Recent Posts

Coastal Carolina Condo Development

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Coastal Carolina Condo Development Condo devastated by Hurricane Florence

SERVPRO of Bel Air was quick to respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Florence's destruction of the Carolina Coast. Our crews were called into help restore eight condo buildings on the coast of North Carolina which suffered varied degrees of water damage from the storm. 

Our team walked each and every room of the eight buildings affected with a member of the condo association board. We worked with them closely documenting the steps to be taken to restore their buildings and educating them on the process along the way. 

Each room had varied degrees of damage and so a thorough and detailed scope of action was necessary. Our team continued to work very closely with the condo association board and property manager keeping them up to date and fully informed on our daily progress for the duration of the project.

SERVPRO of Bel Air successfully mitigated water damage in 70 of the condos in this coastal development within the expected time frame of two weeks. We are known for our quick response, but also have a long resume of large-scale jobs with quick turnaround times. We couldn't be more proud of our team and the kind accolades they received from this condo development's property manager:

"SERVPRO was onsite less than 24 hours after contacting them, ready to work...they were able to scope the damage in all units and begin placing drying equipment within 48 hours of arriving onsite. Demo of wet and damaged areas began shortly thereafter and was extremely organized. The SERVPRO staff was courteous and worked amazingly well with my owners and guests onsite. They made a huge job, and even bigger mess, something manageable. I highly recommend them because of their professional attitude, meticulous work ethic, and unmatched experience." 

Mold Growth

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Mold Growth Significant mold growth in a basement after water damage

At SERVPRO we are not only dedicated to helping our customers get back to their lives after a disaster, but we also feel it's important to educate our customers so that they can make informed decisions. Mold is a common problem that most homeowners in the area deal with. What is mold? They are a type of fungi that exist everywhere and only need moisture and a compatible surface to survive. There are at least a hundred thousand different species of mold. While some types of mold are benign, some other types can be toxic. 

To address mold growth, it’s important to know the different types of mold you’re dealing with. Each one comes with its unique characteristics, and growth patterns. It’s also important to know what areas are attractive to mold in your home.

Here are some of the common mold species found in your home:

Acremonium: Found on dead plants and soil, it grows indoors on paper and drywall tiles.

Alternaria: This mold is very commonly found on food, plants, rotting farmland manure and is resistant to most fungicides. 

Aspergillus: There are many species of Aspergillus

Botrytis: Associated with plants, high humidity levels and plenty of plants attract this mold.

Our technicians receive advanced training to deal with your mold issues. When you are looking for the best mold remediation services, SERVPRO is the only name to trust. Committed to providing excellent remediation and restoration services, SERVPRO has the dual advantage of highly trained staff and cutting edge technology.

Causes of a Flooded Basement

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Causes of a Flooded Basement Flooded basement caused by sump pump failure

Main Causes Of Basement Flooding

Whether you're in Bel AirFallston or Forest Hill, flooding of basements is one of the most common issues most homeowners face. Although flooding occurs during the rains or rapid snowmelts, it can also occur in dry weather.

There are many reasons for basement flooding including seepage, storm sewer backup, improper sloping and others. As the basement lies in the lowest level of a building, it is prone to flooding.

What causes basement flooding?

These are the most common causes of basement flooding:

Foundation Leaks: Water can seep into the foundation if there are cracks in itThe risk of flood in your foundation is more if your home is near groundwater. Cracks in the foundation can lead to significant water leakage into the basement.

Leaking basement windows: Windows in the basement can leak and let water creep in during rains. Whenever it rains, there could be a significant collection of water on the windowsills. Fixing the windowsill is the only option to prevent basement flooding.

Blocked sewer: If the manifold that connects the public sewer system to your house is blocked it can lead to floods in your basement. It is important to call local authorities immediately to address blocked gutters.

Debris in gutters: The gutters play a critical role in preventing basement flooding as they carry away rain water from the home.  If they are clogged or damaged, they can overflow during rains and allow water to build up. If the ground near the basement soaks up too much water, it can seep into the basement as well.

Improper grading or sloping: If the yard does not slope away in the right manner, rain water does not drain effectively. If the sloping is towards your home rather than away, excess water can result in basement flooding. 

Improper downspouts: Downspouts channel water away from the foundation and should be at least 5 to 6 feet away from the wall of the basement. If the downspouts are missing or broken, water tends to pool near the house and slowly seeps into the basement.

SERVPRO of Bel Air provides professional cleanup and restoration services on a 24 x 7 basis to ensure your building and basement is free from flooding and other water-related damage.

What is Ice Damming?

1/9/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO What is Ice Damming? Illustration of ice damming

What Is Ice Damming?

Weather is often the most obvious culprit behind a host of problems including building or structural damage, injuries, mold growth, water damage or flood.

An ice dam is a common occurrence in winter in areas where snow is in plenty such as the Hereford Zone. Basically, an ice dam refers to build-up of ice on sloped roofs’ edges of heated buildings. The build up occurs when melting snow beneath a snow pack reaches the roof edge or eave and freezes there.

The frozen snow on the eave prevents the meltwater drainage that further builds the ice dam. The backup of meltwater causes water leakage and structural damage to buildings and their contents. Ice dams can also damage ceilings, walls, insulation and other areas. When there are areas of dampness, the risk of mold growth is also high.

What causes ice dams?

Along with snow, the outside surface temperature on the roof should be more than 32 degrees F with lower surfaces on the roof being less than 32.  When outer surface temperature is more than 32, the snow begins to melt. The melted snow flows down into the roof and reaches the lower surface where the temperature is less than 32 and here is where it freezes forming an ice dam.

Sources of heat within the building lead to formation of ice dams include:

  • Chimneys
  • Air leakage
  • Improper insulation
  • Exhaust systems

Ice dams and injuries

Ice dams can cause serious injuries and some businesses and homeowners have experienced property damage up to $20,000 because of this phenomenon.

Many of the claims are because of property damage that occurred due to pooled water in the ice dam or roofs collapsing.

Why choose SERVPRO? SERVPRO is the leading specialist in water removal and clean-up when your property or structure is at high risk of damage from ice damming or water leaks. With state-of-the-art drying techniques and water removal equipment, SERVPRO can help restore the building to its original glory.

What to do When Your Pipes Freeze

1/8/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO What to do When Your Pipes Freeze SERVPRO of Bel Air responded to a burst pipe at a 12 story office building in the midst of the freeze-and-thaw winter pattern

Every year when winter arrives, homeowners and commercial establishments brace for icy conditions and plummeting temperatures. Close to 250,000 homes experience burst or frozen pipes in the U.S. every year. In fact, SERVPRO of Bel Air responded to a burst pipe at a 12 story office building in Cockeysville, MD in the midst of the freeze-and-thaw winter pattern. A pipe broke on the top floor of a 12 story office building affecting every floor beneath it and 30 occupied units. Our team was able to extract and dry the building in 72 hours with minor demolition required. All tenants were able to stay open for business throughout mitigation.

Apart from cutting off access to running water, frozen pipes can damage property when they burst because of the immense pressure created in the faucet, so what should you do when pipes are frozen? Here are some of the emergency measures you can take to thaw frozen pipes:

  • The most popular pipe-thawing option is with hot water. Wrap the pipe with a burlap bag or a heavy towel to concentrate heat against it. Place a bucket to catch excess water and pour boiling water on the towel.
  • Some plumbers also advise pouring a big bowl of hot water to which some salt is added down the frozen drain. The slurry acts like rock salt that is used to melt sidewalks that are covered with ice. Repeating this a couple of times can get water flowing again through the pipe.
  • A thaw machine is a portable device used by plumbers to thaw the frozen pipe. The thaw machine provides high currency, low-voltage electricity to thaw the pipe. As sections start to thaw, warm water flows through the ice and melts it. 
  • Propane torch with flame-spreader nozzle is used by some, but this can be a dangerous device to use. When not used carefully, the torch flame can ignite or damage wall behind pipe. Placing fireproof material between the wall and pipe can be a precautionary measure.
  • Using a garden hose is also one of the safer options to thaw pipes. Insert a hose as far as possible and feed hot water using a funnel at the other end.

Calling a plumber immediately is always the best course of action to prevent serious consequences of a frozen pipe, but if you need mitigation from a burst or frozen pipe, SERVPRO is the trusted leader in the cleaning and restoration industry and has the required expertise, technology and training to handle wide-ranging water damage restoration services.

SERVPRO Cares

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO SERVPRO Cares SERVPRO of Bel Air Raises $2,700 for St. Vincent's Villa

It has always been important for SERVPRO of Bel Air owners Jim and Trish Wall to give back to the community. They were thrilled to be a part of St. Vincent's Villa Pancake Breakfast with Santa, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus on Saturday, December 8th in Timonium, MD. 

SERVPRO of Harford County reached out to friends, family, vendors, and to the public, and boy did they respond! We collected $1,350 which was matched by the company for a total donation of $2,700 for gift cards for the children of St. Vincent's, a comprehensive residential treatment facility for children ages 5-14 operated by Catholic Charities of Baltimore. Our generous donors had their names written on ornaments placed on a tree which was presented to St. Vincent's along with gift cards and small gifts by our festively dressed marketing staff, and our very own SERVPRO Storm troopers. 

As you can imagine, the Storm troopers were a big hit with the children. According to Trish, "This morning was truly one of the most special and rewarding experiences I have ever had. Watching those kids' faces was priceless and getting to interact with them to make them smile was amazing. Thank you all for making this a possibility and I really hope we can make it an annual event." 

Kids and Fire Safety: Planning Their Escape

10/24/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Kids and Fire Safety: Planning Their Escape In the event of a fire in your Jarrettsville,MD house every second counts

When facing a home fire in Jarrettsville,MD, your and your family’s safety should be your number-one priority. How can you teach kids to safely escape your house in the event of a fire? Here are five steps that you can research and practice to enhance your kids’ safety.

1. Crawl

There are two types of fire crawls that kids can use to stay safer in a fire situation. Research these methods and practice them several times with your children so they become familiar with what needs to be done.

2. Roll

Kids also need to learn how to complete a bed roll. Research the steps and carefully teach them to your children so they can follow them in the event of an emergency.

3. Check for Door Safety

Teach your children to test doors before opening them during a fire. If the door is cool or slightly warm, they can crack it open and peak inside to see if they can escape. They also need to carefully use shoulders to open the door, return to where they were if the smoke or flames seem overwhelming and shut the door behind them if they do proceed. This step cannot be stressed enough to protect your kids’ safety.

4. Learn Alternate Routes

If a child’s original escape route is blocked, he or she will need to use a secondary route that is preplanned. Teach kids the value of closing doors and opening windows in a room so that they can breathe, yell for help and have a chance of preventing the fire from spreading quickly.

5. Leave the Premises

Stress to your children that it is highly important that they stay outside of the house once they complete their fire escape. They need to learn how vital protecting their own well-being is in a situation like this one.

Your and your kids’ safety is extremely important during a fire. Your belongings and your home matter, but there are professionals to help you recover from those losses later on. Research the steps above and practice them with your children regularly to help keep your family safe and secure.

Deducting Storm Damage for a Business

10/18/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Deducting Storm Damage for a Business Flooded commercial facility in Fallston,MD

Storm damage to a business in Fallston,MD, doesn’t have to damage the wallet, too. Even if the insurance company doesn’t pay out as much as hoped, Uncle Sam can help. Come tax time, tax breaks are available to help defray the expenses for the repair and replacement of items for a storm-damaged business.

What the IRS Will Cover

The key to the previous statement is the word “help.” The government helps pick up the balance of what the insurance company does not pay for the storm damage. They generally don’t cover everything, and the amount is almost always calculated to be the adjusted value of the property, whether everything or just a portion is destroyed. When making a claim, the owner must also take off the amount received from insurance. The rest is the tax deductible portion and must be filed as an itemized deduction on Form 1040, Schedule A, Form 4684 (Casualties and Thefts).

The Internal Revenue Service considers damage from these types of incidents as deductible:

  • Hurricane
  • Flood
  • Fire
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Earthquake
  • Tornado

Here are examples of damage that are not deductible:

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Termite damage

Is the Business in A Federal Disaster Area?

Something else to keep in mind is whether the business is in a designated federal disaster area. This will entitle the business to more tax breaks and sometimes even more time to file certain tax forms. It also changes the year in which the owner may choose to deduct the damage, providing a refund sooner in some cases. For situations such as this, it may be best to consult a professional tax advisor.

It’s Not Fun, But It Can Be Done

Storm damage isn’t fun, and neither are taxes. However, with an expert restoration specialist to help with the clean-up and a qualified tax professional to help find the right tax breaks, the business doesn’t have to remain damaged for long.

Salvaging Your Property After a Flood: 4 Water Damage Tips

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Salvaging Your Property After a Flood: 4 Water Damage Tips Flooding damage in a Bel Air,MD home

A flood is one of the worst things a homeowner can experience. In the aftermath, water damage will likely result in the loss of memorabilia and property, and in the chaos of it, homeowners may be at a loss of how to cope. The steps below offer a systematic approach to the cleanout process that may be beneficial.

1. Dry Out the Area

Whether the result of a natural flood or broken pipes, it is necessary to remove excess water and dry out your home as quickly as possible. You can rent a variety of pumps to help remove the standing water. You can also rent air movers and dehumidifiers to circulate the air and dry space quicker.

2. Tear Out Damaged Wallboard and Insulation

When the floodwater has been removed, you can assess the extent of the water damage and begin the tear out process. Find where the water line was and remove affected drywall and insulation at least 20 inches above that line, doing this will help prevent the buildup and spread of mold.

3. Discard Porous Items

Do not listen to your heart when it comes to salvaging items, especially if the flood was natural or caused by a sewer backup. Porous items, like photos, carpets and other fabrics, preserve bacteria and provide room for it to spread, allowing the contamination of other objects in your home. When cleaning up from a flood, it is better to be safe and discard porous items that contacted floodwater.

4. Consult with Professionals

Depending on the severity of a flood, it may be helpful to consult with a restoration specialist in Bel Air,MD. These experts will have the experience and equipment to help you wade through your belongings, and they may be your best chance at preserving and salvaging many of your personal items.

Water damage, especially when the result of a flood, can be detrimental. Between the potential loss of sentimental items and the costs of the overall repair, stress levels run high after a flood. However, if you can remove the personal element and approach the water cleanup systematically, it can be both manageable and cathartic.

Common Water Issues in Commercial Buildings

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Common Water Issues in Commercial Buildings Large commercial water loss in Bel Air, MD

There are many issues a business owner has to be concerned with, but one of the most trying is concern over water issues. Leaking pipes, a pipe break or a toilet backup can be incredibly expensive to repair, especially when you consider the amount of damage sustained to other areas of the business; therefore, business owners may want to pay attention to the five most common water issues to be proactive.

1. Simple Leaks

Simple leaks are the easiest to find and fix. Typically, these leaks consist of dripping faucets, running toilets and other fixtures/appliances. Most of the time ,these leaks can be managed without the assistance of a professional.

2. Corrosion or Separation

Corrosion or separation can occur because of a small persistent leak or a failed seal/weld. These issues are best left to professionals who have both the experience and expertise to manage potentially hazardous material.

3. Pinhole Leaks

Leaking pipes may be the fault of water quality. For example, while copper piping is a durable and popular water pipe, depending on the quality of the water, copper is prone to developing small pinholes and leaks, which causes the need for replacement.

4. Deteriorated Pipes

Age is another common issue in pipes. For instance, with a life span of over 25 years, cast-iron pipes may deteriorate, causing obvious issues to arise all over your property. From landscape deformities to odors to persistent clogging, a failed cast-iron pipe requires professional inspection and restoration.

5. Foundation Issues

Failed underground pipes can also lead to foundation issues. A clear sign that you have foundation problems is the sudden appearance of cracks on walls and ceilings. These cracks are a sign of strain on your building, which calls into question structural integrity.

Any of the above issues, from leaking pipes to pipe collapse, can lead to significant problems if not addressed quickly and responsibly. While a layperson can handle some of these issues, others will require the assistance of a professional in Bel Air,MD.