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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.

The Basics of Water Damage Restoration

9/28/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage The Basics of Water Damage Restoration Water and flood damage in Bel Air

Restoring a property that has suffered water damage

One of the worst things that can happen to a property owner is to incur water damage within the property. Flood damage of any kind, whether produced by a hairline crack in a water pipe or an overflowing river, can quickly lead to severe damage to a home or business. For this reason, immediate action is always required when any water damage to a property is noted.

What constitutes water damage?

Many people would be surprised to learn that any water spillage above about one gallon is a potentially hazardous situation. This is because water in amounts more than a gallon are likely to begin seeping into the flooring, carpet padding and structure of the home or business. Water left to fester can eventually lead to superficial defects, such as walls or flooring that warps. But it can also lead to more serious problems, such as mold formation or even structural compromise.

Luckily, there are water damage restoration professionals. But they must be immediately contacted when the flood damage occurs. Flood damage restoration and mitigation should never be attempted by a non-professional, for reasons that will soon be made clear.

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Waiting for the Insurance Adjuster Wastes Valuable Time

9/24/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Waiting for the Insurance Adjuster Wastes Valuable Time Flood damage in Fallston, MD

When it comes to insurance claims, commons sense would dictate that repairs don’t begin until the adjuster has assessed the damage. That may be true for automobile accidents but, for flood insurance claims, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Real Damage Begins After the Floodwater Recedes

When it comes to flood damage, the real culprit is mold. Take a perfectly dry home in Fallston,MD, soak it in floodwater and you have the perfect environment for explosive mold growth. The mold isn’t going to wait for the adjuster, and neither should you. There are three things you need to do.

1. Start the Restoration Immediately
In regions where widespread flooding has occurred, flood insurance adjusters will be working overtime. It may be days or weeks before you see one. Over that period, an unaddressed moisture problem could turn an easily restorable home into a mold damage catastrophe. The adjusters understand this, and they want you to start right away.

2. Take Pictures of Everything
It is the digital age. It seems like everyone has at least one smartphone and one digital camera. Use these devices to take pictures of everything. Take photos of:

  • The flood
  • The aftermath
  • Damaged areas
  • The work that is underway or completed
  • Damaged and discarded items

3. Keep All Work Receipts
While you are waiting for the adjusters, a lot of paperwork is going to come your way. Rather than trying to guess what the adjuster wants to see, keep it all in one place. These documents would include:

  • Proposals and contracts
  • Receipts for work performed, trash removal and equipment rental
  • Hotel, car rental and other temporary relocation receipts
  • Every other document relative to the house or your situation

Act Right Away To Begin a Quick Restore
As with flood insurance adjusters, experienced restoration specialists will be in short supply. If you want the job done quickly and correctly, call them first.

Is Black Mold Always Black?

9/17/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Is Black Mold Always Black? Moisture problem that lead to mold damage in a Bel Air, MD home

Black mold is not always black. It is practically impossible to identify mold you see as Stachybotrys when there are more than 100,000 different species of mold, and each of these species may vary in color at various stages of its growth cycle. Here are a few considerations about house mold to keep in mind when determining whether you should schedule a mold inspection.

Colors and Growth Stages

If Stachybotrys is growing in your home, this mold may not be the black color that you expect. Young colonies of this species of mold may be dark green in earlier growth stages and turn black when mature. A few characteristic factors of this type of mold are that it is never fuzzy and does not grow in geometrical patterns like some other species. Other types of mold can be almost any color, such as brown, gray, green, orange, red, or tan.

Identifying the Species

As there are many types of mold and its appearance may vary depending on the age and level of establishment of the colonies, it is best to hire an expert to perform a mold inspection. A specialist or hygienist can provide an accurate species identification.

Mold Removal and Remediation

If a mold specialist or hygienist identifies the presence of any type of mold in your home, including Stachybotrys, they will provide recommendations for resolving the conditions supporting growth and getting rid of the existing colonies. It is also a good idea to work with a certified remediation company to make the best decisions possible with regard to moldy building materials or contents.

If you suspect that black mold or another type of house mold is present in your residence in Bel Air,MD, contact an expert to schedule a mold inspection. Depending on the results, you should reach out to experienced residential mold mitigation specialists to resolve the problem.

Types of Damage Caused by Hail

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Types of Damage Caused by Hail Hail damage after a severe storm hit the Bel Air area.

After a storm, you may notice that your commercial building in Bel Air, MD, has a few more dings than it did before. All hail damage is not the same, though. It can be cosmetic or functional, and it can manifest as roof damage or leaks that need to be fixed by water restoration specialists.

Cosmetic Damage

Sometimes, the damage caused by hail is just aesthetic. Cosmetic damage shows signs that hail has impacted the building and surrounded areas but doesn't affect the functionality of the building. Some examples of cosmetic damage include:

• Dents in metal roofs and outdoor appliances
• Missing surface granules on shingles
• Discolored marks (i.e., hail spatter) on roofs or appliances

Many insurance policies exclude cosmetic roof damage in their coverage. If the damage affects the property value of your building, though, you may have a case for getting a payout. Be sure to discuss what is covered in your policy with your agent before you commit to it.

Functional Damage

If the pieces of hail are big enough, your building is likely to have problems that affect the structure, safety or usefulness of the building. This is functional damage. Cracked or missing shingles can allow water to seep in, causing water damage in your attic. If left untreated, this unwanted water can soak through insulation, rendering it useless. It can also create an environment that encourages mold growth, which can be an expensive problem to resolve, especially if your insurance policy doesn't cover it. Be vigilant about reporting problems and having them fixed as soon as possible after a hail storm.

You probably can't avoid roof damage during a storm that contains large hail. Even smaller pieces can cause cosmetic damage that affects the look of your building and thus possibly its resale value. After every storm, it's important to look for all these signs of damage so that you can get them fixed and avoid further issues.

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Effective Cleaning Methods for Your Work Supplies

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Effective Cleaning Methods for Your Work Supplies Damaged belongings from fire can be professionally cleaned if caught in time

In a fire, you should be most concerned about the safety and well-being of your staff. Of course, you also worry that the items in your building might be destroyed or severely damaged. Not only can the flames wreak havoc, but smoke damage can render just about any item useless. Luckily, a skilled professional restoration company can use dry-cleaning and other tactics to clean important items in your Bel Air, MD, workplace.

Clothing Cleaning

If you store uniforms or other clothing in your building, you’ll want to assess their damage following a fire. If these clothes manage to escape the flames, they’ll still probably have a terrible smoke odor. You don’t have to throw them out; there are ways to make them look and smell as good as new.

• Dry-cleaning will help remove the smell of smoke.
• This cleaning process will remove soot and other materials left over from the fire.
• Using this method, your employees can feel safe wearing the uniforms again.

Non-Porous Items

In extreme cases, you may have to throw out non-porous materials. However, the best professionals have the skill and tools to handle even the toughest content cleaning jobs. A technician will use ultrasonic techniques will highly specialized equipment.


Before a fire starts in your building, make sure you dump all your data onto a content storage medium. This could save you countless hours of work and a heap of frustration. If you find your electronics have smoke damage after a fire, there are ways to clean them and continue to use them. Make sure you don’t turn them on. You can also take a cloth to the items and wipe off soot and dust. Then, have the pros go to work. The technician will use supplies specially designed for electronics.

Whether they use dry-cleaning, freeze-drying, ultrasonic techniques or other methods, a professional can help clean work items after a fire. Call an experienced, trusted company today when you have these needs.

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