Recent Posts

3 Essential Steps After a Basement Flood

2/15/2024 (Permalink)

Three Important Steps To Take After A Basement Flood

Watching your lower level in North Prince William County, fill with water is scary and can feel impossible to fix. Regardless if it is from a torrential downpour, a sewer backup or some other emergency issue, a basement flood can be very damaging to your home without proper aftercare. Once you have checked your insurance coverage, here are three more things you must do afterward.

1. Drain the Water

Once any floodwater around your house has receded, getting the water out of your home as soon as possible is imperative. You will need a few items to accomplish this:

  • Submersible pump
  • Long hose
  • Extension Cord
  • Generator

Pump as much water out as you can. Once you are down to smaller puddles you can work with a wet/dry vac as well to finish the job.

2. Dry and Clean Up

After the water has been removed, take out any damaged belongings. Use towels or blankets to soak up any further puddles and wipe everything down as much as you can. Set up some large fans to begin drying out the area. Depending on how long you were flooded and how deep the water was, you may need to replace any carpeting and drywall in the affected area. In order to prevent further damage from your basement flood, it is best to contact trained water restoration specialists to help complete the job thoroughly.

3. Prevent Future Floods

Determining the cause of the flood will help you to prevent future occurrences. Check your sump pump to ensure it is working properly and is appropriate for the amount of groundwater in your area. You should also check the drainage around your home and your gutter system to ensure each one is properly designed to funnel water away from your house.

It is important to remain calm and think ahead when you experience a home disaster. Although it can seem like an overwhelming experience, damage from a basement flood can be minimized if you take these steps.

Water in the Basement

2/15/2024 (Permalink)

The Basement Is Wet.

A residential basement flood situation in North Prince William County, can cause serious problems for those involved if not addressed in a timely manner. Check out the following resources to better understand what to do if standing water occupies your lower floors.

1. Precautions

The most important consideration for any prudent homeowner is the safety of the occupants. Never enter a completely flooded basement area until you have disconnected the home from the power grid, especially if the electrical outlets or other appliances are still in standing water. You might also consider some form of contact protection, such as a pair of boots or waders, to prevent unnecessary exposure to contaminants from gray water.

2. Assessment

Trudging through the water will do you little good without a solid plan. Depending on the form your insurance coverage takes, you may need to make an inventory of the items affected by your basement flood. Your insurer may also require that you take active steps to prevent any ongoing damage, such as routing new sources of rainwater away from the home. The drying process for affected items should begin at this point. Your insurer may insist that certain sensitive items and procedures are handled by a qualified flood damage restoration service.

3. Prevention and Maintenance

Once you have cleared all standing water from the property and moved any water-susceptible belongings, inspect the basement area to determine why water accumulated. Is the sump pump in working order? Are there any clogged or broken pipes or drains between your basement and the sewer? Take steps to inspect and repair these items. Also, note that any drywall or flooring components that have absorbed too much water may need replacement, as these can harbor bacteria and mold.

Though a wide range of natural disasters or plumbing problems can affect any homeowner, a few preventative steps can reduce the risk of a basement flood and help to mitigate the amount of property damage.

The Sprinkler System in a Business Can Cause Damage

2/14/2024 (Permalink)

Damage from fire and the sprinkler system in a  establishment require professional restoration services.

Whether your business is a cafe or a yoga studio, you are susceptible to a fire erupting on the premises. 

Flames can be devastating, but their effect is often compounded by the gallons of water your sprinkler system pours to quench the fire. Rather than guess at the best method to clean and restore your business, allow a professional crew to help you.

Those needing fire damage restoration in North Prince William County can count on SERVPRO®  to give expert advice and mitigate your loss. Upon arrival, our technicians address the sprinkler system and verify that it is safe to enter the premises. With a clear view of the damage, we can make a plan to address the following-

  • Soot removal keeping in mind the nature of each surface we’re cleaning
  • Deodorizing following the effect of smoke
  • Ancillary damage such as mold growth or debris removal

Let SERVPRO of North Prince William County be your ally when you face fire damage. Call us at 703-368-4399 and let us protect your business like it was our own.

Is There A Need for Other Processes After Extracting Water from an Office?

2/14/2024 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Provides Complete Flood Extraction Solutions in Commercial Establishments 

Flooding incidents are significantly inconveniencing since they leave offices inoperable until all the intruding water is extracted. Suppose the flooding at your office involves clean water, such as rainwater from a leaky roof or an improperly sealed window. In that case, you might expect a resumption of operations after extracting all the standing water. 

Which situations can complicate flood extraction in South Kingstown offices? 

  • Water seeping below tiles
  • Water intrusion into wall cavities
  • Absorption of water by porous contents 

Even though the water pooling on surfaces such as floors might appear static, that is rarely the case since moisture migrates continuously. Floors made from non-porous materials such as tiles can mislead you to think that extraction is a sufficient response for commercial flooding in North Prince William County. However, water can seep below the surface through the tile joints. Leaving such water unaddressed can cause significant problems later. 

Our SERVPRO® crews use specialized approaches to remove water trapped below tile surfaces. For instance, we use drying mats, which create a vacuum seal with the floor surface allowing an extraction tool to suck the water trapped beneath. 

How often does floodwater reach wall spaces or other cavities? 

Whether you need to remove water from wall cavities after a flooding incident depends on many factors, including: 

  • The period water sits in the property
  • The point of intrusion
  • The amount of water involved 

When water sits in a property for extended periods, it can easily find a way into hidden areas. Our SERVPRO teams try to prevent this by responding to calls within a few hours, the same day of the incident. Sometimes it is inevitable for water to filter into cavities. For instance, an intrusion from an elevated position readily drips water into wall spaces. Our technicians help remove such water faster by drilling weep holes at the bottom of the wall. We also have wall ventilation systems that help dry the wall materials after extracting the water.

SERVPRO of North Prince William County has the best resources to handle flooding. Call us at 703-368-4399. We're Faster To Any Size Disaster.

The Importance of HVAC When Dealing With Fire, Smoke, and Soot

2/13/2024 (Permalink)

Ventilation systems are often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality, however, the biggest culprit of fires is your furnace. In fact, according to FEMA, heating appliances were the second highest cause of residential building fires in 2014- specifically furnace flame rollout. 

Flame rollout happens when flames escape and “roll” outside of the closed combustion area. 
If those open flames come into contact with insulation or nearby flammable objects, you will be dealing with a dangerous house fire.

Flame rollout happens when there isn’t enough oxygen to “feed” your furnace. Your furnace needs a mixture of oxygen and fuel to create heat, but if there’s not enough ventilation to provide oxygen, the furnace flames will “roll out” in search of oxygen elsewhere.

Tips on how to keep your furnace safe from flame rollout include:

  • Regularly check and change your air filter- A clogged air filter can cause a buildup of soot inside the flue (the tunnel where combustion gases exit outdoors). And when soot buildup blocks the flue, this also restricts your furnace’s oxygen supply.
  • Check for obstructions in your furnace flue- Your furnace flue connects to the outside, so obstructions like a bird’s nest, leaves, or other debris are very likely and can prevent your furnace from getting oxygen. 
  • Install a rollout switch- These devices detect and shut off power to the furnace when the burner area exceeds normal and safe temperatures. This prevents rollout from happening in the first place.
  • Schedule annual furnace maintenance- Annual maintenance allows our techs to spot any issues early on that could lead to flame rollout. We’ll make sure everything is working properly to avoid the abnormal situations that lead to flame rollout.

SERVPRO of North Prince William County will make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This can save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your system.

Smoke Detectors Save Lives

2/13/2024 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms play an important role in saving lives, and when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters, and on every level of the house.  Business owners should consult their local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.

Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan.  Having a plan allows for a quick escape in an emergency situation. 

Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms.  Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year.  We have found it useful to change the batteries when daylight savings time either begins or ends.  If an alarm "chirps," the battery is low and should be replaced right away.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

SERVPRO of North Prince William County wants you and your family to be safe. If you have a home or business fire, we are here for you and are a phone call away.  For more on emergency preparedness or service, contact SERVPRO of North Prince William County at 703-368-4399.

Storms Can Cause Flood Damage...Beware For Scammers

1/31/2024 (Permalink)

Storm scammers are everywhere and tend to target distressed homeowners who have suffered damage, especially seniors. Below are some tips on what to look out for and how to protect yourself from those individuals.

  1. Scammers will pretend that they represent your insurance company and ask for personal information over the phone. Your insurance company will always notify you if a representative or contractor will be sent to your home.
  2. Never sign up with the first contractor to your home. Always get more than one estimate to make sure you do not end up being the victim of price gouging.
  3. Officials with government disaster assistance agencies do not call or text asking for financial information. Anyone who calls asking is an imposter.
  4. Contractors may call claiming to be partners with your insurance company. If this were to happen, do not provide any personal information.
  5. A major red flag is when a contractor says they will only charge you half of what the others will charge. Most times they will take your money and run.

SERVPRO of North Prince William County is always available to help you navigate through your storm damage. Call us at (703)368-4399 today!

What is Biohazard Cleanup and How We Can Help?

1/24/2024 (Permalink)

Exposure to any biological material and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences. If such substances are not removed, they can contribute to unhealthy and dangerous environments. SERVPRO of North Prince William County is trained to safely remove biohazards and dispose of them properly in accordance with OSHA and health regulations.

If you're not completely sure if your cleanup needs are considered a biohazard cleanup or not, continue reading for specific types, scenarios, and more information around this service.

Do You Need Biohazard Cleanup Services?

The decontamination of a home or business due to trauma, medical incidents, sewage backups, chemical spills, hoarding, or other biohazards can both be dangerous and emotional. Specialized training and experience is key when choosing a cleanup company to resolve these circumstances.

SERVPRO of North Prince William County provides cleanup solutions and recovery services for many biohazard situations including: 

  • Sewage backups
  • Crime scene cleanup
  • Suicide/death accidents
  • Homicide cleanups
  • Blood cleanup
  • Accident cleanup
  • Hoarding scenes
  • Animal waste/remains
  • Chemical spills
  • Tear gas cleanup
  • Meth lab cleanup

Common Biohazard Scenarios

There are three common biohazard scenarios. These are sewage backups, bloodborne pathogens, and illegal drug manufacturing labs/meth labs.

Sewage Backups- Sewage backups and dark water intrusions are more than nasty, smelly deposits - these damages also introduce harmful microorganisms into a structure. We remove the sewage, contaminants, and moisture, and help ensure the structure is properly clean, disinfected, and deodorized.

Bloodborne Pathogens- We remove and dispose of bodily fluids, tissue, and other potentially pathogenic substances resulting from an accident, trauma, crime, or death. Trained SERVPRO franchise professionals clean, disinfect, and deodorize the structure.

Illegal Drug Manufacturing Labs/Meth Labs- SERVPRO realizes many of the chemicals used in the production of illegal drugs such as "meth" are volatile and can leave harmful residues throughout a structure. We follow federal and state guidelines to properly clean all surfaces.

Do Not Try at Home

If you believe your home or business is in need of biohazard cleaning, don't try to clean it up on your own. Bleach is only going to go so far, especially if you're dealing with sewage backups, blood, animal waste, and other bodily fluids, especially chemical spills. DIY cleaning solutions should not even be thought of when it comes to scenarios like these. You'll be putting yourself as well as anyone else that uses or lives in the structure at risk for health problems.

When it comes to a crime scene cleanup, this is a specific scenario that is handled by law enforcement and a professional cleaning company like SERVPRO. There are many rules and state regulations that need to be followed when it comes to a cleanup like this, so don't try to just apply bleach and think it's ready to go.

When it comes to sewage backups, the flooding from this creates a contaminated area full of hazardous materials, human waste, and possible chemicals that can be life threatening if touched or if you get too close. Leave it to the professionals.

Biohazard & Sewage Emergency Tips

After any biohazard or sewage contamination in your home or business, your primary focus should be safety:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences.
  • Flood water can contain sewage, pesticides, and other contaminants.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.

What to do AFTER a contamination:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Call emergency service personnel if the situation is dangerous to your health.
  • Treat ALL bodily fluids as if they are contaminated.
  • Turn off the HVAC system if there is sewage damage.

What NOT to do after a contamination:

  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
  • Don't leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpets or floors.
  • Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't use television or other household appliances.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.

SERVPRO Provides 24-Hour Emergency Service

We are available 24 hours a day with our highly trained technicians standing by. We have qualified trained professionals who are ready to respond to these incidents. We will always treat your property and the people involved with the greatest empathy and respect in the face of trying circumstances.

We don't only offer biohazard cleanup services, but also cleaning services such as air ducts & HVAC, carpet & upholstery, ceiling/floors/walls, drapes & blinds, odor removal, sewage & toilet overflow, vandalism & graffiti, building services, and all kinds of commercial cleaning services.

Crime Scene Cleanup: Turning Chaos into Clean

1/24/2024 (Permalink)

When life throws unexpected challenges our way, it's essential to have professionals who can tackle the mess left behind. SERVPRO of North Prince William County is your trusted partner in transforming chaotic situations back into clean and safe environments.

Safety First, Always

In situations where hazards are a concern, our primary focus is safety. Our approach is akin to navigating through challenging terrain with a flashlight - we follow OSHA and EPA protocols to ensure everyone's safety during the cleanup process. These situations often involve bloodborne pathogens, harmful chemicals, and other dangers. Our team handles these complex scenarios with the utmost care and professionalism, always treating your property and all involved parties with empathy and respect.

Cleaning Up After Difficult Situations

Once the authorities have concluded their investigations, it's our turn to step in and bring order to chaos. Many crime and accident scenes harbor blood and other hazardous contaminants, which can pose significant health risks. SERVPRO of North Prince William County is always ready to respond promptly, equipped with specialized training, protective gear, and extensive experience in safely cleaning trauma and crime scenes.

A Complicated Case: Fire, Water, and Tragedy

We recently had a case that exemplifies the diverse range of services we offer. In this particular instance, a property manager faced a deeply distressing situation. A tenant had intentionally set his condo on fire, which triggered the sprinkler system. Tragically, the tenant also jumped off a balcony to end his own life.

The aftermath of this case was a complex blend of fire damage, water damage from the sprinklers, and the emotional trauma of a life-threatening incident. In such a multifaceted situation, SERVPRO of North Prince William County was called upon to perform a delicate and intricate dance of fire remediation, water remediation, and crime scene cleanup.

What's in Our Cleanup Kit?

  1. Fingerprint Powder and Evidence-Gathering Chemicals: Just like a skilled investigator dusts for fingerprints, we're here to clean up the mess left behind by law enforcement. Fingerprint powder and evidence-gathering chemicals can be tricky to handle, but our experts have the experience and tools to manage them effectively.
  2. Tear Gas and Pepper Spray Residues: In some instances, crime scenes involve more than just a minor altercation. Lingering tear gas and pepper spray residues can be a persistent issue. Our team is well-prepared to clear the air and make your space habitable again.
  3. Fire Extinguisher Residue: Fires are a significant challenge, and the aftermath can be just as daunting. Fire extinguisher residue can be pervasive, but our team has the expertise to thoroughly clean it up.
  4. Blood, Bodily Fluids, and Tissue Remnants: Dealing with blood and bodily fluids can be emotionally taxing. Our highly trained professionals are here to remove, dispose of, and clean up these potentially hazardous substances, ensuring that your property is disinfected and deodorized.

Eliminating Bloodborne Pathogens

Our cleanup goes beyond surface cleaning. We handle the removal and disposal of bodily fluids, tissues, and other potentially pathogenic substances resulting from accidents, trauma, crimes, or unfortunate incidents. Our professionals don't merely clean; they disinfect and deodorize the structure, ensuring that no trace of the distressing incident remains.

Illegal Drug - "Meth" Labs

Residues from the production of illegal drugs like "meth" can be harmful and volatile. Our technicians follow federal and state guidelines to effectively clean all surfaces, ensuring that your space is safe and free from drug-related hazards.

When life throws a curveball and leaves you dealing with a challenging cleanup, remember that you don't have to face it alone. SERVPRO of North Prince William County is here to provide professional and empathetic assistance. Contact us today, and we'll restore order from chaos, ensuring that your space is clean and safe once more.

Contact SERVPRO of North Prince William County for Specialty Cleaning Services 

Skilled Restoration After a Grease Fire

1/4/2024 (Permalink)

Did you know that cooking happens to be one of the most common causes of a kitchen fire? Out of those fires, the highest risk comes from frying foods. A grease fire in your property is dangerous because it can get out of control quickly. While prevention is critical, SERVPRO® is always available 24/7 when you need help handling the cleanup after a grease fire or any blaze within your home or business. We make it “Like it never even happened.”

Before you need to call us for fire restoration in North Prince William County, these are some helpful tips to remember to help prevent a fire in your kitchen:

  • Always cook in a clean area and clean up any spills on your cooktop once it cools. Greasy exhaust hoods or stovetops can catch fire easily.
  • Never leave your food unattended while cooking, as it can take minutes for cookware to scorch or boil over.
  • Always have a lid within reach, and a fire extinguisher handy should flame erupt. 

Did you know? It is best that you have at least three fire extinguishers readily accessible in your home!

When you call SERVPRO® to handle the fallout of a kitchen fire, there are bound to be pungent odors from burnt proteins. We have specialized methods to break through the most challenging, stickiest soot residue to clean surfaces and remove odors. Our team wipes down cabinetry, discards all food items, and cleans appliances. In some situations, it is best to replace your microwave if it is positioned above the stove, as it will be counterproductive to have a repair team fix it.

A fire in your kitchen can be scary, but SERVPRO of North Prince William County is here for prompt fire restoration service! Call us at (703)368-4399 or request help online.