What's that Smell?
Your nose knows!
What’s that Smell?
When an unusual odor wafts through it’s a call-to-action, not a wait-and-see situation. It could be a benign issue like a clogged garbage disposal or a potentially hazardous problem that demands your attention. So explore, don’t ignore! Here are five weird smells and what they could mean:
- Fishy- Most people would never draw this connection but a fishy smell can be tied to an electrical issue such as frayed wires or faulty outlets. When an electrical component overheats, the heat-resistant chemicals covering the wires release that terrible fishy smell.
- Wet Dog- If you notice this smell and don’t have a dog the first thing you want to check for is mold/mildew growth. Bacterial growth in a damp area can often be the culprit for this smell. If you can’t pinpoint where the smell is coming from, it’s possible the odor is blowing from your HVAC unit and you may have a dirty air filter that needs to be cleaned. Excessive moisture is what’s causing this smell so if you don’t find evidence of mold check your appliances to see if you have any leaks causing rotting wood, as this issue can also effuse the “wet dog” smell. In a rare instance, if you ruled out all the above causes, you may have a rodent issue on your hand and should contact an exterminator.
- Pickle- A pickly or vinegary scent could mean formaldehyde, a potentially harmful chemical from adhesives and resins. When this chemical reaches room temperature it turns into a gas and when inhaled can cause serious medical problems. To remove this odor from your home open all windows and run fans to get the air moving. You can also sprinkle baking soda on any carpet or upholstery that seems to be emitting the smell, let it sit overnight, and vacuum it as a last step.
- Cat Urine- This distinctive smell could indicate black mold. If you find circular-shaped dark green, black, or brown spots that smell similar to cat urine you should call SERVPRO right away and we’ll send someone out to take a look. It’s advised to vacate the house but if you do not have that option try your best to seal off that area and avoid any contact with the affected region. If you or someone in your household is experiencing unusual respiratory issues, allergic reactions, or headaches it’s best to seek medical attention.
- Rotten Eggs- This smell isn’t just unpleasant; it could mean a serious gas leak, a worst-case scenario that poses a risk of fire or explosion if left undetected. Interestingly, natural gas is odorless. But gas companies deliberately add a foul-smelling odorant for safety reasons.
So trust your nose! Remember, your home’s smells are like messages, and addressing them quickly can prevent potential issues. And if you encounter a challenge beyond your expertise, don’t hesitate to reach out to SERVPRO. We’re here to ensure your home stays not only clean but also safe. Trust us to handle the unexpected, so you can enjoy a worry-free home environment.
Fall Decorating 101: Safety Tips and Ideas for a Stunning Seasonal Display
Stay safe with SERVPRO!
Decorating for the holidays is something millions of people do, but it can get extra spooky if you aren’t careful. There’s no need to shy away from pulling out all the bells and whistles for the holidays as long as you prioritize safety. Here are some tips to ensure your home remains secure throughout the holiday season:
Open Flames- Avoid them at all costs. Instead, consider using battery-operated or LED lights. There are even lights that can give you that same flickering effect you get from a real flame but without the danger!
Inflatables- Display with caution. Storing inflatables inside during severe weather offers the best protection.When you bring them indoors be sure to store them away from sources of ignition. When deciding where to put your inflatable outdoors, pick a spot with level ground and a good distance from any tree branches.
Outdoor lights- Double and triple-check that the lights you are using outdoors are actually designed to be used outdoors! Outdoor lights have a special coating that protects them from water damage. Always check the warning labels before you use any decoration with an electrical component outdoors. It’s best to unplug the lights before leaving your house as leaving them on unattended is a potential fire hazard.
Electrical Wires- Pinching cords in doors, windows, or under heavy furniture could damage the cord’s insulation. Never run electrical wires across driveways and/or walkways as it could become a tripping hazard and cause exposed wires and damaged sockets.
So next time you pull that box of decorations down and unravel those lights hopefully these safety tips spring to the forefront of your mind!
Winter Weather is here and after the storms over the Christmas holiday, now is a good time to make sure your home is prepared for a potential storm.
- Prevent frozen pipes and pipe bursts
- Any faucets that are connected to pipes in areas that are unheated (attic, crawl space, outside) are more likely to freeze when the temperature drops. Be sure to let cold water drip from those faucets to help prevent freezing.
- If you plan on leaving your home for multiple days during freezing temps leave your heat on. Heating costs may rise a bit, but comparatively to a burst pipe in your home you’ll be happy you did.
- Prevent ice dams
- When warm air from your home heats the roof and melts the snow on the roof it collects in unheated areas and refreezes, making ice dams that limit drainage off the roof and can cause damage to your home.
- Make sure to clear your gutters and downspouts so that water can drain off the roof and doesn’t collect anywhere to refreeze
- Install gutter screens to help keep out debris build up in gutters
- If you live in an area with especially large amounts of snowfall, consider installing snow guards to prevent snow accumulation on your roof and lining under your shingles to prevent leaks as snow melts
- Ensure you know where and how to shut off your water in case of an emergency
- When pipes freeze or burst it is important to be able to respond immediately and prevent the issue from getting any worse. Make sure that you know where your water shut off is and turn it off the second you discover a leak.
When taking the proper steps you can have a stress free winter. Call SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour and Sullivan counties if a disaster does occur. We are ready to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Winter season is here and the simple pleasures of gathering around the fireplace become more and more common. To ensure the safety of yourself and family members, be sure to follow these crucial steps before deciding to light a fire.
Have your fireplace professionally cleaned – According to the National Fire Protection Association, you should have your chimney swept at least once a year by a professional cleaning service. This type of service entails cleaning inside and outside the chimney.
- Always cap your chimney – Placing a cap on your chimney prevents outside debris, rain, and even vermin from entering your fireplace.
- Burn seasoned wood – Not all wood is safe for your fireplace. If you have any questions about what wood to choose, visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America website.
- Place a small amount of wood in the fire – A small amount of wood generates less smoke. Less smoke is not only beneficial to your own health, but it also means less damage to your chimney.
- Place the wood on a metal grate – This allows the air to circulate around the logs.
- Use a guard – Placing a guard on both sides of your fireplace can prevent any sparks from flying out and potentially harming yourself or any appliances that are nearby.
- Put out the fire safely – After the fire dies down, be sure to bury the logs at the bottom of the fireplace and pour sand on it to ensure that it is out.
Types of Chimney Fires
- Free Burning: Extremely loud blaze with visible flames and smoke coming out of the chimney top.
- Slow Burning: Much quieter than a free burning fire. This type of chimney fire often goes unnoticed since they burn slower and at high temperatures. Slow burning fires are still extremely dangerous.
At SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties, safety is our #1 concern, and we hope that you and your family are able to enjoy the splendors of a fireplace fire this winter season.
Water Damage Causes
Unlike other parts of the country, rain isn't the main cause of water damage in homes and other buildings. Get to know some of the common causes of water damage so that you can do what you can to prevent it from happening on your property.
- Broken Pipes – A broken pipe can do a lot of damage to your home in just a short amount of time. Before you know it, gallons short amount of time. Before you know of water could be spewing through your home. Pay close attention to any leaks, drips, and signs of deterioration. Have a plumber come out to your house for regular maintenance, and if there ever is a broken pipe, you can always turn the water off before the plumber arrives to avoid further damage.
- Pinhole Leaks – common if a home has copper plumbing, a pinhole leak is a puncture of a copper pipe due to corrosion. If your home has a copper water system, check your pipes for signs of corrosion often.
- Old/Faulty Appliances – If your fridge or washing machines aren’t maintained well, or have gotten too old, they could start to leak and create a significant amount of water damage in your home. It’s especially important to keep an eye on the appliances in your kitchen, as water damage caused by your fridge or dishwasher can affect not just your floor, but your cabinets as well. Often, leaks that go undetected for some time will cause significant water damage behind cabinets, which in turn can lead to mold if the problem goes unnoticed for an extended period.
- Roof Leaks– Check your roof frequently and take care of any maintenance or repairs. That way you won’t have to worry about your home flooding next time a storm hits.
- Accidents – Sometimes luck just isn’t on your side and one tiny mistake can lead to a big problem. A clogged toilet or too much soap in the dishwasher or washing machine can have water coming across your bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. These parts of the home are generally better equipped than the rest of the house to handle a larger spill, but water moves fast and could potentially cause damage to the walls, ceiling, or other rooms in the home.
If an accident ever does occur that you think calls for a professional, call SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties and we’ll make it "Like it never even happened."
SERVPRO Equipment and Technology
Advanced Technology and Techniques
The past few decades has seen a rapid advancement in the technology and techniques used in the restoration industry. These advancements allow SERVPRO Franchise Professionals to restore a property back to preloss condition quickly, reliably, and more effectively.
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) sets practical standards for restoration and cleaning. The IICRC S500 Water Damage Guide is a specific set of practical standards that incorporate the field of psychometry, which involves the manipulation of temperature and relative humidity to remove moisture and dry a property quickly and effectively.
Moisture Detection and Measurement Equipment
Scientific drying principles rely upon specialized equipment to detect, measure, and monitor a property’s moisture levels. Recent advances, like infrared cameras, can help us detect water through a wall, ceiling, or floor.
- An infrared camera may be used to identify water location for thorough water removal.
- Sensitive moisture detectors, hygrometers, and other meters measure the extent of moisture saturation.
Water Extraction Equipment
Powerful extraction equipment speeds the drying process by removing the bulk of the water from your home or business.
- Submersible and gas-powered pumps for continuous pumping of high-level water.
- Truck-mounted and portable extraction units perform efficient water removal.
Industrial strength air movers and dehumidifiers are needed to remove the remaining moisture from ceiling, walls, and floors of your home or business. Proper drying helps to prevent swelling and warping of floors, walls, and furniture.
- High-speed air movers causes moisture to evaporate at a faster pace.
- Industrial grade dehumidifiers pull the water vapor from the air.
Odor Removal and Deodorization
Water and fire damage often causes powerful odors. The machines we use remove airborne contaminants and control the air quality during the restoration and cleanup process.
- Air scrubbers remove airborne particles and contaminants.
- Thermal foggers and deodorization agents control odors.
Sanitizing Agents, Germicides, and Anti-Microbial Treatments
The use of OSHA-approved cleaning agents may be needed to clean and remove odors and/or contaminants on your property.
- Cleaning agents help to stop the growth of bacteria, fungi, mildew, and other harmful microorganisms.
Employee Certification and Training
Since the year 1967, SERVPRO Industries, Inc., has been redefining the mitigation and restoration industries. In addition to training at the regional level, SERVPRO developed the National Training Center in 1992 to teach restoration and mitigation skills to Franchise Owners and insurance industry employees.
Employee Certification Training
The Employee Certification Training is a self paced program which is designed for the franchise employee. The certification is awarded after the successful completion of course materials as well as an examination. Newly implemented training consists of the HeroReady Training Program which separates training for Production Technicians and Crew Chiefs. SERVPRO allows for continuing education in the mitigation and restoration industry by continually reworking their training in order to benefit the technicians and the clients best.
The Employee Certification Training Modules include the following:
- Crew Training
- Fire Restoration
- Water Restoration
- Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning
24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Services
SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, 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 Answer the Phone Ready to Help
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- The street address of the water-damaged home or business
- When did the flooding or water damage occur?
- What caused the water damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity available (on-site)?
Water Damage Tips
Water Damage Emergency Tips
What you can do until help arrives
After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety:
- Is it safe to stay in the house?
- Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
- Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
- Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!
What To Do After Flooding
- Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
- Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
- Gather loose items from floors.
What NOT To Do After Flooding
- Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
- Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
- Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
- Don't use television or other household appliances.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.
Emergency Ready Program
Can we determine when disaster strikes?
Unfortunately, we can never really know when a disaster will strike. Anything could happen at any moment, so as a business, it is essential to prepare for an emergency.
Why should you prepare for an emergency?
There are a few reasons:
1.Safety! Being prepared means keeping everyone involved safe during an emergency.
- To minimize damage done to the building. If you understand where the water shut off is for instance, then you can turn off the water during a pipe burst, therefore stopping the source.
- Save money!! Less damage=less expensive.
SERVPRO® provides an Emergency Ready Profile to help you prepare for disaster.
This FREE Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) is designed to organize all of the critical information necessary during a disaster. For example, locations of shut offs for utilities and Emergency Contact information.
Oh, and it is FREE
Anyone can download our free app, businesses please give us a call to set a free ERP consultation.