SPRING HAS FINALLY SPRUNG

April showers bring May flowers, and its already begun. Frequent, heavy showers can lead to flooding, which can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home.

To help minimize damage, use and share the following tips:

  • Fix leaky roofs and foundation cracks immediately.
  • Keep gutters and drains clear so they can do their job by carrying water away from the home.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working properly.  If you don’t have one installed, Invest in a battery-powered sump pump and a garden hose to pump water out of the home.
  • Move valuable items to a higher level of the home.
  • Prevent sewer backup by installing sewer or septic line check valves, which allow waste to only flow one way.

If you experience water damage due to flooding, ServiceMaster Restore® is available 24/7/365 to help you with:

  • Water damage restoration
  • Drying, dehumidification and water extraction
  • Mold remediation
  • Carpet, clothing, rug, and electronic cleaning

We also can help with Fire, Bio-Hazard, Re-Construction and Trauma.

We Offer Complete Reconstruction

We provide complete repair and reconstruction of Water, Fire, lightning, windstorm, vandalism, collapse, explosion or other property damage. Our staff is 100% dedicated and fully equipped for any emergency response, being available 24/7. We also offer Consulting, appraisals and inspections, Board Up, Repairs, Restoration, and Reconstruction for your Home or Business. With the professional services we provide ServiceMaster can help control the cost of the loss, minimize the period of interruption, all the while providing outstanding customer service.

Disaster can strike at any time and any building causing major upheaval to the occupants. Whether it is residential or commercial, sealing the building in order to make it safe as well as renovating and recovering the building are considered vital steps towards complete recovery from any kind of disaster.

BRRRRRR Honey, Its COLD outside…..

Do you know how to prevent a water damage? ServiceMaster is certified and specializes in water damage cleanup in Berks County and Surrounding Areas. Here are a few tips for you on how you can prevent water damage as well as what you need to do if you find yourself affected by one.

  • Tips for preventing water damage:
    * Ensure good drainage.
    * Inspect the roof for missing or lose shingles.
    * Repair any dripping or leaky pipes.
    * Repair any cracked caulking.
    * Insulate Pipes
    * Keep the Thermostat at a temperature that will ensure free flowing water wont freeze.
    * If you go away, make sure someone runs the water every day to avoid frozen lines.

 

  • Tips on what to do if you discover a water damage in your Pensacola home!
    * Turn off the water supply
    * Turn off the utilities
    *  Call ServiceMaster 610-374-1881

STAY SAFE AND WARM !!!!!!!!!!

Water and Drywall… Create Damage

What is Drywall?

Drywall is a specialized panel board made of gypsum plaster that is pressed between two thick sheets of paper, and it is very popular in most homes. Drywall can also be called plasterboard, wallboard, gypsum board, or sheetrock. When drywall is made, the plaster is mixed with materials such as starch, fiber, plasticizer, foaming agent, and can include mold or fire resistant materials.

Drywall and Rain = Water Damage

Drywall is especially vulnerable to water exposure and  it can become distressing when damaged. Unfortunately, drywall is similar to paper when it becomes wet; when affected by water, it stains, swells, and disintegrates. It can be strengthened against water with covalent waterproofing, but if the waterproofing is damaged, then the wall will eventually be damaged as well. Situations can include entire ceilings falling down from the weight of accumulated water. This can also cause other damage such as Mold.  Mold is not much of a worry when it comes to the gypsum material, however mold can have supported growth in the paper backing. Specific boards, called greenboards or cement boards, can be used in specific rooms, that usually have high moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, or laundry rooms.

Prevent Leaks Before They Begin

Take precautions before the rain comes; free your gutter of all debris so the rain can flow off of your roof instead of backing up on it. Inspect for leaks before they get the chance to create extensive damage. After water damages have been repaired, a professional can stabilize drywall for future protection.

Restoring Drywall After Water Damage

Here at ServiceMaster, we can professionally remove water and restore your walls to their original condition. The basic idea of drywall restoration is to locate the water damaged area, cut out the wet drywall, and point a fan directly at the affected area to remove any excess moisture. This will be done until all structure is 100% dry. Then the new replacement drywall can be put back in place. We can do these steps for you to save you time and a possible excess amount of money on extensive repairs.

Contact Us Today

Freezing Temps and Frozen Pipes :(

Preventing frozen pipes

Risky locations Pipes are most susceptible to freezing when located:    • In an outside wall.    • Under a sink on an outside wall.    • In an unheated crawlspace.

There are a few things you can do to prevent the problem of freezing pipes:

  • Leave the water running at a slight trickle (the size of the lead in a pencil). The dripping water will keep the water in the pipe from freezing.  Be sure to have both hot and cold valves open.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom base cabinets and let room air circulate.
  • Open base cabinets and place a small portable heater near or in it to heat the pipes.
  • Wrap the problem pipe with electrical heat tape.
  • Insulate problem pipes with foam insulation wrap, especially those that run through unheated spaces.
  • Temper the currently unheated crawlspace by placing a heater in the crawlspace. You just need to elevate the crawlspace temperature to modestly above freezing, about 40°F.
  • Remove the hoses from your outdoor faucets, and then turn off the outside water supply at the shut off valve inside the house. 

Tips on thawing frozen pipes

If a pipe bursts before it is thawed, immediately shut off the water at the water main to prevent further damage!

  • Frozen but not ruptured? If you turn on the faucet and the water doesn’t come out or comes out in a trickle, your pipes are probably frozen. You need to act quickly to thaw the frozen pipe before it bursts.
  • Identify the frozen water supply pipe.
  • Open a faucet supplied by the frozen line, even if you have not found the frozen spot.
  • To find the blockage, follow the pipe back from the faucet to where it runs through cold areas such as an exterior wall, unheated crawl space or in some cases an unheated basement if the pipe is near an outside wall.
  • Often the frozen area of the pipe will be frosted or have ice on it. If the situation is getting critical the pipe may be slightly bulged or look slightly fissured.

Frozen pipe behind a wall

Leave the main water valve near your water meter open when thawing the pipe.

  • If the frozen pipe is behind a wall or ceiling, you’ve got a challenge on your hands. You have three choices:
  • Turn up the heat in the house and wait.
  • Use an infrared lamp or lamps to heat the wall where you think the frozen area is located. Infrared lamps are better than regular heat lamps because the heat passes through the air without heating it, directing more energy to warming the wall and frozen pipe.
  • Tear out part of the wall or ceiling to get at the frozen section of pipe. Then thaw the pipe as an exposed pipe.

Exposed frozen pipe

Never use a flame torch because of the fire hazard it creates. Open flame torches are the most common cause of pipe thawing related home fires.

  • Heat the pipe from the faucet toward the frozen area. This way, the water can flow out as the ice melts and the water pressure in the pipe will force the ice out once it melts sufficiently.
  • If the frozen pipe is exposed, you have several options.
  • Hair Dryer One of the best and safest ways to thaw the pipe is to heat the area with a high power hair dryer. Again, make sure to open the faucet and then heat the pipe working back from the faucet toward the frozen blockage.
  • Heat Lamp or Space Heater Heat lamps and space heaters works well to heat an exposed pipe. You can use an infrared or incandescent heat lamp. Space heaters should be on a low setting.

If the pipe is close to the wall, put a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help radiate heat onto the back side of the pipe.

Burst Pipe Emergency

As soon as you discover a burst pipe:

Turn off the water supply

  • Turn off the main water shut-off valve. You should find this in the basement or where the service pipe enters your home.
  • Drain the system by turning on all your cold water valves.

Call us to repair the damage: ServiceMaster @ 610-374-1881 or 866-679-1919

  • We have staff on call 24/7/365.  We will professionally clean and dry your home.
  • Note: Electrical wiring damaged by water can be very dangerous. We can help with that as well as any repairs created from the water damage.
  • Note: You might need a reputable plumber to repair the burst or frozen pipe.  We can help with that also.

Do what you can to collect and manage the leak. If water has been leaking through for some time and the ceilings are bulging be careful. The room may not be safe to enter.

  • If you notice the leak quickly you can catch dripping water in buckets.
  • Make a hole in the ceiling to let water out.

Turn off electronics/appliances

  • If water leaks near your electronics or electrical appliances, switch off the breakers for each one of them immediately. If it is wet, don’t touch them!

Happy Anniversary….. to one of our own ~~ Trucks !!

Warehouse on Wheels

Added to our fleet in 2012, our Warehouse on Wheels celebrates its first year of serving our Disaster Restoration customers.  The truck is a Chevy Express 4500 Cutaway, with a fully equipped interior to better handle all water/fire/mold remediation projects.  This truck hosts a butler truck mount extraction system, and plenty of shelving to hold dehumidifiers, air movers, and other miscellaneous equipment and supplies needed for our technicians to provide you with any emergency service at any time of the day or night.

On the exterior of the truck we had flood lights installed, so if you find yourself in the dark – no worries.  When we arrive on site extra lighting will be provided, if needed.

Our technicians keep the truck fully stocked at all times, which eliminates any down time for loading equipment prior to heading out for an emergency call.

Take a look……

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Not sure what to do when you have Water, Smoke or Fire Damage??

Here is a checklist of what you should do……..

  • Immediately report water, fire, trauma, mold, soot damage to your insurance agent.
  • Call a certified restoration company to secure your property and to mitigate damages.  Your insurance company may provide names and phone numbers of referrals. You are not obligated to use a specific company. ServiceMaster Restore is a full service restoration company; from the initial clean-up to the re-construction process.
  • Document damage with photographs and a list of affected items.
  • Be cautious of the possible contaminants in the affected environment and contents.
  • Turn off any electrical items that may be in or near the affected area.
  • Do not allow children, pets or elderly in the affected areas.
  • Keep your doors and windows closed.
  • Do not attempt to clean soot, smoke, and sewer damaged areas with any liquid. Your cleaning could set the soot or contaminant and cause additional damage.
  • Do not touch items without gloves. Oils in your hands can permanently set soot causing irreversible damage.
  • Do not enter the affected areas. Make sure children and pets do not enter the affected areas.
  • Wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment when on the scene and during repair process. The air can be contaminated, debris may be throughout the premises and overhead dangers may be present.
  • Once we come out and start the mitigation process, we will work with you on assessing damages to your structure as well as your contents.
  • Notify your ServiceMaster Restore® representative immediately of any concerns with items of high sentimental or real value.  The rate of survival of items that receive immediate restoration attention can be much higher.
  • ServiceMaster Restore® will, if needed, install equipment to dry-out the water affected structure.
  • Do not turn off or move equipment without contacting ServiceMaster Restore® as well as any power failure issues.

ServiceMaster Restore is committed to Restoring Your Peace of Mind !

 

Do you have drafty doors or windows?

If your windows or doors are a source of chilly drafts all winter long, the problem could be worn-out seals, weather stripping or thresholds. Then again, sloppy installation might be to blame. When cold weather arrives, hold the back of your hand near the edges of windows or doors to track down the source of leaks. If you feel cold air flowing out from behind the trim, chances are the spaces around the window and door jambs weren’t properly sealed.

Plugging these leaks is time-consuming but well worth the job: You have to pull off the interior trim, seal around the jambs and then reinstall the trim.  If your doors and windows are airtight, the payoff can be big too. Stopping drafts not only makes your home more comfortable but also cuts energy bills (air leaks are a major source of heat loss in most homes).

Check your window or door warranty before using expanding foam around them! If the window or door is still under warranty, using expanding foam insulation will more often than not void the warranty.

If your windows need sealed or repaired contact us to get an estimate.

Hurricane Sandy Preparations to keep you and your family safe.

Residents along the Atlantic coast are preparing for Hurricane Sandy

Here are seven tips that may help you, your family or your business prepare for a natural disaster:

Prepare for Phone Interruptions

Spry advises business owners to have a communication plan, in case neither phone nor texting is available.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, knocked out cell phone towers and land lines left employers and employees without the means to communicate. Spry advises employees to know and understand the disaster plan in advance and each have a copy of it they can easily refer to.

Paul Reynolds, electronics editor with Consumer Reports, said cell phone users can usually text more successfully than call when a network experiences high volume, like during 9/11, because texting uses less data. But those not familiar with texting may need a tutorial. He said a full QWERTY keyboard makes it easy to text versus a numeric keypad on basic cell phones, which can be more cumbersome and harder to learn.

Create a Disaster Plan, or Test Your Current One

Homeowners should consider which valuable objects they will take with them in case of an emergency evacuation.

Spry said a disaster plan should clearly communicate pre- and post-disaster procedures to any relevant people. For families, that includes near and far relatives and friends. Business owners should communicate disaster plans to employees, customers, vendors, and business partners.

Spry said the safety of people, such as employees and customers, should be the first procedure. The plan should next address how to protect your property and business records.

Check Insurance Policies

Spry cautions that homeowners and business owners should never fully rely on an insurance policy.

Homeowner’s policies usually do not cover loss due to flooding, but coverage can be purchased from the federal government. Homeowners can ask their agents about the details or contact the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-800-379-9531.

It is especially important to review your homeowner’s policy with your agent or broker so you understand the amount you will receive in the event of a covered loss, and whether it will be adequate to rebuild your home. Homeowners should also know the amount of a deductible and any special provisions in the policy such as wind exclusions. And include your insurance company’s toll free claim number and insurance agent’s phone number in your emergency evacuation kit.

Assess Your House for Vulnerabilities

Homeowners should inspect their homes for potential problem areas of a house in case of a disaster, such as old trees.

You should also make sure the roof does not have holes or is missing shingles. To safeguard against strong winds, you may have to nail down new shingles or remove loose objects, like lawn furniture.

Some fix-it tasks can be completed over a weekend, such as reinforcing a garage door, vents and a gable, or triangular, roof, so water does not leak in. Those living in low lying areas where coastal storms surge should move electronic devices off the ground floor and put heavy furniture on blocks to prevent damage from flooding. Also, homeowners should roll up rugs.

Spencer also advises that you look around your neighborhood for vulnerabilities, such as from abandoned properties.

If a hurricane or tropical storm approaches, homeowners should notify the lender or bank that has taken ownership of the foreclosed property, as well as town officials, of concerns regarding foreclosed homes, he said.

Take Video or Photos for a Home Inventory

For insurance purposes and for your own personal keepsake in case of a disaster, you should have a home inventory or a photographic record.

While you are doing that, you can consider which few items to bring in case of an evacuation.

Consider Important Supplies

FEMA recommends people should have a bare minimum of a three-day supply of water and you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day.

A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking, but sometimes children, nursing mothers, the sick and people in hot temperatures may require more, according to FEMA.

You may also want to prepare covered foods and about a month’s supply of medication. You should also prepare traditional and special batteries for products like cell phones.

Shelter Considerations: Pets

During Hurricane Katrina, there were some people who did not evacuate as recommended because they had pets, or they did not know what to do with their pets.

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety advises that if you are going to evacuate with a pet, make sure your hotel or shelter accepts pets.

Content from http://abcnews.go.com/Business/top-tips-prepare-hurricane-sandy/story?id=17573064#7