Keep It Dry: 5 Essential Steps to Prevent a Flooded Basement In Your Phila. Home
A flooded basement can be a homeowner's nightmare, causing extensive damage and disruption. Fortunately, by taking proactive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of basement flooding in your Phila home or business. In this guide, we'll walk you through five essential steps to safeguard your basement from water damage.
- Inspect and Seal Foundation Cracks:
- Regular Checks: Conduct regular inspections of your basement walls and floors. Look for any cracks or gaps where water could seep through.
- Sealant Application: Use a high-quality waterproof sealant to fill and seal any identified cracks. This helps prevent water infiltration during heavy rainfall or snowmelt.
- Ensure Proper Gutter Maintenance:
- Clear Debris: Regularly clean gutters and downspouts to remove leaves, twigs, and debris that can block the flow of water.
- Direct Water Away: Ensure downspouts extend at least 3-4 feet away from your home's foundation, directing water away from the basement.
- Install a Sump Pump:
- Basement Sump Pump: Consider installing a sump pump in your basement. This device helps prevent water buildup by pumping excess water away from the foundation.
- Regular Testing: Test your sump pump regularly to ensure it's functioning correctly, especially before the rainy season.
- Improve Yard Grading:
- Sloping Away from Foundation: Check the grading around your home. The ground should slope away from the foundation to prevent water from pooling near the basement walls.
- Add Soil if Necessary: If needed, add soil to create a gentle slope away from the house, ensuring proper water drainage.
- Invest in Basement Waterproofing:
- Interior and Exterior Waterproofing: Consider professional basement waterproofing, both inside and outside your home.
- French Drains: Install French drains around the perimeter of your basement to redirect water away from the foundation.
By taking these five proactive steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of a flooded basement and protect your home from water damage. Regular maintenance and investment in preventative measures will pay off in the long run, providing peace of mind during heavy rains or melting snow.
Call SERVPRO for emergency response, 24/7 for any flooding disaster. 267-710-2323
5 Tips to Avoid Frozen Pipes in Your Philadelphia County Home This Winter
Preventing frozen pipes is crucial as winter approaches, especially in regions with cold climates, like Philadelphia, PA.
When water freezes in your plumbing system, it can expand and lead to pipe bursts, causing significant damage and costly repairs. Here are some tips to help you avoid frozen pipes:
- Insulate your pipes:
- Add insulation to pipes in unheated areas, such as basements, crawl spaces, and attics. You can use foam pipe insulation, heat tape, or fiberglass sleeves.
- Pay special attention to pipes near exterior walls, as they are more susceptible to cold temperatures.
- Seal any gaps and cracks:
- Seal gaps or cracks in walls and floors near pipes to prevent cold drafts from reaching them.
- Weatherstrip doors and windows to keep cold air out and warm air in.
- Maintain a consistent temperature:
- Keep your home heated, even when you're away. Set your thermostat to a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) to ensure your pipes stay warm.
- Open cabinet doors under sinks to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
- Allow faucets to drip:
- When temperatures drop significantly, allow faucets to drip slowly. This can relieve pressure and help prevent freezing.
- Focus on faucets that are on exterior walls or exposed to cold air.
- Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses:
- Before winter sets in, disconnect and drain garden hoses. Store them indoors to prevent damage.
- Shut off the water supply to outdoor spigots and use insulated faucet covers to protect them.
By taking these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of frozen pipes during the winter months and avoid costly repairs and water damage to your home.
When water disaster does strike, SERVPRO of Pennypack/Bustleton is trained and ready to make it 'like it never even happened'. Call 215-671-7777, 24/7 to respond to any water or fire disaster.
10 Tips to Avoid a Furnace Puff Back in Your Philadelphia, PA Home
Heating season is upon us in Philadelphia and NJ, which has us firing up our furnace after many months of being idle.
Generally turning on the heat is a non-event, but sometimes a malfunctioning or dirty heating unit inside your furnace creates a “puff back”. A puff back is the puff of smoke or oily soot from a malfunctioning heating unit. This oily dust particles settles everywhere. Puff backs can cause minor inconveniences or sever property damage to your property and heating system.
The soot residue from a puff back has different binders. It is bound by hot oils that burst out of the house registers, leaving oily soot everywhere.
Here are 10 Important Tips to Avoid this happening to your home or business.
- Regular Maintenance: The best way to prevent puff backs is through regular furnace maintenance. Schedule annual inspections and cleanings with a qualified HVAC technician.
- Check for Leaks: Inspect the fuel lines and connections for any signs of leakage. If you smell gas or oil contact a professional.
- Maintain Proper Airflow: Ensure that your furnace yas adequate ventilation. Clean or replace filters regularly, and make sure vents and flues are unobstructed. Restricted airflow can lead to incomplete combustion and increase the risk of puff backs.
- Burner Inspection: Regularly inspect and clean the burner, ensuring it’s free from soot, debris and other contaminants. A clean burner is less likely to experience puff backs.
- Install an Oil Accumulator: An oil accumulator can help prevent puff backs by storing excess oil. This prevents unburned oil from entering the combustion chamber during start-up.
- Upgrade to a Modern System: If you have an older furnace, consider upgrading to a more efficient, safer model. Newer furnaces often have better safety features and improved combustion processes.
- Maintain a Clean Chimney: If you have a chimney, ensure it’s clean and free from obstructions. A blocked chimney can lead to poor ventilation and increased risk of puff backs.
- Use High-Quality Fuel: Ensure you are using clean, high-quality fuel. Poor-quality, contaminated fuel can lead to puff backs.
- Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Puff backs can release carbon monoxide (CO) into your home which is extremely dangerous.
- Professional Inspection: If you have experienced a puff back, it’s essential to have a professional inspect and clean your furnace thoroughly. They can identify and address and underlying issues that may have caused the puff back.
SERVPRO of Pennypack/Bustleton is ready to clean the oily soot or smoke residue "Like it never even happened." Our techs always wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including respirators, during this cleanup job. We offer fast, reliable remediation and restoration services for commercial and residential property owners and tenants. Call today for a free estimate at (215) 671-7777.
How To Prepare for a Flood in Your Philadelphia County Home
One of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States is flooding. Floods can happen naturally on coastlines, near rivers, along city streets or even in the desert, and yes in Philadelphia County, PA.
The National Flood Insurance Program cited up to 25% of recent claims have been from low-risk communities. On average, floods cause $6 billion in annual losses in the U.S.
It’s interesting to take a look at your home from above, a satellite, birds-eye view to make sense of the curving streets and lay of the land. Overlaying a flood-zone detail helps to establish if your neighborhood is prone to water. While there are varying levels of flood zones, it’s best to prepare for the worst.
Prevention and timely preparation to handle the potential flooding affect your restoration and replacement loss. Here are a few prevention tips:
- Determine if your home is located in a floodplain
- Listen to local emergency management instructions
- Create a plan if your home is not accessible. This plan is often referred to as a COOP (continuity of operation)
- Review your emergency plans annually
Visit: https://www.ready.gov/floods for a comprehensive plan for your area.
Flood Actions Steps:
BEFORE A FLOOD
- Turn off utilities at the main switch valves.
- Disconnect electrical equipment and appliances
- Move vehicles out of a low-lying garage
- Raise elevators from the bottom
AFTER A FLOOD-SAFETY FIRST
- Account that your family is safe and evacuated to the designated area meeting place.
- If water has moved into your home and evacuation is not possible, move to the upper floor and wait for rescue personnel.
- While evacuating, avoid driving through rising water.
- Do not touch electrical equipment.
- Do not walk through moving water.
- Do not use open flames (gas may be escaping through ruptured mains)
- Avoid floodwaters. Floodwaters may be contaminated with oil, gasoline, raw sewage. Water may be electrically charged.
- Stay out of the home if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Listen to news reports to learn if the community’s water supply is safe to drink
- Return only when authorities deem the area is safe.
SECURE THE PROPERTY
- Contact local emergency officials
- Secure main entrance of building
- Alert Security company and alarm company of the situation.
STABILIZE THE PROPERTY
- Shut off source of water or call qualified party to stop water source
- Give priority to the protection of power plant, fire pumps.
- Open basement of low-level windows to equalize water pressure on the building’s foundation and walls
- Begin water damage mitigation steps only if local authorities deem safe.
- Notify your insurance agent or risk manager.
Dryer Fire Prevention For Your Philadelphia County PA Home
Keep your Philadelphia County PA home risk free with these simple preventative maintenance tips for your household dryer.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, almost 16,000 homes were impacted by fires caused by large appliances of which 92% of the fires were from dryers. Dryer fires accounted for approximately $238 million in property loss, over 350 injuries as well as isolated fatalities. Dryer fires are a fairly common cause of home fires, the potential culprit of these fires were because they failed to clean the dryer vents.
Dryer Fire Prevention Tips
- Clean the lint trap after every load to avoid lint build up, so that it doesn’t cause a fire.
- Someone should be home and awake while the dryer is running.
- Clean the vents outside at least two times a year to clean any lint and dust buildup.
- Clean the motor area with a vacuum, the panel may have to be removed in order to get to it. If there’s lint build up it can ignite if it gets too hot.
- Don’t put mop heads in the dryer. The chemicals on the mop head can ignite from the dryer’s heat.
- Keep the area around the dryer clear. The heat from the dryer might ignite something left too close to it.
Follow us on the web at https://www.SERVPROpennypackbustleton.com/ or on our social media sites. We can always be reached at (215) 671-7777, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Fire Up the Grill, Not Your House: 7 Grill safety Tips Everyone Should Know
Stay safe this summer with these 7 grill tips
Gas grills are involved in an average of a little under 10,000 house fires each year, don’t let your house be one of them! Follow these steps to keep the fire on the grill and not in your house.
- Choose a safe location for your grill
Location is key! Right off of the house on the deck is a common spot to put a grill, but it isn’t a safe one! Grilling in close proximity to the house is a fire hazard. It’s a good rule of thumb to place your grill at least ten ft away from all structures. When choosing a spot make sure the surface is level and away from any overhanging branches and anything flammable.
- Keep a spray bottle on hand
When fat from whatever you’re cooking begins to drip, it’s common for the grill to flare up and cause a section of the grill to catch fire. Keep a spray bottle filled with water near your grill so you can quickly extinguish flames and prevent further spread.
- Never leave an in-use grill unattended
As goes for anything with flames, a lit grill requires constant supervision. It’s wise to stay close to the grill so you can easily see or smell signs of danger such as excessive smoke, flames shooting up higher than usual, or the scent of gas.
Strategically place your grill in a spot that is out of the way and not tempting for small children to go to. Enforcing the 3 foot “kid-free” is a great way to ensure safety and that no accidents occur.
- Clean your grill regularly
When not cleaned regularly, grease buildup on your grill can become a serious fire hazard. It’s a good idea to clean your grill with a grill brush after each time you use it and empty the grease tray as soon as you notice it filling up.
- Store propane tanks away from your house
Keep propane tanks outdoors in a well-ventilated area. To ensure safety, always keep the tank upright and check the valves are turned off fully.
Closed-toed shoes, oven mitts, and an apron are good protective measures to wear. Avoid loose-fitting clothing, dangling jewelry, and tie your hair back if it is long.
Our integration of Docusketch: a state-of-the-art 3D documentation technology
We use the best technology so we can offer you the best best services!
SERVPRO® uses AI? Yes, we do! SERVPRO Team McCabe is always looking for ways to enhance our services, so integrating cutting-edge technology is a natural choice for us. We use Docusketch, a 3D documentation tool to get precise digital floor plans to create estimates for scopes of work.
Docusketch helps us capture 360-degree panoramic photos of every room. These sketches serve multiple purposes, being valuable for our team’s reference and frequently utilized by insurance companies, sub-contractors, and even customers!
So how exactly does it work? Docusketch uses AI software to perform an automated review process that analyzes the compliance and completeness of a scope. This process ensures the information we use to create estimates is as accurate as humanly (or not humanly in this case!) possible.
The primary role of our on-site estimator is to gain a clear understanding of the specific tasks and volume of work necessary to restore an area to its preloss conditions. While AI helps with that process, our real-life estimator picks up on issues/concerns AI can’t. Our estimator prioritizes the safety and comfort of customers and promptly addresses any general, safety, or financial concerns.
With the help of Docusketch, our estimator creates an estimate for the job, taking into account the severity of the damage, area dimensions, and many other factors to produce with the final price.
If you're dealing with a loss, give us a call today and we'll get you an estimate as soon as possible!
24/7, 365, We’re here for you!
Sold on Old? What to Watch for Living in/Buying an Older House
What's lurking behind your walls?
It’s been said that old structures are full of charm, rich history, and memories of what once was, but what else may still be lurking in the walls and halls? Not every part of a home will and should stand the test of time. It’s important to be aware of the structural and safety issues that come with an old house. Depending on what year your home was built, here’s what to look out for:
The EPA issued a final rule banning most asbestos-containing products this year, no new products containing asbestos are to be manufactured. Asbestos exposure can cause several different types of cancer,
so it’s crucial to know what to look for.
Cast-iron pipes were popular before 1980 for their durability and longevity. One of the reasons cast-iron pipes are no longer used is their susceptibility to corrosion and rust.
Lead paint in exterior and interior paint is likely to have been used if it was built before this year.
Before 1970: It’s likely your home doesn’t have any mitigation system in place since radon gas was not considered a serious threat until the 1970s. Unlike newly constructed homes, older homes don’t have the proper ventilation to direct radon gas out of living space.
Between 1960- mid-1970s:
Aluminum wiring on its own isn’t considered a hazardous material. When connected to a terminal made from copper or another metal a corrosive chemical reaction could occur, leading to an electrical fire.
Knob and tube wiring do not have a ground wire, making them incapable of servicing any three-pronged appliances. This type of wiring is far more likely to have unsafe modifications than modern wiring. The age alone of knob and tube wiring is the main reason it can be so unsafe.
Don’t let this information scare you! Most of these problems can be dealt with and resolved if handled properly. SERVPRO® Team McCabe has the resources and skills to help you with these issues, so feel free to reach out!
Calling all Landlords- Three Hacks to Make Life Easier for You and Your Tenants
You hold the key to a good landlord-tenant relationship!
Whether you manage one property or one hundred, follow these simple steps to ensure smooth sailing in the roaring sea of real estate!
- Communicate with tenants- The most obvious and perhaps most overlooked step of them all: clear communication between landlord and tenant helps everyone stay on the same page, ergo eliminating room for gray areas and misunderstandings. While communicating directly with each individual tenant is necessary for some instances, don’t shy away from mass communication. Chances are if one tenant has a question, others are likely thinking the same thing! Facebook groups are a great place to share helpful tips and updates with current and potential tenants.
- Give emergency contact info- In the event of an emergency, it’s crucial for tenants to know who they should contact. Get specific, and provide the names of the preferred vendors for any emergency. It will help put you both at ease knowing there’s a game plan in place.
- Have a written rental agreement- A written document signed by both parties ensures accountability and protection. Written agreements may include anything from who to pay when something breaks, to timeline stipulations, snow removal requirements, and anything in between. Expectations should be made clear in this agreement to prevent confusion down the road.
To simplify these steps further, use SERVPRO Team McCabe’s ERP! Our emergency-ready program enables you to keep all of your vital property information in one place. Our ERPs clearly map out what to do in an emergency. To learn more about SERVPRO’s ERP please contact marketingstaff@SERVPROupperbucks.com
Think Before you Toss: The Do’s and Don’ts of Disaster Cleanup
The easy way isn't always the best way!
While it’s understandable to want to cleanse your space of debris/ damage after a disaster you might want to think twice before tossing that soggy document or dumping that couch! You would think it’s in your best interest to quickly purge all things damaged but SERVPRO Team McCabe is here to say: resist the urge! Our team of highly trained professionals can help you restore the right and safe way.
DON'T Frantically toss important documents
DO Check to see if you have digital copies, take photos, and then if you do want to dispose of the documents shred them so no one can access any personal information
DON'T Try to restore severely damaged items on your own
DO Leave it to the professionals, as direct contact with certain types of damage such as mold and sewage can cause severe health issues
DO Remain calm, take it one step at a time
DON'T Stay if the condition of the house is negatively affecting you and or making you unwell
DO Prioritize your health and, if necessary, seek medical attention from your healthcare provider
DON'T Wait to call your insurance company and or SERVPRO because “it might get better on its own”
DO Make your calls ASAP, the sooner you make the call the sooner you can get help
DON'T Start clean up and repairs before notifying insurance
DO Allow insurer to inspect the property before any repairs take place
DON'T Have the “what I can’t see can’t hurt me” mentality
DO Bring in professionals whose expertise allows them (us!) to notice areas of damage you may not have been aware of, especially when it comes to water and mold damage.