Recent Commercial Posts

We Minimize Business Interuption Due to Water Damage.

6/28/2019 (Permalink)

Recently SERVPRO of Southeast Portland had the pleasure of working with three businesses that were the victims to water damage. The three businesses are tenants of a large commercial building in SE Portland that experienced a few issues. Roofing contractors had been doing some repairs and had accidentally pierced a hole in the roof; allowing for a substantial amount of water to accumulate inside of the ceiling and attic area of the businesses. The water began dripping through into the three businesses and damaged some electronics, office supplies, and wood surfaces.

We were able to be on the site within 24 hours of the issue occurring and immediately got to work restoring the businesses items. Our team brought in top of the line dehumidifiers and quickly fixed the issue. We were able to save all affected items so that there was no lasting damage. We wiped down every surface including walls, floors, desks, computers, chairs. We worked together with the roofing contractors to prevent the issue from happening again, and the job was completed within 72 hours of the initial damage.  When your business is the victim to an accidental water damage you can rest easy knowing that SERVPRO of Southeast Portland will be there in a flash to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Have a Happy 4th of July Portland!

6/28/2019 (Permalink)

We would like to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday celebration this 4th of July.  Whether you are traveling to see a large firework show or staying home and lighting some off with the family we hope 2019 is the best yet.  While it is a great holiday tradition we hope that everyone is safe this year.  Fireworks are unfortunately a cause of fires every year.

Commercial buildings can be extremely susceptible to this for a couple of reasons.  One is the shear size of the buildings in many instances make is a much larger target for the unintended fiery debris.  Another is many of the buildings may be unoccupied due the holiday itself.

Luckily Portland has a great fire department that is always there for us.  If your business building is unfotunate enough to succumb to fire remeber we are also there once the fire has been put out to make it "Like it never even happened."  Happy 4th from all of us at SERVPRO of Southeast Portland.  

Bad Wiring Can Lead to Big Problems.

6/28/2019 (Permalink)

Many of the commercial buildings used here in Portland were constructed some time ago.  While often times the older architecture is quite aesthetically pleasing there may be other issues.  One is that the electrical wiring may be just as old as the structure.  Depending upon the electical needs of the equipment used in the business may not be safe and could potentially cause a fire.  This may be a rare occurance, but electical wiring is still a cause of many fires.

It is important to have all the electrical inspected by a qualified electrician before using it in many instances.  Ensuring that the equipment that will be used in conjunction with the power supply is also very important.  If your business is unfortunate enough to endure a fire caused by electrical malfunction we can help.  SERVPRO of Southeast Portland is always there for our friends and neighbors to restore their commercial structure back to pre loss condition.  

Does Your Business Have a Plan if it Floods?

6/19/2019 (Permalink)

A broken pipe, clogged drain or leaking roof can bring your business to a halt.  We all know that time is money, so the faster you can back up an running matters.  Beyond the cost of the damage the cost of not being able to conduct your business can be devastating to your company.  

That's why SERVPRO of Southest Portland is here for our local businesses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We understand how important it is to get your business back to normal.  Our highly skilled water mitigation and restoration technicians are always ready when you need us.  We work hard to lessen the burden of a water disaster.  If this happens all you need to do is call us and we can get you back doing business as usual faster than anyone else.  

Water Damage to Local Store

1/25/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage to Local Store The picture shows drying equipment in use in a room were base boards were permitted to be removed for the drying process.

SERVPRO of Southeast Portland was referred a local job by a commercial organization back in December 2018. A sink had a malfunction, causing water to pour out and over the bowl rim during the night. When the store manager went in, she was shocked to discover flooded floors the next morning. She called it in and the company called us for the job. The water effected not only floors but base boards as well. SERVPRO of Southeast Portland went in and did the job in a timely manner making sure to never got in the store employees way during the drying and remediation process. Even during store hours our techs made sure it was convenient for the employees to not disturb the customers. In the time it took for us to get the job call in and completed the company was extremely pleased and said they would continue to use SERVPRO of Southeast Portland for any other jobs they would need done. 

Commercial mold remediation

12/14/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Commercial mold remediation Mold that was underneath the base boards causing the musty scent

SERVPRO of Southeast Portland got a call from a commercial company regarding some mold growth they had on one of their properties. They said there was a musty smell in one of their rooms but couldn't pin point exactly from where. SERVPRO of Southeast Portland was able to get out there on the same day to help find where the mold was. The owner said the room did experience a water leak, but they were able to dry it out by opening a window. Our production manager asked if base boards were removed to assist in dry out. Base boards were not removed and our Production Manager immediately knew where the source of the scent was coming from, he got permission to remove one base board and found the mold. The owner said he definitely wanted to get the remediation done as soon as possible. Our team was able to go in same day, do the work, and finish. The company was so happy with our work and respond time that they said they would use us in the future for any of their restoration/remediation needs. 

Restoring Your Portland Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage events at Portland commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of Southeast Portland

SERVPRO of Southeast Portland specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

10 Secrets to Dusting an Office Building

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

Following the steps outlined below will make your dusting faster and more effective:

  1. Dust high surfaces first and work downward. Start at one end of the room and move in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction.

  2. Move objects (phones, paper weights, pictures, etc.), dust under them, and then replace them to their original position. However, desk papers should not be moved. Dust around any papers left on desks or tables. Papers in a pile can be moved slightly so you can dust under and around them unless your customer has instructed you not to disturb any paperwork.

  3. Do not carelessly flick your dust cloth, static duster or extension duster as you dust. This will only spread the dust, not capture it. Instead, wipe the surface. 

  4. Wipe spots and smudges on walls, desks, etc. with a damp green microfiber cloth as you move throughout the office area. Remember to rinse the cloth when it becomes soiled, using only water.

  5. When cleaning computer monitors or conference room flat TV screens, use a dry, microfiber cloth and lightly (and I do mean very gently) wipe. Never use paper towels, tissue paper, or window cleaner, they can scratch or damage the screen. If there are finger prints or smudges, you can use antistatic wipes designed for computers and LCD screens. Some offices do not want you to clean either computer screens so be sure to follow your clients' wishes.

  6. Dust wood tables and desks with the grain, applying furniture polish per customer's request. Chairs should be dusted from top to bottom. Start by dusting any trim on top, then the sides and work your way down to the bottom legs. 

  7. When dusting blinds, first dust across the top. Then close the blinds and dust the entire surface. Close blinds to the other side and dust the newly exposed surface area. Another way to dust blinds is to use a back pack vacuum with a brush attachment.

  8. In hallways and corridors, make sure to dust fire doors, fire extinguishers, exit signs, bars on exit doors, door frames/jambs, hand rails, light switches, show cases, and any other horizontal/vertical surfaces.

  9. Make sure to dust any areas where dust can accumulate, such as clocks, picture frames, cabinet tops and sides, the sides of desks, partitions, air vents, lights, baseboards, and window sills. If there is a surface, dust will accumulate.

  10. Use a back pack vacuum to remove dust and clean hard to reach areas and upholstered furniture.

Proper dusting will help to ensure that your office buildings have a neat and tidy appearance. Dusting is necessary to ensure a clean building and healthy work environment. SERVPRO of Southeast Portland can help with all of your commercial cleaning needs. Give us a call! (503) 427-9535

Hard Water Stains on Windows and Other Surfaces

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

Cleaning companies that have customers in hard water areas, which includes over 85% of the United States, sometime find it difficult to get rid of those nasty hard water stains on windows - especially large office or warehouses with large amounts of windows. The first step begins with understanding hard water and how it affects the buildings we clean, so our cleaning technicians can choose the best solutions to remove it.

Rain contains no minerals as it falls to earth. When it passes through the ground, it absorbs minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which transforms it from “soft water” into “hard water.” Although hard water is not normally harmful to our health, it can wreak havoc on plumbing, fixtures, appliances, glass, showers, or pretty much anywhere water is used.

Once hard water evaporates, what's left behind are the minerals. These nasty mineral deposits cause crusty scale, stains, film, and mineral rings. This build up can become problematic and permanent if not addressed immediately.

Hard Water Cleaning Solutions for Removing Those Ugly Stains

Cleaning companies go directly to their cleaning chemical and tool inventory when confronted with hard water stains. Acidic and non-acidic, abrasive, natural or manufactured, there are a number of cleaners that have the ability to remove mineral deposits and scale. Make sure the cleaner you choose is the right one for the job, surface or fixture you plan on cleaning. Check the manufacturer's label or test the cleaner in an inconspicuous place first if you are not sure. The last thing you want to do is cause damage to your customers' building.

Usually removing mineral deposits such as calcium, magnesium, and iron requires an acidic product. Most hard water staining can be removed with a combination of the right cleaner, cleaning tool and of course, good old fashioned “elbow grease” for those really tough jobs.

Cleaning tools such as white scrubbing pads, scrub brushes, and steel wool, can be used with the cleaning chemical of your choice to assist in removing difficult deposits. Just remember that none of these tools should be used alone, as they can permanently scratch the surface of the window. Only use these tools when the surface of the window is wet with water or cleaning chemical.

We recommend starting your cleaning process with less harmful chemicals, tools, and methods first, then ramp it up to more aggressive methods should deposits persists. It may take several attempts to remove stubborn deposits.

Beware; strong acidic chemicals are very corrosive and damaging to certain types of surfaces such as stainless steel and chrome and will “eat” through them, so never attempt to use such chemicals without the proper training and testing.

5 Ways to Make Stone Floors Shine

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

Stone Floor ‘Shining' Techniques

Large office and warehouse buildings often have stone flooring that needs special attention while cleaning.

  1. Add a coating or finish - Although coatings or finishes add gloss to stone floors, this is not a recommended way to add shine to granite or marble floors. Natural stone needs to breathe, and adding coatings or finishes blocks the floor from breathing. Travertine or Terazzo floors are better suited to adding a coating or finish.
  2. Polishing - Polishing stone floors using diamond pads on your slow speed floor machine will add a highly reflective gloss to stone floors.
  3. Honing - Honing is a more aggressive procedure that smoothes the stone by using a more abrasive diamond disk that grinds imperfections on the floor surface.
  4. Grinding - Grinding is the most aggressive way to add shine to stone floors. This procedure will take care of lippage (uneven tiles). Grinding should only be done by experienced stone floor technicians.
  5. Crystallization - Crystallization is a chemical polishing process that is used in heavy traffic areas. In this situation you would use a crystallizer polish to add shine to the floor.

What to AVOID when it comes to stone floor care

  • Avoid using cleaners containing acids on marble, onyx, travertine, or limestone. The cleaners used to clean grout, bathrooms, or tube/tile usually contain harmful acids that can damage the stone floor
  • Avoid vinegar, bleach or lemon juice
  • Avoid abrasive cleaners or ammonia based products

Hardwood Floor Care for Commercial Buildings

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

Nothing adds charm more to a commercial building than a lustrous looking hardwood floor. A hardwood floor is a lifetime investment and keeping a hardwood floor looking its best requires proper care and maintenance strategies. As the cleaning professional, it is up to you and your cleaning technicians to provide the solutions to care for and maintain your customers' hardwood floor investment and keep it looking its best for years to come.

Routine maintenance and care of hardwood floors requires:

  1. Protecting the surface finish from heavy wear
  2. Daily cleaning to remove dirt, grit and dust
  3. Protecting the finish from moisture

These three routine tasks and care strategies will help to prevent damage to hardwood floors and to ensure the floor keeps its natural beauty.

It is important to remember that dirt, sand and grit are among the hardwood floor's worst enemies. This grunge will act like sandpaper to a floor's finish and can cause scratches and dents that will dull the floor. An important step to protecting the floor and finish is to place walk-off mats at all building entrances to prevent debris from being tracked onto the floor you are trying to protect. Walk-off matting also absorbs moisture and keeps it from being tracked onto the floor.

TIP: Avoid placing rubber backed entrance matting directly on the wood floor. The rubber backing can discolor the floor.

It is also important to sweep, vacuum or dust mop frequently to remove dirt and dust. A backpack vacuum with a hard floor attachment is the best way to pick up and remove contaminants from a hardwood floor. If you are using a broom, use one that is soft and has fine ends so that dirt and contaminants become trapped and are lifted away. You can also use a high quality microfiber flat mop.

TIP: Always remember to clean underneath the walk-off mats.

Another important preventive maintenance step is to place protector pads on furniture legs. Floor protector pads should be made of soft felt or a similar type material. If you ever need to move furniture, always pick it up and carry it -- never drag furniture across the floor.

Footwear and foot traffic can cause damage to hardwood floors. Soiled work boots or any footwear that has rocks, mud, or gravel stuck into the treads can dent or scratch the floor. Remind your customers how important it is to invest in walk-off matting to help protect their investment.

Water is also an enemy of hardwood floors. Water and spills can warp or permanently damage a floor's finish. Spills should be cleaned up immediately before they have the opportunity to set in and stain or warp the floor. Wipe up spills with a soft, damp cloth or microfiber cloth, and then follow up with a cleaning solution if needed and a dry, soft cloth.

Another factor to remember is that direct sun can discolor a hardwood floor. If a floor is exposed to direct sunlight, recommend to the customer that they close curtains or blinds or add sheer drapes to protect from the floor from the sun's harsh UV rays.

To stay looking their best, wood floors need periodic cleaning with a professional wood floor cleaning product. If you know the type of flooring, follow the manufacturer's recommended cleaning system. But if the specific type of hardwood floor is unknown, use a wood cleaner that does not leave a residue. Most finish manufacturers do not recommend wetting wood floors with water. When you use a cleaner that requires mixing with water follow the directions carefully and do not mix over the wood floor itself.

When taking care of wood floors avoid the following:

  • Using saturated mops on the floor
  • Using ammonia on the floor
  • Using household type dust cleaners
  • Using products that are not recommended for wood floors
  • Don't let hardwood floors lose their luster. Spending a little time every day protecting and properly caring for hardwood floors will go a long ways towards keeping the floor looking great and keeping your customer happy.

    Office Cleaning Tips

    12/11/2017 (Permalink)

    A busy office with a large group of employees can become messy very quickly. Due to the bustling activity of the workers, some messes may not get cleaned up right away or may be forgotten about altogether. Fortunately, office cleaning services are available that can help to maintain the professional look of an office. The following are some other reasons why it is beneficial to hire office cleaning services as well as some office cleaning tips for employees to help in the effort to keep an office clean.

    For instance, office cleaning services sweep tile floors, vacuum carpeting, wash the inside of windows, and dust office furniture. These are all services that help establish a welcoming atmosphere in an office. Office cleaners are experienced in finding the places within an office where dust and dirt collect. Office cleaning, NYC based, also specializes in cleaning the restrooms located in an office. Restrooms must be cleaned on a regular basis by New York office cleaning companies to prevent a build-up of bacteria and germs that can cause illness. An office building cleaning service has the special equipment and eco-friendly cleaning solutions that can clean dangerous bacteria from a bathroom’s environment without leaving harmful chemicals behind. Office cleaning, NYC and elsewhere, sanitizes a bathroom by cleaning toilets, sinks, sink fixtures, restroom doors, and floors. An office cleaning service even takes out the garbage. In short, office cleaning, NYC and beyond, takes care of the fundamental tasks that result in a genuinely clean office.

    There are office cleaning tips appropriate for the different areas within the environment. For example, in the office break room employees can throw away all of their trash instead of leaving it on the tables. In addition, employees must wash their own coffee cups and put them back into the cabinet. Cleaning up a spill immediately is another way for employees to contribute to the cleanliness of an office break room. Of course, if the spill causes a stubborn stain the talents of companies that specialize office cleaning, New York City, and elsewhere will be needed to finish the job. These simple cleaning practices help to preserve the tidy environment of a break room until New York office cleaning employees return to empty the trash, mop the floors, and clean the tables as well as the chairs. Companies specializing in office cleaning, New York City, and beyond, have the cleaning tools to take care of messy jobs that employees aren’t able to handle.

    Each Employee Can Add To The Overall Tidiness Of An Office By Keeping His Or Her Work Area Clean

    One basic tip is to put all paper documents into a file cabinet or organizer right away. A desk can become very messy if papers begin to pile up. Furthermore, dust has a tendency to gather on papers and books that remain in one place on a desk. Also, when throwing items away make sure they get into the garbage can and don’t land on the floor or behind the can. A quick wipe down of a desk with a damp cloth each day can keep the dust particles to a minimum. These are all easy things that every employee can do to contribute to the professional appearance of an office. Regular visits from companies that offer office cleaning, New York City and elsewhere, can help to keep the carpeting around a desk vacuumed as well as the desk and its chair clean. An office building cleaning service also cleans the keyboard of the computer and dusts in the areas between office equipment. Cleaning companies takes care of the large tasks as well as the details that create a well-kept office.

    Employees Can Work Together To Keep The Office Restrooms Looking Clean

    Tasks as simple as cleaning excess soap off the interior of a sink, picking up a dropped paper towel, or wiping soap off of the sink faucet before leaving are all helpful in keeping a restroom tidy. An office building cleaning service can take care of big tasks such as cleaning toilets and sanitizing door handles. In addition, office cleaning, New York and elsewhere, makes sure that there is enough soap in the dispensers as well as an adequate paper towel supply to serve the needs of office workers. Office cleaning, New York based, cleans an office restroom in a way that will impress both employees and visitors.

    Finally, employees can add to the cleanliness of an office by making sure they wipe their feet before entering. Even if an employee’s shoes don’t appear to be dirty, there is always some dirt on them that can be wiped off. Consequently, a rug in the entryway of an office is an invaluable item to have. Office cleaners can make that a part of their cleaning routine by either vacuuming or spot cleaning the rug during each visit. In addition, by wiping their feet before entering employees will be protecting the office carpeting and helping the work of office cleaners.

    Carpet Maintenence

    6/22/2017 (Permalink)

    Carpet has many merits and advantages as a flooring material, but spills can leave stains and daily traffic takes its toll. Learn how to clean carpet with methods for vacuuming, deep cleaning, and stain removal to help your carpets look better and last longer.

    Carpets warm a home by adding color, pattern, and texture. Regular vacuuming provides the first line of defense against dirt and grit that damages carpet fibers. But carpets also need regular cleaning to keep them looking their best. Plan to thoroughly wash carpet every 12 to 18 months, more often in high-traffic areas. If you have light-color carpet and/or kids or pets, clean your carpets two or three times a year. Always follow the carpet manufacturer's cleaning guidelines.

    Water Extraction Carpet Cleaning

    6/22/2017 (Permalink)

    Water Extraction Carpet Cleaning

    Most home carpet cleaning systems are water extraction units that are also known as steam cleaners.  They work to wash carpet by injecting a solution into the carpet pile, then pulling the dirty solution back into the machine. To avoid the hassle of dragging a hose around the house, opt for a model that does not require a clean-water hookup. Also, choose the most powerful carpet cleaning machine you can afford to ease the burden of water extraction. The price ranges can be quite different from company to company and it is always best to find good referrals.

    Caution: When using a steam cleaner, do not get the carpets overly wet. Overwetting can damage the carpet backing and underlayment, causing shrinkage, discoloration, and odor.

     

    Hardwood Floor Care

    6/14/2017 (Permalink)

    Nothing adds charm more to a commercial building than a lustrous looking hardwood floor. A hardwood floor is a lifetime investment and keeping a hardwood floor looking its best requires proper care and maintenance strategies. As the cleaning professional, it is up to you and your cleaning technicians to provide the solutions to care for and maintain your customers' hardwood floor investment and keep it looking its best for years to come.

    Routine maintenance and care of hardwood floors requires:

    1. Protecting the surface finish from heavy wear
    2. Daily cleaning to remove dirt, grit and dust
    3. Protecting the finish from moisture

    When taking care of wood floors avoid the following:

  • Using saturated mops on the floor
  • Using ammonia on the floor
  • Using household type dust cleaners
  • Using products that are not recommended for wood floors
  • Don't let hardwood floors lose their luster. Spending a little time every day protecting and properly caring for hardwood floors will go a long ways towards keeping the floor looking great and keeping your customer happy.

    Importance of Proper Dusting

    6/13/2017 (Permalink)

    What is dust?

    It is extremely small substances (many pieces are not visible to the naked eye) that become airborne, travel, and then settle back down to earth, landing on our desks, tables, chairs, window sills, blinds, pretty much any surface you can think of can hold dust. Sand and soil are the most common dust particles but pollen, soot, hair, spoors, mites, fabric fibers, plant material, micro-sized decaying insects, and even dead skin contribute to the make-up of that nasty stuff called dust.

    Why is dusting an office building so important?

    Dusting is an essential task your employees need to do in every office building.  Visible dust creates an unsightly work space, which people may translate into an image of neglect. In addition to being unappealing, dusty offices can contribute to “sick office syndrome.” A well dusted office building translates a positive and pleasing image to all building visitors and occupants. A clean working environment also encourages neatness, promotes better work habits and can reduce absenteeism.

    Dusting is also essential because it improves environmental safety.  Accumulated dust can be an irritation to eyes, lungs and skin, and plays havoc with individuals who have allergies. If dust is left to accumulate, it can soil hands, clothing and paper items and also cause damage to electronic equipment. Airborne dust and contaminants can even spread infection. Proper dusting is an important part of effective sanitation practices.

    If proper dusting is not done on a regular basis, dust builds up, hardens and becomes thick in corners and hard to reach areas.  Dust can stain furniture and cause an unsightly film on glass and hard surfaces. If dust is left long enough on hard surfaces, it can eventually cause permanent discoloration. Accumulation of dust can also interfere with the proper operation of a building's heating and cooling systems.

    To correctly dust office buildings, you should have the following equipment and supplies on hand:  microfiber cloths (damp cloth for removing fingerprints and coffee rings, and dry for standard dusting), static dusters, extension dusters (for the hard to reach areas), cotton cloths, furniture polish, all-purpose cleaner, and window cleaner. Back pack vacuums with brush attachments or crevice tools should also be used for getting into hard to reach areas. And of course, personal protection equipment (gloves, glasses, dust mask, etc.)

    How often should you dust? Dusting should be done at least weekly, especially on horizontal surfaces. Sides of desks, file cabinets and other vertical surfaces should be dusted once every two to four weeks or as needed. A good general rule to follow is if the surface is above eye level or below knee level; dust it every two to four weeks. Surfaces that are between eye level and knee level should be dusted on a weekly basis.

    Common Floor Finish Problems and Their Causes

    6/13/2017 (Permalink)

    Common floor finish problems and their causes.

    These problems can be the result of using unsuitable or dirty tools and equipment, improper application techniques, contamination of water or finish, or surrounding environmental factors. Understanding what could or has caused floor finish issues and correcting the problem(s) (hopefully before they happen) will help save time and money.

    Here are some common floor finish problems and their possible causes:

    Finish is discolored under the floor mats

    • Floor mats were placed back on floor before finish had proper time to cure.  Not allowing the chemicals to evaporate correctly will cause the finish to dry improperly.
    •  There was a chemical reaction between the floor finish and the rubber backing on the floor mats.

    Swirl marks

    • Your burnishing pad may be too aggressive for the floor finish.
    •  You're moving the burnisher too slowly or not using a high RPM machine.
    •  Poor contact between the pad and the floor.
    •  Dirty or wet floor pad was used.

    Streaks in the floor finish

    • Floor was not properly prepared before finish was applied.
    •  Floor finish didn't thoroughly dry before applying additional coat.
    •  Too thin or heavy of coat applied.
    •  Application mop, bucket/wringer, water was dirty or contaminated.
    •  Floor was too cold when finish was applied.
    •  Floor finish contaminated or was improperly stored. Floor finish that has been exposed to extreme cold or hot temperatures should not be used and will need to be replaced.

    Powdering

    • Finish coats applied too thin.
    •  Fans pointed directly at wet floor finish.
    •  Poor adhesion of the floor finish.
    •  Contaminated mop head or finish.
    •  Floor not rinsed properly after stripping.

    10 Ways to Prevent a Home-Plumbing Nightmare

    12/21/2016 (Permalink)

    10 Ways to Prevent a Home-Plumbing Nightmare

    When homeowners hoist a wrench to install or repair sinks, tubs and toilets, they risk more than leaks. They risk their sanity, finances and general mechanical disaster. Here are 10 essential principles to avoid plumbing disaster.

    1. DON'T GO GALVANIC.

    You often see copper and galvanized steel plumbing mixed in residential water systems with nothing separating them other than a little thread sealant or Teflon plumbing tape. The galvanic connection (copper to steel) can be trouble-free for years or the steel plumbing can begin to corrode almost as soon as the connection is tight.

    What to do: Use a plumbing fitting called a dielectric union to connect copper pipe to galvanized steel. The fitting uses a steel collar on the steel side and a copper collar on the copper side and isolation bushings to keep the parts separate.

    2. FLOW OUT, NOT BACK.

    Back flow occurs in municipal water systems (or within a house) when there's a sudden and severe drop in water pressure that causes water to flow back through pipes opposite the direction that it normally flows. When a runaway car severs a fire hydrant, for example, parts of a municipal system will see a flow reversal as water gushes out the hole where the hydrant once stood. The same thing can happen if there's a massive leak within your house.

    What to do: If your house's water is supplied by a municipal water system and you do a lot of work outside with a garden hose, use a vacuum-breaker fitting threaded onto the end of the hose bib (the valve mounted on the outside of the house). These fittings prevent back flow from a garden hose and attachments in the event of a massive shift in pressure. Some municipalities require their use, and they're not a bad idea even if you have a well. Suppose you've left a garden hose in a bucket of sudsy water and the severed-fire-hydrant scenario occurs. The vacuum breaker prevents water from being pulled out of the hose and bucket and into the municipal water system. If you're replacing a hose bib, use a freeze-proof type with a built-in vacuum breaker. Common sense measures apply too. For example, don't leave a hose unattended in a bucket and don't leave a hose laying in a puddle on the lawn.

    Likewise, if you replace or repair the main supply and valves entering the house, you may likely be required to install a back-flow preventer.

    3. USE THE RIGHT CONNECTOR.

    Don't forget, gas lines count as plumbing too. Connecting a new gas range or dryer to an existing gas line seems simple, but the job can quickly go awry when you try to hook up a flexible gas connector to the line and find that the connector doesn't fit or you can't make the connection gas-tight, no matter how tight you make the connection.

    What to do: This is a thread compatibility problem usually brought about by a mismatch between the iron pipe supplying gas and the fitting on the end of the flexible connector you intend to use to bring the fuel to the appliance. The simplest solution is to buy a universal connection kit for a dryer or for a gas range. The kit will come with a variety of adapters to help you make the transition from the pipe and fitting supplying the gas to whatever appliance will be using it.

    4. KNOW WHERE YOUR PIPES ARE.

    Pounding nails and driving screws is all well and good, until you puncture a copper or plastic supply or drain.

    What to do: Buy a stud sensor that also detects pipes and wirings. You can also look around in the attic or the basement (if it's unfinished) to get a sense of where pipes are hiding. Finally, if the wall will be covered by whatever you're building or installing, you can always carefully cut a test hatch to find plumbing lurking in the walls.

    5. KNOW THE CODE.

    Plumbing is a tricky business, with rules that dictate how far you can place a fixture from the home's drain-waste-vent line based on the pipe diameter and other arcane matters. The only way you can handle a big job yourself is to know the code and what it calls for in pipe sizing, fixture spacing and related matters.

    What to do: There's lots of reference for ambitious do-it-yourselfers. Buy a copy of the International Plumbing Code or the Uniform Plumbing Code. One of the best references that we've used here over the years is Code Check, a handbook that's updated as building codes are updated. One of its best features is that it's written to cover common problems and things that even professionals get wrong.

    6. CUT RIGHT, FIT TIGHT.

    You can't make a neat water- or gas-tight joint unless the parts are neatly cut.

    What to do: Buy pro-level tubing cutters, reciprocating-saw blades, hacksaw blades and a plastic pipe saw. For example, you'll be amazed by the difference between a professional tubing cutter from Ridgid, say, and the $5 special from the home center. Likewise, it seems silly to spend $20 for a plastic pipe saw when a standard handsaw works pretty well. The thing is, the plastic pipe saw works better and leaves less of a burr since its teeth have very little set compared to a saw meant for cutting wood.

    Remove burrs from plastic and copper and thoroughly clean both types of plumbing materials before soldering or gluing. Copper is best abraded with plumber's cloth (aluminum-oxide sandpaper on a spool) and plastic requires material-specific primer that softens the plastic so that the adhesive can create an optimal bond. When pipe feels greasy or dirty, use pipe cleaner before applying primer.

    A few minutes of preparation goes a long way in ensuring a watertight or gas-tight joint.

    7. SEAL THE DEAL.

    Only a soldered or glued joint doesn't require sealant; everything else does.

    What to do: There are typically two types of sealant tapes in hardware stores and home centers. Tape for sealing water connections (in a blue spool) and tape for sealing gas (in a yellow spool). Yet there's no need for you to be satisfied with just those choices. Pros often carry brushable types, with variations specially formulated for threaded plastic or galvanized steel. Visit a plumbing supply house or shop online to find these varieties. Professional varieties have a higher percentage of gap-filling solids and better ensure a tight joint—no small matter given the lack of thread engagement that you often find today with badly made plumbing materials, valves and fixtures.

    8. DON'T OVER-TIGHTEN.

    If tight is good, really tight must be better. Right? Wrong.

    What to do: Given what I just said about the hit-or-miss quality of many plumbing components today, you'd think that a generous application of wrench torque is called for. Not so. A clean, properly cut and fitted joint that's been sealed just doesn't need to be massively tightened. In many cases, after bringing the parts together firmly hand-tight or using a wrench, often all it takes is another half a turn. In fact, brass–copper gas fittings are particularly vulnerable to wrench damage from over-tightening, while steel pipe is more forgiving.

    9. LEAK TEST. ALWAYS.

    It should be obvious: Make a thorough leak inspection before closing up and moving on.

    What to do: When you've installed a new valve component (or the valve itself), aggressively open and close the valve as well as running both hot and cold water through it. Do the same when checking drains. Run water down a drain and fill up a sink or tub and then drain it to check for leaks. Check gas lines with a soapy water and detergent solution or spend a few dollars for an 8-ounce bottle of bubble-creating leak detector sold on the Web or at a plumbing supply house. The advantage of this material, as opposed to dish detergent, is that it creates larger, more brightly visible bubbles than detergent does.

    10. BE KIND. TO YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM, THAT IS.

    We get asked this question all the time: "Should I use an additive to improve the performance of my septic system and reduce the need to pump the septic tank?" An additive can be almost anything from sugar or enzymes to a dead chicken (we're not kidding about the chicken—we get that one plenty).

    What to do: Don't bother with additives, especially the chicken. A properly designed, built and maintained septic system will last for decades, and trying to reduce pumping intervals will more likely lead to a clogged leaching field as solids, not clear effluent, flows out of the septic tank and out into the leaching field. A septic-tank-pumping company can advise you on how often the tank needs to be pumped. It will depend on the tank's size and how many people live in the home. Likewise, avoid excessive use of chlorine bleach or caustic chemicals that can kill off beneficial digestive bacteria in the septic tank.

    Did You Know? SERVPRO Southeast Portland Offers Cleaning Services!

    12/14/2016 (Permalink)

    Commercial Did You Know? SERVPRO Southeast Portland Offers Cleaning Services! A Spotless Building!

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    We all have tasks around the house that don’t make it to the top of our priority list. Properly maintaining your home’s air ducts should not be one of them. Regular duct cleaning can increase your home’s heating and cooling efficiency and improve the quality of the air you and your family breathe.

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