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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Smoke Damage? SERVPRO Can Help!

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Smoke Damage?  SERVPRO Can Help! Have a smoke or fire issue? Let SERVPRO get it resolved quickly and easily so you can get back to your life!

While a fire causes damage that is easy to see, smoke damage is a lot less obvious.  As a fire burns smoke and soot are spread through the entire property, especially is the heating or air conditioning system happens to be running at the time of the fire.

Have you ever removed a t-shirt that seemed to be fine while you were wearing it, but it had a very bad smell once you removed it?  Well, the same thing happens with soot and smoke from a fire.

Curtains, rugs, furniture, clothing and lots of other items are going to quickly absorb the odors from the fire.  You may not notice it once you have spent sometime inside the area affected by the fire.  Everyone, else however, will experience these odors, likely very strong odors, as soon as they enter the property.

The experts at SERVPRO can eliminate these odors and get your home or office odor-free after a fire.  We have the equipment and expertise to handle everything that needs to be done.

We also work with you and your insurance company to get your fire and smoke claim resolved quickly and easily so you can get back to your life.  We will be with you through every step of the process from start to finish.

If you are the unfortunate victim of a fire or smoke issue call SERVPRO anytime - 24/7 365!


Top Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Mold and Mildew

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Proud homeowners who find that they have a mold problem on their hands might be gung-ho about getting rid of the problem on a Do It Yourself (DIY) basis, primarily to save cost. If you happen to fall under this category, do take note that other homeowners in the past who felt the same way have gone through the motions and made the following mistakes to avoid when it comes to removing mold around the home.

Gotta Catch Them All! One of the most common mistakes in cleaning up mold is figuring out that you have gotten rid of the problem for good. After all, for visible mold that you have just wiped clean with a tea tree oil solution, there is probably more from where it came from which remains hidden from your view. After all, mold spores are very small and extremely light in its makeup. This makes it very easy to spread from one particular area of the home to another. A single patch of mold growing in one area of the home is enough signal to perform a thorough inspection of the rest of the house in order to make sure that not a single nook and cranny remains unlooked at.

Bleach is Not the Answer Most people think that bleach, with its cleaning power, is able to do wonders when it comes to getting rid of mold. While bleach is rather effective when it comes to killing and removing mold from hard and non-porous surfaces, it does not get to the root of the problem. In order to make a bleach solution more effective, you should perform a mop up operation using an antimicrobial cleanser.

Fire and Smoke Restoration

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

The fire trucks may be gone but without proper immediate response, the real damage and the costs are just beginning. To return your residential or commercial property to its normal condition requires professional restoration. This is not the job for a do-it-yourself type of person.

For results you can have confidence in, hiring a certified restoration company would be your best bet. Restoration to a property can be complex. Proper smoke and odor removal are tasks that require technicians certified in these specific areas.

When selecting a certified restoration firm several factors must be considered:

  • Formal and up-to-date specialized training
  • Health and safety certifications
  • Experience in a wide range of restoration projects
  • Proof of proper insurance and licenses

In addition to removing residue, ridding your home of its smoky odor is necessary. Professionals use this four-step process to remove odors:

  • Remove the source of the odor, as possible, including unsalvageable debris that contributes to odor generation and recontamination of cleaned and deodorized areas.
  • Clean salvageable surfaces and items to physically remove odor-causing residue.
  • Chase remaining odor with an odor counteract act. In the case of smoke, create a deodorizing fog or gas that seeks out and combines with odor-causing substances.
  • Seal salvageable surfaces that are inaccessible or slightly scorched, not only for aesthetic purposes, but primarily to encapsulate odor and prevent progressive recontamination.

Understanding the effects of a fire can help homeowners evaluate the damage to their home. By learning more about residue clean-up and deodorization after a fire, you can minimize the need for costly repair. Fire and smoke restoration experts can help you return your home and furnishings to its normal condition. So I guess you could say it would be “Like it never even happened.”

My Clothes Were Damaged By Mold in a Rarely Used Closet…Can We Save Them? Mold Remediation Approved

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Those of us who live in Central Florida and surrounding areas like Winter Garden, Windermere, Apopka, and Lake Buena Vista know that moisture in our homes is a common issue. We try to maintain a temperature with our AC units that we can live with, that our power bill can sustain (and therefore our pocket), and that will keep that moisture down. We might find some mildew from time to time and take care of it ourselves. Or perhaps you’ve had a mold issue and have called in a professional company to take care of it for you.

What about those closets that we don’t open often? Perhaps you open the closet door looking for those golf clubs that you are finally getting around to using. Or maybe you finally have an opportunity to wear that dress that you got on clearance. Unfortunately as soon as you open the door you notice that everything in the closet seems to be discolored. Upon closer inspection you notice that it smells musty and looks like it might be mold. What can you do?

On its web site, IICRC.org, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, Restoration, and Certification states the following:

Foremost, any garment or fabric that has not suffered physical deterioration or discoloration as a result of mold growing on it, and that is washable (typically, a minimum of 130ºF for at least 10 minutes), can be restored completely. That goes for bacterial contamination as well, as evidenced by hospitals daily as they wash linens, gowns, surgical drapes, etc.

Dry cleaning also does a good job when evaluated and cleaned - often twice - by a qualified professional. Again, this assumes no deterioration or discoloration of the garment. Ultimately, sampling and evaluation by a qualified environmental professional can be used to confirm remediation of the garment.

Our team of certified professionals here at SERVPRO are available to help you with this process anytime. Please give us a call and we would be happy to walk you through the process.

Why Fire Damage Restoration Should Be Done By A Professional

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

With responsive and precise fire damage repair, even the worst disasters can be put in the past. Roaring flames have been one of man’s greatest enemies since the dawn of history, and though it’s easier to handle these days, it can still cause havoc if it gets out of control. Not only can the flames cause enormous damage, the ash, soot and smoke residue that remains will make the home almost noxious to live in. Both can create irritating odors, discolor walls or ceilings and cause breathing issues if there is a high concentration of ash left over.

Professional fire damage repair will remove the ash and smoke residue left behind. This has to be done quickly because ash is acidic and will cause materials to deteriorate if allowed to sit for long. Restoration professionals work hard to provide a thorough cleanup.  This will include treatment of every surface that is affected by ash and soot. This includes cleaning down walls, ceilings, furniture and countertops. Ash and smoke will almost always be present in the vents and ducts as well, as they are quickly taken up by the HVAC system. Professionals will access the home’s ducts to clean them out as well, preventing either from entering the home once again.

Upon eliminating all of the ash, soot, and smoke, the home will quickly be free of any lingering odor.

Post Storm Tips and Hints

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Here in central Florida we are used to preparing for storms. These reminders should help you and your family prepare for the next one that comes our way. You don’t want to be left out in the heat and unprepared for surviving if a large storm or disaster does affect you.

Water: As stated in previous blog posts, a traditional standing water heater holds up to 40 gallons of clean water. If the water to your home isn’t flowing this is a great last resort. However, if there is water going into the home, make sure you check with county sites to find out if you are under a boil water alert or not. Make sure you have 1 gallon of water per person for up to one week stored before the storm hits.

Food: Canned food and none perishable foods like beans, canned vegetables, and soups are good to have around. If you have a small gas cooking device you’ll want to empty out your freezer as fast as possible of any frozen foods so make sure to cook through your perishable foods before your canned foods.

Gas and fuel: Make sure you have a full tank of gasoline in all of your vehicles. Fuel might become limited during an emergency situation. So you’ll want to make sure you are topped off before the storm hits. As for fuel oil this goes for gasoline for generators, propane for cooking, and lamp oil if you plan to use gas lamps for a lightning source.

Outside of these basic items there are an assortment of other items  you may want to keep handy such as:

*hand cranking can opener

*First aid kit

*Cooler for perishable foods

*duct tape and garbage bags

*Flashlight and batteries

This short list of items can keep you prepared for the aftermath of an emergency. It’s recommended each year you check off an emergency disaster check-list to insure your stocks are full before a disaster happens.

Central Florida Home and Business Storm Prep

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Being told that you have a major storm coming your way is hard enough, but now you have to figure out the best way to try and keep both your residential or commercial building from any sort of damage or loss. Our team has a saying, “you can never plan for a storm, but you can plan to be ready for it.” Let’s say that there is going to be a storm tomorrow. Are you prepared for whatever may happen? If your answer is no, then it is better that you don’t wait until you hear that the hurricane or thunderstorm of the century is coming, because by then it may be too late. Here are some things to make sure you check off of your checklist for your home:

  • Remove any branches or trees adjacent to your building that could potentially fall and damage it.
  • Sandbag any area that is subject to flooding
  • Relocate any valuable or fragile possessions
  • Secure all utilities including water heaters, gas tanks, and heaters and if necessary, raise them to higher locations to avoid water damage
  • Invest in and install shutters or plywood in order to protect windows and doors from wind-born debris
  • Have the roof of your building or home evaluated to ensure it can withstand a storm
  • Turn off propane tanks
  • Ensure a water supply for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.

Preparing your business is a little different, but these tips can help:

  • Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
  • Identify operations critical to survival and recovery.
  • Plan what you will do if your building is not accessible. Can you run your business from a different location or from your home? Can you develop a relationship with other local businesses to use their facilities if a disaster makes your location unusable?

We know that storms and the damage that comes with them are inevitable at times. You can rest assured that SERVPRO of Apopka/Wekiva will be available to assist you with your home or business in the event of any size disaster.

Lot's of Rain Can Lead to Mold

9/26/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Lot's of Rain Can Lead to Mold Mold can be lurking in hard to notice places. If you have a mold issue, SERVPRO will find it and resolve it.

We continue to have a lot of rain, with no end in sight! We hope all of you are doing well despite all of this water.  This is great for our lawns and for helping recover from our recent drought, but water is one of Mother Nature's most destructive forces!

While you may not see any signs of water damage at your home or office, you may still have water or mold issues that you cannot see.  Often times, mold and water damage can be hidden in places that are hard to see.

For example, a roof leak may only show a few drops on your ceiling, but it is actually spreading water around your attic or causing mold on your roof trusses.  A little bit of water that seeps under the garage door can seem like no big deal, but the water has actually gotten into the walls, soaked into the sheet rock, and/or damaged your baseboards.

These and other water related issues can lead to mold.  Sometimes you can see it, and sometimes you can't.  Either way, it is still a problem that needs to be dealt with.

If you, your co-workers or loved ones start having headaches, stuffed/runny noses or symptoms that feel like allergies but you haven't had allergies in the past then you may have water or mold issues.

The professionals at SERVPRO are thoroughly trained on mold remediation and removal.  We use state-of-the-art methods and machinery that is environmentally friendly and pet safe.  Regardless of the type of mold you encounter or the size of your mold problem, our team will handle it quickly and effectively.

Remember, our team of mold remediation professionals is available 24/7 365 to help. Why not get some piece of mind and let our team do a free visual mold inspection at your home or office?

Call today and get the peace of mind you deserve.

Mold is Everywhere, Even in the Cleanest Home or Office

9/26/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Mold is Everywhere, Even in the Cleanest Home or Office Got Mold? You may not be sure, but our team of professionals will be! Call SERVPRO for a free visual mold inspection today!

It's that time of year, when it rains everyday!  Sometimes it is just passing showers and sometimes it is a tropical storm or hurricane!  There is still plenty of nice weather to enjoy, but as is typical in Central Florida, there will be quite a bit of rain mixed in!  

All that rain can lead to mold. Remember, mold needs moisture to grow and as long as that moisture is present mold will continue to grow.  That's why it is important to stop any water or mold you find as quickly as possible, before it spreads.

We often hear from customers that they did not think they had mold in their home of office since they keep their property clean.  While we highly recommend keeping your home or office clean, even the cleanest home or office can have a mold problem.

There are over 100,000 types of mold, most of which are harmless.  These mold spores are in the air, love humidity and water and are able to grow quite well in our local environment.  No matter how mush cleaning you do, mold is always around, and it is usually harmless.   

So, how do you tell if you have a mold issue and if the mold you see is harmless?  Simple, call the team at SERVPRO and let our trained professionals stop by and give you a free visual mold inspection?  It is a quick, easy, and FREE service that can help detect any issues you may have.

You may not have anything to worry about, and we hope you don't, but wouldn't it be nice to know?

Let SERVPRO Help You Resolve Your Insurance Claim

9/26/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Let SERVPRO Help You Resolve Your Insurance Claim Worried about your insurance claim? Don't be! Our team of professionals can help you get your claim submitted quickly and properly.

After the shock of dealing with a disaster is over, the next thing that people think about is "How am I going to pay for this?".   That is a natural response and a great question given the high cost of repairing mold, flood, fire and/or trauma damage.  The good news is that our team of professionals can help eliminate that concern!

One of the things that sets SERVPRO apart from other restoration companies is the how well we work with your insurance company. Our team of professionals understand the insurance industry and how the claims process works.  We also know everything that needs to happen in order to get your claim submitted and your repairs covered.

As one of one the largest restoration and damage remediation companies in the country, we have worked with hundreds of insurance companies to get our customers claims processed quickly and fairly.  In fact, Insurance companies know that SERVPRO handles things properly and often recommend us to their policy holders.

So remember, if you have an issue with your home or office our team of trained professional are here to fix it 24/7 365 days a year! Not only is our staff trained to resolve your damage, we can help with your insurance claim too!

Keep an Updated Inventory of Your Home or Office.. Just in Case

9/26/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Keep an Updated Inventory of Your Home or Office.. Just in Case Make sure you have a picture inventory of your belongings in the event of a loss. Without it you could lose a lot of money!

Tip of the week:


While you probably have homeowners or business insurance that covers the contents of your home or business if they are lost, you probably don't have pictures of the contents you own.

Make sure you keep an inventory of the contents of your home and office.  Hopefully you will never need it, but you will be glad to have it in the event of a problem!


Be sure to take pictures of each area of your home or business and the contents in them at least once a year. That way, if you do need to file an insurance claim you will have a record of everything you lost, the condition it was in, etc.

People are often surprised that if their property is lost, destroyed or stolen getting it replaced is not necessarily a straight-forward process with their insurance company if they don't have this picture inventory.

For example, if you were to lose a desk in a fire and don't have a picture inventory the amount you will be reimbursed could be a surprise.  Your $1000 mint condition 'classic' desk could get valued based on age and 'market-value', leaving you with a lot less money than you expected, and needed, to replace it.

Again, we hope you never need that list, but better safe than sorry.  Of course, if you ever need us for mold, fire, water or trauma/bio-hazard issues, we are here 24/7 365.

Removing The Lingering Odor From Mold Growth In Your Apopka / Wekiva House

7/3/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Removing The Lingering Odor From Mold Growth In Your Apopka / Wekiva House The Mold Life Cycle During Remediation in Apopka / Wekiva Properties

Most homeowners aren't prepared to find mold in their home. With the high humidity throughout the most of the year in the Central Florida area, this is a constant threat to those who do not treat and condition the air inside their homes and in some cases, to those who do as well.


One of the most significant hurdles that homeowners find they have to overcome is the bold scent that comes along with the presence of microbial growth. It is often described as a pungent musty odor that is challenging to live around, so that's why it is a priority of our SERVPRO technicians to take care of this lingering effect from your home during the remediation process. 

From the moment that our team arrives at your home, we work quickly to set up the appropriate preventative measures to stop the spread of the colony elsewhere. While removal is underway, dehumidification equipment works to resolve the moisture and dampness which fed the spores and allowed them to seat in the first place. 

Once nearly all of the components of remediation have finished, our SERVPRO technicians are ready to take on the lingering foul odor that makes comfortable living challenging for you and your family. The process typically utilizes extensive cleaning of the affected areas and then the use of a thermal fogging machine. The equipment releases a chemical compound that can break odor molecules apart on contact and neutralize them. This process is safe for open areas as well as fabrics, carpets, and furniture in your home. 

Now that you can appreciate the kind of resolve that our technicians have with something as fundamental as a lingering odor, you can see how this same dedication is present in every facet of our remediation efforts. You can trust our SERVPRO of Apopka / Wekiva mold remediation technicians to help you overcome every effect from this unfortunate occurrence and restore your home to its former condition. "Like it never even happened." Give us a call anytime at (407) 788-3124.

Preventing Fires This Holiday Season

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

The holiday season is upon us and the streets and houses are covered in color. As you drive around you can see homes and businesses strung with lights, wreathes hanging on doors and trees lit up in windows. If you decide to pick out a real tree this year, remember to keep some safety tips in mind. The American Red Cross lists these important facts and tips on their web site at www.redcross.org.

HOLIDAY HOME FIRES

Fast Facts

• Nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries, and costing $554 million in property damage.**

• On average, one of every 22 home fires started by Christmas trees result in death.***

• Candle fires are four times as likely to occur during the winter holidays.**

• During the winter holiday season, an average of 40 home fires per day are caused by children playing.**

• The number of home fires the American Red Cross has responded to has risen 10% since 2000.*

• Having a working smoke alarm reduces one’s chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.**

Preparedness Tips:

Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.

Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.

Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.

Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.

Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.

Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.

Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for more information on how to keep your home fire safe during the holidays. Sources: American Red Cross,* U.S. Fire Administration,** and the National Fire Protection Association.*** 

We hope that everyone has a safe holiday season. If you have any fire or water damage issues please feel free to call us anytime, day or night. 

Removing Smoke Odors With An Ozone Generator

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Contributed by Marty Hoffman, Operations Manager

Ozone treatments are one of the best tools for removing odor caused by smoke damage. One question we get asked frequently is whether ozone treatments are bad for furniture and other possessions. I hope that this blog answers that question.

What is an ozone generator?

An ozone generator is a machine that generates the molecule ozone (O3), a highly reactive molecule that reacts chemically with the particles it comes into contact with. Professional restoration companies and some drycleaners use industrial ozone generators to remove the smoke odor from furniture, clothes and other belongings after a fire.

How does it work?

Ozone works to remove odors by chemically changing the structure of the molecules in the smoke that are creating the smell. The extra oxygen atom attaches itself to the other molecules to create a new molecule that is non-offensive—and non-smelly—in a process called oxidation. As a gas, ozone can clean anywhere air is allowed to flow. That’s one of the features that makes it so effective in removing odors that other cleaning techniques just can’t touch.

The more smoke damage has been done, the more ozone is needed to eliminate the smell. There need to be enough ozone molecules to react with all of the offending molecules in order for the treatment to be successful.

So, is it bad for my stuff?

Ozone is the most effective way to remove odor caused by smoke damage. Professional restoration contractors can control the temperature, humidity, and treatment time carefully for maximum positive effects. In short—no, ozone is not bad for your belongings, as long as it is being controlled by a professional. The reason this is important is because professional restorers know and understand the power of ozone. They also know that there are certain materials that don’t do well when exposed to ozone—namely certain textiles, leather, rubber, and certain plastics.

Many people think that they can clean their clothes after a fire by washing them multiple times. But this will not remove the smoke odor. Ozone is also cleaner than other methods because it does not leave any byproducts or residue that need to be cleaned later.

As a form of oxygen, ozone itself is not dangerous. However, if overexposure occurs it can be harmful to lungs. This is another reason to allow a professional to perform the ozone treatment. They have the right equipment in place to protect themselves during the process, and once your items are returned to you, they are safe to be in your home.

Be Prepared In Case You Ever Have A Fire

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Contributed by Marty Hoffman, Operations Manager 

The hours, days and weeks following a fire or water damage in your home or business can be simply overwhelming. having that we live in the "sunshine state" doesn't make things any better especially for the Orlando, Altamonte, and Ocoee areas. Surrounded by possessions that are soot-covered, flame-damaged or wet, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture: As long as everyone got out safely everything else is just stuff. But once the smoke clears or the water recedes, you will need to deal with that stuff, and the sooner the better.

From the beginning make sure that you are organized, amidst the chaos of your scorched surroundings.

Take notes on every conversation and online correspondence with your insurance company and restoration professionals, because in any stressful situation, miscommunication can happen. Save all receipts and original documents; only give photocopies upon request.

Your first call should be to your insurance agent/carrier. Not only is it required that you file your claim as soon as possible, it is also in your best interest. The sooner you get the process started, the sooner an insurance adjustor will arrive at your door to begin assessing damage.

A reputable cleaning and restoration team should be next on your call list like SERVPRO of Apopka/Wekiva. If you can find one that also specializes in professional repair services, you’ll save yourself time, money and headaches. Depending upon the extent of damage, your property will may first need to be secured (boarded up, for example), and a high quality restoration team with carpentry skills can perform that service for you.

Your restoration team should work with your insurance company to initiate a fire damage recovery plan that includes the complete restoration of your structure. Again, if your team is truly “full service,” the construction side will assess the structural damages while the cleaning and restoration specialists will work closely with you and your adjustor to determine which of your possessions can be cleaned…and which need to be inventoried for replacement. Often these services can be provided on site, but in the event that your contents have to be removed, make sure your team also offers the capability to electronically inventory, package, transport and store your belongings in a safe, climate controlled facility.

Now that you know the initial steps of the fire damage recovery process, here are a few tips on what NOT to do before the pros arrive:

·         Do not wipe or attempt to wash fire residue from walls, ceilings, or other absorbent surfaces

·         Do not use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy smoke residues or debris

·         Do not use food items, canned goods or medications exposed to heat

·         Do not turn on computers, televisions, stereos or electrical appliances until they have been professionally cleaned and checked

With preparation, resources and trusted professionals in place—plus a healthy dose of patience and perspective, after the fact—you and your family or co-workers will make it through the process of fire damage recovery.

Humidity and Mold Problems in Multi-Story Condominiums

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Contributed by Scott Tracy, owner

In my many travels and inspections around Central Florida, I have come across a unique problem associated with multi-story condominium buildings. This problem seems to be somewhat pervasive in the Winter Garden area.

Unfortunately I have found that there is a lot of myth’s or disinformation out there as to why this problem is occurring. In many cases Tenants/Condo Owners are being blamed for causing mold growth in their units by either being negligent or not using their HVAC systems properly. As a result there are many Tenants/Owners being driven to distraction with guilt and stress as well as suffering property damage that they cannot control.

As I mentioned above, I have inspected many of these cases (some in the same complex), and since I cannot review each and every one of them, I found one inspection that encapsulates all of the units that I inspected. The reader needs to know that there is some common denominators to be found in these situations:

1.     Sometimes dehumidifiers are found installed in the same closet as the AC Air Handler.

2.     Sometimes a Humidistat Controller will also be installed on the wall near to the AC Air Handler Closet.

3.     Normally there will be a “fresh-air” supply duct coming out of the wall in the AC Air Handler Closet.

Pictures showing AC Air Handler Closet with permanently installed dehumidifier.

This is a copy of an email I sent to a client that I worked for last year. In this case I was hired by a Tenant who was experiencing mold problems in his unit.The reader will find the information about “Aircycler” below pretty interesting. While many of these affected units do not have this type of controller installed in their units, the notes that I highlighted in red infer that these fresh air ports can be a big problem in humid climates.

I have deleted the names for obvious reasons.

I have found that a lot of these complexes, many built by the same builder, have similar issues. It is also obvious to me that in the past there were actions taken by both the Condominium Associations and the Condominium Owners to address this problem. The evidence is after-construction, retro-fitted dehumidifiers that are now installed in a lot of the Condominiums.

Here is the email:

From: Scott Tracy [mailto:stracy@SERVPROaw-wo.com] 
Sent: Thursday
To: XXXXXXXXXXXX
Subject: Mold problem in Condominium

Mr. XXX,

Per your request, I returned to your unit today to further investigate the source of the high humidity problem. This high humidity caused the mold contamination to both the walls of the Condominium and to your contents in the unit.

1.     Obviously this Condominium has a fresh air supply duct opening located in the Air Handler closet to the left of the air handler (see below). This allows unconditioned fresh air to be mixed into the Condominiums interior air periodically to help dilute indoor air pollution. Since we are in Florida, during certain times of the year, this unconditioned air can be severely elevated with high humidity.

2.       This unconditioned air is drawn from the fresh air supply into the Condominium in 2 ways:

One way is part of the original design. When the Air Handler is running, the air returning to the Air Handler causes a low pressure environment in front of the fresh air supply duct opening which pulls air from the exterior to the interior (see pictures below).

The second is not part of the intended design. When bathroom exhaust fans are engaged or the Clothes Dryer is working, these appliances pushes air out of the Condominium. Replacement air then needs to be sought. This replacement air would also come from this fresh air supply duct opening.

3.       To counter elevated humidity in the Condominiums air, both the Air Handler and the installed dehumidifier work together, and are designed to condense and remove this excess moisture.

4.       If either one or both of these fail, elevated humidity will permeate the unit and cause mold. Both point 5 & 6 below show a failure with both units.

5.       I inspected the installed dehumidifier. The unit is not working properly. The unit is running, but my hygrometer shows that the exiting air shows no drop in relative humidity. The drain bucket was also inspected, and it revealed no evidence of any water or moisture. This indicates the dehumidifier is basically using electricity, but not doing its job

6.       You also mentioned to me that there was a problem with the Air Handler in the past. You indicated there was an extended period of time where the Air Handler never shut off. In spite of your efforts to use your thermostat to shut the unit off, this was not successful. You called the units owner and an HVAC Contractor came to the Condominium to correct the problem. I will tell you that there were two consequences that occurred when this happened. Both of these consequences resulted in additional elevated humidity in the home.

a.       If the Air Handler blower never turned off, any water condensate that might have accumulated in the AC pan below the cooling coils (that normally would drain down the pvc drain line), would have just been evaporated back into the Air Handler air flow, and therefore back into the Condominium.

b.      Additionally, if the Air Handler blower never turned off, this in turn continually pulled additional humid air from the above mentioned fresh air supply duct opening. This compounded the problem and caused uncontrolled humidity in the Condominium, which in turn allowed for mold growth.

7.       Furthermore, the AirCycler Programmable Ventilation Controller was found to be disconnected in the Air Handler closet. This is part of the fresh air supply’s design. Since this may have been disconnected by the visiting HVAC Contractor, the presumption is that this controller may have been interfering with the HVAC thermostat, which in turn may have been the reason why you could not get your Air Handler to shut off in the past.

8.       Please see the information I have cut and pasted into this email below. This comes from the Controller Manufacturer that is installed in the Condominiums Air Handler closet. Please note the text I highlighted in red. This page mentions the danger of continuously running the “central system fan” (or Air Handler blower I mention above), no less than 4 times.

9.       The only good news about this is that now that the source of the problem has been identified (equipment failure), the owner of this Condominium has the ability to mold remediate his unit and there may be coverage under Homeowners Insurance. It would normally be considered a “covered” loss. Unfortunately, the Condominium Owner’s Insurance will not extend any coverage for your contents as they are not part of their coverage.

mMAirCycler

AirCycler

The AirCycler is a programmable ventilation controller for Central Fan Supply Ventilation designs. When you are providing fresh air for a house through a fresh air supply duct connected from the outside to the return plenum of the HVAC system it is essential to have the air handler operate on a scheduled cycle to provide fresh air for the house. This programmable timer is connected to the thermostat connection of the air handlerto monitor the run time of the air handler and when needed turn on the air handler to meet the fresh air requirements of the house. The timer will take advantage of free distribution of ventilation air during thermostat driven heating or cooling operation and provides periodic whole house mixing and ventilation air distribution during periods when thermostat driven heating or cooling operation does not meet the programmed fresh air demand.

Applications

Ventilation Systems

 

Air Cycler FR

Outside Air Duct Into The Central System Air Handler Return Plenum

Ventilation systems that provide ventilation air through a duct that extends from outdoors to the return plenum of a central air handler only supply ventilation air when the fan is operating. Rather than operating the central system fan continuously, which can waste energy and can also lead to moisture related problems in humid climates, the recycling control can be set to periodically distribute ventilation air during stagnant periods when there is no call to circulate air for purposes of heating or cooling.

An economical and effective ventilation system, using the AirCycler, would be a 6" to an 8" diameter insulated duct (depending on the house size) from outdoors to the return of the central air distribution fan (see diagram below). This outside air should be filtered before it enters the central return duct, and a balancing damper is advisable to give additional field control of the delivered outside air volume. The AirCycler control would be installed at the central fan cabinet, connecting to the thermostat wiring terminals. It functions to guarantee that fresh air will be periodically distributed throughout the house when there is no call for heating or cooling, but it is energy efficient since it only does this if the central fan has not operated for a preset time. A very important added benefit, is that builder call-backs due to thermal comfort or air quality problems may be greatly reduced because the AirCycler will even-out temperature, humidity and stuffiness conditions between rooms and the main body.

For single-point exhaust or single-point supply ventilation systems, the supply or exhaust point is usually located in the main body of the house. In this case, closed rooms, such as bedrooms, will not receive adequate ventilation air unless the central system fan operates to mix air between the main body and the closed rooms. Rather than operating the central system fan continuously, which can waste energy and can also lead to moisture related problems in humid climates, the AirCycler control can be set to periodically distribute ventilation air throughout the house during stagnant periods when there is no call to circulate air for purposes of heating or cooling.

Enhanced Humidity Control Systems

In humid climates, dehumidification, separate from the central cooling system, may be usedto maintain comfort in seasons where there may be long periods of high humidity while indoor temperatures are within personal comfort ranges. In order to reduce system cost, it may be practical to locate a single dehumidifier in the main body of the house. In this case, closed rooms, such as bedrooms, will not receive the dehumidification benefit unless the central system fan operates to mix air between the main body and the closed rooms. Rather than operating the central system fan continuously, which can waste energy and can also lead to moisture related problems in humid climates, the AirCycler control can be set to periodically distribute dehumidified air throughout the house during stagnant periods when there is no call to circulate air for purposes of heating or cooling. For either dehumidifiers that are connected to the central air distribution system ducts, or for dehumidifiers that are stand-alone, humidistats are usually located in a central area and are expected to serve an entire zone that usually includes closed rooms, and often, more than one floor level. Humidity conditions can vary widely between the humidistat location and extremities of the space the humidistat serves. A practical solution to this problem could be to utilize the central system fan to average the overall space conditions by mixing. Rather than operating the central system fan continuously, which can waste energy and can also lead to moisture related problems in humid climates, the AirCycler control can be set to periodically mix house air during stagnant periods when there is no call to circulate air for purposes of heating or cooling.

I hope this helps somewhat.

Needless to say, the above diagnosis helped this particular customer avoid being blamed for causing the high humidity and mold in the condominium. Even though the condominium owner used this information to find a fix to his problem, the Tenant (my customer) was able to move out without and penalty.

For those readers that live in similar multi-story complexes (be they apartments or condominiums), if any of the above information sounds similar to what you are experiencing, please contact a professional to come out and help you figure out why this is happening.

What Steps Are Involved In Mold Remediation?

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Have you ever wondered what happens when a mold removal specialist gets called to a mold-damaged facility?

Here are five steps that a mold removal specialist takes when conducting mold remediation: 

1. Determine the degree of contamination. To do so, a mold remediation specialist may need to bring in an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) to determine the extent of the mold damage and test for contamination within the facility. Because mold spores and other microscopic contaminants can travel easily throughout a building, the IEP may collect and analyze samples from affected and unaffected areas of the building. Once the IEP has finished the inspection, they will develop a remediation plan for the mold removal specialist with steps to return the home to its preloss condition. 

2. Set up and verify containment. To make sure mold contamination does not spread to other areas of a facility, the mold remediation specialist will set up containment by creating isolation barriers. Once the barriers are established, the specialist will verify containment with a lower partial pressure differential (negative pressure) to ensure there is no air leakage between containment zones. Exit chambers are used to serve as a transition between the containment and the unaffected area of the building. Once the containment is verified and the correct amount of pressure is achieved, the removal process can begin. 

3. Remove unsalvageable materials. Porous materials and items that cannot be restored or cleaned effectively must be carefully discarded. Unsalvageable items include, but are not limited to, drywall, insulation and other items with visible mold growth. It is important for the specialist to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment which may include a full face respirator equipped with a P100/OV cartridge, disposable coveralls and nitrile gloves.

4. Clean surfaces with a high-attention to detail. A mold remediation specialist will likely begin the cleaning process by thoroughly vacuuming the contaminated areas using a HEPA vacuum with a high-efficiency filter to catch mold spores. He or she will then begin a detailed cleaning process involving mold removal tools such as a HEPA filtered sander, followed by the damp wiping of surfaces with an effective cleaning solution.

5. Verify remediation. Once cleaning is complete, the IEP will return to verify the remediation was successful. The area must be returned to the dry standard and should be visually dust free with no malodors. In addition, an IEP may perform surface or air sampling as part of the verification that the area is back to normal fungal ecology.  

 “Mold remediation requires mold removal specialists to perform techniques that promote source removal rather than relying on chemicals, paints and coatings as a replacement,” said Rachel Adams, President of Indoor Environmental Management, Inc. “Understanding and managing air flow is also critical to the success of a mold remediation project. Working with qualified IEP can also help to reduce the liability for the technician as well as provide a final determination if the remediation was successful.”

SERVPRO Storm Response

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage SERVPRO Storm Response The SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team is ready to help!

Hurricanes and severe storms are a common part of our life in the Central Florida area. From South Orlando, to Ocoee, to Apopka, our franchise is available for disasters of any size. Many times though, when disaster strikes, it is hard to determine what step to take first. SERVPRPO Industries has a Disaster Recovery team that can be called in to assist our neighbors after a major storm. Our franchise can call in reinforcements to make sure that all of our neighbors are assisted ASAP!    

How does it all work?

As a team, SERVPRO franchises and corporate staff work together to track storms that will affect our franchise areas. After the storm hits, as soon as it is safe for our crews to enter the damaged area, they are dispatched. Mobile command centers are set up and franchises are pulled from over 1,650 locations across the country to help, depending on the size of the disaster. Crews will work around the clock to get people back into their homes and businesses as soon as possible.

Dealing with the aftermath of a major storm is very stressful. We are happy to offer our services in order to relieve some of that stress!

Hurricane Preparedness In Central Florida

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Hurricane Preparedness In Central Florida The SERVPRO Hurricane Preparation Check List

Every year we hear about hurricane preparedness in Central Florida. What you need to do to make sure you, your family, and your belongings are as safe as possible during a storm. Each year we make calls to family making sure they are ready in case of an emergency, and each year we add more things to our list of ideas and needs that can be utilized in case of an emergency at the home.

Let’s take a moment to discuss water. Anyone who has been through a disaster knows it’s importance. Day to day you need it, but what happens when the temperature goes up, there is no AC, and you are exposed to more prolonged sun light? Dehydration sets in faster and water may become a more important need than it does without those conditions. Did you know the water heater in your home may hold up to 40-60 gallons of water? Fresh drinking water. You can access this directly from your water heater and it may make the difference in an emergency. Of course, it is always best in the case of an imminent storm, to store ahead of time as much clean and flushable water as you can. If the water supply is contaminated it may take weeks before it is safe to use again.

What about food? In emergency situations you will need to learn to ration food for prolonged periods. Meaning non spoiling products should be stocked up on and kept on hand. Make sure you have a fuel source for a grill or cooking source so you can plow through all that meat and produce you have stored in the freezer before it’s gone. Save the canned items for later.

After the storm passes, we will be available to assist with cleanup. You can reach our office at 407-788-3124 24/7/365!

Why Duct Cleaning is so Important

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Why Duct Cleaning is so Important This photo shows the build up of contaminants on the inside of HVAC duct work, and the inside of the duct work after the cleaning was completed.

Here in Orlando, FL we like to think that once or twice a year we do spring or fall cleaning at home. We go through the house and clean what we see. But how do we go about cleaning what we don’t see? The air around us. Behind your walls is a maze of lines and vents that move air through our modern home. Often pulling air from the main parts of the house and some from outside. The air is circulated through an air handler, conditioned and pushed back into the home, or the office, or the school. With our busy lives how often do we really clean as much as we should? Have you ever woken up with a scratchy feeling in your throat? Have you ever suffered from allergies? Now stop and think about the air you breathe. What you don’t see is the dander, dust, dirt, and (if you have them) pet hair that is present. These particles are being moved through your structures through the vents.

The benefits of duct cleaning are simple and easy to see, even if the particles in the air are not. The first hits you in the chest. Cleaner air reduces allergies and illnesses that spring from constant contact with allergens. Particles in the air can be pulled into your HVAC up to seven times a day and circulated through the units. While dirty ducts don’t necessarily mean unhealthy air in your building, they may be contributing to larger health issues, could cause serious problems for people with respiratory health conditions, autoimmune disorders, or those with allergies.

Next it will hit you in the wallet. The US Department of energy states that up to 40% of energy used for heating and air is wasted. Think about it this way, a vent is just a pipe in your home. What happens when all that matter builds up in the vent? It’s not being pushed through the vents completely, so it’s staying inside them and clogging them up! Filters are inserted into your HVAC’s but normal usage still allows for buildup of blocking matter that causes that unit to run longer, and more often. This also may cause your HVAC unit to have a shorter life span.

The EPA suggests that regularly switching out your filters, regular maintenance, and making sure moisture doesn’t get into your HVAC are important steps you can regularly do at home on your own. No facts about air duct cleaning have been produced yet, but logic dictates that once dirt and debris gets in, it needs to come out. It gets circulated and builds up in the home, office, or school. It does effect air quality in the building and will cause your unit to run harder and longer to push the same amount of air as a clean unit does wasting your hard earned money.

We are here to help you with any and all of your duct cleaning needs.  

Why Yours Floors Need Commercial Cleaning

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Thorough commercial carpet cleaning is the single best way to preserve and extend the life of carpet, but proper treatment requires careful planning and extensive training. It’s the kind of training that a professional would receive through an organization like the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), and it is essential for a professional to integrate quality practices into their own firm. But how much goes into proper commercial carpet cleaning? It starts with keeping soil and debris from entering the building to begin with. By placing entry mats in entrance and high traffic areas and maintaining the walking surfaces outside of the building, there will be less soil to deal with inside the building. Inside, frequent vacuuming is the first line of defense, and may be needed daily in areas that receive a lot of traffic. Vacuuming ensures deposited soil does not penetrate deeply into the fibers and cause damage.

Spot and stain control is essential, even if the flooring is colored in a way to make stain detection difficult. Stains will degrade the integrity of the flooring and alter its texture, so professionals will have to respond quickly to any problem areas. Formulated detergents and targeted agitation will normally do the trick. Finally, deep treatment, usually through hot water extraction or encapsulation methods, will need to be done several times a year to remove soils that have become embedded in the carpet fibers. Regular office carpet cleaning is necessary for maintaining a professional, healthy atmosphere. No one likes to work in filth, and over time, the flooring will pick up a great deal of soil and debris. If it is not regularly removed, the flooring will deteriorate at an accelerated rate, harbor odors, and look unattractive and dirty. Fortunately, certified professionals can keep the flooring nearly soil free as long as they are brought in for a thorough treatment on a regular basis.

Commercial buildings withstand a great deal of foot traffic every day, and with the foot traffic comes soil, moisture, and other debris. With entry mats near the entrances and daily vacuuming, most of this soil can be kept from penetrating into the fibers. However, it isn’t a perfect solution, and deep office carpet cleaning will be needed before long. There are several treatment methods available for commercial buildings, but most textile manufacturers agree that hot water extraction is the most effective method. During hot water extraction, a combination of superheated water and detergent is injected deep into the carpeting and then extracted once it has a chance to suspend any soil.

Make sure that before hiring a professional, you select a company that is an IICRC Certified Firm. This will ensure that the technician sent to your office is also certified. Advanced treatment methods require expertise and proper training, and certification through a respectable organization will convey this. We would love the opportunity to give you an estimate for the cleaning of your office. With over 30 years of experience in the cleaning and restoration industry, we can offer assistance in almost any situation.

Eliminating Odors in Commercial Buildings

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

WHAT IS THAT SMELL? WHERE IS THAT COMING FROM? IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO WORK WITH THAT ODOR! Are you hearing things like that? Or maybe even seeing people new to your office turn up their nose when they walk in? You might have a foul odor and not even know about it. Mildew, mold, even a kitchen spill that might not have received the attention it needed-all of these things can make an office environment less than pleasant, even down-right dangerous to work in. 

Mildew is a version of microbial growth, much like mold, that can cause a host of issues to your employees and your customers. Does your assistant suffer from allergies? Do you have more than a few sick calls a week? Is your office filled with items to change the way the office smells? You might be suffering from a growth issue that SERVPRO can take care of. 

Kitchen odors, or break room odors as the case may be, can happen over time. Do you have appliances in your break room? A stove, refrigerator, dishwasher? In your home you may clean these area's with more frequency and attention that you might at the office.

The second sense people use after sight is smell. It is part of that first impression that is related to your customers coming into your business. How does yours stand up? Give us a call today, and let us take a look at some potential problem areas for you.

Central Florida Office Disaster Recovery Plan

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

It’s 2:45am on a Sunday morning. You get a call that there is an emergency in your office. The caller tells you that there was a small fire and that the sprinkler system put it out, but that the entire building is now damaged from the water. What will your next step be?

Do you have a plan of action? What if there was a way for you to start making the important phoe calls before you even leave your house? What if there was something as simple as an app on your phone or tablet that would allow you to access all of the information that you need? That’s where our ERP comes in! ERP stands for Emergency Ready Profile or Emergency Ready Plan, and allows you to have a plan for any emergencies that may happen in your commercial building.  The ERP has everything and anything you want to have in your preparedness plan, from the location of the main power shut off switch all the way to where the blue prints are located. Having a plan of action allows anyone from the owner of the building to the custodians working the nightshift to be able to possibly prevent additional damages from occurring, while stopping the main source of damage from spreading. The best part is you can access this ERP directly from your smartphone or tablet by simply installing the free SERVPRO Ready App. The app can be downloaded on as many devices as you deem necessary.

You may ask, “How will it benefit me and my business?” Not many business owners/managers know that about 50% of businesses are unable to reopen following a disaster. Of the businesses that do survive, the overwhelmingly majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. And, knowing you are “Ready for whatever happens” speaks trust to your employees. Showing that in the event your business is affected by a disaster, they don’t necessarily have to be.

By working with SERVPRO of Apopka/Wekiva and West Orange, and allowing us to provide your business with an Emergency Ready Plan, your business can receive the benefit of over 30 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. Our teams are leaders in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your business back in working order.

The Emergency Ready Plan Advantages:

  • no cost assessment of your facility.
    •    -This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
    • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.     But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
    •    -It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects.
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.   of action.
    •    -This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.   money.
    •    -This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.  In advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are “Ready for whatever happens.”
  •    -Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in

Trust a Professional When Dealing With Fire damage

3/25/2018 (Permalink)

It can be confusing trying to deal with the damages from a fire at your home or business. The IICRC has provided the following helpful information on handling this. Due to the intricate measures needed to properly clean up after a fire loss, having a trained team of professionals will help alleviate some of the stress. Give us a call and we will send someone out to help.

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
.

What Equipment Will Be Used for Water Damage Remediation?

3/25/2018 (Permalink)

When a water damage occurs many customers feel blindsided by the many steps involved in remedying the situation. The task of removing the water, drying out the home or business, and then putting things back into place can seem overwhelming in the initial moments of finding the loss. That’s where we can help. Our team of highly qualified technicians take great care in walking a customer through the steps necessary to dry and repair their property.

Many different types of equipment are utilized in the drying and restoration process. Here is a glimpse of what you can expect:

  • Air Mover and/or Axial Fan: Professional grade air movers and axial fans produce more air movement than a standard household fan. The higher volume of air being moved increases the rate of evaporation, helping to dry the structure as quickly as possible.

  • Dehumidifier: A dehumidifier removes water vapor from the air by condensing it out against refrigerated fins. The water is stored and then periodically purged from the machine by use of plastic tubing. The tubing will generally be run so that it dumps water down a drain, such as a bath tub or sink, or sometimes out a window or door. Professional dehumidifiers pull much more vapor from the air than a household dehumidifier. In this way they are generally more efficient.

  • Air Scrubber: An air scrubber might be used if your loss is a result of water classified as grey or black, which means that it came from a contaminated source or through building materials. These machines remove airborne particulates by trapping them in HEPA filters. Air Scrubbers are also used in cases where a customer has a health condition that requires the air quality be monitored.

  • Specialty Drying Equipment: There are a variety of different tools available to our technicians for use in specialty circumstances. For instance, a floor drying mat system allows the technician to create a vacuum system for removing moisture from hardwood floors, in order to try to dry them in place. This helps the floor dry faster, and generally gives us a better chance of saving the hardwood flooring.

Many customers are concerned about the cost of their power bill when they see the amount of equipment needed. This is an understandable concern. Your insurance adjuster can discuss how to handle this with you.

I have Water Damage! What Should I Do Now?

3/25/2018 (Permalink)

lets set a scenario and say that your in your home in Ocoee, FL and you've had a significant water damage at your home. Multiple rooms are flooded, there is water coming out of your light fixtures downstairs, and then only thing you've been able to do it turn the water to stop the leak. What do you do next? Who do you call? 

The good news is that you've turned off the water, so you have started the process of mitigating your loss. The following are some steps you can take to prevent secondary damage from occurring to your belongings while you wait for SERVPRO to arrive.

  • Call SERVPRO so that we can send a technician to your site immediately.
  • Contact your insurance company (if you haven't already) to report the loss and notify them that you have contacted SERVPRO and that we are in-route.
  • Begin removing excess water by mopping and blotting
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks under furniture legs
  • Hang furs and leather goods separately at room temperature
  • Remove Oriental or other colored rugs from wet carpeting
  • Do not use a household vacuum to remove water
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet, and keep out of areas where ceilings are sagging from retained water
  • Do not leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpeting 

We our technicians arrive on site they will access the damages and being extracting water from porous surfaces. They will also place equipment and explain the drying process. If you have questions at any time during the process of drying your home or business, please call us! 

An Important Note About Your Homeowner's Insurance...

3/25/2018 (Permalink)

Over the years I have found something that concerns me greatly.

As many of you may already know, it is not unusual here in the Florida areas like Winter Garden, Winter Springs, Altamonte and Orlando. Water damage/floods that occur in a home usually involve some mold growth as a consequence. If mold is found, it falls under a special separate category of coverage named Fungi (you can find this if you read your homeowners policy).

The good news is that most insurance carriers in the state of Florida automatically include at least $10,000 in coverage for mold as part of their policy. I will warn you however, even $10,000 may not be adequate for a loss involving a lot of mold that also affects the contents in the home. Please consider calling your insurance agent to up this coverage just in case. Personally, I increased my coverage to $20,000 for my home.

Having said that, not all insurance companies in the state of Florida automatically give you $10,000 in mold coverage.  This is one glaring weakness you need to know about. To be fair to insurance agents, when you apply for coverage with them, they ask you if you want this fungi/mold coverage and it is up to the consumer to accept and decline this. Many consumers do decline this coverage not knowing how important it really is.

Over many years, I visited many claims where the homeowner has had water and mold damage and their insurance carrier was a company that did not automatically include this coverage. When mold is found, I urge the homeowner to call their agent to see if they have the fungi coverage. I would say that 90% of these homeowners find out that they do not have the coverage. This means the homeowner is paying a lot of money out of their own pocket to get the mold remediation done. This is bad enough, but the real anger and frustration occurs when the policyholder finds out that nearly all the other insurance carriers in Florida automatically extend to their policyholder’s the $10,000 in fungi coverage. This really upsets them. Even though it is not the insurance agents fault, they take the brunt of the homeowner’s anger and frustration.

Needless to say, the point of this discussion is to highly encourage all homeowners to call their agent as soon as possible to check on their fungi coverage and to add this coverage to their policy if they do not have it.

Spot Cleaning Tips & Tricks

3/25/2018 (Permalink)

·         Wax-We’ve all had it happen. Our favorite candle overflows and wax gets all over our furniture. Or, in my case, my cat knocked over a wax warmer and the wax spilled down the wall and onto the carpet. With this tip we will help you get the wax out. If the wax is colored, chances are that no amount of cleaning will rid you of the new colored area. For hard surfaces, such as tables or countertops (or your wall), allow the wax to cool completely and harden. Then it can be easily scrapped off of the surface and thrown away or re-melted (if you’d like to attempt it again). Removing the wax from your carpet it a bit trickier. You’ll want to grab your iron and a white towel. Turn the iron on to the lowest setting (most carpet is made of synthetic fibers, so this step is VERY important). Then fold your white towel in half and place it over the wax. With even pressure and a steady movement, apply the iron to the top of the towel. This will cause the wax to begin to melt and then transfer to the towel. Again, any stain from the color of the wax will stay on both surfaces. If you choose to try to treat the color issue, we recommend that you contact our office so that we can use professional products on the stain. The products sold over the counter have brighteners in them which can cause bleaching where they were used when you have your carpets cleaned next.

·         Red Wine- First-BLOT, don’t rub! You can also try to use the towel & iron method on this type of stain if it is a fresh stain. It should pull SOME of the color out. Red wine contains natural dyes, which are cleaned differently than synthetic dyes like you would find in most wax. Once you’ve tried that, if you still need to extract more color, contact our office. We have special cleaning techniques that may allow for greater success when used as soon as possible.

·         Blood- In the case of a major clean up job, it’s always best to call in the professionals. Sometimes though, you might have a couple of small drops of blood on your carpet. You can get a cup of ICE water. It is important that the water be as cold as possible. Then pour a little water on each spot. You’ll probably notice that the blood will pool up in the water. Once you’ve covered the spots in ice water, you can go back and BLOT the spots up. This trick usually works very well.

·         Paint- Well, there’s not much you can do in this case except for a very HEAVY rinse. The area will need to be saturated and then extracted. This is the type of stain you want to keep wet with a wet towel until our technicians can get to your location. They will then use the truck-mounted extraction system to extract as much paint as possible. Once the paint is extracted a good cleaning will help make sure your carpet doesn’t get that crunchy feeling.

Some important things to keep in mind: Stains are all going to be in one of two categories, natural or synthetic. Knowing which category your stain fits into will help you and your SERVPRO professionals determine the best course of action in handling your issue. 

Vacuuming Tips & Tricks

3/25/2018 (Permalink)

Most people in the Orlando, Winter Springs and even the Winter Garden area have just enough time to run the vacuum over their traffic areas before company arrives. But did you know that there is a proper way to vacuum and that it will also affect the lifespan of your carpet? The following tips from the Carpet & Rug Institute are very helpful. For more information on carpet care, please visit their web site at www.carpet-rug.org

Vacuuming 101

Proper vacuuming is the easiest and most effective way to keep your carpet clean. Regular vacuuming can also have the largest impact on the air you breathe.

To get the most out of your vacuuming regime, remember these few easy tips:

  • A quick once-over doesn’t do much. Slow and steady does the trick.
  • When vacuuming, don’t ignore those corners and crevices where dust builds.
  • “Top-down” cleaning saves you the step of vacuuming again after dusting. Dust blinds, windowsills, and furniture surfaces first and then vacuum away any fallen dust.
  • Remember to replace or empty vacuum bags when they are half to two-thirds full.

How Often Should You Vacuum?

As a rule of thumb, you should vacuum at least once a week with a quality vacuum cleaner. However, the more foot traffic over your carpet, the more you need to vacuum. The general formula is:

  • Vacuum daily in high-traffic or pet areas.
  • Vacuum twice weekly in medium-traffic areas.
  • Vacuum weekly in light-traffic areas, using attachments at carpet edges.

Organization Tips & Tricks

3/25/2018 (Permalink)

Productivity-we all want it and crave it.  Where is it?  Why can’t we get more of it?  Well, this article gives simple suggestions for how we might achieve it.  I am a mother, a career woman, a wife, daughter, friend, etc and my day is so full like many others.  Prioritizing is so very important.  This article seems almost too simple, but sometimes we forget the simple things and really over complicate life. What if we were not to apply these simple suggestions?  Well, I have been there and done that…..We get interrupted so many times in a day with other “crisis”, a phone call, an email…it all takes precedence at that moment.  Go back to the list is what I say.  Otherwise, we are not accomplishing productivity or even getting things done.  We end up just moving things from one side of our desk to another.  We have to stick to the some of the basics, especially those of us in management.  People count on us.  If we are not organized, we will live in total chaos and we cannot help others. 

 

Daily Habits of Successful People: It’s All About Routine

By Brian Tracy

The most successful people all have certain habits in their daily routines.

They help contribute to their success and can be considered good habits to form. It could be something simple like, setting a goal to, “Do good each day,” like Benjamin Franklin did.

It could also be something more elaborate such as spending most of your morning in bed like Winston Churchill. Churchill would wake up at 7:30am daily, eat breakfast, read his mail and newspaper until 11am.

My Favorite Habits of Millionaires:

Habits of Millionaires vary, but I am going to share one of my favorite daily habits of successful people with you. It is something that I use every day and has contributed greatly to my success.

It is the habit of making a list before the day begins.

Let me tell you below why it is so important…

Here are the 3 steps to planning and making your daily list.

1. Plan Your Day The Night Before

Every minute spent in planning saves 10 minutes in execution. Sit down with a piece of paper and write down everything that you need to do the coming day. If for any reason you don’t do this, it should be the first thing you do every morning. When you write a list you have a track to run on.

Writing a list clarifies your thinking and goals…

Writing down a list forces you to think at a higher level…

If you start working from a list you increase you output 25% each day.

One of the habits of millionaires is that they start their day working from a list.

2. Set Priorities On Your List Before You Start the Day

Work from the 80/20 rule. If you have 10 items on your list of things to do, two will be the more important than all of the other items put together.

Go down your list and answer the question, “If I were to be called out of town for a month, what are the most important tasks that I must accomplish?”

Last fall I was out of the country traveling across 15 countries in 36 days. When I looked at my list of things to do before I left, I had to get my most important tasks done.

Once you identify these most important tasks, it brings us to the final step in starting your day.

3. Complete the Most Important Task First

Begin immediately on your most important task and focus on it and only it until completion.

All success in life comes from project completion and living a life of good habits will help you complete more projects.

A project with multiple tasks is called a “multi-task job”. This means that there are several smaller jobs to complete the larger job. Organize your jobs by sequence in a checklist and start on you most important project.

Complete the smaller jobs in your project, until the entire project is complete. This process is called “single handling” and it’s one of the most powerful things that you can use in managing your time. You can increase your productivity by 50% by planning, starting and completing your most important tasks every single day.

Conclusion

If you can develop these habits of successful people and do those three things, plan your day the night before, organize your tasks in order of importance, and complete your most important task first thing during your day, you will increase your productivity overnight.

What to Do If You Have Bats in Your Home

3/25/2018 (Permalink)

Bats. Bat infestations are becoming a more common problem in central Florida for homeowners throughout Orlando including the areas of Apopka, Altamonte Springs, Ocoee, Winter Park, Sanford, Winter Garden, Oviedo, and Maitland Florida. Bats are the only flying mammal and like to have a private space away from predators and bad weather. Where is a good Place? You’re Attic of Course! Here is a list that may be helpful in determining if you have an issue at your property with bats:

·         Are there a large number of bats outside the building? 

·         Has anyone heard scratching or squeaking noises from walls, the chimney, or attic?

·         Are there unexplained stains on walls and ceilings?

·         Are there rub marks on the outside of the building around areas with holes or cracks? 

Bats can carry different diseases that can harm humans in many ways. Rabies being one of the illness. The other is Histoplasmosis. The Mayo Clinic defines it as:

An infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings. Histoplasmosis is most commonly transmitted when these spores become airborne, often during cleanup or demolition projects.

As a side effect of bats living in a home, mold can start to grow in the bat droppings

There is a specialized remediation process to remove the bat droppings from the attic space and dispose of them. SERVPRO Is highly trained in the remediation process for buildings and homes affected by bat infestations. We have completed everything from single family homes to major hotels.

During the removal process all materials that have come in contact with the bat droppings would have to be removed and disposed of under state regulations for bio Hazardous waste. The Items include:

Drywall, insulation, cloth materials, cardboard and wood (depending on the saturation of droppings)

If you have any concerns or think you may have had an infestation of bats, Please call us for an inspection.

You CAN Save Wet Papers!

3/25/2018 (Permalink)

In our business, we generally encounter people with homes or businesses that are damaged by water. We spend our time drying these structures as quickly and efficiently as possible so that the owner can be back in them and functioning as normal as soon as possible. This includes drying of contents. Even though we work in areas of Florida like Orlando, Apopka, Ocoee and even Winter Garden its not that easy to dry structurens as fast as we would like. Interestingly, when we discuss contents, people generally think of furniture, clothing, appliances, and electronics. But what about documents? What if the damaged business is a doctor’s office, hospital, or lawyer’s office? Saving the documents in those files could determine a patient’s wellbeing or the attorney’s ability to win a case. Once the paper is wet can it be saved?

There are many factors to be considered when we look at paper and its ability to be restored. Some things that we have to determine are based on the kind of paper it is, did the ink already smear, has the paper changed shape? If the paper is determined to be salvageable, we can attempt to dry it with a process known as Vacuum Freeze Drying.

Vacuum freeze drying is done in steps. The first step requires that the documents be frozen solid in order to maintain their original form. Then they are placed in a freeze drying chamber and a vacuum makes sure to remove all air from the chamber. When the temperature and pressure reach optimum levels the vapors begin to release from the paper. The vapor is then collected on a condensing surface outside of the chamber that turns it back into ice. A final gradual temperature rise pulls off more vapors and releases bound moisture from the document.

This technique works well on many types of documents. Rest assured, if your home or business should ever suffer a water damage, we can help recover your building and ALL of your salvageable contents!

Keep Your House Clean In Less Time!

3/25/2018 (Permalink)

Most of us have very busy lives. Family life has changed so much in the last 20-30 years that it’s almost unrecognizable to an older generation. Gone are the days where a mother would stay at home and take care of her house and her family while her husband went to work and provided for the family’s financial needs. Most households now have both spouses working to provide financially for the family. In the Central Florida area this is a very big thing. 

With the ever growing demand to get from place to place and to have our days constantly filled, how do you handle the chores at your house? We found this helpful chart on Pinterest. By breaking down normal household chores into daily, weekly, and monthly items, we found that it helps to make sure everything is accomplished without making anyone feel overwhelmed. Try it out and let us know what you think!

To print out your own copy of this chart, visit http://thriftydiydiva.com/free-cleaning-schedule-printable-daily-weekly-monthly/

How to Select A Carpet Cleaning Company

2/22/2018 (Permalink)

The following information comes from an article listed on IICRC.org, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification. This information is helpful when deciding which company should handle your carpet cleaning needs.

“Cleaning Carpet Can Be a Dirty Business” “Not All Scum Is In the Carpet” “Don’t Let them Pull The Rug Out From Under You” “Clean Your Carpets Without Cleaning Out Your Wallet” “Don’t Get Taken To The Cleaners.”  These clever phrases have appeared recently in newspaper articles and televised news programs across the nation warning consumers about carpet cleaning scam operations. The media has related horror stories of trusting consumers who have responded to low-price carpet cleaning specials only to become victims of unethical cleaners who refuse to honor the advertised price, intimidate the consumers and do poor quality work.

Bait-and-switch operators are prevalent in many industries, and the carpet cleaning industry is no exception. This does not mean that all carpet cleaners are rip-off artists. How do you know who is and who is not? The professional carpet cleaning industry has cited these scam activities as a major industry concern and is taking action to help eliminate unprofessional workmanship and unethical tactics. One of the leaders in this campaign is the IICRC, an international, non-profit organization that certifies cleaners who meet prescribed levels of technical proficiency and pledge to operate by a Code of Ethics.

To help educate consumers so they will not become victims of fraudulent practices within the cleaning industry, the IICRC has released a list of guidelines to consider when selecting a carpet cleaner.

  • Price – If an advertised price sounds too good to be true – it is! Often carpet cleaners advertise a low price just to get their foot in the door. Use common sense; a low price usually equates to low quality for any product or service. Legitimate business people have expenses they must cover, including license, taxes, insurance, employee wages, and benefits, and quality tools of the trade. A professional carpet cleaner who must cover all of these business expenses and make a profit to stay in the business cannot afford to drive to your house for $5.95, much less clean a room of carpet when there.
  • Quality – Never should the price of cleaning services be the sole criterion for selecting a carpet cleaner. A price that sounds high may not be a signal of a rip-off. In all professions, quality work deserves a quality price.
  • Truth in Advertising – Read the fine print in advertised specials to find out exactly what the price includes, and request a firm price in writing before the work begins.
  • Training – Professional cleaning firms require management and employees to engage in formal training in a variety of cleaning disciplines, and these educational efforts will be ongoing.  Consumers should ask about the formal training background of technicians who will be cleaning their carpet.
  • Certification – Professional firms require technicians who have certification from organizations like the IICRC or through comparable franchise or independent training and testing organizations.
  • Experience – The years of experience a firm has, combined with formal training programs, contribute significantly to the experience and proficiency of its employees.
  • Knowledgeable – Professional firms employ and train technicians who have the ability to answer basic questions regarding carpet performance and maintenance, as well as spotting and cleaning.
  • References – Consumers should ask for references from previous customers, and they should consult friends and business acquaintances about the reputation of the cleaning firm they are considering. Do not hesitate to call the Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau.
  • Trade Associations – Professional cleaning firms are members of regional or national trade associations or other organizations that promote high ethical standards and continuing education. Look for trade association logos in advertising.
  • Credibility – Community involvement through the Chamber of Commerce and/or professional business, charitable or similar organizations will be undertaken by concerned, caring professionals. Look for logos indicating involvement in these organizations.
  • Method – Ask the cleaner which method of cleaning will be used and the advantages and disadvantages of this method compared to other methods.
  • Proof – Never hesitate to ask for proof. Ask to see the cleaner’s certification card, business license and insurance certificate.
  • No Pressure – Technicians must be courteous and willing to take the time to thoroughly explain the cleaning and to answer all questions. The consumer should never feel pressured.

There is no single criterion for selecting a carpet cleaning service. Several combined factors must be considered in the selection decision.

What Does Water Restoration Really Cost

2/22/2018 (Permalink)

When a customer has a water loss, they are often overcome with emotions. One of the biggest concerns is how much the loss or damage will cost. Typically we can't answer that question over the phone due to many unforeseen circumstances. This article found on home.costhelper.com/water-damage helps to shed some light on this difficult subject. Our team of professionals will be able to assist in restoration of any water damage, anytime, day or night. Give us a call today with any questions you might have. As always, coverage for a loss under an insurance claim would be determined by your insurance company's assigned adjuster.


Water or excess moisture can harm a home and its contents, and cleanup should be started as soon as possible.

Typical costs:

  • The cost of water damage restoration is based on several factors. These include the size of the affected area, the extent of the damage, the materials and water type. There are three categories -- the least expensive to clean up is category 1, which is clean water from a faucet or supply pipe. Category 2 is gray wastewater with minor contaminants, such as overflow from a dishwasher or washing machine. Category 3 is black water, containing sewage or other toxic debris.
  • Fixing a small area of water damage in a ceiling due to a leaky roof can be $100-$300 to patch the sheet rock, or $30-$50 for do-it-yourself materials -- not including the cost of fixing the roof and repainting the ceiling.
  • Drying a flooded basement can cost $500-$10,000 or more, depending on the size of the basement, the depth of the flooding and the water type (clean, gray wastewater or black/toxic). Depending on where the appliance is located in the house, cleaning up after a faulty water heater, washing machine, dishwasher or air conditioner averages about $5,000, according to HomeOwnerNet.com[1] .
  • Damage from a burst water pipe can cost $5,000-$70,000 or more with an average insurance claim costing $15,000.
  • If an entire house is flooded with storm water, the National Flood Insurance Program provides a flood damage simulator[2] to predict the total cost based on the height of the water. For 1-4 inches of water, the estimated cost is $7,800. For 9-12 inches, the estimate is$18,930. At 18 inches, the estimated cost is $26,285..
  • Water damage might be covered by insurance. Flood insurance typically covers damage from a natural disaster, when outside water or mud overflows an otherwise dry house. Homeowners insurance does not cover floods, but may cover water damage caused by minor individualized disasters, such as a hailstorm smashing a window or a broken water pipe spewing water -- as long as the problem wasn't caused by a lack of standard maintenance.

Water Damage is Bad for Your Health and Your Business!

2/21/2018 (Permalink)

Businesses throughout the Orlando area are constantly effected by the environments around them. The elements can wreak havoc on the interior of businesses under the best circumstances. Plumbing malfunctions, damage to the structure, or the risk of fire can put a dent in your business plans for the day and cost you a lot of money. Then there are the lingering hazards that now can grow from these damages.

Let’s talk about carpet. Standing water and carpets just do not mix. The fabric can be destroyed, it can accelerate the growth of mold and fungi and it can trap hazards within the fibers as the water evaporates or recedes. If carpets are left untreated you may have to replace all the carpet, and not to mention what it will do to the floor below. Water in the floor, depending on the type of floor can warp, weaken, or allow for a collapse to occur more frequently.

Water in or on walls can knock sections of the building out of commission. If water happens to settle in the walls it will damage the fibers of the wall and create a breeding ground for microbial growth. Mold and fungi love warm, dark, wet environments to breed in. Opening up the walls and getting a dehumidifier near the areas to help dry the water keeps the problem from spreading.

Furniture and chairs are usually multi problem areas. Desks often made of wood soak up water. Desks are usually covered in papers and important items which water often destroys if left untreated. SERVPRO can salvage your papers using a freeze dry method of extracting water. Placing fans and dehumidifiers near water soaked desks can keep you from replacing them. Desk chairs which are often fiber based exterior with soft cushion material inside soak up water and anything in the water. Again all these normal office pieces of furniture can be salvaged if time and skill are used to the utmost.

Keep in mind, time plus water equals money. The longer you wait, the longer the water soaks in and does damage, the more it costs you in the end.

Steps Involved in Removing Mold

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

Have you ever wondered what happens when a mold removal specialist gets called to a mold-damaged facility?

Here are five steps that a mold removal specialist takes when conducting mold remediation:

1. Determine the degree of contamination. To do so, a mold remediation specialist may need to bring in an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) to determine the extent of the mold damage and test for contamination within the facility. Because mold spores and other microscopic contaminants can travel easily throughout a building, the IEP may collect and analyze samples from affected and unaffected areas of the building. Once the IEP has finished the inspection, they will develop a remediation plan for the mold removal specialist with steps to return the home and/or business to its preloss condition.

2. Set up and verify containment. To make sure mold contamination does not spread to other areas of a facility, the mold remediation specialist will set up containment by creating isolation barriers. Once the barriers are established, the specialist will verify containment with a lower partial pressure differential (negative pressure) to ensure there is no air leakage between containment zones. Exit chambers are used to serve as a transition between the containment and the unaffected area of the building. Once the containment is verified and the correct amount of pressure is achieved, the removal process can begin.

3. Remove unsalvageable materials. Porous materials and items that cannot be restored or cleaned effectively must be carefully discarded. Unsalvageable items include, but are not limited to, drywall, insulation and other items with visible mold growth. It is important for the specialist to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment which may include a full face respirator equipped with a P100/OV cartridge, disposable coveralls and nitrile gloves.

4. Clean surfaces with a high-attention to detail. A mold remediation specialist will likely begin the cleaning process by thoroughly vacuuming the contaminated areas using a HEPA vacuum with a high-efficiency filter to catch mold spores. He or she will then begin a detailed cleaning process involving mold removal tools such as a HEPA filtered sander, followed by the damp wiping of surfaces with an effective cleaning solution. 5. Verify remediation. Once cleaning is complete, the IEP will return to verify the remediation was successful. The area must be returned to the dry standard and should be visually dust free with no malodors. In addition, an IEP may perform surface or air sampling as part of the verification that the area is back to normal fungal ecology.  

 “Mold remediation requires mold removal specialists to perform techniques that promote source removal rather than relying on chemicals, paints and coatings as a replacement,” said Rachel Adams, President of Indoor Environmental Management, Inc. “Understanding and managing air flow is also critical to the success of a mold remediation project. Working with qualified IEP can also help to reduce the liability for the technician as well as provide a final determination if the remediation was successful.”

What Do Do If You Have A Sewage Leak

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

It’s late at night. The rain has been coming down for what seems like hours. Your toilet is flushed as lightning splits the sky, and suddenly you have sewage backing up in your home, onto your carpet, under your floors. This is not a dream….This is a NIGHTMARE! This is actually a reality for some. Half awake, dealing with an emergency what are you going to do? What can we salvage? What is safe to touch? First thing is first, sewage can be very dangerous. The most common negative factor in sewage is hepatitis B. This little thing can remain outside a living body for up to 50 days and cause a host of health issues. So the cleaning of your home or office must be done right, and done fast.

There are many items that can be cleaned by a professional from a sewage loss. Here is a Short list of what cannot be saved:

Some Electronics – Depending on the type and how far the contamination went down into the item will come into play. You cannot wipe off just the outside and say it is good to go. If sewage comes in contact with a power cord or a small transfer box it should be replaced. If the item is not replaced the contamination will fester inside and could cause a major fire hazard. This is a very serious issue that should be handled by a professional.

Soft Goods/Certain Textiles – Some can be cleaned depending on the material make, age and contamination level. Certain items like pillows or stuffed animals will need to be dissembled, filling removed, exterior cleaned and put back together with clean materials.

Engineered Wood/ Press wood - Any wood item that has been modified where contamination has come in contact with an unfinished surface cannot be cleaned. This is due to the many cavities that pressboard and engineered wood have. Natural/Solid wood can be treated and sanded to remove the affected areas, then re-stained to match existing colors.

Carpet/Pad – If at any time there was sewage that soaked through to the carpet or pad, the area must be removed! There is no way to guarantee that the carpet and pad are fully decontaminated.

If there are any questions, Please call your local SERVPRO and we will help.

Hurricane IRMA-Destruction in Central Florida

11/3/2017 (Permalink)

Hurricane Irma swept through Central Florida causing devastation on many levels. We were fortunate enough to not have the maximum amount of damage forecasted, but that doesn’t mean that the damage wasn’t enough to hurt.

As a restoration company, we received THOUSANDS of phone calls. In general, people know that they need to call a company like ours for help after a natural disaster like Irma. We actually received some phone calls before the storm hit, because people understood the need to be prepared. With everything going on, there are some things that go unnoticed, and as I write this, I find the need to share those things. They are important because they truly show the spirit of our company.

Before the storm hit we had a plan in place that would allow us to help as many people as possible, as fast as possible. We are a 24/7 service company for emergency service, but typically, after 5:00 in the evening and until 8:00 in the morning, we have our calls answered by a service. That way we can allow our staff time to sleep! We knew though, that we needed to have someone on staff answering the phones once the storm hit, because they would be the best ones to answer questions, offer some hope, and get people in line for service. We had two employees that agreed to do this. They tirelessly answered calls for days.

Because we are part of a national system of franchises, SERVPRO corporate called in the cavalry to assist the local franchises. Once each local office was at their limit, we could easily dispatch out one of our sister franchises. That allowed us to get someone out as soon as possible, instead of having to turn people away or wait for weeks for service. There were franchises from all over the country that came in to help, many of them even came directly from helping in Texas after Harvey.

From a business standpoint, right after a storm is a time for restoration companies to make money. What I found interesting though, was that instead of sending people out to try to secure the biggest jobs, Scott Tracy, the owner of our franchise, was busy making sure that the employee’s families were safe. He even went out and bought additional generators for those families to use so that they wouldn’t have to be without power at their home. He was busy with trying to take care of those around him.

Our office was without power for 9 days. We serviced as many people as possible by working from our General Manager’s home. Her kitchen table was turned into a mobile office. We could do almost everything we needed to in order to help our customers and get the information to our production team that they needed.

These things all add up to one big picture, our franchise is led by a team of people who CARE, not just about the bottom line of the business, but about the community and their staff. When the next storm hits, remember that a company that cares about their employees will care more about their customers too. SERVPRO is always here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

What to Look for After the Storm is Long Gone

11/3/2017 (Permalink)

It’s been weeks since we had our brush with Hurricane Irma in Central Florida. How did your home do? Did you have minimal damage? Some missing shingles? Maybe some slight water intrusion from windows? Did you think that you had it all cleaned up but now you are starting to smell something funny? Here are a few things to look for that will help you decided if you have an area that needs to be investigated further by a professional.

  • Musty smell-many people report this after there has been a water intrusion in their home or business. If it goes away in a couple days, then it probably isn’t a big issue. If you notice that the smell lingers, and is even a bit stronger in a specific area, this would be a cause for further investigation.
  • Water marks that seem to have come out of nowhere. This could be a sign that the area you thought was dry, is actually still wet. Modern building materials can hold water in them for longer periods of time, making it harder to find right away.
  • Bulging floors, buckling floors, “squishy” floors, these are all signs of a water intrusion issue. Many times, when your floor is showing those signs, there will be other areas affected also.
  • Drywall that is crumbling or bulging. This can be a sign that the drywall was wet at one point, or still is, and that it needs to be checked further.

These are three simple things, but added together they can be a sign that there might be mold growth or even some areas that need proper drying. If you’ve noticed that your home or business is being affected by these or similar things, feel free to give us a call to discuss them. Our team is available to answer questions for you or schedule an inspection. You can reach us at 407-788-3124. 

How a Water Restoration Technician Assists After Disaster

1/31/2017 (Permalink)

A water restoration technician has an extremely important job when a home is affected by excess moisture. Certified professionals in the industry can quickly reverse the extensive damage that a flood or sewage backflow can cause, and save as many items as possible in the process. And when dealing with contaminated water, especially when it has pooled in the home, only certified professionals should be allowed to manage the cleanup. Attempting to perform cleanup efforts without expert assistance can lead to injury or illness, both of which can be severe.

A certified water restoration technician is on call around the clock. When an entire community has been affected a major disaster we can call in multiple teams to assist. As soon as a professional is on site, they will assess the situation and determine what items need immediate rescuing. If water has pooled in areas around the home, then pumps will be used to remove it.

The home will be dried using a configuration of heavy duty air movers and dehumidifiers, and while it dries, the firm will move through the building and look for any evidence of mold or pathogen contamination. If pathogens or mold are present, they will be eliminated using special procedures. This will ensure the home is safe to return to, and with concerted drying efforts, the building will as good as new once professionals have completed their work.

Red Cross and SERVPRO working together to serve Central Florida community

1/27/2017 (Permalink)

The fire fighters have just walked out of your home. It's past midnight. Your family is safe. You followed the two minute evacuation plan. But, as you look onto where you and your family once slept, played, ate and lived, now you see a soot covered, smoldering structure that will need serious repair. What do you do now? Who do you call to help you get your home back to normal? And then, when you do call someone, what happens next? Where will you and your family go? It's usually right about this time that an American Red Cross representative that the fire fighters contacted for you puts a blanket over your shoulders and tells you, It'll be okay, we are here for you. If you have never had this happen to you consider yourself lucky. If you have, you know what I'm about to talk about here.

For those that haven't and have never given to the Red Cross or thought to have helped out in some way let me tell you a little about them. May 21st 1881 Clara Barton started what is now the American Red Cross. It was modeled after the Swiss version of The Red Cross. It was bread out of the Civil War. After World War 2 they started the first civilian blood donation outfit.

Today they provide these services:

  • People affected by disasters in America
  • Support for members of the military and their families
  • Blood collection, processing and distribution
  • Health and safety education and training
  • International relief and development

 

And they do it all by donation and volunteer work.

 

https://www.redcross.org/donate/modf

HVAC Maintenance

1/6/2017 (Permalink)

Have you ever wondered as your AC unit kicks on, just what are some of the most common issues people have with their HVAC? You haven't? Well....Allow me to answer your now burning question.  

The List:

  • Dirty Air Filters. Air filters should be changed regularly.
  • Clogged Drain Lines.
  • Blown Fuses. 
  • Low Refrigerant. 
  • Dirty Condenser Coils. 
  • Electrical Problems.
  • Frozen Evaporator Coil. 
  • Thermostat.

 

Briefly, let’s discuss how SERVPRO can solve some of these issues, and keep others from happening.

I'm sorry, but dirt happens. Not only that, dust is made up of dirt as well as pet dander and skin. Yes skin. We are constantly making our homes dusty. Regular dusting and cleaning helps cut down on a lot of that, but the air is full of small particles that are being pulled into your HVAC's and it starts with the filter. If you have dirty filters you are circulating dirty air into your vents. Your vents are connected to a maze of ducts in the home and office. This debris collects in spaces we normally can't get to. SERVPRO of West Orange and Apopka-Wekiva can help here. We offer a comprehensive cleaning team for your in home or in office duct systems. We will deed clean your system and seal it to protect from fast buildup of debris. The HVAC air handler is pulled apart and cleaned piece by piece. 

This simple solution can save you from possibly needing to deal with the rest of that list. It can also improve air quality in your home or office. Feel free to give us a call today for an estimate!

10 Reasons to have your Carpet Cleaned

1/6/2017 (Permalink)

We found the following information on cleanlink.com and felt that it was very valuable to our customers. It gives 10 very compelling reasons to have your carpet cleaned. 

As the weather warms and people head outdoors, it is important that custodial departments don't lose sight of what needs to be done inside. There are many reasons why carpets should not be neglected. Doug Berjer product manager for CFR, manufacturers of recycling portable carpet extractors, offers these top ten reasons to have carpets cleaned year round. 

  1. Prolongs the life of carpeting. Regular carpet cleaning using the extraction method can increase the life of carpets significantly, protecting your floor-covering investment.
  2. Protects indoor air quality. Carpets trap airborne pollutants; however, eventually those pollutants must be removed in order to protect the carpet and maintain indoor air quality.
  3. Makes carpets easier to maintain. Most carpet soiling is made up of dry soils; when carpets are kept thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis, most dry soils can be removed with regular vacuuming.
  4. Removes spots and stains. As with other soils, spots and stains can attract more soiling. Removing them promptly protects carpeting from damage.
  5. Prevents buildup of allergens and bacteria. Moist soiling of carpets can result in the buildup of several unhealthy contaminants.
  6. Enhances the appearance of any room. Clean, well-maintained carpets speak volumes about the overall cleanliness of a home or facility.
  7. Improves worker morale. Workers feel better about their work environment when it is clean. This includes the carpeting.
  8. Makes carpeting look and feel clean and fresh.
  9. Removes dust mites and bedbugs that may have found a home in carpets.
  10. Maintains the carpet’s warranty. Most carpet warranties require that carpets be cleaned using the extraction method within a specific amount of time, usually every 12 to 18 months.

Water Damage Drying-What Is All This Equipment For?

1/4/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage Drying-What Is All This Equipment For? Always prepared for your lose in Winter Garden!

You just called SERVPRO of Apopka-Wekiva. A disaster has struck you and your home or office. The crews from SERVPRO are on their way to mitigate the disaster. They show up in the big green trucks and in moments are assessing the damage to your property. Popping open the back of the truck they start to unload equipment, but what are they unloading? Why is it important? Here’s a list of the usual things you’ll see brought into a property once the team starts to work.

 

  • Air Mover and/or Axial Fan: Professional grade air movers and axial fans produce more air movement than a standard household fan. The higher volume of air being moved increases the rate of evaporation, helping to dry the structure as quickly as possible.
  • Dehumidifier: A dehumidifier removes water vapor from the air by condensing it out against refrigerated fins. The water is stored and then periodically purged from the machine by use of plastic tubing. The tubing will generally be run so that it dumps water down a drain, such as a bath tub or sink, or sometimes out a window or door. Professional dehumidifiers pull much more vapor from the air than a household dehumidifier. In this way they are generally more efficient.
  • Air Scrubber: An air scrubber might be used if your loss is a result of water classified as grey or black, which means that it came from a contaminated source or through building materials. These machines remove airborne particulates by trapping them in HEPA filters. Air Scrubbers are also used in cases where a customer has a health condition that requires the air quality be monitored.
  • Specialty Drying Equipment: There are a variety of different tools available to our technicians for use in specialty circumstances. For instance, a floor drying mat system allows the technician to create a vacuum system for removing moisture from hardwood floors, in order to try to dry them in place. This helps the floor dry faster, and generally gives us a better chance of saving the hardwood flooring.

There are of course many other tools you may well see if the situation requires them. The onsite SERVPRO technicians can and will explain any of the tools they use for the job. So when in doubt ask them!

Upholstery Cleaning Services Should Always Be Used

1/3/2017 (Permalink)

Professional upholstery cleaning services are much more effective than do-it-yourself options or treatment performed by untrained personnel. That’s because certified professionals know how to use the latest equipment and practices to great effect, removing even the most stubborn soils deeply embedded in the fabric. Homeowners often ignore the need for furniture cleaning, but if it is not performed regularly, families may have to get rid of their favorite sofa or chair long before it is necessary.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) teaches technicians the best way to approach upholstery cleaning services in any setting. They know how to identify and clean every type of fabric, including delicate fabrics like silk and leather.

In general, the process is the same no matter what kind of furniture the technician is working with, though it still requires a great deal of precision and effort. The fabric is first vacuumed to get rid of all dry, loose soils. This ensures they are not matted during water application. Pretreatment sprays are then applied and help break down stubborn soils like body oil and liquid stains. The technician will then apply a combination of water and cleaning agents, either by scrubbing or with a special wand tool. The furniture is rinsed lightly and excess water is extracted before the fabric is allowed to dry.

This form of treatment reaches all layers of the fabric and can greatly extend the furniture’s life. For that reason, it should be considered an investment in the furniture. SERVPRO of Apopka/Wekiva is proud to have fully IICRC trained technicians on staff to help you with your upholstery cleaning needs. Feel free to give us a call for a quote today!

Central Florida Fire Damage Restoration: What are the steps involved?

12/21/2016 (Permalink)

The hours, days and weeks following a fire in your home or business can be simply overwhelming. Surrounded by your soot-covered and flame-damaged possessions, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture: As long as everyone got out, thanks to proper disaster planning and preparation, everything else is just stuff. But once the smoke clears, you will need to deal with that stuff, and the sooner the better.

Your restoration team should work with your insurance company to initiate a fire damage recovery plan that includes the complete restoration of your structure. Again, if your team is truly “full service,” the construction side will assess the structural damages while the cleaning and restoration specialists will work closely with you and your adjustor to determine which of your possessions can be cleaned…and which need to be inventoried for replacement. Often these services can be provided on site, but in the event that your contents have to be removed, make sure your team also offers the capability to electronically inventory, package, transport and store your belongings in a safe, climate controlled facility.

 

Now that you know the initial steps of the fire damage recovery process, here are a few tips on what NOT to do before the pros arrive:

  • Do not wipe or attempt to wash fire residue from walls, ceilings, or other absorbent surfaces
  • Do not use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy smoke residues or debris
  • Do not use food items or canned goods exposed to heat
  • Do not turn on computers, televisions, stereos or electrical appliances until they have been professionally cleaned and checked

 

With preparation, resources, and trusted professionals in place—plus a healthy dose of patience and perspective, after the fact—you and your family or co-workers will make it through the process of fire damage recovery. We hope that you never have to deal with any of this, but if you do, know that our team here at SERVPRO of Apopka/Wekiva will be there to help you through it.

Found the perfect home for the perfect price or a perfect fixer-upper in Casselberry, FL

5/6/2016 (Permalink)

You find out after moving in or Buying the Home in the Orlando or Casselberry area and find out that it use to be an Illegal drug manufacturing home aka a meth house. A meth house can be any type of home from the $2 million mansion, trailer, typical suburban home, or even a retail store Bathroom.

Here are some signs that the home may have been involved in illegal drug activity.

Equipment left on Property:

  • Scuba Tanks

  • Camping Stoves

  • Propane Tanks

Trash Left on Property:

  • Rags With Red And yellow stains

  • Coffee Filters With Red Stains

  • Rubber Hoses

  • Empty Bottles of Automotive Fluids

  • Empty Blister Packs of OTC medication

Heavy Smells of:

  • Fertilizers

  • Rotten Eggs

  • Gas

  • Ammonia

The Exterior Of the home:

  • Boarded Up Windows/Blacked Out Windows

  • Burned Grass

What makes the home toxic is the absorption off the chemicals used in the cooking process. All the drywall, wood, ceiling and any appliances have absorbed the chemicals that were cooked into them. After the cooking process is done the toxins will release from any porous materials in the home

1 Pound of Cooked Meth Will make 5 Pounds of poisonous waste. When purchasing a home that may be questionable, an Industrial Hygienist can be called in to check for any potential health hazards present.

SERVPRO can take the process from beginning to end and return a healthy home to you and your family.

What items are salvageable from blood contamination in Ocoee, FL

5/6/2016 (Permalink)

It happens, someone we know has been involved in a gun, knife or other sharp item incident. It can really happen anywhere like Apopka or even Ocoee, FL. Whether it happens to be a kitchen accident or an accidental discharge on a fire arm, SERVPRO knows how to handle any situation.

There are many items that can be cleaned by a professional that had previous blood contamination. Here is a short list of what cannot be saved:

Some Electronics – Depending on the type and how far the contamination went down into the item will come into play. You cannot wipe off just the outside and say it is good to go. If blood falls between the vents of the item there is a chance it could land on a circuit board and cause a short at minimum or Cause a fire. This is a very serious issue that should be handled by a professional.

Soft Goods/Certain Textiles – Some can be cleaned depending on the material make, age and contamination level. Certain items like pillows or stuffed animals will need to be dissembled, filling removed, exterior cleaned and put back together with clean materials.

Engineered Wood/ Press wood - Any wood item that has been modified where contamination has come in contact with an unfinished surface cannot be cleaned. This is due to the many cavities that pressboard and engineered wood have. Natural/Solid wood can be treated and sanded to remove the affected areas, then re-stained to match existing colors.

Carpet/Pad – If at any time there is blood contamination that has soaked through to the carpet or pad the area must be removed! There is no way to guarantee that the carpet and pad are fully decontaminated.

If there are any questions, Please call your local SERVPRO and we will help.

What Items Can I Save After A Sewage Back-Up? Winter Garden,FL

5/3/2016 (Permalink)

Contributed by Michael Johnson, Production Manager

What items are salvageable from Sewage Back up?

A sewage loss in your home can be detrimental. There are many items in the home that should be discarded. In the world of water damage we call a sewage loss a Category 3. Category 3's can happen anywhere this one just so happen to be in Winter Garden. This type of water damage is very dangerous if not cleaned up correctly. The list of contaminates in a sewage back-up is long. One of them is Hepatitis B. Hep B can live out of the body for 50 days. This is why the cleaning process is so important.

There are many items that can be cleaned by a professional from a sewage loss. Here is a Short list of what cannot be saved:

Some Electronics – Depending on the type and how far the contamination went down into the item will come into play. You cannot wipe off just the outside and say it is good to go. If sewage comes in contact with a power cord or a small transfer box it should be replaced. If the item is not replaced the contamination will fester inside and could cause a major fire hazard. This is a very serious issue that should be handled by a professional.

Soft Goods/Certain Textiles – Some can be cleaned depending on the material make, age and contamination level. Certain items like pillows or stuffed animals will need to be dissembled, filling removed, exterior cleaned and put back together with clean materials.

Engineered Wood/ Press wood - Any wood item that has been modified where contamination has come in contact with an unfinished surface cannot be cleaned. This is due to the many cavities that pressboard and engineered wood have. Natural/Solid wood can be treated and sanded to remove the affected areas, then re-stained to match existing colors.

Carpet/Pad – If at any time there was sewage that soaked through to the carpet or pad, the area must be removed! There is no way to guarantee that the carpet and pad are fully decontaminated.

If there are any questions, Please call your local SERVPRO and we will help.

Bad Things Happen When You Go Easy in Performance Reviews

5/2/2016 (Permalink)

Contributed by Shannon Perez, General Manager

Here is some guidance on how to conduct Performance Reviews that I really appreciated.  The article was found on HRMorning.com and is written by Christian Schappel.  This is very useful information, especially for those of us who have long-time employees and might be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings.  Read on and hope you gain as much as I have from this article.  

Bad Things Happen When You Go Easy in Performance Reviews:

Oh, goodie! It’s performance review time,” said no manager … ever. And as a result of this lack of enthusiasm, managers can screw them up — royally. Thankfully, we just found something very handy to help them avoid screw-ups.

Our good friends over at Resourceful Manager (we’ve told you about them before) recently put together an interesting presentation worth showing to your managers. It outlines the very bad — and often expensive — things that can happen when managers sugarcoat employee performance reviews.

Specifically, the presentation names ways — besides getting sued — in which easygoing reviews can cost you dearly (they start around slide 35 below).

The presentation below outlines what a sugarcoated review looks like, why it’s harmful, as well as the benefits of telling employees the honest truth (again, it goes beyond simply avoiding the courtroom).

Don’t let the slide count fool you, the presentation moves quickly. Managers will only need to dedicate about three minutes to it for them to understand the ramifications of going easy on under-performing employees.

How to have a difficult conversation

Of course, the problem stems from managers dreading uncomfortable conversations with employees.

Naturally, no employee wants to hear he stinks, and no manager wants to tell him he stinks. But it must be done.

By sticking to some do’s and don’ts managers can eliminate some of the awkwardness, take control of the conversation and achieve their objective — a substantial change in an employee’s performance or behavior.

Here’s a checklist we prepared that’s worth passing along to you managers:

Do’s:

§  Do be specific about what you want. The mistake some managers make when shooting for a goal is using general terms.
Example: A manager says, “You’re too laid-back. I want you to be more aggressive and proactive.” Nice, safe terms, but the employee ends up thinking, “What’s that mean?”
Instead, the manager could say, “I want you to call five ex-customers a week, find out why they left us and report back to me on what they said.” That establishes clear goals.

§  Do let the employee rant — a little. Some people feel the need to blow off steam or maybe mount a defense, even a flimsy one, for their behavior. That’s OK. You don’t want them to feel like they’re on the witness stand and can’t ramble a little. If they think the point of the conversation is just so you can cross-examine them, that’ll just give them an excuse to throw up their defenses and refuse to cooperate. So let them go on for a while, and then steer the conversation back to the point.

§  Do use “we.” Try to get the idea across that the issue is a problem for everyone involved. That often requires saying something as simple as, “We have a problem” or “We need to change.”
Then the person on the other side of the desk realizes the behavior is important and affects everyone – but without finger pointing. In other words, focus on the problem, not the person.
Bad example: “You’re too argumentative.”
Better: “The continual arguments are hurting our productivity.”

Don’t’s:

§  Don’t continually use “you.” Putting all the responsibility on the employee is a conversational black hole that’s almost impossible to escape from. The use of “you” — as in “You didn’t finish the job on time” — is an invitation to a fight. Contrast that with: “We need to talk about why the job wasn’t finished on time.”
No accusations, no blame. Just a conversation starter that works.
Let’s admit here that at some point you are going to have to use “you”; after all, we are talking about a specific person causing a specific problem. Just be aware that there are alternatives to continually using “you” in a negative way that kills the conversation.

§  Don’t use “however” or “but.” Some managers think if they lead with a compliment, it’s then easier to wade slowly into the problem. A symptom of that thinking comes out in conversations that go something like: “You’ve done a pretty good job, but …” and then the manager lowers the boom on the employee.
People aren’t fooled by that approach, and in fact, it often gets them angry and thinking, “She can never just say something positive.”
Consider substituting “and” for “but” and “however.” You’ll see how much smoother and positive the conversation can be.
Example: “You’ve done a pretty good job, and we need to talk about how to get back up to that level.”

§  Don’t feel as if you have to fill every silence. In an especially tense situation, you’ll be tempted to fill in every silent pause. Stay silent when there’s a lull in the conversation, and obligate the other person to fill in the silence. You’ll be surprised by the amount of information you get without even asking a question.

A HIGH-PERFORMANCE TEAM – Hiring successful marketing and salespeople is a science

5/2/2016 (Permalink)

Contributed by Shannon Perez, General Manager. 

This is something we have been struggling with for years.  I found this article just recently posted on Cleanfax.com (the article is by Tim Miller, President of Business Development Associates, Inc.) and printed it to have close by as we are building and improving our marketing and sales team.  I want to post this so that others can also benefit from this information. Even if you live outside the Central Florida area like Orlando, Ocoee, Winter Springs, Altamonte this is still great information.  This is our goal, a statement included in the conclusion of this article we are posting to the front:  Like most other business activities, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

A HIGH-PERFORMANCE TEAM – Hiring successful marketing and salespeople is a science

More and more restorers are seeking to build an outside sales team in order to generate day-to-day leads that are not from programs, weather or luck.  They do this by calling on agents, adjusters, plumbers, property and facility managers, etc.  This is entrepreneurial activity at its best. If the work you need isn’t coming to you, go out and hunt for it!

Unfortunately, most owners of restoration companies have little, if any, direct selling or sales management experience. It’s no wonder that building a high performance-team of salespeople (marketing reps) is such a challenge.

Many have tried and have given up. They have been burned too many times by the salespeople who interview like superstars, who provide the “We are almost there; the big one is just around the corner” happy talk, month after month, until the deal suddenly vaporizes through “It’s not my fault.”

The key to any successful sales program is the right salesperson. But there are other very important factors to consider without which even the best salespeople will struggle to be successful.

These include how your salespeople will differentiate your company from the hundreds of competitors calling on the same targets, creating a unique value proposition so their sales team has something to offer — specific sales processes with accountability, coaching and sales management, just to mention some of the most important.

Still, the heart of any sales program (and a restorer’s ability to drive the growth of his or her own business) rests on its ability to hire qualified salespeople.

The good news is that hiring successful salespeople is a science more than it is an art. In our experience, there are four crucial elements for success. These are desire, commitment, responsibility and outlook.

Let’s analyze all four.

1. Desire

Desire is extremely important because it tells us how badly the candidate wants to succeed in sales. People without the passion or desire for greater success in sales are not people you want driving the growth of your business!

2. Commitment

Commitment means doing whatever it takes to succeed. Commitment is strongly related to terms like persistence, tenacity, perseverance… and even faith. Building a referral network takes a lot of work and a fair amount of time before substantial results are obtained. For these reasons, you need salespeople with as close to full, unconditional commitment as you can get.

3. Responsibility

The ability to take personal responsibility for success or failure is a hallmark of great salespeople. When salespeople make excuses, they’re actually selling themselves short.

Regardless of the excuses they make, it comes down to the fact that they aren’t taking full responsibility for their results. It’s like that old saying: The first step in correcting a problem is admitting that you have one. Until salespeople take full responsibility, they aren’t likely to make any changes that would improve their effectiveness.

4. Outlook

Outlook tells you how people feel about themselves, the work they do, whom they work for and whom they work with. It is similar to attitude. When people are between jobs, it’s not uncommon for them to have outlook issues because they are going through a difficult time. The goal is to determine whether or not the outlook problem is a temporary or chronic one before inviting them onto your team.

When selecting salespeople, you want as much of the four crucial elements for success as possible in their make-up.

But you also want to consider to what extent they have the five major weaknesses, which are need for approval, emotional discipline, supportive beliefs, supportive buy-cycle and ability to handle rejection.

Let’s analyze all five.

Need for approval

Salespeople that have a strong need for approval often feel being liked or getting the love and approval of a prospect may be more important than getting a meeting or the business.

Salespeople with this issue hurt you in that they can’t close or ask for the business. They can’t ask the hard questions. They can’t confront respectfully and are allergic to the word “no.” This leads to “happy ears” and a pipeline full of phony deals, chasing deals that are long dead and people that waste your most precious commodity — their time and the company’s time.

Emotional discipline

This is a very common weakness. Salespeople with this issue have a tendency to panic when they get thrown a curve ball or an objection. This panic is essentially the salesperson talking to them — thinking, strategizing, worrying and panicking in the middle of a sales call.

When this happens, they are focused on the voices in their own head rather than listening to the prospect.

Supportive beliefs

This means that the way a salesperson thinks will actually support their selling outcome. When those beliefs are non-supportive, they will sabotage their selling outcomes. So they question whether their beliefs are positive, supportive or damaging, such as:

•I am terrible at prospecting on the telephone.

•Nobody wants to talk to me anyway.

•I can’t dislodge incumbent vendors.

•I don’t like making cold calls.

•My list stinks.

•I can’t call on owners.

Supportive buy-cycle

This is one of the most important weaknesses in that candidates with a non-supportive buy-cycle are typically comfortable with prospects that don’t make decisions. Because of the way they make major purchases themselves, they “understand” the need for endless research, checking out the competition, “thinking it over” and fundamentally not making decisions.

Good salespeople understand that “Yes is OK,” and “No is OK,” but the “maybes” are the productivity killers. Good salespeople are able to help prospects make decisions instead of accepting put-offs, stalls and objections.

Handle rejection

There is no selling without rejection. In today’s world, there is a lot more passive rejection in which people simply don’t return your calls or emails and this can affect a lot of salespeople in a serious way. The key is not whether they get rejected or fear rejection but, rather, how long it takes them to recover when they do get rejected. The ideal salesperson is rejection-proof or at least rejection-resilient.

The hiring process

It is critical to understand whether or not your candidates have enough of the four crucial elements for success and the right amount and combination of the five major weaknesses as well as a host of other characteristics.

The only way to do that is with a screening tool designed specifically for consultative salespeople that looks at the concrete, job-specific skills, competencies and capabilities, which we really need to understand about a salesperson’s abilities.

Sales assessment tool is the first hurdle that any job candidate must overcome to even start the interviewing process. Simply put, if they don’t pass the initial assessment, there is no point wasting time interviewing them!

The rest of the hiring process consists first of a brief phone screening designed to put the candidate under the same sorts of pressure that they would face in real-life selling situations. This quickly sorts out the real salespeople from the estimated 70 percent of salespeople who are terrible, who go from one failure to the next during their entire careers.

The next step is a face-to-face interview. Again, this is a pressure test designed to determine whether the accomplishments and experience on their resume reflect real life or fantasy. Putting the salesperson through their paces with role-plays and asking them the hard questions most interviewers balk at again reveals the skill and quality of the candidate.

If the candidate gets past the first live interview, they are now what is typically a very small group of people you would be willing to hire. The next interview is much more traditional in nature. The pressure is off; you are warm and welcoming, and this is where you paint the picture of the opportunity for the right salesperson at your company.

Ideally, you will have a pool of two of three finalists to choose from. The last interview is their opportunity to make their case as to why they are the right fit.

Getting results

When we hire salespeople using this process, we are highly confident that the salesperson can do the job. But this doesn’t necessarily mean they will do the job. No matter how stringent the process, you can’t anticipate failing marriages, personal crises, drug and alcohol dependencies and the occasional sociopathic liar who can beat the system.

But what is more common and perhaps more disappointing is when good salespeople who are hired and then fail because they were not given the proper sales processes and training required to be successful, not given a tracking and accountability system (CRM), not coached and definitely not properly managed in order to clearly understand what they had to do in order to achieve success.

Like most other business activities, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Tim Miller is the President of Business Development Associates Inc., a marketing strategy, and recruiting and sales force development-training company. BDA helps restorers drive the growth of their businesses by building referral networks so that they are not overly dependent on program work, weather or good luck. To learn more and to receive a free assessment of your marketing rep or estimator/project manager, contact Miller at (847) 386-6556, or email him at Info@theBDAway.com.

2015 Employee Appreciation Dinner

3/30/2016 (Permalink)

Community 2015 Employee Appreciation Dinner Our Employee Appreciation Cake & Cupcakes

In January of 2016 we hosted an appreciation dinner for our employees and their families. This event is held yearly, as we feel it is important to show just how much they mean to us.

Without this team and their families we would not be able to help so many in our community when disaster strikes their home or business. Many of our technicians spend countless hours away from their families in order to help others on a regular basis.

This year's event was catered by Apple Spice Junction and was held at the Lakeside Reception Hall in Orlando. We had a DJ and a photo booth, and based on the photos and the dancing we'd say they were enjoyed by all!

Thank you again to our amazing staff for all that you do year round!!

Orlando Heart Walk- Orlando, FL

3/30/2016 (Permalink)

A few years ago our team participated in the Orlando Heart Walk. We enjoyed going out as a team and walking for a good cause.   After all, we can all use some extra time outside in the beautiful Florida weather! 

The Heart Walk is a recurring event that is put on by the American Heart Association in an effort to raise funds and celebrate progress in this country's fight again heart diseases and stroke, which are the country's #1 and #5 killers respectively.

In 2016 the American Heart Association expects more than 1 Million walkers in 350 events - that's quite a turn out! To take part in the Orlando Heart Walk visit their web site at http://greaterorlandoheartwalk.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1150110

Why Listening to People is Important

2/8/2016 (Permalink)

Note from Shannon Perez, GM with SERVPRO of West Orange and Apopka/Wekiva:  There are a number of articles that really mean a lot to me.  Usually they have to do with people skills, relationships and employee appreciation.  Listening is so important in every relationship and it just isn’t utilized enough.  We all want to be heard and sometimes we are so busy talking that we don’t take the time to HEAR others.  This is definitely not a natural tendency of most and so it must be cultivated.  That is why I am posting this article.  It is one of the things I am passionate about and always try to apply in my daily life.  Let’s just say that this is a work-in-process but I will never stop trying to make sure I listen and hear others because it shows others that you really care about them.  Our employees are awesome and I want them to feel that way.  We love our customers and I want them to know that by truly listening to what matters to THEM.  Enjoy the reading. The following article is from 2014, but still offers so much value!

LISTENING IS A LEADER’S MOST IMPORTANT SKILL

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - by  John Keyser  

LISTENING SKILLS

A friend of mine, a key leader with a major insurance company, regularly comes around her desk when one of her team members comes to speak with her. She feels that sitting side by side, rather than across a desk, leads to a better discussion. Why? Because she is putting that person at ease, she is conveying that she genuinely cares about him, and she is listening intently to what he has to say.

Another friend, a high level executive with a leading company in the sports industry, has made listening a priority. He tunes in to the person speaking with an open mind—without problem solving or seeking conclusions—while that person is speaking. It has been noticed and admired numerous times, not only by his immediate team members, but also by his senior executive colleagues.

Another example of active listening by leaders comes from Peter Hill, CEO of Billy Casper Golf, the leading company in golf management. Hill says, “When I am speaking, I’m not learning.” Indeed, more and more leaders are recognizing how essential listening skills are today.

Why now? Why are people striving to improve their listening skills? Because the quality of our listening determines the quality of our influence, and that brings huge benefits to our business.

Consider the statistic that some 40 percent of people in the workforce today do not feel appreciated and valued, and 70 percent are either actively looking for a new job or would very likely accept an offer if it came their way. Clearly, now is the time to reach out to our people in meaningful ways.

Email has become the easy and quick way to communicate, share info, make requests and answer questions. Yet, there is a dark side to the endless flow of emails coming at us. First, depending on how disciplined we are at managing emails, each of us may have 100 to 300 emails to read, delete, respond to, or act on each day. More disturbing is the fact that, to a great extent, emails have replaced conversations. 

We simply do not make the time to connect with and maintain solid relationships with people, as we should. We are on the go from the time we wake up until we turn off our bedside lamp. We’re too busy—way too busy.

This situation can and must be remedied by those of us who deeply care about our teams and our team members’ success. We must stop spending so much time in meetings, speaking with other senior execs, and in front of our computers. Instead, we must let the people doing the work of our companies know that we appreciate and value them and want to know their ideas. More important, we must listen attentively, with a quiet mind and a full focus, not thinking what we’ll say, not problem solving in our minds, or even partially thinking of our own to-do list.

On average, we retain just 25 percent of what we hear, which is because of our business and lack of listening skills. The good news is that we can learn to be a better listener and significantly increase our retention. There are principles and practices that can help us be intentional, purposeful, and conscientious when listening and that will make a huge difference with the spirit of our team members.

To earn and maintain quality relationships, our people need to know we genuinely care about them. By listening with an empathetic ear, by putting ourselves in their shoes, and by maintaining an open mind, we develop a culture of enthusiastic and energetic teamwork. Our conscious listening, which is listening to understand and learn, is our gift to others.

Be assured, the journey of improving our ability to quiet our minds, to focus on the other person, and to become a fully present listener, will significantly improve our effectiveness as a leader.

State of the Art Equipment for Water Damages

1/8/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage State of the Art Equipment for Water Damages New air movers were recently added to our inventory

SERVPRO knows that staying on the cutting edge of technology in our industry will help our customers the most. That's why we add new equipment to our inventory on a regular basis. We are proud to be able to offer the best to our customers. 

You may be wondering why this is importat. Check out this information found on aboveboardchamber.com: 

Many homeowners feel that if the water is removed, the work of water damage cleanup is done. This is because it is difficult to see or feel the extent of the saturation of water in building materials without moisture detection equipment used in the water damage industry. What follows is that either the homeowner will attempt to remove the water and simply place household fans around, with or without removing drywall; or they will tell the water damage restoration contractor to leave when the water is extracted and before equipment is placed. The paradox here is that these decisions are made to save time and money. In some cases, they may have done just that. However, in most cases, the resulting long term water damage is both costly and time consuming in addition to being inconvenient and stressful. Added to that is the fact that the cost of mold remediation consequent of an improperly dried flood damage will likely not be covered by insurance policies because the water damage or sewage damage was not dried properly to begin with.

You have probably noticed by now that it is not the water removal service that is the important part of taking care of water damage. It is actually the drying part that makes your home safe from long term mold or building material damage. In fact, there is no time to waste when it comes to drying a water damaged home. Mold begins to start growing within 24 hours and continues “growing like a weed” damaging building materials as it spreads.

Water damage restoration companies spend a tremendous amount of money on drying equipment for a very good reason. They dry quickly, effectively, and safely. After all, think about it, if we could just use household fans and a couple of blowers, we would save a tremendous amount of money on equipment. If I thought those types of equipment did an effective job, I would be all over saving money by purchasing those at less than $50 each rather than a $300-400 blower and $3000 dehumidifiers. However, I know the importance of having industrial equipment to keep your home safe and dry. Further, all of the equipment works together to both dry the structural materials (blowers), remove the moisture from the air as the wet materials dry and the water from them turns to vapor (dehumidifiers), and clean the air to prevent allergens that permeate through the air during drying (air scrubbers).

Christian Help

12/24/2015 (Permalink)

-Contributed By Scott Tracy

One of my “close-to-my-heart” charities I work with is Christian Help here in Casselberry Florida. I first got to know them through my Church Northland. I noticed in the lobby that they had a big box marked “Food Pantry”. Obviously this was to collect donations from the congregation. I also noted in Northland’s bulletin that they were not only asking for food donations but also asked for volunteer’s to deliver this food to Christian Help down the road. I thought this would be a great volunteer opportunity to do with my young boys at the time, something we could do together.

 After delivering our first food collection to Christian Help, I was able to understand the full spectrum of what Christian Help did for the community. Not only did they provide groceries to families in need, they also provided employment training and help to those that were unemployed or under-employed. Over the years I maintained my relationship with Christian Help mostly with donations and Christmas gifts for kids in December.

 Once my company opened up the Construction Division, we realized that we could also help in this area. To be frank, Christian Help poured most of their money into charity, food, and people. One of the consequences of doing this was an office building and warehouse in great need of maintenance, repairs, and improvements. I decided to do a walkthrough of both, and as expected, the office staff, while appreciative of the offer to improve their work areas, asked instead that I focus on the warehouse/food pantry area that serves the public.

 We were honored to address some much needed help with putting up new walls, improving the public waiting area, and expanding their storage area. It has been a wonderful thing for us here at SERVPRO but also for the subcontractors that came in at our instruction. The next step will be donating brand new mobile stainless steel storage racks for their food bins. This will happen after the first of the year.

 The staff at Christian Help has been great and appreciative. They indicated that many people and companies have stopped by over the years promising help, but only a small percentage have actually followed through with the verbal commitment. Since Christian Help is less than a mile away from our office, it is a daily reminder to us of the less fortunate and I look forward to a long relationship with this worthy organization. Next year……we start looking at the front office and their needs.

Preparing Your Home or Business for a Hurricane

12/23/2015 (Permalink)

SERVPRO knows that when a disaster strikes the cleanup can be overwhelming. As the leader in water damage restoration, SERVPRO knows that fast mitigation is the key to limiting additional damage to your home or business, and in the case of a business, limiting business interruption. With over 1,500 franchises across the country, SERVPRO is faster to any size disaster and can be on-site within a few hours to reduce the amount of secondary damage that can be caused by allowing the water to sit. 

In the event of a hurricane here are some tips from FEMA to help you prepare your home:

  • Cover all of your home's windows with precut plywood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans, and anything else that is not tied down
  • Keep all trees and shrubs well-trimmed so they are more wind resistant
  • Turn off utilities as instructed by local authorities.
  • Turn off propane tanks
  • Ensure a water supply for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
  • Preparing your business is a litter different, but these tips from FEMA can help:

  • Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating
  • Identify operations critical to survival and recovery
  • Plan what you will do if your building is not accessible. Can you run your business from a different location or from your home? Can you develop a relationship with other local businesses to use their facilities if a disaster makes your location unusable?
  • While we all hope for a year free from hurricanes, we know that they are inevitable at times. You can rest assured that SERVPRO of Apopka/Wekiva will be available to assist you with your home or business in the event of a natural disaster.

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