Recent Posts

Coastal Carolina Condo Development

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Coastal Carolina Condo Development Damaged interior caused by Hurricane Florence

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville was quick to respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Florence's destruction of the Carolina Coast. Our crews were called into help restore eight condo buildings on the coast of North Carolina which suffered varied degrees of water damage from the storm. 

Our team walked each and every room of the eight buildings affected with a member of the condo association board. We worked with them closely documenting the steps to be taken to restore their buildings and educating them on the process along the way. 

Each room had varied degrees of damage and so a thorough and detailed scope of action was necessary. Our team continued to work very closely with the condo association board and property manager keeping them up to date and fully informed on our daily progress for the duration of the project.

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville successfully mitigated water damage in 70 of the condos in this coastal development within the expected time frame of two weeks. We are known for our quick response, but also have a long resume of large-scale jobs with quick turnaround times. We couldn't be more proud of our team and the kind accolades they received from this condo development's property manager:

"SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville was onsite less than 24 hours after contacting them, ready to work...they were able to scope the damage in all units and begin placing drying equipment within 48 hours of arriving onsite. Demo of wet and damaged areas began shortly thereafter and was extremely organized. The SERVPRO staff was courteous and worked amazingly well with my owners and guests onsite. They made a huge job, and even bigger mess, something manageable. I highly recommend them because of their professional attitude, meticulous work ethic, and unmatched experience." 

Mold Growth

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Mold Growth Mold growth in a basement after significant water loss

At SERVPRO we are not only dedicated to helping our customers get back to their lives after a disaster, but we also feel it's important to educate our customers so that they can make informed decisions. Mold is a common problem that most homeowners in the area deal with. What is mold? They are a type of fungi that exist everywhere and only need moisture and a compatible surface to survive. There are at least a hundred thousand different species of mold. While some types of mold are benign, some other types can be toxic. 

To address mold growth, it’s important to know the different types of mold you’re dealing with. Each one comes with its unique characteristics, and growth patterns. It’s also important to know what areas are attractive to mold in your home.

Here are some of the common mold species found in your home:

Acremonium: Found on dead plants and soil, it grows indoors on paper and drywall tiles.

Alternaria: This mold is very commonly found on food, plants, rotting farmland manure and is resistant to most fungicides. 

Aspergillus: There are many species of Aspergillus

Botrytis: Associated with plants, high humidity levels and plenty of plants attract this mold.

Our technicians receive advanced training to deal with your mold issues. When you are looking for the best mold remediation services, SERVPRO is the only name to trust. Committed to providing excellent remediation and restoration services, SERVPRO has the dual advantage of highly trained staff and cutting edge technology.

Causes of a Flooded Basement

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Causes of a Flooded Basement Sump pump failure caused this flooded basement

Main Causes Of Basement Flooding

Whether in Towson, Timonium, or Parkton, flooding of basements is one of the most common issues homeowners face. Although flooding occurs during the rains or rapid snowmelts, it can also occur in dry weather.

There are many reasons for basement flooding including seepage, storm sewer backup, improper sloping and others. As the basement lies in the lowest level of a building, it is prone to flooding.

What causes basement flooding?

These are the most common causes of basement flooding:

Foundation Leaks: Water can seep into the foundation if there are cracks in it. The risk of flood in your foundation is more if your home is near groundwater. Cracks in the foundation can lead to significant water leakage into the basement.

Leaking basement windows: Windows in the basement can leak and let water creep in during rains. Whenever it rains, there could be a significant collection of water on the windowsills. Fixing the windowsill is the only option to prevent basement flooding.

Blocked sewer: If the manifold that connects the public sewer system to your house is blocked it can lead to floods in your basement. It is important to call local authorities immediately to address blocked gutters.

Debris in gutters: The gutters play a critical role in preventing basement flooding as they carry away rain water from the home.  If they are clogged or damaged, they can overflow during rains and allow water to build up. If the ground near the basement soaks up too much water, it can seep into the basement as well.

Improper grading or sloping: If the yard does not slope away in the right manner, rain water does not drain effectively. If the sloping is towards your home rather than away, excess water can result in basement flooding. 

Improper downspouts: Downspouts channel water away from the foundation and should be at least 5 to 6 feet away from the wall of the basement. If the downspouts are missing or broken, water tends to pool near the house and slowly seeps into the basement.

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville provides professional cleanup and restoration services on a 24 x 7 basis to ensure your building and basement is free from flooding and other water-related damage.

Ice Damming

1/9/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Ice Damming Illustration of ice damming

What Is Ice Damming?

Weather is often the most obvious culprit behind a host of problems including building or structural damage, injuries, mold growth, water damage or flood.

An ice dam is a common occurrence in winter in areas where snow is in plenty such as the Hereford Zone. Basically, an ice dam refers to build-up of ice on sloped roofs’ edges of heated buildings. The build up occurs when melting snow beneath a snow pack reaches the roof edge or eave and freezes there.

The frozen snow on the eave prevents the meltwater drainage that further builds the ice dam. The backup of meltwater causes water leakage and structural damage to buildings and their contents. Ice dams can also damage ceilings, walls, insulation and other areas. When there are areas of dampness, the risk of mold growth is also high.

What causes ice dams?

Along with snow, the outside surface temperature on the roof should be more than 32 degrees F with lower surfaces on the roof being less than 32.  When outer surface temperature is more than 32, the snow begins to melt. The melted snow flows down into the roof and reaches the lower surface where the temperature is less than 32 and here is where it freezes forming an ice dam.

Sources of heat within the building lead to formation of ice dams include:

  • Chimneys
  • Air leakage
  • Improper insulation
  • Exhaust systems

Ice dams and injuries

Ice dams can cause serious injuries and some businesses and homeowners have experienced property damage up to $20,000 because of this phenomenon.

Many of the claims are because of property damage that occurred due to pooled water in the ice dam or roofs collapsing.

Why choose SERVPRO? SERVPRO is the leading specialist in water removal and clean-up when your property or structure is at high risk of damage from ice damming or water leaks. With state-of-the-art drying techniques and water removal equipment, SERVPRO can help restore the building to its original glory.

What to do When You Have Frozen Pipes

1/8/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO What to do When You Have Frozen Pipes SERVPRO responded to a burst pipe at a 12 story office building in Cockeysville, MD in the midst of the freeze-and-thaw winter pattern

Every year when winter arrives, homeowners and commercial establishments brace for icy conditions and plummeting temperatures. Close to 250,000 homes experience burst or frozen pipes in the U.S. every year. In fact, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville responded to a burst pipe at a 12 story office building in Cockeysville, MD in the midst of the freeze-and-thaw winter pattern. A pipe broke on the top floor of a 12 story office building affecting every floor beneath it and 30 occupied units. Our team was able to extract and dry the building in 72 hours with minor demolition required. All tenants were able to stay open for business throughout mitigation.

Apart from cutting off access to running water, frozen pipes can damage property when they burst because of the immense pressure created in the faucet, so what should you do when pipes are frozen? Here are some of the emergency measures you can take to thaw frozen pipes:

  • The most popular pipe-thawing option is with hot water. Wrap the pipe with a burlap bag or a heavy towel to concentrate heat against it. Place a bucket to catch excess water and pour boiling water on the towel.
  • Some plumbers also advise pouring a big bowl of hot water to which some salt is added down the frozen drain. The slurry acts like rock salt that is used to melt sidewalks that are covered with ice. Repeating this a couple of times can get water flowing again through the pipe.
  • A thaw machine is a portable device used by plumbers to thaw the frozen pipe. The thaw machine provides high currency, low-voltage electricity to thaw the pipe. As sections start to thaw, warm water flows through the ice and melts it. 
  • Propane torch with flame-spreader nozzle is used by some, but this can be a dangerous device to use. When not used carefully, the torch flame can ignite or damage wall behind pipe. Placing fireproof material between the wall and pipe can be a precautionary measure.
  • Using a garden hose is also one of the safer options to thaw pipes. Insert a hose as far as possible and feed hot water using a funnel at the other end.

Calling a plumber immediately is always the best course of action to prevent serious consequences of a frozen pipe, but if you need mitigation from a burst or frozen pipe, SERVPRO is the trusted leader in the cleaning and restoration industry and has the required expertise, technology and training to handle wide-ranging water damage restoration services.

SERVPRO Cares

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO SERVPRO Cares SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville was thrilled to raise $2,700 for the children of St. Vincent's Villa.

It has always been important for SERVPRO of Hunt Valley / Lutherville owners Jim and Trish Wall to give back to the community. They were thrilled to be a part of St. Vincent's Villa Pancake Breakfast with Santa, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus on Saturday, December 8th in Timonium, MD.

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley reached out to friends, family, vendors and to the public, and boy did they respond! We collected $1,350 which was matched by the company for a total donation of $2,700 for gift cards for the children of St. Vincent's, a comprehensive residential treatment facility for children, ages 5-14 operated by Catholic Charities of Baltimore. Our generous donors had their names written on ornaments placed on a tree which was presented to St. Vincent's along with gift cards and small gifts by our festively dressed marketing staff, and our very own SERVPRO Storm-troopers.

As you can imagine, the Storm troopers were a big hit with the children. According to Trish, "This morning was truly one of the most special and rewarding experiences I have ever had. Watching those kids’ faces was priceless and getting to interact with them to make them smile was amazing. Thank you all for making this a possibility and I really hope we can make it an annual event."

5 Steps to Putting Out a Kitchen Grease Fire

10/24/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 5 Steps to Putting Out a Kitchen Grease Fire Concentrate while you are cooking

Over 160,000 home fires happen while people are cooking and, unfortunately, cooking is the leading cause of home fires. About two-thirds of those fires began when food and other cooking materials caught on fire. If you know how to respond to a kitchen fire, and specifically a grease fire, you'll be prepared to minimize damages when an emergency happens. Quick action could reduce the need for fire cleanup and the cost of hiring restoration professionals.

1. Prevent fires by removing flammable items from the area.

Towels, flowing sleeves, curtains, and ingredients that could catch on fire should be moved away from the stove. Clean out burners, so that crumbs and caked-on grease can't burst into flames while you're cooking.

2. Stay with your food.

Too many home chefs get food cooking and then walk into the other room while they wait for pots to boil or pans to heat up. If something in the kitchen does catch on fire, you should be there to quickly respond.

3. Cut off the fire's fuel supply.

One of the quickest ways to put out a cooking fire is to cover the flames with a cookie sheet or a large metal lid. DO NOT POUR WATER ON THE FIRE. Turn off the heat source.

4. Put out the flames with appropriate materials.

Throwing water or baking powder on a grease fire could cause heavy damage and serious injuries. Be very careful to use baking soda or even a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher to put out kitchen fires if the flames haven't died down. Never use water to put out a grease fire because it will cause the grease to splatter, hitting people and flammable items throughout your kitchen.

5. Contact the fire department from outside the home.

If you haven't been able to put out the fire at this point, it's best to evacuate the home. Once the fire is out of control, you only have a couple of minutes to get everyone out of the house and to safety. Use a cellphone or the neighbor's phone to contact the Timonium,MD, fire department.

Flood Damage and Storm Damage

10/18/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Flood Damage and Storm Damage Damaged roof caused by storm that impacted our Cockeysville,MD area

When looking into purchasing more weather protection for your business, it is important to recognize the types of damages you could end up with. One problem associated with storms that many people may not consider a risk at first is flooding, which can wreak havoc on your business structure and ruin your inventory. Business owners in Cockeysville,MD, have often prepared for storm damage, but preparation for flood damage goes one step further.

Kinds of Damage

High gusts of wind and excessive rain can be caused by storms, but in addition to the types of damage that can occur under these conditions, flooding can also create these problems:

  • Cause erosion in the base structure of your building
  • Destroy inventory, especially electronics and paper supplies
  • Create conditions for mold growth
  • Carry in unsanitary chemicals and harmful debris

It is clear that these problems can present a real risk to your company, so it is important to figure out what the next steps should be.

Damage Prevention

Regardless of whether you are focusing on general storm or flood damage, there are several preventative measures you can take. Do this for general weather protection:

  • Install a lightning rod on the roof of your building
  • Keep more valuable inventory away from windows
  • Strengthen walls with an extra layer of construction

Of course, flooding can bring about a whole new list of damage possibilities, so there are many other precautions you can exercise:

  • Reconstructing the floor so it does not slope down
  • Sealing shut areas where utilities enter the building
  • Keeping valuable inventory above ground level

Final Step

Even though you can often carry out some of these preparatory tasks without much trouble, there is always the potential for damages when a major storm occurs. Calling a professional cleanup service after suffering flood damage is the smartest thing to do. They will assess the situation through a lens of expertise and ensure safety standards are practiced when restoring your business to its former glory.

Understanding Why Your Sewer Backed Up

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Understanding Why Your Sewer Backed Up Sewage back up in Towson North,MD

One important part of a residential sewer cleanup in Towson North, MD, is figuring out why your home was flooded with sewage. Your team of water damage experts can help you figure out the source of the damage, which helps you create a better repair plan. You can also use this quick guide to learn more about the potential causes.

1. Damaged Pipes

A damaged pipe may allow sewage to leak into your home. If a tree root has cracked open the pipe in your yard, the sewage may fill the ground and travel into the lower levels of your home. In some cases, a pipe in your walls could have burst and unleashed sewer water.

2. Faulty Fixtures

A flooded toilet could also be the source of dirty flood water. While this water may not contain fecal matter, it may still have traces of urine from the bowl of the toilet. A broken or clogged toilet can cause the water to fill your bathroom.

3. Heavy Rainfall

When there's a lot of rain in Towson North, MD, the water table level can rise exponentially. This extra water can flood into the city sewer line. When this line reaches its capacity, the water and sewage have to go somewhere. You may not think of a sewer cleanup being tied to a storm, but it does happen when the system gets overloaded.

4. Clogs

Clogs and blockages are another common cause of a sewer backup. The blockage could be located in your plumbing or it could be in the sewer main pipes. No matter where the clog is, it causes the same problem. The sewage leaving your house cannot travel past the clog. The pressure builds up and causes the contents of the pipes to travel backwards into your home.

Sewer doesn't often fill a home, but when it does you need to start sewer cleanup as soon as possible. Understanding the potential cause of your flooding can make creating a repair plan easier.

Water Damage: The Reason You Pay for Business Insurance

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage: The Reason You Pay for Business Insurance Water supply line burst causing flooding in a Lutherville, MD store

Water damage can be one of the costliest repairs made by business owners. Between the broken pipes and water cleanup, owners can be left paying the expense of not only the damage caused but for the loss of business during the restoration. This combined loss is what makes business insurance so important; however, it is also essential to understand what business insurance covers, standard exclusions, and why you may benefit from additional coverage.

1. Broken Pipes

As anyone living in Lutherville, MD, knows, the winter can be problematic for even the most prepared business owners. Frigid temperatures can potentially lead to frozen water lines, which cause increased pressure and may eventually burst the line. Most commercial insurance policies likely cover the sudden damage caused by burst lines.

2. Storm Damage

Additionally, most policies will cover storm damage, like broken windows or damaged roofs, but this can depend on the type of damage. For example, hail damage that causes a broken window is likely covered; however, heavy rains that cause a flood is most likely not covered under a traditional business insurance policy.

3. Be Aware of Exclusions

Every policy will have exclusions. Some of the typical exclusions that will require additional coverage are flooding and sewer backups. The water damage caused by these two issues alone can create dire situations for a business and its continued operations, often requiring the work of a restoration company. If you want to cover these two disasters, then you may want to add an endorsement to your current policy as well as purchase flood insurance separately.

4. Combining Flood Insurance and Business Insurance

The combination of flood insurance and business insurance with an additional sewer and drain endorsement can be a balanced policy that protects you from numerous potential disasters; however, it is still essential to be aware of any exclusions or deductibles.

Water damage can cripple a business and, depending on your coverage, you, as the owner, may be left footing the bill; however, if you choose the right combination of insurance policies and endorsements, the potential risks of flooding and burst pipes may not seem like that big of a concern.