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 !!!!!!!!!!

WEEU Golf Outing

Skip Bell, Owner of ServiceMaster is the guy on the far left….   at A WEEU Sponsored Golf Tournament Event.

WEEU Golf Outing

 

Carbon Monoxide and Your Furnace

Staying warm is especially important during this cold winter weather, but there’s a chance your furnace could make you sick.

Homeowners need to be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter when furnaces are working overtime and cars are warming up in the garage.  CO (carbon monoxide) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly less dense than air.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 170 people die every year from carbon monoxide that comes from household appliances. A poorly running furnace can not only fail but it can quickly fill a home with carbon monoxide.  Gas pressure can end up being too high which means its burning hot and whenever you burn hot in an appliance, there is a possibility the heat exchange could crack, which would produce carbon monoxide.

Fire officials also echo heating experts and say the best way to prevent carbon monoxide from seeping into your home is to have your furnace checked every year; to make sure it’s not emitting carbon monoxide into your home. A yearly examination usually costs less than $100.

Anything that’s a combustible material, that can burn, has the potential to put out carbon monoxide.

Homeowners should also regularly replace the air filter and make sure snow and ice aren’t building up on the vents outside, because if you don’t pay attention to the largest appliance in your home, it could create a dangerous and even deadly situation.

Another main source of carbon monoxide in your home is your car, and with this winter’s cold weather, you likely warm it up almost daily. If you are going to warm up your car before leaving, DO NOT leave it in the garage, especially without the outside door open. A garage fills up quickly with carbon monoxide which can lead to fatality.

Be on the SAFE side and Check with your furnace company to see the last time you had maintenance, and get that scheduled; winter is still sticking around for awhile!

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!

Save a Little Money This Holiday Season

When your budget is already stretched from holiday activities, decorations, gifts and cards, try saving money with these energy-saving tips provided by the California Energy Commission:

  • Cook several of your holiday foods at the same time. Just make sure you leave enough room for the heat to circulate around each dish.
  • Microwaving foods rather than using a conventional oven uses around 50 percent less energy. Try using them to bake sweet potatoes, steam fresh vegetables or heat up leftovers.
  • Remove all needed items from your refrigerator or freezer at one time. Leaving the door open for a longer period of time while you take out the items you need is more efficient than opening and closing it several times.
  • Use your dishwasher. A load of dishes cleaning in a dishwasher requires 37 percent less water than washing dishes by hand.
  • Evaluate your holiday lights. While most C7 or C9 energy-efficient bulbs use 5-7 watts per bulb, some of the older strings use up to 10 watts per bulb.

 

Source: http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/tips/holiday.html

Remove Furniture Impressions in Your Carpet

As you try to make room in your home to accommodate your holiday decorations, you may find yourself moving and rearranging heavy pieces of furniture. The imprints that furniture can leave behind on carpet are unsightly and will not completely disappear unless you take action.

Our technical experts at ServiceMaster Clean recommend using a clothes steamer to remove the furniture dents. If you do not have a clothes steamer handy, you can use a kitchen towel and an iron. Place a damp towel over the carpet dent. Heat the iron to a medium heat setting then set the iron on the damp towel. You can use the steam button on the iron periodically. Remove the iron and towel to check the carpet. If it is to your liking, use your fingers to fluff the carpet. If the dent still needs work, place the warm iron on the damp towel and repeat.*

Another helpful tip to remove an impression is to place an ice cube in the dent and allow it to melt. The melted ice will revive the carpet fibers. Then use a toothbrush to remove the impression by brushing it in a backward-and-forward motion. Allow the carpet to dry naturally.**

*This process is not suitable for carpets made of olefin fiber.

**Source: http://www.ehow.com/how_7726253_rid-impressions-carpet.html

Do you think you may have Mold ?

When you have mold hidden away in your house, a moldy smell might be the only clue that it’s there. Don’t ignore mold odors if you can’t see any mold. You should thoroughly inspect your home before any mold problems get worse.

Common signs you may have mold:

You are suffering allergic symptoms

You notice a mold smell

You have had a water problem, for example: flooding, leaking pipes or a leaking roof

Water stains or discoloration on walls, floors or ceilings in your house

Surface abnormalities like peeling, bubbling or cracking of the paint or wallpaper and/or If your walls are bowed, bulging or warped

If you can see mold growth, even if it’s only small, you should take action immediately. Small mold patches can spread and the fact that there is mold shows that the conditions in your home are right for mold growth.  Visible mold growth could be a sign that there is a much larger problem hidden away from view.  Common places where mold often grows is on substances high in cellulose such as drywall, under carpets, in insulation or in ventilation ducts.

Recognizing Mold

Some mold growth looks white and thread-like. Other mold appears as clusters of small black spots. Mold can be black, gray-brown, gray-green or white in color. Mold growing behind wallpaper made of vinyl can even appear orange, pink or purple.

It’s always best to hire a professional to do the mold inspection for you. Thanks to their experience and their knowledge of spots where mold most often hides, you can be sure that if there’s any mold in your home that they will find it.  Be sure to let them know about any leaks, floods or any other moisture problems you’ve had in your home.

Mold inspectors use special equipment like moisture meters and fiber optics as well as air quality tests. This way they can find any and all hidden mold while barely disturbing your home.  These tests allows them to find hot spots where mold is most likely growing and will aid in determining if they should be looking into hidden areas such as behind walls or in floor/ceiling joists.

ServiceMaster Assured Cleaning is a certified mold remediation company that can restore your home back to a clean safe environment while Restoring Your Peace of Mind. 

If you need assistance or just have questions, Call Us @ 610-374-1881

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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4th of July Barbecue and Fire Safety

  1. Keep grills at least 10 feet from other objects, including the house and bushes.
  2. Keep children away from the grill and never leave the grill unattended.
  3. Never use the grill inside your home or garage.
  4. Check your gas grill hoses for cracks, holes and leaks.
  5. Store your propane tanks in the garage or shed, not in the house! Most fires are started by children when they are left alone or unsupervised.
  6. When using charcoal, Douse the grilling coals with water after use.

More than 50,000 fires are caused by fireworks every year ….  Review fireworks laws and call or visit the local law enforcement office and ask for a list of legal fireworks.

  1. Fireworks that cause the most injuries are firecrackers, sparklers, and bottle rockets.
  2. Never allow children to play with fireworks, even sparklers, as these can reach 2000 degrees.
  3. Always keep a portable fire extinguisher and a working garden hose close by.
  4. Do not point sparklers, or fireworks at yourself or others, doing so could turn into major burns or fatality.
  5. Only light the fireworks on the ground and in an area that is dry and fire  resistant.