Do's and Don't's for Fire and Smoke Damage in the Lehigh Valley
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further cross contaminate an otherwise unaffected area.
- Call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall.
- Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting our office
- Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture.
- Attempt to clean any electrical appliances, TV sets, computers etc. that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
- Use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water.
- Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be damaged or wet.
- Send garments to ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
· Call our office: 610-838-0200
· Visit us: 860 N Kiowa Street, Allentown, PA 18109
· Visit our website: www.SERVPROEBW.com
Don't Let a Sprinkler Leak Get You Down in the Lehigh Valley
Don't Let a Sprinkler Leak Get You Down
Now that spring is on its way, you've likely started watering your grass again with an underground irrigation system. This is a great tool for handling the mundane task of preventing your grass from dying of not enough hydration. Unfortunately, not all good things are without problems. It's time to discuss ways to prevent your sprinkler system from having any problems or causing leaks.
What is low head drainage?
This is when the sprinkler continues to siphon water once the system has been turned off. This typically occurs at one of the lowest points in your yard as water drains down to that water spout. According to experts at Sprinkler Warehouse, "If a sprinkler head is located in the lowest part of the system, water will flow out of that head until an equilibrium has been reached or all of the water has emptied out of the zone's pipes."
When this happens, puddles start to form and or water flows across walkways and driveways. This can be prevented by a few adjustments being made to your system or the installation of a drain check valve.
How does a broken pipe occur?
A broken pipe can occur in the main line or lateral line of an irrigation system. In the main line, there is continuous pressure, so if there is a break or leak in this pipe, then water is continuing to run. Unfortunately, this can cause erosion or a wet spot. Attention needs to be made to this problem immediately so that the water line can be completely turned off for repair.
A lateral line reaches different zones in your yard and are under pressure when the system is running. It can be hard to detect a leak because it's only visible when the system is on and you have to notice which zone actually has the leak. Regardless of its location, it too can cause erosion or holes in your lawn. If you notice a leak in your irrigation system, it can be fixed and should be addressed fairly quickly.
Use this information to keep an eye out for any leaks or problems that could arise this Spring.
· Call our office: 800-455-9453
· Visit us: 860 N Kiowa Street, Allentown, PA 18109
· Visit our website: www.SERVPROEBW.com
Helpful Tips to Cut Your Home Heating Bills in the Lehigh Valley
Even in the middle of winter, you can slash your energy bills without sacrificing comfort.
Winter is officially here and the temperatures reflect that. It’s difficult not to notice the impact decreasing temperatures have on our home heating bills. Popular Mechanics’ Brett Martin has a few helpful tips for around the house that can reduce how much you need to spend to keep your home warm and toasty.
Replace Worn Weatherstripping
• Worn and torn weatherstripping around doors and windows creates drafts and lets in cold air. Seven to 12 percent of a home's heat loss occurs around windows and doors, according to Black Hills Energy, and these leaks often prompt homeowners to turn up their furnace to keep comfy. Even if they don't turn it up, they're losing warm air, causing the furnace to work harder. "Weatherstripping around doors, and caulking around doors and windows, can cut down on drafts," says Jeff Rogers, president of the Energy Audit Institute, an energy audit training and certification company in Springfield, N.J.
• Some weatherstripping needs to be replaced every few years because of wear. Replacing it is typically as simple as pulling off the old and tacking on the new.
Adjust Door Thresholds
• If you can see daylight under your front door, then you're losing the indoor air you've paid to heat. "If the door is not in contact with the threshold, the air is going right under the door," Rogers said.
• Some thresholds have four or five screws that let you adjust the height to eliminate a gap. Turn the screws counterclockwise to lift the threshold until daylight is mostly gone. A little light in the corners is okay, but don't raise the threshold so high that it interferes with opening and closing the door. And the door shouldn't drag on the threshold or it'll wear out the weatherstripping.
Plug Holes in Exterior Walls
• Pipes, gas lines, and electrical cables that enter your house often have gaps around them that have been haphazardly filled with some kind of caulk. But that caulk eventually cracks, peels, and falls off. These gaps let in outside air, plus they are ideal entry points for mice and insects.
• Seal the gaps with expanding foam. For water pipes under the sink, unscrew and pull back the escutcheon ring, then caulk around the pipe.
Cover Windows and Patio Doors with Plastic Film
• Rogers says that windows account for 25 percent of heat loss in homes. Covering the windows and sliding patio doors with clear plastic film can reduce that loss. "Just by using that plastic, you're going to save about 14 percent on your heating bill," he says.
Keep Warm Air from Escaping Up the Chimney
• Even when the chimney flue is closed, some warm air is probably still getting away. An easy solution is to block the airflow with an inflatable chimney balloon. The balloons are available on amazon.com and other retailers to fit various chimney sizes. They cost about $50. "They can save you up to $100 a year, so they're going to pay for themselves twice a year," Rogers says. "They are definitely a good investment."
• Blow up the balloon and stick it in the chimney. If you forget to take it out before you start a fire, the balloon automatically deflates, so it won't cause the house to fill with smoke. However, be advised that the balloons can become sooty and hard to manage after repeated uses.
Seal Air Leaks in Ductwork
• Take a look at the ductwork that's accessible in your basement or attic. Look for places where the ducts may have pulled apart at seams and corners. According to Energy Star, the typical house with forced-air heating loses about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the system to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. Place a mastic sealant or metal tape over any leaks to seal them.
Use the Sun To Your Advantage
• Keep your curtains open during the day, especially on the south side of the house where you get more direct sunlight. Trim any tree branches or shrubs that block the sunlight around your windows to maximize the gains. Close the curtains at night so they act as barriers to reduce drafts.
Keep Heating Registers Clear
• The warm air blowing out of your registers needs a clear path into the room to provide even heating. To cut heating costs, arrange your room so that the register is as unobstructed as possible.
Lock Door and Windows
• Even when doors and windows are closed, they might not be pressed tight against the weatherstripping if they're not locked, which allows cold outside air to infiltrate the home. This makes a difference for your heating bill. Lock your windows early, especially if you live up north. If they freeze in their current positions, then they won't move and you won't be able to lock them without a lot of work.
To view the complete list of tips and tricks to reduce your heating bill, visit Popular Mechanics.
Home Electrical Safety
Many electrocutions and home fires can be prevented simply by understanding basic electrical safety principles and adhering to safe practices. ESFI has developed a number of resources to help educate homeowners, consumers, older adults, and children.
Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, electrical safety should be a top priority in your home. Awareness of electrical hazards is the key to reducing the staggering number of electrically-related home fires, injuries and deaths that occur every year.
The following information and resources from ESFI will help you gain a better understanding of how to use electricity and electrical products safely:
Prevent Electrical Overloads - Overloaded electrical circuits are a major cause of residential fires. Help lower your risk of electrical fires by not overloading your electrical system.
Extension Cord Safety - Roughly 3,300 home fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring 270 more. Extension cords can overhead and cause fires when used improperly, so keep these important tips in mind to protect your home and workplace.
Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors - Working smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a home fire, but there is more you need to do to ensure your family is prepared to safely escape from a fire emergency.
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Electrical Safety - Review ESFI recommendations and safety tips before you decide to tackle electrical projects in your home.
Virtual Home - Take a tour of ESFI's interactive virtual home for a visual introduction to your home electrical system and safety tips for using common electrical devices.
Electrical Safety Videos - ESFI's video library contains a wide variety of safety videos that demonstrate critical home electrical safety concepts and tips. Many videos are also available in Spanish.
Home Safety Checklists - Use these easy checklists to help you identify and correct electrical and fire hazards in your home before a serious incident occurs.
· Call our office: 800-455-9453
· Visit us: 860 N Kiowa Street, Allentown, PA 18109
· Visit our website: www.SERVPROEBW.com
Severe Weather and the Toll it Takes on Your Home or Business
Heavy Winds and Rain Can Cause a Major Toll on Your Home or Business. Call 800-455-9453 if you need immediate assistance from storm damage.
Severe weather can take a toll on your home. It’s not unusual for storm damage to affect your home’s exterior, leading to serious problems in the aftermath of the weather. SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall provides 24-hour restoration services for weather-related damage to homes.
When a storm strikes, it’s important to be aware of the potential problems that can develop. You can’t control the weather, but you can control how you respond in the immediate aftermath. Here are three of the issues that could afflict your home after a storm hits:
- Roof Damage: Roofs are susceptible to damage during any major storm, from heavy winds and torrential rains to snowstorms. Moisture can weaken already vulnerable areas of the roof, and strong winds can knock down loose shingles or cause visible damage to them. You may notice a leak in your attic or ceiling if a storm damages your roof.
- Windows Are Vulnerable: A thoroughly sealed and weather-stripped window is unlikely to suffer severe storm damage, but old windows that haven’t been catered to recently could develop problems if it rains. For example, the moisture can seep into openings around the window, causing a leak inside the house. Rain can also cause wood to rot and mold to develop in the window’s vicinity. Rugs and carpets in the area could also be susceptible to water damage. Windows in the basement are extremely vulnerable if they aren’t protected, which leads to flooded basements and potentially damaged property.
- Gutters Can Become Clogged: Gutters aren’t immediately obvious problems because you have to inspect them to see if they’ve become clogged after the storm. Rain can wash all kinds of debris into them, and once they become congested, they no longer filter water away from your home. The result could be water damage to your property, and the gutters could also suffer damage later since the excess weight of debris can cause them to sag.
Storm damage affects more than just the trees around the house. It can also have an impact on your home’s foundation. After a major storm, take a close look at your home and investigate for problematic signs. If you discover anything, call the restoration service team at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall at (800) 455-9453. They’ll manage the situation and restore your home back to normal.
SERVPRO ERP for Office Fires in the Lehigh Valley
SERVPRO Protects Your Business in the Lehigh Valley from Fire and Floods
Lehigh Valley Businesses Can Prevent Damage Caused by Fires and Floods with the ERP Mobile App
The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) system is designed to help business owners most effectively manage their property damages and seek help as quickly as possible. Precious minutes or hours otherwise spent gathering information from you are saved at the touch of a button, and our technicians can arrive with detailed and robust understandings of the building in question. The benefits can be obvious for floods, but what about fires? Many see fire damage restoration as a much more straightforward task, but the ERP system can provide some solid benefits for these projects as well, especially for office spaces.
The ERP system allows us to see the layout of HVAC systems in your building and respond to smoke's primary distribution method most effectively.
Critical Point Maps and Layouts
Critical points in the building such as water and electrical breakers, HVAC shutoffs, and emergency equipment can be difficult to locate and use if damage from the fire is heavy. However, when the ERP system sends documents to SERVPRO, we can receive information on the relative locations, layouts, and specification of these important points of interest. In most cases, we can then access and use them no matter how difficult they are to find otherwise. This ERP mobile app is an excellent service that we provide to our clients.
Offices usually contain delicate equipment and materials, making fast mitigation-centered responses a must for containing damages and reducing costs. With the faster responses gained through the ERP system, we can save most of these fragile and time-sensitive devices.
SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall is your local answer having the tools and personnel necessary for any office's damage restoration. Just call us 24/7 at (800) 455-9453.
Biohazard & Crime Scene Clean Up
Do you ever stop to wonder who has to clean up the scene after a chemical spill or a death/suicide accident?
If not, you are probably like most and lucky enough to not have needed to consider this type of work. However, if you fall into the other category, you know very well that a hazardous scene must be left to the professionals to clean.
Blood borne pathogens, disease, risk of infection and chemical burns are a just a few items to consider when dealing with a biohazard clean-up. Luckily, our team at SERVPRO of Bethlehem is highly trained and well prepared to protect both themselves and you from any potential harm.
Our team also fully understands that these situations are often extremely difficult and sensitive times in a person's life and therefore demonstrate compassion and empathy while completing the work in a timely fashion.
For more information on biohazard clean-up's, please check out the Biohazard Cleaning Section of our website.
What To Do After a Home Fire
Recovering from a fire is not easy by any means. It is an emotionally draining process that turns your life upside down. The hardest part comes at the beginning, when you feel helpless and are completely unsure as to how to proceed. With that in mind, our goal, at SERVPRO of Bethlehem, is to present to you the fundamental steps you need to take immediately after the fire is extinguished.
Deal With Insurance
You should already be on the phone with your insurance agent before the firefighters even get done putting out the fire. Mind you, this is just the beginning. After a few days, you’ll need to get a copy of the official “fire report” from your local fire department. The insurance agency will likely send an adjustor out to survey the damage and help you get in touch with a restoration agency, such as the professionals at SERVPRO of Bethlehem.
If you are renting, then you’ll obviously need to contact the owner of the home. If you own the house but don’t have insurance, on the other hand, then you’ll want to speak with the Internal Revenue Service. You might be eligible for something known as casualty loss.
Settle in Somewhere
Most likely, your home is currently in an unlivable state, meaning you’re going to have to find somewhere else to stay. Your best bet is to stay with friends or family. However, if that’s not an option, check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers temporary living expenses. Otherwise, contact the American Red Cross.
Before you leave, try to rummage through your home for some essential items like the following: Identification Cards, Medications, Eye Glasses / Hearing Aids, Wallets, Credit Cards / Checkbooks, Money. **Only do this AFTER you get permission from the firefighters to reenter your home.**
Turn Off Utilities
Make certain you get all of your primary utilities turned off. Why waste money for services when you are not even living in your home? Plus, restoration cannot be performed on your home if there’s still electricity and such running through it. The risks of electrocution would be far too high.
Contact a Restoration Company
This is perhaps the most important step. You’ll need to contact a professional, full-service restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Bethlehem. Our company is trained specifically to deal with post-tragedy damage. Below is a list of some of the things you can expect us to do:
- The company will start by removing all the water from your home. During a fire, a lot of water from the firefighters hoses usually collects all over the place. Plus, fires sometimes cause pipes to burst, thus leading to even more severe flooding. The point is that restoration cannot begin until the water is first removed.
- The company will then start with water restoration. Carpets, walls, ducts must be dried. Mold must be removed. Just this step itself can take a few days.
- Next is the actual fire restoration. First and foremost, the company will inspect the structural foundation of your home and fix any major problems. Obviously, if a ceiling is about to crash, then it must be attended to before any other restoration efforts can be completed.
- Once the structural foundation is secure, the specialists will start cleaning up soot/smoke damage, deodorizing everything (carpets, walls, furniture, etc.) and basically returning the home back to normal. If anything is so damaged that it cannot be repaired, it’ll be removed and thrown away. It’s your responsibility to let your insurance company know what items you lost.
- Last, but not least, the company will clean up the remaining mess (dust, debris, etc.) and rearrange everything back into place.
Move Back In
Finally, you get to move back into your home and resume life. Unfortunately, it can take quite a bit of time before you even get to this final step. We’re talking about several weeks. The truth is that restoring a home from a fire takes a lot of time, a lot of resources and a lot of money.
Just remember to keep in close contact with your insurance company through the whole process. If all goes well, you’ll get your home back in one piece, and you’ll get your lost possessions replaced.
When you have fire, water and mold restoration service needs, give the experienced professionals at SERVPRO of Bethlehem a call.
Mold Detection and Remediation
SERVPRO of Bethlehem is an expert at mold detection, remediation and removal.
The SERVPRO mold remediation team is trained and certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. This means we know mold, and know how to effectively eradicate it so it ceases to be an issue.
The professionals at SERVPRO of Bethlehem are also your neighbors, and are familiar with the climate around your home.
If you think you have mold, give us a call and we will come take a look. And if you do have a mold problem, we will solve it.
WHERE DOES MOLD COME FROM?
Mold can creep up from a variety of sources. Often, mold is a by-product of a flood or other water damage. Improper or incomplete drying is usually the culprit. That is why the experts at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall take extra care of thoroughly drying a job to ensure that mold does not creep up later. But you need not always have “water damage” – for example, over the years, a simple thing like a pipe condensation can cause mold, or a leaking roof, trapped moisture, a damp basement, or a hundred other reasons.
The key is to find it and remove it. Then, make sure it doesn’t come back. The trained professionals at SERVPRO of Bethlehem will handle all phases of mold detection and removal, so you can be assured of your family’s health and well-being.
If you suspect you have mold, give the experts of SERVPRO a call today!
Prevent Lingering Pet Odor
Having pets is a part of life. Having pet odor doesn't have to be. If you love having pets, but can't stand the lingering odors they create, then there are a few things you can do to help eliminate those unwanted odors.
Your carpet can be a big source of lingering odors. Dirt, pet dander, urine, and fecal matter can remain deep inside carpet fibers. Carpet powder only helps deodorize and clean the surface but does little to get in deep. Using a carpet cleaner is more effective but only if you know how to use it correctly. The experts at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall know how to deep clean your carpet to get rid of any unwanted odors. Their equipment and expert knowledge on carpet cleaning will get the job done right the first time and provide lasting results.
Odors can also linger within the air duct system of your home too. Cleaning the air ducts is a task that should only be left to the experts. SERVPRO has the right equipment to clean out your air ducts and eliminate those lingering odors. You'll notice the difference the first time you use your HVAC.
Pet odors can also linger within the walls and baseboards of your home. Pet urine can be absorbed by the wooden baseboards or absorbed into the gypsum material of your drywall. Priming and painting may not be enough. SERVPRO has the necessary chemicals to clean and deodorize your walls and baseboards.
Choosing SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall to help with your home's deodorization is the smart choice. Having a pet doesn't mean you have to live with lingering odors. The expert knowledge and equipment of SERVPRO can eliminate all of your home's odors and make it seem like you never had pets at all.