Recent Posts

Fixing a Basement Flood in 3 Steps

10/8/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Fixing a Basement Flood in 3 Steps Flooded basement in Vancouver,WA

Sometimes you do all the right things to prevent a flooded basement, but it still happens. This is often due to extreme weather or a mechanical failure with the sump pump. Basement flooding is a big job that needs your immediate attention. Though it is a lot of work, it comes down to three key steps:

1. Be safe

Electrical shock is the biggest, most immediate risk to your health when you have a basement flood. Once water is in contact with live electricity, you cannot enter or even touch the water. Be sure to have the electricity (and gas) to your property turned off if the water in your basement is high enough to reach electrical outlets or other appliances.

2. Remove water

Once the electricity to your property is turned off, you need to remove all the water from the basement flood. It’s ideal to have the water pumped, so the job can be done as quickly as possible. If you are waiting for professional help to arrive, go ahead and use any resource you can to start water removal. Materials begin to break down quickly in water, and mold can even start developing in the first 24 to 48 hours.

3. Clean and restore

Building materials that are below the flood line are going to need to be removed and replaced. This may include subflooring, carpet pads, and wallboard. Electrical outlets and wiring that have been submerged should also be replaced. Carpet damaged from a basement flood of Category 1 water may be saved and dried outdoors. Wallboard above the flood line may also be saved.

Don’t assume flood damage in Vancouver, WA, is included under your insurance coverage. Water damage is a complicated claim, and it’s typically not covered if the damage is from a weather-related event. Sudden and unexpected floods from pipe or line failures are typically covered; however, not if the damage is due to the neglect of a leaky pipe that had been ignored.

Cooking Can Cost an Estimated $853 Million per Year!

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Cooking Can Cost an Estimated $853 Million per Year! Stay safe while cooking.

Cooking fires are the leading cause home fires and fire-related injuries in the US. Fire Departments respond to an estimated 156,600 home structure fires every year and 2 out of 5 cooking related.  More that $853 Million* in property damages each year are fires as a result of cooking. Thousand of cooking related fire injuries are reported every year.  SERVPRO offers you these safety tips to ensure your safety and your homes safety. 

Call SERVPRO of E. Vancouver/Clark Co. @ 360-254-0049

  1. Don't ever wear loose clothing while cooking
  2. Never leave cooking food unattended
  3. Check food regularly and never leave the house
  4. Keep children away from the cooking area
  5. Keep any flammables far away from the cooking area
  6. Clean cooking area often to prevent grease buildup
  7. Purchase a Fire extinguisher and be properly trained
  8. Always check the kitchen before going to bed
  9. Make sure smoke alarms are installed on each level of the home and outside all sleeping areas.

Home Fire Facts

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Home Fire Facts Boarding up a home while working with the Red Cross

SERVPRO: Proud National Sponsor of American Red Cross Ready Rating Program.

Home Fires, America's Biggest Disaster Threat.

  • Nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200  injuries, and costing $554 million in property damage.
  • On average, one of every 22 home fires started by Christmas trees result in death.
  • Candle fires are four times as likely to occur during the winter holidays.
  • During the winter holiday season, an average of 40 home fires per day are caused by children playing.
  • The number of home fires the American Red Cross has responded to has risen 10% since 2000.
  • Having a working smoke alarm reduces one's chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.

Sources: American Red Cross, U.S. Fire Administration, and the National Fire Protection Association.

For further questions or help with fire clean-up needs, please contact SERVPRO of E. Vancouver/Clark Co. 360-254-0049

Storm Damage Remediation

9/19/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Storm Damage Remediation Air mover on a commercial storm damage in Camas, WA

As homeowners in Camas, WA, and other locations around the country are likely to attest, the clean up, repair, and restoration chores that emerge after a damaging storm are at minimum, a nuisance, and in many cases, a much more serious undertaking. Storm damage remediation can range from a clean up to a tear out to a rebuild, depending on the type and extent of the destruction.

The Usual Suspect: Water

One of the most frequent and frustrating problems property owners face is the damaging effects of water infiltration. To further complicate the challenge of inundation, floodwater from rivers and streams brings the specter of biological contamination, commonly known as black water. Once a destructive storm has passed, assessment of its damage may begin and progress to the following procedures:

  1. The extraction of water through pumping, mopping and dehumidification.
  2. Tear out of wet materials to prevent mold growth.
  3. Drying of the structure.
  4. Decontamination of salvageable materials.
  5. Repair and replacement of compromised building material and furnishings.

While it is true that many materials that have been subjected to black water contamination will have to be discarded, other types of water damage can be mitigated. A professional assessment can be very helpful in making the correct determination, especially with regard to the safety of the home and its furnishings.

Documentation is Vital

Document the damage before initiating storm restoration. It is likely to be necessary in filing flood insurance claims, and there may be a delay in the arrival of an adjuster if flooding is widespread. Digital pictures and/or video that can be easily emailed are the preferred media.

Humanity’s relationship to the planet’s most abundant natural resource can seem paradoxical, particularly in the midst of a tear out of the cherished furnishings of a home. Keeping water where it belongs and a balanced perspective are central to the experience of homeownership.

The EPA Has Guidelines for Do-It-Yourself Mold Removal

9/12/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation The EPA Has Guidelines for Do-It-Yourself Mold Removal Mold damage in a Vancouver, WA residential

The government knows that house mold is a problem. They know that removal should be left to professionals. However, they also know that regardless of what they say, you will try to remove it yourself. With that in mind, the EPA has published guidelines for do-it-yourself mold removal. After seeing what is involved, you may decide to contact local mold removal specialists after all. You will find them in Vancouver, WA, and the surrounding area. There are several conditions under which you should not attempt the removal.

  • Do not attempt removal if the mold growth extends beyond a single area of 10 square feet.
  • If you have health issues, consult your health professional before attempting cleanup.
  • If your plan is to solve your mold problem with paint and caulk, stop here. The mold needs to be removed and not just covered up.
    Do Not Attempt Mold Removal Without Basic

Safety Equipment

House mold removal is serious business and safe removal calls for the use of safety equipment.

  • Wear an N-95 mask. These are available at your local hardware store.
  • Wear long gloves that extend to the middle of the forearm.
  • Wear protective goggles that do not have air vents. Your goal with goggles is to keep the mold spores away from your eyes.
    It’s Time to Start the Actual Removal Process
    If your mold situation meets the guidelines and if you have the proper equipment, then you are ready to get started. There are some things to keep in mind.
  • Your job here is to clean the mold, not make it airborne and spread it through the house.
  • Don’t expect things to return to the condition they were in before the mold.
  • Anyone who is not properly protected should not be near or part of the mold removal.
    As you can see, the safe removal of house mold is a detailed and complicated process. For this reason, many people eventually decide to call upon mold removal professionals to handle the job.

The Risks of Commercial Polybutylene Piping

9/12/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial The Risks of Commercial Polybutylene Piping Air mover on a bathroom leak over the basement in a Vancouver, WA church

If you have an older commercial property, it may have polybutylene pipes. As a staple of late twentieth-century construction, it was widely implemented as a cheaper alternative to traditional piping. This material was later found to have problems with longevity. Your Vancouver, WA, business could be at risk because of this pipe type, and here is what to look for and consider.

Identifying the Pipes

The most widely implemented use for this material was to feed water from a water line into a commercial building. The polymer typically comes in a few colors: white, gray and blue. These pipes are typically located in or around a number of locations:

  • Basements
  • Utilities
  • Water meters
  • Shutoff valves
  • Water heaters

If you are unsure of what material your business utilizes, an inspector or plumber may be able to give you a definitive answer. The tubing types often look similar and can easily be misidentified by untrained individuals.

Considering Reasons to Replace

A class action lawsuit in 1995, Cox v. Shell Oil, won in favor of consumers with the conclusion that polybutylene pipes damaged too easily and were not a proper installation. It phased out of the market in the United States following that.

Typical chemicals in the water supply, such as chlorine, deteriorate the interior of the pipe until it breaks. This risks a pipe break leading to costly water damage. Local building codes may even explicitly forbid the polymer piping from being used due to these risks.

Replacing the Pipes

With the knowledge of why the pipes are dangerous, you are likely wondering how to remedy it. You can work out what’s salvageable from your old system with the assistance of a plumber. Most likely, you will be advised to install new plumbing.

Treating a Broken Pipe

If you cannot replace the pipes in the near future, you should plan for potential damage. An expert water damage treatment crew can remove water from the affected areas of your property. Alternatively, updated plumbing and proper maintenance of the system can help prevent repair costs related to any problematic polybutylene.

How To Dry-Clean Your Smoke Damaged Clothing

8/28/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How To Dry-Clean Your Smoke Damaged Clothing Fire damage in storage on Lacamas, WA

If you recently experienced a fire at your Lacamas, WA, business, and have business clothing that was damaged and can only be laundered by dry-cleaning, you are probably wondering what you can do to fix the appearance and the smell. Fortunately, help is here. Follow these three steps to get your items back in shape.

1. Remove Any Visible Soot

If your clothing has a lot of soot just sitting on it, remove as much as you can before taking any further cleaning steps. You can use a vacuum cleaner or simply shake the clothes off in the outdoor air to get off as much debris as possible.

2. Find Good Content Storage

It is often a good idea to use a fire restoration company, or somewhere similar, to store your smoke damaged items after removing excess soot. This is an important step in the content storage and cleaning process as it gives you somewhere to house everything that needs to be cleaned, rather than forcing you to store it all somewhere that could become soiled from any remaining ashes.

3. Dry Clean Your Clothing

You will want to choose a dry-cleaning company with extensive experience in handling post-fire clothing in order to ensure that your clothing has the best chance of being fully restored. In some cases, the fire restoration and clean-up company that is storing your items may be able to clean them and return them to their original state. Do your research and make sure that the company handling your possessions is one that you can trust.

Dry-cleaning will be your best bet to get your work clothes back in shape after your business’s Lacamas, WA, fire. Understanding your preliminary steps and the importance of research before making any decisions will help you increase your chances of getting your clothing back to the way they were before the damage.

How To Prepare for a Storm

8/21/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage How To Prepare for a Storm Roof damaged by a wind storm in a Orchards, WA home

As a business owner in Orchards, WA, you know you can't prepare for every eventuality. There are too many problems that can crop up with your commercial building. However, you can prepare for some worst-case scenarios. With the help of a commercial storm damage repair crew, you can create a storm preparedness plan to help you be ready for the aftermath of bad weather. Use these four tips to get started.

1. Collect an Emergency Kit

Having a first-aid kit on hand during bad weather can give you and your employees peace of mind. Your kit should be full of bandages, blankets and nonperishable foods. Make this kit available even when you're not there to help keep everyone who uses your building safe.

2. Institute an Evacuation Plan

How should people leave the building during a storm? Create an evacuation plan for every situation that may affect your area. During flooding, for example, you may want people to go to higher ground. During a tornado, however, your employees may be better served by finding a structurally sound place inside of the building to hunker down.

3. Write Up a Contact List

You may not always be there when a storm strikes. Your employees need to know who to call if a storm damages your building. Part of good property management is creating a contact list. This can include emergency service numbers, and you may also want to include phone numbers for plumbers, storm damage remediation teams and the like.

4. Make a Backup Plan

Think about what you would do if your building can no longer be occupied. In this part of a storm preparedness plan, you may want to come up with a business continuity plan. This can include having interruption insurance or setting up a temporary office space.

You may never know how a storm is going to affect your building until it is over. You can create a storm preparedness plan to help yourself get ready for the worst-case scenario.

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