Recent Posts

Eliminating Smoke Odors After a Fire

5/4/2018 (Permalink)

Keep the Fresh-Baked Aromas without the Odors--Call SERVPRO

Fire damage is devastating for any business, but if it occurs in your bakery, the odor alone can be a huge problem. The smell of burnt wood and plastic can linger on in your establishment, and if it is not promptly and efficiently removed, it can cause havoc. Not only do you stand a chance to lose a ton of business during the restoration process, but you also might have to deal with customer dissatisfaction if the odor is not eliminated.

Thankfully, SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh can help you combat the odors after the fire. We can use some of the latest odor eliminating equipment and a proven strategy to combat odors in the least possible time. Here are a few examples of odor eliminating equipment that we can use.

Pressure sprayer
One of the essentials when it comes to odor management after fire damage, the pressure sprayer is a small hand-held tool used to dispense deodorants. These are used to deodorize the surfaces that are easy to reach. Since direct spraying can wet the surfaces, this instrument is usually not used where discoloration is likely. It is an excellent technique for a bakery where there are a lot of table-tops and counters that need to be deodorized.

Ozone machine
As the name suggests, this machine generates ozone gas, an unstable form of oxygen --O3--that can eliminate the odor-causing molecules. Ozone combines chemically with many odor-causing molecules thereby changing their chemical composition. Once they are ‘oxidized' by ozone, the molecules lose their odor. As ozone is not suitable for breathing, all people, animals, and pets must be evacuated from the premises while doing this treatment. The ozone typically dissipates within an hour of usage.

Air scrubbers
An air scrubber is a piece of equipment that physically eliminates odor-causing particles from the air. It works on the principle of HEPA filtration and can trap odor-causing particles as small as 0.3 microns. There is also a series of activated charcoal and potassium permanganate filters that also eliminate odors.

Call SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh at (516) 809-9600 today to learn more about fire damage restoration and odor elimination.

Things in Your Home That Should Be Cleaned Regularly

5/1/2018 (Permalink)

  

Studies have identified plenty of easy-to-overlook spots in your home and among your belongings  that are popular havens for bacteria and fungi.

We’re surrounded by a multitude of bacteria and viruses, and it’s important to know not all of them will make you sick. But if you’re looking for germy places that might need a little extra attention because you’ve never thought to clean them, any of these could be a good starting point.

Your Dishwasher

The dishwasher washes the dishes, but who washes the dishwasher?  Cleaning Tip: use a 10 percent bleach solution to clean your dishwasher’s bottom, sides and area around the seal.

Your Kids’ Bath Toys

Cleaning Tip: Since it’s usually hard to clean the inside of these toys, replacing them might be the way to go. If your kid is attached to the toy, there’s hope: Drying off the toy as soon as possible after bath time is the key to preventing gross buildups.  The toys should remain upright in a dry place away from the bathroom. If you’re past that stage, there are also cleaning agents just for toys.

Your Toothbrush Holder

Good on you if you remember to replace your toothbrush regularly, but don’t forget to clean the holder it sits in all day. 

Cleaning Tip: Whatever cleaner you use, a small bristled brush can help with cleaning out the individual slots. Don’t forget to wipe down the outside too. 

Your Lamp & Light Switches

  

Hard surfaces that many people touch are ideal for microbes.  So your own light and lamp switches could probably use a wipe-down or two.

Cleaning Tip: Use a microfiber cloth to clean up any gross fingerprints. For the actual switch, use a cotton-tip swab.

Your Cellphone

That thing you hold up to your face every day likely needs a good cleaning, too.

Researchers have found a high level of contamination with potentially pathogenic bacteria. 

Cleaning Tip: Clean that phone, gently. Disinfecting the device a few times a day and remembering to remove the case every once in a while to clean it can prevent buildups. Wipe down your phone with a soft microfiber cloth to take care of a lot of the germs. Also, wash your hands frequently and keep the device out of the bathroom. Your hands and face will thank you.

Your Wallet

Even if you pretty much only use credit or debit cards to pay for things, your wallet has probably seen paper money a few times. And those bills are pretty filthy. Those bills, of course, can contaminate the other cards and various items in your wallet.

Cleaning Tip: Double-check the material of your wallet. Leather, a popular choice, shouldn’t be cleaned with harsh products.  But there are leather soaps and other products available.

Your Yoga Mat & Gym Equipment

That yoga mat you lug to the gym is probably a haven for bacteria. 

If you’re using your own mat instead of one from the gym, you’re already a step ahead of the game. But that doesn’t get you out of cleaning it regularly.  It’s not a bad idea to disinfect your mat ? and perhaps your other gym equipment ? after a sweaty class. 

Cleaning Tip: Use a Lysol spray or bleach diluted in water to clean their mats, and to be sure to dry it thoroughly.

Electrical Panel Safety

5/1/2018 (Permalink)

It's Electric! What You Need to Know about Electrical Panels | Homes.com

A home’s electrical panel is the kind of thing that most people don’t typically think about, that is until they really have to, and then suddenly it becomes one of the most important things in your home! At the very least, be certain that your electrical system is a part of your initial home inspection when buying a new property. Faulty electrical wiring isn’t just extremely expensive to fix but it may even pose a significant fire risk.


Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of your electrical panel, there are some incredibly important safety tips to keep in mind to avoid a fatal mistake:

  • If you feel uncomfortable or lack the experience of dealing with a certain electrical project, call a licensed electrician.
  • Remember that even shutting down the main breaker will only shut down part of the service panel. The terminal points for the power line coming into the house will remain live and their high voltages can be fatal.
  • Never insert any metal tools like a knife or screwdriver into the panel.
  • Do not attempt to remove the cover of the breaker as this will expose powerful high voltage components.
  • Keep an eye out for evidence of scorching or rust as these can be signs of a serious problem with electrical arcing or a water leak in the area.

Location is Key

Your electrical panel is probably located in your garage, basement, utility room, laundry room, or possibly even inside a closet. It’s very important that everyone in your family knows where it is and to verify that it has been labeled correctly, as you may need to get to it quickly to shut the power off to the whole house. If you have kids, take the time to familiarize them with the electrical panel as well so that they know how to safely reset a circuit. Be sure that the area around the panel is clear and not being used for storage so that you can access it quickly. A good idea is to also keep a flashlight hanging near the panel for use during a power outage.

Older homes built before 1960 may have a fuse box that serves the same purpose, with a series of threaded sockets protecting each circuit. Unlike today’s re-settable circuit breakers, old style fuses have to be completely replaced after they trip. Using the wrong type of fuse can pose a very serious fire risk so it’s very important to keep the correct types on hand and to utilize a licensed electrician when repairs are needed. Today’s modern units are significantly safer but can still pose a risk if not handled properly.

Labeling

One of the most valuable things you can do is to take the time to make sure that your panel is accurately and clearly labeled, tracing each circuit to the specific area of the house that it serves. Have a friend or family member help and call out to each other to figure out which circuit feeds each outlet or appliance. You can then use a pen to label each switch or pick up one of those handy packs of labeled magnets to affix to each circuit.

Circuit Breakers

If you suddenly lose power in just one room or on one outlet, you’ve almost certainly tripped that circuit breaker. Circuit breakers are designed to be tripped to prevent a more powerful overload that might do permanent damage to your system. If a circuit breaker trips, unplug everything on that circuit and reset. To reset, find that specific switch in your electrical panel, push it to “off,” then push it back to “on.” You may also hear a click as the circuit resets. If the circuit trips again with nothing plugged in, there’s likely an electrical short somewhere along the line. A licensed electrician will be needed to identify the problem and safely repair it. If the circuit stays active, plug things in one at a time and test them to make sure that power is flowing to the outlet.

Overloading

If you are finding that one or more circuit breaker get tripped on a regular basis, check to see how much demand is being placed on that circuit. Appliances sold in the U.S. are required to have labels that report their average amperage, you can add these numbers up to determine how much strain you are putting on any one circuit at a time. Your larger high wattage appliances like refrigerators and washing machines typically have a dedicated 30 to 50 amp circuit that handles only their needs. Most of the other household circuits are 15 to 20 amps and should be labeled as such in your electrical panel. After assessing your amp demand, you may find that you need to change what draws from where, such as plugging your microwave in a different outlet from your coffee maker to avoid an overload when both are used at the same time. If the circuit continues to be frequently tripped, call an electrician to rule out an underlying problem with the wiring.

Maintenance

Many homeowners will assume that your home’s electrical system requires no maintenance and as long as nothing breaks nothing needs to be done. While that might work for some homes some of the time, a little preventative maintenance can dramatically improve the lifespan of your electrical system and reduce the likelihood of failures at inopportune times.

What Does Insurance Usually Cover On Water Damages?

5/1/2018 (Permalink)

Dealing with the repercussions of a flood or a pipe burst in your Bellmore, NY home can lead to one massive headache. However, it helps to know what your homeowner’s insurance coverage entails and what you can expect to gain from your policy. Whether you have minor or severe water damage, here’s what many insurance companies will cover to help repair and restore your home.

1. They should cover the cost of the damage caused by a broken pipe, but not necessarily the pipe itself.

When it comes time to fix a broken pipe, some insurance companies believe that if a leaking pipe has carried on for a significant amount of time without being treated, then it’s considered ‘homeowner negligence.’ This means they might not cover the cost of the new pipe replacement. However, almost all insurance providers will cover the costs for the extent of the damage that occurred to your home after the pipe burst, including building materials, structural supports and so on.

2. Once a pipe bursts and a resulting flood ensues, that kind of extensive damage will generally be covered.

If a sudden pipe burst happens without any knowledge of leaks beforehand and such an occurrence leads to a massive flood, your insurance company will cover the damage if you have an all-perils policy. This can include anything from carpeting and paint to drywall, as well as the cost of any professional services required to come in and clean up your living space to make it safe for habitation. However, coverage for full-blown flooding versus less-severe water damage can differ depending on your policy, so it pays to be extra cautious when considering which plan to choose for preventative measures.

If a considerable flood occurs in your Wantagh, NY home, it’s important to seek professional guidance before trying to make any repairs or restoration yourself. This is especially true when it comes to your insurance policy, as you might be covered for more damages than you know.

For more information about water damage visit www.SERVPRObellmorewantagh.com/.

Preparing Your House for Spring

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

This winter has been pretty brutal for many of us and while we may not be out of the woods yet, Spring and warmer temperatures are in sight. Even for those of us that’s keep our houses in tip top shape, a particularly cold winter can wreak havoc on the best of home maintenance plans. Following are some the easiest and most effective ways to prepare your home for Spring showers and the warmth we are all looking forward to. 

First, start with a thorough inspection of the roof. Even if it is relatively new, the weight of snow, expansion and contraction due to temperature variances and wind driven rain can expose the smallest of defects. A thorough inspection of the roof can find problems that, if left unresolved, could potentially turn into significant water intrusion issues later on. Making repairs before the problem gets too big cant extend the life of the roof and save you money in the long-term.

Now is also the time to check vents, gutters and openings around the house. Dryer vents should be clean to avoid the potential of a dryer lint fire, gutters should be free of debris to ensure that rainwater is routed to appropriate areas and any openings at or near ground level should be checked for holes in the protective wire to ensure that pests cannot get in or under the house.

Spring cleaning is not just for the kitchens bathrooms and closets. After a long winter indoors, air quality can really suffer and a cleaning of carpets drapes and upholstery can offer a breath of fresh air to welcome Spring. Not only Will a good fabric cleaning make your house feel fresher, but it may also extend the life of your carpets and upholstery making it look newer for longer.

Now is as good a time as any to double check your fire prevention plan. Make sure you have fire extinguishers in the proper places around house and fresh batteries in the smoke detectors. Replace any old or damaged equipment and double check the expiration dates. Unfortunately, there are times were even the most vigilant of us cannot prevent a home fire, so best to be prepared.

One final tip that many homeowners overlook is the health of their windows. They may be cleaned and crystal clear, but are they letting water into the house? Caulking around windows does not come with a lifetime warranty and, depending on the weather, can degrade rather quickly. If you notice holes or cracks in the caulking around your windows, contact a home improvement professional like SERVPRO of Bellmore/Wantagh. You won’t want to run over the old caulk with a new bead – rather, removing the caulk entirely and re-caulking the window is always the best option.

Small maintenance items handled now can often prevent much bigger problems from occurring in the future. Of course, the professionals at SERVPRO of Bellmore/Wantagh are here to help with any of your maintenance needs. Let’s help you get your house in top shape today!

The Lowdown on Home Insulation

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

Have you ever suffered through a particularly cold winter or hot summer wondering why in the world your house is so much colder/hotter than your friend or family member’s brand-new house? Chances are it has to do with insulation. Insulation comes in many shapes, sizes and materials and can be applied to many different locations. Some insulation options are cheap while other solutions are quite expensive – there’s a lot to consider.

Most of us with older homes do not even think about insulation unless we are embarking on an extensive remodel or if you’re building a new home. However, insulation can be very beneficial even in an existing home. Let’s explore some of the common insulation upgrades existing home owners can embark upon to make their lives more comfortable and even save money over the long-term.

Attic insulation is one of the easiest and most cost-effective upgrades to your home. Chances are that over time, the original installation your home has degraded to the point where it does not offer enough protection from the elements. New insulation products are thinner and more efficient than ever before, and they are even spray on products that can be applied with almost perfect coverage. Not only does replacement of insulation improve comfort in the home, but it is a perfect time to look for defects in the roof or attic often caused by weather extremes for animal intrusion.

Installation can also come in the form of windows. Newer windows often offer much better insulation then windows from just a couple decades ago. If you live in a hurricane prone area such as Long Island, hurricane wind resistant windows not only offer protection from projectiles (and even burglars) but can also make the home more comfortable during temperature extremes. If you’re not ready to replace your windows quite yet, take a look around your windows and doors to make sure there is weatherstripping. Having new and well-fitting weatherstripping around the house can eliminate costly drafts.

Basement wall and floor installation can also eliminate a big source of energy loss. Not only will it make your basement more comfortable to hang out in – especially during cold weather– But it will also help the rest of the house dampen temperature extremes.

Lastly, but not least is checking your air ducts, if you have central air and heating. Over time, these ducts can develop holes and tears that allow cool or hot air to escape, reducing the efficiency of your home’s central air system. Improving insulation of these same ducts can further improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling unit. While some ducts will be hard to access, others can be easily repaired or replaced by a qualified professional.

A note on wall insulation. While older houses typically have subpar wall insulation, which allows a great deal of hot or cold air to be lost, it is not often practical to replace it.

Whether you’re looking for a small for significant installation upgrade, improved insulation offers one of the clearest and most immediate benefits to your comfort and even wallet - in the form of lower heating and cooling costs. Insulation improvements and replacement are also on the cheaper end of the home-improvement cost spectrum. Feel free to call us and learn more about how insulation and other improvements and repairs to your home can protect you from intrusion from the elements.

The Art and Science of Grout Cleaning

9/6/2017 (Permalink)

Every tile job, even those with the most precise and small grout lines, can be ruined by stained and dirty grout. Going online or to the DIY store yields a multitude of tips and tricks, some of which may work and others that are simply useless. Today, we discuss the different types of grout and what can be done to keep it clean.

Unlike many tiles, grout can be porous and over time begins to absorb both the liquid and dirt that falls to the floor through regular home use. Light grouts can turn dark very quickly and require the most care. Similarly, larger grout lines make dirt retention much more obvious. Lastly, rough grout is more susceptible to trapped dirt then smoother grout options.

If your grout is currently in good shape or if your tile has recently been installed, it may make sense to seal your grout. Sealing grout lines retains the new look while repelling liquid and dirt. However, you should be aware of a few important considerations.

  • First, sealing the grout may change its color, rendering it darker. Some grout sealant is specially formulated to avoid this issue.
  • Second, sealing the grout does not mean that it will be perfectly protected. Some liquid and dirt may still be able to penetrate the sealant.
  • Lastly, the sealant must be reapplied on a regular basis, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, otherwise it can’t begin to break down.

There will be times where professional help is needed to bring grout back to a better condition. SERVPRO of Bellmore/Wantagh has the experience, tools and equipment to clean grout in a way that consumer products often cannot.

  • Steam cleaning may be appropriate for most low-traffic applications that are not extremely dirty. Using a combination of the heat and clean water, our commercial grade equipment can effectively extract hard-to-remove stains. This method can also be effective in cleaning the tile in the room.
  • For deeper, less manageable stains, sanding the grout lines and applying new grout on top may be an option. This requires far more labor and, ultimately, cost, however it can improve the aesthetics of the grout tremendously.
  • Lastly, if there is no saving the grout, a complete grout removal and replacement may be the only option. This is a good time to consider replacing the tile as well, especially if it is very old and the homeowner has been considering a remodel.

Here at SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh, we are proud to offer cost-effective options for floor and grout cleaning. Homeowners that stay on top of the maintenance of their floor will almost invariably reap rewards in the form of a better-looking floor for a longer period of time. We are here to help.

Practical Tips for Keeping Your Carpet Like New

8/18/2017 (Permalink)

Cleaning Practical Tips for Keeping Your Carpet Like New The North Bellmore Fire Department needed to freshen up the fire house and used SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh to clean the carpets in their lounge and

Virtually every home has a carpeted area. Carpet offers a host of benefits, however of all the floor coverings available today, it is one of the most difficult to keep fresh and clean. However, with some diligence and effort, homeowners can maintain their carpets in “like-new” condition for a long time. Following are some practical tips to help homeowners make the most of their flooring investment:

  • Choose a high-quality carpet. While a low price may seem tempting, A better quality of carpet may last longer. Speak to your flooring professional to understand the differences between carpet types and brands.

  • Choose the carpet type that suits your home habits. For example, those with young children or pet may wish to avoid berber or loop carpets that can easily come undone.

  • Consider a carpet with built-in stain protection. These carpets have a special coating that acts to repel spills and dirt for an easier cleanup. While the stain protection is not perfect, it can certainly help.
  • Clean stains as soon as possible.  The best way to clean the stain is to blot with a carpet-specific cleaning solution. Do not rub this stain as it may make a bad situation worse. No matter what carpet cleaning solution you use, test a small spot in an inconspicuous area to be sure that it does not adversely affect the appearance of the carpet. There are also many organic and natural options carpet cleaning.
  • Vacuum often. Depending on how heavily the carpet is used, you may wish to vacuum twice a week or more. Removing deep seated dirt sooner rather than later helps prevent the breakdown of carpet fibers as well as slowing the buildup of unseen dirt within the pile.

What About Professional Help?

A deep cleaning once every 9-12 months is it appropriate for regular carpet use. Hiring a professional like those at SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh can keep your carpet smelling and looking great. 

In the interim, homeowners with lots of activity may want to invest in a consumer-level deep cleaning system. These wet-vac systems range from low to moderate in price and can be very helpful when a smaller spill needs to be cleaned up right away.  Of course, these systems often lack the cleaning power of a commercial system, so they are rarely appropriate for whole-house cleaning. For maintenance and larger spill, give us a call.

And of course, prevention Is always easier than a cleanup. Small, common sense moves, like removing shoes at the door can make a huge difference in the life of your carpet.

When Dusting Doesn’t Cut It

8/18/2017 (Permalink)

Dust is a part of everyone’s home life. It simply cannot be avoided no matter how hard we try. And while we work hard to eliminate it by dusting frequently, we may still find ourselves and our loved ones sneezing and reacting to allergens in the air.

One of the most common culprits is an often unrecognized and underappreciated system – our HVAC. Our central heating and cooling units rarely receive the attention and maintenance they need – it is often assumed that the HVAC unit is a sealed and contained such that it only spits out clean, filtered air. This is not always the case: 

  1. Depending on the quality of the filter being used, small particles can still pass. The HVAC filter simply cannot filter out particles of that size. Of course, when choosing a filter with lower tolerances (higher filtration), it is important to remember that it will add strain to the system as less air is able to pass.
  2. Small dust particles as well as moisture can begin to collect in the air ducts and on the vents. While dust on the vents can easily be identified and cleaned by removing the vent, dust within the ducts requires a lot more work.
  3. Mold spores that pass through the HVAC system may become trapped in the ducting. Like the above, the accumulation of mold in the ducting can cause spores to dislodge regularly and cause the homeowner respiratory discomfort.

Regular service on your A/C unit can help it run at peak performance and an evaluation of your air ducts can improve the quality of the air you breathe.

Here at SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh, we can evaluate your HVAC system including ductwork and offer a plan to keep it in top shape. While your ducts may or may not need a thorough cleaning now, they will sometime in the future. When it comes time to call a professional duct cleaning service, we look forward to being there for you.

While We’re There

On a related note, homeowners often overlook the cleaning of another important air duct – that of their clothes dryer. Lint builds up in the exhaust system since the lint trapper in the unit is not 100% efficient. Flexible dryer hoses only exacerbate the problem with their lint-trapping ridges. Cleaning the ductwork can be difficult depending on location of the duct and the venting. Further, excessive lint build-up can eventually cause a house fire. 

If you notice that your clothes are taking longer to dry, or are not drying at all, give us a call to inspect and clean your dryer ducts for your safety and convenience.

Preparing Your Business for A Disaster

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

You may just be starting out with your own business or have an established well-oiled machine. Either way, you work hard planning for the future. One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of running a business, is disaster preparedness. After all, most businesses will never experience a serious disaster, so why worry? 

Planning is Not Hard

Luckily for business owners across Long Island, planning for the possibilities of a disaster is not as hard and time consuming as it seems. Here are a few tips to help ensure the continuity of your business, even in the event of a disaster:

  • Develop a comprehensive preparedness plan that covers, fire, flood, natural disasters, criminal behavior and terrorism. Templates for these plans can be found in various places around the Internet including ready.gov, a service provided by the US Department of Homeland Security.
  • Test your program to make sure that employees and contractors know what to do in case of an emergency. Proper testing can identify gaps in your plan and makes for a calmer and more organized response during a real disaster.
  • Backups – At the very least keep crucial documents backed up offsite or in a secure location. Ideally, documents and other paperwork is scanned and backed up securely on the Internet.
  • Train employees in critical skills such as how to handle an active shooter or CPR. These are training programs that save lives.
  • While you may have business insurance, does it cover all disasters? Some policies have exclusions that can mean denied coverage.
  • Have a list of known contractors and disaster preparedness companies such as SERVPRO of Bellmore/Wantagh that can respond quickly to your business needs.

Are You Ready?

You can learn more about being ready by visiting our very own SERVPRO website here: https://ready.SERVPRO.com - see if you are truly prepared for an emergency.

The bottom line: It’s never too late to implement important contingencies to help ensure the continuity of your business.  Not only does an emergency plan help you get back on your feet after a significant event, but it can also save time, money and most importantly, lives. Be prepared!