Recent Posts

How To Prevent Frozen Water Pipes

8/19/2021 (Permalink)

New gray and brown drain pipes isolated over white When the temperature is freezing, frozen water inside pipes can burst them.

How To Prevent Water Pipes From Freezing

Your Portland, ME, home can take a pounding from winter weather. Snow, ice and frigid wind can all affect its exterior, and one common problem you might experience as a homeowner is frozen pipes. When the temperature drops below freezing, frozen water inside pipes can expand and cause them to burst. However, there are a few ways you can prevent this problem, as well the water damage and flooding a broken pipe can cause.

Insulate Your Pipes

Exterior water pipes are typically the most vulnerable to bursting during cold weather, but certain indoor pipes can be affected as well. Consider insulating pipes with foam insulation in these areas:

  • Basement connections
  • Under kitchen or bathroom cabinets
  • Unfinished or non-insulated laundry rooms

Insulating pipes in these areas can offer them extra protection when winter temperatures plummet.

Drain Outdoor Water Lines

Maintaining outdoor water lines can prevent them from freezing over. Before the cold weather comes, drain sprinkler systems and hoses and winterize your pool. You may want to keep the outdoor valves open to prevent excess water from creating pressure, which can result in a costly water line repair bill if the pipes near these connections burst.

Use Pipe Sleeves

Fitting indoor and outdoor pipes with pipe sleeves can protect your plumbing when temperatures drop. Pipe sleeves can prevent freezing by providing pipes with insulation and by raising the temperature within the pipe. You can create your own sleeve with heated tape and layers of newspaper if you need a quick fix before storm cleanup professionals arrive. These sleeves can also be helpful in keeping your pipes in good working order if you plan to be away from home for an extended period, such as for a Christmas holiday.

Dealing with frozen pipes at your Portland, ME, home can be a stressful experience, especially if one or more burst due to the cold. However, knowing how winterize your plumbing and treat your pipes for the cold weather can help them withstand the ravages of subzero temperatures, wind, ice and snow.

Why Quick Flood Mitigation Is Necessary for Your Business

8/12/2021 (Permalink)

Insulation from ceiling has been removed Wet insulation from the ceiling has been removed to prevent mold growth.

Why Is Prompt Flood Mitigation Required for Your Business?

Torrential downpours in Windham, ME, can cause flooding at your business and potentially threaten your livelihood. However, the aftermath of a flood may be more of a threat than the initial event, especially when it comes to mold growth. Having flood waters removed from your commercial building right away by a professional storm restoration and cleanup service can help prevent problems caused by standing water.

Mold Can Grow Rapidly

In optimal conditions, mold can grow almost anywhere in your building within 24–48 hours of flooding. The presence of moisture and humidity can accelerate mold growth, which can be a serious concern during a summer flood. Having flood waters removed the same day, if possible, can impede the development of mold and reduce the risk of it taking hold inside your building.

Mold Can Be Difficult to Treat

Once mold is allowed to grow after a flood, it can spread rapidly and impact different areas of your business, such as the ceilings, basement and interior walls. When mold grows where you cannot see, it can be difficult to treat by the time it is eventually discovered. Removing floodwaters as soon as possible can stop mold growth before it starts and save on the cost of having it treated later.

Mold Can Cause Offensive Odors

Mold contains bacteria that gives it a musty odor. It can smell like a dusty attic or wet, dirty laundry. Once it invades your building and starts to grow, this odor can seep into your building and be noticeable to your customers. If the smell becomes strong enough, it may start to drive people away. Investing in flood mitigation as soon as possible after flooding can prevent this situation.

Once a flood occurs at your Windham, ME, business, mold can begin to grow quickly if the water is not removed. Flood mitigation can prevent mold growth and all the problems the fungus may cause once it takes hold.

Tips for Checking for Mold in Your Home

8/12/2021 (Permalink)

Mold in the corner of a wall Mold in a Falmouth Foreside, ME home.

Mold Inspection Tips for Your Home

No one wants to think that their home isn’t safe or that it has potential health hazards lurking in open or hidden areas. Your home is supposed to be a haven where you can feel protection and comfort. Regrettably, you can encounter issues such as mold growth in any type of residence. If you discover mold at home in Falmouth Foreside, ME, you need an indoor environmental specialist to help you get rid of it and prevent it from coming back. To help you find out whether this nasty pest is in your place, follow some basic steps.

Check Common Places

Mold can grow in a variety of places, but there are some usual suspects to be aware of. Start in your bathroom, particularly the shower and sink. Mold can live in the grout of shower tile or at the base of your toilet. Pay close attention to the pipes below your sink. These areas are often perfect places for mold to thrive. Other possible locations include:

  • The attic
  • The basement
  • Dark, damp crawl spaces

Know What It Looks Like

Many people may think that mold is greenish in color; however, it’s usually black, white or yellow. You can identify mold by its leathery texture and spotty appearance. It also doesn’t smell pleasant; it carries a pungent odor like that of dirty socks. Make sure that when you check for mold, you wear a mask and gloves. Contact with this fungal growth can lead to illness.

Get an Expert

An indoor environmental specialist in Falmouth Foreside, ME, knows the typical places for mold to wreak its havoc. This expert will conduct a mold test and determine whether mold is in your home and what type it may be.

If you suspect that mold growth is occurring in your home, you should investigate likely areas of the house for this enemy. If you are not sure about what you find, environmental specialists can do a more thorough check as well as help you take care of the problem.

The Process of Making an Insurance Claim After a Flood

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

pieces of white ceiling tiles in a bedroom Bedroom after storm damage.

Following a Flood, How to File an Insurance Claim

It’s never enjoyable to be on the wrong end of a flood at home. At the very least, these incidents are annoying, take up a lot of your time and cause some stress. In more serious situations, floods can cause extensive damage and may even destroy portions of your home and possessions. As soon as flooding occurs in your Gorham, ME, home, you should contact your insurance company and make a flood claim. This will get the ball rolling on providing the cleanup and financial assistance you need.

Get Information Together

Regardless of the size of the flood, if there is any damage, you should file an insurance claim. Before you call your insurance representative, gather relevant documentation and information. These include:

  • Insurance company name
  • Policy number
  • Your contact information (This is important because you may not be at your home during and after the incident, so you need to provide the agent with a phone number where you can be reached anytime.)

Make Note of the Damage

Your insurance company will need evidence that the flood in your home damaged property and possessions. First, start by taking photographs of anything and everything the flood-damaged. This includes walls, floors, furniture, books, electronics and any parts of the home’s structure. Your flood claim should also include items that you may have lost in the flood. Keep in mind, the insurance company will likely only replace the items if you document value and date of purchase.

Fill Out the Necessary Forms

Your insurance company will ask you to fill out a Proof of Loss document. Make sure you do this as quickly after the flood as possible.

A flood claim is an essential part of your recovery and cleanup process following an incident of this magnitude. You don’t have to handle the aftermath of this disaster on your own. It will go more smoothly if you understand the claims process.

How To Clean Mold by the Book

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

Green and black mold on a wall Mold damage to a business in Westbrook, ME.

How to Remove Mold Using a Book

When you realize your business in Westbrook, ME has mold, you may be wondering where to start to combat the situation. Depending on its severity, you may even have some ideas on how you can tackle the task yourself. However, there are certain mold standards to which one must adhere when dealing with commercial properties, such as those recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency and outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Enlisting the experts in mold remediation will likely be your best bet for larger areas or certain mold types, but it can be helpful to be aware of the guidelines on how to prevent and handle a mold infestation in the meantime.

EPA Guidelines

The EPA advises the following to prevent mold growth:

  • Control humidity and temperature indoors.
  • Ensure that rooms have adequate ventilation.
  • Check plumbing and drainage systems.
  • Thoroughly scrub any surface where mold is visible and keep it dry.
  • In areas prone to mold, clean more frequently.
  • Contract a mold remediation specialist.

OSHA Guidelines

There are plenty of areas of overlap between advice from the EPA and OSHA. The latter does specify in detail several additional tips of mold standards to consider, recommending the following:

  • In-house staff such as custodians or housekeepers can perform mold cleanup for milder cases if they are properly trained and wear personal protective equipment.
  • Prior to clean up, staff should be trained according to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.
  • Specific OSHA guidelines based on severity and size of the affected areas should be followed.

Going by the outlined mold standards of these reputable organizations can help you determine the course of action to take for your business in Westbrook, ME. You may be dealing with a mild situation that can be managed in-house through proper steps, or something more challenging, as is the case with black mold. For more severe cases, it may be best to contact a professional with certifications such as that from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration. Regardless, following these guidelines can help you restore your business to pre-mold condition.

3 Tips for Reducing the Risk of Space Heater Fires

7/19/2021 (Permalink)

Space heater Space heaters are portable devices designed to heat single rooms rather than entire houses.

Reducing The Risk of Space Heater Fires

Using space heaters can be a convenient way to keep certain areas of your Falmouth, ME home cozy, especially those that do not receive enough heat from the furnace or are located on an outer ground floor. While these units can be handy, they might also increase the risk of a fire and a burned space heater. Keeping a few safety tips in mind can help you reduce the possibility of space heater fires and ensure your family’s well-being.

1. Give the Unit Space

One of the most common causes of space heater fires is putting heaters in an area where they do not have enough room for proper heat flow. This can cause the unit to overheat and start a fire. Putting a heater in an enclosed space can also cause objects around it to catch fire, such as bedding, clothing and other fabrics. The risk is usually highest in the bedroom, where blankets and stuffed toys can fall off the bed and onto the heater and spark a blaze. A fire and smoke cleanup service can advise you about the best placement for your space heater.

2. Ground the Plug at a Wall Outlet

Most space heaters are designed to operate from one electrical socket. As such, plugging them into an extension cord or a multi-socket power strip may cause them to overheat. This may start at the plug itself, which can melt it or the cord. Overheating at the power source may also cause a power surge, which can result in a burned space heater or a fire.

3. Set Your Heater on a Stable Surface

When you first buy a space heater, it is important that you read all instructions and set your unit on a stable surface instead of a table or other object. If the surface is unstable, the unit can be knocked over and come into contact with flammable objects.

Space heaters can make your Falmouth, ME home comfortable. However, knowing how to use them safely is important to protect your family from the threat of a burned space heater or a devastating fire.

Caring for Your Electronics After a House Fire

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

Fire flame coming out of a keyboard of a computer SERVPRO can clean electronics after a fire.

Electronic Restoration

After a house fire, there is a lot you and your family can get done with old-fashioned soap and water. However, there are some things that are best left to professional fire cleanup crews, such as your electronics. Instead of just scrubbing these belongings clean, pros will need to

  • Inspect for any present safety issues
  • Clean away corrosives from inside the casings
  • Perform a thorough inspection of the item after professional cleaning to ensure performance safety

Each of these steps is important, and none of them can be missed if you want a truly good electronic restoration experience in Falmouth, ME.

Initial Inspections

As a general rule, you should steer clear of any electronics you suspect may have been affected by smoke damage during the fire until a professional can perform a quick inspection. This is to ensure that no moisture or other particles have entered parts of the device that could make it dangerous.

Cleaning Procedures

Smoke carries acids and a number of different chemicals that can corrode the metal pieces inside of your electronics’ casings. These substances typically need more than just a damp cloth to clean properly, which is why all cleaning should be left to trusted electronics professionals. Usually, your fire cleanup crew will work alongside an electronics shop of your choice to get the best possible results.

Successful Restoration

Of course, after the initial cleaning, you’ll want to have either the electronics store owner or a cleanup pro check the electronics in question to ensure it's working properly. This can help them catch any unexpected remaining issues so that when you do get your belongings back, they’ll be good as new.

Getting the proper care for your home during fire cleanup in Falmouth, ME, is important if you want to get things back to normal again, and that includes your electronics. Fortunately, with the right crew, the process is easier, faster and more effective.

What To Avoid After Your Home Floods

6/23/2021 (Permalink)

bedroom, ceiling collapsed in bedroom Water damage in Portland, ME.

Do's and Don'ts

When something is wrong with your home, your first instinct may be to jump in and start fixing it. This instinct could be wrong, though. When a broken pipe causes flooding in your home in Portland, ME, it is important to follow a few simple do's and don'ts.

Don't Wade Unprotected

Water in the home may seem harmless, especially if it came from a clean source. It is very easy, however, for flood water to get contaminated. Do not wade through standing water unprotected.

Do Wear Protective Gear

If you must go into the water, put on protective gear first:

  • Rubber boots
  • Protective Eye Gear
  • Face Mask
  • Rubber Coveralls

Don't Jump the Gun

In a hurry to get your problems fixed, you may decide to get a head start on your shopping. It doesn't make sense, however, to buy new furniture until you are sure that the old furniture is not salvageable. Besides, until the area is restored, you have no place to put it.

Do Document Damages

Take pictures of everything that may need repair or replacement. Even if you think it's insignificant, you should photograph and list everything affected by the broken pipe and the havoc it wreaked.

Don't Wait to Report

You may think you need all the information before you call your insurance agent or repair personnel. The longer you wait, however, the worse the problem may get. Mold can start to grow in as little as 24 hours if the conditions are right. You are more likely to avoid bigger problems if you report early.

Do Call in the Experts

The fastest way to get your home back to its former state is to call the restoration experts who can make that happen. The quickest way to get your money is to call your insurance company. These calls should be the first thing you do when your home floods.

If your home is damaged by a broken pipe, you might not be thinking clearly. Instead of following instincts that could lead you astray, follow the advice outlined here to fix your home.

Quick Guide to the Flood Cut

6/23/2021 (Permalink)

drywall removal from a water damage from a roof leak The flood cut is often used in flooding situations.

When it comes to the mitigation and remediation process of a commercial flood in Falmouth, ME, there are a lot of cleaning techniques that can be used. The exact process started by your commercial cleanup crew will depend on the type of flooding you are dealing with. When rain waters fill your space, your team will want to mitigate the damage as quickly as possible. This means making fast decisions to help stop the damage from spreading. A flood cut is one technique often used.

What It Is

A flood cut is part of the tear-out mitigation process. Any drywall in your building that was affected by floodwaters may be cut away. The line is usually 12 to 18 inches above the water line to ensure all water-damaged materials are removed.

When It's Needed

When water sits up against the drywall in your building, it can get soaked up into the porous material. Some liquid may even pass to materials behind the wall. The flood cut is often used in flooding situations, but may be even more pertinent if the following is true:

  • There is insulation and other building materials behind the drywall.
  • The remediation team needs to assess the damage in the interior walls.
  • The water that filled your space was contaminated.

Your cleanup professional may not always choose to do a flood cut. However, it can help remove excess water and jump-start the remediation process.

What Happens After

After the drywall has been ripped out, any other materials affected by the contamination are also removed. This can include busted pipes, insulation, ceiling tiles and flooring materials. Once the tear-out is complete, the repairs must get started. Your remediation team will replace any damaged materials including the drywall.

Flooding can do a lot of damage to a commercial space. A flood cut may help the experts better understand the damage done to your building and give them the tools needed to start making repairs.

Smoke & Soot Cleanup

6/21/2021 (Permalink)

Soot buildup on these light fixtures after a fire occured Soot buildup on these light fixtures after a fire occurred in a local business in Portland.
Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allow us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and Soot Facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Portland will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 207-772-5032