Recent Posts

Follow these tips to prevent a fire

6/13/2024 (Permalink)

flames on grill Grilling is a major part of backyard gatherings in Summer. Follow these safety tips to avoid a fire.

There's nothing like warm, nice weather that yearns for outdoor fun such as barbecues and cookouts with family, friends and neighbors.

In Montgomery County, MD, we’re able to enjoy certain activities specifically in the summertime, whether it be outdoor cooking, camping or going to fireworks shows. These activities create wonderful summer memories between family and friends.

As you know, fire can spread quite easily in hot, dry air. It spreads more rapidly when wind is present. Our weather in Maryland is often hot, and windy, so it’s important to follow safety precautions. SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney & SERVPRO of Silver Spring North offer the following info to help make those gatherings safe & fun:

FIREWORKS

  • Instead of lighting your own fireworks, watch a public viewing. Leave the lighting up to the professionals.
  • If you do choose to use fireworks, do not attempt to re-light those that never lit on the first try. Instead, dump them in a bucket of water and properly dispose later.

OUTDOOR COOKING

  • Propane and charcoal grills are to be used outside only.
  • Make sure your grill is well away from you home. Keep it out from under roof edges and keep it away from tree branches, shrubbery, etc.
  • Remove all grease buildup on your grill to avoid a fire.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Be sure to keep kids and pets away from it.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothes while cooking outside.
  • Do not pour lighter fluid directly onto a lit grill.
  • Make sure the coals from a charcoal grill are completely cool before disposing. Cover the coals with water and mix to ensure they are extinguished.

CAMPFIRES

  • Make sure the park or town you're starting a campfire at allows it before lighting one.
  • Do not build a campfire near dry leaves or around any overhanging tree branches. Clear any vegetation in the area in which you dig your campfire pit in.
  • Do not dig your firepit near your tent.
  • Watch the campfire closely, never leaving it unattended.
  • Always keep lots of water near the campfire site.
  • Once finished, completely extinguish the fire.

We hope these tips help you to enjoy your summer and be safe at the same time! In the unfortunate event you have a fire or water damage situation, call SERVPRO Team Gutierrez of Rockville-Olney & Silver Spring North at 301-340-1313.

We're open 24/7 and here to help!

Water stains on your ceiling? Call us ASAP!

5/30/2024 (Permalink)

water stains on ceiling If you notice a water stain on your ceiling, give us a call!

Water stains aren’t something to ignore. Instead, they are indicators of an urgent matter!

If you see water stain(s) on your ceiling, call a professional promptly.

Water stains can mean:

  • Leaky pipe(s)
  • Old caulking
  • Problem with roof
  • Poor insulation

Whatever is above your ceiling is typically the source of the moisture issue. Is your property’s roof or a bathroom above the water stain? That may just be the source of the problem. However, if you cannot determine a water source above the stain, you may have a leaky pipe.

Water seepage from old caulking or piping in disrepair are other common sources of water stains. It’s very important that damaged or old pipes are replaced to avoid leaking or “sweating.”

After a snowstorm or even a rain downpour, water stains can show up on your ceiling. For instance, rain can leak through from the gutter. Therefore, you have a roofing issue upon your property.

However, if an ice dam forms on your roof and water is able to seep in, it’s a good indicator of a need to improve the insulation.

Sometimes, a professional may need to remove a portion of the ceiling, and possibly the wall, to completely restore and fix the affected area for good.

Remember, deal with the stain in a very timely manner! Applying a quick coat of paint over the stain can make a temporarily, cosmetic difference, but oftentime, the stain will bleed right through the new paint.

Instead, call a professional such as SERVPRO® to ensure the source of the water is correctly identified and handled properly. Ignoring the issue can lead to expensive repairs! It’s much better to catch the problem sooner than having to have sections of your ceiling teared down and replaced.

Call us, SERVPRO Team Gutierrez of Rockville-Olney and Silver Spring North, to have water stains in your home or office checked out. We are the area’s water damage experts and are always “Faster to any size disaster.” Large or small, we will restore your water-damaged property with efficiency and detail.

Team Gutierrez is here to help 24/7. (301) 340-1313.   

Tips for returning to a flood-damaged home

5/28/2024 (Permalink)

flooded living room Beware that your house may be contaminated when returning home after a flood or other natural disasters.

Water – one of life’s essentials, for without it, we simply cannot survive.

But flood and contaminated water – water from natural disasters, and from contaminated sources like sewage and overflowed toilets & such – are toxic and can cause numerous health hazards and diseases that can be fatal, if exposed.

With Spring in full swing and the Summer months just ahead, families will be vacationing and traveling away from home. Suppose there was a big storm with heavy flooding while you were away, and your home was flooded and you’ve returned to face standing water throughout the home.

It’s many homeowners’ worst nightmare. What to do?

For starters, the Centers for Disease and Control advises that, if possible, try to return home during the daytime so that you do not have to use any lights. Use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns, rather than candles, gas lanterns, or torches.

The agency also offers the following:

  • If you have standing water in your home and can turn off the main power from a dry location, then go ahead and turn off the power, even if it delays cleaning. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it off. NEVER turn power on or off yourself or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
  • Have an electrician check the house’s electrical system before turning the power on again.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows, and leave your house immediately. Notify the gas company or the police or fire departments or State Fire Marshal’s office, and do not turn on the lights or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return until you are told it is safe to do so.
  • If the house has been closed up for several days, enter briefly to open doors and windows to let the house air out for a while (at least 30 minutes) before you stay for any length of time.
  • If your home has been flooded and has been closed up for several days, assume your home has mold.
  • If your home has been flooded, it also may be contaminated with sewage. Call a professional home inspector to check for contamination. If confirmed, have a licensed company remove & remediate mold and sewage. Our certified crews from SERVPRO Team Gutierrez of Rockville, Olney & Silver Spring North are especially trained for such work, and are available 24/7 to help!

FOOD. The next step is to go through your home to discard perishable items and anything that has been contaminated with standing water. On top of that list is food; throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water; perishable foods that have not been refrigerated properly due to power outages; and those with an unusual odor, color, or texture. Unsafe food can make you sick even if it looks, smells and tastes normal. When in doubt, throw it out!

WATER. Food water can contaminate drinking water from your home’s faucets. Until the water is tested, use bottled or water that has been properly boiled to kill any contaminants.

Some contaminants from surface water can get into the groundwater and affect private drinking water wells and municipal water systems that use groundwater. The CDC suggests the following steps:

  • Follow local guidance on whether your water is safe to drink.
  • If you have a private well and live in an area with flooding, get your water tested before you use it.
  • Do not use water you suspect or have been told is contaminated to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, make ice, or make baby formula. Safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or treated water.
  • Your state, local, or tribal health department can make specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area.

Until your power is restored after dryout, use generators and other electrical sources and equipment safely. Talk to your utility company about using electrical equipment, including power generators. Be aware that it is against the law and a violation of electrical codes to connect generators to your home’s electrical circuits without the approved, automatic-interrupt devices. If a generator is on line when electrical service is restored, it can become a major fire hazard. In addition, the improper connection of a generator to your home’s electrical circuits may endanger line workers helping to restore power in your area.

  • All electrical equipment and appliances must be completely dry before returning them to service. Have a certified electrician check these items if there is any question.
  • Never use a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.

The next step is to prevent MOLD from the flood or storm water, by drying out your home. Follow these steps from the CDC:

  • If you have electricity and an electrician has determined that it’s safe to turn it on, use a “wet-dry” shop vacuum (or the vacuum function of a carpet steam cleaner), an electric-powered water transfer pump, or sump pump to remove standing water. If you are operating equipment in wet areas, be sure to wear rubber boots.
  • If you do not have electricity, or it is not safe to turn it on, you can use a portable generator to power equipment to remove standing water. Note: If you must use a gasoline-powered pump, generator, pressure washer, or any other gasoline-powered tools to clean your home, never operate the gasoline engine inside a home, basement, garage, carport, porch, or other enclosed or partially enclosed structures, or less than 20 feet from any door, window, or vent, even if the windows and doors are open. Such improper use can create dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide and cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If weather permits, open windows and doors of the house to aid in the drying-out process.
  • Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture. Fans should be placed at a window or door to blow the air outwards rather than inwards, so not to spread the mold.
  • Have your home heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system checked and cleaned by a maintenance or service professional who is experienced in mold cleanup before you turn it on. If the HVAC system was flooded with water, turning on the mold-contaminated HVAC will spread mold throughout the house. Professional cleaning will kill the mold and prevent later mold growth. When the service determines that your system is clean and if it is safe to do so, you can turn it on and use it to help remove excess moisture from your home.
  • Prevent water outdoors from reentering your home. For example, rainwater from gutters or the roof should drain away from the house; the ground around the house should slope away from the house to keep basements and crawl spaces dry.
  • Ensure that crawl spaces in basements have proper drainage to limit water seepage. Ventilate to allow the area to dry out.

The CDC and the American Red Cross offer great resources for storm and fire prevention and response. Visit their webpages for more information:

www.cdc.gov/floods/about/?CDC_AAref_Val=https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/floods

www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/flood

Finally, when you are ready for that monstrous task of cleanup and remediation, you can rely on SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and SERVPRO of Silver Spring North. We are the area’s water & storm damage experts, as well as mold remediation and restoration. Large or small, we will restore your water-damaged property, residential or commercial, with efficiency and detail.

Call SERVPRO Team Gutierrez 24/7 at 301-340-1313.

We Give Our Customers a Different Level of Clean

5/28/2024 (Permalink)

Certified Clean logo surrounded by business places such as grocery store Give your customers the high level of clean they expect. SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney can help!

Covid is nearly a thing of the past, as the majority of businesses and corporations small and large in Maryland have returned to operation at full capacity. Still, it's in everyone's best interest for business owners and patrons to continue to take safety measures and common sense when it comes to our schools, workplaces and other public venues.

And with summer travel season upon us, businesses such as restaurants, hotels and places with high travel populations, owners and property managers of those facilities may consider a professional, deep sanitization to further protect your customers and patrons.

Our Certified: SERVPRO® Cleaned program is a defensive cleaning program that gives your business a way forward by providing your employees & customers ongoing safety and assuredness. Our proactive viral pathogen cleaning program will help your business meet a higher standard of clean. We also provide general cleaning including carpet & rug cleaning, for the home and business.

Call SERVPRO Team Gutierrez of Rockville, Olney & Silver Spring North today at 301-340-1313 to schedule a free consultation. 

Let's keep our schools, daycare centers mold-free!

5/10/2024 (Permalink)

classroom with desks To keep our students & teachers safe, we must ensure their campus and daycare center are mold-free!

Schools and daycare centers that have experienced water damage from instances such as plumbing leaks, water overflows from toilets, for example, or poor drainage of rainwater, are at risk of mold growth, which can take place within the first 48 hours of the accident.

If you can see the mold or smell it (usually similar to that of something rotting), it’s usually an indicator. It’s imperative to call professionals to come take a look as students’ and faculties’ health alike are at risk.

Yet there are other instances where mold isn’t caused immediately by a plumping issue, for example. Mold can develop behind paint, walls, under tiles, etc. and can grow there for years. Mold behind paint can begin appearing over it, but simply scrubbing the mold off the paint won’t solve the problem; it will just grow back.

In these cases, remediation is necessary. Give Team Gutierrez of SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and SERVPRO of Silver Spring North a call today at (301) 340-1313.

We serve public and private schools throughout the county and the DMV. Mold can pose serious health risks including fatigue, nausea, headaches and respiratory irritation, to name a few. Our crew is well-trained and seasoned in mold remediation and will have your property mold-free and safe in no time! 

What if there's Mold on my food?

5/10/2024 (Permalink)

mold on food Moldy food may contain toxic substance and can cause health problems. Best to throw it out!

Have you ever noticed a few green or black spots of mold on the slice of bread or cheese you were about to eat? If the spots are small and look easy to pinch off, it’s pretty tempting to try salvaging. But, you run the risk of getting sick!

First, it’s important to know that simply cutting or scrapping mold off your bread, strawberry, etc. won’t save you from ingesting mold. The mold has already rooted itself in your food, so what you're looking at are surface spores. Even if you no longer see it, the mold has already made its home in your food. So yes, your piece of bread or cheese is more contaminated than you think!

Consuming moldy food can be harmful. Bacteria can grow along with the mold, and it’s easy for mold to contaminate porous foods like bread.

For example, black bread mold is a rarer, but very dangerous mold that grows on bread. It can cause serious infection. It’s best to toss out the moldy bread!

Mycotoxins, a toxic substance, can be produced by certain molds usually found in grain and nut crops. Mycotoxins can also contaminate apples, celery, grapes and other produce. Consumption of mycotoxins can cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions.

Additionally, if you see mold on any of the following, throw it away:

  • Lunch meat
  • Bacon
  • Hot dogs
  • Cooked pasta
  • Cream or cottage cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus fruits
  • Peaches
  • Peanut better
  • Jelly (mycotoxins commonly found within the mold in jams and jellies)
  • And yes… bread!

A few food items you can cut the mold off from include:

  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Hard cheese
  • Hard salami
  • Dry-cured country hams

Best advice: When in doubt, throw it out! 

Our Promise: We're Here to Help 365 Days, Every Day!

5/7/2024 (Permalink)

fire damage on home exterior Emergencies don’t wait to happen on a day that’s convenient for us. A house fire or an office flood can happen anytime; we are ready to help 24/7!

Let's be real: Emergencies don’t wait to happen on a day that’s convenient for us. A house fire or an office flood won’t wait until our birthday is over or until Christmas Day comes to an end.

It's why Team Gutierrez of SERVPRO® of Rockville-Olney and SERVPRO® of Silver Spring North stands ready for when tragedy strikes, whenever that may be. It doesn’t matter if it’s Easter morning or New Year’s Eve. Life happens, and we are ready to help!

At SERVPRO, we want to make sure whatever nature might throw your way, that we are here to help with the cleanup & restoration of your property! Whether it’s water damage, fire damage, storm damage, or an issue with mold, we are here to help 24/7, 365 days a year, and “Faster to any size disaster” at that!

Facing a disaster can be terrifying, and dealing with its effects is very stressful. We hope to diminish some of that stress.

We know the importance of reliability. We are a trusted and widely known brand in Montgomery County, as well as Prince George's County and beyond the DMV. As a family-owned business for 44+ years, we pride ourselves on fast response, quality service and excellent customer care!

Give us a call anytime, 301-340-1313.

Working from home? These tips may help!

5/7/2024 (Permalink)

clean home office with a desk Arrange your workspace at home in a way you’ll be the most organized and least distracted.

A growing number of workers continue to work from home well after the 2020 pandemic is over. The consensus is that many workplaces and how America conducts business have shifted in recent years, making use of the Internet and online tools such as Zoom and Teams for meetings.

So if you have transitioned from working in an office to working in your home, you’ve had to make many adjustments! SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney & Silver Spring North offer these tips to help make the best of working from home:

  • Arrange your workspace in a way you’ll be the most organized and the least distracted
  • Inform your family members or roommates of your work schedule and create rules to diminish disruptions and distractions. Talking to family and friends is very tempting, so you may need to close your door or drown out chatter with classical music
  • Create a schedule that you follow each day, including clearly defined work hours
  • Learn something new! Watch webinars or attend a virtual training your company may offer
  • Keep the communication going! Call, text or email regularly 
  • Take a break! Make sure you know your company’s break policy, and take advantage of it. Go for a walk to take in sunshine during your break before having to return back indoors to complete your assignments
  • Keep an agenda book or calendar. Write down deadlines and meeting dates, as these can be easy to forget when working from home
  • Turn off the notifications on your personal phone (such as Instagram and Twitter notifications) to minimize getting distracted from your work

We hope these tips help and wish you much success!

Now is the time to prepare for a ‘turbulent’ 2024 Hurricane Season!

5/3/2024 (Permalink)

storm damage with U.S. flag A turbulent hurricane season is predicted for 2024. Now is the time to prepare your family & property!

Meteorologists are predicting 2024 to be one of the most turbulent hurricane seasons on record, with 24 named storms and 11 hurricanes forecasted. Six of those hurricanes are predicted to reach Category 3 status or stronger.

“The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is forecast to feature well above the historical average number of tropical storms, hurricanes, major hurricanes and direct U.S. impacts," AccuWeather Lead Hurricane Forecaster Alex DaSilva said in an accuweather.com article.

Jonathan Belles, a graphics meteorologist and writer for weather.com, wrote that bigger impact from the hurricanes is likely this year. “Forecasters are also worried about more landfalls this season due to a troubling setup for storm movement,” he wrote.

Unlike last season, “a stronger high-pressure system is expected to set up shop near Bermuda and the Azores, which should deflect more storms westward toward the Caribbean and the United States,” Belles wrote.

As a restoration company – SERVPRO® Team Gutierrez of Rockville, Olney & Silver Spring North, as well as our sister franchises in Prince George’s County SERVPRO of Laurel & Beltsville/Greenbelt – is always prepared for disasters, and especially Hurricane Season that begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

Now is a good time to prepare your family and your property to help keep you safe & minimize response time. The American Red Cross offers these Hurricane Safety tips:

Plan to Evacuate

  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately and go to a safe place.
  • Know where you will go, how you will get there, and where you will stay.
  • Plan well in advance if you will need help leaving or use public transportation.
  • Mobile & trailer homes and recreational vehicles (RVs) cannot provide safe shelter from tropical-storm or hurricane-force winds.

Plan to Shelter Safely

  • Be ready to live without power, water, gas, phone, and internet for a long time.
  • Practice going to a designated safe shelter for high winds. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room in a sturdy building on the lowest level that is not likely to flood.
  • If you are in an area that is likely to flood, designate a location on higher ground that you can move to before floodwaters reach you.

Storm & water damage in your property can cause further damage if not mitigated swiftly and properly. That’s why our SERVPRO emergency response teams are on call 24/7 to help.

We have trained & experienced manpower, state-of-the-art equipment, and tried-and-true method to restore your property to preloss condition, “Like it never even happened.” Give us a call and see why our SERVPRO brand has been consistently ranked #1 by Entrepreneur magazine in the restoration services category for 22 years. 301-340-1313.

Keeping duct system clean can save money

5/3/2024 (Permalink)

duct system Keeping your duct system clean not only keeps a healthy home, but saves money!

Dust, pet dander and other containments from everyday living are circulated through your ducts and can decrease the efficiency of your HVAC heating and cooling system, causing it to work much harder.

Keeping the ductwork clean can extend the life span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which saves money.

Duct Cleaning can:

  • Remediate Bacteria, Fungi and Mold
  • Reduce Potential for Mold Growth
  • Restore Peak Energy Efficiency
  • Eliminate Offensive Odors

Since the ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality, keeping your duct system clean should be a high priority. In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention. Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold and irritating dust throughout your building or home.

These contaminants from day to day living are sucked into your HVAC system and recirculated throughout your home over and over. This causes a buildup over time inside the ductwork. This buildup can cause problems for people with asthma and other respiratory health conditions, auto immune disorders and environmental allergies. 

According to the EPA, "a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.”

Cleaning your ducts can sweep away years of dust and dirt, helping to reduce potential for damage and health risks.

In some circumstances, such as after a fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the cleanup process. This includes certain odors as well. In these cases, a Duct Cleaning Professional from SERVPRO® can often restore the ductwork to pre-damage condition. It is also recommended that you have the ductwork cleaned after buying a home or after a renovation. Just like carpet cleaning, having your ductwork cleaned should be part of your home maintenance routine. 

Call us today to schedule your duct cleaning! 301-340-1313