Recent Posts

Preparing Your Home or Business for a Hurricane

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO knows that when a disaster strikes the cleanup can be overwhelming. As the leader in water damage restoration, SERVPRO knows that fast mitigation is the key to limiting additional damage to your home or business, and in the case of a business, limiting business interruption. With over 1,500 franchises across the country, SERVPRO is faster to any size disaster and can be on-site within a few hours to reduce the amount of secondary damage that can be caused by allowing the water to sit. 

In the event of a hurricane here are some tips from FEMA to help you prepare your home:

·         Cover all of your home's windows with precut plywood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds

·         Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans, and anything else that is not tied down

·         Keep all trees and shrubs well-trimmed so they are more wind resistant

·         Turn off utilities as instructed by local authorities.

·         Turn off propane tanks

·         Ensure a water supply for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.

Preparing your business is a litter different, but these tips from FEMA can help:

·         Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating

·         Identify operations critical to survival and recovery

·         Plan what you will do if your building is not accessible. Can you run your business from a different location or from your home? Can you develop a relationship with other local businesses to use their facilities if a disaster makes your location unusable?

While we all hope for a year free from hurricanes, we know that they are inevitable at times. You can rest assured that SERVPRO of West Orange will be available to assist you with your home or business in the event of a natural disaster.

You Can Count on SERVPPRO for Storm Response!

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage You Can Count on SERVPPRO for Storm Response! SERVPRO is ready to help with any disaster - any time!

Hurricanes and severe storms are a common part of our life in the Central Florida area. From South Orlando, to Ocoee, to Apopka, our franchise is available for disasters of any size. Many times though, when disaster strikes, it is hard to determine what step to take first. SERVPRPO Industries has a Disaster Recovery team that can be called in to assist our neighbors after a major storm. Our franchise can call in reinforcements to make sure that all of our neighbors are assisted ASAP!    

How does it all work?

As a team, SERVPRO franchises and corporate staff work together to track storms that will affect our franchise areas. After the storm hits, as soon as it is safe for our crews to enter the damaged area, they are dispatched. Mobile command centers are set up and franchises are pulled from over 1,650 locations across the country to help, depending on the size of the disaster. Crews will work around the clock to get people back into their homes and businesses as soon as possible.

Dealing with the aftermath of a major storm is very stressful. We are happy to offer our services in order to relieve some of that stress!

Hurricane Preparedness In Central Florida

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Hurricane Preparedness In Central Florida Use our hurricane preparedness list to make sure you are ready!

Every year we hear about hurricane preparedness. What you need to do to make sure you, your family, and your belongings are as safe as possible during a storm. Each year we make calls to family making sure they are ready in case of an emergency, and each year we add more things to our list of ideas and needs that can be utilized in case of an emergency at the home.

Let’s take a moment to discuss water. Anyone who has been through a disaster knows it’s importance. Day to day you need it, but what happens when the temperature goes up, there is no AC, and you are exposed to more prolonged sun light? Dehydration sets in faster and water may become a more important need than it does without those conditions. Did you know the water heater in your home may hold up to 40-60 gallons of water? Fresh drinking water. You can access this directly from your water heater and it may make the difference in an emergency. Of course, it is always best in the case of an imminent storm, to store ahead of time as much clean and flushable water as you can. If the water supply is contaminated it may take weeks before it is safe to use again.

What about food? In emergency situations you will need to learn to ration food for prolonged periods. Meaning non spoiling products should be stocked up on and kept on hand. Make sure you have a fuel source for a grill or cooking source so you can plow through all that meat and produce you have stored in the freezer before it’s gone. Save the canned items for later.

We will be available to help with the clean-up after the storm passes. Our office can be reached at 407-352-1569, 24/7/365. 

Any Home Can Have A Mold Problem

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Mold is a pervasive problem. Over the years after looking at thousands of properties of various shapes, sizes, quality of construction and inherent problems, you would think that I would have found that better, and much more expensive, built homes would have an advantage when it comes to water intrusion and mold consequences.

The truth is that generally that is not the case, and more frustratingly for the Homeowner of these homes, many times the damages are much more expensive. In this blog I give as an example a very expensive home in an exclusive neighborhood in Windermere, FL that we were recently involved with. In this particular case, because of the high quality finishing materials being used in a Master Bathroom (granite & marble), the source of the water was well hidden (shower pan) as well as the extent of the damage.

As you can see the Bathroom had no signs that there was a problem until the Homeowner finally noticed a couple of wood planks on the floor cupping. Even this visual damage to the planks was delayed because the wood floor had been installed over a plywood subfloor and moisture barrier over the concrete slab. Again, very well done construction and installation. SERVPRO went out to take moisture readings with a hammer probe of the wood flooring, and more importantly, the plywood subfloor underneath it.

 This revealed that unfortunately the water had travelled much further under the plywood flooring than originally thought (wet plywood = mold). SERVPRO went ahead and presented a mold remediation estimate for the client based upon the few visible clues we had along with the moisture meters available. The problem the Homeowner and the Insurance Company had was that all the granite & marble was matching as well so there was an initial hope that this could be saved. Unfortunately, this was not the case.  The water, mold and demo that needed to eventually occur ended up being very extensive.

 While this was horrifying to the Homeowner, the other added unexpected surprise was signs of extensive termite damage. This was all found in the wood studs supporting the shower walls (behind drywall and granite). This termite damage had compromised the structural integrity of the extremely heavy granite supporting walls and a light soffit area above it. If this had not been found in a timely fashion, the possibility of structural collapse was possible.

 Fortunately for the Homeowner, all of this damage was taken care of by Homeowner’s Insurance. I need to remind you however, that this Bathroom was immaculate and well-constructed. This water intrusion, mold and termite infestation and damage had probably been going on for years. The only clue that this was happening was a couple of small wood planks near the shower that was cupping (maybe 6-8 square inches). It would have been easy for the Homeowner to just write-off this cupping as just water coming off of their feet when exiting the shower. Most people would.

 For those people that are reading this, who just happen to own Homes that would fit into the multi-million dollar mansion category, it is important to look at the small clues whenever possible. It is the nature of the expensive floor and wall coverings to be multi-layered and therefore makes it hard to find a problem that would normally be inexpensive to resolve if found quickly. There is no solution I offer to you in these types of situations except to always be wary and observant in your homes in any place where there is regularly running water and drains (Kitchens, Bathrooms, Utility Rooms, etc.).

*Photos for this Job are located in the Before and After section

Mold Remediation Steps

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Have you ever wondered what happens when a mold removal specialist gets called to a mold-damaged facility?

Here are five steps that a mold removal specialist takes when conducting mold remediation: 

1. Determine the degree of contamination. To do so, a mold remediation specialist may need to bring in an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) to determine the extent of the mold damage and test for contamination within the facility. Because mold spores and other microscopic contaminants can travel easily throughout a building, the IEP may collect and analyze samples from affected and unaffected areas of the building. Once the IEP has finished the inspection, they will develop a remediation plan for the mold removal specialist with steps to return the home to its preloss condition. 

2. Set up and verify containment. To make sure mold contamination does not spread to other areas of a facility, the mold remediation specialist will set up containment by creating isolation barriers. Once the barriers are established, the specialist will verify containment with a lower partial pressure differential (negative pressure) to ensure there is no air leakage between containment zones. Exit chambers are used to serve as a transition between the containment and the unaffected area of the building. Once the containment is verified and the correct amount of pressure is achieved, the removal process can begin. 

3. Remove unsalvageable materials. Porous materials and items that cannot be restored or cleaned effectively must be carefully discarded. Unsalvageable items include, but are not limited to, drywall, insulation and other items with visible mold growth. It is important for the specialist to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment which may include a full face respirator equipped with a P100/OV cartridge, disposable coveralls and nitrile gloves.

4. Clean surfaces with a high-attention to detail. A mold remediation specialist will likely begin the cleaning process by thoroughly vacuuming the contaminated areas using a HEPA vacuum with a high-efficiency filter to catch mold spores. He or she will then begin a detailed cleaning process involving mold removal tools such as a HEPA filtered sander, followed by the damp wiping of surfaces with an effective cleaning solution.

5. Verify remediation. Once cleaning is complete, the IEP will return to verify the remediation was successful. The area must be returned to the dry standard and should be visually dust free with no malodors. In addition, an IEP may perform surface or air sampling as part of the verification that the area is back to normal fungal ecology.  

 “Mold remediation requires mold removal specialists to perform techniques that promote source removal rather than relying on chemicals, paints and coatings as a replacement,” said Rachel Adams, President of Indoor Environmental Management, Inc. “Understanding and managing air flow is also critical to the success of a mold remediation project. Working with qualified IEP can also help to reduce the liability for the technician as well as provide a final determination if the remediation was successful.”

Steps Involved in Removing Mold

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Have you ever wondered what happens when a mold removal specialist gets called to a mold-damaged facility?

Here are five steps that a mold removal specialist takes when conducting mold remediation:

1. Determine the degree of contamination. To do so, a mold remediation specialist may need to bring in an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) to determine the extent of the mold damage and test for contamination within the facility. Because mold spores and other microscopic contaminants can travel easily throughout a building, the IEP may collect and analyze samples from affected and unaffected areas of the building. Once the IEP has finished the inspection, they will develop a remediation plan for the mold removal specialist with steps to return the home and/or business to its preloss condition.

2. Set up and verify containment. To make sure mold contamination does not spread to other areas of a facility, the mold remediation specialist will set up containment by creating isolation barriers. Once the barriers are established, the specialist will verify containment with a lower partial pressure differential (negative pressure) to ensure there is no air leakage between containment zones. Exit chambers are used to serve as a transition between the containment and the unaffected area of the building. Once the containment is verified and the correct amount of pressure is achieved, the removal process can begin.

3. Remove unsalvageable materials. Porous materials and items that cannot be restored or cleaned effectively must be carefully discarded. Unsalvageable items include, but are not limited to, drywall, insulation and other items with visible mold growth. It is important for the specialist to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment which may include a full face respirator equipped with a P100/OV cartridge, disposable coveralls and nitrile gloves.

4. Clean surfaces with a high-attention to detail. A mold remediation specialist will likely begin the cleaning process by thoroughly vacuuming the contaminated areas using a HEPA vacuum with a high-efficiency filter to catch mold spores. He or she will then begin a detailed cleaning process involving mold removal tools such as a HEPA filtered sander, followed by the damp wiping of surfaces with an effective cleaning solution. 5. Verify remediation. Once cleaning is complete, the IEP will return to verify the remediation was successful. The area must be returned to the dry standard and should be visually dust free with no malodors. In addition, an IEP may perform surface or air sampling as part of the verification that the area is back to normal fungal ecology.  

 “Mold remediation requires mold removal specialists to perform techniques that promote source removal rather than relying on chemicals, paints and coatings as a replacement,” said Rachel Adams, President of Indoor Environmental Management, Inc. “Understanding and managing air flow is also critical to the success of a mold remediation project. Working with qualified IEP can also help to reduce the liability for the technician as well as provide a final determination if the remediation was successful.”

Keeping Your Home Safe From Fire During The Holidays

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

The holiday season is upon us and the streets and houses are covered in color. As you drive around you can see homes and businesses strung with lights, wreathes hanging on doors and trees lit up in windows. If you decide to pick out a real tree this year, remember to keep some safety tips in mind. The American Red Cross lists these important facts and tips on their web site at www.redcross.org.

HOLIDAY HOME FIRES

Fast Facts

• Nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries, and costing $554 million in property damage.**

• On average, one of every 22 home fires started by Christmas trees result in death.***

• Candle fires are four times as likely to occur during the winter holidays.**

• During the winter holiday season, an average of 40 home fires per day are caused by children playing.**

• The number of home fires the American Red Cross has responded to has risen 10% since 2000.*

• Having a working smoke alarm reduces one’s chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.**

Preparedness Tips:

Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.

Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.

Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.

Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.

Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.

Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.

Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for more information on how to keep your home fire safe during the holidays. Sources: American Red Cross,* U.S. Fire Administration,** and the National Fire Protection Association.*** 

We hope that everyone has a safe holiday season. If you have any fire or water damage issues please feel free to call us anytime, day or night. 

Have Smoke Odor? You Need An Ozone Generator!

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Contributed By Marty Hoffman, Operations Manager

Ozone treatments are one of the best tools for removing odor caused by smoke damage. One question we get asked frequently is whether ozone treatments are bad for furniture and other possessions. I hope that this blog answers that question.

What is an ozone generator?

An ozone generator is a machine that generates the molecule ozone (O3), a highly reactive molecule that reacts chemically with the particles it comes into contact with. Professional restoration companies and some drycleaners use industrial ozone generators to remove the smoke odor from furniture, clothes and other belongings after a fire.

How does it work?

Ozone works to remove odors by chemically changing the structure of the molecules in the smoke that are creating the smell. The extra oxygen atom attaches itself to the other molecules to create a new molecule that is non-offensive—and non-smelly—in a process called oxidation. As a gas, ozone can clean anywhere air is allowed to flow. That’s one of the features that makes it so effective in removing odors that other cleaning techniques just can’t touch.

The more smoke damage has been done, the more ozone is needed to eliminate the smell. There need to be enough ozone molecules to react with all of the offending molecules in order for the treatment to be successful.

So, is it bad for my stuff?

Ozone is the most effective way to remove odor caused by smoke damage. Professional restoration contractors can control the temperature, humidity, and treatment time carefully for maximum positive effects. In short—no, ozone is not bad for your belongings, as long as it is being controlled by a professional. The reason this is important is because professional restorers know and understand the power of ozone. They also know that there are certain materials that don’t do well when exposed to ozone—namely certain textiles, leather, rubber, and certain plastics.

Many people think that they can clean their clothes after a fire by washing them multiple times. But this will not remove the smoke odor. Ozone is also cleaner than other methods because it does not leave any byproducts or residue that need to be cleaned later.

As a form of oxygen, ozone itself is not dangerous. However, if overexposure occurs it can be harmful to lungs. This is another reason to allow a professional to perform the ozone treatment. They have the right equipment in place to protect themselves during the process, and once your items are returned to you, they are safe to be in your home.

How to be Prepared for a Fire Loss in Your Home

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Contributed by Marty Hoffman, Operations Manager

The hours, days and weeks following a fire or water damage in your home or business can be simply overwhelming. Surrounded by possessions that are soot-covered, flame-damaged or wet, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture: As long as everyone got out safely everything else is just stuff. But once the smoke clears or the water recedes, you will need to deal with that stuff, and the sooner the better. It does not make things any better living in the Central Florida Areas such as Orlando, Winter Garden and even Windermere. 

From the beginning make sure that you are organized, amidst the chaos of your scorched surroundings.

Take notes on every conversation and online correspondence with your insurance company and restoration professionals, because in any stressful situation, miscommunication can happen. Save all receipts and original documents; only give photocopies upon request.

Your first call should be to your insurance agent/carrier. Not only is it required that you file your claim as soon as possible, it is also in your best interest. The sooner you start the process, the sooner an insurance adjustor will arrive at your door to begin assessing damage.

A reputable cleaning and restoration team should be next on your call list like SERVPRO of West Orange. If you can find one that also specializes in professional repair services, you’ll save yourself time, money and headaches. Depending upon the extent of damage, your property will may first need to be secured (boarded up, for example), and a high quality restoration team with carpentry skills can perform that service for you.

Your restoration team should work with your insurance company to initiate a fire damage recovery plan that includes the complete restoration of your structure. Again, if your team is truly “full service,” the construction side will assess the structural damages while the cleaning and restoration specialists will work closely with you and your adjustor to determine which of your possessions can be cleaned…and which need to be inventoried for replacement. Often these services can be provided on site, but in the event that your contents have to be removed, make sure your team also offers the capability to electronically inventory, package, transport and store your belongings in a safe, climate controlled facility.

Now that you know the initial steps of the fire damage recovery process, here are a few tips on what NOT to do before the pros arrive:

·         Do not wipe or attempt to wash fire residue from walls, ceilings, or other absorbent surfaces

·         Do not use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy smoke residues or debris

·         Do not use food items, canned goods or medications exposed to heat

·         Do not turn on computers, televisions, stereos or electrical appliances until they have been professionally cleaned and checked

With preparation, resources and trusted professionals in place—plus a healthy dose of patience and perspective, after the fact—you and your family or co-workers will make it through the process of fire damage recovery.

Why Duct Cleaning is so Important

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Why Duct Cleaning is so Important This photo shows HVAC duct work before it is cleaned of contaminants, and the clean duct work after the cleaning was completed.

We like to think that once or twice a year we do spring or fall cleaning at home at least we think that here in Orlando. We go through the house and clean what we see. But how do we go about cleaning what we don’t see? The air around us. Behind your walls is a maze of lines and vents that move air through our modern home. Often pulling air from the main parts of the house and some from outside. The air is circulated through an air handler, conditioned and pushed back into the home, or the office, or the school. With our busy lives how often do we really clean as much as we should? Have you ever woken up with a scratchy feeling in your throat? Have you ever suffered from allergies? Now stop and think about the air you breathe. What you don’t see is the dander, dust, dirt, and (if you have them) pet hair that is present. These particles are being moved through your structures through the vents.

The benefits of duct cleaning are simple and easy to see, even if the particles in the air are not. The first hits you in the chest. Cleaner air reduces allergies and illnesses that spring from constant contact with allergens. Particles in the air can be pulled into your HVAC up to seven times a day and circulated through the units. While dirty ducts don’t necessarily mean unhealthy air in your building, they may be contributing to larger health issues, could cause serious problems for people with respiratory health conditions, autoimmune disorders, or those with allergies.

Next it will hit you in the wallet. The US Department of energy states that up to 40% of energy used for heating and air is wasted. Think about it this way, a vent is just a pipe in your home. What happens when all that matter builds up in the vent? It’s not being pushed through the vents completely, so it’s staying inside them and clogging them up! Filters are inserted into your HVAC’s but normal usage still allows for buildup of blocking matter that causes that unit to run longer, and more often. This also may cause your HVAC unit to have a shorter life span.

The EPA suggests that regularly switching out your filters, regular maintenance, and making sure moisture doesn’t get into your HVAC are important steps you can regularly do at home on your own. No facts about air duct cleaning have been produced yet, but logic dictates that once dirt and debris gets in, it needs to come out. It gets circulated and builds up in the home, office, or school. It does effect air quality in the building and will cause your unit to run harder and longer to push the same amount of air as a clean unit does wasting your hard earned money.

We are here to help you with any and all of your duct cleaning needs.