Recent Posts

The Impact of Humidity on Water Damage and Mold Growth

6/12/2024 (Permalink)

As a homeowner, encountering water damage can be a nightmare scenario. Whether it's a burst pipe, a leaky roof, or a flooded basement, the consequences can be devastating. But did you know that humidity plays a crucial role in exacerbating water damage and fostering mold growth? Understanding this connection is key to mitigating potential harm and restoring your home to its former glory.

At SERVPRO®, we've seen firsthand how humidity can amplify the effects of water damage, leading to costly repairs and health hazards if not addressed promptly. Here's a closer look at how humidity impacts water damage and mold growth, along with some practical tips for managing moisture levels in your home.

The Relationship Between Humidity and Water Damage

Humidity refers to the amount of moisture present in the air. When excess water enters your home due to a plumbing issue or natural disaster, it raises the overall humidity levels indoors. High humidity creates the perfect breeding ground for mold, fungi, and bacteria to thrive, exacerbating the damage caused by water infiltration.

Moreover, elevated humidity levels can impede the drying process, prolonging the time it takes for affected areas to dry completely. This, in turn, increases the risk of structural damage and secondary issues like mold growth.

The Role of Humidity in Mold Growth

Mold spores are omnipresent in the environment, but they require moisture to germinate and proliferate. When humidity levels rise above 60%, it creates a favorable environment for mold to colonize surfaces such as drywall, wood, and carpeting. Once established, mold can spread rapidly, compromising indoor air quality and posing health risks to occupants.

Managing Humidity Levels to Prevent Damage

Preventing water damage and mold growth begins with managing indoor humidity levels effectively. Here are some practical steps you can take:

  • Invest in a Dehumidifier: A dehumidifier can help regulate indoor humidity levels, especially in areas prone to moisture buildup like basements and bathrooms. Aim for a relative humidity level between 30% to 50% to deter mold growth.
  • Address Leaks Promptly: Whether it's a dripping faucet or a cracked pipe, address leaks as soon as they're detected to prevent water from accumulating and raising humidity levels.
  • Improve Ventilation: Proper ventilation is essential for reducing humidity indoors. Use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms, and ensure that air circulates freely throughout your home.
  • Monitor Humidity Levels: Invest in a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels regularly. This will allow you to identify potential issues early on and take corrective action.

Humidity plays a significant role in exacerbating water damage and fostering mold growth within homes. By understanding this relationship and taking proactive measures to manage humidity levels, homeowners can minimize the risk of damage and maintain a healthy indoor environment. At SERVPRO®, we're committed to helping homeowners navigate the challenges of water damage and mold remediation. Contact us today for expert assistance in restoring your home to its preloss condition.

Understanding Storm Surge and Its Impact on Coastal Communities

5/15/2024 (Permalink)

As a trusted provider of restoration and cleaning services, SERVPRO® is committed to not only restoring homes and businesses after disasters but also to educating our communities about potential risks. One such risk that coastal communities often face during severe weather events is storm surge. In this blog post, we'll delve into what storm surge is, how it impacts coastal areas, and what steps residents can take to stay safe.

What is Storm Surge?

Storm surge is an abnormal rise in sea level caused by a combination of factors such as strong winds and low atmospheric pressure during a tropical cyclone or intense storm. It's important to note that storm surge is not the same as tsunami, which is triggered by seismic activity. Instead, storm surge is a phenomenon associated with weather events like hurricanes, tropical storms, or nor'easters.

Impact on Coastal Communities

Coastal communities are particularly vulnerable to the destructive force of storm surge. The surge of water can inundate coastal areas, causing widespread flooding, erosion, and damage to infrastructure and property. The intensity of the surge depends on various factors including the strength and size of the storm, the shape of the coastline, and the slope of the ocean floor.

During a storm surge, low-lying areas are at the greatest risk of flooding, including homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure such as roads and power lines. In extreme cases, storm surge can lead to devastating loss of life and property, making it essential for residents to understand the risks and take proactive measures to mitigate them.

Staying Safe During Storm Surge

To stay safe during a storm surge, it's crucial for coastal residents to stay informed and heed evacuation orders issued by local authorities. Here are some additional tips to help minimize the impact of storm surge:

  • Have an emergency plan in place that includes evacuation routes and designated meeting points.
  • Secure loose outdoor items and reinforce windows and doors to protect against wind and water intrusion.
  • Consider investing in flood insurance to help cover the cost of damage caused by storm surge.
  • Stay tuned to weather updates from reliable sources and follow any instructions or warnings issued by emergency management agencies.

By understanding the risks associated with storm surge and taking proactive steps to prepare, coastal communities can better protect themselves and their property from the devastating effects of these powerful weather events.

At SERVPRO, we stand ready to assist coastal communities in the aftermath of storms and other disasters. Our trained professionals are equipped to handle the cleanup and restoration process, helping homeowners and businesses get back on their feet quickly and safely.

For more information about storm surge preparedness or our range of restoration services, contact your local SERVPRO franchise today. Stay safe, stay informed, and remember that preparation is key when it comes to protecting your home and loved ones from the impacts of severe weather.

The Dangers of Gas Leaks and How to Detect Them

4/17/2024 (Permalink)

SERVPRO working on fire remediation In this blog, we will explore the dangers of gas leaks and discuss effective methods for detecting them.

Gas leaks pose a significant risk to both residential and commercial properties. A gas leak can lead to devastating gas fires, causing extensive damage, potential injuries, and even loss of life. Detecting gas leaks early is crucial in preventing these hazardous situations. In this blog, we will explore the dangers of gas leaks and discuss effective methods for detecting them. By understanding the risks and knowing how to identify gas leaks, you can take the necessary steps to protect your property and minimize the potential for gas fires.

The Dangers of Gas Leaks

Gas Fires

A gas leak can quickly escalate into a gas fire when exposed to an ignition source. Gas fires are highly destructive and can spread rapidly, engulfing a property within minutes. The intense heat and flames from these fires can cause extensive damage to structures, possessions, and essential infrastructure, making fire damage restoration a complex and costly process.

Explosion Hazards

When gas leaks accumulate in confined spaces, the risk of explosion increases significantly. An explosion caused by a gas leak can result in catastrophic consequences, causing severe damage to the property and endangering the lives of people in the vicinity. The force of the explosion can lead to structural collapse, making the property uninhabitable and necessitating extensive fire remediation efforts.

Detecting Gas Leaks

Pay Attention to the Smell

Natural gas has a distinct odor, often described as a "rotten egg" or sulfur-like smell. Gas companies add a chemical called mercaptan to natural gas, which gives it this noticeable odor. If you smell gas in your property, it may indicate a gas leak. Promptly turn off the gas supply and contact your gas provider for immediate assistance.

Listen for Unusual Sounds

Gas leaks can sometimes produce hissing or whistling sounds. If you notice unusual sounds near gas appliances, gas lines, or meters, it may indicate a gas leak. Be attentive and don't ignore any unexpected noises related to your gas supply.

Monitor Gas Bills

Unexplained increases in gas bills can be an indication of a gas leak. If your gas consumption remains consistent but your bills are significantly higher than usual, it's worth investigating further. A gas leak could be causing gas to escape from your system, resulting in increased gas usage and costs.

Use a Gas Leak Detector

Gas leak detectors are portable devices specifically designed to detect and locate gas leaks. These handheld devices use sensors to detect the presence of gas in the air. When using a gas leak detector, follow the manufacturer's instructions and prioritize safety at all times.

Install Gas Leak Alarms

Gas leak alarms are similar to smoke alarms and can provide an additional layer of protection and early warning in case of a gas leak. These alarms are equipped with sensors that detect gas and emit a loud siren or alarm sound to alert occupants of the property. Install gas leak alarms near gas appliances, water heaters, and other potential sources of leaks.

Response to Gas Leaks

If you suspect a gas leak in your property, follow these steps:

Evacuate Safely

If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, evacuate the property immediately. Ensure everyone leaves the premises promptly and gathers at a safe location outside, away from potential sources of ignition.

Call Emergency Services

Contact emergency services from a safe location. Inform them about the suspected gas leak and provide accurate information about the location of the property. They will be able to take appropriate action and coordinate efforts to address the gas leak promptly.

Engage Professional Fire Damage Restoration Services

After a gas leak incident, it is essential to engage the services of professional fire damage restoration experts like SERVPRO®. Fire damage restoration specialists possess the expertise, experience, and equipment to assess the property, mitigate any lingering risks, and restore it to its pre-incident condition safely and efficiently.

Detecting gas leaks early is crucial in preventing gas fires and potential explosions. By recognizing the dangers associated with gas leaks and knowing how to detect them through smell, and sound, monitoring gas bills, using gas leak detectors, and installing gas leak alarms,

Demystifying Water Damage Inspections: What to Expect

2/6/2024 (Permalink)

Drying equipment on floor. A water damage inspection is the first step towards restoring your home to its former glory.

Water damage can be a real headache, but understanding what to expect during a water damage inspection can make the process a lot less daunting. In this guide, we'll break down the basics, helping you navigate the initial steps of tackling water damage in your home.

Initial Contact

Once you reach out to a restoration company, expect a friendly voice on the other end. They'll gather essential information about your situation, such as the cause of the water damage, its extent, and any immediate concerns. This helps them determine the urgency of the situation and plan for the inspection.

Prompt Scheduling

A reputable restoration company values your time and will work with you to schedule a prompt inspection. Quick response times are crucial to prevent further damage, so expect them to prioritize your situation and set up a convenient time for the inspection.

Thorough Assessment

During the inspection, a trained technician will assess the affected areas thoroughly. They'll examine the source of the water damage, identify the extent of the affected areas, and evaluate the overall condition of the property. This step is crucial for developing an effective restoration plan.

Moisture Detection

Modern technology plays a key role in water damage inspections. Expect the technicians to use advanced moisture detection tools to identify hidden pockets of water. This step ensures a comprehensive understanding of the damage, preventing future issues like mold growth.

Documentation

The inspection process includes documenting the findings. This documentation serves as a foundation for the restoration plan and helps streamline communication with your insurance company. Expect the technician to take notes, photographs, and possibly videos to provide a clear picture of the situation.

Discussion and Recommendations

After the inspection, the technician will discuss their findings with you. They'll explain the extent of the damage, and potential risks, and outline a customized restoration plan. This is the time to ask questions and gain a clear understanding of the next steps in the process.

A water damage inspection is the first step towards restoring your home to its former glory. By knowing what to expect during this process, you can approach it with confidence. Quick response times, advanced technology, and clear communication are key elements of a successful water damage inspection, paving the way for a smooth restoration journey.

What to do when you find mold

3/30/2020 (Permalink)

Moldy window due to poor ventilation in the residence

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO of Lewiston/Auburn for mold remediation services at 207-783-2500

What Not to Do:

  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

About Our Mold Remediation Services

SERVPRO of Lewiston/Auburn specializes in mold cleanup and restoration; in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business.  Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 207-783-2500

The science behind drying a space

3/30/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO fans are strategically placed throughout the residence

Did you know there is actually a science behind the process of drying? Having the knowledge of psychometrics is essential to restoring a water damaged structure to its preloss condition. While your initial reaction may be to grab a few towels to mop up the mess and place a fan or two around the damaged area, SERVPRO of Lewiston/Auburn is trained in the science of drying and follows strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of secondary damages, like mold. If your home or business suffers water damage, SERVPRO of Lewiston/Auburn will:

  • Inspect the building to detect every component that is wet, to help prevent secondary damage from happening.
  • Measure how much moisture is in wet materials and monitor weather the materials are drying properly.
  • Speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment

What exactly does it mean to help “speed up Mother Nature”? A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. When materials are we, moisture will naturally move to drier air at the surface of the material—but only if the air is, indeed, drier. The only problem is, nature takes too long and secondary damages may occur while the building is drying out.

SERVPRO of Lewiston/Auburn has the tools and equipment to help Mother Nature along, including equipment to help dry hardwood floors, tough-to-reach spaces, inside walls (pictured below), and much more. SERVPRO also uses state-of-the-art monitoring equipment, and a proven scientific process to help speed the drying process of your home or business.

The bottom line? SERVPRO of Lewiston/Auburn has the training and equipment to help make your water damage “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO of Lewiston/Auburn- IICRC Certified

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

IICRC Logo

SERVPRO of Lewiston/Auburn is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standard fro the restoration industry and provides training and certifications to restoration companies. IICRC Certified firms have the right to display the IICRC certified logos. 

IICRC Certified Firms must:

  • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
  • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
  • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
  • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
  • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

ABOUT SERVPRO LEWISTON/AUBURN

SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

About Coronavirus

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Lewiston/Auburn is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Lewiston/Auburn, 207-783-2500

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fguidance-prevent-spread.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html

March is National Red Cross Month! GO DONATE!

3/23/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Lewiston/Auburn's own Marketing Manager Meaghan Braun, stands with fellow marketers Barbara Rapoza &Holly Merrill.

March is National Red Cross Month!

SERVPRO of Lewiston/Auburn is a proud supporter of the American Red Cross Disaster Responder program. Our annual Maine SERVPRO fundraiser donates directly to the Maine Chapters of the American Red Cross. 

Every eight minutes, the American Red Cross brings help and hope to people in need, thanks to heroes like you. Whether you donate funds, donate blood or volunteer, we depend on your support to make a difference in communities across the country.


Each year, the president of the United States proclaims March "Red Cross Month.” We use this month as a chance to honor and celebrate the everyday heroes who help us fulfill our mission. This March, we encourage you to uncover your inner hero. 



The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. This month is a time to recognize everyday heroes.


Be a hero today!

 

What TYPE of water has damaged your home or business?

3/23/2020 (Permalink)

When your home or business suffers a water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensuring proper cleanup. SERVPRO of Lewiston/Auburn is here to help!

There are three types of water. Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source; rainwater is also considered clean. The term gray water is used to classify slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminants to begin growing, making the water hazardous. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals. You should consider taking the following precautions to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive.

Damage from Clean Water

    • Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified professional to do so.
    • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electrical shock. DO NOT enter rooms with standing water, as electrical shock hazards may exist.
    • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
    • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
    • Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other valuable items that may be sensitive to moisture to a safe place.
    • DO NOT leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors as they may cause staining.
    • DO NOT use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to the vacuum cleaner.
    • DO not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet; DO NOT enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.

Damage from Contaminated Water

    • Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with contaminated items.
    • DO NOT walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
    • DO NOT turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
    • DO NOT use household fans to dry the structure, air flow could spread contaminants.
    • Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.

When you have a water damage, don’t leave your property to chance. Call SERVPRO of Lewiston Auburn anytime at 207-783-2500.