Recent Posts

4 Top Checklist Items for Plumbing Maintenance Inspections

4/23/2018 (Permalink)

Plumbing problems can happen in any building. Normal wear and tear, plumbing age and quality of a system’s construction materials all have an impact on plumbing performance. Being proactive in keeping a Vancouver, WA, commercial building’s plumbing system in good operating condition is a great way to protect your investment. It can also help you avoid a much more inconvenient and costly plumbing emergency in the future. Scheduling regular plumbing inspections may help identify small problems to be addressed before they become large. These four top checklist items for a plumbing maintenance inspection cover areas generally considered critical to proper operation of a plumbing system.


1. Fixtures


Quiet leaks and drips from fixtures such as toilets and faucets can waste thousands of gallons of water annually. Fixtures are typically tested during a maintenance inspection. Repairing these silent leaks may save a lot of money on future water bills.


2. Pipes


A visual inspection of pipes can be done to uncover evidence of leaks and signs of corrosion. When significant visible corrosion is noted, it may be a signal that the pipes are close to the end of their useful life. This can give you the opportunity to make a plan before the aging plumbing causes a bigger problem, such as a broken pipe.


3. Drains


A test of drains can uncover any blockages that need to be cleared. Slow draining sinks or toilets that require regular plunging may indicate a blockage. If allowed to persist, blockages can lead to backups and overflows with accompanying water damage.


4. Valves


Testing valves for proper operation may help prevent valve failure. Broken or faulty valves can add challenges to water main maintenance and repair. A simple check of a valve’s ability to open and close can be all that is needed to avert larger plumbing problems in the future.

While some plumbing problems may be unavoidable, it is generally much easier to make preventive plumbing corrections based on recommendations from a routine maintenance inspection than defer routine repairs.

For more information, please visit us athttp://www.SERVPROwvancouverclarkco.com/.

Water, Water Everywhere: A 3-Step Plan To Recover From Storm Damage

4/18/2018 (Permalink)

With little warning, homeowners in Vancouver, WA, can face water damage caused by catastrophic rains or flooding. In one year alone, water-related disasters caused over $280 billion in damages in the United States. Having a plan can make recovery from a storm much less stressful.


1. Protect Your Safety


After a flood, you may be in shock. While natural, this reaction won’t help your home recover. Flooding typically requires quick action. Ask yourself if it is safe to stay in your house. Are there live wires? Is it safe to mop up water or tear out wet carpet? If answers to these questions leave you feeling unsafe, leave the home.


2. Assess Your Options


Next, determine options for cleanup. Contact your insurance company to discuss coverage. If your house has suffered extensive damage, consider calling a professional for storm restoration.


3. Call a Professional


A storm damage cleanup and restoration company can take the burden off your shoulders by performing several services:

• Inspect and Assess. Professional cleaners often start by surveying the extent of water damage and checking for safety hazards.

• Extract Water. Powerful pumps and industrial vacuums are brought in to remove water from your home. Moisture detectors, hygrometers and infrared cameras may be used to find water hidden behind walls and ceilings.

• Dry and Dehumidify. In this step, high-speed air movers and industrial dehumidifiers help to reclaim your home. If necessary, professionals tear out wet materials to dry or throw out.

• Clean and Sanitize. Anyone who has been through a flood can tell you about the smell and fear of disease that follow. For this reason, professionals often work hard to remove odors, deodorize and sanitize your home.

• Restore. Ideally, professionals can restore your home to its formerly dry glory. Restoration can involve anything from minor repairs (tear out drywall, install carpet, repair flooring) to rebuilding entire rooms.

Storm damage may be out of your control. However, the right plan can help you take control of storm restoration.

For more information, please visit us athttp://www.SERVPROwvancouverclarkco.com/.

What To Do After a Storm Causes Roof Damage

3/29/2018 (Permalink)

High winds can do crazy things to your roofing system in Vancouver, WA. When storms cause shingles to tear off, it can be hard to know exactly what to do. You want to fix the problem before a roof leak starts, but where do you start?


Protect the Damaged Area


Your first step should be to call in a storm damage specialist. These experts will be able to help you locate the damage, come up with a repair plan and work with the insurance company. However, these specialists may not be able to get to your building right away. If you can't get professional help right away, you need to protect your roof so it doesn't get damaged further. If you want to stop a damaged roof from becoming a bigger problem, you need to use certain tools to cover the damaged area.

• Use tarps and plywood to cover any ripped, cracked or missing shingles.
• Remove weakened tree limbs to ensure they don't crash onto your building.
• Get rid of debris from the roof as this can tear up more shingles if high winds return.

Doing everything you can to protect the vulnerable part of your roof can help you avoid larger headaches. Your contractor may be able to give you more tips on how to get by until he or she can arrive.


Start a Repair Plan


Once the damaged roof has been assessed, you need to quickly enact a repair plan. If you wait too long to fix the issue, the missing shingles can turn into a roof leak. As you know, leaks can lead to major water damage that can take a lot of money to fix. It's better for you and your building if you can start a repair plan as quickly after the storm as possible.

The last thing you want after a storm is to worry about a roof leak. However, damaged shingles can lead to that exact situation. Taking the proper steps after a storm may help you mitigate your problems.

For more information, visit us at http://www.SERVPROwvancouverclarkco.com/.

2 Methods Professionals Use To Handle Your Wet Building Materials

3/29/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage in your Vancouver, WA, home can lead to extensive issues with the building materials in your living space. Anything from swelling wood to deteriorating insulation can occur as a result of a supply line leak or a pipe burst within your walls or under the floorboards. Therefore, it’s important to not only seek professional help for water pipe repair but to ensure that your property’s structural work is safe and intact. Here’s how the professionals can handle your building materials if they’ve been compromised by water damage.


1. They replace the swollen wood from any affected areas.


Whether you’ve sustained water damage to your kitchen cabinets, your living room floor or elsewhere, trained technicians are likely to replace any wood that has swelled to prevent any structural issues in the future. If the leak was bad enough and the spread of damage carried on for some time, tearing apart your carpets or floorboards to reach and replace the subfloor could be a necessity. Thankfully, for situations that aren’t dire, any drywall or real wood materials can often simply be dried and saved, preventing you from receiving a larger bill down the road.


2. They remove any wet insulation in the walls.


While swelling wood is a problem in itself, having untreated wet insulation in the home can become an even bigger problem. Therefore, water damage professionals will often remove damp areas of insulation to determine any stud damage that may be hiding behind the wet material or to simply replace the insulation altogether to prevent disintegration or mold growth.

When water damage has occurred to your Vancouver, WA, home’s building materials and you need water pipe repair, it’s important to call upon the help of trained technicians. With their help, your residence can be cleared of any swelling wood or other hazardous materials or waste, and you can gain peace of mind knowing your home is safe again for you and your family.

For more information, visit us at http://www.SERVPROwvancouverclarkco.com/.

Best Ways To Handle Mold Issues in Your Home

3/29/2018 (Permalink)

Anyone who has ever had flooding at home knows the severe problems this can cause. Water damage often leads to the growth of mold, and though you can take measures to prevent water problems in your basement or other parts of your home, it’s not always easy to keep this invader at bay. If you do see mold growth at home, you need to use effective steps to get rid of this pest or to effectively control it.


Fix the Leaks


Anyone who has a home in Vancouver, WA, has likely had a few occasions where he or she has identified leaky pipes or widows. It’s not uncommon, either, to detect leaks in your roof, especially in older homes. Though you may be tempted to put off repairing these items, procrastination can eventually lead to significant water damage. Small leaks can build up over time, sometimes without you even noticing it.


Clean the Right Way


Flood cleanup can be time consuming and costly, but proper cleaning is one of the best ways to promote mold prevention. Make sure you dry the affected area thoroughly. You should also clean moldy areas by doing the following:

• Use soap and water.
• Use a bleach solution with one cup of laundry bleach with one cup of water.
• Don’t not use ammonia with bleach.


Use Proper Ventilation


The laundry room can be one of the biggest culprits for mold growth. This shouldn’t be a problem area, however, if you have the right vents in place and keep them free of clogs or obstructions. Also, consider opening a window if you start to smell mildew.

Though water damage affects many homeowners, it doesn’t have to cause widespread, costly damage in your Vancouver, WA, home. Use these tips to protect your family and to keep your home safe.

For more information, visit us at http://www.SERVPROwvancouverclarkco.com/.

9 Smoke Odor Removal Musts

10/27/2017 (Permalink)

"I live in a crack house. Well, it used to be a crack house until the new owner threw out the old tenants and restored the home, to the relief of the neighborhood. But I’m afraid that it wasn’t completely restored. I’m a non-smoker, and on humid days the smell of cigarette smoke can be pretty pervasive in some rooms. I’m guessing a lot of it may come from the popcorn ceiling that was only painted over when it probably should have been removed. But on fire restoration jobs, this is a much bigger issue."

One of the most critical concerns for fire restoration contractors is failing to control or eradicate odors. This problem can lead to frustrated customers as well as potential legal and financial dangers. Eliminating this problem is made more difficult when remodeling work was undertaken by either inexperienced homeowners or unprofessional contractors, as their alterations may have contributed to hidden places for fire and smoke damage to linger.

Remediating a fire loss may also take longer, meaning you might have to wait a while before you’re paid. In fact, some contractors have avoided getting involved in fire restoration because it seems too complicated. But it’s not, as long as you appreciate the principles and correct techniques of fire restoration and odor control. Here are some things to remember:

  • Make sure there’s a straightforward exchange of information between you, the customer, the insurance adjuster and any possible subcontractors. Communicating clearly and setting expectations is a critical component of the job.
  • Get a written agreement from the homeowner on exactly what areas have been damaged by the fire and what items should be salvaged or discarded. You don’t want them coming back to you later claiming you’ve trashed an heirloom or didn’t finish the job.
  • The way that fire and water damage jobs are handled do have some similarities, but they can’t be interchanged. Confirm that only techs with at least a Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician (FSRT) certification are allowed to work on the site. Being Odor Control Technician (OCT) certified is also helpful.
  • Smoke and fire residues can be poisonous, as fires can include the demolition of plastic, foam, fabric, carpet, wood products, synthetic textiles, and asbestos-containing materials. Ash and smoke can also cause widespread corrosion, etching and staining, as well as persistent powerful odors. So removing these and their sources should be your first priority.
  • If the damage is localized, contain those areas to assist in removing odors.
  • Carefully inspect all areas that may have numerous layers of wall board. These may hide unexpected gaps and voids that turn into superhighways for circulating smoke and odor.
  • Examine all wall cavities, duct work, and plumbing chases to establish whether they suffered any smoke residue or fire damage.
  • Use a borescope to discover any damage that may otherwise have been impossible to see without having to completely remove a part of the structure. If the fire is recent, use of a thermal imaging camera may reveal hidden warmer areas, indicating possible fire damage.
  • Aside from losing their valuables, the majority of homeowners are underinsured. They may even have to take up temporary lodging. So you’re going to be dealing with some very distraught people. Train yourself and your employees on how to be empathetic and ways to successfully communicate with them.

When eliminating malodors on fire jobs, remember that there are several factors that can impact the strength of the odor:

  • Size - The bigger the fire, the more objects have burned, and thus there’s been more smoke.
  • Length -The longer a structure has been exposed to smoke, the more deeply odor has seeped into porous materials.
  • Space - When a fire occurs in a smaller room, the smoke odor becomes more intense and concentrated.
  • Stuff - Not all odors are equal. For instance, burning wood, plastic and protein all have very different smells and consistency. This may influence the types of odor eliminators you use.

WHERE the damage occurred and WHAT burned will always be your two main concerns in fire restoration. Knowing the full answers to those questions will likely ensure that your restoration efforts will be complete and that you’ll be able to eliminate all of those irritating malodors, while at the same time eliminating any call backs.

Source: ODOROX

What To Do When Your Business Encounters Extreme Damage

10/4/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial What To Do When Your Business Encounters Extreme Damage Remain positive and hopeful because SERVPRO of W. Vancouver is here to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year! 360-695-4418

Natural disasters can cause significant and costly damages to homes, roads and, of course, local businesses. While you should always be prepared for such events, by maintaining adequate insurance coverage and secure file backups, you sometimes get little warning before disaster strikes. And if something happens, you'll want to get your business back up and running as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, the road to recovery isn't always easy. A previous Business News Daily article about recovery from 2012's Superstorm Sandy reported that just 25 percent of small businesses had backups of critical programs and data before the storm, and even fewer (20 percent) said they had protected their buildings from the storm or prepared emergency survival kits.

Execute your business continuity plan

Your business continuity plan should prepare you for major disaster scenarios, such as the loss or unavailability of IT systems, key people or a facility third party. Make sure key personnel will have access to the plan on secured mobile devices immediately after a disaster.

Don't have a business continuity plan? This Business News Daily guideoutlines how to create one.

Check your backed-up data

You should have already backed up and safely stored your most critical data: your business license, major contracts and legal documents, tax returns and financial statements, and other critical business and customer documents. Following a disaster, make sure your vital records are still securely accessible from the devices you're using.

Communicate with your employees and external parties

Leverage your website, social media channels and text messaging to reach your employees, customers, partners and vendors. Reassure your customers that you're still in business, while making sure that no communications will inadvertently create legal liability or adversely affect service-level agreements.

Contact your insurance company

Once you and your employees are safe and accounted for after a disaster, survey the damage. Contact your insurance company to file a claim. You should always do an occasional check-up to ensure you have adequate coverage for major disaster types, including cybersecurity insurance. Office break-ins and vandalism may occur during a disaster, and if someone steals computer equipment or paper documents containing personally identifiable information, and the information was not encrypted, you may have a legal requirement to notify your customers. To be safe, encrypt your customer data, digitize paper documents and store all critical data in a secure, cloud-based document-management system.

If your insurance doesn't cover the full cost of the damage, you may be eligible for a disaster loan from the Small Business Administration of up to $2 million. The SBA may even provide working capital loans, even if you didn't have any property damage.

Remain positive and hopeful because SERVPRO of W. Vancouver is here to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

Source: Business News Daily

What To Do Before, During, and After A Fire

10/4/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage What To Do Before, During, and After A Fire Contact your fire experts at SERVPRO of W. Vancouver / Clark Co. for further assistance in recovering from the fire @ (360) 695-4418

Before A Fire

  1. Install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  2. Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  3. Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
  4. Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
  5. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
  6. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
  7. Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

If A Fire Starts

  • Know how to safely operate a fire extinguisher
  • Remember to GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency phone number.
  • Yell "Fire!" several times and go outside right away. If you live in a building with elevators, use the stairs. Leave all your things where they are and save yourself.
  • If closed doors or handles are warm or smoke blocks your primary escape route, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
  • If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit. Close doors behind you.
  • If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and call the fire department or 9-1-1. Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.
  • Once you are outside, go to your meeting place and then send one person to call the fire department. If you cannot get to your meeting place, follow your family emergency communication plan.

Recovering After A Fire

  • Call 9-1-1. Give first aid where needed; cool and cover burns to reduce the chance of further injury or infection.
  • Let friends and family know you’re safe.
  • People and animals that are seriously injured or burned should be transported to professional medical or veterinary help immediately.
  • Stay out of fire-damaged homes until local fire authorities say it is safe to re-enter.
  • Contact your fire restoration and cleanup experts at SERVPRO of W. Vancouver / Clark Co. for further assistance in recovering from the  fire @ (360) 695-4418.

Source: American Red Cross - National Sponsor of SERVPRO

What Is Black Mold?

10/4/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation What Is Black Mold? If you suspect you have a mold problem, contact SERVPRO of W. Vancouver / Clark Co. immediately.

You may have seen sensational news reports that warn about the dangers of “black mold” or “toxic mold”. These reports can be alarming and confusing so it’s beneficial to get the facts to better understand mold.

Stachybotrys chartarum is the type of mold often called black mold, and it does produce allergens and irritants. However, many types of mold can produce allergens and irritants. Treat any mold with caution – stay out of affected areas and don’t touch or disturb the mold.

Learn more about mold and what to do until help arrives by visiting Mold Damage Tips

How Do I Tell If It’s Black Mold?

Since many types of mold can cause reactions, you should contact us regardless of the color or type of mold. In many instances, multiple types of mold may exist in the same house or structure. If you suspect you have a mold problem, contact SERVPRO of W. Vancouver / Clark Co. immediately. 

Understanding Mold

When water intrudes into your property, mold growth can start in as little as 48 hours. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic, float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and that odor can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

Preparing Your Home For Winter Weather

9/27/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Preparing Your Home For Winter Weather If you encounter damage to your home this winter make sure you call SERVPRO of Vancouver 24 hours a day, 365 days a year! (360) 695-4418

If you live in the Northeast, Midwest, or Northwest you know the drill. Four to five months of heavy clothes, seeing your breath and generally freezing outside. Sometimes even elsewhere, Old Man Winter stops in for an unexpected visit. But beyond the inconvenience and discomfort, a winter storm or other severe weather conditions can cause real damage. So it's important to think about winter preparedness.

Protecting your home is vital. A frozen water pipe can burst and flood your house or basement. An ice dam in your gutter can cause water to seep into and saturate an interior wall. And then there’s your car. Making sure it’s prepped to face winter’s worst is just as critical. After all, what would happen if a blizzard stranded you in your car?

Prepare yourself

Some winter weather tips to help you get through a severe stretch of cold:

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. It’s a serious workout, and going at it too hard can bring on a heart attack − a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
  • Stay dry. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits the cold rapidly.

Cold-related injuries

  • Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities. If any of these occur, get medical help immediately.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. 
  • If any of the hypothermia symptoms appear, get yourself (or the victim) to a warm location, remove wet clothing, and warm the center of the body first. Give the patient warm, non-alcoholic beverages if they are conscious. And of course, get medical help as soon as possible.

Prepare your home

Some tips to brace your home for a winter storm:

  • Clean out the gutters, disconnect and drain all outside hoses. If possible, shut off outside water valves.
  • Insulate walls and attics, and caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Repair roof leaks and remove tree branches that could get weighed down with ice or snow and fall on your house – or your neighbor's. (Avoid liability for the latter.)
  • Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl spaces with insulation sleeves to slow heat transfer.
  • Consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater.
  • If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when you're not using it.
  • Have a contractor check your roof to see if it would sustain the weight of a heavy snowfall.
  • Make sure your furniture isn't blocking your home’s heating vents.
  • During cold spells, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly those in the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
  • If your house will be unattended during cold periods, consider draining the water system.
  • Avoid ice dams – where water from melted snow refreezes in the gutters and seeps in under the roof, soaking interior walls. Here’s how:
    • Ventilate your attic.
    • Insulate the attic floor well to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
    • Consider having a water-repellent membrane installed under your roof covering.