First Asbestos Remediation Job

March 22, 2017

By Jerrod Ruhl

After years of handling mold remediation, SteamWay has entered another environmental market, that of asbestos remediation.

You can see some pics below of the containment our technician’s set up.  Everything from floor to ceiling is contained with a double layer of 6 mil plastic, seamed together with heavy duty tape.  The only part that is not contained is the asbestos affected area.

This job passed inspection, and the environmental company that tested said it was the best containment they’d ever seen!  Very proud of our technicians for doing such a good job!

SteamWay is a licensed class A contractor, offering asbestos remediation, mold remediation, and fire and water damage cleanup.  We serve central VA, including Lynchburg, Roanoke, Charlottesville and other cities in our region.

What Homeowners Should Know About Water Damage

January 30, 2017

By Jerrod Ruhl

DuaL sYSTEMS

The longer you wait to dry a structure, the worse it will get.

This is why water damage is very serious situation for homeowners. Secondary damage starts to take place with the growth of mold in your walls that could lead to serious health issues (asthma, allergies, etc)

You have up to 48 hours from the time something gets wet until mold will start to grow. After the 48 hours, mold will grow at a very rapid pace. If mold gets out of hand, you’ll need to call a mold remediation professional like SteamWay to remediate the mold to acceptable levels as tested by an environmental company.

To prevent mold growth, it’s important to get everything dry within the 48-hour window. Unfortunately, this isn’t a job you can do yourself, unless of course you have all the proper professional water removal equipment needed.  Most people do not have the commercial grade fans and dehumidifiers to dry a structure quickly enough.  This is the problem with using box fans and low end dehumidifiers like the ones purchased at Lowes or Home Depot for large volumes of water as is typical in a water loss.

The next thing to consider is what type of water you are dealing with.  This is very important when it comes to your health. Water damage can be categorized into 3 levels of pollution:

Category 1: Water is coming from a clean source. For example, the water coming from your pipes is safe and will not cause any illness.

Category 2: Water that might cause illness if exposed because of the bacteria in the water.

Category 3: Water that is dirty and highly contaminated. Direct contact can cause severe illness or even death. Water from sewage backup, overflowing toilet, storm waters, etc.

Also, just because your water might start out as a category 1, doesn’t mean it won’t get worse. Anything that the water touches could contaminate it and could change the water damage to a higher category.

Regardless of the types of water, you’ll still need to call a professional to get it cleaned up.

Water damage is nothing to take lightly. If you’ve had a water damage loss call SteamWay at 434-845-2636.

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Mold in Crawl Space

January 25, 2017

By Jerrod Ruhl

You’ll have to look closely, but if you examine the floor joists in this home you’ll see the mold growing.  The mold has led to unacceptable levels of airborne spores, and thus the call to SteamWay to remediate.

Most mold jobs we work on are tested by an independent lab, which also writes a protocol for us to follow.  Then our trained technicians get to work, following the protocol precisely to achieve an acceptable air quality level once re-tested.  We typically get a passing test on the first try.

If you think you have unacceptable levels of mold in your home (all structures have some mold), call SteamWay for a free estimate and to get some quality advice.  434-845-2636

mold crawl space

Water Damage Tips

January 10, 2017

By Jerrod Ruhl

As the weather warms up today after the severe cold snap that came through Lynchburg, there will no doubt be many pipes that were once frozen that will now flow freely into walls, under floors and all through houses.

Some water damage will be subtle, just a pin hole that sprays water slowly down a wall and under the floor.  The evidence of the damage may not reveal itself for days to come.

Other water damage will be obvious, and water will gush until the valve behind it is turned off.

Regardless, here are some tips to prevent damage from getting any worse than it already is, and to keep you and your family safe.

  1. Ensure it is safe to enter the damaged area, turn off breakers/power source if necessary
  2. Shut off water source if possible
  3. Remove as much water as possible using a wet-dry vacuum or by mopping and blotting
  4. Wipe furniture to remove excess water
  5. Place furniture on blocks or on aluminum foil
  6. Remove wet contents, clothes rugs, etc from the area so they can be cleaned and dried

DO NOT…

  1. DO NOT Use your household vacuum to remove excess water
  2. DO NOT use the electrical appliance while standing on wet flooring or carpet
  3. DO NOT Go into any room where the ceiling is sagging

Feel free to call SteamWay Restoration if you have water damage.  We are a full service water damage remediation company, and can handle the damage from start to finish.  434-845-2636

Extreme Cold Weather – Know Where Your Water Shut Off Is!

January 9, 2017

By Jerrod Ruhl

water-shut-off

Even the most insulated homes have weak spots.

Two years ago a friend had a pipe burst in a newly remodeled section of his home.

The weather was bitter cold, and enough cold air got into the wall that a small section of pipe froze with water in it, it expanded, and POP – a nice little crease opened up.

As soon as the weather warmed up the water ran out of the pipe, an onto his new hardwood floors, causing a significant insurance claim.

In these situations it is critical that you know where your main water shut off valve is, so you can prevent further damage from taking place.

Take the time today to locate yours, and tell other members of your household where it is so they can shut it off if you aren’t home.

 

10 Most Common Causes of House Fires

December 28, 2016

By Jerrod Ruhl

The number of house fires in the US each year is astounding.  Fortunately, most of them are preventable.  Check out the post below:

 

http://commissionerleonard.typepad.com/commissioner_randy_leonar/2011/03/10-most-common-causes-of-house-fires-.html

 

10 Most Common Causes of House Fires

According to the NFPA, there are between 350,000 and 400,000 house fires in the U.S. every year and this results in almost $8 billion in annual damages.  Those are some scary statistics especially for those of us with families to protect.  One of the best things we can do is educated ourselves and our families on what the common causes of fires are and then look for ways to reduce our exposure to the greatest extent possible.  There are some causes of fires beyond our control (arson, etc.).  We did our best to include the most controllable/manageable and yet common reasons of fires in the following list:

  • Cooking – According to the National Fire Protection Association 40 percent of all house fires are caused by cooking related incidents.  For instance, an oven or stove left unattended.  Recently, my family experienced this directly when my sister did exactly that.  She was cooking and left the kitchen to take care of one of the kids that was stirring up trouble and when she came back she was fortunate enough to be able to put out a fire before it spread too far beyond the cupboards.
  • Kids playing with fire – Another very common cause of fires that we all hear of fairly frequently is kids playing with matches or a lighter and not fully comprehending the risks they are taking.  It’s really important to be sure to teach your kids about fire safety and the reasons why they should not play with fire.  Of course, supervision is incredibly important as well but we can’t be all places at the same time so be sure to educate them via books, videos, and any other ways available to you (visit the local fire station, etc.).
  • Smoking – We all probably remember laughing at a relative that was falling asleep in their favorite chair back in the day with really long ashes on their lit cigarette, maybe they jumped a little as the ashes fell on them.  Well, this can be somewhat humorous when someone else is watching but in general it is just extremely dangerous.  The best thing you could do is shake them and ask them what their problem is and if they actually WANT to burn the whole house down.
  • Heating – This is a common problem every Winter especially if people don’t get their furnace serviced on a regular basis.  I know this from experience as I’ll never forget our early morning scare with smoke throughout the house and us running around grabbing the kids and heading for the exits.  Fortunately, it was just smoke for us but we haven’t missed a furnace checkup since.  A related and more common cause of heating related fires are small space heaters (electrical or fueld-based).  These can lead to all kinds of possible problems including a short and/or electrical overload problem.
  • Electrical – speaking of electrical problems, they are another very common cause of house fires.  One of the leading culprits is the over-use of extension cords.  Surprisingly just because there is an open plug doesn’t mean you can plug just ANYTHING into it.  They can actually only safely pull so many watts so be sure to be very aware of the safe amount you can plug into any extension or extension cord.  If there is ever a doubt, you are probably much better off to hire an electrician to provide you with permanent wiring.  It is also very adviseable to have an electrician perform an annual checkup on your home’s wiring.
  • Candles – they can be romantic, set the mood, or simply just a practical and cheap way to provide light (especially in a power outage).  However, for some reason we tend to forget that it is an open flame and that we shouldn’t just leave lit candles unattended (say after dinner, you wander off for a nap and leave the dinner candle lit).  This is another great example of common sense and blowing out the candles immediately after they are needed should be made into a ritual, after all it could save your life.
  • Fireplace – this is an obvious source of problems but probably not for the same reasons you are thinking.  Common problems with fireplaces range from unattended fires to improper servicing of the fireplace (not cleaning it and letting the chimney get backed up).  Another example is just not opening up the damper/flue and causing smoke damage to the home.  It’s also important to not cook in the fireplace (it’s not a camp fire) and to be careful of any kindling or fire starting products.
  • Dryers – There have been reports of dryer sheets that could lead to fires in the laundry area but it is far more common for improper dryer vents and venting to be the cause of a dryer related fire.  It’s also incredibly important to stay on top of clearing lint away from the dryer (under it, on top of it, behind it, etc.).  Treat this has highly flammable material and just keep your dryer well maintained.  Here is another great article on this subject.
  • Flammables in the House – there are a lot of products left around the home that are highly flammable (especially if the garage is attached to the home).  Be careful of where you place any flammable materials (fuels, oils, etc.).  Don’t place them next to a possible source of a fire as they can rapidly turn a bad situation into a disaster.  The simplest rule is to keep them contained and a away from the home to the greatest extent possible.
  • Christmas trees – it seems like nothing really sets the holiday mood like a live Christmas tree (great smell and just exceptionally authentic).  However, if you don’t keep it well watered and still proceed to wrap it with electrical cords (I mean… Christmas lights of course).  If you let it get too dry it can quickly result in a fire so just check it frequently and leave the lights off if you are going to be away from home for a while (I know you like looking at the lights when you walk in the door at night but better to have a door to walk into than see the pretty lights)

Serving Victims of Appomattox Tornado

February 29, 2016

By Jerrod Ruhl

appo tornado

Most of the remediation jobs we handle are relatively minor, all things considered.  Water damage, no matter the size, rarely involves the loss of life and utter chaos in someones life.  Same goes for most storm damage.  The recent tornado’s in Appomattox are a different story.  Peoples lives are literally turned upside down.   It gives you a different perspective when you’re boarding up a home that has had three quarters of its roof torn off, and contents have been sucked right outside.

After the Tornado came through, SteamWay was there to protect homes from further damage – tarping rooves, boarding up windows, etc.  We also handed out water to home owners and assisted in helping them find items that were missing that were valuable to them.

We don’t have delicate situations like this too often, but when it happens it is especially rewarding to be there for people in such a desperate time of need.

Mold Remediation – Before and After

February 3, 2016

By Jerrod Ruhl

Here’s a few pictures showing mold in a home before we did work, then what it looks like after cleanup.  Mold remediation is not super complicated, but it does take trained technicians that have experience and the patience to do a thorough job.  SteamWay employs such crews and our track record shows it.  We have a very high record of first time pass rates on mold re-tests.  This re-test is where the environmental company re-tests for mold spores after the cleanup to determine whether the air quality is at acceptable levels.  If you think you have mold in your home or business, call SteamWay for free advice.

mold before and after mold before mold after

Prevent Frozen Pipes

January 18, 2016

By Jerrod Ruhl

frozen pipe

Extremely cold weather is approaching the Lynchburg, VA area, and this its time to take extra precautions to protect your home and contents.  Here’s some useful tips that could save you thousands of dollars.  If you do end up with a frozen pipe that causes damage, feel free to call SteamWay at 434-845-2636 for advice or to have us help with the cleanup.

Prevent Frozen Pipes:

  • Insulate pipes, especially those close to outside walls, attics or crawl spaces where the chance of freezing is greatest
  • Seal air leaks surrounding or near pipes
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage
  • Disconnect all outdoor hoses and turn off water to exterior faucets and sprinkler systems
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing
  • Keep heat at 55 degrees F. or higher even when you are out of town
  • During a cold spell turn on both hot and cold faucets near outside walls to allow a small trickle of water to run during the night
  • If you need to be away from home, leave the heat on and drain your water system before you go
  • Identify the locations of shutoff valves so that you are prepared to stop the flow of water as soon as possible when a pipe bursts
What to Do When Pipes Freeze or Burst

If pipes freeze:

  • Open all faucets
  • Remove insulation and wrap pipes in rags
  • If all else fails, call your plumber

If pipes burst:

  • Shut off the water immediately to prevent additional damage
  • Take proper precautions to avoid an electrical shock from being in or near standing water
  • Take an inventory of any damaged property or possessions
  • Contact your local claims office to help you locate a vendor specializing in emergency water mitigation services that can properly dry out the damaged area

 

Drying Hardwood Floors

December 3, 2015

By Jerrod Ruhl

A common water damage loss is that of wet hardwood floors.  Typically a dish washer has a water supply line burst, or a refrigerator ice cube maker has a line with a pin hole.  If the hole is small in the water line, the water may not be visible – it will sneak its way behind kitchen cabinets or soak drywall up and then work its way underneath the hardwood floors.  Usually the home owner says they suddenly noticed a little warping of their hardwood – nothing major – just a slight difference.  They usually wait a day or two and then notice that the warping is worse.  This is when SteamWay gets the phone call.

Fortunately, with the right equipment and head knowledge of how to dry hardwood floors, the situation can be remediated.  Only when hardwood has been wet for long periods of time, like weeks and weeks, does it become irrepairable.  SteamWay has heavy duty commercial grade dehumidifiers to create a very dry environment, and also special hardwood floor drying mats that get floors back to where they should be.  There are commonly other steps that are taken as well, but the good news is that if your hardwood floors get wet and cup or warp, something can be done about it.  https://www.facebook.com/steamway247/

hard wood floor drying_alta vista