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Water Damage and It's Hidden Signs

4/13/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage and It's Hidden Signs Watermarks and stains are a sign of a previous or existing leak.

Water damage is one of the last things any property manager or homeowner wants to deal with. Unfortunately, the weather in Central FL cities such as Winter Park and Orlando is known for its spontaneous rain and storms. Couple this with the fact that any facility, whether residential or commercial, must have a substantial supply of water and a clearer picture of how likely a water disaster can strike is painted.

A few examples of how water damage can occur on a property are sewage overflow, ruptured water pipes, water heater leaks, dishwasher malfunctions, or in many cases flooding from a severe storm or hurricane. Aside from the visible or obvious causes of water damage, what many homeowners and property managers may not notice are slow leaks and/or plumbing issues that can quietly damage a property.

Knowing the signs of hidden water damage will better equip a building or homeowner to detect leaks that can lead to damage or even discover if a property has suffered from water damage in the past.

Signs of Hidden Water Damage

  • Wallpaper and Paint - If a wallpaper adhesive is used on the property, check for signs of peeling. In properties with interior paint, a water leak behind a wall may cause raised and wavy lines.     
  • Baseboards and Trim - Look for baseboards and trims that are separating from the wall. Exposure to water may cause swelling over time, which may push the baseboard from their flush placement against the wall.
  • Wooden Furniture - Wooden furniture may swell if exposed to water for a prolonged time.
  • Bathroom Tiles - Check the floor tiles around your toilet for darker colored grout. This is a sign of a leaking toilet.
  • Unexplained Moisture - If a pipe ruptures in your concrete slab, it can slowly lead to warped floorboards, cracked tile or damp carpet if the right amount of water is soaked up by the under-padding.
  • Sweating Walls - Blotches of condensation are a common sign that excessive moisture is festering behind the walls. This can be caused by a leak or a mixture of high humidity, poor ventilation and/or inadequate insulation.
  • Mold - Any presence of mold or mildew is a solid sign that an area has been exposed to water and the right amount of humidity for at least 48 hours.
  • Watermarks and Stains - Ceiling marks and stains, commonly seen in office buildings, are a sign of a previous or existing leak.
  • Swollen Door Casing – Water leaks can cause an exposed door casing to swell and become unaligned. A door that begins to have trouble opening and closing could be a sign of a leak.

Keep these hidden signs of water damage to your property in mind to be better prepared and aware if a water disaster strikes. Should you notice a sign of damage, hidden or visible, SERVPRO of Winter Park’s phone lines are open 24/7. Our experts in the restoration field can perform an in-depth water damage assessment to ensure our restoration services are successful. To speak to a water and mold expert, give us a call at 407-678-5391.

6 Common Causes of Residential Fires

4/6/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 6 Common Causes of Residential Fires Fires related to cooking make up about 42% of all reported causes of residential fires in the U.S.

According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) The United States averages between 350,000 and 400,000 fires every year. That translates to an average of 39 – 46 fires every hour!  By knowing the most common ways a fire is started, a majority of these fires can be prevented.

Cooking Incidents

The leading cause of residential fires are incidents related to cooking. Cooking incidents actually make up about 42% of reported house fires in the country! For example, an oven or stove left on and unattended is a disaster waiting to strike.

Electrical

Electrical fires are another common type of home fires. One of the leading culprits is the over-use of extension cords. Extension cords are designed to safely pull a certain amount of amps, so make sure to read labels and know the limitations of the cord you are using. We recommend having an electrical inspection performed by a certified electrician at least once a year.

Unsupervised Children

Teaching children about fire safety is definitely something every parent should consider. It is extremely common for items such as lighter and matches to be left within reach of children who are not aware of the dangers of fire.

Smoking

Smoking is the source of many house fires and leads to almost 1,000 deaths a year. Lit cigarettes that have been left unattended, forgotten about can make contact with flammable items in your home and lead to a fire. Another common occurrence is smokers falling asleep while smoking in their home.  We recommend not smoking in your home or quitting altogether, however, if you choose to smoke in your home you should always make sure to extinguish your cigarette.

Candles

Candles should never be left unattended but oftentimes are. When leaving a room with a burning candle make sure to blow it out or take it along with you if necessary. Forgotten candles are very dangerous and can quickly lead to a fire disaster.

Dryers

Dryers are all too often forgotten!  It is important to remember to empty out your dryer vents and be certain that they are properly vented. Remember to maintain your dryer by cleaning the vents at least once a year.

When Disaster Strikes

There are many possible causes and contributors to residential fires. Being aware of the causes listed above will go a long way in helping to prevent fire damage or much worse in your home. In case of an emergency, please be sure to dial 911 to reach a local emergency responder. Also, keep in mind that SERVPRO of Winter Park performs excellent fire restoration services and is available 24/7 to take your call!

4 Commercial Water Damage Steps to Take After a Disaster

4/3/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial 4 Commercial Water Damage Steps to Take After a Disaster Protective shoes and gear can protect you from hidden hazards you can not see in the water.

Hopefully, you never experience a major commercial water damage disaster in your business. With that being said, it is critical to know how to handle a water damage situation before it happens so you are adequately prepared if it does. Flooding can cause a variety of issues including structural damage. As a business owner, you can avoid additional disasters by ensuring the following steps are taken immediately after water damage occurs.

1. Protect Yourself

The safety of you and your employees should be your first priority. Make sure to never put your hands anywhere you cannot see first. Wearing sturdy shoes when walking in flood waters can protect your feet from hidden debris in the water that can trip or cut you. Flood waters can be contaminated so wearing hip waders is also a good idea. Look out for snakes or other creatures that may have been displaced by the flood.
If you are unsure or concerned about your safety at any point in time, remain outside of the property and wait for your restoration company to arrive. They will know all of the procedures and safety precautions to take in order to keep themselves and others safe.They will also have protective gear to wear as they are assessing the situation.

2. Shut Off Potential Hazards

If it is safe to do so, you will want to make sure that you turn off any electricity to the affected areas. You don’t, however, want them to be turned on before you are ready. Doing so can potentially mix electricity and water or create a gas leak before the flood damage can be corrected.


Your restoration company will have access to special tools that can detect moisture. This is key to ensuring the property is completely dried out and preventing any mold from growing. For example, a digital moisture meter is able to find signs of moisture behind walls

3. Take Plenty of Photos

For insurance purposes, it is a great idea to be as thorough as possible when documenting the water damage in your property. Taking lots of pictures will help you when filing a claim with your insurance company. Get photographic evidence of the damage that was left behind by the water, plus any water that is still there. Document all that you can and then speak with your insurance company as quickly as you can to get the claims process going.

4. Salvage What you Can

Keep in mind that it is extremely common for any property affected by a water disaster to experience mold growth. Mold only needs about twenty-four to forty-eight hours to start growing. Drying out the entire property as fast as possible is essential to preventing it from doing so.

The professional restoration company can assist you in this, but you will need to throw away anything that has been saturated for over forty-eight hours and figure out on a case to case basis what else can be saved or needs to be thrown away. Rugs and padding will always need to be tossed if they are damaged by flood waters. 

15 Storm Damage Prevention Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

3/22/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage 15 Storm Damage Prevention Tips Every Homeowner Should Know Cleaning your rain gutters regularly can help prevent leaks and water damage to the exterior an interior of your home.

Spring has finally come. Floridians know that aside from a rise in temperature, lots of rain and thunderstorms are on the way. As an industry leader in storm damage, SERVPRO has extensive knowledge of what it takes to both prevent damage as much as possible and thoroughly assess a property for damage once a storm has passed. Here are some tips to help you adequately prepare for the storms to come.

Storm Preparation Tips

Preventing Water Damage

  1. Perform roof inspections regularly and search for shingles that are loose or curled. This applies to wind damage prevention also.
  2. Properly grading your lot will help to prevent water from seeping into your property.
  3. Proper drainage of your gutters is crucial for preventing leaks. Make sure to clear gutters and downspouts of any debris regularly.
  4. Weather Stripping can be applied around doors and windows for a reduction in air and water leaks.
  5. Search the property’s foundation walls and basement floor for any cracks and seal them completely.

Preventing Wind Damage

  1. Minimize potential damage by replacing rock and gravel landscaping materials with shredded mulch.
  2. Protect windows and glass doors by installing impact-resistant shutters or boarding up.
  3. Relocate your outdoor items indoors and secure the items that can not be moved.
  4. Make sure to trim down trees and shrubbery. Weak trees that may fall should be removed completely.
  5. Park any vehicles away from trees, lampposts, and power lines.

Preventing Hail Damage

  1. Make sure delicate outdoor items, furniture, and glass are covered and protected from potential hail impact.
  2. During a hailstorm, keep doors and windows completely closed for the duration of the storm.
  3. For added protection, install UL 2218 or FM 4473 as Class 3 or 4 roof shingles.
  4. If you have a garage, keep your vehicles parked inside with the garage door completely closed.
  5. If you do not have a garage or have more vehicles than your garage can fit, cover your vehicle(s) with a tarp to protect the paint. For added protection against dents and broken windows, try covering your vehicle with a thick blanket prior to tarping.

Local Storm Damage Help

If you follow the tips listed above, you have a higher chance of preventing serious damage to your home and property during a storm. However, disaster can strike at any time, so should you receive damage after a storm, SERVPRO of Winter Park is ready to assist you. Our phone lines are open 24/7 and our highly skilled technicians are available for services like water extraction and water damage restoration. For more details, give us a call at (407) 678-5391.

5 Steps Used for Mold Remediation

3/12/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation 5 Steps Used for Mold Remediation In this instance, water was still present in the affected area, so a dehumidifier forces hot air into the contained environment to continue drying.

Mold in your Winter Park home or business can appear without warning and spread rapidly. While size and severity of a mold remediation job can vary, the 5 steps shared below are the foundation of the process we use every time.

Step 1: Mold Inspection

In Florida, the law states that the mold testing company cannot perform the actual remediation. We recommend having a mold assessment company take air quality samples in and outside of your property first. After receiving the test results from the samples and a protocol to perform an inspection, we then send a technician to thoroughly inspect and assess the damage to your property.

Our inspector checks for visible signs of the mold first and then proceeds to identify places where it may be hidden such as cabinets, baseboards, sheetrock, and under carpeting. Prior to remediation in areas over 10 square feet, it is important to have mold samples taken and tested.

Step 2: Mold Containment

The initial step is the most vital when beginning mold remediation. To ensure mold spores do not spread throughout your home, plastic barriers must be placed to separate affected and unaffected areas. We create a contained environment by systematically setting up a barrier and using negative air pressure. Negative air pressure creates a vacuum that forces the surrounding air that may contain mold spores into the contained environment. All entrances and exits of the area are completely sealed to prevent the spores from contaminating the rest of the property.

Step 3: Air Filtration

To achieve successful air filtration, we use powerful HEPA vacuums and air scrubbers. HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuums work by forcing air through a fine mesh to trap harmful particles. Some of the particles captured by a HEPA filter include pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke. Our technicians perform this step to capture mold spores that become airborne after removing drywall and similarly affected components of the property.

Step 4: Mold Removal

The mold removal step can vary in difficulty and length of time based on the extent of the damage and size of the affected area. Our technicians use antifungal and antimicrobial treatments such as Benefect, which is a plant-based and safe-to-use treatment. These treatments work to eliminate existing mold colonies and prevent new colonies from growing. In larger mold removal jobs, it is not uncommon for carpet and drywall to be removed as well, especially if they are infected with mold.

Step 5: Restoration

After removal, the next step is to clean and disinfect components of the property that have been affected by mold. Items such as curtains and furniture will be cleaned and deodorized. Repairs such as carpet replacement and painting are also made to restore the area. Because mold is a living organism that thrives inside of drywall, baseboards, cabinets, and clothing, it is necessary to remove them completely to eliminate the problem.

Your Local SERVPRO

SERVPRO of Winter Park is a family-owned business and knows what it takes to help you with your mold disaster. Give us a call to speak with a mold remediation expert and get the process started.

How to Remove a Minor Vomit Mess from Your Carpet

3/5/2018 (Permalink)

Biohazard How to Remove a Minor Vomit Mess from Your Carpet Wearing protective gear is the most important step on any biohazard cleanup.

Many of us feel that we can handle a typical biohazard cleanup ourselves, such as vomit, in our homes. Perhaps your toddler could not make it to the restroom and vomited on your carpet. These things happen, and although they are not fun, most people assume cleaning vomit only requires some wipes and a disinfectant spray.


Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that without removal of a porous surface, you can never truly disinfect it. This holds especially true when there are any infectious viruses and diseases present. In the case of biohazard cleanups that you feel are too large or difficult, you should always reach out and call a professional remediation company. If the mess appears to be manageable and you decide to handle it yourself, we have put together a few tips to aid you in properly addressing the situation.

Be Sure to Protect Yourself Before Cleaning

Safety should be your number one priority when attempting to handle a biohazard mess. This means using protective gear such as face masks and plastic gloves. It is important to avoid making any physical contact with the substance you are removing. Always be mindful of your hands and make sure you are not touching your face, eyes, and mouth. Once you have on protective gear, follow the steps below to remove small amounts of vomit.

1. Remove as Much Solid Waste as Possible

It is important that as much of the waste be removed as possible. Use household items such as an old towel or dustpan to remove all solid waste from the floor or carpet. Make sure to keep a trash bag close to dispose of all waste.

2. Use a Blotting Technique for Removing Liquid

Additional household items such as paper towels, rags, or even another old towel may be used for drawing liquid from the surface of the floor or carpet. Use the items to blot the area and go over the spot numerous times until as much liquid has been removed as possible.

3. Apply Baking Soda or Cornstarch

Blotting will remove most of the liquid in your carpet, but to remove more you can coat the area with baking soda or cornstarch. Leave a liberal amount to set for about 15 minutes and soak up the remaining liquid. Afterward, you may vacuum the powder to remove it.

4. Use Enzyme-Based Cleaner for Stains and Odor

As experts in biohazard remediation, we recommend using an enzyme-based cleaner when removing stains and odor. Most registered disinfectant products have a broad spectrum kill claim but enzymatic cleaners have fewer chemicals and can still break down stains and odors.

5. Dispose of all Hazardous Materials

Take care when disposing of the rags or towels you used to clean up the stain or launder them immediately. You do not want to spread the contamination.

When Should You Call a Professional?

The method provided above should only be taken assuming that the vomit is minor and manageable. It is important to remember that although the vomit is removed, there is no way to truly disinfect the area without removing it completely. If a sickness has spread throughout multiple inhabitants of your home, the amount of vomit and other bodily fluids may be too much to handle in your household alone. If you feel that the mess is too large or a serious virus could be the cause, you can call SERVPRO for assistance. We can remove and disinfect the entire affected area properly. We even run tests to ensure that no biological material is left behind.

5 Ways Commercial Restoration is Different from Residential

2/28/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial 5 Ways Commercial Restoration is Different from Residential Commercial restoration jobs typically require more equipment on-site due to larger affected areas.

There are many ways that a commercial restoration job can be different from a residential job. Today, we share our five most important differences. Whether the job involves water, fire, or mold, knowing what to expect as a commercial client can go a long way for your restoration process and experience.

1. Size of the Area Requiring Services

The most common difference between a commercial job is the size of the area that requires services. The actual size varies from job-to-job based on several factors. For example, a pipe burst on an upper floor of a building can affect the lower floors and cause damage that may not even be visible. On the other hand, a mold removal job in the ballroom of a hotel would require the entire room being sealed and contained.

2. Additional Furniture and Objects

With larger affected areas, usually comes a higher amount of furniture and objects that must be removed. These objects can include filing cabinets, desks, various types of machinery and more. To properly dry carpets these items should be removed. In cases where objects cannot be moved, the restoration company must work around them, making the process trickier.

3. Different Specifications

Buildings are oftentimes built with different specifications and can cause delays or complications of the restoration process. During the process of cleaning water, additional challenges can include removing excess water and even testing for dryness levels. If a commercial unit has firewalls, drywall could be twice as thick making it more difficult to locate and extract wet insulation.

4. Multiple Insurance Claims

Another difference comes in the form of insurance claims. Aside from the claim itself being larger in most commercial cases, clients such as apartment property managers can have multiple residents and their belongings affected. This can lead to the need for multiple individual insurance claims being filed. More claims mean more claim handlers in need of continual job updates along with the tenants and property manager.

5. Open Business Hours

An important factor to consider in a commercial job is if the business will continue to operate on-site during the restoration process. Many businesses cannot afford to cease operations during this time. In these cases, the restoration company should be mindful of working employees by keeping noise to a minimum and even creating accessible walkways and work areas. For mold removal jobs, all parties must understand the importance of keeping contained areas sealed. Clear communication between the restoration professionals, clients, and their employees can make all the difference in these situations.

Best Commercial Restoration Company

The 5 differences between residential and commercial restoration listed above show just how important it is to choose a company that knows what they are doing and what to expect. SERVPRO of Winter Park is available 24/7 to respond to your emergency restoration call. Our highly trained professionals understand what it takes to get the job done right. We are Faster to Any Size Disaster and even have a warehouse that can store your business’s belongings. Give us a call at 407-678-5391 and get started today!

Water Damage Restoration Process

2/16/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage Restoration Process Washing machines are a common cause of water damage.

Some common causes of water damage in Florida are air conditioning units, excess humidity, and lots of heavy rain showers. AC units typically run on a daily basis for the duration of the year. Other causes include overflowing washing machine units, backed up sewers, hurricanes and storms, and lakes and rivers in close proximity. Quick action following any water damage is important because each of these issues can create the perfect environment for mold and mildew.

Trained Water Damage Specialists

Quick action is also the most important step in your water damage claim. By calling SERVPRO of Winter Park, we can have our water mitigation experts onsite within an hour. Our experts begin the dry-out and repair process to restore your residential or commercial property as fast and efficient as possible. All of our specialists are completely trained and use the most advanced equipment and techniques in the industry.

Our Restoration Process

No two water disasters are the same. Every factor can vary from the amount of water to level of contamination. The steps below show our process for the more common typed of water-related emergencies.

1: Emergency Contact

2: Inspection and Damage Assessment

3: Water Removal/Water Extraction

4: Drying and Dehumidification

5: Cleaning and Repair

6: Restoration

We Are Here to Help

SERVPRO of Winter Park is available 24/7 to respond to your water and mold emergencies. We are Faster to Any Size Disaster! Give us a call at 407-678-5391 to have one of our water mitigation experts assess the damage to your property.

Contained Mold Removal Companies

2/9/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Contained Mold Removal Companies It is important to completely seal off the contaminated area.

In a growing industry, options for mold removal companies are numerous. More options create the need for paying closer attention to quality. A major factor in your decision to hire a company should be whether or not the mold is removed in a contained environment. To better understand the importance of a contained environment, it helps to understand exactly how mold can spread.

How Mold Spreads

If left exposed, there are various ways for mold to spread throughout a home or building. Mold releases microscopic spores that can travel through vents, air currents, people or even pets. The spread of these spores is more likely to occur if the environment is not contained before removal.

Containing Mold

When creating a contained environment prior to mold removal, it is crucial to completely seal off the entire area that’s affected. The size of containment can vary based on the size of the contaminated area. Smaller mold issues typically require limited containment and can be sealed with a layer of polyethylene and duct tape. Larger issues require full containment. Full containment involves a sealing process using two layers of polyethylene, a barrier between the contaminated and non-contaminated areas, and an airlock chamber for the entry and exit.

Choosing the Right Professionals

Avoid any company that says containment of your mold issue is not a necessity. Mold can cause health effects so choosing a professional is in the best interest of all occupants of your home or commercial building. If you have a mold problem, you can contact a professional at SERVPRO of Winter Park for fast, reliable, and 24/7 service at (407) 678-5391.

The Aftermath Of A Fire

10/10/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage The Aftermath Of A Fire After a fire and after its flames are extinguished, there still exists some safety risks.

Fire Damage

After a devastating house fire, you are anxious to enter your home, but do not touch the carpets, draperies, upholstered furniture or clothing. They are likely covered with soot, which is oily, and it stains easily. Soot includes fine black particles, consisting mainly of carbon, as well as acids, chemicals, metals, soils and dust. Its removal should be handled by SERVPRO, professional fire remedial experts.

A common residential fire results in the burning of a variety of materials, from wood, paper, plastics, foams, fabrics, wool, wood products, synthetics and asbestos containing materials. Fire damage to Orlando residential and/or commercial buildings will result in soot contamination. Exposure to soot may occur via the eyes, skin, inhalation and ingestion.

Airborne soot particulates are invisible, thus after a fire you may unknowingly be affected. Soot particles can enter the bloodstream and cause a variety of health issues. Firefighters today are very well-trained in safety, plus they were protective gear, yet they experience a higher incidence of respiratory problems than the public.

After a fire and after its flames are extinguished, there still exists some safety risks. Soot is just one of the secondary fire residue risks, which cause damages. Not all soot residues are the same. There are different types of soot which are easier to clean than other types. SERVPRO professionals will clean any of four different types: dry smoke, wet smoke, protein smoke, and fuel oil smoke residues.

Industry issued safety equipment are essential in reducing possible exposure to dangerous soot conditions, including water related health problems from firefighting efforts. The fire restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Winter Park use IICRC professional tools and industry approved remediation methods. Our knowledge and expertise are at the heart of a thorough and safe fire restoration. Call us at (407) 678-5391 and let us help restore your property back to normal.