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SERVPRO of West Lancaster saves Facility from Closing during a Storm

1/23/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO SAVES Building from Hail SERVPRO of Western Lancaster saves local company from hail Storm.

Even the best building designs are put to the test by mother nature.  This time in the form of hail.

     The internal gutter system of a technologies facility in the Mount Joy area became clogged when quarter sized hail rained down as violent thunderstorms devastated the area overnight on March 1st.  Storms so severe it appeared that a tornado had touch down in the Susquehanna Valley. 

      With a mixture of ingenuity, and professional know how; our technicians assessed the damage that resulted from the overflow of rain water throughout the facility, and quickly took action.

     With minor disturbance on the office staff, and shop employees, the Mount Joy based technologies company was able to remain open, and in full swing of operations. A valuable asset to any company is knowing that though the situation seems bleak, it's no match for the professional training SERVPRO technicians have.

     Till next time Mother Nature, as SERVPRO Lancaster West stands strong for the community.

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

1/21/2020 (Permalink)

Stove Soot Clean Up Soot Clean From Stove

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Us Today – 717-665-1270

What happens only minutes after the disaster?

1/21/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Employee Cleaning Soot Cleaning soot from house fire.

Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to personal property and structures. Quick action is the only way to minimize the destruction.

Immediately after a fire, soot residue settles onto the property. Discoloration of porous materials is permanent, but other surfaces may be properly cleaned to remove the discoloration. Acidic soot begins staining other surfaces if not treated quickly. Within hours all surfaces begin to suffer from fire and smoke damage. Wooden furniture may require refinishing. Metal begins to rust, pit and corrode. Painted walls begin to yellow. Clothing  can become permanently stained. And finally, flooring may require refinishing or replacement. If left untreated, within weeks the restoration process will take longer and cost more.  Prolonged soot exposure permanently harms all surfaces and embeds in fibers. Replacement of property may be the best option at this point. The structure may continue deteriorating if not properly restored. IICRC suggests the following steps after the incident:

  • Remember safety comes first. Do not enter the property without proper work gloves and appropriate respiratory protection. Exposure to soot residue causes respiratory distress and other medical emergencies.
  • Bring along a few box fans. Upon entering the property open the windows and place the box fans in the windows to force out the contaminated air and dust. Proper ventilation helps to prevent further smoke damage and reduces potential injury to people.
  • Remove loose smoke contamination with a professional dry cleaning soot sponge.
  • Clean every surface with soap and water. Begin at the top and work down to the floor. Be sure to get inside cabinets and cupboards.
  • Using a high efficiency vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filter, vacuum upholstery and carpet. A good filtration system on a high efficiency vacuum prevents the soot from being blown back into the cleaned space. Clean or change the filter regularly.
  • Launder bedding, clothes, curtains, and other washable materials. An alkaline cleaner neutralizes the acid found in the soot. Fine materials should be professionally dry-cleaned by a dry-cleaner who is experienced in smoke damaged articles.
  • Clean the exterior walls and eaves using a water hose attached to the proper cleaner. Agitate and loosen stuck-on soot. The smoke damage to the outside of the property will continue until the soot is removed.

Though heavy residues require the assistance of professional restoration technicians, a certified SERVPRO technician may be contacted for any amount of smoke damage. Improper processes can further harm the property or belongings. Our IICRC certified SERVPRO technicians have training and experience in the techniques needed to restore the property. If structural distortion or warping has occurred, it may be necessary to consult a general contractor. Luckily, most insurance companies will cover the cost of the restoration, less your deductible, so get started today to get the property back into original condition.

Silver & Tin? We clean it too!

1/21/2020 (Permalink)

Clean Silver & Tin A little bit of elbow scrub and polish makes these pieces shine.

A home damage by Fire in Lancaster County. The customer a collector of silver and tins. We cleaned her silver tray and now you can clearly read the engravings.

We use supersonic cleaning and polish for deep & detailed cleaning of your items. It brings out the dirt in small crevices. It is the same technique used to clean jewelry. Everything is neatly packaged and labeled for easy cataloging for your insurance and/or your peace of mind.

If you're serious about restoring your property after fire damage, SERVPRO is the company to call. Our IICRC-certified technicians offer a full range of restoration services while simultaneously providing each client with 24/7 emergency services. Call us now to learn more about what we can do for you!

A Cleaner Office Means Fewer Pests | SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County

12/11/2019 (Permalink)

White table and chairs surround by multiple plants in a small modern office space Keeping a tidy work space helps with productively. If your business is in need of a cleaning, contact SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County.

Office Pests 101: A Cleaner Office Means Fewer Pests

Office pests include insects and small mammals, like mice. These pests are attracted to an office for similar reasons as they are to homes — food, water, and shelter. Offices can sometimes be more prone to pests, simply because cleaning may not be a top priority for your staff. Learn how you can boost the cleanliness of your office and help prevent pests.

Break Rooms

Break rooms tend to be ground zero for pest infestations since this is where the bulk of food storage, preparation, and consumption occurs.

Garbage Cans

Ask your cleaning crew to line garbage bins with plastic bags to help keep odors contained. Further, opt for lidded receptacles in the break room to further keep pests out.

If you utilize a daily cleaning service, they should empty each waste bin every evening. For offices with only weekly cleaning services, a staff member should empty break room garbage every night.

Pantries

The state of an office pantry can leave a lot to be desired, and this isn't typically an area serviced by your cleaning crew. Require that employees keep all food items in sealed plastic bags or storage containers with tight fitting lids. Additionally, make sure spills in the pantry areas are cleaned up promptly.

Hard Surfaces

Staff on short breaks don't always have the time to clean up thoroughly after themselves. Spills on counters, food left in the sink, and crumbs on tables or the floors can all lead to a pest infestation. Fortunately, an office cleaning crew can save your break room. The crew will wipe down and disinfect all surfaces. A cleaning service can also wash dishes, clean out the sinks, and mop at the end of every workday.

Offices and Cubicles

There are many office-specific practices that can be attractive to pests, such as storing food in desks or keeping stacks of paper on the floor. Learn how you can avoid this inviting behavior.

Snacks

You don't want to limit snacking in the office, but ground rules are a must. Any food kept in cubicles must be stored in pest-proof containers, such as jars or lidded food storage boxes. Candy jars and similar items must have lids on them. There should also be no half-empty soda cans, water cups, or coffee mugs left on desks overnight.

Cleaning services don't typically remove items from desktops, so it is up to your staff to stay on top of these issues.

Garbage Cans

Someone must empty the office garbage cans nightly, whether they hold food wrappers or not. Full service cleaning companies will empty individual garbage cans if the offices are left open or if keys are provided. Otherwise, at the end of each day staff must empty their cans into a central garbage container that is taken out nightly.

Dust and Debris

Dust, stacks of papers, and general untidiness can also invite pests into a space, plus a mess makes it harder for your cleaning service to do a thorough job. Only 29 percent of office workers feel that their office is cleaned adequately, but part of the problem could be the state of the office before the cleaning staff arrives.

Require that employees file papers away each day. And don’t allow items stacked on the floor. This will allow your cleaning service to do a thorough job.

Carpet Spills

Regular carpet cleaning is a must in any office. Crumbs and spilled liquids leave behind tempting morsels for pests. Most office cleaning services also provide office carpet shampoo services. Set up a monthly schedule for a deep clean and you won't have to worry about pests. As a bonus, your office will look and feel much cleaner.

Contact SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County to learn more about how commercial cleaning services can keep your office clean, more welcoming, and free of pest problems.

Key Steps to Take After a House Fire | SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County

12/11/2019 (Permalink)

tan house and red roof with large flames coming out of the top SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County knows exactly what steps to follow after a fire. Reach out to us if you experience any fire damage.

Key Steps to Take After a House Fire

One of the worst situations that any homeowner can experience is having a fire in their house. In the event that this awful occurrence happens to you, you need to know how to respond. This article examines some of the key actions you need to take after a fire in your home.

Stay Safe

The top priority after a fire is ensuring that you and your family remain safe. After a serious fire, you almost always will need to vacate your property, so contact friends or relatives to see if they can provide you with shelter temporarily. If you have no close relatives or friends to turn to, contact local organizations, such as the Red Cross, which can give you the help and shelter you need. 

Another crucial safety issue is making certain that it's safe to go back into your damaged house. Never go back into a house with fire damage unless the fire department says that it's safe. Also, check with the fire department to see if you can safely use your utilities.

Insurance

Naturally, one of the first things you want to do after a fire, once you and your family are safe, is to contact your insurance agent. You want to make a claim as soon as possible so that you can start to restore your home to its previous condition.

Inventory

Make a list of all of your property that was damaged in the fire. Your insurer will want to know exactly what was lost or damaged before they will compensate you. Record the value of the items that were damaged or destroyed, as well as a description of the property and the approximate date that you purchased it. 

Avoid throwing away any damaged items before listing them in your inventory. If you throw out an item first, you may forget to note it in your inventory later.

Undamaged Items

It's a good idea to separate property wasn’t damaged from property that was damaged. You may need to transport your undamaged furniture and other intact property to a local storage unit to prevent thieves or looters from entering your home and stealing it.

Restoration

After you have dealt with the most immediate issues, then you can start dealing with the damage to your home. The most effective way to contend with fire damage is to engage the services of trained professionals.

Once you have consulted with the restoration firm, they will inspect your home and tell you exactly what needs to be done. The firm will also make certain that your home is as secure as possible by boarding up damaged windows and putting a protective tarp on damaged sections of the roof. This will help you avoid further damage from rain or break-ins.

A critical step in getting your home ready for structural repairs is dealing with any water damage that resulted from the fire department extinguishing the flames. Another key step is removing any soot and smoke odors from the walls, floors, and ceilings of the house or from your belongings. 

Fire restorations firms are experts at both of these tasks, so you need not worry about these jobs being handled properly. The technicians have specialized equipment that resolves smoke odor and soot problems efficiently and without harming your belongings or causing any further damage to your house.

You need to take all the proper steps after a house fire to resolve the situation effectively. Of course, one of the most critical steps is enjoying the services of an experienced fire restoration firm, such as SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County. Contact us for more information about restoring your home to its original condition after a fire.

Repairing Water-Damaged Drywall | SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County

12/11/2019 (Permalink)

White wall with damaged drywall and large hole exposing wood behind drywall Repairing mild to moderate create water damage can be cumbersome. Contact SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County if you experience any drywall damage.

A 4-Step Method for Repairing Water-Damaged Drywall

Whether it's from leaky plumbing or storm damage, there is always a chance that your walls could be subjected to water damage. While large-scale water damage is better left to a professional for restoration, you may choose to take on small sections of damaged drywall yourself. Here is a four-step method you can use to easily repair or replace water damaged drywall.

  1. Find and Patch the Leak

There’s no point in repairing a water damaged wall if you don't remove the source of the damage first. Finding the leak that led to the damage can sometimes be difficult, but you can use clues from the damage to infer the source:  

  • If the damage runs downward from the top of the wall and also affects the ceiling, a roof leak is more likely.
  • Water damage that is directly in the center of the wall is often caused by a busted pipe behind the wall.
  • You can spray your roof with a garden hose and watch for dripping in your attic to detect roof leaks.
  • High-pressure leaks in pipes behind walls may make an audible hiss if you hold your ear to the wall.

With some sleuthing, you may be able to find and patch the leak on your own.

  1. Replace Saturated Drywall

Drywall is highly porous, and the longer it is exposed to water, the more water it will absorb. This will eventually cause the drywall to become soft and spongy, and the wall may eventually start to sag inward. Unfortunately, drywall that has been saturated to this extent cannot be salvaged, and you will need to remove and replace the damaged section.

Use a stud finder to locate the studs behind the damaged section, and cut straight lines around the damage using a level and a drywall knife. When you remove the damaged piece of drywall, you may need to replace the insulation behind it if it is saturated. Cut a new drywall piece to the size of the hole, place it in the wall and screw it into the studs. Cover the seams with joint compound and tape, and then sand and paint the drywall.

  1. Scrub Away Mold

In addition to soaking up moisture, the pores in drywall can make excellent places for mold spores to hide and develop. If parts of your drywall are still structurally sound but are beginning to foster mold, you can kill the mold by scrubbing the walls with detergent, diluted bleach, or a commercial mold remover. 

First, put on gloves and a dust mask and ventilate the room to protect yourself from spores that may be released while scrubbing. Spray the affected area of the wall with the solution you are using to clean, and scrub the wall with a soft bristle cleaning brush or abrasive sponge. Scrubbing can still be effective if the wall is unpainted, but in severe cases you may need to replace the mold-covered section.

  1. Cover Water Stains

To cover light water stains on any remaining sections of drywall that weren't significantly damaged, the first step is to scrub the area with a damp cloth or sand it to remove paint, dirt, and debris. Spray the area with a shellac or oil-based primer that is formulated for blocking stains. After the primer has dried, you can simply paint over the area with interior paint.

Repairing mild to moderate water damage on drywall is not too difficult if you know the process. If you are faced with severe water damage or are unable to locate the source of the leak, contact SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County to work with an experienced water damage restoration professional who can restore your walls to like-new condition.

What Can You Salvage After a Flood?

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

Residential street and large tree trunks submerged in undrained flood water Flooding can be devastating for a business or commercial property. If you experience any water damage contact SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County.

Floods can happen almost anywhere, and they have many causes. A leaking pipe may destroy your kitchen floor, or an overflowing river may flood your entire first floor. After a flood, however, the damage can seem overwhelming, especially if you don't know what can be saved and what needs to be tossed.

Luckily, professional cleaning and restoration crews can often save a lot of your home. Since most homes aren't protected from floods by homeowner’s insurance, this can save you huge amounts of money. If you are worried about a flood, or your home has already experienced water damage, check out what you can and can't salvage.

Floors

Depending on the type of flooring material you use and how long the materials were exposed to water, you may be able to save your floors. If you have carpet, it may seem impossible to salvage it, but if you contact professional cleaners within 24 hours, they can save the carpet. It may have to be removed for faster drying, and the underlying matt will need to be replaced.

Wood floors usually don't do well against water, so if you don't seek help immediately after the flood, the floors may need to be replaced. If you have ceramic or porcelain tile floor, you're in luck because they absorb low amounts of water, so you should be able to easily save your floor.

Walls

Because drywall absorbs water well, you may need to remove the entire portion of drywall that was exposed to water. This is the safest way to prevent mold growth. Plaster and paneling may be salvageable, but you need to open the wall to get air circulating. The outside of the wall may seem dry, but there could still be lots of dampness inside the walls.

If you have vinyl-coated wallpaper, it will need to be removed as it hinders the drying process, and it may promote more mold growth. Any wet insulation needs to be replaced because insulation can store water for months after exposure to water.

Furniture

If any furniture was exposed to flood water, you may be wondering what can and can't be saved. You may be able to save upholstered furniture, but if the water was potentially contaminated, it may be best to just toss it. If there was only a little exposure (to clean water), you may be able to dry and clean the furniture.

You can save wood furniture that hasn't been exposed to water for long, but you will have to dry and clean it. In cases of extensive damage, the wood may be too warped or damaged to save. If you do decide to save your wood furniture, make sure it is completely dry before you begin repairs and restoration.

Appliances

Some appliances can be repaired after a flood. For example, if your stove was exposed to water, after drying and replacing damaged parts, you may not need to replace the stove. On the other hand, if your refrigerator was submerged, it's best to toss it because of all the insulation inside it makes it too hard to fully dry fast.

Any appliance you choose to keep after a flood should be professionally inspected to ensure it is safe. Even if your stove seems safe, a wet wire may cause fire or electrocution. Whenever in doubt, toss any electrical item that may have been exposed to water. Again, if the water contains contaminates or sewage, it may not be a good idea to try and save the item.

Floods cause devastating damage, but some stuff can be repaired, especially if you seek help fast. Fast drying is essential to prevent the growth of potentially hazardous mold and mildew. If you would like to know more about restoration after a flood, contact us at SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County today.

Tips to Prevent Residential Water Damage This Winter

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

Icicles hanging off metal house gutter with snow covered roof Snow and ice can create water damage. Contact SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County if you experience any water damage that may arise this winter

The combination of cooler temperatures, snow, and ice leaves your home vulnerable to water damage. Even a minor amount of standing water anywhere in the home can lead to major damage and a huge repair bill. Luckily, you can do several things to prevent the most common causes of water damage.

Discover a few ways you can winterize your home to keep water damage from ruining the season.

Inspect Your Plumbing

Schedule a plumbing inspection before the first snow falls and the temperatures drop. Ask the plumber to look for damaged pipes and to check the sump pump, main sewer pipe, and water heater. An operational sump pump is critical, especially in the late winter after the snow starts to melt.

If the sump pump doesn't work, any standing water in the basement could not only cause damage, it could drain into the sewer and cause a major backup. Keep an eye on your basement throughout the winter, and if any standing water exists or if you suspect the sewer has backed up, contact a water restoration company immediately to get rid of standing water and sewage.

In addition to causing damage to anything stored in the basement, if water that seeped into the basement floor or foundation freezes, it could cause major damage.

Install Water Leak Detectors

Imagine being away for the holidays and coming home to find several inches of standing water in your home. Serious water damage can even occur even if running water exists for a few hours while you are at work. A water leak detection system is the first line of defense against a serious catastrophe during winter.

Two main types of water leak detectors exist: active and passive. A passive unit will alert the homeowner that too much water is in a area or when the moisture levels become too high. The homeowner can then shut off the main water supply or the valve nearest the area that is being flooded.

An active unit will alert the homeowner to a leak or standing water and can automatically shut off the water to an individual appliance or the whole house. Do note that active leak detectors are more expensive than passive units.

Prepare Your Home's Exterior for Winter

Check for any vulnerable areas on your home's exterior that could cause interior water damage, including:

Foundation cracks. Seal any cracks or repair damage to the foundation. Water expands when it freezes, and if any moisture gets into these foundation cracks, it will lead to major damage.

Damaged or overflowing gutters. Repair damage and clean the gutters to allow water to flow away from the house and not down the siding and into the basement.

Water puddling around the foundation. Divert any water away from the home by either installing French drains or by hiring a professional to regrade the yard.

Contact a professional to inspect your roof and siding, repair any damage, or replace shingles and siding.

Prevent Burst Pipes

Finally, one of the most common and preventable causes of interior water damage is frozen and burst pipes. Wrap the exposed pipes in your home with foam pipe insulation, including pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sink. Leave the water running in a couple of faucets on particularly cold nights.

Moving water is less likely to freeze than water that is standing inside frigid pipes. If your pipes are frozen, use a blow dryer or another heat source to thaw them immediately.

Take the necessary steps before winter to prevent residential water damage that can cause serious damage and cost you a lot of money. Contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County with any damage restoration or mold remediation questions.

How to Get Rid of Bad Odors After Water Damage

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

Grey sofa, white chair and small potted plant partially submerged in flooded water Removing water can be a difficult task. SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County has the experience to get your property back to its original state.

When it comes to water damage in the home, there is one problem that can sometimes persist even after everything is repaired and dry - foul odors. Moisture and damp lead to mold, mildew, and bacterial growth, all of which combine to create a musty odor in your home. Fortunately, with proper restoration and cleaning, it is possible to remove these odors and enjoy a fresh-smelling home again.

Types of Odors

Odors can be present as soon as the water damage occurs, or they may develop in the weeks following the damage - even if you thought you had removed all the water. Here are the three main types of odors you are likely to encounter following water damage.

Musty smells are caused by mold and mildew. If the water damage occurred in an unheated area, the odor may disperse when it is cold and then return when the temperature warms, and the mold spores begin to grow. Mold and mildew odors can be pervasive, so even a small patch of active growth can cause the odor to permeate the entire house.

Dirty sock odors are most often associated with air conditioning systems since the odor is often caused by bacteria and microbe growth on moist AC coils. Unfortunately, the odor can also develop anywhere else moisture has led to bacterial growth. If you smell a sour odor akin to dirty socks, then an area where bacterial growth occurred during the flood may have been reactivated. Further restoration and thorough cleaning can help solve the problem.

Sewage smells can persist long after the backup has been repaired. If your home was flooded with raw sewage, then the last thing you want is lingering odors. These odors aren't just unpleasant, they may also indicate that some items require further disinfection in order to be safe.

It's imperative to find the source of the smell and ensure there are no remaining sewer pathogens in your house. Once disinfection is assured, then the best solution is to schedule a deodorizing treatment for the affected area.

Removal Tactics

Although you can deodorize some surfaces on your own, odor-causing vectors often lurk behind walls or under the flooring in a home that has experienced water damage.

Quick-drying is the main method needed to prevent carpets from developing a musty or sour odor. After drying, the carpets require cleaning with a disinfectant designed to kill any mold spores that remain in the carpeting. Although steam cleaning and drying can often save carpeting, the carpet pad may continue to harbor moisture and odors. When smells persist in the carpeting, pad replacement is often the best option.

Both drywall and plaster can hold onto odors long after the floodwaters recede. Sometimes mold or microbial growth occurs inside the wall where a hidden pocket of moisture persists after the rest of the damage is addressed. There are two options to remedy the problem.

If you are sure the walls are dry, then you may be able to seal off the odor by repainting the walls with an odor-blocking primer and paint. Otherwise, the walls may need to be opened up and deep cleaned or removed and replaced.

Wood floors, trim, and support beams can all suffer from moisture damage. Rot, accompanied by mold growth, is the most common cause of odors on wood. It may be necessary to remove badly damaged wood, followed by sanding down and refinishing any wood that can be saved. Mold may lurk behind baseboards and trim, so remove everything and verify that there are no hidden odor sources.

There is no need to live with bad odors after water damage. Contact SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County for more help with your water damage repairs.