Recent Commercial Posts

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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Commercial Building Management Winter Checklist

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    city in snow Ice, sleet and snow can be incredibly destructive to your property.

    Freezing or Bursting Pipes

    One of the most common causes of damage to commercial buildings during the colder months is freezing and bursting pipes. As a building owner, there are measures you can take to prevent pipes from freezing; however, sometimes the worst happens anyway. If it does, the result can be thousands of dollars of damage to your building, furniture, electronics, and other business property.

    Following are a few tips on protecting the pipes in your building from winter’s worst:

  • Locate the turnoff valve and drain the lines, also known as winterizing.
  • Protect spigots with Styrofoam attachments. These can be purchased at most home improvements stores and they offer much better insulation than wrapping the spigot with a towel.
  • Search for pipes that are not insulated. These pipes may pass through unheated areas, such as crawlspaces, basements or garages. Pre-molded foam rubber sleeves can be fitted to the pipe and offer essential insulation to keep them from freezing. Fiberglass insulation is also an option. You may also consider wrapping the pipe with heating tape.
  • Winter Runoff

    As winter begins to recede, the risk of damage from freezing pipes fades with it. However, melting snow and ice bring a new concern for building owners—flood damage to property resulting from the runoff of the melt. In many areas of the country, snowmelt is a greater threat for flooding than any other source. The bad news is that flood resulting from melting snow and ice is still considered a flood and, therefore, may not be covered by standard commercial property insurance.

    Damage from Ice, Sleet or Snow

    Ice, sleet and snow can be incredibly destructive to your property. They can be the source of damage or amplify existing damage—for example, ice getting into a crack in a wall. Unfortunately, damage caused by ice, snow and sleet are not covered by most standard commercial property insurance policies. While some policies will cover damage resulting from the abrupt collapse of a building’s roof under the weight of ice, snow or sleet, others will not.

    Protecting your building from harsh winter conditions takes a great deal of preparation.

    Annandale and Falls Church Businesses and Fire Safety

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    pull station After you begin to pick up the pieces when a fire strikes your business, it’s important to quickly address the fire damage that has happened.

    When a fire breaks out at your business, you won’t have time to sit down and research what to do. You’ll be busy trying to get everyone out and grabbing important documents amidst all the chaos.

    That, along with many other reasons, is why your business in Plant City, Lakeland, Winter Haven, and nearby central Florida areas needs to have a fire safety plan in place before a fire starts.

    Why a Fire Safety Plan Should be a Top Priority

    Running a business takes time and money, so it’s tempting to put administrative items on the back burner until you have time to get to them. However, you need to address a fire safety plan sooner rather than later.

    Without a plan in place, you could be setting yourself up for even more of a disaster, including employee lawsuits and other liability issues. You also need to be cognizant of what could cause a fire in your business. A restaurant obviously has fire dangers in the kitchen, whereas a tech company could have equipment that overheats, and a retail store could have other issues arise.

    Employee Safety is Key During a Fire

    It’s vital to ensure that your employees will be safe in case of a fire. During storm season, it’s possible that a fire could break out due to a lightning strike. Fires start with no warning and most people will react with a flight response, running out of the room.

    Without a plan in place, they may run to the wrong area of the building and there is no way to keep track of which employees went where or if they got out safely. In other words, during a disaster is not the time for employees to learn proper procedure. Instead, create a plan and make sure each employee has knowledge of what to do in case of a fire.


    What Your Fire Safety Plans Should Include

    Any business, small or large, should have a fire safety plan in place. There are many elements that go into ensuring a successful fire safety plan, which include:

  • Building plans and layout that depicts planned evacuation routes, emergency phones, fire alarms, and fire exits for each floor
  • Outline where each evacuation route should meet outside the building
  • Explicit step-by-step instructions on what employees should do in the event of a fire
  • How to train managers on proper steps during a fire or fire safety drill
  • How often and when fire safety drills should be conducted
  • Address evacuation of anyone who may require special assistance to get out
  • A map for firefighters that outlines access points
  • Create an accountability system for managers to keep track of all their direct reports so that it is easy to quickly identify who is safely out of the building
  • Include an up-to-date list of staff, as well as any vendors or visitors who may be on site
  • What to Do After Fire Strikes Your Business

    After you begin to pick up the pieces when a fire strikes your business, it’s important to quickly address the fire damage that has happened. Restoring fire damage is vital to ensuring the building structure and items inside can be salvaged. Contacting a company such as True Builders to assist with the fire damage restoration process should be one of your first steps.

    Cause & Effect: Commercial Water Damage To Dos

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    pipes in the ceiling Water damage in the workplace may not only prevent you from doing business.

    Water damage in the workplace may not only prevent you from doing business. It can also put the health and safety of your employees at risk. The moment you spot signs of commercial water damage, it’s important to take action immediately.

    Commercial water damage restoration is often more complex than residential water damage restoration and usually requires an intensive approach. The size and structure of commercial buildings, the extent of damage, the varying uses of space, and the number of occupants all affect the restoration process. Aside from these, there’s usually always a time constraint for the job because business has to continue as soon as possible.

    While some water damage issues are inevitable, most problems can be prevented when the cause of water damage is found earlier.

    In this post, we’ll talk about the most common causes of water damage in commercial properties and how to deal with them.



    In commercial buildings, water damage is often caused by windows that are not properly sealed. Damaged windows can cause moisture to seep in, which triggers a lot of problems including mold build-up and warped wood and drywall. Resealing windows regularly is important as caulk can break down over time.


    Broken pipes can stem from many reasons, such as changes in pressure, deteriorated water supply lines and sewer drains, and cold weather (freezing temperature can cause pipes to burst). Bulging walls, water stains on walls or floors, cracked or loose tiles, and musty smell – these are all signs of damaged pipes. Detecting leaky pipes is challenging and it usually requires some specialized water leak detection equipment.


    If gutters are not cleaned regularly, they can get clogged, causing water to leak into the property through the roof or the foundation. One of the most common signs of leaks in building foundations are puddles nearby or framing that has become wet. Poor drainage systems can also lead to water damage in your foundation.


    A leaky roof can cause ceiling damage, mold or mildew issues, fire hazards from shortened wires, and compromised structural integrity. Exposure to heavy rains and snow make roofs vulnerable to damage. Moreover, incorrect snow/ice removal can also trigger water damage in roofs.


    HVAC systems work by heating or cooling the air through a series of ducts. Over time, these ducts wear out and get damaged, resulting in leaks. The HVAC system needs to be cleaned regularly and the excess water from the condensation reservoirs has to be removed to prevent water damage.


    Sewer water contains bacteria and other pathogens that cause illnesses and infections. If you see signs of sewage damage, such as gurgling sounds or water backing up out of the drain or toilet, you should call water damage and restoration professional immediately.


    Other causes of water damage in commercial buildings are leaks in sprinkler systems. Signs of sprinkler leaks include wet surfaces like drywall and carpets, presence of mold and mildew, and standing water. Regularly inspect your sprinkler systems for leaks and moisture.


    Taking the necessary measures to prevent water damage can save you from costly repairs and business interruption in the future. Since water damage can come from a variety of sources, it’s essential to have the building inspected regularly to prevent leaks and related issues.


    Regardless of whether your business is located in a flood-prone area, make sure you have an efficient flood warning system in place. Flooding can result from other causes, including plumbing failures, overflowing rivers, and melting snow.


    Flooding is not usually included in property insurance policies. Water damage restoration can be very expensive. Water damage insurance can help you deal with the costs if ever your property gets damaged by a flood in the future.


    Water damage prevention is a lot cheaper than restoration. To prevent water damage from getting worse, have professionals inspect your property at least once a year. Leak detection is performed in several ways, such as humidity monitoring and the use of spot sensors.


    A preventative maintenance plan should help keep your commercial building safe and secure and contribute to your water leak prevention efforts. Different parts of a commercial building should be inspected at different intervals. For example, doors, windows, and gates should be checked each year for weariness while the roof can be coated every five years or so to prevent damage.


    Water damage and mold go hand in hand.

    One of the most common effects of water damage in commercial buildings is mold and mildew build-up. It only takes 24-48 hours of exposure to water damage before these dangerous microorganisms start growing.

    To stop mold growth, the source of water damage should be fixed right away. It’s best to hire emergency water damage restoration professionals to conduct mold cleanup and mold mitigation to ensure that no trace is left.


    Commercial water damage restoration is a job that is best handled by professionals. Make sure to hire restoration contractors who have water damage restoration certification.

    Water damage specialists are expensive. If you’re worried about the cost of their service, you can buy water damage restoration equipment instead, like air movers, commercial dehumidifiers, air scrubbers and more. These devices can help reduce the moisture in your indoor air, helping prevent mold growth and the other effects of water damage. However, if the water damage is caused by structural issues like the ones discussed above, you have no choice but to hire professionals to have those problems repaired.


    Water damage in commercial buildings is a serious problem that should be addressed as soon as possible. There are many causes of water damage, like damaged windows, roof leaks, damaged pipes, sewer clogs, HVAC leaks, and sprinkler system leaks.

    Thankfully, water damage can be prevented by creating a flood monitoring system, getting an insurance plan that covers flood damage, and conducting regular property inspection and facility maintenance.

    If you see signs of water damage in your commercial property, call the professionals right away. Fixing the root cause of water damage should stop it from getting worse.

    Benefits of a Cleaning Service

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    bacteria No wonder, illness spreads easily in such shared spaces, affecting everyone.

    Cleaning Services

    The office is one of those places where people spend most of their time. It’s where you meet and interact with other people daily. There are many spaces like the bathroom, board room, break room and the kitchen, that are used by everyone. Therefore, these are spaces where most employees encounter disease-carrying germs.

    In fact, this is the number one reason common ailments like cold and flu viruses spread in an office environment. Things that are frequently touched such as door knobs, refrigerator handles or microwaves are perfect places for germs to thrive.

    No wonder, illness spreads easily in such shared spaces, affecting everyone. Result? Unhealthy employees and frequent sick days, leading to decreased productivity.

    As a business owner, one your priorities should be to keep your office environment clean, especially the shared spaces. Although it’s not possible to eliminate all germs and bacteria, there are steps our cleaning services company recommends for keeping your office germ-free. Let’s discuss some of them.

    Company Clean Hands

    We are taught from our childhood to keep our hands clean, especially before we eat. Unfortunately, an astonishing number of people still don’t follow proper hand-hygiene practices. Oftentimes, people don’t clean their hands after using shared equipment or germ-ridden things in public places such as elevators, handrails, light switches, and water fountain handles.

    Moreover, people reportedly don’t wash their hands after coughing or sneezing. This is how germs get transferred to daily-used items such as keyboards, desks, door knobs and phones.

    To promote good hand-hygiene in your office, post signs in bathrooms to remind employees to wash their hands thoroughly. In addition, stock your office space with disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer to keep germs at bay.

    Keep Common Surfaces Clean

    Some of the spaces in your office are commonly used and shared like breakrooms. The tables, chairs, door knobs, and countertops are touched by many people in a day.

    Therefore, not cleaning or disinfecting these areas regularly increases the likelihood germs are passed from person to person. An experienced janitorial company focuses on these areas every time they clean.

    Be Careful of the Overlooked Spaces

    There are some surfaces in your office that may get forgotten. These include drawers, handles of the refrigerator, microwave buttons and sink knobs. These areas serve as perfect breeding grounds for bad bacteria and viruses.

    A good cleaning services company will always pay attention to these oft-overlooked spaces. They use the right cleaning agent that not only provides a spotless look but also disinfects these areas effectively.

    Keep Desks Clean

    Office desks often have the highest potential to get contaminated with disease-causing organisms. Work areas and desk-top equipment are used daily and easily collect dust and germs.

    Therefore, cleaning cubicles and desks sporadically is not enough to keep the area sanitized. Your janitorial company should give office desks a thorough cleaning on regular intervals. Encourage your staff to declutter their desktops so cleaning staff can better sanitize the work space.

    Cleaning Services Company Conclusion

    A cleaner workplace guarantees healthier employees. If your workplace productivity has nosedived due to employee sick-days, it’s time to rethink your office cleanliness. Following these tips should help to keep germs off the shared spaces in your office. To keep your business in top shape, it’s always best to work with a cleaning services company who knows the importance of keeping shared spaces clean and hygienic.

    9 Tips on How to Prepare Your Commercial Building for a Snow Storm

    12/18/2018 (Permalink)

    9 Tips on How to Prepare Your Commercial Building for a Snow Storm

    Is your commercial building and HVAC system ready for a snow storm?

    Prevent Costly Facility Issues with these Facility Maintenance Winter Tips

    Snow, ice, and freezing rain can wreak havoc on a commercial building, especially if you are not prepared. Here is a checklist of tasks to help any building owner or property manager prepare for a snow storm.

    Checklist to Prepare Your Office Building for a Snow Storm:

  • Have a Plan: As a property manager, it is important to have a written emergency and disaster plan in place, including preventive measures and procedures. Also, list critical shut-off locations for water, electrical mains, emergency generators, and fire protection systems.
  • Preventative Maintenance: Have your water heater and HVAC system inspected and serviced regularly. These systems work especially hard during the winter.
  • Identify and Address Potential Issues: Before the storm hits, it is important to identify and address potential issues, such as pavement deficiencies that may become covered by snow, or roof drainage issues that can cause water to drain onto walkways.
  • Snow Removal: The flat roofs on most commercial buildings are prone to freezing, thawing, and refreezing, which can plug roof drains and add excess weight, which could cause the roof to collapse. This is why it is so important to remove snow as necessary, ensuring areas around vents and exhaust pipes are clear.
  • Pipes: Wrap vulnerable pipes with insulation sleeves to keep them from freezing. If a pipe does freeze and burst, turn off the main water supply to the pipe immediately and leave the faucet open until repairs can be made.
  • Clear Walkways: Keep walkways clear of snow and ice. Use salt, chemical pellets, and sand as appropriate. It is also a good idea to display caution signs where appropriate.
  • Emergency Generators: Check the fuel oil supply for Emergency Generators in case there is a power outage.
  • HVAC System: Be sure your cooling tower heaters and piping heat traces are functioning to protect them from freezing. Also, heat pumps and condensing units can fail when snow builds up around them and restricts airflow, so be sure to keep them clear of snow & ice buildup.  Make sure your economizer is not calling for outside air. Check that outside dampers function properly as in some instances they may need to be closed manually.
  • Temperatures:  Check your set-back temperatures after hours and determine if hard-to-heat areas need to be adjusted to higher temperatures to protect critical building equipment and systems.
  • Winter Maintenance Tips for Commercial Buildings

    12/18/2018 (Permalink)

    Winter Maintenance Tips for Commercial Buildings

    While the cold weather may be great for deer hunting or ice fishing, it can be challenging for maintenance and service teams. As a result, preparing your commercial buildings and facilities for winter becomes all the more critical.

    In this blog post, we will highlight maintenance tips you can do as a building owner or facility manager to prepare your properties for the heating season. Most of these tips are tied solely to your heating and cooling systems, while others focus on your building structure and the areas around it. All play a part in ensuring you are ready for whatever Mother Nature has up her sleeve.  

    Inspect Heating Systems

    It’s a no-brainer that maintaining your heating systems should be a top priority in colder weather. We recommend that you inspect heating systems regularly and create a written plan to outline what maintenance tasks need to be addressed daily, weekly, monthly and annually.

    Concerning equipment, hot water heating boilers will see increased use.

    To ensure their proper operation, we suggest you:

  • Examine flues for carbon buildup
  • Analyze combustion to ensure the flames burn cleanly and efficiently
  • Check safeties for proper operation
  • Look for cracked heat exchangers
  • Examine water pressure gauges to ensure they are calibrated correctly
  • Remove and clean burners
  • Brush boiler tubes
  • Check expansion tanks for proper air cushion and to ensure they aren’t flooded
  • Furnaces and rooftop units also need to be checked. Specifically, look for cracks in the heat exchangers, which can leak dangerous carbon dioxide into a building. *For furnaces older than 10 years, consider replacement. Efficiency ratings for today’s equipment far exceed those of older ones, sometimes as much as 40 percent or more.
  • Winterize Cooling Systems

    While heating systems move on-line, cooling systems not in use during the cold season need to be winterized. This might include draining your cooling tower, shutting down your chiller or emptying a condensate drain trap. Not addressing maintenance tasks as systems are taken off-line could result in significant damage to them. Additionally, necessary repairs can be addressed at this time rather than at the moment when you need cooling in the spring and summer.

    Calibrate Thermostats / Reduce Set Points

    This suggestion contains two points. First, by calibrating your building’s thermostats, you ensure your heating systems will operate more efficiently. And that saves money. You know what else saves money? Lowering the temperature in your building (not too much, though, as you don’t want building occupants to be uncomfortable). Studies show you lower your utility bill by an average of one percent for every degree dropped. Imagine the savings you’ll enjoy over the course of a winter!

    Cleanup at Local Business

    12/18/2018 (Permalink)

    Cleanup at Local Business

    A business in Alexandria, VA experienced structural damage as a result of a serious workplace accident. SERVPRO has the expertise and equipment to provide remediation for damage resulting from an accident such as this one. In this particular situation, an employee of the business was attempting to retrieve fluorescent light bulbs from there storage location on top of a drop ceiling. The employee lost his footing and caused a panel from the ceiling to fall out and approximately 15 fluorescent light bulbs to fall through and shatter. Luckily there was no one underneath the area and the employee was able to catch himself before falling on top of the resulting broken bulbs.

    SERVPRO was able to HEPA vacuum to ensure no tiny shards of glass created any safety concerns.  We also created a temporary cover for the ceiling. The business owner and office manager were very grateful to be able to use the space again within a matter of hours!

    10 Commercial Building Water Conservation Tips

    12/18/2018 (Permalink)

    10 Commercial Building Water Conservation Tips

    As conditions warm – thawing the ground and warming the air – here’s a list of conservation tips from water conservation firm Water Signal to help those who own and manage multifamily structures identify leaks and conserve water by staying proactive throughout the spring and summer.

  • Inspect the building weekly (restrooms, kitchens, water lines, hose bibs, etc.) and make any necessary repairs.
  • Tour the entire property monthly; thoroughly inspecting water lines and meter vaults for leaks. Also be on the lookout for wet spots and/ or cracking pavement, as these are common signs of an underground leak.
  • Inspect cooling towers for valve malfunctions and leaks.
  • Install meters on the make-up and bleed-off lines to aid closer monitoring, in turn, confirming that the system is operating at optimum parameters.
  • Inspect your irrigation system for leaks and improperly set timers, as well as broken or misdirected sprinkler heads.
  • Install rain/freeze sensors on your irrigation system and inspect weekly.
  • Test the building’s water pressure. Excessive pressure increases the chance of leaking and may cause damage to fixtures.
  • Replace high-flow fixtures with low-flow. Consider metered valve, self-closing, infrared and ultrasonic sensor fixtures.
  • Look for products bearing the EPA’s Water Sense label for conservation and performance.
  • Educate tenants, employees, and visitors to conserve water and report leaks.
  • Plumbing Tips for Commercial Properties

    12/18/2018 (Permalink)

    Plumbing Tips for Commercial Properties

    Simple Maintenance May be the Responsibility of Tenants

    Commercial property owners who rent space to tenants should be aware that in some cases, the tenant is responsible for well-functioning plumbing. What should tenants do?

  • Drip faucets when temperatures dip down to freezing levels to prevent frozen pipes.
  • Avoid putting harsh chemicals or solids down drains.
  • Immediately report a toilet that won’t flush, or make a repair.
  • Immediately alert property manager regarding substantial drops in water pressure or leaks.
  • It is important to check the pressure gauge once the boiler is operating to ensure it is functioning per the pressure levels recommended by the manufacturer.  When the pressure is lower than recommended, you can top it up – but do so with caution, as the pressure release valve can easily sustain damage.  When this happens, you will need to call a professional for repair.
  • Sufficient space around your boilers is essential as well, so make certain that the area where the boiler is housed is clutter-free.  Your boiler needs to breathe, so remove coats, shoes, bags, and other items.  If housed in a box, be sure ventilation requirements are met according to manufacturer instructions and that there is an access panel to make your boiler easily accessible for maintenance.
  • Never Put Up with Leaking Faucets or Pipes

    Not only do leaking faucets or pipes waste water (in fact, approximately 900 million gallons in the U.S. each year), leaks also contribute to the growth of mold, wood rot, and other structural issues.

    While not all leaks are noticeable, if the water pressure drops you should have a plumbing contractor investigate the situation at once, as it could indicate a leak in the plumbing network. It is not always possible to prevent a leak, however investing in a thorough plumbing inspection once or twice each year is the best way to manage your system and avoid leaks.

    3 Tips for Commercial Property Owners' HVAC Systems

    12/18/2018 (Permalink)

    3 Tips for Commercial Property Owners' HVAC Systems

    If you run a commercial property, you probably have HVAC units to maintain. You care about keeping your tenants comfortable and it wouldn’t hurt to cut down on energy costs. Well working HVAC systems not only keep people comfortable but also foster a lower upkeep. With that in mind, here are 3 tips for commercial property owners to make their HVAC systems work for them.

    1. Develop a System

    You should always make sure to schedule regular HVAC maintenance for your residents. That means, at the bare minimum, you should clean air ducts on a regular basis for all of your tenants. In addition, make sure you are consistently getting rid of standing water. Water collecting in drain pans, humidity managing equipment, and cooling towers can harbor harmful bacteria and other microbial horrors if left unattended to.

    2. Constantly Clean and Disinfect

    Especially for managing large amounts of HVAC systems, whether for business property or living spaces, you need to make sure everything’s perfectly clean. Otherwise you’re putting your tenants in danger. Use brushes and other equipment to loosen debris from all components, and extract contaminants with a vacuum or a power washer. This is a great time to inspect any worn or damaged equipment and you can replace as necessary.

    3. Dispose of Contaminants Safely

    If not only for the environment, you should dispose of all contaminants in a safe green way for the heath of all your employees and tenants. After you clean everything thoroughly, make sure to follow the EPA guidelines for disposing of any excess.