Recent Posts

Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Cold Weather Killer

1/15/2020 (Permalink)

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Can't be seen, Can't be smelled, Can't be heard. Can be stopped Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes.

Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide (or CO) is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels, like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, and propane burn incompletely. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning. It is estimated another 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to CO poisoning. All people and animals are at risk for CO poisoning with some groups including unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or repertory problems being more susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide.

An excess of CO, leading to CO poisoning, can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryer, or idling cars left running in garages. Taking some basic, precautionary steps can help eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Protect yourself by reviewing the following tips provided by the United States Fire Administration.

  • Have fuel-burning appliances, like oil and gas furnaces, gas or kerosene heaters. Fireplaces, and wood stoves inspected by a trained professional every year.
  • Open a damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace. Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home
  • Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for the exhaust clear and unblocked.
  • If you need a warm vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Never run a vehicle or other fueling motor or engine indoors even if the garage door is open. Make sure the exhaust of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice, or other materials.
  • Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
  • Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. Some grills can produce CO gas. Never us e grills inside the home or the garage, even if the door are open.
  • Use portable generators outdoors in well ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building opening to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.

Resolve To Be Ready!

1/6/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Rubber Duck with balloons Happy New Year!

Each new year brings the opportunity for new beginnings! Make 2020 a year to remember and resolve to be READY!

SERVPRO of Tri Cities West professionals want to help ensure you enjoy a safe and happy new year by helping you be prepared for anything the year may have in store.

While we only hope to see good things come about in the new year, it is always a good idea to plan ahead for the not-so-good things… Fire or water damage… that are always an unexpected and unwelcome disaster.

Make your resolution one that helps protect you and your business. Call SERVPRO to learn more about how we can help you be “Ready for whatever happens” in the new year!

Are You Winter Ready?

1/4/2020 (Permalink)

A real snowman outside and wearing SERVPRO green scarf and hat set next to drying equipment Frosty is smiling because he is winter ready. Are you?

Are You Winter Ready?

Are you prepared for the upcoming cold weather? Cold weather can have a huge impact on your home, business or property if you’re not ready for it. From heavy rain and freezing temperatures to damaging winds, sleet or snow, all can cause serious and costly property damage. While you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to be prepared  and help take the sting out of winter weather. To help prevent costly damages due to weather, consider taking the following precautions to protect your property before cold weather hits.

  • Roofs and gutters should be inspected to help ensure they are in proper order. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from building. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during the fall. Leaves and other obstructions can cause a damming effect, which can lead to roof damage and interior water problems.
  • Inspect your property’s walkways, parking lot, and land for proper drainage to alleviate a potential flood hazard.
  • Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temperatures dip really low. If pipes are under a cabinet, leave the cabinet doors open, allowing warm air to get inside and circulate around the pipes. If your building has outdoor faucets, consider shutting the water off at the main valve. Once the valve is off, open the outdoor faucet to ensure it drains, turn off again and then turn your main water back on. This helps no remaining water freezes in the pipe.

Ask SERVPRO about completing a complimentary Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for your home or business. The ERP is a no cost assessment of your facility and provides you with a plan to get back in business and normal life faster following a water damage disaster.

Preparation is key in making through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire, or an area flood. The best time to plan for such events is not when the event happens, but well beforehand. No one ever plans on a disaster, but now, you can plan and prepare for it.

Click here to get tips to prepare for a imminent winter storm

When weather strikes, call SERVPRO of Tri Cities West to strike back and help make it “Like it never even happened.”

FREE Thermal Imaging Inspection and scope!

1/1/2020 (Permalink)

Thermal Imageing camera view with and without, side by side comparison or the visible water damage Using thermal imaging to see water damage

FREE Thermal Imaging Inspection and scope!

Sometimes moisture is hard to detect with the naked eye or touch but at SERVPRO we use state of the art equipment and a thermal imaging camera to detect moisture inside the walls, insulation, floors and ceilings without having to cut into the material.
When you experience leaks or floods it is important to get everything dry as soon as possible to cut down the risk of mold growing inside of the walls or other hidden areas and decrease secondary damages.
Did you experience a broken or leaky pipe? Overflow the toilet, dishwasher or other appliance? Whatever the cause, call us today for your FREE thermal image inspection and scope of the water damage. We are the Tri-Cities water, fire and mold cleanup and restoration experts and we are available for emergency services 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.  (509)943-9290

Frequently Asked Questions

12/26/2019 (Permalink)

Q & A; Common questions and answers about the restoration process Common Questions and Answers

Q: What is SERVPRO?

A: SERVPRO is the BEST brand leader in mold, water and fire cleanup and restoration along with other extreme cleanup services. SERVPRO has over 1,700 independently owned and operated locations nationwide. We use IICRC Industry standards to bring your home or business back to preloss conditions, if possible. “Like it never even happened”

Q: Why do I have to sign the Authorization to Perform Services form?

A: The Authorization to Perform Services form is to confirm the owner or authorized manager of the structure agrees to our services. Once signed, we can begin the mitigation process immediately.

Q: What will my insurance policy cover?

A: Although we work closely with insurance services, we are not your insurance provider. Please call your agent or claims department for your policy details.

Q: Who pays for SERVPRO services?

A: Your homeowner or business insurance may or may not cover your loss. You are ultimately financially responsible for our services. Sometimes we can work with you with payment plans. Ask us for details.

Q: When is my deductible due?

A: It depends on your insurance policy – sometimes we collect before we start, other times your insurance carrier applies it to other areas of your loss.

Q: Are there any additional costs if I don’t have insurance?

A: If insurance coverage cannot be corroborated at the time of our emergency service a deposit may be required.

Q: Can you provide me with references?

A: We would be pleased to provide you with references. For reviews you can check out our Facebook page, Google reviews, Angie’s list and Yelp

Q: Will you throw away any of my belongings?

A: Our policy is to restore your home and contents as much as possible and because of our state-of-the-art equipment and techniques, we often can restore items; keeping your costs lower and getting you back to normal quicker however it depends on the extent of the damage.

Q: Why do you complete an initial inspection?

A: Our preliminary inspection of your home or business is designed to identify how much damage has occurred so we can implement the best strategy for restoration, bring the right equipment needed to get the job done right the first time.

Q: What transpires after the preliminary inspection?

A: For a water loss, our goal is to remove as much water as possible from the affected area and begin the drying process.

Q: What do you check in the initial inspection?

A: We check the affected area for flooring damage, ceiling damage, visible electrical hazards, contents damage, wall and baseboard damage, sewage water, visible mold, etc.

Q: What kind of damage requires specialized restoration procedures?

A: Contaminated water sources, biohazard, sewage, bodily fluids, large growths of mold, and certain materials like lead paint and asbestos require specialized restoration procedures.

Q: Why do you check for visible mold?

A: While mold may be found in small amounts almost anywhere, larger growths of mold may create health concerns, depending on the reaction of occupants to mold.

Q: I have a newly built home; Why do you test for asbestos

A: Washington state law requires certain materials to be tested for asbestos despite the year the structure was built

Q: What happens if you find mold, lead paint or asbestos.

A: If we notice a significant presence of these types of materials we will notify you and your insurance carrier so we can plan a proper method of remediation.

Q: Why is the equipment hot and noisy?

A: The process of drying takes special equipment to remove excessive moisture from your structure. It’s hot and loud but it is also necessary to reduce moisture, additional property damage and potential mold growth.

Q: Why is my furniture moved and blocked?

A: This is done to shield carpet and furnishings in the affected area and create space for air flow.

Q: What does the drying equipment do?

A: The purpose of the equipment is to remove moisture and bring the relative humidity level back to normal.

Q: Can I turn off the drying equipment?

A: It is important the equipment be kept running, unless a safety hazard arises. Turning equipment off will increase time required to dry your home and contents and may cause secondary damage.

Q: Can I move the drying equipment?

A: Do not move equipment unless you contact your SERVPRO Franchise regarding handling procedures.

Q: What do I need to do if a safety hazard arises or if the equipment malfunctions?

A: Shut it off immediately and call our office at (509)943-9290.

Q: Should I open doors or windows or change thermostat setting?

A: No. water damage restoration is a science. A water-damaged structure should maintain a temperature setting that stimulates ultimate drying environments. Leaving windows or doors open during dehumidification or your thermostat to low possibly will increase drying time and could potentially do further damage to your home and/or contents.

Q: How do I know when something has finished drying?

A: We will measure the moisture in wet materials, and we will set a follow-up date so we can monitor the drying process with special state-of-the-art equipment such as our thermal imaging and moisture monitors.

Q: Can I remove items from the area before you start working?

A: Sometimes we will have to open doors, cupboards, etc. during our restoration work. Please let us know if you prefer to remove personal or financial information from these areas before we start. If you have guns, ammunition, or valuable items such as jewelry, please remove these items from the areas we are cleaning.

Q: Why do I have to remove guns, ammunition, or valuable items?

A: Our crews are instructed NEVER to touch guns or ammunition. We are not in charge of items that you remove from the areas we are restoring.

Q: What if I have items that require special attention?

A: List any special heirlooms or collectibles that should be given extra special or extra delicate treatment due to their value or other reasons

Q: Can you replace, repair, or paint something?

A: Since we are neither insurance adjusters nor agents, we cannot authorize anything to be replaced, repaired, or painted. Our job is to preserve and protect, stop further damage from occurring, and restore damaged items to their prior condition when possible.

Q: How much will your services cost?

A: The exact price of restoring your property following water or fire damage is virtually impossible to determine on our first visit. A verbal briefing will be provided to you or your insurance adjuster.

Q: When will I receive the final bill?

A: The final bill will be forwarded to you and/or your insurance carrier upon conclusion of work.

Q: Can I go in the affected area?

A: All occupants and pets should stay away from the work areas to protect their health and safety during the work process.

Q: How can I learn about the safety levels of your products?

A: Material Safety Data Sheets for our products are available upon request.

Q: How long will the restoration process take?

A: Since each job is a little different, the actual time required to complete the restoration process is difficult to estimate. The technician servicing your home should be able to give you an estimate after the first day.

Choosing the Appropriate Fire Extinguisher

12/20/2019 (Permalink)

List of fire extiguisher classes and what each one is appropriate for Source: surreyfire.co.uk

It's commonly recommended to have a multi-purpose fire extinguisher in the kitchen, like a Class A-B-C fires or one that can specifically handle Class B or K fires. Home depot has them listed for as low as $19.97. A small price to pay to prevent a major fire catastrophe.

Here is a quick glimpse of the different classes of fire extinguishers and what they are generally used for. 

Class A: This is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper, and many plastics.

Class B: Used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline and oil.

Class C: Designed for fires involving appliances, tolls, or other electronic equipment

Class D: For use on fire of flammable metals: often specific for the type of metal in question. These are typically found in factories.

Class K: Intended for use on fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. Generally found in commercial kitchens.

If you do happen to have a fire, it is good to know that SERVPRO of Tri-Cities West can clean up fire extinguisher residue and fire, smoke and soot damage "Like it never even happened"

Learn more

Source:

Home Depot

Surrey fire

What Happens If Disaster Strikes During The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year?

12/9/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO FLEET Here To Help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year

As the weather outside gets frightful and your cozy homes become warm and delightful, the holiday season’s aglow, let it snow. Let it snow, let it snow!

While it is generally unlikely for the Tri Cities to get a lot of snow, it does happen and it is important to be prepared if abnormal winter weather strikes your home or business.

Winter weather can bring about more than just slippery roads and a sidewalk to shovel. We see freezing temperatures in the Tri Cities area and with that can come frozen pipes and ice dams, which can create a major disaster at your home, business or other property.

You can follow us on Facebook or our blog for tips and tricks to help keep your property safe from water, fire or mold damage but what happens if disaster strikes during the most wonderful time of the year? That’s easy… Call SERVPRO of Tri Cities West, even if it’s the night before Christmas. SERVPRO is available when you need us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Ready to help when you need us the most.

Are You Storm Ready?

12/3/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile app showing on the front of a cell phone FREE SERVPRO Emergency READY App

The Tri Cities might be a desert and boast 300+ days of sun per year but, as we experienced last winter, we still get some tough storms, flooding and snowfall. And with that, many people experienced some major problems from frozen and busting pipes to ice dams and leaky roofs this past year. Take a proactive approach and be prepared for storms, floods and other natural disasters before they happen.

Knowing what to do, who to call and what to expect in advance is key to lowering cost, saving time and lowering your stress during and after disasters. 

The good news is that SERVPRO has a free Emergency READY app established for anyone to use.

It is important to have a fire escape plan and most people do however, what about after the fire fighters leave or the flood waters go down? Do you have a restoration plan? With SERVPRO’s Emergency READY App and plan you can be prepared for whatever happens. It is a tool that helps people at their business and at home by clearly marking shut off valves, having key contact information with just a flick of a finger, establishing your preferred service providers such as your electrician, plumber etc for quick response, minimize business and personal life interruption, save money from secondary damage, among other things.

You can find the app for android or ios on your app store. You can also call us and set up a meeting so we can complete it for you at NO COST to you. Yes, I said it! It’s a 100% FREE service we offer to our local community.

Call us today for your free Emergency READY Profile

Tips to Help Keep You Safe From Kitchen Fires This Thanksgiving

11/18/2019 (Permalink)

Blaze and Stormy, SERVPRO's action figures, dressed up as Pilgrims SERVPRO of Tri-Cities West wishes you a safe and happy Thanksgiving

Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your happy holiday could quickly become hazardous in a blink of an eye. According to the NFPA, cooking is the main cause of home fires and injuries, with the Thanksgiving holiday being the peak day for cooking related fire emergencies. Review the following safety tips to help ensure you can enjoy a safe holiday.

  • Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in kitchen while frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short time, you should turn off the stove.
  • Remain in the home while kitchen equipment is in use. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
  • Keep small children away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid free zone” and make them stay at least 3 feet away from the stove or oven.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen year round. Click here to learn how to properly use an extinguisher for a cooking disaster.
  • Always check the kitchen after the meal to make sure all burners and equipment are turned off.
  • And of course, install smoke detectors or test them. There should be one by the kitchen, on each level of the home, and inside and outside of bedrooms.

SERVPRO of Tri-Cities West wishes you a safe and happy Thanksgiving and holiday season.

And remember, if you do have a kitchen fire and/or smoke damage, SERVPRO can make it "Like it never even happened"

Source: National Fire Protection Association

Clean Homes Sell Faster: How to get your house ready for the market.

11/11/2019 (Permalink)

Front door and porch of a home. Clean Homes Sell Faster: How to get your house ready for the market.

Guest blog by EverStar Realty

When it comes to selling a home, the value of appearances can’t be overstated. The same property can go for wildly different price points depending entirely on the level of finish and cleanliness that’s shown while it’s on the market. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure you home is clean before those photos are snapped for the listing to make sure your home sells fast. In this article we’ll cover some of the cleaning basics and get your home shining bright for that first showing!

Step 1: Declutter

Before you truly begin to clean, it’s important to first go through the home and remove any clutter. Personal photos and belongings, while part of your home, distract buyers from being able to visualize the house as their future space. By simply removing items and clearing off spaces, your home will feel both cleaner and more spacious. It’s a win-win! This is also the right time to rearrange your furniture or remove excessive/oversized pieces.

Step 2: Deep Clean

Now the actual cleaning can begin! Set aside some time for this, because a proper job will take quite a bit of time. Focuses should be on the entryway, kitchen and bathrooms. These rooms see the heaviest traffic and are the most likely stopping points where buyers will pause to consider or discuss. Once you’ve done the best possible job, it’s time to focus on getting those floors spotless before moving on to cleaning everything else.

Don’t forget the back patio or front door! Buyers will see these spaces and it’s just as important to keep them clean. Alternatively, you can opt for hiring experts like SERVPRO of Tri-Cities West – their cleaning services are quite thorough! More on that point below though.

Step 3: Smells

Hopefully, your Step 2 knocked this one off the list. However, it’s still a great idea to go through your home (after you’ve been able to air out the smell of your cleaning chemicals) and simply sniff around. See if there are spots with unpleasant odors – in bathrooms, under sinks and (for pet owners) corners of rooms. To make sure your nose isn’t ignoring smells, be sure to leave the house and come back inside – sometimes you’ll notice a scent your brain was ignoring!

Step 4: Faux-Buyer Walkthrough

You’re at the finish line now. As far as cleanliness goes, your home should be shining bright! Take the extra step now, and go through as the Buyer. Go from the driveway and proceed through the house as one might when viewing it for the first time. What do you notice as you go? An outlet cover in need of replacement? Furniture which requires stepping around? A cobweb tucked in a high corner? Noticing these small details now, allows you to take care of them before a potential buyer even gets a glance.

Step 5: Painting/Staging (optional)

At this point your home is clean – mission success! However, for the best possible appearance of your home, consider taking this last step. By moving furniture in step 1 you already started the beginnings of Home Staging (we have another article for that here). Now that your home is clean, you can do a final evaluation. Perhaps the walls could do with a lighter neutral color, or maybe you see a good spot for a decorative plant. Judge for yourself and decide on your own finishing touches. Either way, you’ve got a clean house – and those sell faster!

That does it for this article! Now if you’re like most people, that Step 2 is a real pain. Especially if you’re showing a home which may be free of furniture come the time of showing. Would-be Buyers tend to notice any grime or untouched corners. That’s why it may make more sense for your situation to go with a professional. Enter SERVPRO of Tri-Cities West! Their residential cleaning services include carpet, hard floor cleaning, upholstery cleaning, pack out cleaning and odor removal. They’ll help you get your home to the level of clean you need for listing day!