issues. Enter smoke-damaged buildings cautiously because the particulates in the air from the fire can harm respiratory health. Wear gloves, rubber boots, and face masks for protection.
Contact utility services or talk to officials in a flooded area about the safety of entering the building. Consider the building hazardous until utility workers or fire investigators have turned off the electricity and made certain gas utilities do not pose a threat. Wear rubber boots, or chest waders if needed, to ensure protection from any standing water.
Increase the Ventilation
Open the windows for better air circulation to remove smoke odors, but only if the weather is not rainy outside. You don’t want to add more water to the environment. If the utility services decide you can safely turn the power back on, install fans in the windows to direct air out of the building. Do not attempt to use any previously submerged electrical appliances.
Protect the Carpets
Do not walk across soot-stained carpets because this can cause the soot to spread and embed deeper into the carpet fibers. Plastic bags over furniture legs or sheets of aluminum foil under the legs can protect carpets from upholstery fabric dyes that may seep from wet furniture. Do the same for metal legs, as they can leave rust stains behind when wet.
Sort Some Items
Professional restoration services can salvage a surprising amount of property, including electronics, but cannot help when items have melted or burned severely. Remember to photograph and keep an inventory list of anything thrown out so the information is available for an insurance claim.
Remove Smoke Odors
If the fire occurred in a small area, like a break room, the rooms closed off from the event may only need air cleaning to make them usable again. Fill bowls of baking soda and distribute throughout the room to remove some odor. Install air purifiers as well if possible. Turn off HVAC systems to prevent the circulation of smoke and soot through the ventilation ducts.
Avoid Potential Pathogens
You can’t always salvage everything during extensive floods. Many business locations are in urban areas where a flood could cause sewage systems to overflow and expose people to pathogens. The water may also contain toxic chemicals like oil and gas from flooded cars or roads and runoff from industrial buildings.
Do not allow the floodwater to encounter any exposed skin. Do not allow employees to remove their property before the restoration company arrives because of the risk of pathogen exposure. Allow restoration professionals to clean any items deemed salvageable to ensure the belongings are safe to handle.
Business owners want to get back to work after a disaster, but they also need to exercise patience to avoid illness or the unnecessary loss of equipment. At SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside, we can help. Our restoration technicians will work with you and your insurance company to make the process fast and effective. Contact us today.
Things You Can Do for Your Home After a Fire | SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside
If you've experienced a small isolated fire or a complete burn down, you need a property restoration company to properly assess the damage. SERVPRO of
Without a doubt, a house fire is catastrophic to a family. It does not matter if the fire completely destroyed everything or if only a portion of a single room was involved, your family will be greatly affected. You want to get things back to normal as soon as possible, which means you’ll need a professional fire damage company to do repairs and restoration.
But while you wait for the professionals to do their work, you can take care of some things yourself. Of course, you must wait until the fire department gives you the all clear that the place is safe for you to enter. Even if only one room was involved, you need to know that the house is secure. In any fire, burning materials release toxic fumes that linger and can be dangerous if you inhale them.
In addition to toxic fumes, the structure of the building may be impaired. The fire department is trained to inspect all the places that were involved in a fire and decide if the house is structurally sound or not, which is crucial before you can enter. Once you have been told the house is safe to enter, here are a few things you can do yourself.
Secure the House
You do not want any more damage to the house after a fire. To ensure that the house is secure from wind, rain, and any unwanted people, board up all windows and doors that are damaged. If the roof or walls were damaged, be sure to put a tarp over the open areas if you cannot cover them with wood.
If the whole house was damaged, you may want to put a privacy fence around the property. You don't want anyone going in or being around the place who may get hurt, cause more damage, or even take things from your exposed house.
Pump Out Water
Firefighters use a lot of water to put out a fire. You need to get any standing water out of the house before it starts to mold. You can rent a pump from a local tool rental facility. Make sure the fire department and electric company have okayed the use of the electricity for the pump. If not, ask a neighbor if you can run an extension cord from their home to the pump.
Some of your belongings won’t have survived the fire. Go through your home and throw out anything that is not salvageable. This includes getting rid of food items in the refrigerator and cupboards. Be sure to get rid of burned clothing, medicine, and cosmetics too.
Pull Out Furniture
If the furniture has not been burned but is covered in ashes or has water damage, you should pull it out of the house. Even if you do not see any soot or water, the material will smell like smoke. Taking the furniture outside gives it a chance to dry and air out. Keep in mind the pieces will still need to be professionally cleaned if you plan to keep them.
Ashes and soot are difficult to remove from furniture, walls, floors, and ceilings. Getting the smell out of the house and furnishings is also hard to do. Professional fire restoration companies understand what is required and have all the equipment and know-how to get things back to as normal as possible.
Whether you need to have a few pieces of furniture cleaned, or the whole house restored after a fire, contact SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside to take care of things for you. We can handle it all so you can begin rebuilding your life.
Storm Damage Prevention and Restoration | SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside
After a devastating storm, contact us as soon as possible. Our job is to repair your home to its pre-disaster condition.
Dealing with a strong storm, such as a severe thunderstorm or tornado, is not easy, but following the right procedures helps keep the damage to a minimum. Naturally, you want to prepare well for any upcoming storm, and of course, you also want to restore your home to its original condition if any damage occurs.
This article looks at how to prepare for strong storms and also examines some key restoration issues.
Preventing Damage From A Storm
One important task for homeowners expecting severe weather to strike their area is to trim back any large tree branches that could potentially fall on their house. In many cases, roof damage from strong storms is the result of large branches falling on the roof and letting rainwater into the home.
Doors and windows often sustain significant damage during strong storms. A good way to keep any damage to a minimum is to cover doors and windows with plywood. If you live in an area where storms are common, it's a good idea to install storm shutters, also known as hurricane shutters.
Do not leave any outdoor furniture outside when a storm is expected. Strong winds can easily lift outdoor chairs and tables and turn them into dangerous flying objects. Put all outdoor furniture in a garage or storage room well in advance of any storm.
Another good idea is to disconnect all of your electronic equipment, such as televisions and computers, before the storm hits. Also, make certain that you know how to turn off your utilities should this become necessary once the storm is over.
Restoring Damage After a Storm
Roofs frequently suffer a significant amount of damage during severe storms. The shingles are often blown off, or tree limbs and other objects create holes in the sheathing. To prevent water from getting into the house through a damaged roof, have a tarp placed over the roof by a professional restoration service, such as SERVPRO.
Also, if you must leave your home after a storm make sure that the doors and windows have been boarded up if you have not done so already. If the storm damaged any boards that you put up in advance, have the damaged boards replaced.
Another vital issue that typically crops up after a major storm is mold remediation. Storms tend to let water into the house, and excessive moisture provides an excellent habitat for mold growth. Mold can gain a foothold in your home in a short period of time, so you must deal with mold problems quickly.
Some mold is not harmful to humans, but other types of mold can cause health problems, so your best course of action is not to deal with the issue yourself. There is no reason to take a chance with your health when experts are available to do the job. Call a qualified restoration firm and have them get rid of the mold.
It's also quite common for important documents to receive damage after a storm due to exposure to moisture. You will want to save your documents if at all possible. Document restoration is not a do-it-yourself job. Fortunately, many storm restoration companies offer document restoring services.
A great way to save damaged documents is to have them freeze-dried. Air-drying damaged documents is another option. The best method usually depends on the amount of damage the documents received.
Preventing storm damage is important, but it's not always possible to prevent a very strong storm from damaging your home or your belongings. If a storm does cause damage to your home or personal property, SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside can provide vital restoration assistance. Contact us for more information.
Mold Remediation in Washington DC
Mold problems in the Washington DC area
In the Washington DC area, mold is a real problem for many families. That’s because it can cause irritation and allergic reactions for people in the household. Mold thrives in humid environments, and as we all know, the summer months are very humid in the DC, Maryland, VA area.
What is mold?
Mold is a microscopic particle that exist almost everywhere, outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to completely remove all mold from a home or business. However, it doesn’t necessarily need to be removed, nor does it become a problem until the humidity – or moisture level – increases. That’s when the mold begins to thrive in number, and starts to form colonies. These colonies can produce allergens and irritants to people, especially to children and people with compromised immune systems.
Another effect of excess mold is the strong odor it produces. It’s an odor that you won’t want to smell again, if you’ve ever smelled it before. If that smell is in your home, where you and your family expect to be comfortable, and relax you'll want to take care of it right away.
For this reason it is important to monitor the humidity level in your home, especially in the DC area, where the humidity is present year-round, and the summer months can produce conditions in the environment that are favorable for mold growth. ‘
Generally, you want to keep the humidity level below 49%. When it is above this level that’s when these mold particles start to thrive and form colonies, producing the odor and causing allergic reactions in many people.
SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside properly inspects your home for mold, identifies the cause of the odor, and completely removes it without a trace. Give us a call for more information on our mold removal process today!
Causes of Water Damage in the Mid Atlantic
water damage in the mid atlantic
Water damage is a common problem among home owners. It can cause extensive financial loss, and damage to the home, but more importantly, it can force the inhabitants out of the house temporarily, or even permanently.
So how can we prevent water damage from occurring? We are going to cover that, but first, let's take a look at some of the most common causes of water damage in a residence.
The most common cause of water damage we have found is leaking pipes. Unfortunately, many times it is almost impossible to see that a pipe is leaking or malfunctioning because the problem is out of site.
In some cases the pipe will rust over time, or freeze over. In fact, any drastic change in temperature will cause stress on the pipe, and lead to minor damage of the structure.
So how do we prevent this from happening? The most common way is to simply allow the water to trickle out of the tap, even if it’s at a drip, through the night on particularly cold nights. This allows the water to continue to move, and discourage freezing.
Another cause of water damage is accidents. Most people with children know how this goes: action figures dropped in the toilet, kids overflowing the bathtub, anything like that. In this case preventing the water damage is simple enough. Simply being aware of what your child brings into the bathroom with them, and keeping an eye on their baths should help you avoid water damage in these cases.
Another cause of water damage is humidity in the basement, attic, or crawl space. In dark, damp, and humid places – especially in mid atlantic, where it's already humid - this environment allows moisture to drip through the foundation, walls, or roof. If left unattended over a period of time this can lead to damage to the walls ceilings, and floors of these spaces.
It’s tricky to spot the development of water damage in these places because the damage happens gradually over a long period of time. A simple solution is to apply the use of a dehumidifier once in a while in these areas. That should prevent any significant water damage to them.
There are many other causes of water damage, but these are just some of the most common. As always, if you have a case of water damage in the Northern Virginia area you can contact us at SERVPRO of Marlton/Morningside for the fastest service in town!
50 % of Businesses will NEVER Reopen...
Commercial Water Damage
The New Year brings opportunity for new beginnings! Start 2016 off right be being READY!
Did you know up to 50 % of businesses that suffer a disaster may never reopen?
Of the businesses that do survive a disaster, the overwhelming majority had an emergency preparedness plan in place.
Make your resolution one that helps protect you and your business. Call us today at 1 (800) 320-0640 to learn nire about how we can help you be "Ready for whatever happens" in the New Year!