Recent Building Services Posts

May Is National Building Safety Month

5/11/2017 (Permalink)

Building Safety Month—in its 37th year—is an initiative of the International Code Council (ICC) and their 57,000 members across the world, as well as their partners in building construction and design, and the safety community. Building Safety Month is an opportunity to educate insurance and commercial property professionals, as well as the general public, on “what it takes to create safe, resilient, affordable, and energy-efficient homes and buildings,” according to the ICC website.

The theme for 2017 is Code Officials— Partners in Community Safety and Economic Growth and highlights managing disasters, specifically natural disasters, in week three of this year’s campaign. Some of the topics and tips shared throughout the month include Disaster Safety and Mitigation, as well as Fire Safety and Awareness. The general public may not be aware how codes and code officials “improve and protect the places where we live, learn, work, worship, and play,” and this month can certainly improve that awareness!

IMPORTANT TIPS FROM THE ICC Disaster Safety & Mitigation n

*If you live in a high wind or hurricane prone area and do not have tested and code-approved shutters for protection from windborne debris, consider temporarily protecting your doors and windows by mounting exterior grade, 7/16" minimum thickness plywood and fastening it into place. Visit for detailed instructions on how to use plywood for emergency board-up.

* Consider building or retrofitting to create a tornado-safe room in your home. Follow ICC/NSSA 500 Standard for detailed construction information and to ensure you achieve the highest level of protection for your family.

* In wildfire prone areas, remove fine (dead grass, leaves, etc.) and coarse fuels (dead twigs, branches, etc.) within 30 feet of a building to create a survivable space in case of wildfire. Be sure to remove dry leaf and pine litter from roofs, rain gutters, decks, and walkways. Follow ICC’s International Wildland-Urban Interface Code® for detailed requirements.

*Flooded roads could have significant damage hidden by floodwaters. Never drive through floodwaters or on flooded roads. Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream. It takes only six inches of fast flowing water to sweep you off your feet and two feet of water to move an SUV-sized vehicle.


Dirty Ducts? Improve your indoor air quality with duct cleaning

4/11/2017 (Permalink)

Over time, different contaminants or foreign objects can enter and collect in your air ducts that may diminish the indoor air quality of your system

Did you know your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality? Inspecting the ductwork in your facility or home 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.

A routine part of your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional’s service is inspecting the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit (HVAC). Keeping the HVAC and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life-span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help save you money. Duct cleaning may not always be necessary.  SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals will inspect your HVAC system and ductwork and make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This inspection can help save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your HVAC system and ductwork.

In some circumstances, such as after a fire, smoke, or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the cleanup process. In these cases, your SERVPRO® Franchise Professional can often restore the HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition. 

If you have a fuel-burning furnace, stove, or fireplace, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends they be inspected for proper functioning and be serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.

The SERVPRO® Duct Cleaning System is proven and cost-efficient. Unlike the majority of duct cleaning services, your SERVPRO® Franchise Professional uses a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to examine ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.

  • The process begins by using patented equipment, including a roto-scraper, which automatically adapts to the duct’s shape and diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins.  

  • Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the ducting to a 16-gallon container.n Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97 percent of the particles in the airstream. HEPA filters capture debris and keep the indoor environment clean.

  • As an optional process, a sealant or coating product may be sprayed to address odor or microbial concerns.

  • Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt.

For more information on duct cleaning, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today, 908-233-7070!

The Importance of Cleaning Dryer Vents

4/11/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Prevention

According to FEMA, failure to clean home dryers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death.

To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your or your insured’s home or business, SERVPRO® can help clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint buildup.

Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load, and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird’s nest, or other potential obstacles.

For more information on cleaning dryer vents contact us at (908)233-7070

Benefits of Air Duct Cleaning

5/17/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Central Union County is a NADCA-certified company

Top Benefits of HVAC Cleaning

NADCA’s rule of thumb for consumers is that “if your ducts look dirty, they probably are,” and that dirty HVAC systems should be inspected by a reputable, certified HVAC professional. Below are some other reasons homeowners choose to have their air ducts cleaned.

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is one concern that homeowners have when they decide to investigate air duct cleaning. In a typical six-room home, up to 40 pounds of dust is created annually through everyday living. Your heating and cooling system is the lungs of your home. The system taken air in and breathes air out.

Through normal occupation in a home, we generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the duct work.

While dirty ducts don’t necessarily mean unhealthy air in your home, school or workplace, they may be contributing to larger health issues or harboring contaminants that could cause serious problems for people with respiratory health conditions, autoimmune disorders or some environmental allergies.

Energy Savings

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use.

When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.

10 Things You Need to Know About the Roof of Your Home

5/6/2016 (Permalink)

Keeping a Roof Over Your Head: Maintenance Tips & More

Unless it’s leaking, you might not think too much about your home’s roof, but perhaps you should. After all, it’s the first line of defense between the elements and the biggest investment of your life. Here are ten things you should definitely know about your home’s roof, and how to take good care of this valuable component of your house.

Don’t Let Your Roof Rot

Roof rot can be a very serious issue. Fallen leaves, moss, and algae can cause your roof to retain water, which will accelerate the rotting process. If left unchecked, rotten shingles can let moisture into your attic or cause leaky ceilings.

Keep Your Gutters Clean

Clogged gutters aren’t just unsightly – they can actually damage your roof. They can cause water to accumulate on your roof, accelerating wear and encouraging rot and mold growth. And if your gutters become too weighed down with dead leaves and other detritus, they can actually be ripped from the side of your roof, causing further damage.

How to Spot Problems

We wouldn’t recommend getting on your roof to inspect it for issues, but there are a few things you can keep an eye out for on your own. Look for wear around the chimney and the boots that surround the kitchen and bathroom ventilation tubes. Check for cracked or bald shingles. Get a closer look with a pair of binoculars – do you see any loose nails? These can all be warning signs that your roof needs some serious attention.

Have Your Roof Inspected

Sometimes it’s a good idea to call in a professional. If you don’t know when your roof was serviced last or you’re considering purchasing a home, then you may want to have the roof professionally inspected. A seasoned roofing contractor will know how to spot potential issues and will be able to give you a clear picture of your roof’s condition.

DIY Roofing? Maybe Not

If you’re the do-it-yourself type, then you might be tempted to try replacing your roof on your own, but you may want to think twice about that. Roofing repair is difficult and potentially dangerous work; the last thing you need is to cause further damage or to injure yourself in the process.

Your Roof Will Need to Be Replaced

Nothing lasts forever, and roofing is no exception. As a homeowner, you should anticipate your roof needing to be replaced at some point if you are planning on staying long-term. Most new roofs are designed to last for 20 years. Clay tiles and metal roofing are more expensive, but they offer better longevity than traditional shingles.

Check Your Roof Before Going Solar

These days, it seems like just about everyone’s interested in going solar. But before you install solar panels on your rooftop, you’ll want to make sure your roof is up to the task. If you happen to be in the market for a new roof and solar panels, then you might even be able to kill two birds with one stone and get solar shingles.

Roof Repairs Are a Smart Investment

There’s a lot at stake if your roof fails. A leaky roof can cause structural damage, mold growth, and all sorts of other costly problems. Thankfully, roof repairs are relatively affordable, especially when compared to the alternative.

How to Budget for Roofing Costs

A new roof can be expensive, but planning ahead can take some of the sting out of paying for it. Knowing how much to set aside for roof repairs is relatively easy, especially if you know when your roof was last replaced.

First, subtract the number of years your roof has been in place from its life expectancy (20 years, in most cases). Then, find out what it will cost to have it replaced. Finally, divide that by the number of months you expect your current roof to last, and you’ll know how much to put away each month.

Choose the Right Contractor

Before hiring a roofing contractor, it’s a good idea to do your homework. Ask around to see if your friends have any recommendations. Check Better Business Bureau ratings, and make sure any candidates are licensed and bonded. Find out if your contractor can provide solid references that you can contact. And if a roofing contractor’s bid seems too good to be true, know that it probably is. It’s better to pay a bit more for quality work, especially when it comes to roofing.

Keep a Roof Over Your Head

We hope these tips were helpful. Follow them, and your roof will keep your home safe, sound, and dry.

Is The Indoor Air You Breathe Healthy?

2/24/2016 (Permalink)

Your home should be your sanctuary, but did you know that the air inside your home (and other indoor spaces) could be 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside? In some cases, it may be much worse.

The Problem:

Chemicals, mold, particulates and poor ventilation compromise indoor air quality.

Many of the items that make their way into your home emit thousands of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particles into the air. Although these compounds can contribute to a number of health problems, they are not generally identified on product labels.  VOCs are used in many household items such as furnishings and building materials, as well as cleaners, laundry products and air fresheners containing synthetic fragrance.

Additionally, dust, dirt and debris containing pollutants and irritants come into your home on people’s shoes. Mold, which is caused by moisture, is another source of VOCs and particulates.   

The Solutions:

  • Use cleaners and laundry products that don’t contain harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrances.  (Fragrance-free products are a great option.)
  • Don’t use aerosol sprays.
  • Keep large doormats at each entry to catch the majority of dust, dirt and pollutants on shoes. Consider making your home a shoe-free zone.
  • Choose a natural alternative to pesticides.  If you must use harsh chemicals, do so sparingly and with great caution.  Always read labels and follow directions carefully.
  • Maintain a healthy humidity level (30%-50%) to keep dust mites, mold and other allergens under control.  Fix leaks and moisture problems to prevent mold growth.
  • Keep indoor plants to clean the air naturally and brighten your space.  Ferns, spider plants and aloe are excellent natural air purifiers.  (If you have kids or pets, choose plants that are safe for them.) Be sure not to overwater your plants; overwatering can result in mold growth.
  • Vacuum, mop and dust often.  HEPA filters in vacuums prevent dust and dirt from blowing back through the exhaust.  Microfiber dusters and mops trap dirt without the use of cleaners or chemicals.
  • Don’t smoke.  Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 harmful chemicals and secondhand smoke poses a serious health risk to children.
  • Open your windows.  Fresh air can prevent the build-up of toxic chemicals.
  • Maintain your HVAC system.  Be sure to replace your furnace filters regularly.
  • Talk to an HVAC expert about a whole home air cleaner and humidification system.  A whole home system is the best solution to getting rid of 99% of indoor contaminants, as well as maintaining that healthy humidity level in your home to alleviate allergy and asthma triggers.