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What To Do After a Toilet Overflow

8/14/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage What To Do After a Toilet Overflow Air mover on water loss bathroom in Vancouver, WA

An overflowing toilet is a frustrating problem, no matter what the circumstances involve. However, when the overflow involves a sewage backup, the problem becomes much more serious. Sewer damage could contain viruses, bacteria, and other illness-carrying microbes. The possible risks associated with contamination could affect your Vancouver, WA, home and your family for many years.

  • Toilet Overflow: Blockage in the plumbing system causes the toilet to overflow. In this case, the flooding water hasn't passed through the sewer system. Water damage may occur, but you won't have to involve the sewage company.
  • Plumbing System Overflow: Water from the sewage system backs up through residential lateral pipes and into homes. This water is often filled with serious contaminants, such as raw sewage.

If you can't tell whether you have an overflowing toilet or a sewage situation, contact a professional immediately. If you have a flooded toilet, you may be able to handle the problem yourself.

Step 1: Stop Flushing

Much of the time when homeowners see something they don't like in the toilet, they flush. Unfortunately, this will only make a flooded toilet situation worse. Each flush contains more than a gallon of water that you'll have to clean up off the floor.

Step 2: Turn Off the Water

There should be a water shut-off valve located near the floor behind the toilet. Once the water has been shut off, you won't have to worry about more water making the situation worse.

Step 3: Clean Up Spilled Water

If the toilet was only flushed once or twice, you can probably mop it up pretty quickly. If there were more flushes and the resulting four to five gallons of water, you may want to contact a professional to prevent water damage.

Step 4: Address the Clog

Hopefully, you'll be able to dislodge whatever was stuck in the pipes and return to your normal daily activities. Otherwise, you may need to contact a professional.

Remember to protect your home and family from sewer damage. Learn how to recognize the type of trouble you have and take the right steps for correction.

Mold Problems: At the Intersection of Water and Dirt

7/24/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Mold Problems: At the Intersection of Water and Dirt Since mold spores are everywhere, you can't always prevent mold growth.

Your commercial property in Vancouver, WA, can easily become a breeding ground for mold growth. Even with regular inspection and maintenance, mold problems can still occur. Excess dust and moisture can linger in hidden places and combine forces to cause a fungal infestation that can only be remedied by mold remediation experts. Here are the top four places mold likes to hide in commercial buildings.

1. Carpet

Carpet has many crevices where mold spores can hide and many surfaces to which it is easy for mold to adhere. While you can't prevent all spills and can't always control how well people clean up after themselves when they do spill, you can dehumidify the room by increasing air flow to the area. This can help dry out the carpet and prevent mold growth.

2. Ceiling Tiles

Ceiling tiles are often made of porous material, which allows mold to take root. Watch out for water damage in ceiling tiles and get it fixed as fast as possible. It only takes a day or two for mold to start to grow in places where leaks have occurred. Because the growth usually starts on the side of the tile that is hidden, it can become a big problem before it is noticed.

3. Walls

Walls present the same difficulty that ceiling tiles do. The moisture problem contributing to the mold issue is often inside the wall and thus can become significantly moldy long before it is detected. When this happens, it is best to let remediation experts handle the problem to ensure it is resolved completely.

4. Air Ducts

The dust in air ducts can attract mold spores and give them a place to grow. When coupled with high humidity, the mold problem gets larger. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the HVAC system is necessary to detect or prevent mold problems in the ducts.

Since mold spores are everywhere, you can't always prevent mold growth. You can, however, stop the problem before it gets out of hand if you are vigilant. For more information, visit

5 Ways Furnace Maintenance Can Make Your Home Safer

7/24/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 5 Ways Furnace Maintenance Can Make Your Home Safer Regular furnace maintenance is one thing you should always do to keep your home safe.

As a homeowner in Vancouver, WA, you have the worst-case scenario on your mind. After all, if a storm damages your roof or a fire burns your kitchen, you are the one who has to call in a restoration team to deal with the aftermath. Taking preventative measures can help you avoid smoke or fire cleaning. Even something like normal furnace maintenance can help make your house safer.

1. Make Sure It Works: The first thing regular maintenance does is ensure your furnace will work when you need it to. Going through the winter without a working heating device can leave you and your family stranded in a cold situation.
2. Reduce Buildup: Furnace filters help keep the air in your home clean. If these filters aren't cleaned regularly, the gunk in them could cause the furnace to overheat. An overheating furnace could lead to a fire. Regularly replacing your furnace filter can actually reduce the need for fire cleaning.
3. Fix Faults: As furnaces age, they may accumulate faults. Faulty wires and poor shut-off mechanisms can make your home more dangerous. Faulty wires can easily cause sparks that lead to smoky fires and the need for a major smoke cleaning in your house.
4. Contain Gas: If your unit uses gas to heat the home, you have to worry about the gas filling your house. However, proper maintenance looks at the gas lines to ensure everything is hooked up properly. When you have this inspection done annually, it's easy for you to be aware of a potential problem.
5. Protect Fuses: Some older furnaces may cause a circuit in your house to trip. If you have a professional look at the equipment regularly, you will know when it is no longer functioning on the electrical system.

If you don't want to hire a professional to perform smoke or fire cleaning, you need to do what you can to prevent a fire from breaking out in your house. Regular furnace maintenance is one thing you should always do to keep your home safe. For more information, visit

5 Steps to Prevent Mold Growth After a Flood

7/24/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage 5 Steps to Prevent Mold Growth After a Flood These steps will help prevent mold growth in your Vancouver, WA, home.

If your Vancouver, WA, home has experienced a flood following a storm, you might be considered about mold growth, as you should be. After flooding, homeowners only have about 36 hours to act before mildew and mold can start to grow. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent mold from growing in your home.

1. Remove Wet Items

The first thing to remove from the home are big, wet items like furniture, curtains, and pillows. They can hold a lot of moisture, so move them to the driveway or garage until they dry out completely.

2. Use a Wet Vac

Shop vacs or web vacs can remove water from wet carpets. If you don’t own a shop vac, you can rent one from a hardware store. You can also hire a professional to come in and take care of your carpets for you.

3. Air Out the Area

It might be a good time to invest in a dehumidifier, which will remove the moisture from the area. Fans can also help. If rain has stopped, open doors and windows to give the water somewhere to escape.

4. Remove Molding and Baseboards

Baseboards and crown molding look beautiful, but can prevent the walls from completely drying. Removing all molding from the walls exposes them to air so that they can better dry.

5. Cut Small Holes In the Wall

Walls made out of sheet rock are especially vulnerable to mold growth. Allow them to dry out by cutting small openings along the bottom of the walls. This lets air reach the covering on the inside of the walls in addition to the outside.

These steps will help prevent mold growth in your Vancouver, WA, home. Still, after a few days without power, mold can start to grow. Contacting an expert can help you determine the best route for mold removal. For more information, visit

Proactive Wild Land Fire Information

6/29/2018 (Permalink)

Even though our local home town may not be at immediate risk of wild land fires, we do live in a region of strong possibilities. 

In the teachings of the American Red Cross, wild land fires are the number one most likely disaster concern in our territory.  Wild land fires can easily reach structures if in the path of the fire line.  

The best way to counter act that possibility is to prepare your surroundings and heed the warnings of the local media. Be aware of the different types of warnings. 

Take a moment to read and follow the advice below.

  • Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
  • Remove dead vegetation and other items from under your deck or porch, and within 10 feet of the house. Learn more about the basics of defensible space on the Firewise website.
  • Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
  • Remove flammable materials (firewood stacks, propane tanks) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house, deck or porch.
  • Wildfire can spread to tree tops. Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
  • Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
  • Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
  • Inspect shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration.
  • Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering the home.
  • Enclose under-eave and soffit vents or screens with metal mesh to prevent ember entry.

If any type of fire disaster has affected your life, home or business, please call us.

SERVPRO of E. Vancouver/Clark Co. 

Tips To Locate a Shower Leak

6/21/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Tips To Locate a Shower Leak The key to protecting your home in Vancouver, WA, from a shower or bathtub leak is to act fast.

You find a wet ceiling on the first floor of your home in Vancouver, WA. It is below the bathroom. How do you know if it a shower or bathtub leak? Review the following tips to find out where the leak is coming from and what to do next.

Shower Pan Problems

A shower pan leak is a common reason for finding water on the ceiling below your bathroom. What is a shower pan and why would it leak?

• A shower pan is a waterproof barricade located between the subfloor and shower tile. It catches water that leaks below the tile and funnels it into the drain. It is typically made from vinyl or lead and can deteriorate as it ages.
• If there is a shower pan leak, common indicators include separation between the bathroom wall and floor and missing grout or mold on the shower floor. The telltale sign is water on the ceiling or space directly below your shower.

First Floor Showers

When you have a shower pan leak, the key is to act immediately when you notice a wet ceiling below the bathroom. But, what happens when your shower is on the first floor and you do not have a basement? How can you tell if a shower or bathtub leak is an issue then?

• If you have a crawlspace, check the ceiling down there every once in a while for water damage. Some indications of a serious problem include black, wet wood and hanging stalactites that resemble icicles.
• For houses on a concrete slab, water from a leaky shower travels along the floors or walls of nearby areas. Be vigilant looking for wetness that does not result from an obvious spill.

The key to protecting your home in Vancouver, WA, from a shower or bathtub leak is to act fast. Heed the above signs that indicate a shower pan problem. If you suspect mold or rot from water damage, contact a water restoration specialist as soon as possible to obtain a thorough inspection and recommendations for next steps.
For more information, visit

A Pipe Broke at My Business, What Now?

6/19/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial A Pipe Broke at My Business, What Now? As soon as you are aware of bursting pipes causing water damage in Vancouver, WA, it is critical to take immediate action.

When your business has water damage in Vancouver, WA, it can be overwhelming. The amount of loss you incur depends both on how long the bursting pipes are gushing water, and how long before the cleaning process begins. It is important to know what actions to take immediately, such as fix the broken pipe, and what could occur if you do not, including mold and secondary damage.

Steps to Take Immediately

As soon as you become aware of the water problem at your commercial property, there are steps to take to reduce further damage and save money:

• Contact a water restoration service as soon as possible. This type of company will arrange to be on site, typically within four hours.
• After the specialists arrive, the process includes stopping the source of the problem, such as repairing bursting pipes. Then the damage will be assessed, water extracted, premises dried and items restored to prior condition when possible.
• The majority of insurance companies cover loss from water damage. This phone call should be made as soon as time allows.

Problems From Waiting too Long

If the water is left sitting for an extended time, whether you are unaware of the problem or choose not to take immediate action, secondary damage may occur:

• Mold infestation is a serious concern when water is left to sit. Mold can quickly spread, causing further damage to other parts of the building that were not initially impacted by the standing water.
• Standing water may cause irreparable destruction to appliances, electrical systems, foundations, ceilings or walls.

As soon as you are aware of bursting pipes causing water damage in Vancouver, WA, it is critical to take immediate action. Acting right away will allow your business to be up and running as soon as possible. It will also prevent secondary damage and mold from occurring, which could lead to a more time intensive and expensive process. For more information, visit

The Costly Phenomena of Hail Damage

6/13/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage The Costly Phenomena of Hail Damage When hail damage strikes your commercial property, consider contacting a storm damage cleanup and restoration team.

Although perhaps not as spectacular as flooding, tornadoes, or hurricanes, hail may be one of the most costly and damaging weather occurrences each year, according to many climatological experts. With estimates of damage in the billions of dollars, property owners and farmers face losses that only seem to grow with each passing year. Roof damage, smashed windshields, and wrecked crops are only a few of the possible scenarios in Vancouver, WA, when hail strikes.

Size Matters

Hail typically appears during a severe thunderstorm and can often range in size from half of an inch to softball size. When hail reaches about one inch in diameter, it can become capable of immense property damage. As the ice ball size increases, damage may also increase to automobiles, buildings, and machinery. When the hail size rating moves from cosmetic to functional, and finally to irreparable, the destruction may begin to affect employees and their livelihood.

Broken Windows

It is probably no surprise that water damage often follows a severe hail storm. Broken windows and roof damage are only part of the problem. As broken and hail-cracked siding allows rain to seep into the building, insulation can soak up water and cause a great deal of water damage. The same is true of missing shingles and wind-torn flashing. Torrential rain can seep beneath roofing materials and cause water to collect in attics, do electrical damage, and even result in flooding.

Finding Help

Hail can cause roof damage, but it can also cause enough destruction to close your building, and perhaps temporarily close your business. To rectify the situation, when hail damage strikes your commercial property in Vancouver, WA, consider contacting a storm damage cleanup and restoration team to help get your building open again. The team can limit further damage and reduce the building’s down time. That can ultimately save you money and keep your employees or tenants happy.
For more information, visit

Hidden Water

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Hidden Water We're Here to Help.

It's the water that you don't see after a leak that causes the most problems.  It could contain bacteria, mold and other unseen damage. Before you risk further damaging the value of your facility or home by attempting to independently clean up the mess, call the SERVPRO professionals to ensure all aspects of your water damage are addressed properly. ensuring that further damage is not caused from hesitating to take action. SERVPRO professionals are trained to clean and restore your facility or home by identifying the water source, measuring the temperature and humidity for drying analysis, surveying the extent of the damage, performing emergency extractions, applying necessary treatments, utilize drying equipment and monitor drying, and disposing of all refuse.. We work closely with most all insurance carriers making the process run smoothly. "Like it never even happened." 

Please call SERVPRO of E. Vancouver/Clark Co. as soon as possible 360-254-0049 for 24 hours a day 7 days a week service and response.

Winter Weather Preparation

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Winter Weather Preparation Be ready for winter storms


  • Protect your pipes from freezing. Allow water to drip from faucets when temperatures dip below freezing. Wrap the outdoor faucets with an insulated faucet cover or towel.
  • If leaving your structure for more than a few days, consider turning off the water supply. Have a designated person checking in on your structure. Keep your home or business at a moderate temperature.
  • Leave cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes observing the status daily.
  • Clear gutters of all debris, leaves and other objects that can lead to blockages causing roof damage and interior water leakage/damage. 
  • Keep walkways and nearby storm drains clear of debris to alleviate flood hazard potentials.

Whether it is heavy winds, rain, freezing temperatures, sleet or snow, all these factors can cause costly damage. While we cannot control the weather, we here at SERVPRO, are here to help you take a preventative approach and help take the sting out of winter weather. 

Don't be caught off guard!

Further Question and/or Mitigation Needs, Please Call 360-254-0049

Faster to any Disaster