Recent Posts

Job of the Quarter - April 2019

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Job of the Quarter - April 2019 Our team at work!

Each quarter SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville highlights our “Job of the Quarter”. Basically, a loss we cleaned and restored that highlights not only our breadth of services, but the scale of work we are able to complete.

This quarter was no exception. A storage facility in Virginia Beach suffered a devastating fire started inside one of the storage units. The fire quickly turned to 167 units that were emblazoned and ended in only 80 of those units being salvageable.

We were called to the job to help clean up this unfortunate situation. “Wait a minute?”… you might be thinking, “Virginia Beach?”. That’s right. We have large loss teams that specialize in servicing our commercial clients in whatever location they may need us. The ability to respond directly to our customer’s needs outside of just our local market sets us apart from our competition. We are here to help, no matter where you need it!

Our teams hit the road running and were able to work with each individual storage unit owner to determine which items they would like to salvage and which items were to be disposed. After the debris removal was complete, the 80 salvageable units were cleaned, sanitized, and restored to pre loss conditions. The work did not end there, however. Our team then was responsible for the demolition and removal of the 87 units that were deemed a total loss. Please see our picture to the left of our team in action operating an excavator to complete the demolition portion of this job.

Helping people is certainly our passion, and in this case, we were able to get this business operational quickly and help their customers clean and organize their affected belongings quickly. We were honored to be chosen to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Happy 10 Year Anniversary!

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Happy 10 Year Anniversary! Our SERVPRO family!

May 2019 marks a very big milestone for the Wall Family. 10 years as SERVPRO owners and operators!

Many people don’t know the personal journey behind our SERVPRO franchises and many more don’t realize that SERVPROs are independently owned and operated.

There are over 1800 SERVPRO franchises throughout the United States and Canada. Our family runs and operates three of these offices: Hunt Valley, Harford County, and New Cumberland/Carlisle, PA. It’s been a path of quick growth and an incredible amount of dedication and hard work by an entire team of people.

We thought sharing our SERVPRO story might be appropriate for our 10-year anniversary. So, here’s how we got here…

Jim and I met while working in Philadelphia, PA at a public accounting firm, KPMG. We were engaged quickly… 6 months! And, at the same time, left our public accounting firm jobs to pursue other career paths. Newlywed life was good and our jobs were solid. That is until the recession rocked our country to the core. We found ourselves laid off (both of us), living with Jim’s parents, and pregnant with our first child. Life never goes the way you plan it, does it?

An opportunity to open a SERVPRO franchise in Hunt Valley, MD presented itself and we are thankful every day for taking the chance. SERVPRO corporate provides tremendous support to their franchisees and their core values aligned directly with ours. It was a great fit, and luckily due to the optimism youth can bring, we took the risk, moved our life to Northern Baltimore County, rolled up our sleeves, and got to work.

This is very much the abbreviated version and those 10 years hold a lot of trials and tribulations along our path to growth. It is ultimately the solid team we have been so lucky to build that has helped us grow to be among the top 20 of 1800 SERVPRO franchises. Consistently. Year after year.

We want to take the opportunity to thank all of you directly for your continued support through out the last decade. Ultimately, if it wasn’t for a customer, we would not have the opportunity to be a business. Thank you very much for giving us a chance to earn your business not just once, but for a lifetime.

Many thanks and looking forward to another great 10 years on this SERVPRO journey!

Jim and Trish

Why Did My Basement Flood?

4/3/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Why Did My Basement Flood? Water will find the least path of resistance and it could be into your basement. Be prepared and know how to prevent a flooded home!

Why Did My Basement Flood?

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

There are many reasons for basement flooding including seepage, storm sewer backup, and improper grading among 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 and SERVPRO of Hunt Valley to mitigate the sewage and water damage.

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 provides professional emergency clean up and restoration services on a 24/7 basis. Should you encounter water or sewage damage call our office directly at 410-229-0012.

Top Reasons to Clean HVAC and Ducts

3/4/2019 (Permalink)

Top Reasons to Clean HVAC and Ducts

Your HVAC system not only helps maintain an optimal temperature inside your building, but also prevents dust particles and other harmful contaminants from entering the interiors. A malfunctioning HVAC system, however, is more of a liability than an asset and fails miserably at performing its job. Additionally, a dysfunctional HVAC system can cause mold growth. More often than not unclean ducts are the culprits behind malfunctioning HVAC systems. Getting your HVAC system and ducts cleaned regularly pays dividends in the long run. Not sure about whether to get your system cleaned regularly? We, in this post, will give you not one but four reasons to show some love to your HVAC and duct. Take a look.

1.Helps avoid health issues

With time dirt, dust particles, mildew, mold, and allergens settle in and around HVAC ducts. The system circulates these particles with air. Inhaling air laden with these contaminants can give rise to a number of health issues such as skin allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. Your HVAC's filter cannot trap all these contaminants, which is why it is necessary to get your ducts cleaned regularly.

2.Helps improve performance

Unclean and clogged ducts drag down your system's performance and can result in high energy bills. Cleaning ducts regularly help improve the airflow, which is one of the essential prerequisites for ensuring flawless performance.

3.Adds years to the system’s service life

Studies suggest that 9 out of 10 systems do not last long due to improper or inadequate maintenance. Getting your system cleaned regularly not only adds years to its service life, but also helps avoid costly fixes. Getting your system cleaned regularly can expose underlying mechanic and other issues before they snowball into major concerns.

4.Helps eliminate musty odors

HVAC systems with unclean ducts often circulate stale air with a strong metallic or musty smell. Moisture builds up in the duct often results in a burning smell. To maintain the quality of life, contact an HVAC repair expert who will perform a thorough checkup and address system issues.

SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville is a trusted leader in the clean-up and restoration industry. We are NADCA certified and have completed HVAC and duct cleaning for both large and small commercial facilities. Please give us a call directly at 410-229-0012 for an estimate to help improve the efficiencies of your property.

Does Insurance Cover Mold Remediation?

2/15/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Does Insurance Cover Mold Remediation? Water damage that goes unaddressed can lead to a much bigger and more costly problem!

When Insurance Will and Won’t Cover Mold Remediation

One of the unwelcome consequences of water damage, dampness or humidity is mold overgrowth. People who are sensitive to mold experience wide-ranging health problems including wheezing, nasal stuffiness, coughing, throat irritation, skin and eye irritation. Those who are allergic to mold can experience severe reactions. Mold can worsen the health condition of those who are immune-compromised or have chronic lung/respiratory illnesses. The costs of mold-related diseases are as high as $22.4 billion annually in the U.S. alone as per the Journal of Environmental and Public Health.

Mold is a fungus that occurs naturally and is not visible to the naked eye. Reproducing with the help of spores, mold can infiltrate buildings easily. Mold insurance is an absolute must for homeowners given the high cost of repair and maintenance of buildings that have been damaged by mold.

What does insurance cover mold remediation?

Homeowners insurance typically covers mold damage only when a "covered peril" causes it. The “covered perils” for which mold remediation is covered by insurance companies include:

  • Fire
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Malicious mischief
  • Lightning
  • Damage due to vehicles
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of snow, ice, or sleet
  • Frozen pipes
  • Accidental water overflow from heating, plumbing, sprinkler systems, air conditioners, and household appliances

When does insurance not cover mold remediation?

Home insurance policies do not cover mold remediation if it resulted from preventable causes such as flood, water damage, or high humidity. Homeowners are expected to take preventive measures to avoid mold damage that includes professional cleaning, drying, and regular maintenance.

Standard homeowners’ policies will not provide mold remediation cover for “maintenance” problems such as repeated water leaks, continuous water seepage, humidity problems, and ongoing issues related to condensation, landscaping or drainage. Most homeowners’ policies also do not cover flood damage which is usually provided as a separate add-on.

Addressing water damage at it's onset with the help of professionals at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley/Lutherville is the ideal way to prevent the costly expense of mold remediation.

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.