Recent Posts

No One Welcomes a Chimney Fire

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

A chimney fire in action can be impressive. Indications of a chimney fire have been described as creating:

  • loud cracking and popping noise
  • a lot of dense smoke, and
  • an intense, hot smell

Chimney fires can burn explosively – noisy and dramatic enough to be detected by neighbors or people passing by. Flames or dense smoke may shoot from the top of the chimney. Homeowners report being startled by a low rumbling sound that reminds them of a freight train or a low flying airplane. However, those are only the chimney fires you know about.

SERVPRO is a trusted leader in the restoration industry, and our highly trained technicians provide 24-hour emergency service. We're dedicated to responding faster to any size disaster with the training, equipment, and experience to respond to your restoration or cleaning needs.

24-Hour Emergency Service
Faster to Any Size Disaster
Highly Trained Restoration Technicians
A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry
Locally Owned and Operated
Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment

SERVPRO understands the stress and worry that comes with a fire or water damage and the disruption it causes your life and home or business. Our goal is to help minimize the interruption to your life and quickly make it "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage. SERVPRO can also mitigate mold and mildew from your home or business.

Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. 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. With a nationwide system of qualified franchises, no damage is too large or too small for SERVPRO

What To Do When Your Refrigerator Water Line Leaks

11/30/2018 (Permalink)

Refrigerator Water Line Leaks, Prevention Tips!

The refrigerator is one of the hardest working appliances around the home, so when one breaks down or suffers a leak, the experience can have consequences. If you find that your fridge’s water line has a leak, there are a few simple steps you can follow to troubleshoot the problem and have it running again in no time.

What To Do When Your Refrigerator Water Line Leaks

The first step is to identify the leak. The refrigerator water line connects the household water supply to a refrigerator with an ice maker or water dispenser. The water line typically runs at the back of the fridge. Once the leak has been identified, here is what you can do to fix the problem.

  • Turn off the valve that supplies water to the refrigerator and then unplug the refrigerator to turn off the appliance. You will likely find the water shut off valve located beneath the kitchen sink or  in some cases, behind the refrigerator itself.

If the valve is located behind the fridge, carefully pull the appliance away from the wall and turn off the valve.

You will now have to loosen the compression nut that secures the supply line to the water intake valve. This can be done with the assistance of an adjustable wrench by turning the nut counter clockwise and then disconnecting the supply line.

Once loosened, remove the compression nut to disconnect the supply line from the valve.

If the supply line is broken or torn in places, replace the old line with a new one making sure that its length and dimensions are the same as the original water line. Material choices range between copper, plastic and stainless steel water lines. 

  • To fix the new water line in place, thread one end of the supply line to the shut off valve under the sink and tighten until it is snug in place. When using a copper or plastic line, make sure to first slide on a compression nut secured with a compression sleeve or ring onto the end of the line. A stainless steel water line comes with a built in rubber gasket that stops the connection from leaking.
  • Thread the other end of the supply line to the water intake valve and tighten it until snug.
  • Turn on water and check for any leaks. If there is still a drip, tighten the nuts a bit more.

Purchasing a new water line

When the line is badly damaged and needs replacement there are a few things to keep in mind. For instance, one of the factors at this point would be to choose a line material that will offer durability and long lasting utility. Another is the price tag attached to the new purchase.

Plastic water lines

In terms of materials, plastic lines are the most cost effective but also least durable. The biggest threat lies in these lines cracking, clogging or leaking, causing water damage. While plastic lines may seem to work well in terms of flexibility, especially where space behind the fridge is tight, many people do not prefer this type of line material.

Copper water lines

Another option is to go with copper water lines that yield superior sturdiness but are also more prone to kinkiness. A more flexible version of copper lines is available to allow pushing the tubing into position giving it some flexibility to work well in cramped spaces.

Stainless steel water lines

As an alternative stainless steel braided lines can be considered. Braided steel is a tough, non-kinking option to the more pliable plastic and the ¼ in flexible copper lines. Stainless steel also happens to be the most durable option but will tend to be the most expensive as well.

Whether the leak in your refrigerator water line is caused by a plastic, copper or stainless steel water line, remember that you can always access the professional service of our experts at SERVPRO of Washington Twp., NJ  to come and resolve all water damage concerns at your home.

Christmas tree fires

11/29/2018 (Permalink)

This report provides estimates of the causes and circumstances of home structure fires that began with the ignition of Christmas trees during the five-year period of 2010-2014. Trend data are also presented. Previously published descriptions of Christmas tree fires are also included to show how these fires can happen.

Report highlights

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 210 home1 structure fires per year that began with Christmas trees in 2010-2014. These fires caused an annual average of six civilian deaths, 16 civilian injuries, and $16.2 million in direct property damage. 
  • On average, one of every 34 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are much more likely to be deadly than most other fires.
  • Four of every five Christmas tree fires occurred in December and January.
  • In one-quarter (26%) of the Christmas tree fires and 80% of the deaths, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.

1Homes include one- or two-family homes and apartments or other multi-family housing.

When Water Damage Happens...

11/27/2018 (Permalink)

When flooding and water damage occur at a commercial property, there is often the need for well trained individuals that can respond in a timely manner.  Whether it is a small water damage cleanup or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the affected area. Generally, we are able to allow the inhabitants to continue to operate there business in assigned areas while we work on preserving, protecting and stopping further damage from occurring in the facility.

Recently, we had a severe thunderstorm pass over Gloucester county, dumping vast amounts of water in a very short amount of time.  Several commercial buildings were impacted by water and sewage. 

A call came in at approximately 7:30 PM on a Sunday.  Our crews were onsite by 8:45 PM.  They immediately got to work extracting water from the space.  This continued until approximately 1:00 AM.  We then started the necessary demolition.  Our team removed the affected ceiling tiles, wet drywall, and wet insulation to allow us to properly dry the building.   The space was large – approximately 2,300 square feet – so we set up more than forty air movers and six extra large dehumidifiers. 

We worked with the occupants around there schedule.  We worked in areas that they were not working in to allow them to continue to operate there business to avoid any additional lost revenue and/or productivity.  After three days, we began to remove some of our equipment, but the drying process was still in progress.  Everyone was grateful that we were able to assist them and allow them to keep their company doors open. 

About SERVPRO of Washington / Woolwich

SERVPRO of Washington / Woolwich specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our highly trained staffed are certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification in Water Damage cleanup. 

Water Removal and Extraction

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

The water damage restoration process begins with a detailed inspection of your property, including a damage assessment. The SERVPRO Franchise Professional is determining the scope of the damage so he or she can develop an appropriate plan of action. Being careful and cautious is also a Priority. Also, Making sure electrical items, Appliances, and Outlets are Not a Hazard.

They Identify and Stop the Water Source

They check for the source of water in your home and business and stop it. The water source must be stopped before the drying process can begin.

  • Stop the Source
  • Check for Contaminated Water

They Identify the Type of Water

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals must identify the category and classification of water to restore your property safely to industry specifications. The type of water contamination will affect the specific restoration processes used to restore your property.

  • White / Category 1 Water
  • Gray / Category 2 Water
  • Black / Category 3 Water

They Survey the Extent of the Water Damage and Inspect the Premises

They inspect and test your home to discover the extent of the damage. Additionally, they will look for safety concerns and explain them to you. If you are aware of any safety issues, such as asbestos or lead, please share them.

  • Survey Damage
  • Complete Safety Inspection

They Move or Block Furniture

They move furniture and property contents and block items to help prevent rust or furniture stains on wet carpet.

  • Block Furniture

The water extraction step removes the majority of the water from your home or property. By performing a thorough water extraction, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals help reduce the drying time and help to prevent mold and secondary water damage. They use powerful pumps and truck-mounted vacuum units to quickly remove hundreds or thousands of gallons of water from your property.

Move-Out / Pack-Out

If your home requires extensive restoration or cleaning, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can conduct an organized, efficient move-out to protect your belongings from further damage.

  • Move-Out Service

Emergency Water Removal

Highly trained technicians will begin the water removal process almost immediately. Depending on the amount of water, they may use powerful submersible pumps in addition to industrial strength, wet/dry vacuums. This step helps to reduce drying time and helps to prevent mold and secondary water damage.

  • Remove Excess Water
  • Use Submersible Pumps and Industrial Wet/Dry Vacuums

Inspect the Carpet Pad and Carpet

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals inspect the carpet and pad and determine if it should be removed to protect the subfloor.

  • Inspect Carpet Pad and Remove If Needed
  • Inspect Carpet and Remove If Needed

Water Removal Equipment

  • Moisture detectors, hygrometers, and other meters measure the extent of moisture saturation.
  • Infrared cameras may be used to find “hidden” water behind walls and ceilings.
  • Submersible and gas-powered pumps are used for continuous pumping of high-level water.
  • Truck-mounted and portable extraction units perform efficient water removal.

Why Professionals Should Clean Smoke Damage From Fire

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

When the firefighters leave, it may seem like the danger has passed and the home is safe from further destruction, but without professionals to help clean the smoke damage, the building will never return to normal. While the principles behind fire restoration are fairly simple, it requires a lot of experience and manpower to perform adequately, and this means that it shouldn’t be attempted by a homeowner on his or her own.

While fire is always the immediate danger, once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house. Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, will cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem, assuming they are contacted soon enough. There are many companies out there that advertise their ability to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the main oversight agency in this industry. The IICRC requires its registrants to take extensive coursework before earning their certification. This is a symbol of excellence, and those that uphold the standards that have been set can be contacted through the IICRC.

These professionals can clean smoke damage and restore items affected by a fire, but they must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does to the home is discolor most surfaces. Anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes, and within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow. Metals may also tarnish. After a few days pass, the ash will cause walls to discolor permanently, along with clothing and upholstery. Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.

If a professional isn’t hired to clean smoke and fire damage, the costs for restoration will skyrocket after a few weeks. Metals may need to be replaced, carpet will permanently discolor and glass may be severely etched, which will necessitate replacement. It will also become apparent that the odors caused by the disaster may still be present and intense enough to be distracting. Because ash is acidic, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause.

The first thing a trained, certified, professional company will do when on site is to identify all affected materials and the source of any odors. The only way to properly clean smoke and fire damage is to be extremely thorough. Ash residue is easily disturbed and can spread through the building with ease, causing nearly everything to need restoration. The experts will identify what can and cannot be salvaged, and will remove any built-up ash residue that is coating surfaces. Over time, ash builds up in layers, and may eventually form into a lacquer-like consistency. Once this is done, the restorers will locate the source of the odor, and treat it with specialized detergents that are formulated for neutralizing this kind of odor. Once materials are treated, they may be sealed off to prevent any further odor from permeating the air in the future.

This entire process is very detailed, and hiring a professional that can be trusted to do the job right is imperative.

The do's and Don'ts of water intrusion

11/8/2018 (Permalink)

Do:

* Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.

* Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and table top items.

* Remove and prop wet upholstery and pillow cushions for even drying.

* Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.

* Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.

* Remove Oriental rugs or other colored rugs from wet wall-to-wall carpeting.

* Remove valuable paintings and art objects to a safe, dry place.

* Open and place luggage, in sunlight to dry, if possible.

* Gather loose items, toys, etc. from floors.


Don’t:

* Leave wet fabrics in place; dry as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.

* Leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors.

* Use your household vacuum to remove water.

* Use TVs or other household appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors.

* Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out


CALL SERVPRO 1-856-241-9997

Mold and Your Health

11/8/2018 (Permalink)

Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all.  Areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.

Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

The key to mold control is moisture control. If mold is a problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem.


It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on. You can prevent damage to your home and furnishings, save money, and avoid potential health problems by controlling moisture and eliminating mold growth.

Here is the 8 Most Common Fire Hazards in the Home

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

A fire at a 16,000 square foot mansion on the waterfront in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, took the lives of six people including two grandparents and their four grandchildren. The cause of the fire, according to investigators, was a 16-foot tall Christmas tree that the owners left lit most of the time in the great room of the house. An electrical failure ignited the two-month-old tree, which swiftly fueled the fire in the rest of the house.

The lack of a sprinkler system inside the house or fire hydrants and other water sources near the home made it extremely challenging for fire fighters who responded to the call.

1. Candles

Who doesn’t love the romantic glow of candlelight? But, even if you enjoy their fragrance and ambiance, you might want to think twice before lighting a candle and leaving the room. From 2007-2011, the NFPA says there were an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day.

About one-third of these fires started in bedrooms, causing 39% of the associated deaths and 45% of the associated injuries. More than half of all candle fires start because of candles that were left too close to flammable items. They should always be kept at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

2. Smoking

While the number of fires caused by smoking is trending downward, the NFPA found that there were still an average of 17,600 related fires per year resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.

3. Electrical & Lighting

Electrical fires can have a number of different origins. They can be caused by an equipment malfunction, from an overloaded circuit or extension cord, or from an overheated light bulb, space heater, washer, dryer or other appliance.

According to the NFPA, in 2011 approximately 47,700 home structure fires were caused by some sort of electrical failure or malfunction. These resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage. 

4. Dryers and washing machines

Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage. The most frequent causes of fires in dryers are lint/dust (29%) and clothing (28%). In washers, they are wire or cable insulation (26%), the appliance housing (21%) or the drive belt (15%).

5. Lightning

Unlike other types of house fires, which occur more frequently in the winter months, those caused by lightning are more likely to happen in June, July and August in the late afternoon or early evening. From 2007-2011, NFPA says there were an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes.

6. Children playing with fire

The NFPA says that children start an average of 7,100 home fires per year, causing approximately $172 million in property damage. July is the most active month for these fires, and males start the majority (83%) of them. Younger children under the age of six are more likely to start fires inside, using matches or a lighter as the ignition source. The most frequent sites for fires are the bedroom (39%), kitchen (8%) and living room/family room/den (6%). Older children are more likely to start fires outside.

7. Christmas trees

Like candle fires, Christmas tree fires are more common during the holidays, with 43% occurring in December and 39% in January. The NFPA says an average of 230 fires are attributed to Christmas trees each year and they are more likely to be serious because of the factors that can contribute to the fire: a dry tree, electrical lights and a fuel supply (gifts) under the tree. Christmas tree fires cause an average of $18.3 million in property damage each year.

8. Cooking

The number one source of house fires is cooking – usually leaving pots or pans unattended on the stove while you run away to do something for “just a minute.” The NFPA says that 40% of all house fires, or an average of 156,600 per year, start this way, causing approximately $853 million in property damage. Two-thirds of the fires started because the food or other materials caught fire.

Fires are more likely to start on a range (57%) as compared to the oven (16%), mainly due to frying. Most injuries occur when the cook tried to put out the fire.

Several years ago in Florida, investigators saw a pattern of fraudulent house fires that started in the kitchen when the owners left food cooking on the stove while they ran to the store for a missing ingredient. Grease would catch on fire and the flames spread from there. 

Contact a Fire and Smoke damage Restoration contractor, for any Fire Damage and Smoke damage to your property

Why Professionals Should Clean Smoke Damage From a Fire

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

When the firefighters leave, it may seem like the danger has passed and the home is safe from further destruction, but without professionals to help clean the smoke damage, the building will never return to normal. While the principles behind fire restoration are fairly simple, it requires a lot of experience and manpower to perform adequately, and this means that it shouldn’t be attempted by a homeowner on his or her own.

While fire is always the immediate danger, once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house. Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, will cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem, assuming they are contacted soon enough. There are many companies out there that advertise their ability to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the main oversight agency in this industry. The IICRC requires its registrants to take extensive coursework before earning their certification. This is a symbol of excellence, and those that uphold the standards that have been set can be contacted through the IICRC.

These professionals can clean smoke damage and restore items affected by a fire, but they must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does to the home is discolor most surfaces. Anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes, and within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow. Metals may also tarnish. After a few days pass, the ash will cause walls to discolor permanently, along with clothing and upholstery. Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.

If a professional isn’t hired to clean smoke and fire damage, the costs for restoration will skyrocket after a few weeks. Metals may need to be replaced, carpet will permanently discolor and glass may be severely etched, which will necessitate replacement. It will also become apparent that the odors caused by the disaster may still be present and intense enough to be distracting. Because ash is acidic, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause.

The first thing a trained, certified, professional company will do when on site is to identify all affected materials and the source of any odors. The only way to properly clean smoke and fire damage is to be extremely thorough. Ash residue is easily disturbed and can spread through the building with ease, causing nearly everything to need restoration. The experts will identify what can and cannot be salvaged, and will remove any built-up ash residue that is coating surfaces. Over time, ash builds up in layers, and may eventually form into a lacquer-like consistency. Once this is done, the restorers will locate the source of the odor, and treat it with specialized detergents that are formulated for neutralizing this kind of odor. Once materials are treated, they may be sealed off to prevent any further odor from permeating the air in the future.

This entire process is very detailed, and hiring a professional that can be trusted to do the job right is imperative.