Recent Posts

Why Do We Use Ultrasonics Equipment when Cleaning Fire-Damaged Contents?

9/16/2021 (Permalink)

Omegasonics Equipment SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge and SERVPRO of Woodbridge/Lorton utilizes an ultrasonic cleaning machine to restore fire and soot damaged contents.

Having a fire in your home is a devastating event. Not only is the structure of your home affected, but your contents may be significantly damaged by fire, soot, or water as well.

Contents Restoration is an important business. It not only helps to restore damaged property, but it also helps restore people’s lives and livelihoods. While property damage can take many forms, what’s important to the owners is that their lives are returned to normal, and that they get their property back, as fast as possible. At SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge and SERVPRO of Woodbridge/Lorton, our fire restoration professionals are extensively trained in various cleaning techniques to save your belongings. We utilize our proprietary cleaning solutions made by SERVPRO chemists and specialized equipment such as the ultrasonic machine pictured here.

This ultrasonic machine employs microscopic bubbles created through cavitation (the formation of bubbles in water) to create vacuum energy in the form of heat and pressure. This process allows the water and cleaning chemicals to reach into the most elusive inner workings of even delicate items.  Soot, dirt, and other contaminants are quickly and gently removed. With this machine, we can safely restore a wide range of contents including collectible items, antiques, window blinds, stuffed animals, and toys.

Benefits of Ultrasonics for Contents Restoration 

The benefits of restoring property with Ultrasonics are two-fold:

  1. For Insurance Companies:The cost of restoring an item versus reimbursing the owner for the item’s full value is dramatically diminished. Example: a $1500 television can typically be cleaned and returned to the owner within days. The cost of cleaning that $1500 television for the Insurance could be only $300 (or whatever the restoration company decides to charge for their service). This represents a significant savings.
  2. For Property Owners: They get their original property back quickly. Whereas traditional cleaning methods can take weeks and cause additional property damage, with Ultrasonics most items can be cleaned within minutes. As a result, it’s no surprise that most people are happy simply getting their property back, especially if it means getting their lives back to normal as quickly as possible and even more so if the items have sentimental value.

Of course, when property can be returned depends on the type and severity of the damage. Certainly not every item, such as those that have been burned or melted in fires, can be restored, but a great number of items that would have traditionally been determined to be unrecoverable can now be quickly restored and returned to the owner with the use of ultrasonics cleaning equipment.

SMOKE ALARMS FOR PEOPLE WITH IMPAIRED HEARING

9/8/2021 (Permalink)

It is a well-known fact that working smoke alarms save lives and home fire sprinklers keep fires small, giving people more time to escape in a fire.  However, people who are deaf or hearing impaired may not be able to depend on the traditional smoke alarm to alert them to a fire.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends installing smoke alarms in every bedroom.  They should also be outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including a basement.  For added safety, you may interconnect all the smoke alarms, meaning that if one sounds, they all sound.  This gives more people more time to escape.

NFPA OFFERS THE FOLLOWING SAFETY TIPS:

  • Smoke alarms and alert devices are available for people who are deaf or hearing impaired.
  • Strobe lights flash when the smoke alarm sounds. The lights warn people of a possible fire.
  • When people who are deaf are asleep, a pillow or bed shaker can wake them so they can escape. The shaker is activated by the sound of a smoke alarm.
  • When people who are hard of hearing are asleep, an alert device that uses a loud, mixed, low-pitched sound can wake them. They may find a pillow or bed shaker helpful.  These devices are triggered by the sound of the smoke alarm.
  • Research the products and select the ones that best meet your needs.

WHERE TO FIND EQUIPMENT

There are several companies that offer these types of smoke alarm.  Search home improvement store websites or use a general search engine to look for strobe light smoke alarms.  You may also find smoke alarm accessories such as pillow or bed shakers, transmitters, and receivers.  The NFPA recommends choosing devices that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

ALWAYS REMEMBER…

Test all smoke alarms in your home at least once a month using the test button.  Just a few minutes a month may save the life of someone you love.

For further information, please visit https://www.nfpa.org/disabilities 

What Are The Hidden Residential Fire Hazards?

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

Laptop on a blanket When your laptop is overheating, be sure to keep it on a hard surface instead of on a blanket, sofa, or any type of fabric.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, residential fires account for 27% of all fires. Most of these fires and fire casualties result from five causes: cooking, heating equipment, electrical distribution, and lighting equipment, intentional fire setting, and smoking materials. Over the five-year period of 2014–2018 in total, cooking was the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Smoking materials caused the most home fire deaths.

Of these five causes, the residential fire hazards that first come to mind are likely the stove and electrical wiring, objects that involve an open flame or electricity. However, there are several fire hazards in the home that often go unnoticed. Below are 3 hidden, residential fire hazards that are important to recognize to protect your home:

  • Glassware

Remember the classic science experiment of starting a fire using a magnifying glass? While it is a rare occurrence, other types of glassware in the home, including vases and drinking glasses, can start a fire. All that’s needed for a fire to ignite is a focused ray of light to pass through a piece of glassware and focus on a nearby flammable object. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep glassware away from windows.

  • Laptops

The whirring sound of the fan kicking in, the surface of your desk becoming warm. These are the signs that your laptop is working hard and overheating. When your laptop is overheating, be sure to keep it on a hard surface instead of on a blanket, sofa, or any type of fabric, as they are flammable and could increase the risk of a fire starting.

  • Loose Outlets

Faulty electrical wiring usually comes to mind as a hazard when we think of causes of fires in the home, but it is beneficial to consider electrical outlets to be equally dangerous. If you’ve ever tried to plug a cord into an outlet and watched it immediately fall out, you’ve experienced the effects of loose blades inside of an electrical outlet. An electrical outlet’s blades naturally loosen over time and when they become too loose, they can conduct enormous heat, risking a fire. 

Residential fires, igniting and spreading quickly, can pose a serious threat to the safety of those living in your home and risk devastating fire damage. To protect your home from a dangerous fire, practice caution and keep hidden fire hazards in the back of your mind.

If a fire ignites in your home, leaving fire damage in its path, don’t hesitate. Call our Team at SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge and SERVPRO of Woodbridge/Lorton today. You can trust our fire damage experts and our fire, smoke, and soot restoration services to restore damaged areas of your home and make it “Like it never even happened.”

Locating Water Leaks in Your Home

8/26/2021 (Permalink)

In Northern Virginia, water leaks are more than just a nuisance. Undetected leaks — or those that are simply ignored — can eventually lead to costly repairs and further water damages due to rot, microbial growth from extra moisture, and other extensive damage. Finding and fixing a water leak early and before it gets out of hand can save you money and avert potential disaster.

The first sign of a hidden leak can be an unusually higher than normal water bill. Once you have ruled out that the cause is not due to extra water use by house guests or from watering your lawn and garden during the warm-weather months, an undetected leak is the likely culprit.

Did you know that fixing even minor household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills? 

There are a few different ways to check for hidden water leaks. The first tool is your water meter.

In addition to telling the utility company how much water you have consumed; your home’s water meter can also be used to your advantage to find hidden water leaks.

Follow these simple steps to uncover your water leak:

  1. Stop using all water inside and outside the house. This includes all the indoor faucets, outdoor faucets, water-using appliances, ice makers, and automatic backflow cleaning in whole-house water filters. Do not flush the toilet during the test.
  2. Locate your water meter. If your meter has a water flow indicator, watch the indicator for movement. This is a small rotating wheel on the meter that can detect even small amounts of water flow. If it moves when you know no one’s using any water, then there is a leak somewhere in your house.
  3. If you do not have a water flow indicator, record the numbers that appear on the meter. Wait a few hours (remember not to use any water during this time).
  4. Check the meter. If the meter reading goes up, it is an indication of a hidden water leak.

Preparing for Storms with Technology

8/18/2021 (Permalink)

In Northern Virginia, it is important to always be ready for a storm and disaster can strike at a moment’s notice!

Technology is working hard to let us be aware of danger with more time to prepare before it hits! Technology can also be a vital tool in preparing for emergencies or disasters, as well as during or after to stay informed of the situation and in communication with others. From common technology you already use on a day-to-day basis to taking a few extra steps to prepare. Below are a few things that will help you be ready in the event of an emergency or disaster.

Store Information Online

There are many places to store important information securely online. Services like Google Drive and Dropbox offer a free way to store different types of files, from a Word document to images of important documents. Ready.gov suggests saving an electronic version of insurance policies, identification documents, medical records, and information on your pets, if necessary.

Follow the News

Stay informed by following agencies such as FEMA, local news channels, and local government on Twitter for the most up-to-date information in a disaster situation. You can also alert first responders if a rescue is needed through Twitter.

Mark Yourself Safe

The American Red Cross offers a Safe & Well check-in site to list yourself as safe or find family and friends in situations where communication is difficult to establish. Facebook also has a feature called Safety Check that is activated after natural disasters or a crisis. You will receive a notification from Facebook if you’re located in the affected area at that time.

Get in Touch

Make sure your contact information is current in your phone and e-mail for communication with family, friends, business contacts, and others whom you may need to get in contact with before, during, or after a disaster.

Charge Up

Keep a portable charger in your car and home in case of an emergency. You may need to recharge this from time to time, but you can also buy solar-powered chargers as well. 

A completed Emergency READY Profile, FREE from SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge and SERVPRO of Woodbridge/Lorton, will provide you a detailed assessment of your facility to help

Common Plumbing Issues In Older Apartment Complexes

8/9/2021 (Permalink)

4 Common Plumbing Repairs Needed in Older Apartment Complexes

Older apartment complexes are often notorious for the complexity and obsolescence of their plumbing systems. It's just a fact of life for property managers. Therefore, it takes a bit of ingenuity to manage some of these antiquated systems. For example, units constructed in Northern Virginia during the 1970 – 1990 era sometimes still contain polybutylene piping, a material that has grown so out of favor in the plumbing industry that it is no longer recognized in building codes. Here are four common plumbing issues property managers of older rental units may need to face.

  1. Clogged Drains.Since this can result in water backing up and flowing onto the floor, it should be addressed quickly. Options for clearing a clogged drain include using a drain snake, employing a plunger, cleaning out the drain trap, and using a chemical cleaner.
  2. Blocked Toilets.The methods for clearing a clogged toilet are similar for those used when fixing a clogged drain. However, since this could involve the overflow of contaminated water, the services of a reputable water remediation company should be considered if raw sewage spills out onto the floor.
  3. Poor Plumbing Designs.This often involves the use of improper materials for pipes, such as polybutylene. If not replaced, this type of piping can result in burst pipes and extensive water damage. Poor design can also refer to the actual physical configuration of the pipes and might include an excessive number of twists and turns and elbow joints that impede water flow.
  4. Damaged Discharge Lines.This refers to the lines that lead away from the property and join the municipal water lines. Over time, these lines not only age and weaken, but they also are vulnerable to damage from tree roots and other obstructions.

Some plumbing issues in older units are easier to fix, while others, such as the presence of polybutylene pipes, require major renovations. The services of a water restoration company can be a big help with water damage.  Our team at SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge and SERVPRO of Woodbridge/Lorton are always here to help and just a phone call away at 703-583-8484.

Different Levels of Fires at Commercial Properties

8/3/2021 (Permalink)

There are so many factors that can contribute to commercial damage occurring such as fires due to unforeseen circumstances, facility usage which puts wear and tear on your property, down to the most basic water damage. No matter the source of the damage, this downtime can be costly both to your business in Northern Virginia and your customers.  When damage at your commercial property happens, how do you know to what level and extent?  At SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge and SERVPRO of Woodbridge/Lorton we have a grading system we use to determine the level of which your property is assessed and categorized to begin mitigation.  

Level 1

Level 1 is a small commercial loss typically involving 15,000 square feet or less of affected floor space. If the facility was entirely affected, examples of a small commercial loss may include but are not limited to, a stand-alone retail establishment, a small church, a daycare facility, a small shopping center, a small warehouse or manufacturing facility, or a stand-alone administrative building. A Level 1 loss can also be a small portion of a much larger structure.

Level 2

Level 2 is a midsize commercial loss typically involving 15,000 to 60,000 square feet of affected floor space. The building or buildings involved are typically multi-level or greatly divided spaces. If the facility was entirely affected, examples of a Level 2 loss may include but are not limited to, a small multi-family property, a midsize church or school, a small shopping center, a multi-tenant administration facility, or a midsize warehouse or manufacturing facility. A Level 2 loss can also be just a portion of a much larger structure.

Level 3

Level 3 is a large commercial loss typically involving more than 60,000 square feet of affected floor space. The building or buildings involved will likely be large multi-level structures. If the facility was entirely affected, examples of a Level 3 loss can include but are not limited to, a large church, hospital, school, or university; a large multi-family property; a mid- to high-rise retail or administration facility; a large industrial, manufacturing, or warehouse facility; or a large strip-style shopping center or shopping mall. This is the level at which it would be appropriate to refer to the project as a “large loss.” Once our team determines the level of loss, the property is further assessed, and a team of appropriate size is dispatched to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

If you have damage at your Northern Virginia Commercial property, call our team at SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge and SERVPRO of Woodbridge/Lorton at 703-583-8484.  Our team of highly trained professionals will be on the way and is available 24/7/365.

Commercial Fire Damage Restoration in Northern Virginia

7/21/2021 (Permalink)

Electrical Fire Mishap One of the most frustrating aspects of fire damage can be the smell it leaves behind.

The Northern Virginia area represents an excellent opportunity for your business. Whether you are a tax preparer, a hairdresser, or a clothing boutique, the numerous cities and communities in Northern Virginia are attractive for many entrepreneurs. As you put your business plan on paper, you need to account for unexpected events that might derail your projections. Most business owners are sure to include expenses associated with weather events, but many fail to consider mechanic or human missteps in their contingency plan.

Whether your business in Northern Virginia faces fire damage or an emergency brought on by mother nature, a professional restoration service should always have a spot in your emergency preparedness plans. Our team at SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge and SERVPRO of Woodbridge/Lorton is ready to help whenever you face adversity, and we come to you as soon as we can. By directly calling our round-the-clock emergency line, you access a wealth of knowledge and expertise willing to work for you and reduce your loss. We have been serving the areas of Dale City, Lake Ridge, Woodbridge, Lorton, Montclair, Dumfries, Occoquan, Triangle and Quantico since 2004.

Take, for example, a small electrical fire that escalates and burns a section of your office. Although the visible trace of the flames appears small, there may be a residue that is not obvious to the naked eye. Our SERVPRO team arrives with specialized equipment designed to identify those hidden threats. Very often, the sprinklers that ultimately save your workspace wreak havoc as well, leaving your work area a mix of smoke, soot, and extinguishing chemicals that help control the fire. It is our job to understand the behavior of each of these remnants and tackle them individually.

One of the most frustrating aspects of fire damage can be the smell it leaves behind. Well, beyond the cleanup and disinfecting process, business owners are constantly reminded of the event just by breathing in its foul smell. At SERVPRO, we seek to understand the nature of the smell and make an informed decision as to its removal. In some instances, odor counteracting pellets are sufficient to mask the odors; in others, air scrubbers are to neutralize the smell, and in more extreme cases, we may have to resort to an ozone generator to eradicate the odor. Whatever your situation, our team has the resources to identify your needs and develop a plan to meet them.

Our team at SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge and SERVPRO of Woodbridge/Lorton is at your side when your business needs it. Call us at 703-583-8484 whenever you face an emergency and allow us to help you get back to work. Together, we can leave your offices “Like it never even happened.”

Three Tips From the Pros for Preparing Your Northern Virginia Business For a Flood Event

7/12/2021 (Permalink)

When flooding affects your area, your business may be at risk. If flood waters are powerful enough, they can force their way into your building and cause damage to floors, walls, and your inventory. However, if you know that a flood is imminent, there are a few ways you can protect your business and minimize the destruction that a natural disaster like this might cause.

  1. Make Backup Copies of Important Data

If you know your building may suffer storm damage, it is important to make data backup a high priority. Shipping records, customer data and inventory records may not be retrievable if your computer system is damaged by water.  Having multiple files of this information can save you time and money in the aftermath of the flood. Consider cloud storage for real-time data retrieval. 

2. Rent or Purchase a Sump Pump 

If your building sits on low ground and your basement or crawl space is prone to flooding, then you may want to invest in a sump pump. This machine is often used by flood damage and restoration service technicians such as our team at SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge and SERVPRO of Woodbridge/Lorton.  The sump pump drains away excess water from the area where it located. Portable and underwater pumps can reduce the amount of standing water you may encounter after the flood. 

3. Do Not Hesitate To Act 

Flood damage can happen quickly, especially in the case of flash floods. If you suspect this might happen, evacuate your business quickly and ensure that customers and employees are safe. Heavy rains can cause this type of flooding, so it is wise to be vigilant and watch your local weather to be aware of any watches or warnings. If you realize a flood is imminent, shut down vital systems and try to seal off doors and windows after the building is empty. 

When flooding impacts your area, you may be concerned about the best way to protect your business. However, knowing how to be proactive and prepare yourself for a flood can reduce the damage and give you peace of mind both before and after the event. 

Why Do We Ask So Many Questions When Helping With Water Damages?

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

First Notice of Loss Our First Notice of Loss helps our team determine how much equipment and how many technicians will be needed to begin mitigation.

SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge and SERVPRO of Woodbridge/Lorton is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies in Northern Virginia, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. We understand and you need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this challenging time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it has been the cornerstone of our business since 2004.

What to Expect

When you call us, we will ask questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring. This includes how many trained SERVPRO professionals we may need.

Our SERVPRO team member will ask several questions to complete our First Notice of Loss (FNOL) including:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • Your claim number (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • The year the structure was built
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • If needed, have you contacted a plumber for repairs?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?
  • How many floors and what rooms are affected?

Our team at SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge and SERVPRO of Woodbridge/Lorton is here for you 24/7 every day of the year. Call us at 703-583-8484.