Is Your Fireplace Ready for Chilly Season?
The nights are getting cooler in Baltimore, the leaves are starting to fall and you can’t wait to curl up in front of the fireplace with a hot drink or glass of wine.
But first, do you know if your fireplace is ready to use? Keep your home and family safe and follow these steps to prevent a chimney fire.
- Clean your chimney. You can tell if it’s time to clean it if the smoke is coming out of the stove and not drafting up through the chimney
- Use dry wood. If the wood is wet or not cured, it will not burn as hot and will smoke more. This can build up creosote in your chimney which can be dangerous.
- Do not overload your wood burning stove with wood. It can either burn too hot or get too much oxygen. This can cause the metal to warp or weaken.
- Schedule an annual chimney inspection. Sometimes we can't see damage so an inspector can find out if there is a problem and fix it, remove creosote, debris, critters or nest.
- Install a chimney cap. This prevents debris and critters from getting in. It also prevents "back puffing" which is escaped smoke reentering the chimney and then your home.
Questions about fire prevention or fire damage? We're here to help. Call us today - 410-242-7370
What Happens When We Find Lead in the Home?
Last month, our team was called to a home built in 1960 after a serious roof leak affected several areas of the home.
Our first order of business was to tarp the roof to prevent further water from entering the structure. Due to the extent of the damages, several walls and ceilings needed demolition.
We also performed a lead test before beginning the work because of the age of the home. It came back positive, so our team placed the areas we were working in under containment.
From there, our team was able to safely proceed with the mitigation and drying of the structure.
A Moldy Situation
We recently received a call from a homeowner who was dealing with mold in his home. The county sewer line had backed up into his basement and caused damages and mold growth.
Following our recommendation from the initial visit, the homeowner had an industrial hygienist come out to do testing. We were then able to follow the provided protocol and place the area under containment, set up air scrubbers and dehumidifiers, and do all needed demolition and HEPA cleaning.
After completion, the hygienist returned and did a clearance test to ensure the air quality was back to a safe level. As a result of our team's rigorous mitigation and cleaning, the home passed clearance on the first attempt.
Vandalism Damage Tips
Have you experienced an act of vandalism on your property? Follow these tips for the most effective remediation.
- Hose or wash egg damage from building exterior as soon as possible.
- Vacuum glass particles from carpets and upholstery.
- Save containers which reveal the ingredients of spilled inks, cosmetics and paints.
- Attempt to remove ink, paint or cosmetic stains.
- Operate damaged lamps or appliances.
- Discard furniture wood chips, broken pieces from porcelain, furniture or art objects.
And remember, you don't have to do it alone. SERVPRO of Catonsville has the skills and experience to help you get your property back in shape. Call us: 410-242-7370. We're here to help.
Burst Pipe Causes Kitchen Damage
Water Damage jobs are our most frequent calls at SERVPRO of Catonsville.
Our crews recently responded to a home where a pipe had burst under the kitchen sink. The water had affected the hardwood floors in the kitchen and dining room and had also seeped into the basement.
Because fast action is the key to a successful mitigation, we sent our estimator out that same afternoon to assess the damage and prepare an estimate for the homeowner.
Additionally, the power to the home had been shut off, so before work could begin, an electrician had to come out to restore it. Our crew was immediately onsite the next day to begin the work.
Employee Spotlight: August 2021
Brittany began her SERVPRO career with our franchise in 2017 as a Sales & Marketing Representative.
In 2019, she moved up to Job File Coordinator, working with customers and coordinating jobs with the crew.
Recently, she was promoted to Office Manager where she oversees our office staff and ensures all of our customers receive top notch service from their first call until their job is complete.
Harmful Waste and How to Handle It
Many times, the situations we encounter as professionals at SERVPRO of Catonsville are caused by clean water. However, we are often called to clean up situations involving contaminated water or harmful waste.
What is Harmful Waste? Harmful Waste is encountered in situations involving anything from sewage, bloodborne pathogens, deceased humans or animals, bodily fluids, and more and should be treated with the utmost caution.
What should you do in the case of Harmful Waste?
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Call emergency service personnel if the situation is life-threatening.
- Treat all bodily fluids as if they are contaminated.
- Attempt cleanup of any kind.
- Touch or handle items that might be contaminated with bodily fluids.
In any Harmful Waste situation, you should always call a professional, such as SERVPRO of Catonsville, for advice and safe, proper cleanup.
How To Prevent Mold
You've recently experienced a water damage situation in your home. How can you prevent mold from growing as a result?
Follow the tips below:
- Keep the humidity between 30 to 60 percent.
- Provide for proper drainage away from building foundations.
- Regularly inspect plumbing and appliances for leaks. Keep gutters and drains clear of debris.
- Inspect the roof, windows, and other areas where water might enter the building.
- Respond to all water intrusions immediately.
And most importantly... you don't have to do it all yourself. Call our trained technicians today to mitigate your water damage and properly dry your home to prevent mold growth: 410-242-7370.
What To Do In Severe Thunderstorms
As we move into thunderstorm season here in Maryland, are you prepared for a severe storm?
According to the National Weather Service, severe thunderstorms are officially defined as storms that are capable of producing hail that is an inch or larger or wind gusts over 58 mph.
Hail this size can damage property such as plants, roofs and vehicles. Wind this strong is able to break off large branches, knock over trees or cause structural damage to trees. Some severe thunderstorms can produce hail larger than softballs or winds over 100 mph. Thunderstorms also produce tornadoes and dangerous lightning; heavy rain can cause flash flooding.
What should you do to stay safe?
1. BEFORE A SEVERE STORM
- Be Weather-Ready: Check the forecast regularly to see if you're at risk for severe weather. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings. Check the Weather-Ready Nation for tips.
- Sign Up for Notifications: Know how your community sends warning. Some communities have outdoor sirens. Others depend on media and smart phones to alert residents to severe storms.
- Create a Communications Plan: Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related information. Pick a safe room in your home such as a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Get more ideas for a plan at: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
- Practice Your Plan: Conduct a family severe thunderstorm drill regularly so everyone knows what to do if a damaging wind or large hail is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know to go there when severe thunderstorm warnings are issued. Don't forget pets if time allows.
- Prepare Your Home: Keep trees and branches trimmed near your house. If you have time before severe weather hits, secure loose objects, close windows and doors, and move any valuable objects inside or under a sturdy structure.
- Help Your Neighbor: Encourage your loved ones to prepare for severe thunderstorms. Take CPR training so you can help if someone is hurt during severe weather.
2. DURING A SEVERE STORM
- Stay Weather Ready: Continue to listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings.
- At Your House: Go to your secure location if you hear a severe thunderstorm warning. Damaging wind or large hail may be approaching. Take your pets with you if time allows.
- At Your Workplace or School: Stay away from windows if you are in a severe thunderstorm warning and damaging wind or large hail is approaching. Do not go to large open rooms such as cafeterias, gymnasiums or auditoriums.
- Outside: Go inside a sturdy building immediately if severe thunderstorms are approaching. Sheds and storage facilities are not safe. Taking shelter under a tree can be deadly. The tree may fall on you. Standing under a tree also put you at a greater risk of getting struck by lightning.
- In a Vehicle: Being in a vehicle during severe thunderstorms is safer than being outside; however, drive to closest secure shelter if there is sufficient time.
3. AFTER A SEVERE STORM
- Stay Informed: Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings. More severe thunderstorms could be headed your way.
- Contact Your Family and Loved Ones: Let your family and close friends know that you're okay so they can help spread the word. Text messages or social media are more reliable forms of communication than phone calls.
- Assess the Damage: After you are sure the severe weather threat has ended, check your property for damages. When walking through storm damage, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes. Contact local authorities if you see power lines down. Stay out of damaged buildings. Be aware of insurance scammers if your property has been damaged.
- Help Your Neighbor: If you come across people that are injured and you are properly trained, if needed, provide first aid to victims until emergency response team members arrive.
Even with proper planning and precautions, severe storms can cause serious damage to your home and property. If you experience damage related to wind or water from a severe thunderstorm call us, we’re here to help: 410-242-7370.
About SERVPRO of Catonsville
SERVPRO of Catonsville specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. SERVPRO of Catonsville is locally owned and operated—so we live and work here, too and we are proud to be part of the Catonsville community.
Employee Spotlight: July
Last week, our owners, Mike & Melissa Brenner treated our team to a Crab Feast in the warehouse!
As Melissa said, "Sometimes it’s good to take a break from the grind and show our employees a little appreciation for all their hard work."
The food was delicious and everyone had a blast unwinding after an incredibly busy spring and summer season so far.