Recent Posts

Fire Safety

3/30/2020 (Permalink)

Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage according to the National Fire Protection Association. The most frequent causes of fires in dryers are lint/dust (29%) and clothing (28%). In washers, they are wire or cable insulation (26%), the appliance housing (21%) or the drive belt (15%).

Dryers were involved in 92% of the Washer/Dryer fires; the risk of fire was basically the same for both gas and electric-powered dryers.

Safety tips:

  • Clean the lint screen frequently and don’t run the dryer without it.
  • For gas and propane dryers, make sure there aren’t any leaks in the lines.
  • Vent the dryer to the outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.
  • Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.
  • Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.

Unexpected Water Damage

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it is the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call us, we will ask questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring. This includes how many trained SERVPRO professionals we may need.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

SERVPRO of Bethesda / Potomac is here for you 24/7 all 365 days of the year. Call us at 301-530-7400.

Faster to Any Size Water Damage

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO provides 24/7/365 fire and water damage restoration service.

We do not wait for regular business hours. SERVPRO provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, plus more.  SERVPRO arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

If you need further assistance with your water damage, please call SERVPRO of Bethesda / Potomac at 301-530-7400.

Commercial Building Storm Damage

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

When preparing for an upcoming spring storm, protecting your home is the priority and something you should take seriously. As a business owner, you have to do double duty because it is crucial to ensure that your business is as secure as your home.

Here are a few ways to help you avoid storm damage to your commercial property:

1. Watch, Listen, or Read

By watching the local news channel, listening to the radio throughout your commute, or reading a weather app on your phone, you will know exactly what is coming your way as well as how to prepare for it. 

2. Protect the Property

Be knowledgeable about where your pipes are located. With a quick visit to the hardware store, you can gather insulation supplies for the pipes that are easy to reach. Hate the drip, drip, drip from a leaky faucet? In the event of a cold front that brings freezing weather, turning the faucet on to a drip can help you avoid a potential serious and costly pipe break. This is because the drip keeps the water moving in the pipe and does not allow it to sit and freeze. When left alone, the water can freeze and expand, and this pressure is what will break a pipe.

3. Ask for Help

Utilize others’ knowledge on how to keep your business safe. Know who you can call to help prevent damage or to fix an already broken pipe. Save the phone number of a cleanup and restoration company in your phone contacts for quick reference in case of an emergency.

No one wants to deal with the headache of storm damage or a pipe break. By being prepared and creating a plan for your business, you can ease the burden of an upcoming winter storm. Your business storm strategy can also be easily applied to your home so that you won’t have to worry if a storm hits while you’re at work.

The Fire is Out, Now What?

3/24/2020 (Permalink)

Residential and commercial fires are unpredictable and can be devastating.

Hopefully you have given thought to fire prevention for your home. In addition to taking these steps, you have also developed an escape plan with your family. In the unfortunate case of a serious fire, would you know where to turn after the fire crews leave?

SERVPRO of Bethesda / Potomac, 301-530-7400, is the simple, effective solution. We'll respond quickly and get to work restoring your property.

One of the first steps in our fire damage restoration process is the inspection.

Without proper and careful inspection, we cannot be sure of risk factors in the environment, the extent of damage, critical utility locations, and numerous other important factors. Inspection can sometimes be a lengthy process, as SERVPRO inspectors have to look for and catalog many different factors.

Here are some of the things that we look for in homes that have taken fire damage.
Structural Instability
One of the most important considerations when inspecting fire damage is structural stability. Fires, as they burn through supports and other structural components, can create unstable conditions and high potential for collapse. Our technicians look for signs of structural weakening to ensure the safety of both you and SERVPRO technicians, such as warped walls, burned columns, caved-in ceilings, buckled door frames, and scraping between doors, windows, and their upper frames. Any of these may be an indicator of a weakened structure, so knowing of them before any work begins has the potential to save lives.
Spots for Tarping and Boarding
Immediately following inspection, our crews move in with tarps and boards to seal up any windows, doors, or holes in the home that leave it open to the elements. Inspectors look for these openings and compose plans to seal them most effectively.
Damage Inspection
Of course, the central part of any fire damage inspection is what has been hurt, and how much. Inspectors will catalog items, surfaces, and areas which have taken damage, describing in detail for our other teams how bad the situation is and what factors caused it. From there, our technicians can work to apply appropriate cleanup processes and measures. If you have used our ERP (Emergency Ready Profile) system, this process may be greatly accelerated as our inspectors will have access to plans and inventory lists beforehand.
SERVPRO of Bethesda / Potomac works with you to get fire damage cleaned up quickly, cheaply, and with the minimal safety concern. Call us at all hours at 301-530-7400

You Can Count on Team SERVPRO

3/23/2020 (Permalink)

When commercial property owners and managers are expected to produce excellent business operations and a disaster strikes, it can be an overwhelming experience for these individuals. SERVPRO has completed some of the area’s largest disasters including the Pentagon clean up after 9-11, the U.S. Treasury, NIH, Francis Scott Key schools, Georgetown University, Howard University, and the Department of Health. We also assist with any industrial services. Facility managers love working with SERVPRO and rely on us for their disaster solutions.

General adjusters and consultants in D.C. Metro area trust SERVPRO with their largest losses and overwhelmingly complicated claims.

Some of our specialties include, but are not limited to:

  • Small Office Buildings
  • Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
  • Apartment Buildings
  • Restaurants
  • Hotel/Motels
  • Small Retail Stores
  • Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
  • High-Rise Residential
  • Manufacturing & Industrial
  • Government/Military
  • Universities
  • Schools
  • Restaurants
  • Commercial Disaster Recovery Services 
  • Commercial Reconstruction

When a disaster strikes, SERVPRO is here to make it seem “Like it never even happened.” Choose SERVPRO of Bethesda / Potomac as your team who will assist you with any future disaster.

We Are Cleaning Experts

3/19/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is Here to Help During This Time of Need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have 45 years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform daily.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Bethesda / Potomac at 301-530-7400

Puffback Prevention

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

For those who live in colder parts of the United States, there are home appliances that play a critical role when it comes to your furnace. A quality furnace can ensure optimal comfort inside your home while minimizing the amount of energy you consume at home. Even a top-quality furnace will not provide consistent results if you do not maintain it properly.

Those who neglect regular furnace servicing may find themselves dealing with a wide variety of issues, including a common problem such as a puffback. Here are some key points to know about your furnace at home and how it could produce a puffback when it is least expected:

  1. What is a Puffback?

Puffbacks are explosions of soot and smoke caused by improper furnace ignition. They typically occur when excessive amounts of fuel vapors accumulate inside of your furnace’s burner chamber. When the furnace ignites, these vapors explode. Fortunately, this explosion does not have the force to put you and your family at risk. However, over time, a puffback can make a serious impact on your HVAC system.

When an oil burner does not ignite immediately, excess oil builds up within the combustion chamber. The fuel could then ignite explosively, like the backfiring of a car. Depending on how much fuel has built up in the chamber, the result can range from a small explosion to a cloud of oily smoke.  

This disaster poses the greatest threat due to the excessive amounts of soot and smoke they produce. Over time, soot builds up on the inner surfaces of your furnace and heat exchanger, often leading to problems such as corrosion and clogged burner nozzles. The worst aspect of a puffback is that both soot and smoke will find their way and impact your home’s air quality.  

  1. Oil and Gas Furnaces Can Have Puffbacks

Puffbacks can occur in both natural gas and oil-burning furnaces. All furnaces have the capability of accumulating fuel vapors in the combustion chamber if it is not properly maintained. With that said, a puffback poses a more common problem for oil furnaces.

Fun fact, oil furnaces have greater maintenance needs. A neglected oil furnace will accumulate issues that lead to a puffback at a faster rate. Furthermore, oil furnaces tend to experience more severe puffbacks. Heating oil dissipates at a lower rate than natural gas. This will ultimately allow it to accumulate in greater quantities.

  1. Issues Leading Up to a Puffback

A puffback may stem from a variety of furnace problems, many of which relate back to a lack of maintenance. The most direct mechanism of puffback involves leaks in or around the furnace’s combustion chamber. These leaks allow fuel to trickle into the combustion chamber even when the furnace is not running. As soon as the burner turns on, fuel will ignite.

A puffback can also be due to the exhaust flue or chimney. If exhaust gases cannot vacate the system quickly enough, they will remain inside of the furnace. This specific scenario alters the delicate pressure balance needed for proper combustion, changing the air-fuel ratio and leading to a puffback. Such pressure problems may cause additional damages to the heat exchanger.

Puffbacks frequently happen as the result of clogged burners. When fuel cannot enter a furnace efficiently, misfires allow for fuel (that was not burned) to accumulate inside the combustion chamber. Finally, puffbacks may stem from excessive dirt ignition electrodes. A dirty electrode may fail to generate the spark needed for combustion, instead of allowing fuel to puddle inside of the furnace.

As a result, the mess of soot and debris will be mixed with oil. It can quickly spread throughout your home, covering cabinets, walls, furniture, and everything else you would never want covered in black, sticky grime. In addition to the mess, puffbacks contaminate the air and surfaces with unhealthy material. The consequences can be unpleasant, but SERVPRO of Bethesda / Potomac can work with you in the cleaning and restoration process of your home and belongings.

Should a puffback occur, here are some helpful tips to follow:

  • Assess the damage
  • Wash all affected clothing and throw out exposed food
  • Contact a technician to repair the malfunctioning furnace
  • Contact SERVPRO of Bethesda / Potomac

SERVPRO of Bethesda / Potomac is a trusted leader in the restoration industry. We have the specific damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to quickly restore your home to its original state. If you need someone to help with any type of smoke, soot, or fire damage, our high trained technicians will by there to start the restoration process. For more information about what it takes to manage a puffback and prevention steps towards avoiding an expected disaster, please reach out to us at SERVPRO of Bethesda / Potomac at 301-530-7400.

Cleaner Air Makes for Healthy Employees

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

Think about the air quality you breathe regularly: both indoors and outdoors. Which type of air quality do you think is cleaner? If you believe the indoor air quality is cleaner as opposed to the outdoor air quality, think again. The EPA estimates that indoor air contains two to five times more pollution than outdoor air quality. Poor air quality causes problems such as reoccurring colds and sore throats or even headaches, asthma, allergies, and chronic fatigue. As a result, this could cause more employees to need copious amounts of down time ultimately leading them away from productivity.

When dust, debris, and other contaminants build up in your heater, ventilation system, and air conditioner, they can trigger allergies and other health issues. Additionally, these contaminants reduce your energy efficiency, which can ultimately increase your energy costs. These are two compelling reasons to confirm the air ducts and HVAC system in your workplace are running efficiently.

Ventilation systems are often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality. We suggest that you make it a priority to inspect the duct work of your home or business when it is being built. If your HVAC has been operating for some time without attention, it could be circulating at least one of the following unwanted contaminants throughout the space that which you spend most of your day breathing in:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Odors
  • Dirt and debris
  • Other contaminants

SERVPRO professionals routinely inspect the heating, ventilation, or air conditioning (HVAC) units. Keeping these machines clean not only extends the equipment’s lifetime, but it will also save money and time. This will, therefore, provide a better air quality experience throughout your everyday life.

Although, duct cleaning is not always necessary, we will at least make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. Additionally, this will boost the quality of air that is currently circulating your work environment that will contribute to your peace of mind.

Here are the benefits of servicing your HVAC unit regularly:

  • Restores peak energy efficiency.
  • May help eliminate offensive odors.
  • Reduces the potential for mold growth.

At least one of these benefits should help you take a step in the right direction when it comes to maintaining a cleaner HVAC system. If you do not, it can become detrimental to your health.   

Do Not Succumb to a Storm's Norm

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

Floodwaters are known for carrying mud and silt from the exterior of a home to the interior. Water removal is critical when limiting the damages to the first onslaught of storm waters. Minimizing non-salvageable materials to contaminated elements that can be demolished and discarded is challenging.

As you can see in the picture to the right, floods carried mud and silt from the exterior of this home and deposited it onto the basement floor. This before and after picture illustrates what a residency can look like after a storm’s floodwaters create water damage as well as after SERVPRO restores the property’s basement. If you have recently experienced a similar situation with water or storm damage, contact SERVPRO of Bethesda / Potomac. We will assist you in anyway to help you recover from a disaster.

While in 45 years of business, we have saved our clientele and their insurance companies from inconvenience, stress, and spending additional money. With the help of our team carefully planning an execution strategy, we always tailor our strategy towards the size of the cleanup, no matter what the damages may be, “Like it never even happened.”