Recent Water Damage Posts

SERVPRO of Laurel: Faster to Any Size Disaster!

11/5/2021 (Permalink)

Car in stormwater Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither does SERVPRO of Laurel/Greenbelt-Beltsville.

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Laurel and Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E provide emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture and beyond. SERVPRO of Laurel & Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E crews arrive quickly and start the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning & restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – 301-323-8862

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About Us

SERVPRO of Laurel and Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E specialize in the cleanup, restoration and reconstruction of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Certifications

  • OCT - Odor Control Technician
  • IICRC Certified Firm
  • RRRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation
  • AMRT - Applied Microbial Remediation Technician
  • HST - Health and safety Technician
  • ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician
  • SRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician
  • CCT - Carpet Cleaning Technician
  • RRT - Carpet Repair & Reinstallation Technician
  • WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician
  • ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program

Tips for returning home to a flood-damaged property

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

floodwater around house Beware that your house may be contaminated when returning home after a flood or other natural disasters.

Water – one of life’s essentials, for without it, we simply cannot survive.

But flood and contaminated water – water from natural disasters, and from contaminated sources like sewage and overflowed toilets & such – are toxic and can cause numerous health hazards and diseases that can be fatal, if exposed.

With Spring upon us and the Summer months just ahead, families will be vacationing and traveling away from home. Suppose there was a big storm with heavy flooding while you were away, and your home was flooded and you’ve returned to face standing water throughout the home.

It’s many homeowners’ worst nightmare. What to do?

For starters, the Centers for Disease and Control advises that, if possible, try to return home during the daytime so that you do not have to use any lights. Use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns, rather than candles, gas lanterns, or torches.

The agency also offers the following:

  • If you have standing water in your home and can turn off the main power from a dry location, then go ahead and turn off the power, even if it delays cleaning. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it off. NEVER turn power on or off yourself or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
  • Have an electrician check the house’s electrical system before turning the power on again.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows, and leave your house immediately. Notify the gas company or the police or fire departments or State Fire Marshal’s office, and do not turn on the lights or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return until you are told it is safe to do so.
  • If the house has been closed up for several days, enter briefly to open doors and windows to let the house air out for a while (at least 30 minutes) before you stay for any length of time.
  • If your home has been flooded and has been closed up for several days, assume your home has mold.
  • If your home has been flooded, it also may be contaminated with sewage. Call a professional home inspector to check for contamination. If confirmed, have a licensed company remove & remediate mold and sewage. Our certified crews from SERVPRO of Laurel & SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E are especially trained for such work, and are available 24/7 to help!

FOOD. The next step is to go through your home to discard perishable items and anything that has been contaminated with standing water. On top of that list is food; throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water; perishable foods that have not been refrigerated properly due to power outages; and those with an unusual odor, color, or texture. Unsafe food can make you sick even if it looks, smells and tastes normal. When in doubt, throw it out!

WATER. Food water can contaminate drinking water from your home’s faucets. Until the water is tested, use bottled or water that has been properly boiled to kill any contaminants.

Some contaminants from surface water can get into the groundwater and affect private drinking water wells and municipal water systems that use groundwater. The CDC suggests the following steps:

  • Follow local guidance on whether your water is safe to drink.
  • If you have a private well and live in an area with flooding, get your water tested before you use it.
  • Do not use water you suspect or have been told is contaminated to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, make ice, or make baby formula. Safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or treated water.
  • Your state, local, or tribal health department can make specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area.

Until your power is restored after dryout, use generators and other electrical sources and equipment safely. Talk to your utility company about using electrical equipment, including power generators. Be aware that it is against the law and a violation of electrical codes to connect generators to your home’s electrical circuits without the approved, automatic-interrupt devices. If a generator is on line when electrical service is restored, it can become a major fire hazard. In addition, the improper connection of a generator to your home’s electrical circuits may endanger line workers helping to restore power in your area.

  • All electrical equipment and appliances must be completely dry before returning them to service. Have a certified electrician check these items if there is any question.
  • Never use a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.

The next step is to prevent MOLD from the flood or storm water, by drying out your home. Follow these steps from the CDC:

  • If you have electricity and an electrician has determined that it’s safe to turn it on, use a “wet-dry” shop vacuum (or the vacuum function of a carpet steam cleaner), an electric-powered water transfer pump, or sump pump to remove standing water. If you are operating equipment in wet areas, be sure to wear rubber boots.
  • If you do not have electricity, or it is not safe to turn it on, you can use a portable generator to power equipment to remove standing water. Note: If you must use a gasoline-powered pump, generator, pressure washer, or any other gasoline-powered tools to clean your home, never operate the gasoline engine inside a home, basement, garage, carport, porch, or other enclosed or partially enclosed structures, or less than 20 feet from any door, window, or vent, even if the windows and doors are open. Such improper use can create dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide and cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If weather permits, open windows and doors of the house to aid in the drying-out process.
  • Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture. Fans should be placed at a window or door to blow the air outwards rather than inwards, so not to spread the mold.
  • Have your home heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system checked and cleaned by a maintenance or service professional who is experienced in mold cleanup before you turn it on. If the HVAC system was flooded with water, turning on the mold-contaminated HVAC will spread mold throughout the house. Professional cleaning will kill the mold and prevent later mold growth. When the service determines that your system is clean and if it is safe to do so, you can turn it on and use it to help remove excess moisture from your home.
  • Prevent water outdoors from reentering your home. For example, rainwater from gutters or the roof should drain away from the house; the ground around the house should slope away from the house to keep basements and crawl spaces dry.
  • Ensure that crawl spaces in basements have proper drainage to limit water seepage. Ventilate to allow the area to dry out.

The CDC and the American Red Cross offer great resources for storm and fire prevention and response. Visit their webpages for more information:

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/floods/

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/flood

Finally, when you are ready for that monstrous task of cleanup and remediation, you can rely on SERVPRO of Laurel and SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E. We are the area’s water & storm damage experts, as well as mold remediation and restoration. Large or small, we will restore your water-damaged property, residential or commercial, with efficiency and detail.

Call us 24/7 at 301-323-8862 or 301-615-4884.

How to Protect Your Home to Minimize Water, Flood Damage

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

flooded house While we cannot predict Mother Nature and her wrath, we can take precautions to keep us safe & to lessen the damages to property.

Any home is prone to water damages, especially during huge storms that carry heavy rains and flooding. And while we cannot predict Mother Nature and her wrath, we can prepare as best we can to take precautions to keep us safe and to lessen the damages that flooding can cause.

For example, if you live in a low-lying ground adjacent to a river, or floodplain, it’s no surprise that your property is subject to flooding.

The American Red Cross offers these suggestions, in addition to checking with a professional to:

  • Raise your furnace, water heater and electric panel to floors that are less likely to be flooded. An undamaged water heater may be your best source of fresh water after a flood.
  • Install check valves in plumbing to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home. (As a last resort, when floods threaten, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins.)
  • Construct barriers such as levees, berms and flood walls to stop floodwater from entering the building (if permitted by local building codes).
  • Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.
  • Use sand bags when flooding is expected. It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, creating a wall 1 foot high and 20 feet long. Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, strong helpers, and time to place them properly.

If a flood is expected, some communities will offer free sandbags to residents. Be sure to watch or listen to the news so you can access these resources.

The American Red Cross also offers these tips to help Protect Your Family:

  • Talk with your family about what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued. Discussing floods ahead of time helps reduce fear, especially for younger children.
  • Ensure that every member of your family carries a Safe and Well wallet card.
  • Make sure you have access to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) radio broadcasts:
  • Find an online NOAA radio station
  • Search for a NOAA radio app in the Apple Store or Google Play
  • Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA radio in the Red Cross Store
  • Find out if you are located in a floodplain, which is considered a Special Flood Hazard Area. If so, you are still eligible for flood insurance. Check with your city or county government (start with the Building or Planning Department) to review the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • Find out if local streams or rivers flood easily.
  • Keep insurance policies, documents and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged during a flood. Take pictures on a phone and keep copies of important documents and files on a flash drive that you can carry with you on your house or car keys.

The American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) offer great resources for storm and fire prevention and response. Visit their webpages for more information:

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/floods/

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/flood

Finally, when you are ready for storm damage cleanup and remediation, you can rely on SERVPRO of Laurel and SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E. We are the area’s water & storm damage experts, as well as mold remediation and restoration. Large or small, we will restore your water-damaged property, residential or commercial, “Like it never even happened.”

Call us 24/7 at 301-323-8862 or 301-615-4884.

Got water stains on your ceiling?

3/30/2021 (Permalink)

Water-stained ceiling Water stains may be indicators of a bigger problem. Call SERVPRO of Laurel promptly for help!

Water stains aren’t something to ignore. Rather, they may be indicators of an urgent matter!

If you see water stain(s) on your ceiling, call for help promptly.

Water stains can mean:

  • Leaky pipe(s)
  • Old caulking
  • Problem with roof
  • Poor insulation

Whatever is above your ceiling is typically the source of the moisture issue. Is your property’s roof or a bathroom above the water stain? That may just be the source of the problem. However, if you cannot determine a water source above the stain, you may have a leaky pipe.

Water seepage from old caulking or piping in disrepair are other common sources of water stains. It’s very important that damaged or old pipes are replaced to avoid leaking or “sweating.”

After a snowstorm or even a rain downpour, water stains can show up on your ceiling. For instance, rain can leak through from the gutter. Therefore, you have a roofing issue upon your property.

However, if an ice dam forms on your roof and water is able to seep in, it’s a good indicator of a need to improve the insulation.

Sometimes, a professional may need to remove a portion of the ceiling, and possibly the wall, to completely restore and fix the affected area.

Remember, deal with the stain in a very timely manner! Applying a quick coat of paint over the stain can make a temporarily, cosmetic difference, but oftentime, the stain will bleed right through the new paint.

Instead, call a professional to ensure the source of the water is correctly identified and handled properly. Ignoring the issue can lead to expensive repairs! It’s much better to catch the problem sooner than having to have sections of your ceiling teared down and replaced.

Call us -- SERVPRO of Laurel and SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E -- to have water stains in your home or office checked out. We are the area’s water & storm damage experts and are always “Faster to any size disaster.” Large or small, we will restore your water-damaged property, residential or commercial, with efficiency and detail.

Call us 24/7 at (301) 323-8862 or 301-615-4884.

What's the difference: Black water vs. clean water vs. grey water?

3/30/2021 (Permalink)

Yellow boots in water If you see standing black or grey water, give SERVPRO of Laurel a call immediately so we can treat & disinfect your home!

If your home has had a flood, you’d probably wondered how safe the water is to come in contact with.

Should you retrieve possessions from the puddles left behind? If you forgot to wear gloves and boots, will soap and water be enough to rid the germs from your hands?

Those are excellent questions.

First & foremost, you must identify the water source.

Clean water will not cause an immediate threat. It contains no contaminants and originates from toilet holding tanks, snow melt, rain, appliances such as a broken refrigerator, air conditioning units, etc.

Gray water contains chemical or biological contaminates, and therefore, may pose some health risk. It originates from washing machines, showers, sinks, aquariums, etc.

Black water causes an immediate threat due to the expected contaminants in it, including but not limited to, viruses, bacteria and protozoan. This water originates from toilets and floodwaters. Oftentimes after a flood, water collects soils, sewage, etc..., which contain harmful contaminants and explains why it’s marked as black water. 

However, please note that as these waters sit, they can advance to a more serious level. For instance, after sitting for two days, clean water can turn into gray water. This is why water removal should be handled immediately.

Contact with contaminated water can cause vomiting, nausea, parasitic illness and fever.

If you’re not sure of the source, contact a professional.                           

If you’re dealing with gray or black water, it’s very important to get help as soon as possible. Keep in mind that if it’s clean water, and it’s been sitting for over 48 hours, it should be treated as a gray water problem.

At SERVPRO of Laurel and SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E, we are storm & water damage and biohazard experts. We will efficiently restore any water damage and carefully treat and disinfect your home, so you feel safe in it again.

Does your Laurel, Greenbelt or Beltsville area  home or office need restoration or cleanup? We also have sister franchises that serve Rockville, Olney, Silver Spring North, Sandy Spring and Laytonsville.

Give us a call today at 301-323-8862 or 301-340-1313, and we will give you peace of mind!

How to Salvage Pictures After a Flood

3/19/2021 (Permalink)

Damaged photos These water-damaged photos can be dried properly with some simple steps, or call us for professional restoration.

If you’ve experienced a flood in your home, chances are many of your belongings were damaged by the waters. Among your valuables, your photographs are most likely one of your most personal and cherished items.

Whatever the loss, losing pictures to a flood can be one of the most devastating aspects. You feel powerless as these family heirlooms passed down for decades, or a priceless image is seemingly damaged and potentially lost due to the flood waters.

Don’t stress too much! There may be hope, as our technicians at SERVPRO® of Laurel and SERVPRO® of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E are trained to properly restore your photos and other valuables.

There are plenty of tips on how to salvage your photos. Surprisingly, most can be cleaned and dried.

Follow the steps promptly to avoid damage. You should try to follow these steps within at most two days, or else they will begin to mold and stick together. 

  1. Gently remove the photographs from the water. If any pictures are stuck together, carefully separate. If they will not part easily, do not force a separation.
  2. Using cold, clean water, rinse each side of the picture. This way, any dirt will come off.
  3. On an indoor flat surface, lay down paper towels. Lay the photo, face-up, on the paper towel, and replace the paper towel (as it will get wet) with a dry one each hour, until completely dried.

If you want to want to put the drying process on hold, place the wet photos (after rinsing with cold, clean water) between sheets of wax paper before storing them in an airtight plastic bag in the freezer. 

We at SERVPRO® of Laurel and SERVPRO® of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E can also help to restore your photos and other valuables. If you are concerned about water damage in your home (walls, floors, etc.), we will restore your home to you at ease, too. We are the water damage experts!

Give us a call 24/7 at 301-323-8862.