Basement flooding prevention tips
Example of poor draining downspout.
As hurricane season approaches many of us will be vulnerable to basement flooding. Basement flooding can be a major disturbance to a family. Loss of use of a part of your home, damage to flooring and walls, damage to personal property, potential of mold growth, and just overall an experience we would avoid if we could.
To begin trying to prevent basement flooding first we must understand why basements flood. Think about when your home was being built. A large hole is dug and the masonry foundation is built inside that hole. The area outside of that foundation wall becomes a trench. This trench is later back filled with dirt. However this dirt is different in composition from what was removed. Typically the soil make up in Southeastern Pennsylvania is a hard clay soil under top soil layer which is hard and compacted. The trench soil is loose, not as compacted, and drains more rapidly. So when water fills this trench in a heavy rainstorm it has only 3 possible directions to go, away from home through hard clay soil, down below the trench through hard clay soil, or into your home though porous masonry walls. The most important step to preventing water damages from rain/flooding is to keep water away from this trench. There are other causes for basements to flood like hydrostatic pressure and sump pump failures but this is the most common cause from our experience.
Below are some tips from the pros that may help you avoid a water damage:
- · Check your gutters and clean them if needed. Clogged gutters cause overflows which lead to water pooling outside the foundation walls. If enough water pools by your foundation, some will most likely enter your basement.
- · Check on your gutter downspouts. If your gutters are clean and operating properly but the water is being discharged to close to your foundation some water will most likely enter your basement. Local home stores sell inexpensive downspout extenders. Use downspout extenders to make sure the water is being discharged away from your foundation and not pooling.
- · Check on your sump pump and pit. Many of us don’t know that our sump pumps aren’t working until it’s too late. Get a 5 gallon bucket of water and fill the pit till the pump kicks on. Make sure it’s working and just like the downspouts, discharging away from your foundation. Also and dirt and debris in the sump pump pit can get sucked into the pump and create a block or shorten the life span and power of your pump. Detach the pump (if possible) and vacuum the pit out with a shop vac to remove any dirt/stones/debris.
Sometimes no matter what we do and what steps we take to prevent it, water will find its way into your home. If that’s the case, we are here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
Ceiling collapse in Wayne
Kitchen ceiling on the floor
When you come home from vacation the last thing you feel like doing is unpacking, let alone cleaning your kitchen ceiling up off the floor. If a water leak starts when no one is home to shut it off, the damage can get extensive. This picture shows a home after the owners took a weekend trip to the shore. They returned to find a toilet on the second floor was clogged and kept running once they left. The water went through the bathroom floor and into the kitchen ceiling causing the collapse. SERVPRO of The Main Line offers 24 hour emergency service for fire and water damage. Our crew went out that night to start the cleaning and drying process. Situations like this can be traumatizing but once the SERVPRO crew arrives, the customers mind is put at ease.
Rapid response can mean the difference between restore vs. replace
Commercial office building water damaged carpet.
The first few hours after a commercial water damage can be the most vital. Rapid response will many times be the determining factoring between restoring and replacing. The photo captioned is what the employees of this office building saw when they came into work one morning. A quick call to SERVPRO of The Main Line and a crew was on their way. Clean up began with extraction of carpets. Other crew members moved and blocked contents. Even more crew members removed the vinyl cove base and drill holes in the lower drywall to allow airflow to more efficiently dry the walls. Holes are always punched below the trim line to allow for the new trim to cover the holes. Drying equipment was set up by a manager as he walked through to ensure nothing was overlooked and properly document the job for the insurance company. The SERVPRO team came in like a wave, just as the water did a few hours before.
- The water damage was discovered on a Friday morning at 6:00AM.
- The crew arrived at 7:45AM.
- The work was completed by Friday evening at 6:30PM.
- Crew returned Saturday and Sunday to take moisture readings and reposition drying equipment for optimal drying.
- Crew arrived 6:00AM Monday to install new cove base and remove equipment.
- By Monday 9:00AM, the property was put back together and it was business as usual for this company. Employees that had off that Friday never even knew anything had happened!
If you have a water damage in your commercial property, remember that a quick response from SERVPRO of The Main Line can make the difference from a inconvenient weekend to weeks of construction and loss of use. Call us today to help make it "Like it never even happened!"
Smoke webs in a Wayne basement
Furnace puff backs can be one of the most heavily involved types of jobs that we perform here at SERVPRO. Smoke and soot can find its way into all nooks and a cranny of your home, stain fabrics and painted surfaces, and embeds itself into your carpets and flooring.
One common misconception however is that is reveals the deficiencies in your home cleaning. One of the cardinal features of a puffback is “webs” in the corners of your walls and ceilings and doorways. Customers always feel that they are cobwebs that have been blackened by the soot but they are actually carbon chains formed from the soot. Since a puffback is a sudden burst of soot from your furnace it puts a lot of soot (carbon) into the air in a short time window. This carbon collides with one another and forms chains which just happen to look like cobwebs.
Smoke and soot cleaning should always be done by a professional to minimize the damage and fully remove the smoke and soot. Incorrect cleaning methods could result in smearing, streaking, and having to paint or replace items that may not have needed to be. SERVPRO uses specialized cleaning agents and equipment to get your home back up and running as soon as possible with a minimal disturbance to you.
If you do have a puffback or other smoke/soot issue, call SERVPRO of The Main Line at 610-640-9533.
Long term water damage causes little puddle on kitchen floor but big problems in crawlspace
Hidden subfloor damage under insulation in crawlspace
Many of us seldom use our crawlspaces so when there is a problem it can go undetected for long periods of time. In this case the homeowners noticed a small puddle on their kitchen floor several days in a row. They simply cleaned up the puddle everyday and thought their refrigerator was on its last legs. The eventually called their appliance repair company and they came out to investigate the situation further. They determined that the refrigerator had been leaking and the majority of the water was ending up in the crawlspace. The entire crawlspace floor was covered in water. That’s when SERVPRO of The Main Line was called in.
Any time a long term water damage or mold is reported, a project manager goes out before the technicians. The project manager inspects the home to discover the path of the water and find all areas of damage, develop plan of water damage remediation, establish mold remediation protocol, and inform the customer of how work will be performed in their home.
The project manager starts with the reported source of the water; he first inspected the kitchen and found the ceramic tile floor to be minimally wet and installed over cement board. He also suspected the drywall behind the cabinets was affected as well. He then inspected the adjacent dining room, moved a piece of furniture, and found a wet drywall wall and buckled hardwood floor. In the crawlspace there was water on the floor, wet insulation, and behind the insulation there was mold growth on the underside of the subfloor.
After a detailed conversation with the homeowners a plan was developed and the technicians were scheduled. The plan was to remove the damaged flooring and the wet drywall in the dining room, then to dry the inaccessible wet drywall behind the kitchen cabinets. SERVPRO uses every effort to “restore vs. replace” but in this case removing the drywall in the dining room was a much better alternative than removing cabinets to dry the wet drywall in the kitchen. In the crawlspace the wet insulation was to be removed the floor to be extracted and cleaned, and the underside of subfloor to be cleaned with an anti-microbial agent, then to dry everything.
Once the technicians arrived, the homeowners already knew what to expect. The technicians carried out the plan and all went smoothly. Reconstruction was scheduled to follow.
Every water and mold damage is different and needs a personalized approach that encompasses the full scope of the damage. Proper planning and inspection ensures that nothing gets overlooked and all goes on schedule. If you have had a long term water damage or see signs of mold growth, call SERVPRO of The Main Line at 610-524-0211 for a FREE inspection today!
Thanksgiving Day fires
Thanksgiving fire safety causes
Every year we receive at least one phone call from someone who has had their thanksgiving day ruined by a turkey fire. The strong smell and sticky soot residue left behind are a sure way to get the in-laws not to overstay their welcome but it also may prevent you from being able to stay yourself and enjoy the remnants of your dinner.
These types of protein fires have severely strong odors, sticky yellowish soot, and can remain for the entire holiday season if not addressed properly.
SERVPRO has over 200 different cleaning agents with some created for just this type of damage because cleaning methods vary with the source of the fire. To successfully reverse the effects of a protein fire, all surfaces in the affected portion of the home need to be cleaned and deodorized. SERVPRO also utilizes specialty deodorization machines to help neutralize the odor from the moment our technicians step in the door. Even things like clothing in the coat closet may need to be taken to the dry-cleaner to remove the odor fully. In many cases the affected rooms may need to be sealed and painted to complete the job.
SERVPRO has technicians on call 24/7 to help get you back in your home as soon as possible.
As bad as your Thanksgiving may be if you suffer from this type of loss, a quick call to SERVPRO of The Main Line can ensure that the rest of your holiday season does not go down in flames with the turkey!
Specialized equipment for drying hardwood floors
Hardwood floor drying system
When hardwood flooring gets wet during a water damage it can cause serious problems. Even if the water is cleaned up from the surface immediately, the water may have already penetrated the flooring. Water travels under the floor boards which causes them to swell and buckle. It usually takes around 48 hours for signs of visible damage and in most cases this damage is irreversible which means the floor will require replacement.
That’s where SERVPRO of The Main Line comes in. We have specialized floor drying equipment specifically for this problem. It’s called a “Trapped Moisture Ventilation System” or hardwood floor drying system. The system works by placing plastic mats on the wet flooring and using suction to draw out the moisture. The drying process typically takes 3 days to return the moisture content of the floor to normal and in most cases, re-finishing is not required!
When it comes to wet hardwood flooring, time is of the essence. The sooner the drying process begins the better the end result. With 24 hour emergency service we can be on-site within 4 hours to begin the drying process.
Dishwasher problems in Malvern
Mold behind dishwasher
A dishwasher leak can go unnoticed for a long time; in this case it was about 6 months. When the plumber arrived to pull out the dishwasher this is what he found. An unknown amount of mold growth behind the dishwasher and the adjacent cabinets.
SERVPRO of The Main Line was then called in to address the situation. Every mold job is first scoped by an experienced project manager to determine the best course of action for remediation that will create the smallest disturbance to the daily lives of the residents. In this case, part of the kitchen had to be removed to address the mold in full.
A full containment barrier with negative air pressure was setup to prevent mold spores from traveling into different parts of the home; granite counter tops were removed (without breaking); cabinets were unscrewed and set in the garage for safe keeping; all moldy drywall, insulation, and flooring were removed. The entire area was thoroughly cleaned by HEPA vacuuming and wet cleaning with anti-microbial. Job is ready for the repair team!
Do’s and Don’ts for Fire and Smoke Damage
DOLimit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being imbedded into upholstery and carpets.Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further cross contaminate an otherwise unaffected area. Call SERVPRO of Central Chester County and The Main Line.
DON’T Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting our officeAttempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture.Attempt to clean any electrical appliances, TV sets, computers etc. that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.Use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water.Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be damaged or wet.Send garments to ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
10 Bathroom Water Damage Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know
10 Bathroom Water Damage Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know
by Brad Fries
Ever wonder what can be lurking in your toilet? Or where all of that water went when your sink overflowed? What could be growing behind the walls? Keep reading to learn some interesting bathroom facts you probably didn't know.
1. Did you know that the bathroom is THE most susceptible location for water damage in your entire house? There are so many little bits of information and facts you may not know that could possibly save your bathroom from potential water damage. Read on below for nine more bathroom water damage tidbits we bet you didn’t know, but would love to find out!
2. Invisible plumbing problems such as clogged drains can stop your bathtub and shower from completely drying after usage, and can signal severe problems underneath the bathtub. To prevent further bathroom water damage, these inconspicuous plumbing troubles should be inspected by a professional as soon as possible.
3. The toilet is one of the household fixtures that can cause the majority of bathroom water damage in the home. Never ignore any water found around the toilet. The toilet lines should constantly be check for leaks, and the toilet rims, seats, and the toilet tank should be regularly checked as well. Also inspect the seal of the toilet. If the seal does not work anymore, there will be leakage from the toilet, causing disastrous bathroom water damage.
4. If the bathroom floor is soft, damage may already be in the process of occurring.
5. The exhaust fan is an essential bathroom asset for the maintenance of low humidity levels. Assisting to keep the area dry and ventilated, the exhaust fan is an added security against the destruction that bathroom water damage causes. Be sure to turn on the fan during and following a warm/hot shower or bath to prevent moisture accumulation. Routine cleaning and inspection can ensure that your exhaust fan is always operating properly. It is suggested to wire the fan to automatically function when the bathroom is used.
6. Hanging deodorants in the toilet bowl can increase the chances of a clog, especially in low-flow toilets. Skip the fancy deodorizers if you want to keep your bowl clog-free and lessen your chances of bathroom water damage.
7. Blisters along caulked areas, or discolored floor stains can suggest water leakage. Although these blemishes may seem small to the naked eye, do not underestimate the extent of the water damage in your bathroom. Just a tiny leak can be a sign of a enormous problem on pipes and drains that are not exposed and cannot be seen. Furthermore, the water that penetrates into the floor encourages growth of mold, fungi, and other microorganisms that feed on the wood, causing more bathroom water damage.
8. Did you know that these microorganisms flourish in temperatures between 40 and 100 degrees? That is the typical temperature of most bathrooms, making the overall damage horrendous.
9. If the humidity in your bathroom is high, generally more than 55 percent, you have a possible mold problem. Check for water on pipes because it can also suggests a mold situation and water damage. A musty odor also signals mold, and should be followed up with an inspection. The presence of mold cannot only lead to damage to your bathroom, but health issues as well.
10. Sinks and cabinets are constantly exposed to humidity and moisture, but are often ignored by homeowners searching for bathroom water damage. However, these are two fixtures that are known to conceal damage. You should regularly inspect under sinks and cabinets. A slow draining pipe underneath the sink suggests a clogged drain. If you see a loose or cracked drain seal, replace it immediately.