Recent Posts

Mold: Hiding Where You Least Expect It

3/7/2018 (Permalink)

Where Does Mold Hide?

Everyone wants to think their home is pristine. You do your best to maintain a clean environment and try to be thorough with your chores. There's no way mold can be infesting your sanctuary...right? Unfortunately, there are man instances where mold may be hiding within your residence, despite your best efforts.

Mold problems can occur in any home or business as long as conditions are ideal for growth. No amount of vacuuming or dusting will prevent mold growth as long as warmth, moisture and a nutrient source are present.

Here are some common "hot spots" to keep an eye on:

Kitchen

The kitchen is a location that may have moisture issues which can contribute to mold growth.

  • Check under your sink. A small pipe leak may go unnoticed, letting the moisture and water damage sit untreated. Leaks combined with dark spaces are the perfect environment for mold.
  • The sponge dish may have a mold problem. You use your sponge to wash dishes every day, but when you put it back in its dish, moisture may begin to collect and mold begin to form.
  • Under your fridge isn’t safe either. Yes, even your refrigerator may have moisture issues. The refrigerator can leak without you knowing. There is a drip pan under your refrigerator that can collect excess water, but if left untreated, mold can form.

Laundry Room

Your washing machine can be a hot spot for mold. Check the door of the washing machine, inside the gasket. Dark, warm, moist areas are ideal for mold growth. Make sure to wipe under the door gasket after each wash to prevent mold growth. Also leave the door open to air-out the washing machine.

Bathroom

Your shower or tub may be hiding mold without your knowledge.

  • Check under lids and bottoms of shower products. You may forget to pick these products up and clean underneath. Moisture can become trapped under the lids or under the products and mold can form.
  • Bath toys may be fun for kids, but they may also be housing mold. Water may get inside the toys and be unable to get out. This is a difficult location to discover mold. You may need to open up one of the toys to see if mold is growing inside, and if there is mold, replace all of the toys, as there most likely will be mold within them as well.

Mold does not discriminate and may develop in any property as long as ideal conditions are met. Mold can cause health issues with excess exposure, so it is important to remove any mold you discover. If you suspect mold may be in your property, contact a professional home inspector. A home inspector will be able to conduct mold tests which will be able to identify moldy areas within your home. Once mold is officially discovered, contact a qualified mold remediation company, such as SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland, to remediate the mold and restore your home to the haven you work so hard to maintain.

If you have mold issues in your home or business, contact SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at (207) 338-1850 to arrange for a mold inspection today!

SERVPRO is Ready for Storms in Mid Coastal Maine!

2/28/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit the Greater Bangor area, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of over 1,600 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today (207) 338-1850

Flood Preparedness in Maine

2/21/2018 (Permalink)

Spring is rapidly approaching and to most of us in Maine, "Spring" is synonymous with "Mud Season"...but, it should also be called "Flood Season", as well.

One of the most common natural disasters in Maine is flooding; they most often occur in March and April, when the snow pack is most subject to natural variables, such as rapidly increasing temperatures and heavier rainfall. Realistically, they can occur any time of the year.

Typically, we see flooding in Maine because of heavy rain, hurricanes, tropical storms, quickly melting snow, ice jams, dam breaches and seasonal storms.

Many flood-related deaths and injuries are caused by fast-moving water and in many cases could be avoided. The National Weather Service advises anyone who approaches a flooded area to Turn Around, Don’t Drown.™ As little as six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult and only a few feet can carry a vehicle away.

To protect your home or business from flood damage and loss:

  • Be aware of hazards that can increase the potential for flooding – including flash flooding.
  • Know the flood prone areas in your community - including dam locations.
  • Have a family evacuation/communications plan.
  • Know where and how to seek shelter in the event of evacuation.
  • Check with your insurance agent about flood insurance coverage; most homeowners insurance does not cover floods. Your agent should be able to help you secure insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • Take steps to “flood proof” your home, such as elevating electronics, appliances and furniture, building a dam of sandbags, unplugging electronics and equipment and varnishing wood doors and floors.
  • During the flood stay tuned to radio or TV to get the latest information or monitor a NOAA Weather radio.
  • Pay attention to evacuation orders.
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams or areas at risk of flooding.
  • DO NOT DRIVE ON FLOODED ROADWAYS or cross flowing streams, as the road underneath may be washed out.
  • Be cautious when driving at night as it may be more difficult to recognize flood dangers.

Although we can't prevent floods from happening, we can certainly help with the cleanup and restoration after the waters have receded. When in need, contact SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at (207)338-1850; we're always here to help!

Stay Safe While Keeping Warm This Winter

2/14/2018 (Permalink)

As any Maine resident would know, our winters tend to be on the colder end of the spectrum. Although this winter has been fairly mild so far, you never know when the next cold snap will strike. Every time we crank the heat, its important to remember the hazards involved.

Unfortunately, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires in the United States. During the period of 2009-2013, heating equipment was the cause of 16% of all reported home fires, which is roughly 56,000 fires; these fires led to 470 deaths, 1,490 injuries and $1 billion in property damage. Half of all home fires caused by heating equipment occur in December, January and February.

Here are some easy steps to help prevent heating-related fires from occurring: 

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Keep an eye on your pets when they're within proximity of all space heaters and open fires, as well.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

Heating your home is extremely important during the cold winter months, but it's equally as important to do so safely.

Should you suffer fire damage, contact SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at (207)338-1850!  Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."

Furnace Puff Back: What Is It?

2/7/2018 (Permalink)

Despite the increasing number of viable alternative heating methods available on the market, a large number of people in Maine and New England still rely on oil furnaces to heat their homes and businesses. Modern heating systems are very reliable and dependable; most issues can be readily addressed by a qualified professional. Unfortunately, the malfunction commonly known as the "puff back" is not so easily dealt with.

A puffback is an explosion inside the burner chamber of the furnace, similar to the backfiring of a car. While there are a number of causes - such as excessive debris or a buildup of oil fumes prior to burner ignition - the resulting explosion can shoot soot and debris through the furnace's exhaust system...and into your home.

This soot is not just a powder-like substance; instead, it is black, sticky and will include a mixture of oil that is difficult to clean. Walls, ceilings, carpets, furniture and curtains are coated with a fine film of soot and smoky streaks. Typically, the damage is worse with a forced-air heating system or central air-conditioning, because the duct work provides a path through the house, even into closets. In addition to the soot, a puff back causes a foul odor to permeate your home. Oil-based soot is extremely difficult to remove and needs to be cleaned as soon as possible.

Fortunately, SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland has the knowledge and experience to take care of difficult problems such as this. Since each puffback situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your home or business, while also treating your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

In the event of a puffback - or any fire, smoke or water emergency - SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland is just a phone call away.

Call us today at (207)338-1850!

Water Damage: Stop It Before It Starts

1/31/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage can have many sources, from loose appliance hoses to overflowing toilets and even natural disasters. Regardless of the source, the crew at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland can handle any size disaster.

Even though most Homeowners insurance policies cover water damage, it can be easier to prevent the damage rather than go through the stress and headache of the mitigation, repair and claims process!

Here are five tips to help prevent water damage in your home or business:

1. Be careful where you plant

Some plants and trees have very invasive roots; while all plants' root systems will grow and extend in search of water, some can be exceedingly tenacious in their hunt for moisture. If you’re not careful, they’ll grow right into your sprinkler system, drainage field, pipes, and septic tanks. Plan before you plant to keep roots away from any water lines.

2. Clean out roof gutters

Even though it's very easy to put this particular chore off for another day, it can be worth it to perform routine cleaning and maintenance on your gutters If you’re seeing lots of leaves, birds’ nests, sticks, and other debris, your gutters are not going to be operating at peak efficiency. On a rainy day or during a Spring thaw, a clogged gutter can send water spilling into your home’s foundation, through the roof, or down to your basement. Simple, routine maintenance can help prevent water from unnecessarily flowing into your home.

3.  Keep an eye on your water bill

"Out of sight, out of mind": Most of the water pipes in a home or business are hidden behind walls or underneath floorboards, which means most people don't typically think about them...until there happens to be an issue. Since they tend to be hidden, you might not know there’s a leak until the damage is already done. The best way to monitor the situation is to keep an eye on your monthly water bill. If the bill seems uncommonly high or is trending upward despite your normal usage, it could be a solid indicator of a leak somewhere in your structure.

4. Use a drain snake instead of unclogging chemicals

Regardless of what you do, clogged sink or shower drains are going to happen from time to time. When these problems inevitably crop up, most people typically reach for a chemical drain cleaner. Although these products tend to be very effective and convenient, they are also comprised of caustic chemicals that will also damage your pipes. Regular use of these substances can eventually cause holes to form in your pipes, which obviously leads to leaks.

A good alternative to chemical drain clears is a drain snake. They're easy to use, readily available at any hardware store and are more than capable of taking care of normal clogs. Plus, you won't have to handle dangerous chemicals.

5. Never pour grease down your sink

It is always best to avoid pouring grease down your kitchen sink. Regardless of what you to do to "treat" it - such as flushing it with hot or cold water or using detergent to break up the grease - it can still congeal and cling to your pipes, causing serious damage and blockage over time.

The best course of action is to pour your grease in an empty disposable container and either let it sit; once it hardens, toss it in the trash.

No matter how many preventative measures you take, disasters will still unfortunately strike. When you do find yourself in the middle of a water damage, don't hesitate to reach out to the experts at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland!

Call Us Today – (207) 338-1850

Smoke Odor: Removal Can Be Difficult

1/24/2018 (Permalink)

Cooktops and ovens account for over 166,000 home fires in the US each and every year. The reasons behind these fires vary and they may not always cause extensive damage to the home, but there are still plenty of related issues.

Although many smaller fires don't result in major damage to the home, they can still create a mess through smoke, ash and fire extinguisher residue. Small fires, especially in the kitchen, can coat an entire room in smoke and ash even if they only burn for a few minutes. As a result, multiple treatment techniques and avenues must be considered and used. SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland has the experience to assess the situation and develop a restoration plan, as well as the equipment and expertise to ensure the odor is properly taken care of. 
 
Even “contained” fires often require a sizable cleanup job. Ash and smoke tend to coat nearby surfaces and common household cleaning supplies typically are not capable of removing this residue. Protein fires – caused by meat that catches fire – can be extremely problematic; the odors from these sorts of fires tend to be especially strong and difficult to remove. Fortunately, SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland has access to effective, specialized cleaning supplies that make short work of visible staining, streaking, and odors caused by cooking-related fires.
 
Once the visible damage and been cleaned, the scent of smoke can still linger in a room. Unfortunately, odor particles become embedded in ceilings, walls, and objects; it can be extremely difficult for a homeowner to remove the smell. Without the proper tools and equipment, eliminating the smell of smoke is virtually impossible. Just cleaning the carpet is not enough. We will often utilize use a thermal fogging machine to flush out the odors from a room, removing even the deepest smoke smells. 
 
Smoke damage isn’t simply limited to the room; objects and belongings typically suffer fire damage, as well. Carpets, rugs and other fabrics are excellent traps for ash and smoke particles. Important documents, electronics, furniture and other valuables may need restoration, as well.

Should you suffer fire damage this Summer, contact SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at (207)338-1850!  Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."

Protect Your Pipes: Winterization Tips

1/17/2018 (Permalink)

Winter may be officially upon us, but it's never really too late to prep your home. Colder temperatures can be extremely damaging to your home if you're not prepared.

Contrary to popular belief, pipes don't typically burst at the point where water freezes, but somewhere between the freeze and a closed faucet. When the pressure builds due to ice blockage, it has nowhere to go but through the pipe walls, which can quickly lead to extensive water damage. Winterize your home plumbing, stop frozen pipes before they happen and prevent expensive water damage by properly insulating the plumbing pipes in your home.

1. Pipe insulation

Your pipes are more susceptible to freezing damage when temperatures drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Pipe insulation provides you with a first line of defense against cold temperatures and frozen pipes. For pipe winterization, add a thicker layer of insulation around your pipes.

Insulate the pipes in all unheated areas, as they are most likely to freeze. Wrap the pipes in insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fiberglass. Measure the outside diameter of your pipes to make sure you purchase the correct size of tube. Wrapping pipes in heat-tape prior to insulating adds an extra layer of protection, but make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid damage.

2. Keep a dripping faucet

On nights when the temperature is expected to drop below freezing, turn on faucets along the exterior walls to create a small, steady drip; doing so will allow the water to move and flow, helping to keep it from freezing. This also eliminates pressure that can build between the faucet and an ice blockage, so even if a pipe freezes, it may not burst. 

3. Open cabinets

You can stop frozen pipes by introducing more heat. Open all sink-based cabinet doors along exterior walls to allow more heat to reach the pipes.

4. Fix exterior cracks

Note any cracks or holes along the outside walls and foundation of your home. Filling holes and cracks with spray foam insulation and caulking can help stop the cold air from coming into contact with your water pipes during extremely cold weather.

 No matter how many preventative measures you take, disasters will still unfortunately strike. When you do find yourself in the middle of a water damage, don't hesitate to reach out to the experts at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland! Call us at (207)338-1850 today!

Returning to Your Home After a Flood

1/15/2018 (Permalink)

Floods can be extremely devastating, both to your property and mental well-being.  It can be tempting to immediately rush back into your home after the water finally recedes, but there are a number of factors that need to be considered first. A post-flood home can feature a variety of potential hazards that should be considered prior to reentry.

Gas Leaks

When first entering your home, be sure to open the doors and windows to ventilate the structure and help remove foul odors or leaking gas. Do not turn on any of the house’s lighting; instead, use a flashlight as you’re moving throughout the structure. Open flames, electrical sparks and cigarettes can cause an explosive fire if there is a gas leak. Should you discover a leak, immediately exit your home and contact your service company for assistance.

Electrical Hazards

After a severe flood, there will likely be damage to a house’s electrical system. Avoid turning on lights or operating electrical appliances. Ensure the electricity is turned off at the main panel before checking an individual circuits or equipment. If your basement is flooded, the utility company will need to disconnect the power from your house. If you absolutely must work on live circuits, don’t rely on basic rubber gloves or rubber soled footwear to protect you; only properly rated equipment is sufficient for use around electricity.

Structural Damage

Watch for falling debris and check for possible damage to floors and walls. Knock down any hanging plaster. If you are not sure of the dangers the structural damage presents, call the city building inspector or engineer.

There is a danger of foundation walls collapsing, especially if the basement is flooded. Keep an eye on the foundation walls as the water is removed. This causes a change in pressure and could cause the walls to cave in. To prevent radical changes in pressure, pump about a third of the water out each day. The water pressure needs a chance to equalize.

Drinking Water, Food Safety

Supplies from any source suspected of being affected by flood conditions may be treated by one of the following methods:

  • Mix teaspoonful of commercial laundry bleach with 2 gallons of water. Let stand five minutes before drinking.
  • Bring water to a boil for ten minutes in a clean container. Eliminate the flat taste by shaking the water in a bottle, by pouring from one container to another, or by adding a pinch of salt. If the water is from a public supply, local authorities will tell you if boiling is necessary.
  • Add five drops of tincture of iodine solution to one quart of water. Mix thoroughly and allow to stand for 30 minutes before drinking.
  • Use water purifying tablets, available in drug stores or camping equipment outlets.

Do not use fresh food that has come into contact with flood waters; it will likely be contaminated with any number of infectious agents.

Although we can't prevent floods from happening, we can certainly help with the cleanup and restoration after the waters have receded. When in need, contact SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at (207)338-1850; we're always here to help!

After the Fire: Smoke and Soot Damage

1/10/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage After the Fire: Smoke and Soot Damage Fire damage can extend well beyond what was burned; smoke and soot can easily spread throughout a house.

moke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Bangor/Ellsworth will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (207) 338-1850