Recent Posts

Prevent Mold by Cleaning up Water As Soon As Possible

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

Mold on a basement wall To properly remediate the mold, SERVPRO had to cut out the affected drywall.

Water damage can happen at any time and for many different reasons. When homeowners or businesses leave it untreated, the potential for mold raises exponentially. That’s why SERVPRO suggests getting the water cleaned up within the first 48-72 hours.

Last month a Cincinnati resident called us for this very reason. Water flooded their basement, and it did not dry out properly. Mold had grown on their floors and walls. Our skilled professionals went in and demoed the affected walls and used air scrubbers to improve the overall air quality. We cleaned the wall studs and sprayed the affected areas with an antimicrobial to stop any further organic growth. 

If mold has taken up residence in your home, call us today for a free estimate. “We are always here to help.”

Stop, Drop, and Read, Before You Fire Up Your RV

4/14/2021 (Permalink)

An RV with SERVPRO logo on it. SERVPRO uses an RV as an office on wheels when we assist other franchises with large storms.

The weather is warming up, and; you know what that means, it’s time to start camping again! Is your Recreational Vehicle ready? According to the National Park Service, 20,000 RV fires occur nationally each year. Before you hitch up those RVs, pack up those tents, and head for the trees, make sure you’re prepared for fire safety.

Before You Hit the Road

Make a checklist before you leave to make sure that you are ready for any emergency. You can use our list or; make your own.

  • Make sure the smoke detector is working.
  • Make sure you have a Fire Extinguisher that puts out class A, B,& C fires. You can have it inspected to ensure it’s in working order.
  • Examine your appliances that use propane for leaks.
    • Refridgerator 
    • Furnace
    • Stovetop
    • Oven
  • Check that your propane leak detector is working.
  • Know your emergency exits.
    • Make sure your emergency exits are clear. 
    • Make sure your emergency exits are not stuck.
    • Make sure your family has and knows the emergency plan.
  • Inspect your power cords for wear and tear. Replace any power cords that are damaged or old.
  • Identify any attachments or chains that could drag to the ground while you are driving. The sparks could ignite and start a fire or an explosion if it reaches the propane.
  • Unrelated to fire but just as important:
  • Make sure your Carbon monoxide detector is in working order.
  • Have an emergency communication device on hand.

Relax but Stay Safe

On warm sunny days, it’s tempting to lounge outside while your meal slowly simmers on the stove inside. Statistically, most fires that happen in an RV start in the kitchen. Stay inside and keep an eye on the cooking meal. Clear the stove of anything that could catch fire.  

When your cooking with a gas stove, sometimes a pot will boil over and put out the flame. Even though the flame on the stove is out, gas will continue to flow. This makes the air combustible. Before attempting to relight the pilot light turn off the stove. Then, open all of the doors and windows to air out the RV. After you’ve given it a few minutes, it should be safe to ignite the pilot light again.

Keep your campfire at least 25 feet away from any and all structures. This includes your RV, tents, and additional vehicles you may have on your campsite. Before turning in for the night, make sure the fire is completely out. Even if it’s just embers, a fire that remains lit has the potential to turn into a wildfire.

In Case of An Emergency

In case of emergency, the first thing you should do is get out. The RV and the contents inside can be replaced life, cannot. Do not go back inside for any item. The only time you should attempt to put out the fire yourself is if you know you can do so without endangering yourself.

When your out in the woods, cellphone service can be spotty or non-existent. Plan ahead for this. Make sure that you have some form of emergency communication so you can contact the fire department or a park ranger. Here are some options that you can add to your packing list.

  • HAM radio
  • CB radios
  • Satellite phone

You can also check out the apps listed below. They can be used when there is no cell service available. 

If a fire does break out, SERVPRO can help you handle the aftermath. Our professionals are trained to clean smoke and soot out of any structure, including your RV. We can also clean your contents that were affected by the fire. 

We hope this checklist keeps you safe in case of an emergency. Most of all, we hope that you have a fun and relaxing time with your family and friends during this camping season.

April Showers Brings... Property Damage

3/31/2021 (Permalink)

A downed tree on a truck This tree fell on a truck during a storm on 3/26/2021. It blocked his driveway. We were called out to remove it.

When it comes to bad weather Cincinnati and NKY are no strangers to storms. Current results, a statistical website, collected data between the years 1981-2010. With an average of 137 days per year, Cincinnati Ohio ranks number 8 for the most, rainy days nationwide!  Covington isn’t far behind with an average of 132 days. While bad weather can hit at any moment our office has observed that most of this rain comes between the months of March-June. Are you ready for the storm? Let’s find out.

Insurance Coverage

One of the easiest things you can do to protect yourself from storm damage is to speak with your insurance agent about coverage. Insurance Information Institute says that there are 5 main things covered on your insurance policy:

  • Fire
  • Hurricane
  • Hail
  • Lightning 
  • Or other disasters

In most cases, this does not include flooding. You’ll want to ask your agent about what qualifies as flooding. Claims that we see declined most frequently around here involve water intrusion from the outside. This includes water that comes up from the foundation, water that comes through a window well, and water that comes from underneath an outside door.

Further details you’ll want to ask about is whether or not you have coverage for sump pump backups. Sewage backups are also an important discussion because even though you might have coverage there may be a cap on the amount of coverage. That amount will have to last you not only through mitigation but also repairs. Nobody is going to know your policy better than your agent. Having a discussion with them can help you prepare for this year’s storm season.

Home Repairs

Another important task is taking a walk around your house before a big storm hits. Look for situations in or on your home that could be problematic.

  • Missing shingles
  • Holes in your shingles
  • Siding i.e. missing, crooked, or damaged pieces
  • Check if your gutters are clean
  • Repair any damages to your gutters
  • Check that your sump pump is working properly
  • Look for loose debris around your house
  • Trim away dead branches or branches hanging over your roof
  • Cut down dead trees that are close to your structure
  • Inspect your windows for cracks and broken seals
  • Clear leaves and debris from your drains

SERVPRO wants you to be prepared for this upcoming storm season. That’s why we also offer reconstruction services for any repairs you may need to make on your home to prevent further damage. Call us today for your free estimate and peace of mind.

Water Damage in a Commercial Building

3/31/2021 (Permalink)

A gym in Milford Ohio called after a sewage backup caused water damage in their bathroom and gym area. SERVPRO was able to get there within approximately an hour after the damage was reported. We extracted the water and sanitized the establishment. In addition to the sanitation and extraction, we also tore out baseboards and set equipment to make sure the structure dried to industry standards. 

Our swift action enabled the business to remain open and they lost no revenue due to the water damage.

Water Damage to Blue Ash Bank

3/31/2021 (Permalink)

Industrial fan blowing air behind a wall To properly dry out structures we often cut holes in drywall. We place fans in front of the hole so they can blow air directly behind the wall.

At the beginning of March, a bank in Blue Ash had a sump pump failure causing water damage to their basement breakroom and storage area. Once the sump pump was fixed SERVPRO of Northeast Cincinnati was able to sweep in and dry out the structure. 

To dry up the water damage our crews tore out the affected carpet, cut holes in the wall to get airflow behind the drywall, and removed wet insulation. Additionally, we set up fans to dry the structure and applied an antimicrobial to ensure that there is no biological growth after we leave.

Our knowledgeable crews were able to reduce the damage to the bank and allowed staff back into the break room in just a few days.

Tips to Protect Your Home or Business from Lightning Strikes

3/30/2021 (Permalink)

Lightning Strike in a big City Photo by Bhargava Marripati from Pexels

Watching the light show during a thunderstorm is awe-inspiring. But, those same lightning strikes are also a force to be reckoned with. Being inside a strong, solid structure during a storm is the safest place you can be. However, it does not offer you a 100% guarantee that you and your home or business are safe from lightning strikes. Insurance Information Institute shared a statistic that shows 19% of house fires are caused by lightning strikes. SERVPRO is dedicated to your health and safety. That's why we researched ways that could reduce the damage that can be caused to your home or business by lightning strikes.

Insurance information institute also shares an interesting quote by James Lynch, chief actuary and senior vice president of Research and Education at the Triple-I. “Homes are more susceptible to lightning damage because electronic systems have become more interconnected – think Smart Homes – which have an easy gateway to much of a home’s electronic network, damaging scores of devices and appliances at once.” 

For this reason, we suggest the first thing you do during a storm is disconnect all unnecessary electronics. This will protect your devices and make your home slightly less conductive. Some sites also suggest buying surge protectors. This can help protect your devices from damage due to a lightning strike but it’s important to note that it doesn’t reduce your risk of your house getting struck by lightning during a storm.

During a storm, lightning can strike anywhere on the outside of your house. Most homes are wired to run electricity throughout the structure. That means if your home or business is struck by lighting the current can run through any and all paths that are conductive as it searches for its way to the ground. Storm Highway suggests that installing lightning rods is a great option to protect your house or business because it creates a direct path from the lightning strike to the ground. They emphasize that it may not be the most cost-effective method but it does reduce the risk of fire and bodily harm. 

Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to completely protect your house from lightning damage. But, there are ways to reduce the likelihood and effects of a lightning strike. If you do find yourself struck by disaster SERVPRO will be by your side every step of the way.

Practice Fire Safety This Spring

3/22/2021 (Permalink)

Flames in a fire pit at dusk Prevent property damage by keeping open fires at least 25 feet away from all structures.

Winter and the pandemic have forced us indoors for the last few months. Now that the weather is getting warmer many of us are itching to get outside and spend time some much-needed time with friends. Campfires offer us a way to stay outside longer and social distance safely while we’re still battling Covid 19. However, there are some safety measures and state/city laws you should be aware of before gathering around the fire.

EPA Regulations

If you’re getting together for outdoor festivities it’s best to familiarize yourself with the kind of equipment approved by the EPA. 

  • deck and patio fireplaces 
  • chimineas
  • patio hearths 
  • fire tables 
  • fire pits/kettles 
  • or similar devices

The safest place for any outdoor fire is a minimum of 25 feet away from the house or any other structures. It’s a good idea to practice this for your charcoal and propane grill as well. 

Ohio and Kentucky state laws are pretty similar when it comes to having a small campfire in your backyard. The fire should be kept small. No more than three feet wide and two feet high according to Ohio and three feet wide and three high in Kentucky. Keep in mind that these regulations can change by county and city so be sure to check with your local fire department if you have any concerns about regulations or permits. The EPA also requires that your fire is fueled only by seasoned firewood, natural gas, or other clean-burning fuel. Burning trash is not permitted so keep those styrofoam plates out of there no matter how tempting it may be to watch them melt.

Safety Tips

There are many steps to take to help prevent your small fire from getting out of control. Of these, the two most important are keeping a water source next to you and making sure that your fire is out completely when you’re done. Unattended fires, even if they’re just glowing embers, are one of the main causes of property damage and human injury.  Firesideoutdoor.com states “greater than 80% of campfire related pediatric injuries were caused by day old campfires.” Before you go inside pour water over the fire or hose it down well to keep your friends, family, and property safe. 

Basic safety tips include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Make sure any and all low hanging branches are clear and removed from the area.
  • Clear any dead leaves and dry twigs away from the area.
  • Keep your pets and children a safe distance from the fire.
  • Supervise any child roasting a marshmallow.
    • Don’t wear loose-fitting clothes.
    • Don’t shake or throw a burning marshmallow.
    • If using a metal skewer handle with care as they can cause severe burns.
  • Don’t use combustible liquids such as gasoline on the fire.

Following state laws and these suggested safety tips should keep you safe and cozy around the fire this spring, summer, and fall. In the unfortunate event that your fire gets out of hand even with safety measures in place, SERVPRO is here to help you handle the aftermath. You can count on us to help you through the process.




Important Things to Know about Fire Extinguishers

3/17/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Extinguisher Hanging on an office wall Contents label on our office's fire extinguisher.

Fire extinguishers are household items that everyone hopes they never have to use. Like most home and business owners, you probably bought it to protect your house from fire and put it out of your mind.  In the unfortunate event that you do have to use it, it’s important to have some basic information about it. Continue reading for the types of fire extinguishers there are, where to find that information on the extinguisher you own, what types of fires they’re used for, and some basic cleaning/ safety instructions.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

There are 9 basic types of fire extinguishers. These different chemical compounds are used for the different types of fires homes and businesses can have. 

Monoammonium Phosphate, Potassium Bicarbonate, & Sodium

These are the most common types of fire extinguishers that you will find. They work on Class AB&C fires. The University of Massachusetts Boston explains these classifications below:

Class A fires which involve "ordinary combustibles" such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber and many plastics.

Class B fires which involve flammable liquids, oils, greases, tars, oil-based paints and flammable gases.

Class C fires which involve energized electrical equipment.

For the most part, the chemicals in these extinguishers are nontoxic. However, they can be considered an eye, mucus membrane, and skin irritant. This is especially true for Monoammonium Phosphate. For this reason, it’s advisable to turn off the ventilation system, after it’s been used, so it doesn’t kick up the powder throughout the house. This also should not be cleaned up with vacuum cleaners.

Potassium Bicarbonate and sodium-based fire extinguishers are less of an irritant but should still be handled with caution. For these, you don’t have to turn off the ventilation system, and you can suck up the powder with a vacuum. Keep in mind a HEPA vac or shop-vac are the suggested types of vacuums to use.

It is important to clean up after these extinguishers quickly. The chemicals in these are often corrosive and could cause even more damage if left sitting.

Clean up is pretty simple and should you decide to do it yourself it can be done with common household items. Electrical outlets can be cleaned by using a can of pressurized air that would use to clean out your keyboard. Monoammonium Phosphate must be dry cleaned, to begin with. Sweep it up or wipe it away with a dry cloth or brush. Otherwise, the cleaning process is exactly the same. Use a paste made from baking soda and water. It’s a 1:1 ratio. Use a warm wet cloth to wipe up the remaining residue.

If the powder is stuck on there use a 1:1 ratio of 50% rubbing alcohol and water. Let the mixture sit for a bit then wipe it up as normal. 

Class D fires

A Class D fire is defined as a fire started by combustible particulates. This could be metal shavings or dust from a bread mill. Fire extinguishers for these are usually filled with one of the following 4 chemicals and elements.

  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium Carbonate
  • Copper
  • Graphite

Be sure to steer clear of any vacuums for these cleanups. The static charge especially in graphite can make it combustible. 

Wet Chemicals

Wet chemicals are usually used in commercial kitchen fires. It is really important that you call the professionals at SERVPRO after this type of fire. These chemicals are harmful and can cause damage to your nervous system and vital organs. After discharging these extinguishers you’ll want to make sure that the area is very well ventilated. If you have to go into the area make sure you are wearing N95 or N100 masks. A purifying respirator is also highly suggested. 

Clean Agent

The final type of extinguisher is a clean agent. This is usually made from CO2 or Hetron. As a gas-based extinguisher, there isn’t much cleanup because it dissipates into the air. However, it’s still a good idea to clean and sanitize the affected areas. 

What Kind of Fire Extinguisher do You Have?

It is mandatory that all fire extinguishers disclose what kind of chemicals they hold. If you look at the attached photo for instance you can see that ours is listed on the fire extinguisher itself under Contents. We have an Ammonium Phospate based extinguisher. Different brands may have different placements but in general, they should be in the same basic area.

SERVPRO has a lot of experience in cleaning up after fire extinguishers. We have all the tools and equipment to handle this daunting task. So, if you’ve had a fire and need the powder cleaned up give us a call at any time. We’ll be happy to provide you a free estimate and save you the headache of having to clean up after a fire extinguisher yourself.

How to Clean Your Jetted Tub

3/12/2021 (Permalink)

Jacuzzi tub surrounded by hardwood flooring Maximize your relaxation

Imagine this: You’re house hunting and you find a listing in an area you really like. You take a step through the front door and it has all of the aesthetics you desire. Then, you walk into the bathroom. The angels sing. Heaven shines down upon you, and the perfect whirlpool tub. You’re sold. You don’t need to look at any more houses.

The glorious day comes. You’re settled into your new home. You’re ready to wash away all of the stress from home buying. You’ve cleaned the tub, you’ve lit the candles, you have a glass of wine, and a good book to read. (Or your phone so you can scroll through tiktok.) 

You settle yourself into the tub relish the warm water, take a sip of wine. You turn on the jets, then, you see it. Slimy black mold flecks are floating to the surface. 

While it’s disgusting to see that in your bath water it doesn’t mean that you necessarily have a mold problem. In most cases, it just means that your jetted tub needs more maintenance than you realized. Bathtub maintenance isn’t hard, but it is an important step to keeping your bathroom mold and water intrusion-free. That’s why SERVPRO did some research to help you combat the day-to-day muck that builds up in your jetted tub.

Bobvila.com explains that the process is really quite simple. With just a few simple steps you can enjoy your jetted tub in no time!

Step 1: Soak your tub

If you haven’t cleaned your tub in a while we suggest starting there. It doesn’t have to be a thorough clean for this step. Just give it a quick wipe down and clean out any hair stuck in the drain. We’ll give a good scrub later. Then, fill up your tub with water a few inches above the last jet. After, let your tub soak with 2 cups of white vinegar. If you don’t have vinegar you can also mix half a cup of bleach and a few teaspoons of dishwasher detergent.

*Important note: Use Vinegar OR bleach, not both. Mixing the two can cause a toxic and deadly chemical reaction. 

Step 2: Run the Jets

Turn on the jets and let them run for 10-15 minutes. All the scum and mold will start to break from the surfaces and float to the top. After the time is up drain the water from the tub.

Step 3: Do It All Again

Whew! That was gross, wasn’t it? Now let’s do it again. Fill the tub back up with clean warm water. This time you don’t have to add any cleaner but go ahead and run the jets for another 10-15 minutes just to make sure you got everything.

Step 4: It’s the Final Wipe Down

Last but not least sprinkle some baking soda in your tub. Let it sit for a few minutes then gently wipe it down. This will get the last bits of soap scum and mold off of your tub. Grab a toothbrush that you use only for cleaning and clean carefully, but thoroughly, scrub around the jets themselves to get that last bit of scum off. A bottle brush would probably work here too if you have one in a horseshoe shape. Now you can rinse and relax!

During this process, if you find that you do have a large mold or water problem don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our estimators have years of experience and can help you come up with a price and game plan to fix the issue.

Insurance Vs. Direct pay

3/8/2021 (Permalink)

Question Mark Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels SERVPRO answers FAQs

It’s an unfortunate truth that when disaster strikes, it doesn’t wait for you to be financially ready. SERVPRO understands that making an insurance claim on your home isn’t always an easy decision. If you have a high deductible the choice can be even harder. To help ease this burden we wanted to share with you some information.

FAQ

One of the questions we get asked the most is whether the cost will be lower or higher if the customer files an insurance claim. The answer to this is simple. Filing a claim makes no difference to the cost. We charge the same amount to direct pay customers as we do the insurance companies. To charge differently would be considered insurance fraud and we will not take part in that. We use industry-approved software that most insurance companies use to generate all of our costs of the job. This way we can ensure that our costs are fair to all of our customers

Direct Pay Options 

Whether you file a claim or not, you will receive the same level of professional and courteous care. The only difference that you will notice if you are not filing an insurance claim is that we will have to do an estimate first. We have two options for you.

Option 1.

SERVPRO offers free estimates when we schedule an appointment for one of our Production Managers/Estimators to scope the loss and provide you a detailed estimate. They will inspect your home to gather information such as the rooms affected, measurements of those rooms, the type of material affected in each room, and the amount of equipment needed to mitigate your home properly. They will write the estimate within 24 hours and email you a breakdown of what needs to be done and how much it will cost. 

Option 2.

The option most of our customers pick is an onsite estimate. In this instance, we send the next available crew to your home and give an estimate for the services needed to mitigate your home. This way you know if you need to file an insurance claim or proceed as a direct pay so we can get to work started right away. The biggest difference here is that should you decline services, there would be a $125 service fee during regular business hours and a $175 service fee after hours.

No matter which option you pick, there are a few important things to note. If you aren’t filing an insurance claim, we will require a 50% deposit of the estimated cost. If you decide to file a claim afterward, just provide the insurance company and claim number as well as the name of your claim handler and we can work directly with them. Additionally, any estimate we provide is subject to change. Once we get to work we could find additional damages that require more work than anticipated. 

The most important thing we want you to take away from this is that no matter what, “we are always here to help.” We want you to feel confident and prepared for whatever decision you make.