Water Damage and Associated Risks
Treat water damage quickly to prevent further damage!
Throughout the United States, majority of homes are vulnerable to the possibility of water damage. Water damage can be caused by broken pipes, flooding, roof leaks, etc. Though water damage is common, most homeowners do not realize that just one inch of standing water in a home can cost thousands of dollars. Beyond what homeowners can see, they need to be mindful of additional water/moisture related threats such as mold or even termites! Though not talked about often in water restoration, termites are a problem that most homeowners don’t even consider when discovering a water loss.
Because wood is a highly porous material that rapidly absorbs and retains moisture, it is important to act quickly when you discover water damage. If not treated and managed in a timely manner, homeowners may face additional damage in the form of mold, mildew, or wood rot! Not only are these issues unsightly, but mold and mildew can affect your safety and cause health effects!
DID YOU SAY TERMITES?
Another issue with water damage is that it can attract termites. Yes, termites! These little pests prefer living in water-damaged wood as they need to be surrounded by moisture. Typically, termites live underground in cool, damp environments. Naturally, water-damaged wood makes a excellent replacement home for these little critters. Termites silently destroy homes, eating away at wooden infrastructure from the inside out. As they are so quiet, most homeowners have no knowledge that termites are present until they have caused tens of thousands of dollars of damage to the house!
Never fear, there are a few ways that you can identify the presence of termites in your home!
- Check the caulking around your shower/bathtub to see if there is any exposed damp wood. If the wood is marked it could mean that you have termites in your home.
- Check any wooden frames around the areas that were affected by water. Again, if there are markings, you may have termites.
- Check any areas that wood was affected by water and look for bite marks (little holes throughout the wood)
- Call a professional exterminator to assess the area.
Water damage can cause a lot of problems in the home, even if it is only a small amount of water. For this reason, it is important to make sure that any damp wood in your home is properly dried out if you experience any water loss. This will reduce your likelihood of mold growth and termite infestation. If you have experienced water damage, call SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County at 717-665-1270! We are water restoration professionals that are faster to any size disaster!
Winter Storm Preparedness, Response, and Recovery
Every year, homeowners experience damage from storm-related pipes bursting, roof leaks, ets.. Call SERVPRO of Western Lancaster; we're here to help!
Two back-to-back winter storms, Uri and Viola, recently wreaked havoc across the Unites States. Southern states that are not accustomed to colder temperatures, snow, or ice were especially impacted by these storms. Uri and Viola have left extensive power outages, vehicular accidents, injuries, and even deaths. With Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and a large portion of the eastern seaboard being affected, approximately 100 million people have been impacted by these two storms in one way or another.
Though these two storms have caused quite a bit of damage throughout the United States, winter storms are common, especially in eastern states, including our own: Pennsylvania. Each year, hundreds-to-thousands of Americans are injured or killed by exposure to cold temperatures, vehicle accidents on wintry roads, and fires caused by heating sources. SERVPRO of Western Lancaster wants members of our community to be safe and prepared for winter storms!
WINTER ADVISORIES, WATCHES, AND WARNINGS TO BE AWARE OF:
- Blizzard Warning - Severe winter storm conditions, reducing visibility.
- Considerable accumulation and/or blowing of snow, which reduces visibility to ¼ mile or less for 3+ hours AND
- Sustained winds, or frequent gusts of wind that are of 35+ miles per hour.
- Winter Storm Warning – A significant, and possibly life-threatening, combination of hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent.
- 5 or more inches of snow/sleet within a 12-hour period or 7 or more inches of snow/sleet within a 24-hour period AND/OR
- Enough ice accumulation to cause damage to trees or powerlines AND/OR
- A life-threatening of snow and/or ice accumulation with wind.
- Winter Storm Watch – Potential for significant and hazardous winter weather within 48 hours. A Winter Storm Watch does not mean that significant and hazardous winter weather will occur, but only that it is possible in your area.
- Ice Storm Warning – Projected ice accumulation of ¼ or more in your area.
- Winter Weather Advisory – Any amount of freezing rain OR when 2-4 inches of snow, alone or in combination with sleet & freezing rain, is expected to cause a significant inconvenient, but is not serious enough to warrant a warning.
- Freeze Watch – Potential for significant, widespread freezing temperatures within the next 24-36 hours.
- Freeze Warning – Significant, widespread freezing temperature are present or expected.
PREPAREDNESS: WHAT TO DO BEFORE THE STORM
- Winterize your vehicle to reduce your chance of being stranded during a winter emergency.
- Stock your vehicle with: a windshield scraper with a small broom, a bag of non-clumping kitty litter (for gaining tire traction in a pinch), a book of matches in a waterproof container, a brightly colored piece of cloth (to tie to the antenna if you get stuck), a first aid kit, extra clothing/blankets, a flashlight, and jumper cables.
- Keep a home-emergency kit, including flashlights and a battery-operate radio.
- Keep an emergency non-perishable food and water supply in your home.
- Properly insulate your pipes to protect them from freezing.
- Have your home’s heating unit inspected each year to ensure that heating sources are installed properly and operating safely.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated. Install storm doors/windows or cover windows with plastic (from the inside) to provide additional insulation.
- Establish an emergency evacuation plan in case you lose power or heat.
RESPONDING: WHAT TO DO DURING THE STORM
- Stay indoors when possible, and avoid driving.
- Wear warm, layered, clothing.
- Keep your body replenished, and your energy maintained, by eating and drinking regularly.
- Stretch before going outside to avoid muscle injury. This is especially important if you plan on going out to do snow removal (shoveling, snow blowing, etc…)
- Walk carefully if going outside, always being mindful of potential ice.
RECOVERY: WHAT TO DO AFTER THE STORM
- Avoid driving or traveling until conditions have improved.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling.
- Assess your home for any damage
- Alter your emergency response plan based on your experience.
CALL THE EXPERTS:
If you, like thousands of others each year, experience water or fire damage from a winter storm, call SERVPRO of Western Lancaster at 717-665-1270!
Give Winter Fires the Cold Shoulder
Call SERVPRO of Western Lancaster for your fire restoration needs!
Did you know that, statistically, fires occur more often throughout winter than during any other season? Electrical issues, heating sources, carbon monoxide, and portable generators are all contributing factors that lead to an increased risk of a home fire during winter months. Below are some of the leading causes of winter fires. The professionals at SERVPRO of Western Lancaster hope that you will be able to take the appropriate steps to protect your home and family once you know the risks that you are facing.
Electrical fires are one of the leading causes of home fires throughout the United States. Approximately half of all residential electrical fires involve inadequate electrical distribution, or the use of lighting equipment. Other electrical fires occur from things like overloaded circuits, dryer fans, and portable space heaters.
Electrical Safety Tips:
- Check electrical cords often. Replace cracked, damaged, and loose electrical or extension cords. Do NOT try to repair them.
- Home appliances should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. To reduce your risk of fire, unplug small appliances when they are not in use.
- Be aware that extension cords are for temporary use only. Have a licensed electrician determine if additional circuits or wall outlets are needed in your home.
- Only use surge protectors / power strips that have internal overload protection.
- Avoid putting cords under rugs / carpets, across doorways, or where they can be damaged or pinched by furniture,
Call a licensed electrician if any of the following apply:
- You see sparks from a wall outlet
- You experience flickering lights outside of a storm event.
- You have reoccurring issues with blown fuses or tripping circuit breakers.
- You experience a tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance.
- There is a burning odor coming from an appliance.
- You notice discolored wall outlets and/or switches.
- You have cracked or broken wall outlets
Heating sources are the second leading cause of residential fires in the United States. December, January, and February are the peak months for heating fires to occur, and space heaters are the most common heating source involved in heating-related fires. Space heaters account for approximately 44% (more than two out of every five) heating-related fired, and also account for the vast majority of deaths and injuries in home fires caused by heating equipment.
Space Heater Safety Tips:
- Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels.
- Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs and any loose connections before each use.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep.
- Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing, and rugs.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip.
- Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces.
- Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
For other heating safety tips, read our Heating Safety Tips blog:
Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the invisible killer. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels like gasoline, wood, coal, propane, etc… do not burn completely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of Carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months in residential properties.
Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips:
- Install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
- If you need to warm a vehicle prior to driving, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not leave the engine running if the garage door is open.
- Ensure that vents are properly cleaned and free of debris.
Portable generators are often used during power outages. Though handy, most homeowners are unaware that improper use of a portable generator can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock, and fire hazards
Portable Generator Safety Tips:
- Portable generators should be used outside the home, away from windows and doors.
- Portable generators should be kept away from open flames or fuel burning appliances
- Do not overload cords; check for the generators maximum wattage listed on label.
- Do not refuel the generator while it's running or when hot; turn the generator off, let it cool before refueling.
CALL THE PROFESSIONALS
If you have experienced a fire, regardless of the cause, call SERVPRO of Western Lancaster at 717-665-1270. SERVPRO’s mission is to develop a team of quality people who focus on excellent service, fairness, and mutual respect. When you call SERVPRO of Western Lancaster, you are calling a team of trained professionals that are looking to restore your home “Like it never even happened,” as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Winter Water Damage Prevention
Call the professionals if you're in need of water restoration!
Though winter months bring cooler temperatures, hot cocoa, and scenic snow landscapes, winter weather also brings increased risk of water damage to your home. Winter is notorious for being cold and wet. Many people don’t realize that larger amounts of snow and ice can have severe consequences. Below are three of the top causes of winter water damage and how to reduce your risk.
OUTDOOR WATER SOURCES
When the temperatures drop, it is important to pay attention to your outdoor water sources. Neglecting your outdoor water sources could cause problems when spring comes around.
- Shut off the water to your outdoor hoses and spigots.
- Drain any water from your hoses and store them in a climate-controlled area to prevent them from freezing, cracking, or breaking in the cold.
BURST OR FROZEN PIPES
Frozen pipes build up significant pressure which can lead to pipes cracking or bursting in winter months. If a cracked or broken pipe goes undetected, they can lead to flooding once the ice melts.
- Make sure your outer walls and any exposed pipes are properly insulated.
- Be sure to caulk cracks and holes you see in your exterior walls; this can help to prevent cold air from reaching the pipes.
- Protect exposed pipes from freezing temperatures by wrapping them with the insulating tape or old towels.
- When temperatures are extremely low, or you plan to be away from home for several days, leave the faucets lightly dripping and keep the cabinets under your sink open to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. Doing so will keep water flowing and can help prevent your pipes from freezing.
- For maximum protection against hidden or sudden leaks, install a detection system that can monitor water pressure and automatically signal a water shut-off in the event of a leak or blocked pipe.
ICE DAMS AND ROOF LEAKS
Icicles may be a staple of winter, but they can be a sign that your home is in a vulnerable state. If your gutters are clogged, the snow that melts off your roof won't be able to pass through the drainage system properly. As the water trapped in your gutters refreezes, a wall of icicles will build up, eventually causing ice dams. The melt from these ice dams can damage your roof and seep into your attic, causing structural damage or mold. Any ice melt that drips over the sides of your gutters has the potential to pool next to your home's foundation and cause additional water damage. Finally, sharp icicles may break off as they melt, posing a serious safety hazard.
- Clean your gutters before cold weather comes around to keep the dangers of ice dams and roof leaks at a minimum.
CALL THE PROFESSIONALS
If you aren't able to prevent winter water damage, don't fear! SERVPRO of Western Lancaster has a 24/7 emergency response team available to assist during troublesome times! Call the professionals that are faster to any size disaster at 717-665-1270.
Heating Safety Tips
Know the risks involved with heating your home!
It’s no secret that we need heat to keep us warm throughout the winter months. Though heat is a necessity, many do not consider that heating their home doesn’t come without risk. Many studies show that fires occur more often in winter than in any other season. With that being said, SERVPRO of Western Lancaster would like you and your family to keep the following tips in mind:
Safety Tips for Fire Prevention This Winter:
- Have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned before lighting your wood stove or fireplace each year.
- Keep flammable objects at least three feet from your wood stove or fireplace.
- Never use flammable liquids to start or accelerate a fire in your home.
- Keep a screen in front of fireplaces to prevent embers from flying out.
- Do not leave your fireplace unattended; It is best practice to ensure your fire is out before going to sleep each night.
- Before closing your fireplace damper, ensure the ashes are cool to the touch. Closing the damper could help the fire to heat up again and will could force carbon monoxide into your home.
- Discard cooled ashes in a covered metal container. Store the container outside and away from the house.
- Have your furnace inspected annually to ensure that it is safe to operate.
- Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, install additional pipe insulation.
- Check that the flue pipe and pipe seams are well supported and without holes or cracks. Soot along or around seams may signal a leak.
- Keep combustible items away from the heating system.
Other Fire Safety Tips
- Ensure that there is adequate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
- To prevent carbon monoxide build-up, keep portable generators outside and away from doors and windows.
- Never use a stove or oven for heating. Not only is doing so a safety hazard, but it can also be a source of carbon monoxide.
- If you use electric heaters, plug only one heater into a wall outlet at a time to avoid overloading the circuit.
- Avoid using electric heaters in bathrooms or other areas where water is used.
- Never try to thaw frozen water pipes with a blow torch or other open flame.
Contact Your Local SERVPRO for Fire Restoration Services
SERVPRO of Western Lancaster provides fire and smoke damage remediation, in addition to water damage remediation, mold removal, and biohazard cleanup to commercial and residential customers. At SERVPRO of Western Lancaster, we are faster to any size disaster. If you need restoration services, call our office at 717-665-1270!
Emergency FIRE Response Plans for Businesses
Pull. Aim. Squeeze. Sweep.
Your business may already have an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in place, but are you certain that it covers everything you and your staff need to know? Formulating a complete and thorough evacuation plan may not be easy, but doing so can help protect you and your employees. At SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County, we offer ERP consultations to ensure that your business is ready; each Emergency Response Plan is unique as it is customized to your business's specific needs. In the meantime, here are some things you may want to make sure are included in your plan:
1. Fire Extinguisher Locations
It is important to ensure that every employee knows exactly where each fire extinguisher is located. This important step can save precious time during a fire, and has the potential to mitigate the situation before it causes further damage. Fire extinguishers should be easy to locate and easily accessible during an emergency. Additionally, employees should be trained on fire extinguisher use, using the P.A.S.S. technique. Fire extinguishers should be assessed annually by a trained professional to ensure that it is properly charged and ready to use. NOTE:Fire extinguishers should only be used if you see the fire start. If you are unsure in your ability to stop the spread of a fire, evacuate immediately and call 911.
2. Exit Locations
Another important part of an Emergency Response Plan is knowing where the nearest exits are from any point in the building. Knowing these locations will allow you and your staff to safely exit the building in a timely manner if a fire occurs. NOTE: There should be at least two exit points from every workspace, in the event that one path is blocked.
3. Designated Meeting Place
Another important step in creating your Emergency Response Plan is setting and communicating a "Designated Meeting Place". The Designated Meeting Place should be outside and a safe distance from the building. All employees should be trained on the location of the Designated Meeting Place, and should gather at that location so they can be quickly accounted for. NOTE: It is recommended that businesses conduct both routine and random fire drills to prepare staff for an actual fire. These drills can be used as training opportunities.
4. Emergency Contacts
In the event of a fire, call 911! Though 911 is the first number to remember, it is important to have employee Emergency Contact Information saved and accessible. You may want to include a note in your plan about where this information is stored to ensure it’s accessible when needed.
5. Post-Fire Information
In addition to Emergency Contact Information for employees, you may also want to include the location of insurance and mitigation and restoration professionals phone numbers in your plan. Doing this will ensure that you have the necessary resources available after a fire occurs. NOTE: Having the number of a trusted fire restoration service like SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County may make fire cleanup easier and less stressful.
6. Contact Us
To create or fine-tune your Emergency Response Plan, contact SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County at 717-665-1270! We are the professionals that are faster to any size disaster. We are here to help, and want to ensure that you are prepared in the event of an unfortunate disaster. Setting up an ERP with SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County allows you to be one step ahead when it comes to you and your employees safety!
Our Year dedicated to Community and Employees
In the midst of a 24 x 7 schedule we took some time to give Thanks this year
In a year so fraught with stress and uncertainty we at SERVPRO of Western Lancaster have tried to give back in a few ways.
To our community:
We have donated to several local non profits as well as local businesses that are struggling with financial stress and their ability to provide essential services to the most vulnerable at this time. We have seen a lot of turmoil and tragedy and through it all we have tried to pay it forward. As we look back at our year, we are grateful for life and the ability to help others in need while managing our own family pressures.
To our Employees:
We have been able to provide much needed levity for the men and women who are on standby 24 x 7 for our customer needs. Many times they are not appreciated and have always kept a stiff upper lip and continued to deliver. We celebrated Thanksgiving with in our newly constructed training room and had a few team building games that helped us bond and appreciate life, family and work.
KEY STEPS TO TAKE AFTER A HOUSEFIRE
SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County knows exactly what steps to follow after a fire. Reach out to us if you experience any fire damage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Repairing mild to moderate create water damage can be cumbersome. Contact SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County if you experience any drywall damage.
Whether it's from leaky plumbing, a storm event, or a window being left open, there is always a chance that your walls could be subject to water damage. While large scale water damage should be left to a professional for restoration, you may choose to tackle small sections of damaged drywall on your own. The SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County team of professionals utilize a 4-Step Method for repairing water damaged drywall. Below, we highlight each step of the four-step method we use so you can easily repair or replace water damaged drywall. If you're even unsure of how to proceed, SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County is Here to Help!
STEP 1: Find and Repair the Leak
There’s no point in repairing a water damaged wall if you haven't removed the source of the damage first. Finding the leak that caused damage can sometimes be difficult, but you can use clues from the damage to get a better idea as to where the water is coming from:
- If the damage appears to run downward from the top of the wall, and also affects the ceiling, a roof leak is likely a good contender for being the cause of loss. PRO TIP: You can spray your roof with a garden hose and watch for dripping in your attic to detect roof leaks.
- Water damage that is directly in the center of the wall is often an indicator that a broken pipe behind the wall is your cause of loss. PRO TIP: High-pressure leaks in pipes behind walls may make an audible hiss if you hold your ear to the wall.
With some investigating and basic plumbing knowledge, you may be able to find and repair and leak on your own. If you doubt your abilities in the slightest, contact a professional for guidance.
STEP 2: Replace Saturated Drywall
Drywall is a highly porous material, therefore the longer it is exposed to water, the more water it will absorb. This water absorption will eventually cause your drywall to become soft and spongy. After a certain point, your drywall 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 of wall or ceiling.
- Use a stud finder to locate the studs behind the damaged section of drywall.
- Once you have located the stud, cut straight lines around the damage using a level and a drywall knife.
- When you remove the damaged drywall, check the insulation behind it. If the insulation is saturated, you will likely need to remove and replace the insulation before putting in new drywall.
- Cut a new piece of drywall to the same size of the hole. Line up your new piece of drywall and screw it into the studs.
- Cover the seams with joint compound and tape, and then sand and paint the drywall.
STEP 3: 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. PRO-TIP: Do NOT mix chemical products together. Always read the labels and use as directed!
- Always wear gloves and a dust mask when handling mold.
- Ensure that there is proper ventilation in the room you are working in. Ventilation and the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will help protect you from spores that may be released while scrubbing.
- Spray the affected area of the wall with the solution you are using to clean.
- Scrub the wall with a soft bristle cleaning brush or abrasive sponge. PRO TIP: Scrubbing can still be effective if the wall is unpainted, but in severe cases you may need to replace the mold-covered section.
STEP 4: Cover Water Stains
Next, you will want to cover any light water stains on the remaining sections of drywall, that weren't significantly damaged.
- First, you will want to scrub the affected area with a damp cloth, or sand it to remove paint, dirt, and debris.
- Then, 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.
When in doubt, leave it to the pros!
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 at 717-665-1270! Calling SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County gives you the opportunity to work with an experienced water damage restoration professional who can restore your walls to like-new condition.
A Cleaner Office Means Fewer Pests
A very clean and merry SERVPRO of Western Lancaster office at Christmas
A Cleaner Office Means Fewer Pests
Office pests can include insects and small mammals, like mice. These pests are often attracted to an office for a few key resources — food, water, and shelter. Offices are sometimes 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 tend to be ground zero for pest infestations, as this is where the bulk of food storage, preparation, and consumption occurs.
You will want to advise your employees to line garbage cans with plastic bags. Doing so will help contain odors. For optimal scent consolidation, opt for lidded receptacles in the break room and common areas where food may be disposed of.
If you utilize a daily cleaning service, it is best practice to empty each waste bin every evening, regardless of whether or not food and candy wrappers are present. Full service cleaning companies will empty individual garbage cans if the offices are left open or if keys are provided. For offices with only weekly cleaning services, or that have locked offices, a staff member should empty garbage cans every night.
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. Instruct employees keep all food items in sealed plastic bags or storage containers. All storage containers should have a sealed, tight fitting lid. Additionally, make sure spills in the pantry areas are cleaned up promptly; the longer food sits, the more likely that pests will find their food source.
During short breaks, employees don't always have the time to thoroughly clean up after themselves. Spills on counter tops, food left in the sink, and crumbs on tables or 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.
No one wants to limit snacking in the office, but setting a few ground rules is a must! Any food kept in cubicles, desks, etc... should be stored in pest-proof containers, such as jars or lidded food storage containers. Candy jars and similar items should also have lids on them. There should never be 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.
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.
Instruct all employees to 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.
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 at 717-665-1270 to learn more about how commercial cleaning services can keep your office clean, more welcoming, and free of pest problems.