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We are Cleaning Experts

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

Kitchen/Food Areas

Bathrooms

Schools/Classrooms

Offices

Retail Spaces

Water Fountains

Shelving/Racks

Sales Counters

Carpets and Rugs

Stair Handrails

Elevator Cars

Playground Equipment

Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Annandale-Falls Church, 703-237-8800

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fguidance-prevent-spread.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html

Dos & Don'ts of Commercial Water Damage

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

DC sky overview Water damage events are never scheduled.

Unfortunately, water damage events are never scheduled. They typically occur at the most inconvenient time.

Because it is your business, quick response is critical in AVOIDING:

  • Business interruptions
  • Revenue loss
  • Costly repairs
  • Undue stress
  •  That's where SERVPRO® of Annandale-Falls Church professionals come in to help you get back to business quickly.

    DO:

  • Remove as much excess water as possible with extraction equipment.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furnishings after removing any contents lying on the surface.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and pillow cushions for even drying.
  • Clearly designate wet areas with floor signs and safety tape.
  • Pad or block wood furniture to prevent permanent staining or carpet.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
  • DO NOT:

  • Attempt to vacuum up water with standard retail vacuum equipment (e.g. ShopVac or upright vacuum).
  • Turn on ceiling fans or light fixtures if ceiling is wet.
  • Stand beneath sagging ceilings.
  • Attempt to use electrical devices exposed to moisture.
  • Turn on unexposed electrical devices while standing on wet floors - especially wet concrete.
  • Top 3 Fire Damage Safety Tips

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    Space heater by window Make sure your heating equipment is in working order and has been inspected before you start to use it.

    As weather starts to change, so should your fire safety considerations in your Annandale or Falls Church home. Preventing fires is important all year long, and focusing on the appropriate fire safety tips for the season can make your efforts more worthwhile.  Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as the temperature gets cooler and the leaves start to fall.

    1. Candle Safety- You might be tempted to start bringing out your favorite fall scented candles soon. There’s just something about a beautiful, fragrant candle that feels comforting on a fall day. Candles come with their own safety considerations, however. Keep candles 12 inches away from anything that can burn and blow out candles when you are leaving the room. Never use a candle if there is oxygen being used in your home for medical purposes; electric candles are a safer option.

    2. Heating equipment- Make sure your heating equipment is in working order and has been inspected before you start to use it. Since this equipment has been out of use for the last several months, it’s important that you follow the appropriate steps to make sure the unit is clean and functioning properly. If you use space heaters, make sure that they are surrounded by three feet of empty space and that they are turned off when you leave the house or go to bed.

    3. Chimney inspection- if you have a usable fireplace, it’s essential to make sure that it is cleaned and inspected before you start using it to prevent built up creosote from previous fires. Cozying up next to a beautiful fire might be a quintessential part of your fall, but make sure that you do so as safely as possible. Also, consider using a screen to prevent sparks from igniting a fire somewhere in your home.

    Energy Saving Tips for the Colder Months

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    Winter in town square Some of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings.

    The strategies below will help you save energy, save money, and stay comfortable during the cool fall and cold winter months. Some of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings through the Annandale winter.

    Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun

    Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

    Cover Drafty Windows

    Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration. Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.

    Adjust the Temperature

    When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.

    Find and Seal Leaks

    Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Add caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.

    Maintain Your Heating Systems

    Replace your filter once a month or as needed for furnaces and heat pumps. Wood- and Pellet-Burning Heaters need to have the flue vent cleaned regularly and the inside of the appliance cleared out with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your building is heated efficiently.

    Lower Your Water Heating Costs

    Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands.

    5 Sewage Backup Tips

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    sewage in tub Sewage is one of the most dangerous substances to enter your Annandale and Falls Church homes or buildings.

    Sewage is one of the most dangerous substances to enter your Annandale and Falls Church homes or buildings.

    Sewage can contain fungi, bacteria, and viruses; many of which are disease-causing. Unfortunately, many people fail to appreciate the hazards that sewage presents, particularly for the very young, the elderly, for those with compromised immune systems, or those with respiratory problems.

    The IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification) has compiled guidelines for professional sewage clean-up called the Standard for Water Damage Restoration (S500). Our SERVPRO® Technicians are certified in multiple specializations through the IICRC.

    Here are the key principles homeowners should know about sewage back-ups:

    • Sewage contains a variety of pathogenic – disease causing – fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Anyone who works on sewage losses must have updated vaccinations, including one for Hepatitis B.
    • Sewage exposure is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including anyone under two or over 60, those who are pregnant, ill, recovering from surgery, on prescription drugs or chemotherapy, or are AIDS victims.
    • It is not safe to stay in a building that’s flooded with sewage unless the contaminated area can be completely sealed off and placed under controlled air flow so that there will be no cross contamination of unaffected areas.
    • Highly absorbent sewage-saturated materials, such as carpet, pad, upholstery, bedding, wicker, paper or even fabrics that can’t be washed in hot water (130°F/54°C) for at least 10 minutes, must be contained and disposed of properly.  This goes for sewage-saturated drywall, insulation and several other structural materials too.  There’s simply too great a health risk involved if any of these materials are dried in place and cleaned only.
    • Only the most highly trained professionals should attempt sewage remediation work. Then, a “third party” Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) can provide post-remediation verification or “clearance testing” to ensure that the home or building is safe to re-occupy.

    Prepare Your McLean Household for Spring

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    house in spring The Department of Energy (DOE) says weather stripping the windows on your home is an easy and effective way to help save money on your energy bill.

    Weather Stripping

    The Department of Energy (DOE) says weather stripping the windows on your home is an easy and effective way to help save money on your energy bill. In the spring and summer, weather stripping works by keeping the cool air inside and the warm air out. In the summer, if the cool air is contained inside, then the AC will not have to work as hard, and that may help you save money on your energy bill.

    Indoor Maintenance

    Test and clean ceiling fans. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, an efficient ceiling fan in each room can help allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees Fahrenheit without reducing your comfort level. Ceiling fans can be a good way to air out the house and generate a cross-breeze.

    Replace your AC filter. The National Center for Healthy Housing recommends that you replace the filters in the air conditioner in the spring. A new filter will likely optimize the efficiency of the unit.

    Replace torn or damage window screens. If you don’t have an air conditioner, or if you simply like to keep the windows open in the spring and summer, it’s a good idea to make sure your screens are in good shape — you don’t want to let flies in with all that fresh air!

    Exterior Upkeep

    The National Center for Healthy Housing suggests that in the springtime, you may want to consider these outdoor maintenance projects:

    Check your roof shingles. This should be done by a professional, as working on the roof can be dangerous without the proper training. You should ask the professional to make sure the shingles are not curling or clawing.

    Replace rotten siding or trim. Make sure your home’s siding and trim aren’t damaged from windy, icy conditions. 

    Clean gutters and downspouts. Get rid of any leaves or other debris that accumulated during the winter to make sure your gutters and downspouts are ready to take on those April showers.

    4 Safety Tips for Landlord and Property Managers

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    rent keyboard key Here are four tips from various Annandale and Falls church landlord and property manager resources to get the conversation started

    Here are four tips from various Annandale and Falls church landlord and property manager resources to get the conversation started:

  • Don’t give out your home address. Instead have rent checks sent to a P.O. box, placed in an on-site drop box, or deposited electronically. Although it can be easy to get someone’s home address these days, if an irate tenant who has just received an eviction notice has to spend a couple of hours looking, it might give him or her a chance to cool off.
  • Consistently follow a screening process. When selecting tenants review applications for consistency and consider checking criminal records. Require references and call present and previous landlords. Use a reverse look-up service as an applicant may give you a phone number for someone who is pretending to be an ex-landlord. Also, check identification carefully, as some applicants may pretend to be someone they’re not.
  • Program emergency numbers on your phone. If you need emergency assistance, the ability to press a single button on your list of “favorites” will save you time and prevent you from making dialing errors, which can happen if you’re in a panic.
  • Know who you’re showing rental property to. Before you show your rental home have a formal meeting in a public place or your business office with the potential renter. Have him or her show at least two forms of ID and fill out a contact information form or rental agreement. Criminals tend to look for easy victims, and if you make the process more formal and require them to work a little, they may look elsewhere for trouble.
  • Methods of Fire Restoration

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    food on fire Team SERVPRO® Uses Appropriate Cleaning Methods When Dealing with Soot and Other Damage After a Fire.

    Team SERVPRO® Uses Appropriate Cleaning Methods When Dealing with Soot and Other Damage After a Fire.

    After a fire damage incident, the smoke particles that move around the structure can negatively impact ceilings and walls in many ways. To prevent permanent or further damage, you need to take immediate action, and it is not advisable to do the cleaning by yourself. Not all fire events are the same, and that calls for professional help to determine the most suitable restoration procedures for your property. 

    Specific factors guide our SERVPRO® technicians when selecting the most appropriate technique after a fire damage incident. For instance, if we are cleaning walls and ceilings, we look at the type of smoke residues, the nature of the surface, and whether the area is dry cleanable or wet cleanable. Peroxide active cleaning, wet cleaning, and dry cleaning are the primary cleaning methods that we use. 

    Our SERVPRO® technicians use dry cleaning when cleaning surfaces that have non-oily smoke residues. In this method, we use a dry clean sponge to do the job, and it is among the initial steps that we perform before extensive cleaning starts. If we need to remove light to heavy smoke residues from wooden, metal, and painted ceilings, then wet cleaning is an option. 

    Peroxide active cleaning is a suitable method for cleaning greasy particles that are on acoustical ceilings and other forms of nonporous and porous ceilings. We prefer this method when there are chances of dissolving the coating on textured ceilings through aggressive wet cleaning methods. The method also preserves the appearance of blown tiles. 

    When our SERVPRO® technicians are dry cleaning your property, we usually start by cleaning the ceilings before moving to the walls to avoid introducing dirt to clean areas. To avoid streaking the walls with the cleaning solution during wet cleaning, we start by cleaning the walls and then move to the ceilings. We also clean walls from the bottom to the top when performing wet cleaning. 

    Spring Storm Safety in Annandale and Falls Church

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    storm and warning sign Be Aware of the Weather Conditions!

    Be Aware of the Weather Conditions

    The most important thing you can do is to stay aware of weather conditions in the areas that you will be traveling. Tune into the local radio stations, watch the weather channel, or go to weather-related websites that will cover the area along your route. Awareness is essential part of spring storm safety, not only during tornado season, but during the winter as well, when snow and ice can make the roads a serious danger. Staying informed of any potential for severe weather will help you plan a safe route.

    Stay Out (or Get Out) of the Danger Zone

    If you can, stay away from any potential dangerous weather by planning your route accordingly. If your route goes through an area that shows a potential for storms, check the map and find a route that helps you avoid the situation entirely. If your destination is in the area of the storm, see if you can leave early to miss the storm or wait it out until the potential for hazardous weather has passed. It may not always be possible, but being proactive and avoiding the hazardous conditions altogether is the best way to stay safe during storms and tornadoes.

    Stay Away from Overpasses!

    If you do find yourself in a storm, never go for the myth of hiding under an overpass. For years, drivers believed this is one of the best places to wait out a storm, but in fact it’s one of the worst. Overpasses can become wind-tunnels, interacting with a tornado to create even more powerful winds. Stay away from overpasses, whether you’re in your cab or on the ground. Which brings us to another topic: whether or not to leave your truck...

    Should I Stay or Should I Go?

    This topic is highly-debated among truckers in the industry. Some swear by staying in your cab, while others advocate leaving the truck and seeking low ground like a ditch or valley. It seems the best answer depends on the situation itself. Sometimes, it may be best to stay put and let the cab be your shelter, while other situations call for leaving the truck. However, if there is real shelter nearby, like a building or home, this option is always better than staying in your truck or hiding in a ditch.

    Benefits of Staying in the Truck

    Inside your cab, the truck will act as your shelter, protecting you from hail, lightning, and debris. Keep your seatbelt on, as this will protect you if the winds become strong enough to overturn your vehicle. You should also crouch below the line of the windshield to protect yourself from flying debris.

    Benefits of Getting Out

    Getting out and hiding in a ditch puts you below the strongest winds and flying debris. If winds hit your truck hard enough, it could overturn, in which case you will be thankful you’re not inside. If you choose to get out, make sure you are far enough away from the truck in case it is pushed over.

    In the end, it really comes down to being informed and aware. The #1, undisputed spring storm safety tip for truckers is to avoid the severe weather altogether. Yes, you need to do your job and be a dependable trucker, but taking risks with your life just to make your delivery is simply not worth it.

    No reasonable person will be upset with you because you chose to avoid severe weather. In fact, most people will applaud your regard for safety.

    Safe Flood Clean-up Tips

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    flooded flooring Before entering a building where flood damage may have occurred, make sure it’s safe.

    Before entering a building where flood damage may have occurred, make sure it’s safe.

    Check for electrical hazards and structural damage, and use proper protective gear like boots, gloves, and respirators. Before you start any construction or repairs, check for common hazardous materials like lead paint and asbestos, which may require help from professional and State-licensed contractors.

    Then, follow these tips:

  • Act quickly
    The severity of damage escalates the longer water dwells and building components and contents stay wet, so time is of the essence in the aftermath of a flood. In fact, mold will grow within 48-72 hours, so aim to start removing water and drying the environment within 48 hours. Have a list of professionals on hand to call, and understand your insurance policy, as some only cover mold damage up to a certain amount, while others don’t provide any reimbursement for mold.
  • Ventilate affected areas to prevent mold growth
    Mold loves moisture and organic materials such as paper or particleboard. In order to mitigate or slow damage, open windows if weather permits and place fans inside of them to keep air moving and maintain moderate temperatures. Work toward the fan as you clean to minimize cross contamination.
  • Assess damage to items and materials
    Assess the type of water absorbed by items, such as rainwater, water from broken pipes, contaminated river water or bacteria-filled sewage. There are ways to salvage specialty items but the decision on whether to save or dispose of an item will vary depending on the dollar and sentimental value to the owner. It may not be worthwhile to salvage drywall, carpets and pads, mattresses, pillows, box springs and particleboard. On the other hand, it might be worthwhile to restore costly Persian rugs, leather couches, and antiques or heirlooms. Wet clothing and many household fabrics may be salvageable through machine washing, and a 10-minute soak in detergent and hot water, to remove contamination and stains. The IICRC strongly recommends that in water damages where there are contaminants present (e.g., bacteria, sewage, mold) or where small children or immune-compromised individuals are present that an inspection be conducted by an appropriately trained restorer and remediator.
  • Expose pockets of saturation
    Hidden and concealed pockets of saturation need to be opened for cleaning and drying. Layers between building materials hold water that must be discovered and removed or dried. On walls, find the water line and inspect at least a foot beyond it to make sure all damage, wet materials and mold are discovered. Remove and discard the damaged drywall and wet wall insulation. Wet carpets can usually be dried by professionals with the right equipment, but carpet padding, which is like a big sponge, should be discarded. Wood base trim and hardwood can also be saved with the right equipment if they can be accessed and completely dried on both sides. Remember to investigate concealed cavities such as behind walls, in mechanical spaces, under cabinets and furniture, and in crawl spaces.
  • Conduct a thorough cleaning
    Durable, non-porous or semi-porous materials, such as studs and joists, hardwood flooring and vinyl products, can be cleaned with common cleaning products or specialized products with detergents. During cleaning, take care to protect areas that are unaffected by the water or mold. After a thorough cleaning of salvageable materials, a disinfectant solution may need to be applied in case of harmful bacteria from sewage, river water debris or even standing water that has gone bad. Professionals like SERVPRO® professionals and indoor environmental professionals can help you decide what is best for your situation. Once you’ve cleaned the wet materials, conduct another round of cleaning. If you choose to vacuum, use a HEPA-filter vacuum to remove allergens, fine dust and spores.
  • Confirm drying before reconstruction
    In order to prevent dry rot and structural damage, it’s important not to reconstruct or cover wood and other wet materials until the moisture content has been adequately reduced. SERVPRO® professionals can confirm proper drying before reconstruction.