January's Customer of the Month!
SERVPRO of Society Hill is excited to announce our first Customer of the Month for 2022. Congratulations to Chris D!
Chris called on SERVPRO to help when multiple floors of his Philadelphia home were soaked by a burst pipe.
"During a bathroom remodel, a water supply line was damaged and flooded our 2nd and 1st floors with extensive damage behind the walls. We called SERVPRO. The rep was responsive and showed up the same day. He was able to begin remediation, get an accurate assessment and complete the needed clean-up quickly. The rep, Eric, was timely, responsive, gave me daily updates and followed through. He was great to work with." - Chris D.
Read more customer testimonials or leave a review of your own here: SERVPRO of Society Hill Google Reviews
Introducing Need To Know with SERVPRO
Our first video covers water damage categories.
When it comes to property damage, our customers have a lot of questions. SERVPRO of Society Hill has answers! That’s why we’ve introduced a new video series: Need To Know with SERVPRO. The Need To Know series will explore commonly asked questions and share SERVPRO insider tips!
Viewers can expect a new Need To Know video every Friday at 3 pm. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook to stay up to date on new episodes!
Instagram: SERVPRO of Society Hill
Facebook: SERVPRO of Society Hill
Our very first video covers water damage categories. Check it out here: Youtube: Water Damage Categories
We value your feedback! To submit a topic or question for the Need To Know series, send an email to KevinP@SERVPROsocietyhill.com.
What is Ghosting? (Part 1)
The most common cause of ghosting is candle burning.
Have you noticed a faint discoloration on your walls? Or a dark, dusty residue on top of flat surfaces? Your home is being ghosted!
Don’t worry, you’re not being haunted. Ghosting, otherwise known as “sooting” is very subtle soot damage. It is relatively common and typically harmless, aside from being an unsightly nuisance.
Surprisingly, the most common cause of ghosting is candle burning. Although they appear to burn cleanly, scented candles produce tiny particles of soot. As the airborne particles settle, they combine with dust and cling to cool surfaces. Over time this creates noticeable staining.
If you simply can’t forgo the cozy ambiance of a lit candle, not to worry! There are ways to limit candle soot.
- Always trim your wick before lighting, especially if it has a mushroom shape.
- Never burn your candle close to a wall. Place it on a table instead, away from flammable materials.
- If possible, leave a window cracked to allow for ventilation.
- Use a snuffer or lid to extinguish the flame. Doing so will trap emitted smoke.
- Keep the flame still. A flickering wick will produce sooty smoke. Consider purchasing a lid-topper, which reduces the draft around your candle, allowing it to burn evenly.
Aside from candle burning, other causes of ghosting include cigarette smoking, woodstoves and fireplaces, poorly tuned furnaces, kerosene heaters, propane logs, and unvented stoves. Regular maintenance of such appliances and proper ventilation will help reduce the issue.
Ghosting: How to Remove Light Soot (Part 2)
Dry cleaning sponges (also known as chemical sponges) are specifically designed to absorb residue, which makes them perfect for cleaning soot.
In our last blog, we covered Ghosting; the subtle soot damage often caused by candle burning. Now that we know how to prevent candle soot, let's discuss how to remove it.
The acidic nature of soot makes it difficult to remove. Methods will vary depending on the material that was burned and the surface type. If you’re dealing with heavy soot, you’ll want to contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Society Hill. For light candle soot on walls, follow these steps:
- Create ventilation. Soot can irritate your lungs. Start by opening a window, turning on a fan, and opening vents.
- Wear personal protective gear. Protect your eyes, skin, and lungs from particles with safety glasses, gloves, and a mask.
- Pull furniture away from the affected area(s). This will prevent loosened particles from settling on your belongings.
- Use a dry cleaning sponge. Soot is easy to smear, so if you use a regular sponge, you’ll push it farther into the wall and cause a permanent stain. Dry cleaning sponges (also known as chemical sponges) are specifically designed to absorb residue, which makes them perfect for cleaning soot. They’re widely available in hardware stores, cleaning supply stores, and online.
- Wipe, don’t scrub. The key to removing soot is to wipe it, as scrubbing will only cause it to spread. Us downward and overlapping strokes to wipe the wall. After each stroke, check the sponge. When it becomes clogged and full of soot, flip it over and use the clean side. Switch to a fresh sponge as necessary. Do not rinse the sponge with water or it will become unusable for cleaning soot.
- Once the soot is removed, treat the remaining stain. Use a degreaser, such as a dish detergent. In a clean bucket, mix 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent with ½ gallon of water. Dampen a sponge in the mixture and use it to clean the stain. Gently rinse with water.
- Dry. Use a towel or rag to dry the area, then allow it to air dry for several hours.
- Vacuum. Use the long nozzle attachment on your vacuum to ensure any loose particles are removed.
Remember, this method only applies to removing soot from a lightly damaged section of wall. Attempting to remove heavy soot yourself can be dangerous. The professionals at SERVPRO of Society Hill are experts in smoke and soot removal, as well as odor abatement. For your complimentary cleaning estimate, call 215-772-1203.
Ghosting or Mold? (Part 3)
Mold has a textured appearance.
In parts one and two of our Ghosting series, we covered causes and cleaning techniques. Now let’s discuss identification.
Ghosting is often confused with another common household issue: mold growth. Both appear as dark discoloration on ceilings and walls. These tips can help you tell the difference.
Consider texture, smell, and location:
Texture: If the discoloration is caused by mold, the affected area will appear more textured. You may also notice fungal growth. Over time, mold can take on different colors, like white, green, purple, or orange.
Smell: Mold has a distinctly unpleasant, wet, and musty smell. Soot smells dry and smokey. If the area wreaks of rotten wood or wet socks, you likely have a mold issue.
Location: Mold grows in dark, moist areas. If the discoloration in question is in a dry, sunny area, it's probably not mold.
If you’re unable to determine the source of the discoloration, SERVPRO of Society Hill can help. We offer surface and air mold testing. Call 215-772-1203 for more information.
Preventing Smoke & Soot Damage
Prevent smoke and soot damage by maintaining a clean fireplace.
November is here! As cooler temperatures arrive in Philadelphia, many of us look forward to keeping warm by a fire. Of course, enjoying a cozy fire requires a clean, safe fireplace. Here are some tips for keeping it that way:
- When possible, keep a window cracked while the fire is burning. The incoming air will go up the chimney and prevent the room from becoming smokey.
- Make sure the damper or flue is open before starting a fire. Keeping the damper or flue open until the fire is out will draw smoke out of the house. The damper can be checked by looking up into the chimney with a flashlight or mirror. Do not close the damper until the embers have completely stopped burning.
- Use dry and well-aged wood. Wet or green wood causes more smoke and contributes to soot buildup in the chimney. Dried wood burns with less smoke and burns more evenly,
- Clean out ashes from previous fires. Levels of ash at the base of the fireplace should be kept to 1 inch or less because a thicker layer restricts the air supply to logs, resulting in more smoke.
- Fireplace coals can remain hot enough to start a fire for up to three days, so always wait at least that long before removing the ashes. At that point, close the damper to prevent cold air in the flue from stirring up excess dust while you're removing the ashes.
If your fireplace causes soot, smoke, or odor damage to your home, call the experts at SERVPRO of Society Hill.
A Manayunk Mud Removal
Stubborn mud is no match for the SERVPRO team!
The Manayunk neighborhood of Philadelphia is located along the scenic Schuylkill river. Recently, a storm caused the river to rise rapidly and pour out into the neighborhood’s homes and businesses. SERVPRO of Society Hill was called on to assist in the clean up effort.
Our first stop was an apartment complex located on Main Street. The parking garage below the complex had been flooded by more than 4 feet of water. As the water receded, it left behind a thick, stubborn layer of mud. The entire surface of the garage was covered and would have taken weeks to clean by hand. This situation called for the SERVPRO professionals!
After several days of deep pressure washing, extraction, drying and careful detail cleaning, the mud was completely gone!
Philly Commercial Property Owners: Are You Emergency Ready?
An Emergency Ready Profile contains the critical information needed to begin cleanup and recovery.
According to the latest industry research, as many as 50% of businesses may never recover following major property damage. Of those that recover, the majority have a preparedness plan in place.
SERVPRO of Society Hill is here to help Philadelphia’s commercial property owners prepare for immediate recovery with our complimentary Emergency Ready Profile.
Your Emergency Ready Profile will contain the critical information needed to begin cleanup and recovery, including:
- A concise profile document that contains the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
- Facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas, and priority contact information.
- A guide to help you safely re-enter your building following a disaster.
- Direct contact with your SERVPRO of Society Hill as your immediate disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
Contact SERVPRO today at 215-772-1203 to schedule your free Emergency Ready consultation. We’re here to help you prepare for a disaster before it strikes.
Fire Prevention Week 2021: October 3rd - 9th
Fire Prevention Week 2021: Learn The Sounds of Fire Safety!
Fire Prevention Week is observed annually in early October. The event has been officially sponsored by The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for 99 years.
This year’s theme: “Learn The Sounds of Fire Safety”
The goal of 2021’s theme is to help people better understand the reasons smoke alarms sound and how to effectively address them.
Here are the NFPA’s key messages:
- When a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide (CO) alarm sounds, respond immediately by exiting the home as quickly as possible.
- If your alarm begins to chirp, it may mean that the batteries are running low and need to be replaced. If the alarm continues to chirp after the batteries are replaced, or the alarm is more than 10 years old, it is time to replace the alarm.
- Test all smoke and CO alarms monthly. Press the test button to make sure the alarm is working.
- If there is someone in your household who is deaf or hard of hearing, install a bed shaker and strobe light alarms that will alert that person to fire.
Philadelphia residents should contact 311 to request free smoke alarms or adaptive alarms for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. The PFD will come and install the alarms.
- Know the difference between the sound of a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm – three beeps for smoke alarms; four beeps for carbon monoxide alarms.
For more information about Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme, along with a wealth of resources to help promote the campaign locally, visit fpw.org.
Playing In Flood Water Is A Terrible Idea. Here's Why.
Floodwater presents many hidden dangers.
As hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on Philadelphia, some residents decided to take the destruction in stride.
Images of people playing in the flooded Vine Street Expressway went viral. One man was seen floating in a tube, cold beer in hand. Another dove in headfirst from an overpass. Across social media, many found the images amusing in light of an unfortunate situation.
As experts in flood cleanup and water removal, we’re here to tell you why playing in floodwater is a terrible idea.
Water damages are classified by threat level. Floodwater falls under Category 3 - the most dangerous- as it presents a serious risk to health. For this reason, we refer to it as “black water” and advise homeowners to avoid contact with it at all costs. Why?
Floodwater may contain sewage and other hazardous waste, especially in urban areas.
Philadelphia has underground sewers. Any water floating above them is bound to contain raw sewage. The micro-organisms present in sewage-tainted water are known to cause E Coli, Giardia, Hepatitis A, Cholera, and more.
Aside from human waste, many other toxins are present. Consider that anything lining the streets and sidewalks has been washed up into the water. This includes vehicle fluids, chemicals, decaying animals, and garbage.
Put simply, contact with floodwater can result in diarrhea, parasites, skin infections, respiratory illnesses, and potentially death.
In addition to biological threats, floodwater contains dangerous hidden objects.
Rushing water snatches up anything in its path. It is impossible to know what items are surrounding you in the murky water. Floodwater frequently includes broken glass, metal fragments, wires, branches, and more. Contact with these items can cause tetanus, staph infection, and serious injuries.
Don't get it confused- swimming in floodwater is not the same as swimming in a lake or ocean. It is unsanitary and dangerous. Always avoid contact with floodwater and urge family members and friends to do the same.