Recent Posts

Rapid response can mean the difference between restore vs. replace

5/22/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Rapid response can mean the difference between restore vs. replace Water damage in commercial office building

The first few hours after a commercial water damage can be the most vital.  Rapid response will many times be the determining factoring between restoring and replacing.  The photo captioned is what the employees of this office building saw when they came into work one morning.  A quick call to SERVPRO of Central Chester County and a crew was on their way.  Clean up began with extraction of carpets.  Other crew members moved and blocked contents.  Even more crew members removed the vinyl cove base and drill holes in the lower drywall to allow airflow to more efficiently dry the walls.  Holes are always punched below the trim line to allow for the new trim to cover the holes.  Drying equipment was set up by a manager as he walked through to ensure nothing was overlooked and properly document the job for the insurance company.  The SERVPRO team came in like a wave, just as the water did a few hours before.

Job timeline

  • The water damage was discovered on a Friday morning at 6:00AM.
  • The crew arrived at 7:45AM.
  • The work was completed by Friday evening at 6:30PM.
  • Crew returned Saturday and Sunday to take moisture readings and reposition drying equipment for optimal drying.
  • Crew arrived 6:00AM Monday to install new cove base and remove equipment.
  • By Monday 9:00AM, the property was put back together and it was business as usual for this company.   Employees that had off that Friday never even knew anything had happened!

If you have a water damage in your commercial property, remember that a quick response from SERVPRO of Central Chester County can make the difference from a inconvenient weekend to weeks of construction and loss of use.  Call us today to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Specialized equipment for drying hardwood floors

5/22/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Specialized equipment for drying hardwood floors Hardwood floor drying system in action!

When hardwood flooring gets wet during a water damage it can cause serious problems.  Even if the water is cleaned up from the surface immediately, the water may have already penetrated the flooring.  Water travels under the floor boards which causes them to swell and buckle.  It usually takes around 48 hours for signs of visible damage and in most cases this damage is irreversible which means the floor will require replacement.   

That’s where SERVPRO of Central Chester County comes in.   We have specialized floor drying equipment specifically for this problem.  It’s called a “Trapped Moisture Ventilation System” or hardwood floor drying system.  The system works by placing plastic mats on the wet flooring and using suction to draw out the moisture.  The drying process typically takes 3 days to return the moisture content of the floor to normal and in most cases, re-finishing is not required!

When it comes to wet hardwood flooring, time is of the essence.  The sooner the drying process begins the better the end result.  With 24 hour emergency service we can be on-site within 4 hours to begin the drying process.  

Who does the cable company call when they have an emergency, SERVPRO!

1/19/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Who does the cable company call when they have an emergency, SERVPRO! Ceiling cavity after demo and cleaning during deodorization phase. Eave area mentioned sticks out about 3' left from main support steel beam.

When your cable goes out, you call the cable company; when they have an emergency, they call SERVPRO.  That’s what happened this past holiday weekend when they had a fire in one of their properties. 

The fire was from an electrical wire in the rain gutter that melts ice when temperatures drop below freezing.  The fire burned the gutter area and smoke penetrated the building leaving a foul odor and a mess from the water that was used to put out the fire.  The SERVPRO team arrived as the fire trucks left and began the restoration process immediately.  All debris that had fallen was cleaned up, the area was secured with containment, and deodorization equipment was set-up.  The building owner had a roofing company working on the exterior removing some burned materials and tarping the roof.  The following day the SERVPRO team returned to clean the offices in detail and the additional debris that had fallen during the temporary roof repair.  That’s when the real problem was identified. 

There was an eave area in the ceiling cavity that was inaccessible from the interior.  This area contained burned/charred wood and metal studs.  This eave area was behind one steel support beam and had to be seen by using a cell phone camera as a periscope while standing on a ladder on top of scaffolding.  Once identified, the appropriate parties were notified and a plan was made to remove the materials the only possible way, from the outside.  Ladders and scaffolding were set up and the burned materials were surgically removed.  After materials were removed the area was secured with a new tarp, insulated, and a plastic barrier was installed.  A customer platform for our hydroxyl generator was made to suspend the machine from the ceiling beams.  After the deodorization equipment was run for a few more days, the odor was fully removed!  Repairs are in progress now.

Not every fire job is the same.  It requires experienced technicians that have both knowledge of fire damage restoration and construction to be able to perform the needed work, no matter how difficult it may be.  Call SERVPRO of The Main Line if you are in need of fire damage restoration services and deodorization.

Once heater stopped working, the pipes begin to freeze.

12/13/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Once heater stopped working, the pipes begin to freeze. Damaged basement caused from frozen pipe.

There’s no better way to escape the harsh cold Chester County winter than a vacation to a nice warm beach.  But unfortunately for this older couple their heater decided it would take a vacation too, and by vacation I mean to stop working. 

Once the heater malfunctioned, temperatures inside the home dropped quickly and the kitchen sink supply line had frozen and burst.   When they arrived back home the picture shows what they found in their basement recreation room.  What a mess! 

Luckily for them, their homeowner’s insurance company told them to call SERVPRO of Central Chester County and we arrived that day to clean up the mess.  With national accounts with almost every major insurance company, 30+ years of experience in Chester county, direct billing in some instances too, it was an easy recommendation for them to make.

When the crew arrived they got right to work.  Contents were sorted and cleaned, wet non-salvageable materials were removed and disposed, drying equipment was set up, and the basement was cleaned.  The whole process was completed in a matter of hours by our experienced certified water damage technicians.  The homeowners were still unpacking by the time the crew left for the evening. 

If you take a winter vacation this year; remember to have your heat on and working, but if something you cannot control happens remember that there is always someone here to help at SERVPRO of Central Chester County. 

Kitchen fires can involve more than just smoke cleanup

11/3/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Kitchen fires can involve more than just smoke cleanup Kitchen fire after stove removed.

Having a fire extinguisher is a must for every person with a kitchen.  A small stove fire can usually be put out with a few quick bursts.  This quick response can minimize the smoke damage and usually limit the damage to the immediate area around the stove.  However, the fire extinguisher powder usually doesn’t limit itself to just the immediate area around the stove.  The powder travels, and can get everywhere! 

In this case the smoke damage was limited to the kitchen but the powder traveled throughout the apartment.  The powder was found embedded in the carpets, on the window treatments, on all horizontal surfaces, and even within the HVAC system. 

SERVPRO’s trained fire restoration technicians know to look for all possible complications that may arise from a kitchen fire.  The powder clean-up involves using HEPA vacuums in conjunction with air scrubbers to capture all the powder and not just spread it around.  This type of cleaning is done in a methodically way starting from the ceiling and working our way to the floor, even though we usually pre-clean the floor first.  After all powder is removed from the home, then the smoke cleaning and restoration process can begin. 

If you need emergency clean-up or have any questions on fire damage restoration, call SERVPRO 24/7 at 610-524-0211.

Basement flooding prevention tips

8/16/2016 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Basement flooding prevention tips Example of poor draining downspout

As hurricane season approaches many of us will be vulnerable to basement flooding.  Basement flooding can be a major disturbance to a family.  Loss of use of a part of your home, damage to flooring and walls, damage to personal property, potential of mold growth, and just overall an experience we would avoid if we could. 

To begin trying to prevent basement flooding first we must understand why basements flood.  Think about when your home was being built.  A large hole is dug and the masonry foundation is built inside that hole.  The area outside of that foundation wall becomes a trench.  This trench is later back filled with dirt.  However this dirt is different in composition from what was removed.  Typically the soil make up in Southeastern Pennsylvania is a hard clay soil under top soil layer which is hard and compacted.  The trench soil is loose, not as compacted, and drains more rapidly.  So when water fills this trench in a heavy rainstorm it has only 3 possible directions to go, away from home through hard clay soil, down below the trench through hard clay soil, or into your home though porous masonry walls.  The most important step to preventing water damages from rain/flooding is to keep water away from this trench.  There are other causes for basements to flood like hydrostatic pressure and sump pump failures but this is the most common cause from our experience. 

Below are some tips from the pros that may help you avoid a water damage:

  • ·         Check your gutters and clean them if needed.  Clogged gutters cause overflows which lead to water pooling outside the foundation walls.  If enough water pools by your foundation, some will most likely enter your basement.
  • ·         Check on your gutter downspouts.  If your gutters are clean and operating properly but the water is being discharged to close to your foundation some water will most likely enter your basement.  Local home stores sell inexpensive downspout extenders.  Use downspout extenders to make sure the water is being discharged away from your foundation and not pooling.
  • ·         Check on your sump pump and pit.  Many of us don’t know that our sump pumps aren’t working until it’s too late.   Get a 5 gallon bucket of water and fill the pit till the pump kicks on.  Make sure it’s working and just like the downspouts, discharging away from your foundation.  Also and dirt and debris in the sump pump pit can get sucked into the pump and create a block or shorten the life span and power of your pump.  Detach the pump (if possible) and vacuum the pit out with a shop vac to remove any dirt/stones/debris.

Sometimes no matter what we do and what steps we take to prevent it, water will find its way into your home.  If that’s the case, we are here to help make it like it never happened.  

Ceiling collapse in Downingtown

7/28/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Ceiling collapse in Downingtown Ceiling collapse in kitchen

When you come home from vacation the last thing you feel like doing is unpacking, let alone cleaning your kitchen ceiling up off the floor.  If a water leak starts when no one is home to shut it off, the damage can get extensive.  This picture shows a home after the owners took a weekend trip to the shore.  They returned to find a toilet on the second floor was clogged and kept running once they left.  The water went through the bathroom floor and into the kitchen ceiling causing the collapse.  SERVPRO of Central Chester County offers 24 hour emergency service for fire and water damage.  Our crew went out that night to start the cleaning and drying process.  Situations like this can be traumatizing but once the SERVPRO crew arrives, the customers mind is put at ease. 

Flooded basement in commercial property

7/12/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Flooded basement in commercial property Flooding in basement caused floating floor to float!

A water main break in a vacant commercial property can be bad news for the building owner.  That’s where SERVPRO of Central Chester County comes in.  We specialize in 24 hour emergency service for water and fire damage.  In this case, we pumped out over 10,000 gallons of water!  And that was only the first step in the restoration process.  Flooring and drywall were removed; contents were moved out, documents hung to be dried, and then we set up our equipment.  Specialized air movers/fans and dehumidifiers were used to draw the remaining moisture out of the basement.  From start to finish the job took 3 days and 1 very long night.

The Importance of Air Duct and Vent Cleaning

12/7/2015 (Permalink)

The Importance of Air Duct and Vent Cleaning

By Jon Nunan

Duct cleaning is one of those tasks that it's easy to forget about. Since ducts and vents are often overlooked, many homeowners might not even remember the last time they had them attended to. The fact is, however, that duct and vent cleaning may have health advantages, and might even reduce your energy bills and extend the life of your forced air system.

Vent and Duct Cleaning and Indoor Air Quality

One thing to consider when you're thinking about vent and duct cleaning is the fact that indoor air quality is decreasing.

This is due in part to the popularity of high-efficiency windows, doors, and increased insulation that reduce the amount of

air transfer between inside and outside. Though these fixtures are great when it comes to reducing energy costs and

making a room more comfortable, they are often not supplemented with any additional ventilation, causing pollutants that

enter the home to remain inside instead of leaking out through drafty windows and gaps.

The verdict still isn't in on whether or not duct and vent cleaning is going to improve indoor air quality in every situation. Though there is literature out there to support either side of the debate, we do know that in certain cases, duct cleaning is likely to find and remove harmful molds, fungus, and/or microbes from an infected system. At the very least, duct and vent cleaning is not going to do your home any harm, and there is a chance that it will actually increase the quality of your indoor air.

How Duct and Vent Cleaning Works

There are two ways of duct and vent cleaning. One system is connected into the ducting to provide suction. A high-pressure air hose is passed through the ducting to remove the particles from the interior. The other system uses a large specialized vacuum attached to a hose and a brushing system that is run through the ducting. Both systems are effective when operated by properly trained personnel.

A proper cleaning should include the following: cleaning of all registers, inside the ducting, and the interior of the heating and ventilating system.

The furnace fan must be cleaned, and if you have air conditioning or a heat pump, the coils inside the system must also be thoroughly cleaned. Finally, a disinfectant can be fogged through the cleaned system to eliminate any mold, bacteria, and dust mites that might remain.

Proper cleaning of a home should take a minimum of three to five hours, depending on the size of the house. If the home has more than one heating and cooling system, or the system is located on the roof, it can take longer. Most duct cleaning companies base their price upon square footage and/or the number of registers, systems, and levels to be cleaned and charge between $90 and $125 per hour to properly clean a duct system.

If a much lower price is offered, a consumer needs to make sure that the price includes a thorough cleaning, including registers, the inside of the ductwork, and all the fans and coils. Charging extra for cleaning fans and coils is unreasonable because those steps are mandatory for having a properly cleaned system.