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Supporting Local Disaster Relief Efforts

1/19/2022 (Permalink)

2 men and 4 women holding large check donation Pictured in check presentation: Jared Lamey, Holly Merrill, Barbara Rapoza, Scott Carter, Nicole Evans & Liz Thompson

Through the efforts of the Maine SERVPRO franchises, sponsorships and clients from our annual golf event in September 2021 we were able to raise and present a check for $15,000 to the American Red Cross of Maine’s Disaster Relief Fund. Thank you to everyone who participated in making our 2021 event a success.

Over the past 14 years we have raised over $155,000. With the help and generosity of our community, we hope that we can continue to increase that number to help the American Red Cross in Maine supporting their local disaster relief efforts and assist those who have suffered the effects of a disaster. 

How To Choose an Air Purifier

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

Air purifier machine in a house If you want to reduce the amount of airborne particles, such as mold spores or dust, in your home, experts recommend a HEPA filter purifier.

What To Look For When Buying An Air Purifier

Of all the places you spend your time, your home in West Falmouth, ME, should be the place you can breathe the easiest. An effective air filtration system can help. The market is so saturated with purifiers that look promising, however, that it can be overwhelming to try to choose the one that’s best for you and your family. The following suggestions may be able to help you narrow down the options.

Qualities To Seek

The first thing you must decide is what you need. When experts test to see if an air purifier works well, they often look at four criteria:

  • Percentage of particles removed from air
  • Amount of air flow
  • Simplicity of use
  • Level of customer satisfaction

You may choose your air filtration device based on one or all of these standards. If you want a purifier that reduces the amount of potentially irritating particles in the air, for example, filter efficiency is probably going to be your most important requirement.

Reasons To Buy

If you want to reduce the number of airborne particles, such as mold spores or dust, in your home, mold remediation experts recommend a purifier with a HEPA filter. HEPA filters not only remove over 99% of particles from the air, they actually improve in performance over time. If your machine also has a carbon pre-filter, you can increase the life of your filter and improve your air quality even further. The most effective air purifiers on the market include the Oransi Max, the BlueAir 450E and the OV200 Air Purifier. While costs for these machines can range from a few hundred dollars to over $1000, it may be worth the price to know that your family is breathing cleaner air.

The best air filtration system is one that has an efficient filter, good air flow, ease of use and good customer reviews. Look for the purifier that improves the air quality of your home the best.

Is Smoke Damage Covered By Insurance?

1/6/2022 (Permalink)

A keyboard with the label of an insurance  company In most cases, smoke damage will be covered by your commercial insurance policy.

Is Insurance Coverage For Smoke Damage?

If your commercial building or one adjacent to yours recently sustained a fire, and you are left dealing with smoke-related damage, you may be worried about making a claim with your insurance company. Is smoke damage a covered loss? Read on to learn everything you need to know about smoke claims to put your mind at ease.

Soot Damage and Insurance

In most cases, damage from smoke will be covered by your commercial insurance policy. This is even the case if the fire occurred at a company right next to yours. However, there are some steps you need to take to properly file your claim and increase the chances of it being accepted. They are as follows:

  1. Contact your insurance company to report the smoke damage and file a claim.
  2. Assess your loss and prepare a smoke cleanup plan with the help of professionals.
  3. Record proof of any damage and repairs through photographs, receipts and other documents.
  4. Prepare for the insurance adjuster to arrive for surveying purposes.

Following the steps above will increase the chances of restoring your property as best as you can. Having a solid plan in place will also make it more likely that your insurance company will approve your claim.

Smoke Cleaning Assistance

As you can see above, creating an action plan for cleanup is one of the most important parts of this entire claims and restoration process. A reliable Westbrook, ME, fire damage restoration company should be able to arrive on an emergency basis, assess the situation and help you build a cleanup plan that will likely include reducing odors and eliminating smoke from your building.

Smoke damage isn’t always easy to deal with, and communication with your insurance provider can be even more frustrating. Following the steps above and knowing where to turn for cleanup help can make your business’s post-fire future more positive.

Water in the Basement

1/4/2022 (Permalink)

the old dirty cellar flooded from a pipe break Be aware that any drywall or flooring components that have absorbed too much water may need to be replaced as they can harbor bacteria and mold.

The Basement Is Wet.

A residential basement flood situation in Portland, ME, 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 you incur.

Be Content With Content Cleaning for Your Fire-Damaged Business

12/22/2021 (Permalink)

office things on a table SERVPRO of Portland not only will clean up and repair your home or business, but we also clean up the contents inside them. Call us!

Be Satisfied With Cleaning Your Fire's Content. -Loss Of Profit

Your business’ assets are threatened when a fire-related event takes you by surprise. Even if items in the building were not ignited, they still are likely damaged by secondary damage like smoke. This damage, fortunately, can be treated by an expert fire damage restoration crew using several industry standard practices. With professional dry-cleaning and special cleaning machines, most items that didn’t become ash can likely be restored and sanitized.

How Is a Smoky Smell Removed?

Smoke will settle into anything porous enough to let it settle. It could end up in a variety of fabric assets inside your Portland, ME, business property:

  • Upholstery
  • Carpet
  • Curtains
  • Clothes
  • Blankets, pillows and bedding in sleep areas or break rooms

Washing these items without professional content cleaning allows the smell to fully set in the fabric. These items need to undergo the process of deodorizing. In this process, smoke is removed using vents and oxidization.

Affected clothing typically undergoes dry-cleaning. It is the most cost-effective way to thoroughly clean special clothing or uniforms of smoke.

Where Are Smoky Items Stored?

Companies often offer remote warehouses with racks to store property for repair. Here, there are machines that use ultrasonic cleaning to even restore items that are nonporous from fire damage. This service is called content storage. Once the damaged item is restored in the shop where it is relocated, it is placed inside a storage box and organized for easy retrieval later.

Content storage also stores furniture that was unaffected by the fire so it can be protected from prolonged exposure or accidental damage during building repairs. It is advised to store anything that you believe to be smoky or at risk of future damage.

Cleaning Up Towards a Clean Business

Once the process is done, your business will smell fresh and become welcoming to operations restarting. With dry-cleaning and other services from a fire restoration company, the smoke doesn’t have to permeate the room to remind you of the damage. Your business can look and feel like a business again, not burnt food.

3 Water Damage Cleanup Tips

12/22/2021 (Permalink)

Restoration machines are cleaning water damage in a home. If you have water damage in your home, call SERVPRO. Our team has the right equipment for the job. Give us a call for your water damage, 24/7

3 Tips For Cleaning Up Water Damage

A backup, flood, or leak can result in water damage at a home in Falmouth, ME. Homeowners can attempt to remove water and clean up damage on their own, but mitigation and restoration professionals have the equipment and expertise necessary to work quickly and identify potential problems. Follow these three water cleanup tips to limit damage and prevent mold growth.

1. Remove Water As Soon As Possible

Primary damage becomes more extensive as water is left standing. Some porous materials can be restored after being briefly saturated with uncontaminated water from broken pipes. In the case of a minor leak, a mop, towels, or a rented pump may be sufficient to eliminate standing water. For major leaks or flooding, mitigation professionals can use commercial pumps and wet vacs. If no measures are taken to remove water, mold growth may begin in as little as 24 to 48 hours.

2. Promote Drying With Fans and Dehumidifiers

In addition to removing standing water, it is also necessary to reduce residual moisture. Ventilating an area with air movers or fans can speed up drying. A dehumidifier can draw moisture out of the air and porous or semi-porous materials. It is necessary to completely dry the affected area prior to restoration. This will make areas with water damage less hospitable for mold.

3. Handle Wet Contents Carefully

Consider the composition and durability of each item prior to cleaning. Most non-porous items can be safely rinsed and dried. Delicate, semi-porous, or porous contents may call for specialized methods. Restoration professionals can recommend the best cleaning method for any item. A service can also remove contents for cleaning and safely store items until the restoration process is complete.

These tips can help homeowners clean up water damage. It is important to act quickly to limit the extent of primary damage and prevent secondary damage from occurring.

When To Call A Professional

12/22/2021 (Permalink)

Restoration machines are cleaning water damage in a bathroom This toilet had a plumbing issue causing massive amounts of water damage. SERVPRO to respond to extract and start the drying process.

When Should You Hire A Professional?

Many commercial flooding situations, such as a pipe burst cleanup, are user serviceable. However, not all are, and there are inherent risks involved with an amateur or provisional water damage repair. Consider a few tips about when to leave your problems to a qualified cleanup service.

1. Standards

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Services (IICRC) maintains a large number of guidelines and standards relating to the certification of companies to do cleanup work. For example, a sewer cleanup company might choose to comply with the BSR/IICRC S550, which outlines the standards for water damage cleanup for commercial structures. By voluntarily adopting these standards, the company signals its qualifications to potential customers and ensures efficient communication with other companies with which they may have to coordinate.

2. Safety and Liability

By contacting an IICRC-certified service for a pipe burst cleanup, you protect yourself from the liability that comes from attempting any unorthodox or temporary repair procedures. While these may save money in the short term, they can lead to costly problems down the line. Additionally, a broken pipe or other flooding issue can create safety concerns for you and your employees. For example, if wall outlets are inundated, then pooled water can become an electrical hazard. In these situations, a professional agency can mitigate the damage safely.

3. Documentation and Coverage

In the meantime, the business owner should document any visible flood damage that cannot be obviously remedied. Make an inventory of all affected areas and any components that you think need attention or repair. Any sensitive electronic devices, such as personal computers, should be moved out of the affected area. If flooding can be stopped by shutting off water at a valve or main, do so until restoration services arrive and continue the cleanup process.

Review the above procedures with your employees to keep your business running in the event that you need urgent pipe burst cleanup or other repairs in Westbrook, ME.

Understand Storm Insurance Coverage Before the Wind Blows

11/11/2021 (Permalink)

white plastic rain gutter and dark sky. concept : preparing maintenance rain gutter before rainy season. It's always important to discuss coverage thoroughly with your Portland, ME, storm insurance agent.

Before the Wind Blows, Know Your Storm Insurance Coverage

After major storms hit the nation more than twenty years ago, insurers realized that the costs of storm insurance coverage could be much higher than they had previously estimated. Once that realization hit, insurers made changes to reduce the amount they would have to pay out in future storms. Today, many deductibles are based on the value of the property and the specific type of coverage property owners want. (In some states, such as Florida, some of these variables are determined by state law.)

What Can You Expect From Commercial Storm Coverage?

To a large extent, the rate of your deductibles and specific variables of coverage will be affected by state law, even outside of Florida. However, it is fairly common for commercial property insurance to compensate businesses for financial losses due to storm damage. This type of insurance coverage generally protects:

  • The contents of your building, such as inventory, office supplies, furnishings, and other goods directly owned by the business
  • Cleanup and restoration efforts, including the services of storm remediation specialists
  • Damage due to falling debris that is directly related to the storm

Circumstances That Could Reduce Your Coverage

There are certain circumstances that may negatively affect your coverage:

  • Normal wear and tear probably isn't covered by your policy, so if your aging roof becomes worse after a storm, you may not have insurance protection.
  • If your policy doesn't reflect the cost of rebuilding your property, don't expect to get that much financial compensation.
  • When property owners fail to appropriately maintain their property, they may not be covered. For example, if you have an old tree on your property and it falls over during a storm, the insurance company may deny the claim because the risk was present before the storm hit.

It's always important to discuss coverage thoroughly with your Portland, ME, storm insurance agent. Don't leave your property and financial security at risk because of a misunderstanding.

3 Ways To Care For Water-Damaged Contents

11/11/2021 (Permalink)

Severe water damage in Portland This home had a massive amount of water damage. It causes some debris to fall on the floor, causing a lot to be cleaned up and restored.

3 Methods For Cleaning Water-Damaged Contents

Water in your home can ruin your property. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may attempt to restore items on your own or hire experts for the best results. Here are three ways to care for water-damaged items.

1. Clean the Contents

If you are dealing with water damage caused by clean water from a broken pipe, you only need to dry the wet objects. However, it is important to clean items that have been exposed to contaminated water that contains chemicals, microbes, or solid waste. Non-porous items are the easiest to rinse thoroughly and disinfect.

Delicate porous contents such as art, documents, or books call for a different approach. Clean off as much debris as possible with a damp cloth or soft brush, depending on the material. You can also allow the materials to dry and use a window screen and vacuum attachment to remove debris without causing damage. Avoid grinding in debris, as this will result in secondary damage. Ask restoration experts about dry cleaning and other specialized methods.

2. Air Dry Contents

It is a good idea to get rid of as much water in the home as possible prior to drying the contents. Lay items out on a dry surface in a room with indirect fans or a dehumidifier. You can also dry contents outside, but exposure to direct sunlight can cause further damage.

3. Replace Damaged Items

It may not be possible to restore some water-damaged contents. So determine the value of each item, and choose the most cost-effective approach. Entrust rare items to professionals with access to a full range of restoration methods, including vacuum freeze-drying.

You may cause more damage by attempting to restore delicate or valuable contents on your own. Factor in the amount of water in the home and the value of damaged items to decide whether to contact damage restoration professionals in Falmouth, ME.

Fire Safety 101: How to Make a Fire Escape Plan

11/11/2021 (Permalink)

A home damaged by fire If fire damage occurs in your home, you can count on SERVPRO, we are ready to help you.

How To Create A Fire Escape Plan: Fire Safety 101

When talking about fire preparation and safety, fire escape planning is often neglected by many families. Many people gravitate to the “it’s never going to happen to me” bubble and unwittingly put their families at risk. Escape planning is potentially life-saving and relatively simple. Follow the steps below for guidance.

1. Scope Out Your Home

Scoping out your home before a home fire may be a life-saving decision. Fire incites panic, and that can lead to poor decision-making in an emergency. By finding emergency exit routes before a crisis, you can increase your likelihood of survival. There should be a clear and defined path to escape from every room of your home.

2. Move Any Obstacles

Fire escape routes should be maintained, meaning they must be free of obstacles. You can ensure the integrity of your escape plans by keeping dressers and tables away from windows and pathways. Everyone should be able to make it to an escape point without having to stop and move furniture.

3. Practice Your Escape Route

Once escape routes are planned and pathways cleared, practice escaping. Many fire departments and municipalities encourage families to practice these routes monthly. While practicing does not require an actual emergency, everyone should move through the plan as quickly as possible because in a real emergency, time is of the essence.

4. Seek Out Professional Guidance

While for small, ranch-style homes escape planning is relatively simple, multilevel homes and apartments can be a little trickier. If you are concerned that your fire preparation plans are not adequate to keep you and your family safe, contact your local fire department or other professionals from Westbrook, ME, to help you create a customized plan.

Fire safety relies heavily on fire prevention and preparation, which has its strongest roots in fire escape. Planning and practicing escape routes can be the difference between life or death if the worst-case scenario should occur. Knowing the layout of your home, removing obstacles, and practicing escape routes are the best ways of ensuring your family's safety in a fire emergency.