Recent Posts

A Fire Hazard in the Home: The Clothes Dryer

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

Dryer While cleaning the lint filter on a regular basis, it is also important to take several other steps in order to protect your laundry room and the rest

Threatening significant damage, residential fires are a common concern for homeowners. It may be surprising to know that an object in the laundry room is a leading cause of residential fires. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, the clothes dryer, a machine that we use daily, accounts for 92% of laundry room fires. Even if a fire ignites in the laundry room, it is important to note that fires can spread quickly to other areas of the home. For these reasons, it is beneficial to understand why dryer fires ignite so that you can best protect your entire home while continuing to use the clothes dryer regularly.

Clean That Lint Filter!

Neglecting one of the simplest steps when using the dryer, cleaning the lint filter, can result in devastating consequences. One of the primary catalysts for dryer fires is failing to clean them between uses, a task that only takes a few seconds. Lint, which accumulates during each use in the lint trap, is highly flammable in and of itself, but it can also restrict airflow, thus increasing the risk for fire. For these reasons, it isn’t sufficient to only clean the lint filter every few days. Instead, be sure to remove lint from the filter in between every use. By taking a few moments to clean out the lint filter, you can greatly reduce the chances of a dangerous fire igniting in your home.

Other Ways to Prevent Dryer Fires

While cleaning the lint filter on a regular basis, it is also important to take several other steps in order to protect your laundry room and the rest of your home from the potentially devastating consequences of a fire.

  • Pay Close Attention To Clothing Labels

If you take a look at the tags of clothes, linens, towels, and other fabric materials, you’ll likely see specified instructions for drying. It is imperative that these directions, which can range from “tumble dry low” to “high heat”, be followed as closely as possible. Items that require low heat sometimes contain types of rubber that should not be exposed to high heat.

  • Move Flammable Objects Away from the Dryer

It is not uncommon for household cleaning supplies to be stored in the laundry room. It is important to note that cleaning materials are often flammable. If these items are kept in your laundry room, make sure to keep them a safe distance from the dryer at all times to decrease the chances of any fire that ignites spreading quickly.

  • Check the Outdoor Vent Flap

Outdoor vent flaps allow lint and hot air to escape clothes dryers. If the vent flap becomes obstructed by debris of any kind, keeping lint and hot air stuck in the unit, your dryer may be at greater risk for fire. Therefore, it is imperative that outdoor vent flaps are inspected regularly.

If Disaster Strikes…

Even after following all of these steps to prevent a fire from igniting as a result of your clothes dryer, accidents can still happen. If your home has experienced a dryer fire, make sure that SERVPRO is your first call. We understand how distressing residential fires can be and our fire damage experts will work diligently to restore your home quickly, getting things back to normal as soon as possible. Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West today and learn more about our trusted fire damage services by clicking here.

Causes of Sump Pump Failure

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

“Causes of Sump Pump Failure”

You can usually find sump pumps in commercial buildings’ basements, working to drain water from the basement and pump it out, away from the building. Sump pumps play a critical role in protecting buildings from flooding and water damage. This is why a sump pump failure can be devastating and lead to a costly cleanup. In order to prevent a sump pump failure in your commercial building, it is important to first gain an understanding of why sump pumps fail.

Causes

Old Age

First, consider the age of your building’s sump pump. One of the most common reasons for sump pump failure is that the unit is old. After 7-10 years, sump pump failure is inevitable. Therefore, it is paramount that sump pumps be replaced when they begin to show signs of wear and tear in order to avoid disaster.

Power Outage

During these stormy summer months and hurricane season, a common reason as to why sump pumps fail is a power outage. Rain water from storms alone can overwhelm sump pumps, but major problems can occur if the storm causes a power outage, as it will prevent the sump pump from being able to do its job. In order to prevent your building’s basement from flooding during a power outage, be sure to hook your sump pump up to a backup generator. 

Infrequent Maintenance

Finally, sump pumps can fail if they are not receiving regular maintenance. To avoid a failure due to infrequent maintenance, make sure that you run a vinegar solution through the unit and check that its vents are functioning properly.

Sump Pump Failure? Call SERVPRO

In the event that your commercial building experiences water damage due to a sump pump failure, look no further than SERVPRO. We are experts in commercial water damage and have years of experience in our tool belt to provide you with effective restoration services unique to your building. We’ll also protect your building from the growth of mold and mildew through our advanced drying techniques. Read an overview of our water damage services by clicking here. Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West today at (717) 510-6779 to schedule a consultation.

Top 3 Source of Water Damage in Your Kitchen

9/1/2020 (Permalink)

Water Faucet The effects of water damage on your home can be devastating and costly.

We’re in our kitchens every day, cooking meals, washing dishes, and so much more. These activities involve significant quantities of water, so it makes sense that kitchens are notorious for experiencing water damage. Several areas of the kitchen can be problematic in terms of water leakage and in order to protect your kitchen from water damage, it is important to know the locations of common problem spots. Keep reading to learn about 3 of the most common water damage sources in the kitchen.

  • The Sink

Whether it’s washing the dishes, handwashing, or filling up a cup of water to drink, sinks use a lot of water. Sinks leak due to a variety of complications, including corrosion of sink parts and leaks in the drain or faucet. The best way to prevent water damage stemming from the sink is to check the sink’s piping for corroded parts and leaks every 6 months.

  • The Dishwasher

Dishwashers require a tremendous amount of water in order to wash cups, plates, and silverware on a daily basis. The large quantity of water required by the dishwasher combined with its frequent usage makes for greater chances that the dishwasher will leak. When dishwashers leak, it may be the result of the wrong type of detergent being used, the unit overfilling with water, or a bent dishwasher door latch. To protect your kitchen from water damage due to a dishwasher leak, keep an eye out for pools of water beneath the dishwasher.

  • The Refrigerator and Ice Maker

There’s nothing better on a summer day than a refreshing glass of your favorite beverage, made cool with the help of a little refrigeration and ice. However, the refrigerator and ice maker can make for a mess of water damage, as they’re prone to breaking down and causing leaks. Ice maker leaks can be the result of a wide array of problems, with the two most common being worn-out or damaged parts as well as improper installation. Keep an eye out for water accumulating on the floor underneath the fridge and ice maker, which is usually evidence that a leak has sprung. Additionally, it is beneficial to have refrigerators and ice makers inspected and maintenanced regularly to prevent unexpected leaks.

The effects of water damage on your home can be devastating and costly, risking structural damage and destruction of surfaces and appliances, as well as mold and mildew growth. If you have experienced water damage in your kitchen, remember that SERVPRO is standing by, ready to help. Here at SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, our water damage specialists have years of experience with kitchen water damage and will know what to do to restore your kitchen. Learn more about our water damage services here and call us today at (717) 510-6779 for a quick and thorough restoration.

Taking it to the Streets - A Field Investigation

8/17/2020 (Permalink)

Hallway SERVPRO Are you ready for back to school?

Back in mid-March, statewide closures of public schools were announced by the Pennsylvania and Maryland governors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, students, teachers, and parents stayed at home for the rest of the school year and adjusted to the new normal of virtual learning. With fall quickly approaching, the question on everyone’s mind is: Will students return to school or will virtual learning continue?

Will Students Return to the Classroom?

An article recently published in the Baltimore Sun, titled “Superintendents say schools in Central Maryland unlikely to return to normal in the fall, describes the problem that is currently facing Maryland schools while Baltimore-area school superintendents examine a variety of fall reopening plans. According to the superintendents, students returning to “in-person classes five days a week” (Bowie, 2020) this fall is unlikely. Several Maryland counties and Pittsburgh Public Schools have already decided to hold fall classes virtually. Contrastingly, other area schools and districts have decided to adopt either completely virtual or hybrid methods of learning.

Schools Consider Different Plans

Hybrid models of learning, differing slightly from institution to institution, are being considered by regional colleges and universities. Located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Dickinson College has opted for an entirely virtual fall semester, keeping students at home. On the other hand, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Maryland both plan to have students return to campus in some capacity this fall, as they will offer a mostly remote schedule and some in-person classes. Both schools have announced that they will enforce social distancing, mask wearing, and other safety protocols in addition to providing isolation facilities on campus (coronavirus.pitt.edu, 2020; umd.edu, 2020). Even with all of these safety precautions, the question is: will it be enough?

SERVPRO Can Help

No matter what model schools adopt, here at SERVPRO, we have a solution. Our “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program can be integrated into school reopening plans this fall by offering schools a cleaning service that is hospital-grade and uses disinfectants that are approved by the EPA. Both frequently contacted touchpoints, which include desktops, chair backs, and stair handrails, as well as less frequently contacted touchpoints, such as backs of desks and bathroom stall walls, are targeted in the cleaning. Afterward, SERVPRO will provide physical and digital signage, which schools can put on display to communicate the high level of disinfectant cleaning that the school has received. “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” cleanings can be either defensive or, if the school has a positive case of COVID-19, SERVPRO will arrive immediately to thoroughly disinfect the building.

Even though there is uncertainty surrounding this fall and the school year, you can guarantee that your school will undergo the highest standard of cleaning by integrating SERVPRO’s “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program into your unique reopening plan.

Condo Fire in Frederick

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

Our parent franchise SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County was dispatched to a large fire loss in which the roof needed to be addressed so that any incoming storms would not soak through and damage the rest of the condos below. We are always on the lookout for the best technology in order to provide the highest level of service to all of our customers. That's why we're the best in the industry

For more information, and progress photos, check out our Facebook post!

"SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County, along with SERVPRO of Frederick County were recently called to mitigate a devastating condo fire. The roof of the 12 unit building was completely destroyed. Check out these pictures to see the installation progress on the temporary roof and shrink wrap installed last week. This will protect the condo units through the restoration process until a permanent roof can be rebuilt. Isais didn’t stand a chance."

Owners Corner: 2nd Quarter 2020

8/11/2020 (Permalink)

The following is an excerpt from our 3rd quarter newsletter. This quarter’s Owner’s Corner features one of our owners, Trish Wall, giving her thoughts on the company’s experience over the last several months dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic:

It’s been 6 months since we published our last quarterly newsletter back in January. Now, at the end of July, we’re here looking at only our second “Quarterly” newsletter of 2020. If you’re doing the math and wondering why it doesn’t quite add up, you’re not mistaken. I’ll give you two guesses at the reason for this and the first one doesn’t count… COVID-19.

It was the afternoon of New Year’s Eve when I wrote the last “Owner’s Corner” article and I was filled with emotions anticipating the new year. Feeling pensive, excited, anxious, and hopeful, I summarized our strategy for 2020 as “Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable”, which ended up being more prophetic than any of us could have imagined.

Everyone was uniquely impacted by COVID-19 in this country. Professionally, the pandemic forced our team to take on an abrupt change. We were a restoration company that offered cleaning services on 3/11/20. By 3/12/20, we suddenly became a cleaning company that offered restoration services after our first COVID-19 cleaning job began. It doesn’t get more uncomfortable than reversing your business model overnight.

Every member of our team dove in headfirst, taking the challenge of shifting right away. “Flattening the curve” was the country’s top priority and our company had the resources and tools to help do so. Therefore, we felt and still feel an immense social responsibility to service our communities. After four months and a plethora of COVID-19 cleaning jobs, our team is incredibly proud of the contributions that they have made in an effort to combat this pandemic.

The pride that Jim and I hold for our team is even more extensive. I’m reminded of the John Maxwell quote, “Change is Inevitable. Growth is Optional.” Growth was something consciously chosen by our team members when they were surrounded by the numerous uncertainties of this time. Their decision to choose growth has left us in awe.

We strive to instill the mindset of always pursuing professional as well as personal growth. It was incredibly gratifying to watch it play out right before our eyes. Our company’s ability to positively impact our community amidst the turbulence our country is facing has brought us gratitude. We are even more appreciative of our team for carrying out Team Wall’s vision statement, “Restoring peace of mind to EVERY customer. EVERY day”.

We hope that you stay healthy and stay safe. Keep growing!

Sincerely,

Jim and Trish Wall

P.S. Entreleadership is one of our favorite podcast series. One episode in May featured John Maxwell as a guest, speaking about Personal Growth. It had a great impact on us and we think that giving it a listen would be worth your time: https://www.entreleadership.com/blog/podcasts/john-maxwell-success. I have many favorite thoughts from this podcasts, but this quote is a particular favorite:

“I’m going to live til I die and I’m not going to get the two confused.”

Dealing With Toilet Overflow

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Toilet in Abandoned Bathroom Sometimes, it is possible to resolve a toilet overflow on your own if you catch it right away and know for a fact that it hasn’t caused water damage.

There’s nothing worse than realizing that your toilet has overflowed, leaving water spread across your bathroom floor, risking serious water damage. Water resulting from a toilet overflow can inflict damage on bathroom floors and potentially leak into the ceiling below, creating an ever more serious issue. Toilet overflows can be messy, unpleasant, and potentially costly, which makes it important to do everything in your power to prevent them from happening. To understand common causes of toilet overflows, prevent them from happening, and know how to clean up, continue reading.

What Causes a Toilet Overflow?

Toilet overflows can be the result of many different complications. Three common causes are sewage complications, a clogged drain, and a blocked vent.

A full septic tank or a clogged sewer line are two sewage complications that can be the root cause of a toilet overflow. If your home has a septic tank, it works to release excess water into the ground. If your tank is full, the water will travel back into the house, risking an overflow. Additionally, if a sewer line becomes blocked, whether it be by tree roots and debris or sanitary wipes, flooding can occur in addition to a toilet overflow.

When the toilet drain becomes clogged or blocked, which can occur frequently, the toilet cannot flush properly and may overflow. Usually, using a plunger to unclog the toilet works to resolve the issue.

Lastly, the vent pipe works to pump external air, which is used every time you flush the toilet. A blocked vent pipe restricts proper flushing, therefore risking an overflow. A professional, experienced plumber is usually needed in order to relieve the problem.

How to Clean Up

Upon seeing a toilet overflow, your initial reaction may consist of wincing and exclaiming “oh no!” Immediately after coming to terms with what happened, the first thing that you should do is turn off the water and stop the flow of water from the toilet. Next, remove any standing water on your bathroom surfaces as quickly as possible using a mop, wet vacuum, or towels. Regardless of the method you choose, time is of the essence because the longer water sits on surfaces, the more serious damage it may cause. Once all standing water is removed, it is important to use a high-powered fan to dry out the area in order to prevent mold and mildew growth. Lastly, be sure to disinfect and clean both the affected surfaces and any areas nearby.

We’re Water Damage Specialists

Sometimes, it is possible to resolve a toilet overflow on your own if you catch it right away and know for a fact that it hasn’t caused water damage. In most cases, however, toilet overflows cause serious damage that requires the help of a professional to remediate water damage caused by the overflow. For a water damage restoration that you can trust, call SERVPRO today. Our team of water damage specialists are experienced in restoring water damage resulting from toilet overflows. To learn more about the water damage services that we provide, click here.

Be Ready For Anything This Hurricane Season

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Sattelite Image of Hurricane` In the event that your business is hit with unexpected hurricane damage this hurricane season, SERVPRO is only a call away.

June 1st through November 30th is home to hurricane season in the United States. On the east coast specifically, the height of hurricane season usually occurs between August and October. With August quickly approaching and the number of named storms already uncharacteristically high this year, it’s time to get into gear for what could be a hurricane season that is 50% more severe than usual, according to a recent Colorado State University study. It is of the utmost importance that before a storm, commercial businesses develop an emergency plan in order to stay afloat after enduring a hurricane. Take these proactive steps to make sure that your commercial business is ready for anything this hurricane season.

Take Action Before The Storm

Important documents that house data essential to your business should be protected as best as possible in order to prevent them from becoming damaged during a hurricane emergency. Having information stored digitally, making copies, and placing physical documents in a waterproof container can help protect the information your business needs in order to operate. This hurricane season, many employees may still be working remotely. Therefore, it is especially important to have accurate contact information for every employee in order to get in touch and confirm their safety in case of an emergency. In terms of protecting your property, there are several steps you can take. To make sure that your roof is sturdy, have a professional inspect your roof so that any underlying issues can be dealt with prior to a storm. You can also purchase storm shutters to protect windows from debris and sandbags to minimize flooding around doors.

Have a Plan in Place

Protecting your physical workplace is critical to your business’ survival in the event of a hurricane. Having an emergency evacuation plan that details the safest stairwells and doorways to use will help employees know what to do if disaster strikes while at work. Familiarize employees with your business’ evacuation plan and create multiple copies of your business’ evacuation plan to post throughout the workplace in case employees need to be reminded during an emergency.

SERVPRO Is Here To Help

Even though taking the proactive actions listed above can help in limiting the damage your commercial business experiences during a hurricane, hurricanes can still bring unforeseen devastation. In the event that your business is hit with unexpected hurricane damage this hurricane season, SERVPRO is only a call away. Our team of storm damage professionals will arrive quickly, providing your commercial business with a thorough restoration.

Commercial Ice Blasting: A Cool Damage Solution

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Ice Blasting Before and After Before and After some Iceblasting work pictured on the lefthand side

At SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, we offer a variety of services for commercial restoration. Commercial ice blasting is one type of cleanup service we provide that can tackle everything from mold growth and water damage to fire and smoke damage. To find out if our commercial ice blasting services are right for your commercial business, read more about ice blasting below.

What is Ice Blasting?

Carbon dioxide in its solid form, known as “dry ice”, is used in the process of ice blasting. When sprayed out of the nozzle, pellets or dry ice move quickly toward the affected surface. Sublimation occurs when the pellets reach the surface, causing the solid pellets to convert into a gas, which then aids in eliminating any unwanted residue, such as soot from fire damage or mold, from the surface.

How Can It Be Used?

Multiple different types of damage can be remediated through our ice blasting services. If your commercial business experiences mold growth, ice blasting can remove 99.9% of mold spores and eradicate mold’s musty odor. Ice blasting also successfully removes contaminants after a fire and deodorizes areas that have been impacted by fire or smoke damage. If your business has sustained damage from a flood or another type of water damage, ice blasting can be trusted to restore wet surfaces and get rid of any resulting mold. Another perk of utilizing ice blasting is that it can reach areas that are difficult to access, including crevices and corners. Ice blasting can be utilized to remediate damage on a variety of surfaces. SERVPRO’s ice blasting commercial services can provide concrete, brick, and wood ice blasting, among many more.

Why Choose Our Ice Blasting Commercial Services?

You may be wondering, why choose ice blasting over other cleanup services? Our ice blasting commercial services provide a quick and efficient solution to your business’ water damage, fire and smoke damage, or mold growth issue. Additionally, ice blasting is a non-abrasive cleaning treatment, meaning that it would cause any harm to the affected surface or its surrounding areas. Ice blasting is also environmentally-friendly. It is free of harmful chemicals and won’t produce secondary waste. Finally, because ice blasting is a dry process, you won’t have to worry about the affected surface becoming exposed to moisture.

If after learning more about our commercial ice blasting services, you think that your commercial business may benefit from ice blasting to remediate water, fire and smoke, or mold damage, call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779. Our commercial ice blasting experts are standing by and are ready to help your business get back to normal.

Job of the Quarter (Q2 2020)

8/4/2020 (Permalink)

Debris Chute In order to complete this job with a quick turnaround time, everyone’s help was needed.

Choosing the job of the quarter is always difficult. Each day, we have the pleasure of supporting our customers with many different needs, and likewise, in every job our team members shine with their work ethic and customer service. So, how do you select just one particular, outstanding job? It came down to working as a team with our trademark hustle this quarter.

Getting the Call

Our phone rang at 3 PM one Saturday in June, calling our attention to a significant fire loss in a 375,000 square foot South Central Pennsylvania logistics warehouse. They needed service immediately. This customer's well-known retail client couldn't risk downtime, overdue shipments and angry customers. To make it “Like it never even happened,” they needed Team Wall’s help. However, because COVID-19 cleanings were consuming our production schedules after-hours, it wasn’t certain that one office would have the resources necessary or be able to complete the job as quickly as the customer needed. Nevertheless, what sets Team Wall apart, our labor and resource efficiency, is what we were able to offer this job.

Combining Our Powers

Pardon me for being cheesy, but remember Captain Planet and his saying “our powers combined”? That’s our reality at SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team Wall. By having offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore, we have a unique opportunity to not only serve customers across a large geographic area, but we’re also able to combine our labor and equipment resources when necessary. By doing so for this fire loss, we were able to react immediately and efficiently, making for a customer who was happy "beyond measure” with the final product.

Within an hour of the initial call, members of our Management and Production teams arrived on the scene from both our Baltimore and Harrisburg offices. Upon arrival, they created a mitigation strategy and immediately began services for water extraction, drying, and cleaning. A 45-person team worked to complete the fire restoration and keep the logistics warehouse running business as usual from Saturday evening through Tuesday.

All Hands On Deck

In order to complete this job with a quick turnaround time, everyone’s help was needed. Onsite, we had everyone from technicians to one of our owners, Jim Wall, helping out! In the photo above, you can see Jim on a scissor lift, working to mount a debris chute. It’s safe to say that this job required all hands on deck in order to complete.

SERVPRO has emphasized the importance of superior hustle and customer service since day one. Even today, 12 years later, we strive for these characteristics in every job and we never intend to stop doing so. We are so thankful for the opportunity you and your customer’s provide us to serve you when you need it most. We love being “Here to Help!” and we value your support more than you know!