Recent Posts

Helping prevent flooding in your business

1/27/2023 (Permalink)

Just like any other building, your business is subject to water damage, especially weather related (Storms, Rising rivers, Heavy rainfall, etc.). It’s important to keep maintenance up in your business and use prevention tactics to try and prevent something terrible like this from happening. Here are some tips to help prevent these things from occurring:

  • Inspect your building regularly for any access points or needed maintenance where water could get in.
  • If your building has a basement pay close attention to it, make sure caulking and foundation walls are intact.
  • Consider flood proofing your property (this usually is adding a water proofing coating)
  • Grade property so water drains away from the foundation. Try to work on landscaping, landscaping helps allow water to run down away from your building.
  • Make sure your gutters, spouts and roof are cleared to prevent puddling which could lead to water backing up.
  • If your business building is in an area prone to floods, double check your policy to see if you have flood insurance.

It’s best to go out of your way to prevent water damage rather than to have water damage and go through the stress of having it resolved. Here at SERVPRO of University Place/Lakewood, we specialize in the clean up of water damage and clean up. If you ever find yourself stuck in the wet situation reach out to us at 253-896-3000.

Puff Backs, how to prevent them, and what to do if they happen.

1/27/2023 (Permalink)

First, it’s important to know what a puff back is. A puff back occurs when an oil burner doesn’t ignite right away and as consequence fumes build up in the furnace. The fumes cause an explosion inside the burner chamber, which vaporizes and expels soot throughout a home or business, covering walls, baseboards, furniture, and floors in oily toxic soot.

A few ways you can help prevent puff backs include:

  • Make sure you get regular services for all oil burning appliances.
  • Get thorough cleaning and inspections annually.
  • Pay attention to any odors or noises from your furnace room.
  • Keep your eye out for debris such as soot, and rust flakes.
  • Install a carbon Monoxide detector.
  • Check for oil leaks.

We can’t always prevent things like puff back from happening but if they do here’s some things you might be able to do to help:

  • Document it (especially if you plan to report it to your insurance)
  • Contact a repair service to have it repaired.
  • Contact SERVPRO of University Place for a thorough cleaning.

We hope this helps you either prevent or have some ease of mind if one may occur. If you ever need assistance with a puff back be sure to call your friends at SERVPRO of University Place/Lakewood at 253-896-3000.

Make sure you have sewage coverage in your building

1/27/2023 (Permalink)

Sewage backups are more common than most people think. There are many possible sources to sewage backups. These can include:

  1. Not having regular cleaning & Maintenance
  2. Improper flushing habits
  3. Grease builds up
  4. Cracked pipes.
  5. Misaligned plumbing systems
  6. Tree roots that have disturbed your plumbing systems.

A lot of these can be prevented with regular building maintenance and inspections but not everything can be 100% prevented. Did you know backups can costs thousands of dollars for repairs and clean up? Repairs also tend to be a lengthy process which may inconvenience your business they need to make sure all materials are ordered (which also take time to be shipped and delivered) and then need to perform the labor. Having sewage back up insurance can at least bring you the ease of mind that it’ll be covered and paid by your insurance so the only thing you must fight with is time. Here at SERVPRO of University Place/Lakewood we have a fast and active team that can assist you get things repaired and cleaned up efficiently with the help of your insurance. If you have had a flood and need quick assistance, give our team a call at 253-896-3000.

Soot Damage

1/18/2023 (Permalink)

After a fire there is a substance that lingers in the house long after the fire called soot. Soot is a chemical reaction we call incomplete combustion. Which is basically when something is burning but there isn’t enough oxygen to burn, and the carbons make a sticky dust like substance called black soot that sticks to all surfaces and objects it floats by.

Using a chem sponge - When it comes to soot there is a special dry sponge that is very important for fire remediation called a chemical sponge, it’s a specialty sponge made of Vulcanized natural rubber which is the go-to when it comes to fire remediation as it was specifically engineered to absorb fine particulate matter such as soot.

Wet cleaning glass – non-porous materials like glass can and should be wet washed. If you don’t have soot remover, try vinegar and newspapers. Pour 1-part white vinegar to 2 parts warm water and spray and scrub with a rag until clean.

What can’t be saved - Unfortunately, some materials can’t be cleaned by chem sponge or cleaner and water. Clothes, bedding, and other textiles can often be salvaged after a fire with the proper cleaning and disinfecting. However, if anything is burnt, throw it away. Use even stricter judgment when considering your child’s or baby’s clothing. Your medicine cabinet and makeup bag are important places to check after a fire. Inspect the products stored here for signs of heat, soot, fire extinguisher dust, or other damage. If anything is warped from exposure to high heat or charred from the flames, or smells off, it’s probably best to throw it away. High heat can activate bacteria that cause food spoilage or create an undesirable taste to develop, even if the jar or can is intact. Toxic fumes can also contaminate food through sealed glass jars and aluminum cans.

Call SERVPRO of University Place/Lakewood to help you get your returned to it's clean state after your fire at 253-896-3000.

Assessing Flood Damage After a Rainstorm

12/17/2022 (Permalink)

Heavy rainstorms around University Place / Lakewood West, have caused many homes to experience flooding, which can transport dangerous microorganisms into your residence. Unlike damage from a broken pipe or leaky appliance, floodwaters pick up bacteria and germs from outdoors and deposit them inside. Long after a storm has passed, leftover water and humidity linger behind in absorbent and porous materials. Determining the source of water in your home is an important step in the restoration process.

Understanding the Three Categories of Water Damage

Each water category requires a different cleaning and restoration procedure. The most important thing to determine is whether the water originated from inside or outside the residence. All damage caused by flooding from rainstorms is considered category 3.

  • Category 1 & 2: Water from a source inside the home, such as a leaky pipe or appliance.
  • Category 3: Water from an outside source that is brought into a residence and causes flood damage. This category can introduce a variety of contaminants into a home. Floodwaters have oftentimes been in contact with harmful elements, such as sewage, that may harbor dangerous microorganisms.

Starting the Cleaning and Restoration Process

After determining the category, the next step is contacting a qualified professional service that has the proper equipment and skills to handle water damage.

  • Cleaning Category 1 or 2: Using extractors, experts should remove any water from saturated areas. Affected walls and baseboards would be removed and vent holes drilled to allow airflow. Fans and dehumidifiers should be strategically placed throughout the area to decrease humidity. Any category 2 damage would also include carpet disinfection.
  • Cleaning Category 3: Contaminated areas should be isolated, and all remaining water removed. Nonabsorbent materials should be disinfected. After the decontamination, the rest of the procedure follows the same steps as a category 1 or 2 cleaning.

Dealing with flooding situations is never fun. However, with the help of qualified professionals, your home can be decontaminated and restored safely, quickly and correctly. Call us at 253-564-1494. 

Four Methods for Preventing Mold After a Residential Flood

12/17/2022 (Permalink)

Once a major flood has occurred in your University Place / Lakewood West, WA, home, seeing the residual damage can be a devastating experience. However, it’s important to stay calm and realize that not only is help available to restore your home if mold removal is necessary, but there are steps to take in saving your belongings from mold growth altogether. Here are four methods for preventing mold from overtaking your home, allowing you and your family to return to a state of normalcy.

  1. Contact a professional mold remediation crew. One of the most important steps to ensuring your home stays mold-free and safe to live in is calling on the help of experienced professionals who are trained to handle the situation. This can help guarantee that you and your loved ones are granted peace of mind once the entire flooding event is behind you.
  1. While you’re waiting for expert guidance, you can help the situation by removing as much flood water as possible. Using basic tools like mops and buckets can get the restoration process started, as well as removing any other dirt and debris that you can handle in a safe manner.
  1. If the fire department has cleared your home for electrical use, put to work any drying appliances you have available. Preventing mold growth requires drying out your home as quickly as possible, so using tools like fans, dehumidifiers or heaters can play a vital role in keeping mold from spreading too quickly throughout the residence.
  1. Remove saturated items like cardboard boxes or upholstered furnishings. Any porous materials can become susceptible to the growth of mold, so clearing your home of these items is necessary. If non-porous items can be saved, take them outside and clean them before bringing them back indoors.

While professional aid is the best way to inhibit mold growth in your University Place / Lakewood West home, following these helpful methods for preventing the onset of mold after flooding can be incredibly helpful in keeping your residence clean! Call us at 253-564-1494!

Cleaning Up an Overflowed Toilet

12/17/2022 (Permalink)

An overflowing toilet is a disastrous sanitary issue that can potentially cause massive amounts of damage. Preventing the sewer damage from reaching other areas of your house is key to keeping damage at a minimum. Quickly follow the steps below if your home University Place / Lakewood West, WA, has an overflowing toilet.

  1. Stop the Overflow

Lift the lid from the back of the flooded toilet and press down on the rubber valve to close the tank. Then lift the float to stop more water from entering the toilet bowl. Turn the valve at the back of the toilet clockwise to completely shut off the water supply.

  1. Mop Up the Spill

Quickly mop up the standing water on the bathroom floor to prevent liquid sewer damage. Once you finish, wring the mop out into an empty bucket.

  1. Unclog the Toilet

Try using a plunger to dislodge the clog first. If this doesn't work, you can opt to use a closet auger instead. To do this, insert the auger so the curve of its tip faces the same direction as the drain. Crank the auger as far as you physically can in both directions to dislodge the clog. Carefully pull the auger out before switching back to a plunger. If these steps aren't successful, call a plumber.

  1. Discard the Toilet Waste

If, and only if, you were successful in Step 3, pour the contents of the mop bucket back into the toilet and flush. Use hot water to rinse and clean the mop and the bucket.

  1. Sanitize the Area

Create a cleaning solution using a gallon of hot water, and 1 cup of bleach. Use this solution to scrub and sanitize any area that came into contact with the toilet water. Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin during this process.

Sewer damage caused from toilet overflow can wreak havoc on your residential bathroom. After you finish cleaning the bathroom, you need to contact either a sewage company or water remediation professionals to help resolve the damage.

Three Most Common Causes to Commercial Water Loss

12/17/2022 (Permalink)

Damaged pipes in your University Place / Lakewood West, WA business is a huge inconvenience and should preferably be avoided. Not only will you lose time that you could be working, but you will also have to replace valuable equipment and inventory. This can result in a lot of loss for your business. Here are some of the common causes of water-related losses for businesses and how to avoid them.

  1. Equipment

Any equipment that uses water is putting your business at risk since it uses potentially damaged pipes. HVAC units, water heaters, and any other appliances in your business all have pipes that can leak. If leaking pipes occur when your company is closed, you can come back to find some serious damage. To avoid this type of damage, you need to perform regular maintenance on your equipment. Notice any rust, cracks, or bulges in your pipes as these are signs of moisture. Also, be sure to replace your water lines regularly. Then, recalk and reseal the hoses to prevent issues and loss.

  1. Roof Leaks

The only thing worse than damaged pipes is a roof leak. If you find a pond on your roof, you have a drainage problem. A buildup of water creates a lot of weight, adding high amounts of pressure straight onto the roof. Over time, your roof will buckle under the strain and start to leak. To avoid roof leaks, regularly check your flashing, roofing, and drainage. If these become clogged or deteriorate, you are setting yourself up to experience serious loss.

  1. Plumbing Issues

Your plumbing system can experience clogs and other damage. Cracks are a serious problem that can lead to leaks and excessive loss. To avoid serious issues, check your pipes regularly for stains, rust, cracks, and bulges. Also, perform regular maintenance to avoid clogged pipes that can lead to serious losses.

Any business is at risk of loss due to flooding and water damage. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to avoid water-related losses.

What to know about chimney/ wood stove fires creosote build ups

12/15/2022 (Permalink)

It is that time of years again, temperatures drop, and the fireplaces light up and because of this there are unfortunate circumstances that can cause fire or smoke damage to your home. Chimney/wood stove fires and puff backs can be caused by a plethora of reasons. Most commonly it caused by buildup in the chimney or pipes.

How to know if you have a build up

Before first starting your chimney or wood stove this season, look up. If you a see thick black or brown substance stuck to the inside of the chimney or the pipes of the wood stove, you may have a buildup of Creosote which is a tar like substance that can stick to the inside of a fireplace. A couple more signs you may have a buildup are

  • Reduced drafting in fireplace or wood stove
  • Less ash and more singed wood after a fire
  • Black soot in and around fireplace
  • Black smoke coming from chimney

If you are knowdessing any of these signs don’t worry, here are a few tips to clean the fireplace and reduce the amount of creosote and stay warm this winter.

Keeping your chimney/wood stove clean and safe to use

You can always call a professional chimney sweeper, according to MCP chimney &masonry inc. a more budget friendly option is taking equal parts salt, dish soap and ½ cups of ammonia to make a paste (remember to open windows and/or create air circulation and wear gloves and perhaps a mask while cleaning with ammonia and handling creosote) creosote can stain any surface as well so maybe put down a plastic sheet or garbage bags as well. After you have prepared the work area, yourself, and the cleaning solution, the next step is to apply the paste you created directly to the fireplace anywhere that you can see creosote. Apply until the entire area is covered, then allow it to sit and penetrate the creosote for a period of at least 15 minutes at least. The thicker and more stubborn the creosote, the longer you can let the paste sit. After the appropriate amount of time has passed grab a steel wool or stiff wire brush to scrub in circular patterns to loosen any stubborn pieces of creosote along the surface and pipes of chimney or wood stove. After the surface is clean take a spray bottle with cold water and saturate the areas the ammonia was on to remove any remaining ammonia from the surface as the vapors can be harmful to you. You may have to repeat this cycle a few times depending on your chimney and the amount of creosote and how long it has been since last cleaned. Accidents happen, should you find yourself with smoke or fire damage you can always contact SERVPRO, and we will clean it up like it never happened. 

How to Make a Fire Escape Plan

12/2/2022 (Permalink)

Disaster can strike your home at any time. No matter how diligently you prepare, you can’t always prevent accidents and mishaps such as fires. It is possible, however, to be ready to get out of your home safely if a fire starts. Every family and business should have a fire escape plan. If you haven’t developed one yet, there are resources to help you. Once you’ve created and practiced your emergency escape plan for your home in University Place / Lakewood West, you can have peace of mind.

  1. Meet and discuss what you’ll do in case of an emergency. The nature of emergencies mean they often come with little or no warning. To help prevent major injury or death, you must be prepared to act immediately. To begin your fire escape plan, meet with the members of your family or business and talk about things such as what emergency alerts you have and which ones you need; what the best route is out of the building and where you will go once you’re safely outside.
  1. Evaluate your specific needs. Every situation is different, so your emergency escape plan won’t be the same as the next. Consider the ages physical limitations anyone may have. Include pets in your plan as well. Give every member an assignment and job.
  1. Practice your escape. If you practice your plan, chances of success are better in the real event. Time how fast you can get out of your home and to your safe spot. Then, work on shaving the seconds off that time. The more you practice, the more confident and comfortable everyone will feel.

A good fire escape plan from your building in University Place / Lakewood West, WA, will help minimize the confusion and panic if a real fire occurs. If you need help with your emergency escape plan, the American Red Cross has some excellent resources.