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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

4 Tips for Cleaning Sewer Problems

7/25/2022 (Permalink)

Flooded basement Flooded basement in Westbrook, ME

Four Important Things To Do When You Are Dealing With Dirty Water 

A flooded basement is one of the biggest problems a homeowner or renter can ever face. If the incoming water is contaminated with sewage, the situation is even more distressing. If you are faced with this situation, there are a number of things you can do to increase your own personal safety and limit the damage to your home. Here are four important things you can do when you are dealing with dirty water in Westbrook, ME.

1. Stay Safe. If you notice your plumbing is backing up, your first priority should be the safety of your family and your pets. Any water that comes from a sewage line is going to carry contaminated water. This should only be handled by experienced workers wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment. In many circumstances, your best option will be to vacate the premises and seek help.

2. Call in the Professionals. A flooded basement is definitely a situation that calls for trained workers. A certified flood mitigation franchise can arrive quickly on the scene and begin the restoration process. An experienced team will know how to deal with sewer issues. The company will make sure the scene is safe for everyone.

3. Look Into Insurance. Early on in the process, it is a good idea to call your insurance agent. They can tell you what will be covered and how to document any damages. More than likely, an insurance adjuster will be out to visit your property. As long as you are working with a reputable mitigation company, it's better to start with the cleanup process than to wait.

4. Make Sure the Work Is Complete. When dealing with a flooded basement, half measures will not be enough. It's important to make sure all moisture is removed and all surfaces are cleaned and scrubbed according to the highest standards. This will keep your home free of mold growth and unpleasant odors.

How SERVPRO Can Help Your Insurance Agent

7/18/2022 (Permalink)

Two men and one women having a meeting Did you know that we are a Preferred Vendor for many insurance companies?

How SERVPRO Can Help Your Insurance Agent

After a disaster at your Casco Bay Islands, ME, the business you may contact your insurance adjuster to file a claim and figure out the next steps for restoration. In many cases, your agent may have a preferred restoration vendor such as SERVPRO they recommend for a variety of reasons. In addition to being certified professionals, a preferred restoration team may also be able to help your insurance agent in a number of ways.

1. Damage Assessment

One important aspect of an insurance claim is a damage assessment. In many cases a restoration service may have to do this as well, so choosing a preferred provider allows the restoration professionals to perform the assessment they need to create a repair plan, and then share this information with your insurance provider.

2. Electronic Inventory System

Your insurance adjuster may also recommend a local SERVPRO as they offer the use of an electronic inventory system. This system can be accessed remotely and can store files needed for the insurance claim. This can allow all the information to be kept in a single location making it easy for your agent to access what they need as they work on your claim.

3. Item Cleaning Services

Another service your professional restoration team may be able to offer is item cleaning. This means that they can possibly clean and restore many of the company items that may have been damaged. Each item will require a different cleaning solution depending on size, material, and if the item is mechanical or electrical in nature.

restoration service may even be able to repair documentation. This can be helpful to your agent because it allows them to recommend a single team to work with rather than several.

Your insurance adjuster may recommend a preferred restoration service such as SERVPRO for a number of reasons. These can include the team’s ability to help with damage assessment, as well as their ability to offer an electronic inventory service and item cleaning. If you have further questions a professional can help.

What Happens When Lighting Strikes a House?

7/9/2022 (Permalink)

House being strike by lightning Lightning strikes by a house in Gorham, ME

What Happens When a House is Hit by Lightning?

Approximately 22,600 house fires are started by lightning every year. In some areas of the United States, these bolts can strike the ground well over 100 times per second, and meteorologists have recorded over 900 strikes per minute. Although not all of these will cause a lightning fire, some of them can and do.

The Three Types of Damage

Fire is not the only thing that you have to worry about when volatile electricity strikes your home. There are three ways that it can cause both physical and fire damage.

  • Fired damage - caused by a direct strike to wood or other flammable substance
  • Electrical shorts - caused by electricity traveling through your wiring
  • Shock wave damage - damage caused by the wave of energy released during a strike

These three types are all dangerous and can be the cause of a lightning fire.

Strikes Are Preventable
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to prevent direct strikes. The easiest is to trim tall trees around your home. Lightning looks for the quickest and easiest path downward. This means the taller the object, the more likely it is to be hit.
You should also make sure that your roof and shingles are in good repair. Use either asphalt shingles or another nonconductive material as roofing. This may not prevent a strike but will help insulate your home from fire damage.

After a Stike to Your Home
If your home takes a direct strike, you may have scorch marks on the walls even if it did not start a house fire. This is because lightning travels through conductive materials like wiring and coax cable. To clean these scorch marks, you will need a professional in Gorham, ME.

Fortunately, a strike does not always result in a lightning fire. By taking some simple precautions, you can lessen the chances that your home will be a victim of this type of fire.

6 Ways To Get Your Home Ready For a Storm

6/26/2022 (Permalink)

Man on top of a roof To prepare for a storm, it is critical to give maintenance to your roof in Westbrook, ME.

How to Prepare Your Home for a Storm in 6 Easy Steps

Preparing for a storm may prevent damage and promote safety at a residence in Westbrook, ME. Homeowners should maintain the exterior of a residence and take a few important measures to avoid wind damage and keep out flood water.

1. Maintain Roofing

It is important to maintain the roof on a residence. Leaks or wind damage may be more likely if shingles or roofing materials are damaged or missing at the start of a storm.

2. Trim Trees

Have overhanging or large trees trimmed on a regular basis. Fallen limbs and flying branches are common causes of storm damage.

3. Consider Storm Windows and Flood Barriers

Residents of regions prone to storms with high wind speeds may want to have storm windows installed. Reusable sandbag alternatives can also be helpful for keeping out flood water and avoiding a flooded building.

4. Acquire a Generator and Fuel

If storm conditions interrupt the supply of electricity, homeowners can rely on a generator that runs on gasoline, diesel, propane or natural gas. Generators should only be operated outside. It may be worthwhile to invest in a way to protect or anchor down a generator.

5. Make Emergency Plans and Assemble Kits

Assemble a home kit with enough non-perishable food for three days, a gallon of water per person per day, first aid supplies, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlights, and batteries. Homeowners should also prepare a mobile kit in case of evacuation.

6. Stow Away Outdoor Items

Patio furniture, grills, and other items that are typically kept outside may sustain damage or become flying debris. Any loose items should be stowed indoors in the days or hours before a storm.

All of these steps can help homeowners prepare for a storm in Westbrook, ME. If a residence suffers damage from flood water or wind, homeowners should contact insurance providers and a storm and water damage restoration service.

Why Do Fires Often Lead To Floods?

6/25/2022 (Permalink)

Hands holding an insurances form, Large Font letters saying " ARE YOU COVERED" If a fire has caused damage at your residence, you should document and report damage to a homeowners insurance provider.

Why Do Fires Frequently Cause Floods?

Fire damage often leads to or coincides with flood damage. If you reside in a region that has recently experienced wildfire damage, you may want to obtain flood insurance coverage. The Federal Emergency Management Association is partnered with the National Flood Insurance Program. Learn more about the connections between fire and flooding damage and the coverage offered by FEMA NFIP to offset mitigation and restoration expenses.

Exterior Fires and Floods

Wildfires char the ground and eliminate vegetation. A fire near a residence can have several effects that combine to increase flooding risks:

• Charred becomes resistant to absorbing rainfall
• Runoff increases and may result in mudflows
• Flash flooding risks increase

Flood risks may remain elevated for up to five years following a wildfire. Nearby homeowners should consider obtaining insurance coverage through FEMA NFIP or a private flood insurance provider.

Interior Combined Damage

Localized fires that affect a single residence or a limited area can also result in a combination of fire and water damage. This type of flooding usually results from suppression attempts and can exacerbate fire damage in a few ways:

• Thousands of gallons of water may be present in a structure
Water damage must be mitigated before fire damage
• Combined damage increases risks of superficial and structural damage

If a fire has caused damage at your residence, you should document and report damage to a homeowners insurance provider. Standard policies usually cover fire damage and water damage due to fire suppression efforts. Flood insurance is only necessary for external water damage caused by heavy rains or rising bodies of water.

If wildfire damage has recently affected your area in or near Falmouth, ME, you may want to investigate flood insurance coverage through FEMA NFIP. For combined fire and flooding damage resulting from fire suppression, notify your homeowner's insurance provider and arrange to have damage assessed by mitigation and restoration professionals.

How To Eliminate Smoke Odor From Your Home

6/20/2022 (Permalink)

Man smoking An unpleasant smoke odor may linger in your Portland, ME, home even after the fire has been controlled and the damage repaired.

How to Get Rid of Smoke Odors in Your Home

A fire at your Portland, ME, home may cause many problems. Lingering smoke smell is likely to be one of the most stubborn. Fortunately, there are several smoke cleaning methods available.

Understanding Smoke Damage

The temperature and speed of the fire, as well as the items, burned, determine the type of smoke. There may be more than one type. Wet, dry, and protein smokes are common in house fires.
The types of smoke present are important factors when choosing a cleaning method. Fortunately, a fire restoration service can tell you which type of smoke you are dealing with and the best way to remove it.

Eliminating Smoke Odor

Although it may be tempting to cover the smell of smoke with air fresheners, this won’t take care of the problem permanently. The only way to keep the odor from returning is to remove the smoke particles from the air and surfaces. The following are some of the most effective tools available for smoke cleaning:

  • Air filters
  • Ozone machines
  • Thermal foggers

Filtration devices work by circulating air and trapping the smoke particles in a HEPA or carbon filter. Ozone machines generate a compound, ozone, that binds with the smoke particles to create a new compound that does not smell. These two methods are ideal for eliminating smoke particles that are present in the air.

However, there may also be particles located inside porous surfaces. When the fire raised the temperature of the affected area, porous surfaces expanded. When the area cooled, the surfaces contracted, and the smoke odor became trapped inside. A thermal fogger works by heating the area again, causing porous surfaces to expand, allowing the deodorizing fog to reach the trapped particles.

Even after the fire has been extinguished and the damage repaired, an unpleasant smoke smell may linger in your Portland, ME, home. Thorough smoke cleaning is the only way to permanently remove the odor.

The Challenges of a Partial Loss Fire

5/27/2022 (Permalink)

Smoke on the glass modern building A partial loss fire is more common and can range from completely destroying rooms and physical structures to causing only minor smoke and soot damage.

The Difficulties Of A Partial Loss Fire

Every business fire is unique in some way. A catastrophic fire can take down entire buildings and leave nothing more than rubble and ash. A partial loss fire is more common and runs the spectrum of destroying rooms and physical structures to only inflicting some relatively minor smoke and soot damage. While you would much prefer a minor fire to a major one, your company in Falmouth, ME, will still face significant challenges. 

Dealing With Smoke Damage

Smoke has several insidious qualities that can damage various aspects of your business. It can leave your facility unusable for a time and it can penetrate HVAC systems and electrical components. The residues from smoke often contain acidic compounds that damage walls and corrode metal. Cleanup is often technical, requiring the services of an experienced fire mitigation franchise.

Working With the Insurance Company

After a partial fire loss, you could have more work and contact with your insurance provider. There could be a series of questions on the ability to repair or replace a list of items and materials:

  • Personal objects
  • Ceramic fixtures
  • Carpeting
  • Furniture
  • Computers
  • Artwork

In general, restoring an item is more cost-effective than replacing it, but this is not a hard and fast rule. The cleaning process could be too labor-intensive to merit cleaning, and some items are just not salvageable.

Handling a Complicated Cleanup

Not all fire restoration jobs are the same. While the general process is similar, the details vary. Some jobs involve the removal of water damage from fire fighting equipment as well as the rebuilding of burned structures. Most cleanups are time-sensitive and work has a certain urgency. A fast response can reduce expenses and prevent additional damage such as mold growth and damage from weather.

A partial loss fire presents your company with many obstacles. Professionals can help you meet this challenge in the best manner possible.

5 Ways To Prepare Your Business for a Fire

5/17/2022 (Permalink)

Engineer checking Industrial fire control system Depending on your business space, you may need more than one fire extinguisher. A multi-story building must have at least one per floor.

5 Steps To Prepare Your Company For A Fire

No one ever wants to experience a business fire in Portland, ME. But the National Fire Protection Association reported 111,000 non-residential fires in 2020 alone. With those statistics, it's crucial to set up your business to prevent fires and respond to fires. Here are five ways to prepare.

1. Have Enough Fire Extinguishers

Depending on the size of your office or retail space, you need more than one fire extinguisher. There should be one per floor in a multi-level building at the absolute minimum. Fire extinguishers come in various sizes and should be placed in key areas of your business, such as the kitchen area, central office, and near tools or electrical panels.

2. Prevent Fire Damage Through Organization

One way to prevent fire damage is to stay organized. The more dust and clutter, the easier it is for a spark to become a major fire as flames spread over boxes, papers, and other office debris. After a fire, a commercial restoration team can assess the damage to recommend repairs and give prevention tips for the future.

3. Conduct Regular Fire Drills

To keep your staff safe, make fire preparation drills a regular event. Fire drills aren't just for students in school. It's important for everyone to confidently be able to exit the building from any and all exit points.

4. Maintain Exit Routes Regularly

All exit points must be maintained regularly. Ensure that any automatic fire doors work correctly. Keep exit doors unlocked. Check fire escapes or window ladders. A business fire can spread quickly, which won't leave time to address locked doors or broken ladders.

5. Inspect Wiring on a Schedule

Inspect wiring on a scheduled basis. Instead of waiting for a problem, such as an outlet that starts to spark or the discovery of a wire that has lost its covering, inspect all electrical sources every six months and correct any problems immediately.

A business fire can be prevented or mitigated by preparing your business in advance.

How To Stop a Continuously Flushing Toilet

5/1/2022 (Permalink)

Overflowing broken toilet Flushometer gaskets can become clogged with sediment as a result of constant exposure to water. you must wash the gaskets to remove the sediment.

How To Stop A Toilet From Flushing Constantly

If your toilets are continuously flushing, there may be a problem with the flushometer. The flushometer is the mechanism that flushes the toilet. If the flushing is not stopped, there may be toilet overflow that could result in damages. Here's how to stop a toilet from flushing continuously.

Take the First Steps

If your toilets won't stop flushing, there are a series of steps you can try:

  • Turn off the water
  • Remove the cover
  • Clean the gasket
  • Reinstall the gasket
  • Replace the gasket if flushing continues

Once the problem is fixed, you should call a water damage restoration service in Falmouth, ME, to clean up any toilet overflow and prevent mold growth.

Access the Gasket

To access the gasket, you should first turn off the water so that you do not have a toilet flood. You will then need to remove the cover on the flushometer. You will first need to unscrew the cover on the side of the flushometer and then use a wrench to remove the lid on top. This will expose the gasket, allowing you to remove and clean it.

Clean the Gasket

The gaskets in flushometers can become covered with sediment due to their constant exposure to water. You should wash the gasket, carefully removing as much sediment as possible. This includes using a small instrument, such as a needle, to clean out the weep hole. Doing this will improve the vacuum created by the gasket and hopefully stop the continuous flushing.

Reinstall and Test

After cleaning the gasket, you should put it back in its place and reattach the cover. You will then need to turn the water back on and flush the toilet. If the flushing still will not stop, you may have to replace the gasket or call a plumber.
You can stop a toilet that is continuously flushing by accessing the gasket, cleaning the gasket and then reinstalling and testing the gasket.

If cleaning or replacing the gasket does not work, you may need professional assistance to prevent toilet overflow.

How To Handle a House Fire

4/18/2022 (Permalink)

Trucks from a restoration company Our Disaster Recovery Team is available 24/7, 365 days a year to help with any size fire or water loss. Even if you just have a question, call us.

What To Do If Your House Is On Fire

House fires are common occurrences that affect and devastate many families every year. Residential blazes are scary, unpredictable, and alarming, so ensuring you and your family have a specific fire escape plan in place is crucial to your safety. Follow these simple steps, and be prepared during and after a potential emergency.

1. Be Alert and Take Action

If you experience a house fire in Casco Bay Islands, ME, promptly perform the following measures:

  • Enact your emergency escape plan
  • Dial 911 and alert emergency personnel to your situation
  • Secure medical care for any people or pets with severe burns or injuries
  • Call worried family and friends to let them know you are safe
  • Do not reenter your home until a proper fire damage assessment is complete

2. Put Safety First

Following a fire, confirm with firefighters that it is safe to reenter your home. Dress in boots, long pants, sleeves, helmets, protective eyewear, and masks as you inspect your damaged residence. Consider consulting a professional smoke and soot removal team to clean your house and restore it to a safe and livable status.

3. Check-In

It is crucial to remove any smoke-damaged paraphernalia from your home. Specifically, dispose of any food that might have soiled due to heat or smoke. Physical damage is only a portion of the devastation fires create. Despite devising even the most detailed fire escape plan, many survivors experience feelings of guilt and angst in the months following the disaster. Make it a point to check-in with your family members regularly. Ensure they appropriately deal with their stress and get professional help for anyone struggling mentally or financially. Further, watch your household pets, making sure they don't exhibit any long-term symptoms from the fire or smoke.

As ravaging as fires can be, remind yourself that your successful fire escape plan saved your family's lives. Remember that everything else is replaceable, and all that matters is the safety of your loved ones.

3 Essential Steps After a Basement Flood

4/11/2022 (Permalink)

Basement flooded Once any floodwater around your house has receded, getting the water out of your home as soon as possible is imperative.

Three Important Steps To Take After A Basement Flood

Watching your lower level in Windham, ME, fill with water is scary and can feel impossible to fix. Regardless if it is from a torrential downpour, a sewer backup or some other emergency issue, a basement flood can be very damaging to your home without proper aftercare. Once you have checked your insurance coverage, here are three more things you must do afterward.

1. Drain the Water

Once any floodwater around your house has receded, getting the water out of your home as soon as possible is imperative. You will need a few items to accomplish this:

  • Submersible pump
  • Long hose
  • Extension Cord
  • Generator

Pump as much water out as you can. Once you are down to smaller puddles you can work with a wet/dry vac as well to finish the job.

2. Dry and Clean Up

After the water has been removed, take out any damaged belongings. Use towels or blankets to soak up any further puddles and wipe everything down as much as you can. Set up some large fans to begin drying out the area. Depending on how long you were flooded and how deep the water was, you may need to replace any carpeting and drywall in the affected area. In order to prevent further damage from your basement flood, it is best to contact trained water restoration specialists to help complete the job thoroughly.

3. Prevent Future Floods

Determining the cause of the flood will help you to prevent future occurrences. Check your sump pump to ensure it is working properly and is appropriate for the amount of groundwater in your area. You should also check the drainage around your home and your gutter system to ensure each one is properly designed to funnel water away from your house.

It is important to remain calm and think ahead when you experience a home disaster. Although it can seem like an overwhelming experience, damage from a basement flood can be minimized if you take these steps.

4 Tips for Drying Out a Commercial Building

4/1/2022 (Permalink)

Commercial Drying Equipment If your building floods, it and its contents need to be thoroughly dried as soon as possible.

4 Recommendations For Drying Out A Commercial Building

When your Portland, ME, commercial building suffers water incursion, whether it's from a pipe burst or act of nature, the same basic steps will have to be taken. These steps will help protect any occupants in the affected area and the building and its contents. Professionals will probably have to be called in to remedy the situation thoroughly. Still, you can follow water damage tips to begin drying out the building before help arrives. After all, the quicker drying begins, the less damage will occur.

1. Turn Off Electricity

If you can safely make your way to the breaker box, the power to the area should be turned off immediately. Never walk through standing water in which electrical items are sitting. The electricity can travel throughout the water, electrocuting you. If you can't navigate to the breaker safely, or if you're unsure, you must wait for a professional to cut the power supply.

2. Extract Standing Water

Next, all the standing water will need to be extracted. A wet/dry vacuum is excellent for doing this safely and efficiently. It will also remove smaller debris.

3. Remove Soaked Materials

After you've extracted as much water as possible, one of the most critical damage tips to follow is to remove as many wet materials as possible. This can even include drywall and flooring. Soaked carpet and padding typically aren't salvageable; it can't be dried entirely before mold growth occurs (within 24 to 48 hours). Water damage remediation experts are highly recommended, as they can bring in industrial-grade equipment.

4. Dry Remaining Contents

You can try to dry the remaining contents by opening windows and doors if the outside is less humid than inside, using dehumidifiers, running fans and turning up the heat via the HVAC system or space heaters.

If your building floods, it and its contents need to be thoroughly dried as soon as possible. These are a few damage tips and cleaning tips you can begin before professionals arrive on the scene.

3 Reasons You Need a Flood Insurance Policy

3/14/2022 (Permalink)

Flood insurance form on a table with a book Whether you experience flood damage from nature or from some other source, a flood insurance policy will help you to recover more quickly.

Three Reasons You Need Flood Insurance

Your business in Falmouth, ME, isn't in a flood zone. In fact, you don't live in an area where flooding has historically been an issue. Although your commercial insurance agent is encouraging you to consider a policy, you're skeptical about the additional cost. Here are three reasons that you need a flood insurance policy even though you don't live in a flood zone.

1. Floods Aren't Always Natural

When you think of floods, you are probably thinking about naturally occurring ones that make news headlines. However, floods aren't always caused by nature. Your business could flood because of a burst water main line in the street or a leaking pipe in the basement.

2. Flood Damage Is Costly

Many commercial insurance policies have exclusions for floods, so you could find yourself on the financial hook for a lot of damage restoration without a separate policy for floods. A flood policy covers what your primary insurance does not in the event of an incident, including product that might be damaged or destroyed.

3. Flood Insurance Is Affordable

Don't let cost stand in the way of full coverage for your business. FEMA offers a National Flood Insurance Program that is affordable for business owners like you. Additionally, the NFIP supports communities as they plan flood mitigation efforts. Whether you experience flood damage from nature or from some other source, a flood insurance policy will help you to recover more quickly.

When you need restoration help after a flood, your commercial insurance provider will be able to suggest a water damage restoration team that will work with you from the initial damage assessment to the end of your project.

The way that this works best for you is if you have a flood policy that ensures there are no gaps in coverage with your general insurance plan.
Prevent financial strain on your bottom line by choosing a policy like NFIP from FEMA to keep your business safe.

3 Steps to Emergency Preparedness at Home

3/14/2022 (Permalink)

A parent and child huddling under a table Basic safety equipment like a fire extinguisher and first aid kit are essential, but you should also prepare an emergency kit for your family.

Three Steps to Home Emergency Preparedness

Keeping your family safe in your home in Westbrook, ME, is surely a priority. There are a lot of hazards that can affect your family and being prepared goes beyond just having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Here are three steps to getting your home prepared for an emergency.

1. Make a Plan

Think about the different emergencies that might arise and create a plan for each. In case of a home fire, you should have a plan for how to get out of the house and a meeting spot outside in case your family gets separated. Depending on where you live, consider other disasters that could affect you:

  • floods
  • tornadoes
  • earthquakes
  • public health emergencies

The more you think ahead about what you should do in these situations, the easier it will be to act under pressure if the need arises.

2. Build an Emergency Kit

Having basic safety equipment such as a fire extinguisher and first aid kit is great, but you should also put together a complete emergency kit for your family. You should include ready-to-eat food, water, phone chargers, an emergency radio, flashlights, batteries, essential medication, toiletry items, cash, extra clothing, a whistle, spare masks and extra clothing. Make sure that your kit has at least enough supplies to last three to four days.

3. Communicate With Your Family

Discuss all of your plans with your family so that every member knows what to do. Make sure to talk about basic fire preparedness and safety even with young children in case you are unable to reach them immediately. The knowledge that your spouse and children are informed will help keep you calm when disaster strikes.

Your whole family should be prepared when an emergency arises. Whether it's knowing the location of the fire extinguisher or where to meet up if you are separated in a disaster, following these steps will help you get the household ready. If your family remains safe in an emergency the worst work you'll have afterward is contacting emergency restoration specialists to get your home back in order.

How to Develop a Business Continuity Plan After a Storm

3/9/2022 (Permalink)

Paper with words BCP Business Continuity Plan With an established continuity plan and good insurance, you can survive the storm and get back to business quickly.

How To Create A Business Continuity Plan Following A Storm

Storms and flooding can strike very suddenly in Portland, ME. While some predictions can be made about widescale storms, others come without warning, and the results can be a disaster for a community – and spell bankruptcy for a business.

Fortunately, you can act proactively and prepare for problems. There are three critical steps to build resiliency in your business:

  • Get a commercial insurance policy.
  • Develop a continuity plan.
  • Keep key personnel informed.

Know Your Insurance Coverage – and Its Exemptions

Insurance policies can be confusing. Make sure you ask your agent about what is and isn’t covered. If you want flood coverage, you’ll need a separate flood policy.

Establish a Business Continuity Plan

The U.S. Government maintains a website to help citizens and businesses prepare for disasters. They have a detailed description of how to develop your plan, beginning with the business impact analysis. This starts with a risk assessment to determine what’s high risk for your location and type of business. Are you in a high-risk flood zone? Do you rely on digital information or is everything local? Which natural disasters are most likely?

Which Disaster Is Most Likely – or Most Harmful?

Aim for the most probable disasters based on your BIA. For disasters unlikely in Portland, ME, it may not be worth detailed planning, but general disaster planning can have wide-reaching benefits, even in unforeseen situations.

Key Personnel Should Be in the Loop

The key to resiliency after getting storm damage is to get reopened as soon as possible. Most small businesses will fail within two years if they’ve been closed for more than a couple of days after a disaster. Immediately after the storm, every essential person should be contacted and information shared.

You need to discuss what resources you need to reopen as fast as possible after the storm passes. Calling a commercial restoration specialist immediately after a storm can also be the difference between surviving the disaster and never reopening. Speed is essential, so your restoration company will work with you to get reopened as soon as possible.

With an established continuity plan and good insurance, you can survive the storm and get back to business quickly. Every day you’re closed increases your risk of staying that way.

SERVPRO Offers Expert Document Restoration Services

2/8/2022 (Permalink)

Truck from a restoration company SERVPRO is available 24/7, 365 days a year to help with any size fire or water loss. Even if you just have a question, call us and we will answer you!

SERVPRO's Document Restoration Services Are Second To None.

A significant water, sewer or flood event can damage all your essential documents and files. If recovery is going to happen, it needs to start right away. SERVPRO understands this and operates a secure document restoration facility. Professionals there control the process and give your documents the treatment they deserve.

Different Types of Documents Require Different Responses

Not all documents have the same level of importance. Not all records are paper. Not every document needs restoration. Each document gets an appropriate level of treatment. The specific treatment depends on the document’s type and importance. Here are some examples of the types and the treatments they might receive:

1. Important documents need restoration. An important document has an original signature, hand-written notes or an official mark. If a copy won’t do, it’s important. A special freeze-drying process performs document drying. Gamma irradiation sterilizes these documents when bacteria and other contaminants are a concern. Examples of important documents would be:

  • Mortgages
  • Wills
  • Stock, bond and other certificates
  • Blueprints
  • Maps
  • Books and manuscripts
  • Irreplaceable legal documents

2. You can digitize less critical documents. In most situation, it’s not the document that is important. It is the information on the document. In these cases, it is more cost-effective to digitize and reprint the document. An alternative is to digitize and reproduce it when needed.

3. Some documents are not paper-based. Developed films and x-rays may seem undamaged but still, require cleaning. The same applies to microfiche and microfilm. Photographic prints may pose a challenge to the document restoration specialists.

4. Medical records require special treatment. SERVPRO’s HIPAA Master-Certified technicians perform this cleaning. Round-the-clock surveillance of the restoration activity ensures confidentiality.
Perhaps a flooded basement destroyed your home office in the Windham, ME, area. Maybe a roof failure at work soaked the company accounting records. The amount of damage doesn’t matter. The document restoration experts at SERVPRO tackle projects of any size.

3 Strategies for Preventing Water Damage in Your Home

2/7/2022 (Permalink)

Restoration machines are cleaning water damage in a home. Our team quickly responded to this water loss to cleanup and get the drying process in place quickly. Call SERVPRO when you need it!

Three Ways to Prevent Water Damage in Your House

Your Portland, ME, home is probably one of your greatest investments. Beautifying, decorating and improving your property takes hard work, so guarding it against damage can be as important as repairing existing issues. Preventing water in your home can help you avoid a variety of troubling issues, from structural problems to mold growth and more.

1. Insulate Your Water Pipes

Wrapping your home’s water pipes can protect your property from water damage in a few ways. First, it keeps the pipes warm when the temperature drops below freezing and prevents water from freezing inside them. Frozen water tends to expand and may cause the pipe to burst, resulting in a messy pipe cleanup job. Insulating your pipes can also keep your home’s water supply flowing normally, even during a cold snap when the risk of a broken pipe is higher than usual.

2. Upgrade Your Drainage System

When it comes to finding unexpected water in the home, one of the most common trouble spots is likely to be the basement. Basement floods can be common in early spring when runoff and heavy rains cause your yard to overflow. You can prevent this issue by upgrading your drainage system. Replace old gutters and downspouts and have your roof checked to ensure it is draining properly.

3. Have Your Home Inspected by a Water Remediation Company

Contacting a flood cleanup and water remediation company to inspect your home for possible flooding risks can help keep it safe. Knowledgeable flood technicians can identify and resolve issues that may increase the risks, whether you live in an area that floods often or your home’s basement is prone to taking on water. Working with a company like this can help you defend your home against water damage all year round.

Preventing water in the home probably a high priority for you as a Portland, ME, homeowner. Taking the proper steps to reduce this risk can give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your happy home.

Can You Deduct Storm Damage From Your Business Taxes? 3 Factors To Consider

1/31/2022 (Permalink)

Closeup on businessman holding a card with text TAX DEDUCTIBLE, business concept image with soft focus background and vintage Not all storm damage to your businesses is tax deductible, and the rules are typically different for commercial properties.

Is It Possible To Deduct Storm Damage From Business Taxes? 3 Things To Think About

Flooding, hurricanes and other types of violent weather events can cause severe storm damage to your Portland, ME, business. The removal of flood water and the repair and restoration of one or more areas of your building may force you to close your business until the damage is fixed. You may be able to recover some of this loss when you file your taxes; however, there are a few questions you might want to ask yourself before you try to claim these damages.

1. Did I File an Insurance Claim?

Before you try to claim damage that occurred from flooding or other types of weather-related events, it is important to ask yourself if you filed an insurance claim and whether you received any compensation. If so, you cannot deduct such losses from your taxes. While it is permissible to receive recompence, you cannot file a claim and then receive a tax discount as well. If you have business insurance, check with your agent concerning your options before you file.

2. How Much Can I Claim?

Not all storm damage to your businesses is tax deductible, and the rules are typically different for commercial properties. For example, homeowners are bound by certain restrictions that involve the total amount of their gross income. As a business owner affected by a weather event, you could be exempt from these caveats. The total amount you can claim will likely depend on past insurance claims and the type of damage your property endured.

3. How Long Do I Have To File?

You may have delayed in your filing as you wait for your flood damage and restoration service to finish repairs to your business in order to have specific cost amounts instead of estimations. While this may help you claim a larger refund, it is a good idea to contact your accountant or local tax office to ask about filing deadlines.

When storm damage impacts your Portland, ME, business, the monetary loss can be considerable. Understanding how to claim it on your taxes before you file may result in faster compensation and avoid delays that could harm your business in the long run.

Supporting Local Disaster Relief Efforts

1/19/2022 (Permalink)

2 men and 4 women holding large check donation Pictured in check presentation: Jared Lamey, Holly Merrill, Barbara Rapoza, Scott Carter, Nicole Evans & Liz Thompson

Through the efforts of the Maine SERVPRO franchises, sponsorships and clients from our annual golf event in September 2021 we were able to raise and present a check for $15,000 to the American Red Cross of Maine’s Disaster Relief Fund. Thank you to everyone who participated in making our 2021 event a success.

Over the past 14 years we have raised over $155,000. With the help and generosity of our community, we hope that we can continue to increase that number to help the American Red Cross in Maine supporting their local disaster relief efforts and assist those who have suffered the effects of a disaster. 

How To Choose an Air Purifier

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

Air purifier machine in a house If you want to reduce the amount of airborne particles, such as mold spores or dust, in your home, experts recommend a HEPA filter purifier.

What To Look For When Buying An Air Purifier

Of all the places you spend your time, your home in West Falmouth, ME, should be the place you can breathe the easiest. An effective air filtration system can help. The market is so saturated with purifiers that look promising, however, that it can be overwhelming to try to choose the one that’s best for you and your family. The following suggestions may be able to help you narrow down the options.

Qualities To Seek

The first thing you must decide is what you need. When experts test to see if an air purifier works well, they often look at four criteria:

  • Percentage of particles removed from air
  • Amount of air flow
  • Simplicity of use
  • Level of customer satisfaction

You may choose your air filtration device based on one or all of these standards. If you want a purifier that reduces the amount of potentially irritating particles in the air, for example, filter efficiency is probably going to be your most important requirement.

Reasons To Buy

If you want to reduce the number of airborne particles, such as mold spores or dust, in your home, mold remediation experts recommend a purifier with a HEPA filter. HEPA filters not only remove over 99% of particles from the air, they actually improve in performance over time. If your machine also has a carbon pre-filter, you can increase the life of your filter and improve your air quality even further. The most effective air purifiers on the market include the Oransi Max, the BlueAir 450E and the OV200 Air Purifier. While costs for these machines can range from a few hundred dollars to over $1000, it may be worth the price to know that your family is breathing cleaner air.

The best air filtration system is one that has an efficient filter, good air flow, ease of use and good customer reviews. Look for the purifier that improves the air quality of your home the best.

Is Smoke Damage Covered By Insurance?

1/6/2022 (Permalink)

A keyboard with the label of an insurance  company In most cases, smoke damage will be covered by your commercial insurance policy.

Is Insurance Coverage For Smoke Damage?

If your commercial building or one adjacent to yours recently sustained a fire, and you are left dealing with smoke-related damage, you may be worried about making a claim with your insurance company. Is smoke damage a covered loss? Read on to learn everything you need to know about smoke claims to put your mind at ease.

Soot Damage and Insurance

In most cases, damage from smoke will be covered by your commercial insurance policy. This is even the case if the fire occurred at a company right next to yours. However, there are some steps you need to take to properly file your claim and increase the chances of it being accepted. They are as follows:

  1. Contact your insurance company to report the smoke damage and file a claim.
  2. Assess your loss and prepare a smoke cleanup plan with the help of professionals.
  3. Record proof of any damage and repairs through photographs, receipts and other documents.
  4. Prepare for the insurance adjuster to arrive for surveying purposes.

Following the steps above will increase the chances of restoring your property as best as you can. Having a solid plan in place will also make it more likely that your insurance company will approve your claim.

Smoke Cleaning Assistance

As you can see above, creating an action plan for cleanup is one of the most important parts of this entire claims and restoration process. A reliable Westbrook, ME, fire damage restoration company should be able to arrive on an emergency basis, assess the situation and help you build a cleanup plan that will likely include reducing odors and eliminating smoke from your building.

Smoke damage isn’t always easy to deal with, and communication with your insurance provider can be even more frustrating. Following the steps above and knowing where to turn for cleanup help can make your business’s post-fire future more positive.

Water in the Basement

1/4/2022 (Permalink)

the old dirty cellar flooded from a pipe break Be aware that any drywall or flooring components that have absorbed too much water may need to be replaced as they can harbor bacteria and mold.

The Basement Is Wet.

A residential basement flood situation in Portland, ME, can cause serious problems for those involved if not addressed in a timely manner. Check out the following resources to better understand what to do if standing water occupies your lower floors.

1. Precautions

The most important consideration for any prudent homeowner is the safety of the occupants. Never enter a completely flooded basement area until you have disconnected the home from the power grid, especially if the electrical outlets or other appliances are still in standing water. You might also consider some form of contact protection, such as a pair of boots or waders, to prevent unnecessary exposure to contaminants from gray water.

2. Assessment

Trudging through the water will do you little good without a solid plan. Depending on the form your insurance coverage takes, you may need to make an inventory of the items affected by your basement flood. Your insurer may also require that you take active steps to prevent any ongoing damage, such as routing new sources of rainwater away from the home. The drying process for affected items should begin at this point. Your insurer may insist that certain sensitive items and procedures are handled by a qualified flood damage restoration service.

3. Prevention and Maintenance

Once you have cleared all standing water from the property and moved any water-susceptible belongings, inspect the basement area to determine why water accumulated. Is the sump pump in working order? Are there any clogged or broken pipes or drains between your basement and the sewer? Take steps to inspect and repair these items. Also, note that any drywall or flooring components that have absorbed too much water may need replacement, as these can harbor bacteria and mold.

Though a wide range of natural disasters or plumbing problems can affect any homeowner, a few preventative steps can reduce the risk of a basement flood and help to mitigate the amount of property damage you incur.

Be Content With Content Cleaning for Your Fire-Damaged Business

12/22/2021 (Permalink)

office things on a table SERVPRO of Portland not only will clean up and repair your home or business, but we also clean up the contents inside them. Call us!

Be Satisfied With Cleaning Your Fire's Content. -Loss Of Profit

Your business’ assets are threatened when a fire-related event takes you by surprise. Even if items in the building were not ignited, they still are likely damaged by secondary damage like smoke. This damage, fortunately, can be treated by an expert fire damage restoration crew using several industry standard practices. With professional dry-cleaning and special cleaning machines, most items that didn’t become ash can likely be restored and sanitized.

How Is a Smoky Smell Removed?

Smoke will settle into anything porous enough to let it settle. It could end up in a variety of fabric assets inside your Portland, ME, business property:

  • Upholstery
  • Carpet
  • Curtains
  • Clothes
  • Blankets, pillows and bedding in sleep areas or break rooms

Washing these items without professional content cleaning allows the smell to fully set in the fabric. These items need to undergo the process of deodorizing. In this process, smoke is removed using vents and oxidization.

Affected clothing typically undergoes dry-cleaning. It is the most cost-effective way to thoroughly clean special clothing or uniforms of smoke.

Where Are Smoky Items Stored?

Companies often offer remote warehouses with racks to store property for repair. Here, there are machines that use ultrasonic cleaning to even restore items that are nonporous from fire damage. This service is called content storage. Once the damaged item is restored in the shop where it is relocated, it is placed inside a storage box and organized for easy retrieval later.

Content storage also stores furniture that was unaffected by the fire so it can be protected from prolonged exposure or accidental damage during building repairs. It is advised to store anything that you believe to be smoky or at risk of future damage.

Cleaning Up Towards a Clean Business

Once the process is done, your business will smell fresh and become welcoming to operations restarting. With dry-cleaning and other services from a fire restoration company, the smoke doesn’t have to permeate the room to remind you of the damage. Your business can look and feel like a business again, not burnt food.

3 Water Damage Cleanup Tips

12/22/2021 (Permalink)

Restoration machines are cleaning water damage in a home. If you have water damage in your home, call SERVPRO. Our team has the right equipment for the job. Give us a call for your water damage, 24/7

3 Tips For Cleaning Up Water Damage

A backup, flood, or leak can result in water damage at a home in Falmouth, ME. Homeowners can attempt to remove water and clean up damage on their own, but mitigation and restoration professionals have the equipment and expertise necessary to work quickly and identify potential problems. Follow these three water cleanup tips to limit damage and prevent mold growth.

1. Remove Water As Soon As Possible

Primary damage becomes more extensive as water is left standing. Some porous materials can be restored after being briefly saturated with uncontaminated water from broken pipes. In the case of a minor leak, a mop, towels, or a rented pump may be sufficient to eliminate standing water. For major leaks or flooding, mitigation professionals can use commercial pumps and wet vacs. If no measures are taken to remove water, mold growth may begin in as little as 24 to 48 hours.

2. Promote Drying With Fans and Dehumidifiers

In addition to removing standing water, it is also necessary to reduce residual moisture. Ventilating an area with air movers or fans can speed up drying. A dehumidifier can draw moisture out of the air and porous or semi-porous materials. It is necessary to completely dry the affected area prior to restoration. This will make areas with water damage less hospitable for mold.

3. Handle Wet Contents Carefully

Consider the composition and durability of each item prior to cleaning. Most non-porous items can be safely rinsed and dried. Delicate, semi-porous, or porous contents may call for specialized methods. Restoration professionals can recommend the best cleaning method for any item. A service can also remove contents for cleaning and safely store items until the restoration process is complete.

These tips can help homeowners clean up water damage. It is important to act quickly to limit the extent of primary damage and prevent secondary damage from occurring.

When To Call A Professional

12/22/2021 (Permalink)

Restoration machines are cleaning water damage in a bathroom This toilet had a plumbing issue causing massive amounts of water damage. SERVPRO to respond to extract and start the drying process.

When Should You Hire A Professional?

Many commercial flooding situations, such as a pipe burst cleanup, are user serviceable. However, not all are, and there are inherent risks involved with an amateur or provisional water damage repair. Consider a few tips about when to leave your problems to a qualified cleanup service.

1. Standards

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Services (IICRC) maintains a large number of guidelines and standards relating to the certification of companies to do cleanup work. For example, a sewer cleanup company might choose to comply with the BSR/IICRC S550, which outlines the standards for water damage cleanup for commercial structures. By voluntarily adopting these standards, the company signals its qualifications to potential customers and ensures efficient communication with other companies with which they may have to coordinate.

2. Safety and Liability

By contacting an IICRC-certified service for a pipe burst cleanup, you protect yourself from the liability that comes from attempting any unorthodox or temporary repair procedures. While these may save money in the short term, they can lead to costly problems down the line. Additionally, a broken pipe or other flooding issue can create safety concerns for you and your employees. For example, if wall outlets are inundated, then pooled water can become an electrical hazard. In these situations, a professional agency can mitigate the damage safely.

3. Documentation and Coverage

In the meantime, the business owner should document any visible flood damage that cannot be obviously remedied. Make an inventory of all affected areas and any components that you think need attention or repair. Any sensitive electronic devices, such as personal computers, should be moved out of the affected area. If flooding can be stopped by shutting off water at a valve or main, do so until restoration services arrive and continue the cleanup process.

Review the above procedures with your employees to keep your business running in the event that you need urgent pipe burst cleanup or other repairs in Westbrook, ME.

Understand Storm Insurance Coverage Before the Wind Blows

11/11/2021 (Permalink)

white plastic rain gutter and dark sky. concept : preparing maintenance rain gutter before rainy season. It's always important to discuss coverage thoroughly with your Portland, ME, storm insurance agent.

Before the Wind Blows, Know Your Storm Insurance Coverage

After major storms hit the nation more than twenty years ago, insurers realized that the costs of storm insurance coverage could be much higher than they had previously estimated. Once that realization hit, insurers made changes to reduce the amount they would have to pay out in future storms. Today, many deductibles are based on the value of the property and the specific type of coverage property owners want. (In some states, such as Florida, some of these variables are determined by state law.)

What Can You Expect From Commercial Storm Coverage?

To a large extent, the rate of your deductibles and specific variables of coverage will be affected by state law, even outside of Florida. However, it is fairly common for commercial property insurance to compensate businesses for financial losses due to storm damage. This type of insurance coverage generally protects:

  • The contents of your building, such as inventory, office supplies, furnishings, and other goods directly owned by the business
  • Cleanup and restoration efforts, including the services of storm remediation specialists
  • Damage due to falling debris that is directly related to the storm

Circumstances That Could Reduce Your Coverage

There are certain circumstances that may negatively affect your coverage:

  • Normal wear and tear probably isn't covered by your policy, so if your aging roof becomes worse after a storm, you may not have insurance protection.
  • If your policy doesn't reflect the cost of rebuilding your property, don't expect to get that much financial compensation.
  • When property owners fail to appropriately maintain their property, they may not be covered. For example, if you have an old tree on your property and it falls over during a storm, the insurance company may deny the claim because the risk was present before the storm hit.

It's always important to discuss coverage thoroughly with your Portland, ME, storm insurance agent. Don't leave your property and financial security at risk because of a misunderstanding.

3 Ways To Care For Water-Damaged Contents

11/11/2021 (Permalink)

Severe water damage in Portland This home had a massive amount of water damage. It causes some debris to fall on the floor, causing a lot to be cleaned up and restored.

3 Methods For Cleaning Water-Damaged Contents

Water in your home can ruin your property. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may attempt to restore items on your own or hire experts for the best results. Here are three ways to care for water-damaged items.

1. Clean the Contents

If you are dealing with water damage caused by clean water from a broken pipe, you only need to dry the wet objects. However, it is important to clean items that have been exposed to contaminated water that contains chemicals, microbes, or solid waste. Non-porous items are the easiest to rinse thoroughly and disinfect.

Delicate porous contents such as art, documents, or books call for a different approach. Clean off as much debris as possible with a damp cloth or soft brush, depending on the material. You can also allow the materials to dry and use a window screen and vacuum attachment to remove debris without causing damage. Avoid grinding in debris, as this will result in secondary damage. Ask restoration experts about dry cleaning and other specialized methods.

2. Air Dry Contents

It is a good idea to get rid of as much water in the home as possible prior to drying the contents. Lay items out on a dry surface in a room with indirect fans or a dehumidifier. You can also dry contents outside, but exposure to direct sunlight can cause further damage.

3. Replace Damaged Items

It may not be possible to restore some water-damaged contents. So determine the value of each item, and choose the most cost-effective approach. Entrust rare items to professionals with access to a full range of restoration methods, including vacuum freeze-drying.

You may cause more damage by attempting to restore delicate or valuable contents on your own. Factor in the amount of water in the home and the value of damaged items to decide whether to contact damage restoration professionals in Falmouth, ME.

Fire Safety 101: How to Make a Fire Escape Plan

11/11/2021 (Permalink)

A home damaged by fire If fire damage occurs in your home, you can count on SERVPRO, we are ready to help you.

How To Create A Fire Escape Plan: Fire Safety 101

When talking about fire preparation and safety, fire escape planning is often neglected by many families. Many people gravitate to the “it’s never going to happen to me” bubble and unwittingly put their families at risk. Escape planning is potentially life-saving and relatively simple. Follow the steps below for guidance.

1. Scope Out Your Home

Scoping out your home before a home fire may be a life-saving decision. Fire incites panic, and that can lead to poor decision-making in an emergency. By finding emergency exit routes before a crisis, you can increase your likelihood of survival. There should be a clear and defined path to escape from every room of your home.

2. Move Any Obstacles

Fire escape routes should be maintained, meaning they must be free of obstacles. You can ensure the integrity of your escape plans by keeping dressers and tables away from windows and pathways. Everyone should be able to make it to an escape point without having to stop and move furniture.

3. Practice Your Escape Route

Once escape routes are planned and pathways cleared, practice escaping. Many fire departments and municipalities encourage families to practice these routes monthly. While practicing does not require an actual emergency, everyone should move through the plan as quickly as possible because in a real emergency, time is of the essence.

4. Seek Out Professional Guidance

While for small, ranch-style homes escape planning is relatively simple, multilevel homes and apartments can be a little trickier. If you are concerned that your fire preparation plans are not adequate to keep you and your family safe, contact your local fire department or other professionals from Westbrook, ME, to help you create a customized plan.

Fire safety relies heavily on fire prevention and preparation, which has its strongest roots in fire escape. Planning and practicing escape routes can be the difference between life or death if the worst-case scenario should occur. Knowing the layout of your home, removing obstacles, and practicing escape routes are the best ways of ensuring your family's safety in a fire emergency.

Unplugged: Saving Your Electronics From Smoke Damage

10/7/2021 (Permalink)

A truck from a restoration company in front of a home If your home suffers any fire damage, SERVPRO is always ready to help you, call us!

Unplugged: Preventing Smoke Damage To Your Electronics

If your home in Portland, ME, catches fire, you will have a long list of tasks that must be completed before it will be restored. When writing your checklist for fire cleanup, don’t forget your electronics. Soot and smoke can cause extensive damage to electronic equipment, and only a remediation professional can ensure that it is cleaned effectively and thoroughly.

The Effect of Smoke on Electronics

During a fire, smoke goes everywhere. It gets in every crack and crevice, so electronic equipment such as your computer is not immune to smoke damage. Smoke can harm your computer in several ways:

  • Shorting of circuits by the smoke’s magnetic charge
  • Overheating caused by the black film soot leaves in its wake
  • Degrading of delicate parts caused by high acidity level of soot

Saving Your Equipment

The majority of the fire cleanup process in regards to your electronic equipment should be reserved for the professionals. They have the right tools for the job. You can do a few things, however, to prevent further damage and possibly salvage your electronics. The simplest thing that can help is to unplug the machine and turn it off if you haven’t already done so. If it has a battery backup, it doesn’t hurt to remove that as well. If you notice residue on the outside, you can gently wipe it clean with a dry cloth, but don’t apply too much pressure. If your computer was affected by smoke damage, it may be a good idea to remove the hard drive. This increases your chances of being able to save the crucial components of your computer’s operating system.

Fire cleanup is an extensive process with dozens of steps. Don’t let your electronics fall through the cracks. Remediation specialists may be able to restore your equipment so that it can be used again, but it has to be tested in order to know for sure whether it’s safe to use.

The Basics of Commercial Property Insurance

10/7/2021 (Permalink)

image of the engineer of the architectural project. Vintage tone and engineering tools in the workplace. Property insurance exists so that you can be compensated for losses that occur as the result of theft, natural disaster, flood or fire damage.

Commercial Property Insurance: A Guide to the Fundamentals

Your business in Falmouth, ME, is your lifeline. As with all things that are important to you, you want to protect your business by insuring it properly. Commercial insurance packages often contain general liability, workers’ compensation and property policies. When reviewing property policies, it’s good to know what you should expect it to cover and how to work out a fair deal with your insurer.

What It Covers

Property insurance exists so that you can be compensated for losses that occur as the result of theft, natural disaster, flood or fire damage. Your insurance adjuster can assess your claim to make sure you are made whole again after tragedy strikes. There are many aspects of your business that your commercial insurance should cover:

  • Building where your business is housed
  • Important documents
  • Equipment used, from computers to manufacturing machines
  • Inventory
  • Additional structures on the property, such as fencing or storage sheds
  • Signage

Anything that restoration specialists must assess, restore or replace should be covered under your policy.

What It Costs

When putting together your insurance package, your agent weighs risk factors to determine the cost of your property insurance premiums. The higher the risk to the insurance company, the higher your cost is likely to be. For example, if you live in an area that has excellent fire protection records, or if there is a fire hydrant right outside your door, you may enjoy less expensive premiums. If your area does not have good fire protection or your building has a bad fire rating, the risk of insuring you is higher for the insurance company, so you can expect your monthly cost to be higher. While there are few things under your control that affect prices of insurance, having a good fire alarm or sprinkler system can help a little.

Your commercial insurance policy is designed to protect your business from catastrophes outside your control. Finding a solid property policy at an affordable price can give you peace of mind.

Want to Prevent Mold? Take Care of Water Damage First

10/7/2021 (Permalink)

Mold on the Bathroom Ceiling SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Always ready to help you in any mold damage in your home.

Do You Want To Keep Mold At Bay? First And Foremost, Take Care Of Any Water Damage.

You’ve heard the saying “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Well, where there’s water, there’s mold and mildew – and the last thing you want is for mold to take root in your home. Once that musty odor sinks in, it’s almost impossible to get rid of without professional help and potential damage to the structure of your home. Let’s take a look at how you can prevent mold growth in Westbrook, ME before it’s too late.

Be Proactive – Eliminate the Causes of Water Damage

Mold in your home is generally caused by water lingering where it shouldn’t, promoting stagnation and mold growth. This can include everything from leaks to condensation to standing water. A few common sources of water damage include:

  • A leaking roof
  • Leaks in pipes and fixtures
  • Broken refrigerators pooling water on the floor
  • Leaks in windowsills and windowpane seals
  • Condensation from air conditioners and other air filtration devices
  • Improper weather sealing
  • Flooding and hurricanes

For effective mold prevention, it’s important to eliminate the source of water leakage before water leakage becomes water damage, and water damage becomes unsightly mold. While there’s not much you can do to prevent natural disasters such as floods, though, you can still prepare in advance by sealing your house as much as possible – and beginning water cleanup immediately after the danger has passed.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Your best mold prevention strategy is to avoid a problem in the first place. Regular home inspections can detect issues with leaking roofs, windows, pipes, and other issues before they happen. Proper home maintenance can go a long way toward mold prevention while preserving the safety and integrity of your house. If you find you do have a problem, don’t wait to address the issue. Being immediate cleanup and hunt down the water damage at the source before it spreads any further and your mold growth becomes a mold infestation.

What Should You Do When a Potential Flood Is on the Way?

9/23/2021 (Permalink)

Hurricane makes landfall in Puerto Rico If your commercial building suffers any storm damage, SERVPRO can help you, call us!

What Should You Do If a Flood Is On Its Way?

If hurricanes, flash floods or other environmental acts are suspected, you may get a bit of a warning before high waters hit. When flooding is suspected for Westbrook, ME, you want to do whatever you can to get your commercial building ready for the potential damage. You don't always get a warning prior to a flood, so it's a good idea to use this time wisely. Consider using these steps to best prepare for a storm with high waters.

Rearrange Your Equipment and Furniture

If there's a potential for storm damage involving high waters in your area, you want to do what you can to move your important furniture and equipment up high. You can rearrange in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • Move as much as possible to upper floors of the building.
  • Create stacks of furniture with water-resistant items at the bottom on lower levels of the building.
  • Use watertight totes to protect files and equipment.

Moving around office furniture could help you save as much as possible. As you get ready to rearrange your space, think about the items will you be able to easily dry out and clean after a flood. Keep those at the bottom and move other, less water-resistant furniture and equipment first.

Get Sandbags

You can also try to make your building impermeable to flooding. Stacking sandbags near the doors and windows can help keep water from entering your commercial space. You can even build up a wall of sandbags around the perimeter of your building to help keep water away from the foundation.

Flooding can leave your building unrecognizable. That's why commercial building owners want to do what they can to stop water from damaging their building. If you were unable to prepare for flood damage, you can still call in a flood cleanup team to help you fix the problems caused by the high waters.

Tackling Mold's Move-In

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

Mold damage on the walls of a  home If you have any mold damage in your home, SERVPRO is always ready for help, call us!

Managing Mold's Invasion

Most Portland, ME, homes can be vulnerable to mold in some shape, color, smell, or form. After all, many of the materials that make up the house itself can set the stage for a fungus party. It may be a great time for, say, black mold, but you probably have other ideas. Does mold go away on its own? This question can be answered in the short list below.

1. An Unwelcome Guest

After you've located the affected areas of your house, the ideal next step is to plan mold cleanup. Calling professionals who understand the ins and outs of this pesky substance is usually a good first step; however, even the pros can tell you that addressing mold is no light business. Mold can seep in underneath walls, carpets, bathroom tiles, and other subtle places, so it is important that your house becomes an area of close scrutiny.

2. Moisture Is Key

Most homeowners are familiar with the occasional leaky roof or dripping pipes. These small nuisances can become bigger issues when mold becomes the new house guest. If black mold has taken over any part of your house, a simple drying of the area does not quite do the trick. Mold can be a long-time roommate, even if you've let your house dry, so the best bet is to plan a cleanup.

3. Invisible Pests

Even if you've addressed a moisture problem, it is possible that you are only at the beginning of your mold cleanup quest. Spores – the reproductive cells that allow mold to spread – are impossible to spot. They can travel through the air, on clothing, and in various parts of the house. It is important that you approach a mold problem the appropriate way so that the spores will be no more.

Whether it's black mold, mold spots on your walls, or anything in between, a mold infestation can be serious. Knowing you've placed your trust in the right remediating hands can not only identify all affected places but can also ensure the mold is really gone.

4 Steps To Clean Up a Water Heater Leak

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

flushing a water heater If your home has water damage, you can call SERVPRO, we are always ready to respond.

Cleaning A Water Heater Leak In 4 Easy Steps

If you have recently experienced a water heater leak, there are several simple steps you can take to clean up the leak and minimize safety risks. Try to limit the extent of the leak as soon as you notice a leaking water heater. Contact a plumber to fix a broken water heater or replace a failed water heater, and then determine the extent of the water damage. Follow these four steps to address the leak. For complete peace of mind, especially with a larger leak, you should contact a company that provides water damage restoration in Falmouth, ME.

1. Unplug electrical appliances in the affected area. You don't want to risk electrocution or other appliances being adversely affected by a leak.

2. Remove soaked carpets and moveable items from the area surrounding the leaking water heater. You may be able to dry out some items, but carpet may not be salvageable.

3. Dry the floor as soon as possible. You can use a mop, towels, or a wet-dry shop vacuum to remove excess water. You can also use a desiccant such as silica gel near soaked floors or walls.

4. Circulate air and dehumidify. This will speed the drying process and limit the extent of the water damage while making the environment less conducive to mold growth.

If you notice a leaking water heater in your home while the leak is still small, you may be able to limit the extent of the water damage by taking immediate action. If the leak is larger or has gone unnoticed for more than 24 hours, you should contact a residential restoration service in Falmouth, ME. Either you or damage restoration experts will need to clean up and dry all the water to prevent mold. Make sure to also have a plumber replace a failed or broken water heater to prevent another leak.

How To Prevent Frozen Water Pipes

8/19/2021 (Permalink)

New gray and brown drain pipes isolated over white When the temperature is freezing, frozen water inside pipes can burst them.

How To Prevent Water Pipes From Freezing

Your Portland, ME, home can take a pounding from winter weather. Snow, ice and frigid wind can all affect its exterior, and one common problem you might experience as a homeowner is frozen pipes. When the temperature drops below freezing, frozen water inside pipes can expand and cause them to burst. However, there are a few ways you can prevent this problem, as well the water damage and flooding a broken pipe can cause.

Insulate Your Pipes

Exterior water pipes are typically the most vulnerable to bursting during cold weather, but certain indoor pipes can be affected as well. Consider insulating pipes with foam insulation in these areas:

  • Basement connections
  • Under kitchen or bathroom cabinets
  • Unfinished or non-insulated laundry rooms

Insulating pipes in these areas can offer them extra protection when winter temperatures plummet.

Drain Outdoor Water Lines

Maintaining outdoor water lines can prevent them from freezing over. Before the cold weather comes, drain sprinkler systems and hoses and winterize your pool. You may want to keep the outdoor valves open to prevent excess water from creating pressure, which can result in a costly water line repair bill if the pipes near these connections burst.

Use Pipe Sleeves

Fitting indoor and outdoor pipes with pipe sleeves can protect your plumbing when temperatures drop. Pipe sleeves can prevent freezing by providing pipes with insulation and by raising the temperature within the pipe. You can create your own sleeve with heated tape and layers of newspaper if you need a quick fix before storm cleanup professionals arrive. These sleeves can also be helpful in keeping your pipes in good working order if you plan to be away from home for an extended period, such as for a Christmas holiday.

Dealing with frozen pipes at your Portland, ME, home can be a stressful experience, especially if one or more burst due to the cold. However, knowing how winterize your plumbing and treat your pipes for the cold weather can help them withstand the ravages of subzero temperatures, wind, ice and snow.

Why Quick Flood Mitigation Is Necessary for Your Business

8/12/2021 (Permalink)

Insulation from ceiling has been removed Wet insulation from the ceiling has been removed to prevent mold growth.

Why Is Prompt Flood Mitigation Required for Your Business?

Torrential downpours in Windham, ME, can cause flooding at your business and potentially threaten your livelihood. However, the aftermath of a flood may be more of a threat than the initial event, especially when it comes to mold growth. Having flood waters removed from your commercial building right away by a professional storm restoration and cleanup service can help prevent problems caused by standing water.

Mold Can Grow Rapidly

In optimal conditions, mold can grow almost anywhere in your building within 24–48 hours of flooding. The presence of moisture and humidity can accelerate mold growth, which can be a serious concern during a summer flood. Having flood waters removed the same day, if possible, can impede the development of mold and reduce the risk of it taking hold inside your building.

Mold Can Be Difficult to Treat

Once mold is allowed to grow after a flood, it can spread rapidly and impact different areas of your business, such as the ceilings, basement and interior walls. When mold grows where you cannot see, it can be difficult to treat by the time it is eventually discovered. Removing floodwaters as soon as possible can stop mold growth before it starts and save on the cost of having it treated later.

Mold Can Cause Offensive Odors

Mold contains bacteria that gives it a musty odor. It can smell like a dusty attic or wet, dirty laundry. Once it invades your building and starts to grow, this odor can seep into your building and be noticeable to your customers. If the smell becomes strong enough, it may start to drive people away. Investing in flood mitigation as soon as possible after flooding can prevent this situation.

Once a flood occurs at your Windham, ME, business, mold can begin to grow quickly if the water is not removed. Flood mitigation can prevent mold growth and all the problems the fungus may cause once it takes hold.

Tips for Checking for Mold in Your Home

8/12/2021 (Permalink)

Mold in the corner of a wall Mold in a Falmouth Foreside, ME home.

Mold Inspection Tips for Your Home

No one wants to think that their home isn’t safe or that it has potential health hazards lurking in open or hidden areas. Your home is supposed to be a haven where you can feel protection and comfort. Regrettably, you can encounter issues such as mold growth in any type of residence. If you discover mold at home in Falmouth Foreside, ME, you need an indoor environmental specialist to help you get rid of it and prevent it from coming back. To help you find out whether this nasty pest is in your place, follow some basic steps.

Check Common Places

Mold can grow in a variety of places, but there are some usual suspects to be aware of. Start in your bathroom, particularly the shower and sink. Mold can live in the grout of shower tile or at the base of your toilet. Pay close attention to the pipes below your sink. These areas are often perfect places for mold to thrive. Other possible locations include:

  • The attic
  • The basement
  • Dark, damp crawl spaces

Know What It Looks Like

Many people may think that mold is greenish in color; however, it’s usually black, white or yellow. You can identify mold by its leathery texture and spotty appearance. It also doesn’t smell pleasant; it carries a pungent odor like that of dirty socks. Make sure that when you check for mold, you wear a mask and gloves. Contact with this fungal growth can lead to illness.

Get an Expert

An indoor environmental specialist in Falmouth Foreside, ME, knows the typical places for mold to wreak its havoc. This expert will conduct a mold test and determine whether mold is in your home and what type it may be.

If you suspect that mold growth is occurring in your home, you should investigate likely areas of the house for this enemy. If you are not sure about what you find, environmental specialists can do a more thorough check as well as help you take care of the problem.

The Process of Making an Insurance Claim After a Flood

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

pieces of white ceiling tiles in a bedroom Bedroom after storm damage.

Following a Flood, How to File an Insurance Claim

It’s never enjoyable to be on the wrong end of a flood at home. At the very least, these incidents are annoying, take up a lot of your time and cause some stress. In more serious situations, floods can cause extensive damage and may even destroy portions of your home and possessions. As soon as flooding occurs in your Gorham, ME, home, you should contact your insurance company and make a flood claim. This will get the ball rolling on providing the cleanup and financial assistance you need.

Get Information Together

Regardless of the size of the flood, if there is any damage, you should file an insurance claim. Before you call your insurance representative, gather relevant documentation and information. These include:

  • Insurance company name
  • Policy number
  • Your contact information (This is important because you may not be at your home during and after the incident, so you need to provide the agent with a phone number where you can be reached anytime.)

Make Note of the Damage

Your insurance company will need evidence that the flood in your home damaged property and possessions. First, start by taking photographs of anything and everything the flood-damaged. This includes walls, floors, furniture, books, electronics and any parts of the home’s structure. Your flood claim should also include items that you may have lost in the flood. Keep in mind, the insurance company will likely only replace the items if you document value and date of purchase.

Fill Out the Necessary Forms

Your insurance company will ask you to fill out a Proof of Loss document. Make sure you do this as quickly after the flood as possible.

A flood claim is an essential part of your recovery and cleanup process following an incident of this magnitude. You don’t have to handle the aftermath of this disaster on your own. It will go more smoothly if you understand the claims process.

How To Clean Mold by the Book

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

Green and black mold on a wall Mold damage to a business in Westbrook, ME.

How to Remove Mold Using a Book

When you realize your business in Westbrook, ME has mold, you may be wondering where to start to combat the situation. Depending on its severity, you may even have some ideas on how you can tackle the task yourself. However, there are certain mold standards to which one must adhere when dealing with commercial properties, such as those recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency and outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Enlisting the experts in mold remediation will likely be your best bet for larger areas or certain mold types, but it can be helpful to be aware of the guidelines on how to prevent and handle a mold infestation in the meantime.

EPA Guidelines

The EPA advises the following to prevent mold growth:

  • Control humidity and temperature indoors.
  • Ensure that rooms have adequate ventilation.
  • Check plumbing and drainage systems.
  • Thoroughly scrub any surface where mold is visible and keep it dry.
  • In areas prone to mold, clean more frequently.
  • Contract a mold remediation specialist.

OSHA Guidelines

There are plenty of areas of overlap between advice from the EPA and OSHA. The latter does specify in detail several additional tips of mold standards to consider, recommending the following:

  • In-house staff such as custodians or housekeepers can perform mold cleanup for milder cases if they are properly trained and wear personal protective equipment.
  • Prior to clean up, staff should be trained according to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.
  • Specific OSHA guidelines based on severity and size of the affected areas should be followed.

Going by the outlined mold standards of these reputable organizations can help you determine the course of action to take for your business in Westbrook, ME. You may be dealing with a mild situation that can be managed in-house through proper steps, or something more challenging, as is the case with black mold. For more severe cases, it may be best to contact a professional with certifications such as that from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration. Regardless, following these guidelines can help you restore your business to pre-mold condition.

3 Tips for Reducing the Risk of Space Heater Fires

7/19/2021 (Permalink)

Space heater Space heaters are portable devices designed to heat single rooms rather than entire houses.

Reducing The Risk of Space Heater Fires

Using space heaters can be a convenient way to keep certain areas of your Falmouth, ME home cozy, especially those that do not receive enough heat from the furnace or are located on an outer ground floor. While these units can be handy, they might also increase the risk of a fire and a burned space heater. Keeping a few safety tips in mind can help you reduce the possibility of space heater fires and ensure your family’s well-being.

1. Give the Unit Space

One of the most common causes of space heater fires is putting heaters in an area where they do not have enough room for proper heat flow. This can cause the unit to overheat and start a fire. Putting a heater in an enclosed space can also cause objects around it to catch fire, such as bedding, clothing and other fabrics. The risk is usually highest in the bedroom, where blankets and stuffed toys can fall off the bed and onto the heater and spark a blaze. A fire and smoke cleanup service can advise you about the best placement for your space heater.

2. Ground the Plug at a Wall Outlet

Most space heaters are designed to operate from one electrical socket. As such, plugging them into an extension cord or a multi-socket power strip may cause them to overheat. This may start at the plug itself, which can melt it or the cord. Overheating at the power source may also cause a power surge, which can result in a burned space heater or a fire.

3. Set Your Heater on a Stable Surface

When you first buy a space heater, it is important that you read all instructions and set your unit on a stable surface instead of a table or other object. If the surface is unstable, the unit can be knocked over and come into contact with flammable objects.

Space heaters can make your Falmouth, ME home comfortable. However, knowing how to use them safely is important to protect your family from the threat of a burned space heater or a devastating fire.

Caring for Your Electronics After a House Fire

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

Fire flame coming out of a keyboard of a computer SERVPRO can clean electronics after a fire.

Electronic Restoration

After a house fire, there is a lot you and your family can get done with old-fashioned soap and water. However, there are some things that are best left to professional fire cleanup crews, such as your electronics. Instead of just scrubbing these belongings clean, pros will need to

  • Inspect for any present safety issues
  • Clean away corrosives from inside the casings
  • Perform a thorough inspection of the item after professional cleaning to ensure performance safety

Each of these steps is important, and none of them can be missed if you want a truly good electronic restoration experience in Falmouth, ME.

Initial Inspections

As a general rule, you should steer clear of any electronics you suspect may have been affected by smoke damage during the fire until a professional can perform a quick inspection. This is to ensure that no moisture or other particles have entered parts of the device that could make it dangerous.

Cleaning Procedures

Smoke carries acids and a number of different chemicals that can corrode the metal pieces inside of your electronics’ casings. These substances typically need more than just a damp cloth to clean properly, which is why all cleaning should be left to trusted electronics professionals. Usually, your fire cleanup crew will work alongside an electronics shop of your choice to get the best possible results.

Successful Restoration

Of course, after the initial cleaning, you’ll want to have either the electronics store owner or a cleanup pro check the electronics in question to ensure it's working properly. This can help them catch any unexpected remaining issues so that when you do get your belongings back, they’ll be good as new.

Getting the proper care for your home during fire cleanup in Falmouth, ME, is important if you want to get things back to normal again, and that includes your electronics. Fortunately, with the right crew, the process is easier, faster and more effective.

What To Avoid After Your Home Floods

6/23/2021 (Permalink)

bedroom, ceiling collapsed in bedroom Water damage in Portland, ME.

Do's and Don'ts

When something is wrong with your home, your first instinct may be to jump in and start fixing it. This instinct could be wrong, though. When a broken pipe causes flooding in your home in Portland, ME, it is important to follow a few simple do's and don'ts.

Don't Wade Unprotected

Water in the home may seem harmless, especially if it came from a clean source. It is very easy, however, for flood water to get contaminated. Do not wade through standing water unprotected.

Do Wear Protective Gear

If you must go into the water, put on protective gear first:

  • Rubber boots
  • Protective Eye Gear
  • Face Mask
  • Rubber Coveralls

Don't Jump the Gun

In a hurry to get your problems fixed, you may decide to get a head start on your shopping. It doesn't make sense, however, to buy new furniture until you are sure that the old furniture is not salvageable. Besides, until the area is restored, you have no place to put it.

Do Document Damages

Take pictures of everything that may need repair or replacement. Even if you think it's insignificant, you should photograph and list everything affected by the broken pipe and the havoc it wreaked.

Don't Wait to Report

You may think you need all the information before you call your insurance agent or repair personnel. The longer you wait, however, the worse the problem may get. Mold can start to grow in as little as 24 hours if the conditions are right. You are more likely to avoid bigger problems if you report early.

Do Call in the Experts

The fastest way to get your home back to its former state is to call the restoration experts who can make that happen. The quickest way to get your money is to call your insurance company. These calls should be the first thing you do when your home floods.

If your home is damaged by a broken pipe, you might not be thinking clearly. Instead of following instincts that could lead you astray, follow the advice outlined here to fix your home.

Quick Guide to the Flood Cut

6/23/2021 (Permalink)

drywall removal from a water damage from a roof leak The flood cut is often used in flooding situations.

When it comes to the mitigation and remediation process of a commercial flood in Falmouth, ME, there are a lot of cleaning techniques that can be used. The exact process started by your commercial cleanup crew will depend on the type of flooding you are dealing with. When rain waters fill your space, your team will want to mitigate the damage as quickly as possible. This means making fast decisions to help stop the damage from spreading. A flood cut is one technique often used.

What It Is

A flood cut is part of the tear-out mitigation process. Any drywall in your building that was affected by floodwaters may be cut away. The line is usually 12 to 18 inches above the water line to ensure all water-damaged materials are removed.

When It's Needed

When water sits up against the drywall in your building, it can get soaked up into the porous material. Some liquid may even pass to materials behind the wall. The flood cut is often used in flooding situations, but may be even more pertinent if the following is true:

  • There is insulation and other building materials behind the drywall.
  • The remediation team needs to assess the damage in the interior walls.
  • The water that filled your space was contaminated.

Your cleanup professional may not always choose to do a flood cut. However, it can help remove excess water and jump-start the remediation process.

What Happens After

After the drywall has been ripped out, any other materials affected by the contamination are also removed. This can include busted pipes, insulation, ceiling tiles and flooring materials. Once the tear-out is complete, the repairs must get started. Your remediation team will replace any damaged materials including the drywall.

Flooding can do a lot of damage to a commercial space. A flood cut may help the experts better understand the damage done to your building and give them the tools needed to start making repairs.

Include These Elements in Your Building's Storm Preparedness

5/13/2021 (Permalink)

A gutter with leaves, words on the top say Unclog it Always clean your gutters!

Storm Preparedness Plan For Your Business

Exterior maintenance is an important part of your commercial building's storm preparedness plan alongside proper staff procedures and medical kits. Having the building maintained up to standards can help it withstand the power of North Deering, ME, storms and minimize damage. Before such event takes place, ensure that the building includes the following elements and practices.

Unblocked and Clear Drainage
A business building inspection should include a well-maintained drain system from the roof to below. It should consist of elements such as:

  • Drains
  • Gutters
  • Downspouts
  • Roof slopes

These elements work together to take rainwater from the building's roof to the ground. If the water accumulates on top, it can either seep through the cracks and damage your property or cause the roof to break completely, leaving the area vulnerable. You should also ensure the drain system is in great condition. Remove any blockage and fix any existing damage.

Secured or Removed Loose Accessories
As part of your exterior maintenance, you should also consider any separate items that are around the building that serve your business. Some of these objects include tables, chairs, trash cans and signs. A powerful storm can move them around and crash them against your location or other people's properties. Ensure you have enough room to take the items inside. If you have larger structures like trailers, dumpsters and portable restrooms, you can anchor them to the ground or to fixtures using rope or chains.

Shuttered or Boarded-Up Glass
Glass surfaces such as windows, skylights and glass doors are vulnerable to the impact of high winds and debris. Their destruction creates further water damage and even endangers staff. Make sure there are exterior shutters and covers ready to protect these items from the elements. If the storm is coming soon and you lack shutters, board up these surfaces to reduce the damage.
Professional storm damage restoration can always help bring your establishment back to normal. However, with proper exterior maintenance, you can mitigate the negative effects.

3 Ways To Protect Your Business From Fire Damage

4/30/2021 (Permalink)

Automatic ceiling Fire Sprinkler at the Office Install a sprinkler system in your building.

Three Ways To Protect Your Business From Fire Damage

Because fire is one of the most common causes of loss for small businesses, fire preparation is very important to minimize potential financial loss and business interruption. These are three ways you can protect your business from fire damage.

1. Use Fire Extinguishers Properly
Fire extinguishers are your first line of defense against small fires. When used properly, small fires can often be put out before they can spread. Train your employees on when and how to use fire extinguishers as part of your disaster preparation plan. Inspect your equipment regularly to ensure it functions properly and is in compliance with the fire codes in Munjoy Hill, ME.

2. Install Sprinklers and Fire Suppression Systems
Depending on your local regulations, you may be required to install a sprinkler system in your building. Even if you are not, sprinklers are a valuable fire preparation tool for putting out small fires before they can become large fires. While sprinklers can cause water damage that may require the services of a water remediation company, because they deploy separately, only the part of the building where the fire is located should be affected. Additionally, if there is any cooking equipment in your building, it is a good idea to install fire suppression systems to douse any cooking fires that might occur.

3. Clean and Declutter
Cooking or manufacturing equipment that is not cleaned properly can become a fire hazard. Clutter can block fire exits or catch fire if it is too close to heat sources. Consider using an outside professional cleaning service to ensure your property is cleaned properly. It is also a good idea to periodically inspect the property for safety hazards.
Fires are one of the most common risks business owners face. However, proper fire preparation can reduce your risks of a fire occurring and minimize any damage that results if a fire does happen. Consider adding these three tips to your fire safety plan.

5 Things To Try When Your Smoke Alarm Beeps

4/6/2021 (Permalink)

smoke detector with white smoke and red warning light Keep your family safe from fire and smoke damage.

How Do You Stop A Beeping Smoke Alarm

You installed a fire alarm in each room of your home in Falmouth Foreside, ME when you moved in. You regularly test the alarms to make sure they're working. The worst thing, then, is when one of the alarms starts beeping. It can take a while to figure out which one is beeping. Then, how do you make it stop? Here are five things to try.

1. Change the Batteries
Start simple and change the batteries. Even if you just did it, it's possible one of them is faulty or you accidentally mixed up an old one with a new one.

2. Use the Silent Button
Your fire alarm has a test/silent button. Try to use that to stop the beeping. This is probably also a good time to find the manual (or look it up online if it was thrown away) for ways to specifically test your brand of alarm.

3. Reset the Alarm
A slightly more complicated solution is to reset the whole device. Again, the manual or YouTube can provide help for how to conduct a full alarm reset. Don't get discouraged here, decide that it's not worth the effort, and leave the alarm unarmed. Fire damage occurs when you least expect it, so it's important to keep all of your detectors up and running properly.

4. Check for Dust
Some detectors are hardwired to your electrical system instead of using batteries. If dust is affecting the wiring, that could be a reason that your alarm is beeping. Use a keyboard air blower to clear out dust build-up.

5. Replace the Whole Thing
When no other solution will stop the beeping, it's time to replace the detector. They don't last forever, and chances are that it's been longer than you realize that since you installed your fire alarm. Don't put this off. The safety of your family could depend on functioning smoke detectors.
Troubleshooting your smoke detector can be a headache, but it's worth the effort to keep your family safe from fire and smoke damage. If a fire does occur, a fire damage assessment will help you determine the cause.

Modern Content Cleaning Methods

4/6/2021 (Permalink)

Damage to the roof and ceiling of an office following a violent storm Commercial storm damage in West Falmouth, ME.

Content Cleaning Methods

If your West Falmouth, ME, commercial building suffers storm damage, the restoration process may feel overwhelming. In addition to the structural damage, your business’s contents may be damaged. Fortunately, there are a variety of content cleaning methods available today that can restore your possessions to preloss conditions.

Items That May Need Specialized Restoration
Your building contains a wide variety of items, possibly more than you realize. Some of these items, particularly nonporous items such as plastics, may be impervious to water damage. Other items, however, require specialized restoration techniques. The following is a list of common items that generally cannot be restored using simple methods:

  • Antiques
  • Photographs
  • Artwork
  • Electronics
  • Upholstery

Flood water is classified as gray or black water, meaning that bacteria and other contaminants are present. Unfortunately, not all affected items can be properly cleaned. A certified restoration service can let you know what can and cannot be restored using the available cleaning and restoration methods.

Content Cleaning Techniques
Different materials require different cleaning and restoration methods. Water-damaged paper documents can be dried through freeze-drying, thermal drying and dehumidification. Gamma irradiation is an effective cleaning method for many delicate items that have been contaminated by floodwater. Foam cleaning is ideal for many types of upholstery. There are a variety of other cleaning methods, including the following:

  • Wet cleaning
  • Dry cleaning
  • Immersion cleaning
  • Abrasive cleaning

Professionals can select the best cleaning method for your possessions and ensure your items are fully clean, dry and safe to use. If your business incurred a lot of damage and many items need restoration, a professional team may decide to do a move-out and take the contents to an off-site location for restoration while other team members focus on the structure and building materials.
Water damage can be a major setback for a business. Fortunately, today’s advanced content cleaning methods are capable of restoring many items to preloss conditions so that they can be returned to your commercial building.

The 3 Steps for Unclogging a Drain With a Snake

3/15/2021 (Permalink)

a new plumbers snake on a white background Snaking a stopped drain is a great way to prevent plumbing disasters.

The 3 Steps for Unclogging a Drain With a Snake

If you can't get a clogged pipe clear with a plunger or cleaning the trap, it is time to use an auger. This coiled snake will get fed down your drain, and you will twist the tip into the obstruction. While parts of the clog will break away and flow down the pipe, the rest will get trapped in the snake and pulled out. These tools are convenient for clogs deep in your pipes. Using one properly will prevent you from experiencing a pipe break or other plumbing disaster.

1. Find the Clog
Push the snake into your clogged pipe until you feel resistance. If there are any tight curves in your plumbing, you may feel some resistance, but you need to put a little extra force behind your reel and keep pressing until you find the clog. Just be sure you are gentle because you don't want to break your pipes on accident and end up having to hire a water restoration company anyway.

2. Snake the Debris
Rotate the snake until you feel it move freely in the spot where the block was. The rotating action will help the tip grab onto the debris and loosen it. If it is a solid object, you will likely feel the snakehead get wrapped around it. When you feel either it loosens the clog or get stuck, reel the tip out of the drain in your home in Windham, ME.

3. Wash It Away
When the tip is out of the clogged pipe, run the water down the drain. This will help flush any remaining debris down the pipe and ensure your drain is ready to go.
Snaking a stopped drain is a great way to prevent plumbing disasters and get your pipes working again. Follow these tips to ensure that the snaking process goes smoothly and you don't do any further damage to your home.

Why SERVPRO's Quick Response Time Can Help Your Clients

2/24/2021 (Permalink)

drying equipment in commercial building. Commercial water damage in Gorham, ME.

Why SERVPRO's Quick Response Time Can Help Your Clients

After a water or fire emergency, a fast response is crucial. Water from a leaking pipe or a firefighter hose can start causing damage in a matter of minutes. Even a short delay can thus make the restoration process more costly for you and your clients.
Of course, not every water loss occurs during normal business hours. Sometimes a disaster occurs on a weekend or holiday. Your clients should not have to wait until the next business day to start the drying process. They need a 24-hour commercial cleanup company.
That is why SERVPRO is a preferred vendor for most insurance providers. A representative from the company will respond to your clients' calls right away. In fact, each client should receive:

  • A call within one hour
  • A visit within four hours
  • A verbal brief within eight hours

The Consequences of a Delayed Cleanup
Paper items such as books and photos may start to swell within a few minutes of a water damage. Furniture can bleed and stain carpets, as well. Over the next day, wet metals may begin to tarnish, and musty odors may start to spread. Water could also cause the Gorham, ME, building's drywall to break down. A 24-hour cleaning company can start the restoration right away and prevent many of these issues.

The Company That Responds Immediately
While SERVPRO is always open, that is not the only reason it can respond to emergencies right away. The company also has more than 1,700 franchises in Canada and America. At least one of these franchises is likely close to each of your clients' buildings, making it easier for SERVPRO to survey any damage in a timely matter.
SERVPRO understands that a fast response to water damage is so important. That is why its employees reply to all calls immediately, no matter the time or day. Choosing a company such as SERVPRO that provides 24-hour response can help minimize the damage your clients sustain following a water loss.

How To Maintain Fire Sprinklers in Your Building

2/17/2021 (Permalink)

Red coloured deluge sprinkler. Passive fire fighting equipment. All gauges should be inspected weekly, or possibly monthly depending on your system.

Maintenance Steps For Fire Sprinklers

A properly functioning sprinkler system can save lives. Sprinkler maintenance should be part of the safety plan for every building. Regular maintenance of sprinkler systems is essential in the prevention of accidental activation. Locate a sprinkler inspection company in Westbrook, ME, that can schedule and perform these necessary maintenance steps.

1. Weekly Maintenance
A designated member of your staff trained in the standards and local codes can perform the weekly maintenance to ensure there is proper air and water pressure on the dry, pre-action, and deluge system gauges. All gauges should be inspected weekly, or possibly monthly depending on your system. Wet pipe systems should be checked monthly. All inspections should include looking for signs of physical damage.

2. Quarterly Maintenance
Outside of the weekly maintenance, a licensed fire protection technician should conduct all testing and maintenance. Every three months all alarm systems should be inspected as well as the connection to the fire department.

3. Yearly Maintenance
Yearly sprinkler maintenance includes the inspection of buildings, bracings, pipes, fittings, and fire sprinklers. In addition to physical inspection, several things should be tested each year. Control valves, alarm switches, gauges, backflow preventers, anti-freeze loops, fire department connections, and visible piping should all be inspected and tested to make sure they are functioning properly. Running a test for dry, pre-action, and deluge systems is also recommended on a yearly basis.

4. Maintenance Every Five Years
Hoses, connections, and piping should be inspected every five years. Testing of standpipes, internal pipe inspections, and obstruction investigations should also be conducted every five years.
A functional and reliable sprinkler system should be a priority for every building owner. They act as both a warning system and a lifesaver. Accidental activation of a sprinkler system can cause costly water damage that may require water damage restoration. Keeping up with regular sprinkler maintenance can help prevent the need for cleanup from easily avoidable water damage.

3 Things To Know About Mold

2/3/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth in the corner of a wall Mold can grow anywhere

Mold Prevention Tips

Although molds are a natural part of the environment, no one ever wants to find out that they have mold growing in their building. But how do you know if you have mold? Is mold there, even if you can’t see it? And what is an indoor environmental specialist? Here are three important things you need to know in order to prevent mold growth in your Falmouth Foreside, ME, building.

1. Mold Is Everywhere
Mold is found both indoors and outdoors. It’s impossible to completely eliminate mold; however, it’s important to control mold so that it doesn’t become a problem. Commercial buildings can be susceptible to mold because of high humidity levels, numerous water sources, or unidentified leaks. Many business owners or maintenance managers are unfamiliar with what mold looks like. An indoor environmental specialist is someone who is certified to identify mold and moisture problems. You can rely on professionals in the restoration industry if you think you might have mold.

2. Moisture Feeds Mold
Many people mistakenly think that they can simply wipe mold away. Conversely, the process for remediating mold growth involves more steps. The source of moisture that is feeding the mold must be identified and removed. For example, if mold is found in a bathroom, then an inspection should be done to check the humidity level and ensure proper ventilation. Additionally, pipes should be checked for potential leaks. Once the source of moisture has been removed, it’s necessary to thoroughly clean the area. Mold remediation specialists contain the mold, clean the air, remove damaged materials, and clean belongings.

3. Mold Tests Are Available
Mold can’t always be seen. If you notice a musty smell in your building, then it’s a good sign that mold is growing. A mold remediation specialist can do a mold test to help you find the mold and determine the next steps for fixing the problem.
Mold is present everywhere but only becomes a problem if moisture feeds the mold spores. If you notice any musty smells or water spots on ceilings or walls, then it’s time to get help from an indoor environmental specialist.

3 Things You Should Know About Water Damage

1/11/2021 (Permalink)

Standing water in a basement. Concept of water damage Basement water damage

3 Things You Should Know About Water Damage

Whether you have a pipe burst or a leak in your water line, water damage to your home is not good. Therefore, it is crucial to get a qualified restoration company out as soon as you discover the issue to clean up. But before this, there are some things you should know about water damage.

1. There Are Different Categories
Each instance of water damage is unique. There are actually three different categories for this type of disaster. Category 1 is considered clean water. Any water that has come into contact with potential pollutants is category 2. If the water is highly contaminated with dangerous pollutants, it is considered category 3.

2. You Must Respond Quickly
If a pipe burst has caused flooding in your Windham, ME home, you need to act within 48 hours to prevent mold spores from growing. You should immediately contact your insurance company and a cleanup crew. When talking to the insurance company, it is important to know exactly where the flood came from to estimate how much will be covered. They will also likely recommend a restoration company. Just remember that you can choose to use the recommended company or a different one.

3. Drying Out Your Home Is Crucial
Many people think they can clean the water, and they are done. However, this is just the beginning, and any porous materials may have to be discarded. Generally, only hard non-porous materials can be salvaged. These items will need to be thoroughly dried out. Additionally, home building materials, such as drywall, may have to be removed or undergo a drying treatment to be salvageable.
Water damage can be caused by mother nature or a pipe burst. To minimize the damage to your home, you must know some basic facts about water damage and how to react. Understanding the different categories, the reaction time, and the cleanup process can make your after-flood experience much smoother.

How To Prevent and Remove Ice Dams

1/11/2021 (Permalink)

Icicles on a roof winter background image An ice dam is one of the most familiar sights of winter

An ice dam is one of the most familiar sights of winter. If you do not know the term, think about the homes around Falmouth Foreside, ME, in wintertime. Whenever you see ice built up along the edges of a roof, you are looking at one of these frozen dams. While the sight can be interesting and sometimes even beautiful, it is not good for a home. Knowing how to prevent and remove ice dams can help reduce the amount of damage your home will endure this winter if you live in a snowy climate.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

When it comes to ice dam prevention, there are three things to think about:

  • Ventilating under the roof
  • Insulating the ceiling
  • Eliminating heat sources

Contrary to what you might think, a warm attic is not good for preventing ice buildup. The reason for this is because snow can melt off a warm roof. When snow melts, the water can freeze and thus lead to the dams. Creating proper ventilation and removing interior lights can ensure the roof stays cool. In addition, insulating your attic can also make a big difference. Depending on your attic type, you may need to insulate the floor, or you may need to insulate the rafter spaces.

How to Remove Ice Dams
If you spot an ice dam, moving quickly can help prevent additional problems. Depending on the damage, you may be able to solve the problem yourself using calcium chloride to melt the ice. Before attempting to melt the ice, take proper precautions to protect yourself and your home. If there is extensive damage, it may be a good idea to seek out the assistance of a winter storm damage remediation professional. Either way, this is not a situation to ignore!
Winter can be a wonderful time of year, but it does not come without hazards. For homeowners, ice dam prevention and removal is of utmost importance to keep homes free of damage.

4 Steps for Filing a Fire Claim

1/11/2021 (Permalink)

Firefighters putting out fire in an old building Fire damage in West Falmouth, ME

Here Are Four Steps You Should Take To File a Claim After a Fire

If your business falls victim to a fire, you will have to file a claim with your insurance provider. Filing a fire claim can seem intimidating in West Falmouth, ME, but if you remain organized and work diligently, the process should go smoothly and quickly.
Here are 4 steps you should take to file a claim after a fire:

1. Contact Your Insurance Provider
Reach out to your insurer by phone, email, or through the company’s website to start your claim. Give them your contact information, including your mobile phone number and email address, so the company or the adjuster can reach you if they have any questions or concerns with your claim.

2. Prevent Additional Loss
Secure your property and make temporary repairs to prevent additional damage from occurring. Making these repairs can also help reduce the time it takes for a fire restoration services company to restore your business to its pre-fire condition.

3. Document the Damage
Make a detailed list of the fire damage and submit it with your fire claim. Wait until after the adjuster has visited to discard any damaged items. If you must throw away an item for safety purposes, take photographs of the item or record a video of the damage.

4. Record Your Expenses
Keep the receipts for all expenses incurred from repairing and restoring your business. If your business closes temporarily, provide documentation of the costs to operate your business in a temporary location.
Most insurance companies have websites that enable you to upload documents and check the status of your claim. Using your provider’s website can speed up the claims process, and you can usually access the website at any time.
When submitting a fire claim, be sure to have as much documentation as possible. If your claim is complete and has no missing items, it will be processed more quickly. Taking the time to be thorough and meticulous will help speed up the process once your claim is submitted.

Help! My Commercial Toilet Won’t Stop Flushing

12/17/2020 (Permalink)

Toilet, Flushing Water, close up My commercial toilet won't stop flushing!

Commercial toilets in Westbrook, ME, are quite different from the ones in your home. Bathrooms meant for public use typically use a tankless type of flushing system called a flushometer. These types tend to prevent a toilet overflow more effectively than toilets with a tank, but there are also some disadvantages.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The flushometer has some benefits compared to the tank type:

  • No time is required to fill a tank.
  • The high pressure of the water cleans the bowl better.
  • The force of the water dislodges all but the worst clogs.

One disadvantage is that it requires a larger than normal water supply line to function. Another is that it can spread germs more easily due to a phenomenon called a toilet plume. However, if they break and cause an overflow, you need a licensed commercial plumber to inspect the damage, fix the valve, and clean up any sewer water that spilled out.

How a Flushometer Works
In a typical toilet, when you depress the handle, gravity causes the tank to empty, pulling the water in the bowl down through suction. This works very well in most cases, but it does tend to clog if there is a lot of bulk in the bowl, potentially causing a toilet flood.
The flushometer system has no tank, helping to prevent toilet overflow. When the handle is depressed, it lifts a gasket that’s keeping the water pressure balanced inside the mechanism, creating a sudden, large pressure differential. This causes a blast of clean water to create the siphon necessary to flush the bowl.

How To Fix a Flushometer
If the flushometer won’t shut off, you’ll need to manually close the valve to the toilet. There will either be a slot for a flat-blade screwdriver or a hexagonal head that requires a wrench.
However, there’s also a hexagonal head on top of the mechanism. Don’t open this while trying to stop a toilet from running! The shut-off valve will always face horizontal, not vertical. Once this is turned off, you have time to call a professional who can fix the mechanism.
The flushometer system is very low maintenance and helps prevent a toilet overflow. Once you’ve learned how to shut off the water flow in an emergency, it should give you many years of trouble-free use.

3 Tips for Handling Your Home's Sewage Problems

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

Overflowing broken toilet A toilet overflow begins with a complication in the lines

3 Tips for Handling Your Home's Sewage Problems

Unusual odors, gurgling sinks and flooding toilets are indicators that a home is suffering from a sewage backup. A blockage within the pipes prevents the proper water flow, forcing the fluid to exit out of the nearest exit; therefore, simple acts such as washing a load of clothes or taking a warm shower could lead to a major flood as the water moves throughout the system, eventually coming out when it cannot continue to pass. The flooding becomes a sewage hazard and requires particularly cleaning. Homeowners in Portland, ME, should be aware of the following three things that help with sewage cleaning.

1. Locate the Cause of a Toilet Backup
A toilet overflow begins with a complication in the lines. When a backup begins, turn off the main water valve. Begin to observe the area near the spillage. Is something in the commode's drain? Is there a problem in the yard? Observational skills are important here. Look at the drain cleanout. It's either outside in the yard or in the basement. A long pipe wrench may be needed to take it off. Buildup of sewage is a sign of an external issue rather than something internal.

2. Grab the Proper Tools
Sewage cleaning demands proper equipment and materials. Gather the following items to assist in fixing the problem:

  • A plunger
  • An auger or snake
  • Soap
  • Disinfectant cleaner
  • Gloves
  • Dehumidifier

3. Dry and Wash the Area
Clear the clogged pipe with the auger or plunger. Then, run the dehumidifier to extract excess moisture. Wipe off fixtures, walls and flooring with warm water and soap. Discard porous items that have absorbed sewer water. Bacteria have penetrated it, making the object harder to sanitize. If in doubt, contact a sewage cleanup company for assistance. Finish off the project by using a disinfectant throughout the space.
Discover the source of the trouble. With that under control, sewage cleaning may start. Survey contaminated material, removing anything ruined. Then, properly wipe everything down and use cleaner that can effectively kill germs.

Answering Your Questions About Mold

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth on bathroom ceiling Mold growth on bathroom ceiling

Four Of The Most Common Questions Regarding Mold Growth

The vast majority of homeowners do have to deal with a black mold issue at some point. Mold has the potential to grow nearly anywhere in your Portland, ME, home, provided the correct conditions exist. If you suspect that your home has fallen victim to a mold problem, yet you still don't know where to begin, then you have come to the right place.

1. Does Mold Go Away By Itself?
Mold is a living organism, so it's natural to assume that depriving it of its vital nutrients could cause it to die off on its own. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Cutting off the mold's access to water and organic matter might temporarily halt its spread, but it will not kill the existing mold.

2. Where Does Mold Grow?
Black mold can grow anywhere the correct conditions exist. It's most commonly found in areas of your home that come into frequent contact with moisture, such as your kitchen, bathroom, basement, laundry room and garage.

3. How Do You Get Rid of Mold?
The size of the mold issue ultimately determines which approach you should take. You can address smaller mold cleanup projects using homemade cleaning mixtures that consist of equal parts water and white vinegar. Larger problems might require professional assistance, however.

4. How Can You Prevent Mold?
Mold needs water to grow, so cutting down on any existing moisture problem is your best course of action. You should also carefully monitor your indoor humidity levels to ensure that excess condensation isn't the root of the problem. Lastly, performing regular home inspections can help you catch mold problems before they spiral out of control.
Just because black mold is a common household affliction doesn't mean that you need to put up with it. Learning what causes mold growth in your home and taking action to resolve the issue can help prevent future issues. Contact mold remediation experts for professional assistance.

4 Tips for Cleaning Up a Leaking Roof

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

Missing shingles on a roof Check for missing shingles on your roof

What To Do When You Discover A Roof Leak?

A major storm in Westbrook, ME, did serious damage to many properties, including to the roof of your business. Suddenly, you need a roofing professional not only to fix the exterior but to repair your attic storage space and the ceilings in the upstairs offices. A roof leak may seem small, but it can result in lots of damage. Here's what to do once you've discovered a leak.

1. Check the Roof
If your building has a shingled roof, check for missing shingles. That may give you an idea of how water is getting in. If water is definitely coming through, puncture a small hole that will allow the water to flow out freely. If you leave it intact, water will spread over the ceiling which could cause the whole thing to sag and possibly collapse. A hole gives the water somewhere to go. Put a bucket underneath to catch the water and move furniture and other items out of the way.

2. Move Wet Items
Once belongings are wet, they need to be dried and disinfected. As long as there are no electrical dangers, launder furniture covers, bedding, and other washable items. Air out and clean furniture and rugs. Check for irreparable damage. If something is in poor condition, throw it away.

3. Dry Everything Well
From the attic on down, everything needs to be as dry as possible. Run fans or heaters or open windows to get air circulating through the area. Only once everything is completely dry can any restoration work for the roof leak begin.

4. Call a Restoration Company
A roof leak can cause substantial damage in hard-to-reach areas. Call a water damage restoration specialist to evaluate the safety of your building before you attempt any repairs yourself. It's important to have everything dry and disinfected to prevent future problems.
A damaged roof can cause extensive issues for your business. Cleaning up properly after storm damage ensures that you have a safe working environment for your company's future.

How To Clean Up Damage After a Fire

11/5/2020 (Permalink)

Structure of a building burned down Fire damage to a local business in Portland, ME

How To Clean Up Damage After a Fire

Fire cleanup takes place in multiple stages. When your commercial property in Portland, ME, has water, fire and smoke damage, it all has to be dealt with before the building can be rebuilt. Fire restoration specialists take several steps to make sure your building is restored fully.

Water Damage
Before technicians can get to the soot damage done by the fire, they typically have to address the problems the water used to put out the fire left behind. Firefighters must use water liberally to ensure that all flames are extinguished, and this can lead to a lot of water damage. They must inspect and tear out all materials affected:

  • Drywall
  • Insulation
  • Tile
  • Carpet
  • Textiles

Fire Damage
At the same time as the water damage removal is happening, the smoke cleaning crew is likely to remove materials with fire damage as well. If a support beam is burned beyond repair, for example, it has to go. Temporary supports are installed in its place until the final stage of the process when it can be rebuilt.

Soot Damage
The last step of the cleanup phase is soot and smoke damage cleaning. During a fire, these particles get everywhere. They don't just land on surfaces. They also get trapped in corners and cracks. It is not unusual to even find soot damage under floor tiles or in air ducts. To infiltrate all the areas that smoke and soot can go, a thermal fogger may need to be used. It disperses the cleaning agent the same way that a fire disperses smoke so that the detergent can get to every place the particles are hiding. Afterward, an ozone machine may be used to clean the remaining odor from the air.
Fire damage is only the start of what technicians have to handle during the cleanup stage of the restoration process. Both water and smoke damage must also be cleaned before rebuilding can begin.

How Can I Prevent Sewer Backup in My Home?

10/21/2020 (Permalink)

Man crouching in trench with shovel showing an old terracotta sewer line broken open to reveal a solid tube of invasive tree Common causes of sewer issues are tree roots that crack and block the pipes

A sewer backup can cause your thousands of dollars in damaged floors, walls and electric wiring. Learn what causes sewer issues in the home and how to prevent catastrophes such as flooding.

What Causes Sewer Issues

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the most common causes of sewer issues are:

  • Tree roots that crack and block the pipes
  • Aging systems that weren’t built to handle a rapid increase in housing
  • Blockages in the city sanitary mains that aren’t found in time and back up water into homes through floor drains
  • Combined pipelines that have to deal with stormwater and raw sewage

How To Prevent a Blockage
You can avoid a sewer backup by taking some preventative measures.
Perform regular maintenance. Schedule routine sewer cleaning and inspection approximately every two years. The technician can use a camera to find cracks and any other issues in your pipe system. They can also clean out any residue that may clog your lines, such as grease, hair and food.
Discard grease and paper products correctly. Don’t pour cooking oil down the drain, as it will solidify as it cools and cause blocks. Instead, put it in a disposable container, and, once the oil has cooled, throw it away. Paper products — for example, diapers, paper towels and wipes — shouldn’t go down your drains because they don’t decompose easily.
Fix issues in your plumbing system. There may be rules against connecting a French drain or sump pump system to a city sewer in your area. These kinds of connections mean debris from storm damage could get into the system and block the water flow. If your Casco Bay Islands, ME, neighborhood has lots of trees, you may want to replace your lines. Plastic pipes are harder for tree roots to break through.
If your home has flooding damage from a backup, call a licensed water restoration company. They can come to your home, assess the damage and create a cleanup plan.

4 Ways to Prevent Mold

10/14/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth on corner wall Mold growth in Munjoy Hill, ME

Mold Prevention Tips

Mold spores may be everywhere, but that doesn’t mean your Munjoy Hill, ME, home needs to be a place they thrive and grow. While water damage is a sure indicator of a potential problem, which often requires the help of a mold remediation and restoration professional, even small problems can quickly grow. Below are five mold prevention tips to keep your home how it should be.

1. Locate Problem Areas
Although it may be impossible to keep spores at bay, knowing your home can minimize mold growth. Inspect your home for areas prone to moisture and fix the issues before it turns into a bigger problem. If you notice signs of frequent condensation around a window, dampness in the basement or signs of a water leak, taking quick action can help you avoid mold issues.

2. Enhance Airflow
Airflow and proper ventilation may not be things people frequently think about, but they can make a big difference in keeping moisture levels down. Simple things like ensuring dryers, bathrooms and kitchen are ventilated will dissipate condensation. Good airflow will further circulate the air, ensuring moisture-prone areas can dry out.

3. Control Humidity Levels
When it comes to mold prevention, humidity levels rank high. If there are signs of condensation on pipes, walls or windows, it likely means the indoor humidity is above 60%. It is recommended to keep that number between 30 and 60%. If it is an ongoing issue, consider investing in a dehumidifier.

4. Dry Wet Areas
Since mold needs moisture to grow, immediately drying out any wet area is a must. Even a small spill on the carpet left unchecked has the potential to create the right environment for mold to grow. Any wet items should be dried out before stored in the home.
By adding mold prevention to your to-do list, you can have more peace of mind that those sneaky spores will stay in hibernation instead of making your home their own.

Can Drain Cleaner Damage Pipes?

10/14/2020 (Permalink)

Drain cleaner ads, water pipe detergent with clear pipes section in 3d illustration Drain cleaners can damage your pipes

When a homeowner in North Deering, ME, experiences a clogged drain, often the first solution to come to mind is to purchase a chemical drain cleaner from the local hardware store. While these cleaners can clear a clog from your drain, they can also cause extensive damage to your pipes.

How Does Drain Cleaner Damage Pipes?

Drain cleaners contain chemicals that produce heat and cause materials to dissolve, which is why they are capable of clearing drains. When you pour the powerful cleaner down an old pipe made of metal, it can cause the pipe to be weakened even more as layers are eaten away by the chemicals.
When used improperly, chemical drain solutions can also warp plastic pipes. If the clogged drain is completely blocked, then the chemical isn't going anywhere and is going to continue to be exposed to the plastic, eating its way through causing even more damage.
Bigger damage is going to lead to a bigger mess. If you experience sewage flooding, call a professional restoration company to handle the cleanup. They have the training and equipment to do so safely.

What are Safe Alternatives to Drain Cleaners?
Homeowners have several options to try before resorting to a chemical cleaner. The first option would be to try a plunger or auger to clear the drain. For sewage cleaning, an auger can travel several feet, and commercial augers can travel even further.
Another option would be to try an organic solution. Enzymatic drain cleaners use bacteria to tear through your clogged pipes and drains. While the process will be slower, sometimes taking as long as a full day, it won't lead to damage to your plumbing materials.
Perhaps the fastest and safest alternative is to call a professional plumber. They have the tools and the knowledge to get your drains back in business, and likely draining faster than they have in months.
For clogged drains, always use chemical cleaner as a last resort. Your safest bet is to not use them at all, especially if your drain is completely clogged.

How to Safely Use Candles In Your Home

9/24/2020 (Permalink)

Oil diffuser Perhaps the easiest way to prevent a fire is simply not to use candles at all

Avoid Candle Fires In Your Home

With warm light and pleasant fragrances, candles can be an easy way to create the atmosphere that you want in your West Falmouth, ME, home. However, they can also become a safety hazard if they are not used properly. Candle fires are common, but the following tips can help you avoid them.

1. Don’t Leave Burning Candles Unattended
It may seem like an annoyance to extinguish a candle every time you leave the room. However, leaving it burning could result in a candle fire if something gets too close to the flame or if it burns too low. It is best to blow out candles before going to sleep as well, even if you are in the same room.

2. Keep Them Away From Flammable Items
When you are using a candle, you should be sure to have the area free of flammable objects. This can include papers as well as fabrics such as curtains and bedding. These types of items should be at least a foot away from any candles that are in use. Flammable liquids should be kept even further away.

3. Keep Them Out of Reach of Pets and Children
Both children and pets often come with an excess of energy and curiosity. For this reason, it can be easy for them to inadvertently start a candle fire. Keep burning candles in an area that is not within reach, and do not leave them unsupervised.

4. Use an Alternative
Perhaps the easiest way to prevent a fire is simply not to use candles at all. There are a variety of other ways that you can achieve a more relaxing home environment. If you are only interested in adding a nice scent to your home, a wax warmer is a great option. You can also buy battery-operated flameless candles that look and smell like the real thing.
While these tips can help you prevent an emergency, accidents can still occur. Whether it is small or large, fires often require smoke cleanup and some repairs. If this happens, a fire damage remediation company can help return your home to its previous condition.

A Professional Response to Smoke and Fire Damage

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

Fire has a tremendous capacity for destruction and is one of the most widespread and common risks when it comes to commercial properties. As a result, most businesses have insurance coverage that includes protection against fire losses. When flames do break out, business owners contact professionals to respond to the fire and smoke damage. With the right equipment, these professionals help business owners get their properties back into working condition.

The Scope of Destruction

Experienced fire and smoke cleaning technicians understand that fire damage goes beyond the direct destruction. They take quick action to respond to several fire-related issues:

  • Stains left behind by soot resting on porous surfaces
  • Mold and mildew growth after the use of water to put out flames
  • Corrosion on metal surfaces exposed to water and oxygen
  • Poor air quality as smoke and mold particles hang in the air

The longer commercial properties sit after smoke damage occurs, the more likely it is that the extent and scope of the destruction will increase. The best response to fire and soot damage is to act as soon as possible.

Assessment of the Damage

As professionals arrive at a commercial property to respond, they'll assess the amount of fire, smoke, and water damage. As they begin their inspections, technicians also focused on safety. There are several safety risks inherent in the destruction left after a fire. Experienced fire damage cleanup and remediation professionals are certified and licensed to enter the property. In addition to training and authorization, they have the proper protective equipment to enter weakened structures.

The Cleanup Process

With safety procedures underway, cleanup and restoration professionals are ready to secure entry points and property breaches (such as broken windows and holes in the roof), establish security against further destruction, and begin removing debris. Technicians also remove as much equipment and inventory as possible. At this point, water removal and deep cleaning can begin.

The end goal of the cleanup work is to remove all evidence that a fire took place. When Windham, ME, properties are affected by the fire and smoke damage, the work of professionals begins with safety and results in pristine buildings.

4 Steps for Fighting Apartment Mold

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

Removal of black fungus in the apartment Mold removal in a Gorham, ME apartment

Mold Cleanup Tips For Your Apartment

Mold is a common home invader that favors moist, dark conditions. Finding it growing in your apartment is nothing to be ashamed of, but you do need to take action as soon as possible. Follow these mold cleanup tips if your apartment in Gorham, ME, does have a mold issue.

1. Assess the Issue
What you might think is mold could actually just be mildew. While they're both fungi caused by mold spores, the treatment methods are different. Mold is typically black or green in color and might have a fuzzy or slimy texture. Mildew, on the other hand, is usually white, gray or yellow.
Additionally, you have to assess the breadth of the issue. Small mold contamination issues can be cleaned up with a bit of white vinegar, but bigger problems might require professional assistance.

2. Call Your Landlord
Depending on the nature of the issue, mold cleanup might be an issue for your landlord or property manager to resolve. Either way, it's in your best interest to inform them of the issue as soon as you can. Include pictures of the mold in your text or email.

3. Determine the Root of the Issue
Once your landlord arrives, you should work with them to figure out what is causing the mold. If the mold is a result of a leaky pipe or other internal water issue, then your landlord should take responsibility for resolving the issue. However, the problem falls onto your shoulders if the issue resulted from negligence. Your landlord can't be held accountable if you fell asleep in the bathtub and accidentally flooded the floor.

4. Enlist Professional Help
If the mold contamination is, in fact, your responsibility, then it's a good idea to enlist professional assistance. This is especially true for larger mold issues. Mold has a tendency to dig deep roots and can be very difficult to purge completely.
Don't allow mold growth in your apartment to become a bigger issue than it needs to be. Resolve the issue quickly and efficiently by contacting your local mold remediation specialists.

4 Methods of Drying a Flooded Building Before Help Arrives

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

Air movers placed in carpet drying wet area Drying equipment in Falmouth Foreside, ME building

Put The Following Damage Tips In Action

When water infiltrates a building, it's critical to dry the property as quickly as possible. Water can do a lot of damage fast; the very structure of a building can be affected. Mold can also turn into a huge problem in a short time. Professionals should be called, but there are damage tips you can put into action to begin the process until they arrive.

1. Extracting the Water
First, the standing water will need to be extracted. Flood cleaning tips will usually recommend using a wet/dry vacuum to begin the process. Industrial pumps will be brought in by the restoration professionals to remove the remaining water.

2. Circulating the Air
Mold can begin to grow within 24 hours of water introduction. As long as the mold hasn't had time to begin growing, air circulation should begin as soon as possible. Open windows and doors if the outdoor humidity levels are lower outside than in. Fans can also be used. If it's been more than 24 hours, you should wait until help arrives; the slightest movement of air will blow mold spores throughout the area, and even into unaffected areas.

3. Heating the Area
Heaters work best when there are proper air circulation and ventilation. Warm air absorbs more moisture than cool air, so heaters evaporate the water more efficiently. Heaters with built-in fans are even more effective. Flood damage tips will often inform you that heat is typically the fastest way to dry an area. However, you should be cautious not to dry it so quickly that heat damage occurs.

4. Dehumidifying the Area
Dehumidifiers pull moisture from the air. Desiccant dehumidifiers are the most effective, as they also expel dry air. For best performance, the indoor temperature should be between 32 and 77 degrees with 40 to 90% relative humidity.
Be prepared for a building flood in Falmouth Foreside, ME, by remembering these water damage tips. It's helpful to plan which water cleanup experts to call well in advance of a disaster. Whether the flood is a result of a pipe burst or a storm, they'll return your building to its preloss condition as quickly as possible.

How Can Property Managers Prepare for Storms?

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

emergency contact paper sheet with phone number Create a storm preparedness document

Every storm brings its problems, such as high winds, flooding, and even hail. Taking storm preparedness steps now ensures your property management company will be prepared for any emergency before, during, and after the event.

Gather Information

Start by making a list of all your residents’ information, including:

  • Names
  • Apartment or unit numbers and building addresses
  • Best contact phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Pets (if any)

Compile a list of providers in Falmouth Foreside, ME, such as roofers, landscapers, and water damage specialists. Once the storm is over, you’ll want to get started on cleaning up.

Make a Plan
Next, put together an emergency plan with your team. Create a storm preparedness document that includes staff contact information, insurance policy coverage, and phone numbers for emergency services. Discuss the roles everyone will take on during the emergency.
You need to figure out how to get important information to your tenants. There are automated systems that can send updates via email or text to your residents.

Keep Everyone Safe
Work with your residents and ease their fears. In all your communications, emphasize that your property management firm cares about their safety.
Provide resources such as how to make an emergency kit, emergency response numbers and the locations of shelters and evacuation routes. Let tenants know if they are in a flood plain and need extra insurance. Most rental insurance policies don’t cover flooding.
Let them know about your organization’s policies on precautions like nailing up plywood to protect windows. Ask them to bring in items that are outside, such as patio furniture.
Before a storm, do preventative landscaping and grounds maintenance to remove any large branches or rocks that could damage the property. If possible, empty dumpsters and trashcans to mitigate flying debris.
The National Apartment Association has useful tips for preparing for bad storms. Taking time for storm preparedness will help you and your residents make it through whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

Three Ways You Could Be Wasting Water and Money

8/20/2020 (Permalink)

When you own or manage commercial properties, identifying ways to keep costs down is crucial. Unfortunately, there are a few mistakes that many property managers make that cost them a lot of money. Several of these mistakes have to do with ignoring trouble (such as a water leak) along the plumbing system:

  • "Minor" faucet leaks
  • Slow-draining toilets
  • Hidden irrigation leaks
  • Leaking joints
  • Low water pressure

Any one of these problems could cost you up to hundreds or thousands of dollars each year.

Plumbing Maintenance

The plumbing through your property, including sinks, bathrooms, and landscaping, is generally an efficient system, but it does require routine maintenance to ensure optimal performance. If regular care isn't provided, there are several ways you could be losing money.

One: Increased Water Bill

A single leaky faucet in your Windham, ME, property could mean that you're paying for several gallons of wasted water. If you have several leaky faucets, toilets, and irrigation pipes, the resulting amount of water becomes very expensive.

Two: Damages Caused by Water

Just one unrepaired water leak can cause damage to walls, ceilings, and flooring as moisture seeps throughout the area. A musty odor could indicate mold growth. Of course, if there's more than one source of moisture, the damages may be widespread. As soon as you've noticed this type of water damage, contact a water remediation and cleanup agency right away.

Three: Secondary Damages

Even if you respond right away to a pipe break, it is possible to suffer ongoing damages. This is particularly true if water or moisture made its way into a hard-to-reach or unseen area of the property. High levels of humidity continue to affect those corners of the building until mold develops or warping, discoloration, and rust have settled in.
Are hidden costs relating to your plumbing system costing you money every month? Has a "minor" water leak been ignored to the point that it has become very expensive? Don't take risks when it comes to your property. Respond to any type of plumbing concerns immediately.

What Mold Growth on Food Says About Mold

8/13/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth on bread Mold is common on bread for a variety of reasons

Interesting Facts About Mold

It's a tough choice: Would you rather have mold on your walls and ceilings or on your food? While bread mold is probably more unpalatable, it likely has less of a chance of causing significant damage to your home. Nonetheless, the presence of mold anywhere is always a good excuse to impart a few lessons. Here are some interesting facts about mold:

  • It belongs to the kingdom Fungi
  • It is neither plant nor animal
  • It grows on all types of surfaces
  • It is present nearly everywhere
  • It spreads by microscopic spores
  • It is related to mushrooms

Another important fact about mold is that it likes, wet, damp conditions. All of this information is important to a mold remediation franchise in Falmouth, ME when it comes to controlling mold growth.

More About Bread Mold
Mold is common on bread for a variety of reasons. For one thing, bread contains a desirable source of nutrients. Bread is also normally stored outside of the refrigerator and it often contains a bit of moisture. Since mold spores are ubiquitous, they can easily settle onto bread and begin to multiply, sometimes with amazing rapidity. Mold has been known to double in less than an hour. As an organism, mold is nothing if not resourceful. That is why you can find fridge mold growing on fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator as well.

More About Mold Cleanup
When mold begins to grow on your walls, ceilings and upholstery, it is important to get the fungus growth under control. Untreated mold in your home is potentially more serious than a little bread mold in the pantry. It can produce an unpleasant odor throughout the home and even degrade materials over time. For this reason, it should be mitigated as soon as possible. Professional cleanup methods include mold containment and cleaning and sanitizing with industry-approved disinfectants. Quick action will remove mold colonies from your home.

Minimize Damage After a Fire with a Temporary Roof Repair

7/8/2020 (Permalink)

Roof burned of a commercial building, windows boarded. Roof damaged by fire in a Portland, ME building

The aftermath of even a small or partial-loss fire at your Portland, ME, business can have lingering effects. While the first concern may be the fire cleanup, the potential for further issues to occur should also be a top priority if the roof was damaged. As you wait for the roof repair to take place, leaving it exposed means opening the building up to potential problems.

Roof Damage Woes

Fire cleanup doesn’t happen overnight. Calling a fire damage and restoration expert that is Faster to Any Size Disaster is the first step in ensuring speedy and professional repairs. In the interim, whether the hole was caused by the fire, or firefighters had to create an opening for ventilation, it leaves the structure vulnerable to non-fire losses or worries:

Cost – The longer the roof is exposed, the higher the potential for further environmental damage that can quickly increase repair costs.
Vandalism – While it depends on the extent of the roof destruction, the gap could create an access point for vandals or thieves.
Pests – Animals and insects can easily find their way in through the smallest spaces.
Safety – If the damage isn’t severe, you may be able to continue operating out of the business structure, but that could mean a potential safety hazard for anyone in the building.

Temporary Covering
Although not a permanent fix, using tarp services is an ideal way to minimize secondary damage or other issues. These experts will properly affix boards and tarps to keep debris and precipitation from entering through the ruined areas. Regardless of the type of roof, they will have the know-how to securely seal off entry points and create an insulation barrier to help minimize costly repairs while determining whether the roof needs to be fixed or replaced.
When fire cleanup includes the roof, take quick action to contain the damage, and help ease the restoration process.

Fire Prevention and Preparedness for Pets

6/25/2020 (Permalink)

Your pets are an important part of your family, and you surely would do whatever you can to keep them from harm’s way. To help keep your pet and the rest of your family safe from the dangers of a home fire, here are several important steps you should take to prevent and prepare your pet for the possibility of a fire emergency in your home in Falmouth, ME.

Pet Fire Prevention

Like young children, your pets are not always aware of their surroundings and that their actions can result in a fire. Here are a few pet safety tips for preventing a fire:

  • Don’t leave pets unattended near space heaters or an open flame
  • Secure electrical cords that your dog might chew on
  • Remove stove knobs or use safety covers
  • Consider flameless candles or other candle alternatives

Pet Fire Preparedness

Once you have set up your home to help your pets from starting a fire emergency, you then need to start on your pet preparation and fire escape plan. When developing an evacuation plan with your family, identify which member of the family will be responsible for helping your pets get to safety, and make sure your dog comes when called.

Create a pet fire safety kit with medical supplies you might need to help your pet, some treats, and a leash or carrier. Also, add a pet alert window cling to a front window with information on all of your pets so firefighters can quickly find them.

While the tips in this guide can help you prevent a fire emergency and provide you with a plan for helping your pet if one does ever does occur, make sure to you don’t delay your escape if saving your pet isn’t possible. Once out of the house, never reenter until after firefighters extinguish the fire and the fire damage assessment team says your home is safe to enter.

When Is It Time to Replace a Leaking Toilet?

5/29/2020 (Permalink)

When faced with a constantly leaking toilet, replacement is likely the best solution Plumber replacing a broken toilet in a washroom

One of the most used rooms in your Munjoy Hill, ME, home is the bathroom. The fixtures within it get a lot of use, especially the toilet. Like with anything, over time, those fixtures can begin to stop working properly. When faced with a leaking toilet, it isn’t always easy to tell if a small fix will do or if it needs to be replaced.

Signs Its Time to Replace

Instead of waiting for a malfunctioning toilet to cause a massive water problem that requires a water and mold remediation expert, there are a few signs that may indicate a replacement is the best option.

Constant Repairs: If it seems like your old toilet needs repairs like clockwork, such as valves, a flapper, or handle, those little parts begin to add up. As well as avoiding the headache of the next repair, a new toilet can provide peace of mind and open your budget for other necessities.
Recurring Problem: Consistent clogs are a good indicator that your toilet is ready to be upgraded. Constant unclogging can create additional wear and wastes water whereas newer models are designed for stronger flushing.
Porcelain Cracks: A toilet repair is not an option if cracks begin to form. Although they can start as small slivers, they can quickly spread. This may lead to the toilet breaking and flooding in your home.
High Water Bills: If your home is equipped with older toilets, you may see an increase in your utility bills. Newer models are designed to use less water.

Replacing a Toilet
When faced with a constantly leaking toilet, replacement is likely the best solution. For those with a little home repair savvy, a replacement can be done on your own with a few simple tools. Before diving into the project, it is important to remove water from the toilet and turn off the main water supply during the replacement.
Although not every leaking toilet may need to be replaced, consider the signs above to keep a big water problem from happening.

How To Protect Your Home From Lightning Fires

5/29/2020 (Permalink)

Thunderbolt over the house with dark stormy sky on the background and moon shining through the cloud Lightning strikes are rare, but when they hit, they can cause serious damage

Ways To Protect Your Home Against A Lightning Fire

Lightning strikes are rare, but when they hit, they can cause serious damage. You can protect your home in North Deering, ME, against a lightning fire in several ways.

Unplug All Electronics
If you know that a storm is approaching your area, unplug all of your electronics. A power surge can severely damage the system of electrical wires throughout the house. It can also destroy the electronics themselves. That includes your TV, computer and electric lamps. You should also unplug the toaster, blender, and any other electrical appliances in the kitchen. If you are going on an extended vacation, it's a good idea to unplug your electronics to reduce the risk of a house fire.

Install a Voltage Surge Protector
There will be times when you aren't home to unplug your electronics. If you're at work or running errands, you don't want to unplug everything each day before you leave the house. If you install surge protectors in the areas where electronics are positioned, they will limit the amount of voltage directed into the electronics.

Consider a Home Protection System
A home protection system combines aluminum material and highly conductive copper to provide a path of low resistance, which will safely ground dangerous electricity. If installed correctly, the system is 99% effective in protecting against a lightning fire. Some homeowner’s insurance policies will even offer a discount if you install a home protection system. If you need advice on installing a system, contact a fire assessment professional.
A protection system can include the following elements:

  • Lightning rods
  • Grounds
  • Bonds
  • Main Conductors

Check Your Insurance Policy
Make sure your homeowner's insurance policy covers damages from electrical storms. Some states are more prone to electrical storms, so it's critical that you are covered if you live in a high probability zone.
You can't totally prevent a lightning fire, but you can significantly reduce the risk by being proactive.

5 Common Culprits of Commercial Property Water Damage

5/13/2020 (Permalink)

Wet floor Water Damage Due to Sprinkler Head

Five Main Causes of Water Issues

When the weather turns extreme, it’s natural to worry about flooding damaging your commercial property in Falmouth Foreside, ME. Unfortunately, even when the weather is seemingly perfect, there are other culprits that can cause water damage. Below are five main causes of water issues to watch out for.

1. Plumbing
A broken pipe can happen for numerous reasons, including freezing temperatures, pressure changes, water supply deterioration. Water stains, bulging walls, musty odors, or damaged tiles are indicators that there may be a leaking pipe that requires a water repair.
2. Sprinkler System Issues
Vital as the first line of defense, if not properly maintained, a sprinkler system can lead to extensive damage, especially if a broken pipe is the issue. Along with accidental activation, which results in 100s of gallons of water pouring down, neglected systems can slowly leak.
3. Faulty Appliances or Equipment
Along with major systems like HVAC and water heaters, any dishwasher or equipment that uses water on the property could be the source of a lingering musty odor. Regular maintenance, inspections, and cleaning are necessary to keep them working properly.
4. Sewer and Toilet Backups
Regardless if the cause is improperly flushing items, flooding overfilling the sewer drain or issues with the city’s mainline, toilet and sewer water is not regular water. Full of contaminants, cleaning it up requires extra considerations. If these types of issues arise, it’s best to call a trusted plumber to determine the problem to help keep it from happening again.
5. Structural Damage
Buildings may be built to last, but they are not invincible. Any part of it not doing what it should could let water seep in. Before the next rain, inspect the building for broken windows, leaky roofs, and foundation issues. Improper drainage, such as clogged gutters, can quickly lead to big foundational problems.
Regardless if it is the broken pipe or older HVAC not working properly, immediately addressing the problem is necessary to limit the damage. A professional water remediation and restoration expert can quickly access, clean, and repair the damage.

The Process of Removing Mold and How it Will Affect Your Business

5/13/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth on bathroom ceiling Mold on the Bathroom Ceiling

No one wants to see mold, whether it's at home or work. If you detect this fungus in your office building, you don't want to wait a moment to get rid of it. Mold removal is a critical process. The more you understand about what goes into this effort and how it will impact your day-to-day operations, the more prepared you will be.

An Overview of Mold

With diligent efforts, you can prevent mold growth in your building. This fungus can grow and spread rapidly once it gets into the ideal environment. These are some problems areas that can cause mold issues in the workplace:

  • Leaky or broken pipes
  • Poor ventilation in basements, laundry facilities, and bathrooms
  • Failure to promptly clean up water spills and floods

Calling the Pros
If you spot mold, you can handle mold removal yourself if it affects a small area. However, widespread mold requires the expertise of a professional mold remediation company. A professional team has the experience, skill, and equipment to effectively and thoroughly get rid of mold and clean the affected area. Technicians will close off the area where mold is growing and restrict access to employees. The technicians will also wear the proper protective equipment. After removing the mold, the team will disinfect the area to reduce the risk of more mold showing up.

The Time Frame
As a business owner or building manager in West Falmouth, ME, you want to know how long the cleanup effort will take. The fewer disruptions to your work, the better off you will be. The cleanup could take anywhere from a day to more than a week. The timing depends on the extent of the damage. The presence of the more challenging black mold will also add to the process.
You shouldn't have to take care of mold removal on your own. Enlist the help of trained professionals. The team should communicate with you how long this will take.

Avoiding the Basement Water Blues

5/1/2020 (Permalink)

Downspout Make sure downspouts are extended to at least three feet away from your house to avoid flooding in a basement

While many often only think of sewer line clogs or damage as reasons for sewage backing up in the basement, severe storms in Windham, ME, can also be the culprit. If foul excess water rears its ugly head, it may be time to consider if the systems protecting your home are working.

Causes of Basement Flooding

Bad weather can easily affect a sewer system. Massive amounts of rain can begin to overwhelm the system, forcing it up into your basement. Ways to assist the rain from saturating your home include:

Keep Gutters Clean: Regularly remove debris to prevent buildup. If water flow begins to happen within 15 minutes of heavy rain, they are likely clogged.
Downspout Location: They should come out at least 10 foot from the home.
Proper Sloping: Over time, concrete can settle, which may lead to water going directly toward the foundation and basement. Landscaping can also become flat, leading to the same issue.
Sealant: Cracks in any sealants, whether from age or improper insulation, can quickly create a flooded basement.

Regular cleaning and inspections of this trouble areas can reduce the chances of saturated soil aiding stormwater in raising the sewage levels and flooding your basement.

Cleaning Tips
To ensure proper cleanup, getting the help of a flood and stormwater cleanup expert is recommended. During any part of the cleanup process, consider the following:

Wear protective clothing including a long-sleeve shirt, pants, eye protection, gloves, and face mask.
Use a shovel and buckets to remove solid matter. Any towels or porous items used during cleanup needs to be thrown away.
A wet and dry vacuum should be used for leftover standing water.
Run fans and dehumidifiers to eliminate remaining moisture to reduce the potential for mold growth.
Items saturated in sewage water should be tossed. In some cases, items can be professionally cleaned.

Regardless of the cause of the flooded basement, taking quick action is necessary to reduce damage. If sewage water is in the mix, consider getting professional to clean up and solve the problem.

Why Is There So Much Water Damage After a Fire?

4/21/2020 (Permalink)

Empty building, ceiling collapsed, water leaking from ceiling, water all over floor. Concept of water and fire damage Water and fire damage in a Gorham, ME building

Three Causes Of Water Damage After A Fire

It is hard to know what to expect when walking into a commercial property after a fire. As an owner or manager, you likely expect significant equipment loss because of fire and smoke damage, but what about water? Expecting flood loss after a fire seems unusual. Ask any disaster restoration company in Gorham, ME, and they will tell you water and fire damage go hand-in-hand. There are at least three causes of water damage during and after a commercial property fire.

  1. Hoses
  2. Suppression systems
  3. Pipe damage

The primary source of water loss during a fire rescue may come from a fire hose. These large-diameter, high-pressure hoses can expel hundreds of gallons of water per minute to flood and extinguish the flames. Unfortunately, the flooding of the blaze also floods your facility, and depending on the size and extent of the fire, you may have significant property loss.

Suppression Systems
Water-based suppression systems can also lead to extensive flooding. However, the extent of flooding caused by these systems depends on the type. Some systems do not use water. Other systems that use water may only release sprinklers in areas where fire damage is occurring, leaving other spaces dry.

Pipe Damage
Water damage can also occur because of damaged pipes. The temperatures in violent fires often reach the melting points of certain metals. If the fire reaches these temperatures, pipes may melt, warp or break. Since no one is in the facility, there is no way to shut off the water supply, meaning that water can flow freely from pipes until the system is shutdown.
Commercial property owners should have concerns over water and fire damage if such a disaster occurs. Knowing that one problem can lead to the other may allow you to better prepare for emergencies. Contact your local emergency services or fire restoration experts to discuss disaster planning and strategies.

How Cities Prepare for Flooding

4/10/2020 (Permalink)

Water spills over the top of Engle bright Dam on the Yuba River. Another common way for cities to stop flooding is to install dams

Common Large-Scale Flood- Prevention Techniques

High water can cause major problems for cities. The current rise in sea levels means that cities need to prepare for the increased likelihood of flooding. Fortunately, engineers have many ways to prevent rising water from flooding an area. The following are some common large-scale flood-prevention techniques:

1. Movable Barriers

Gates and other structures that can be opened or closed as necessary are fairly common methods of flood prevention. Some of these are controlled by water pressure and use hydraulics so that they function even when the power goes out. Others are manually raised and lowered and act as an alternative to traditional sandbags.

2. Fixed Barriers

Another common way for cities to stop flooding is to install barriers, such as dams, floodwalls, and levees that remain in place. These barriers are designed to keep high water from reaching populated areas.

3. Permeable Pavement

A more novel method of flood prevention involves making the city itself more absorbent. Natural ground, with greenery and dirt, absorbs a lot of rainfall. The more pavement that cities have, the more water will accumulate. Some places, such as Chicago, are beginning to install porous pavement that will allow water to flow through to the natural ground beneath.

4. Green Space

Because dirt and greenery are such effective methods of absorbing rainfall, some cities are working to increase their total green space. Developing rooftop gardens and restoring floodplains around rivers and lakes are two such methods.

5. Mixed Methods

Unfortunately, barriers can give way if they malfunction or are overwhelmed. Soil eventually becomes saturated, no matter how much foliage or permeable pavement a city has. Therefore, many cities use a combination of flood-prevention techniques to decrease the chances of flooding.
High water can be a problem in even well-prepared cities. If your Westbrook, ME, business suffers flood damage, a certified restoration service can help you get back to normal quickly and safely.

We are your Cleaning Experts

3/30/2020 (Permalink)

the words Here to Help with a dimmed image of the corona virus SERVPRO of Portland is here to help during this time. Please reach out to our office if we can of any help to you.

SERVPRO of Portland is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call our Office Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – 207-772-5032.




5 Places Mold Might Be Hiding in Your Home

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth in a corner of a wall Mold damage in Falmouth, ME

5 Places Mold Might Be Hiding in Your Home

If you have experienced water damage or have high levels of moisture in your home in Falmouth, ME, then you might have a problem with mold growth. However, sometimes it can be difficult to find. If you smell a musty odor in the house but don’t see any signs of the fungus, it might be hiding in one of the following locations.

1. Behind the Walls

One common place for hidden mold is behind the walls. If moisture is trapped here, you might be able to smell moldy drywall. If the growth continues to spread, you will likely see discoloration on your walls.

2. Underneath the Floors

As well as behind walls, mold can grow beneath the flooring. This can be especially common in homes with carpeting, as this material is absorbent and more likely to hold moisture. It might grow underneath laminate and between tiles as well.

3. Near Leaks

Mold needs moisture to grow, so you can often find it in an area where leaking has occurred. Whether it is a leaky roof or a damaged pipe, these areas should be repaired quickly to prevent mold from growing.

4. Inside Air Conditioners

If they are not well-maintained, air conditioning units can become a breeding ground for mold growth. This can happen if the moisture is not properly escaping and is building up in the unit.

5. Around Windows and Doors

During a storm, moisture can build up in the areas around doors and windows which can result in mold on wood around these structures. It can help to wipe them down after rainy weather.
Because mold growth is not always easy to locate, it can be a good idea to hire a mold remediation company if you think this fungus might be growing in your house. If they find any growth, they can take the necessary steps to remove it and help prevent it from returning.

Why Does Mold Smell So Bad?

3/24/2020 (Permalink)

Wall with mold growth. Words on the top of picture MUSTY ODOR? A musty odor may indicate mold growth in your property

An easy way to tell that mold growth has begun in your home in Portland, ME is the unmistakable musty odor mold produces. Any amount of flood water, even if it was not contaminated, can lead to mold and in many cases odors. When you smell this distinctive mustiness, do not hesitate to take action. You need to remove the mold itself as well as the odor promptly or else your home can become uninhabitable.

What Creates the Smell?

Mold can produce a number of different gasses, referred to as microbial volatile organic compounds. These MVOCs can be odorless, or they can also be musty. The fact that mold growth can be odorless and that it tends to happen in hidden places means it is vital to hire a mold remediation service right away so that professionals can inspect your home thoroughly.

Does Mold Produce Different Odors?

Different types of mold can emit different compounds, each of which with its own distinct odor. For example, mold can produce the following odors:

  • 2-hexanone, which has an acetone-like smell
  • 1-octen-3-ol, which smells meaty
  • 1-butanol may smell similar to alcohol fermentation
  • 3-octanone has a fatty, nutty aroma to it.

Ultimately, homeowners in Portland, ME need to take note of any odors out of the ordinary because a wide range of smells could indicate mold and mildew are present.

How Can You Get Rid of the Odor?

After a flood of any size, sewage loss and mold growth can foster an unpleasant aroma that permeates the entire abode. To rid your home of it, you must remove all damaged and wet materials from the premises. You need to make sure to get rid of everything dampened that cannot be dried or cleaned before beginning the repair process. If any amount of mold is left behind, it will simply grow back. Ventilate the area to promote airflow and deodorize using baking soda.

3 Things to Know About Sandbags

3/13/2020 (Permalink)

Water barrier of sand bag to prevent flood Water barrier of sandbags in Portland, Me

3 Things to Know About Sandbags

When faced with a storm in Portland, ME, you may be considering the possibility of a sand bag wall to protect your business. Many flood damage restoration services recommend taking steps to mitigate damage before it occurs as a way to protect the property and reduce clean up times and costs. A flood dam is one way to do this. Here is what you may want to know.

1. How They Work

In most cases flood dams work by directing water flow away from the threatened area. Many people choose sandbags as they are easy to build in a variety of protective formations. Dry sand is loaded into the bag, and the bag is then folded and placed to create a wall. When the water reaches the wall it is absorbed by the sand which then becomes heavier, harder to move, and creates a tighter seal.

2. Where to Place Them

When creating a sand bag barrier to protect your business it’s recommended to construct it in a way that directs the flow of water rather than trying to block it. This will put less force on the wall, and keep the water moving to a safe drainage location. Consider setting the barrier up so that the water flows down hill and away from the property, or into a drainage ditch or open field where it can disperse safely.

3. When to Use Them

One of the best ways to reduce flood damage is to know when to use a flood dam. In most cases you may want to consider the use of sand bags any time you believe flooding may pose a high risk to the property.

When making a sand bag wall or using another flood dam type to protect your company it’s important to understand how they work and where to place them to direct water flow. Using these tools properly may help you reduce the amount of damage your business could face in the next big storm.

Here's How You Put out a Grease Fire

2/27/2020 (Permalink)

spoonful of baking soda and a jar on a wooden table If the fire is still going, dump a liberal amount of baking soda on the flames

While it's true that a fire can start anywhere in your home, the kitchen is one of the most common places. There are a lot of hazards in this room, so you need to be cautious when you're cooking on the stove or using the oven. A grease fire is one of the most concerning types of fires you could encounter at home. Extinguishing these fires is not the same as most kinds.

What Causes Grease Fires?

If you're like many people in North Deering, ME, you probably use your fair share of cooking oil on the stove. Whether it's frying up bacon or sausage for breakfast or grilling up something else delicious on the stove or griddle, you may frequently contend with grease. The common reasons a grease fire may start include:

  • Putting too much oil in the pan
  • Leaving the room while something is frying or grilling on the stove
  • Leaving panhandles away from the stove where other people can bump into them

Smother it Quickly
If a grease fire starts in the kitchen, don't panic. Your first job is to smother the flames and remove the fire's oxygen source. You can do this by grabbing a metal lid and covering the pan or burner.
Remove the Heat
You need to next kill the heat source. Turn off the stove or unplug the electric griddle.

Try Some Baking Soda
If the fire is still going, dump a liberal amount of baking soda on the flames. This should do enough to smother the flames and control the fire. It may require some fire cleanup, but you can control the damage.

What not To Do
Your first reaction to putting out a fire may be to dump water on the source. With grease, this won't work; it will only spread the flames. Never put water on these types of fires.
A licensed fire restoration company can clean up after a grease fire. Still, you don't want to get to this point. By following these pointers, you can stay away from these disasters.

How To Fix a Constantly Flushing Toilet

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

Bathroom with flooding. A constantly flushing toilet is not a problem you want to ignore

A toilet that won't stop flushing in your commercial building can cause several problems. Toilet overflow doesn't just create extra work for the custodial staff; it also can lead to significant water damage. There are a couple of ways you can troubleshoot the problem before you have to call for help, though.

Clean the Flushometer

The toilet may be flushing because the flushometer is clogged. Sediment gets trapped in the gasket, but you can clean it in a few steps:

  • Remove the lid and the flange cover.
  • Clean the gasket and weep hole (if present).
  • Replace the cover.

Most of the time, this will stop a toilet from flushing constantly. If it doesn't, however, there's one more thing to try before calling for professional assistance.

Replace the Gasket

All parts wear out and have to be replaced eventually. If the gasket is cracked or not sealing properly, this is probably what is causing the toilet to malfunction. When a worn-out gasket is left unchecked, it leads to leaks and toilet overflow. Take the cover off and remove the damaged gasket gently, being careful not to scratch the chrome around it. Add the new gasket and replace the cover.

Call a Plumber

When neither of these quick fixes works, water restoration specialists recommend that you call someone with more expertise. An established plumber in Munjoy Hill, ME, who is familiar with commercial systems is your best bet. When the technicians arrive, they can assess the problem and get it fixed. Quick resolution can stop a toilet flood before it begins, which saves you a lot of money in the long run.
A constantly flushing toilet is not a problem you want to ignore. Just because it hasn't caused damage yet doesn't mean that it never will. It is a toilet overflow waiting to happen. Troubleshoot the problem or call someone to assist to avoid water damage.

3 Ways to Prepare for a Home Adjuster Visit

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

Drying equipment on carpet Drying equipment in a Deering, ME home

Ways That You Can Prepare Yourself And Your House For The Visit

One of the first things that you should do if you have experienced water damage in your North Deering, ME, home is to call your insurance company and file a claim. During this process, a home adjuster will need to perform an inspection to determine the extent of the damage. The following are a few ways that you can prepare yourself and your house for the visit.

1. Make a List of Damage

Documenting the damage to your house and belongings is an important step when filing an insurance claim. It will save both you and the adjuster a lot of time if you begin working on it before he or she arrives. Along with listing areas and items that have been affected, you may want to take some pictures as well. If you have receipts for any belongings that have been damaged, these can help to determine the value of your loss.

2. Start Cleaning Up

Along with the primary damage that occurred, large amounts of water and moisture can cause secondary damage, such as mold growth, to your house if it is not removed quickly. For this reason, it is best not to wait for your home adjuster before you begin the cleanup process. In cases of severe damage, you may want to hire a water damage remediation company to start working on mitigation right away.

3. Go Over Your Policy

If it has been a while since you purchased your insurance, then it is possible that you may not remember all of the details of your policy. In order to be better prepared, you should read over it while waiting for your adjuster. Making yourself familiar with the terms and requirements can help move things along more smoothly.
In some cases, particularly if there has been a large storm in your area, it may take a while before your home adjuster is able to inspect your property. Taking this time to prepare for the visit can save time and help you complete your claim more easily.

What It Means To Be a Preferred Vendor for Insurance Companies

1/24/2020 (Permalink)

Business Communication Connection People Concept Did you know that we are a Preferred Vendor for many insurance companies

One of the main benefits of choosing SERVPRO for restoration services in West Falmouth, ME, is that the company is the preferred vendor for most insurance companies. This title often indicates that the restoration company has met a set of criteria pertaining to compliance and quality standards. The preferred vendor program also leads to a good relationship between the vendor and the insurance agent, streamlining the claims process and minimizing complications for all parties involved. Here is some general information on how a company becomes a preferred vendor and the benefits of being a part of the program.

How To Become a Preferred Vendor

The steps to becoming a preferred vendor can vary depending on the insurance company, but here are several steps that are usually required:

Application Process: Each insurance provider has its own unique application process, so vendors need to register separately with each company. The paperwork may ask for a tax identification number, the name of the company, the business structure, and a list of provided services.
Describe Qualifications: Some applications may allow the vendor to upload a document or give space for including any qualifications and incentives. This section should be drafted carefully, with attention to qualification a business owner or insurance agent would be interested in.
Wait for an Opening: The next step is to simply wait for a response. Some insurance companies will simply accept the application and provide work while others will then require the applicant to bid for a job.

Benefits of the Preferred Vendor Program

The main benefit of being a preferred vendor for companies is being supplied with plenty of work. In return, the vendor often agrees to reasonable pricing, consistent performance, and reduced claim costs. This ensures the client receives high-quality services while also meeting the needs of the insurance agent.
Being a preferred vendor isn’t just a phrase companies like SERVPRO use to make them sound professional. Rather, this term indicates an expectation for exceptional quality and a mutually beneficial partnership between insurance companies and vendors.

How Fast Can Mold Grow?

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth in the corner of a building Mold growth in Falmouth Foreside, ME

If your property in Falmouth Foreside, ME, has suffered water damage, you may be concerned about the potential for mold growth. Since mold spores live everywhere, it is especially important to address any wet areas after a water leak or flood. Mold spores travel through the air and attach to damp surfaces, which can lead to mold colonies if left treated.

Important Tips to Remember About Mold Include the Following:

  • Mold can establish itself in as little as 24 to 48 hours.
  • Mold thrives in areas with high humidity, dim lighting, and low air circulation.
  • Mold can form colonies in as little as 1 to 12 days.

Mold Growth

If you suspect that mold is growing in your building, it's crucial to check areas that have sustained water damage. Whether the water is from a small, consistent leak or a major disaster, it can lead to conditions that foster mold. When the mold spores land in the correct environment, they begin feeding and breaking down materials such as wood, carpet, fabric, and sheetrock. This can lead to structural damage if not taken care of.

Mold Remediation

Professional cleanup and remediation services are essential to effectively handle mold growth, as experts have specialized equipment and training to detect and remediate the situation. Not only is it imperative to remove the existing mold, but it's also important to fix the source of the water feeding the mold. If the source of the water isn't addressed, the mold will return and cause more damage, so this is a crucial step in mold prevention.
Since mold can spread so quickly once it is established, responding as soon as possible is your best bet. A fast response lessens the damage and saves you money in the long run. Professionals in the industry have the knowledge and tools to remediate the mold and water damage and return your property to a clean, safe state.


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