Recent Posts

Commercial Business Tips for Structure Winterization

11/19/2021 (Permalink)

Winter is coming. And with it, the risk of damage to your commercial structure due to the freezing temperatures. When most people think of cold weather damage, burst pipes and collapsing roofs come to mind, especially here in Central Oregon. But costly damage can occur in other ways as well. Cold weather can cause fire prevention systems to malfunction, resulting in an inability to protect your structure in the event of a fire.

Instead of waiting for the damage to happen to your roof, pipes, or waterline, use the fall months to prepare your business for the inevitable cold temperatures that are to come.

Here are 13 tips that you can implement now to help your business survive the winter without damage and costly repairs. 

  1. Insulate water supply pipes that run through unheated spaces, such as mechanical rooms, exterior walls, and even attics. 
  2. Inspect water pipes quarterly for small leaks and corrosion. Taking the time to do this every three months will allow you to identify and correct any areas that need attention. 
  3. Ensure water shutoff valves are working correctly to protect your structure from a flood. 
  4. Keep thermostats set to 55ºF when the structure is unoccupied to prevent frozen pipes and subsequent water damage. Consider installing a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust temperatures when the building is not in use.
  5. Water temperature should be no less than 42ºF. 
  6. Keep utilities on in any vacant units. 
  7. Set faucets to have a slow drip to relieve any pressure in pipes that can result in them bursting.
  8. Install a leak detection system so you can be made aware of any leaks before they become a significant and costly problem. 
  9. Clear your roof of debris, leaves, and dirt, which can prevent gutters and downspouts from draining, resulting in ice dams and heavy snow buildup. 
  10. Inspect gutters and downspouts to ensure they are properly fastened to your building. 
  11. Have your boiler, furnace, and heaters serviced regularly.
  12. Ensure your fire pump room does not drop below 70ºF. 
  13. Mark sprinkler control valves so they are easily located in the event of a heavy snowfall. 

In the event of an emergency, we are here to help 24/7 at 541-385-7044. For more commercial safety and damage prevention tips, check out our blog here.

Winter Preparation Tips for PNW Homeowners

11/19/2021 (Permalink)

As the days grow shorter and cooler, getting your home ready for the winter weather to come is essential. Your home is your biggest asset. Therefore, you should take winter prep very seriously. Here are a few tips from your SERVPRO of Bend restoration experts.

    1. Prevent ice dams. Anyone who lived through the snowpocalypse of 2017 knows how costly ice dams can be. If your home typically gets icicles, that’s a red flag of possible trouble ahead. Consider adding heat tape (also known as heat cables or de-icing cables). When installed correctly, the heat tape will cause snow to melt from the roof’s edges, so it can flow down into gutters and away from your home. 
    2. Clear gutters and check for proper fastening. One of the best ways to prevent costly water damage repair and leaks is by clearing gutters of debris. During the fall, leaves and pine needles fall, which is left, can create a blockage that can hold water and freeze. One of the biggest culprits for ice dam formation is a frozen gutter. While you’re at it, ensure your gutters and downspouts are correctly fastened and resecure them if loose. Act now to prevent it from becoming an issue when the snow starts to fly.
    3. Clear the roof. While you’re on your roof cleaning out your gutters, go ahead and clear off any debris from the roof and replace warped, damaged, loose, or missing shingles that can leak during the winter. 
    4. Divert water away from your home. If you have gutters, consider adding extensions to your downspouts to divert water farther away from your home. We recommend that water be diverted five feet from your foundation. 
    5. Change the filters in your home. Every spring and fall (or at the onset of daylight savings time starting and ending) is the perfect time to change the filters in your home. 
    6. Clean dryer vents twice a year. Again, following a spring/fall schedule, clean your dryer vent to reduce the risk of a dryer fire. Clogged dryer vents are one of the biggest causes of house fires and the need for costly fire damage remediation
    7. Reverse your ceiling fans. Save money on your utility bill by reversing the direction of your ceiling fan’s blades. Doing so will push warm air down from the ceiling, creating energy efficiency and comfort during the cool winter months.
    8. Service your heating system. Ensure you stay warm this winter by having a professional come out to inspect and service your furnace or heat pump. Don’t risk being one of the homeowners waiting for someone to repair their furnace on the coldest day of the year.
    9. Insulate your crawlspace. Install vent covers on the exterior of all vents in your home. In Central Oregon, most people use styrofoam vent plugs which are very easy to install. 
    10. Put insulated covers on spigots. Disconnect all your garden hoses and drain water from your faucets. Place insulated covers on your spigots to prevent them from freezing this winter. If your spigot isn’t frost-proof, you can switch the shut-off valve inside your home. 
    11. Blow out your irrigation system. If you haven’t already, make blowing out your irrigation system a priority asap. Better yet, hire a professional to drain water from your drip lines to prevent freezing, and costly repairs come spring. 
    12. Replace smoke alarm and carbon monoxide batteries. Replace batteries every six months to ensure your alarms are in working order in the event of a fire. 
    13. Check for drafts around windows and doors. If you notice drafts or light entering your home from windows and doors, caulk the inside and out of windows to prevent warm air from escaping and cool air from entering your home. If you find leaks around your doors, replace weatherstripping. 

This fall, take the time to ensure your home is ready for winter. Doing so will help you avoid damage and costly repairs. Take care of your biggest asset by spending a weekend getting your home prepared for the winter weather to come. 

Protecting Your Home and Belongings During a Storm

9/30/2021 (Permalink)

The planet appears to be holding nothing back as storms rage across the United States. From hurricanes in the east, heavy rainfall and flooding in the southern plains, tornadoes in the midwest, and hail storms and wildfires in the west, the need to protect and insure your property is at an all-time high. And we haven’t even gotten to winter yet! Here are some tips to help protect your home from severe weather.

  1. Know what your insurance covers. Check your insurance policy to see if your plan covers damage caused by a natural disaster. Damage caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, or flooding is typically not covered in a home policy and must be purchased separately. 
  2. Make a list or videotape your possessions. Go through your home and make a list or videotape the items in it. Keep this in a safe place outside of your home, such as a safe deposit box. If something happens that requires you to file a claim, this documentation will prove very helpful in supporting your claim.
  3. Seal your windows and doors. Not only does it help reduce your energy costs, but sealing your windows and doors will also help protect your home against water and wind damage.
  4. Assess your roof. A roof is critical to keeping your home safe during a storm. Hire someone to check the structural integrity of your roof. Apply sealant around your pipes and chimney to ensure water doesn’t enter your home. 
  5. Clear gutters and storm drains. Fall is coming, and with it, lots of fallen leaves. Be sure to clear your gutters to allow water to drain without obstruction. If your gutters are clogged, water can leak into your foundation and create damage to your home. In the winter, clogged gutters can cause ice dam buildup.
  6. Trim branches away from your roof. Tree branches can damage your roof, break windows and scrape the side of your home. Ideally, no branches should touch your home. Trim any branches that hang over your roofline regularly. Hire a professional to remove or trim branches close to your home or do it yourself (if you can safely). 
  7. Install a carbon monoxide detector. Oregon law requires that all homes either sold or rented have a working carbon monoxide detector installed. 

COVID Cleaning for Commercial Businesses: How to Stay Open Amid a Pandemic

9/30/2021 (Permalink)

Clean has taken on a whole new meaning since COVID-19 forced its way into our lives in the spring of 2020. No one wants businesses shut down like we were last year. One of the best ways to remain open while protecting the health of both employees and customers is to have the business Certified: SERVPRO cleaned. 

What does Certified: SERVPRO Clean Mean? 

There’s clean, and then there’s Certified: SERVPRO Clean. Going beyond traditional janitorial services and carpet cleaning, at SERVPRO of Bend, we offer a specialized viral pathogen cleaning program that prevents the spread of COVID-19. The Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program has helped thousands of businesses open and stay open - safely - amid a pandemic. 

Every business has different needs for COVID cleaning. Therefore, we consult with each customer to identify the unique needs of their space. Considering factors such as the size and type of the business, high-frequency touchpoints, congestion areas, and foot traffic helps us ensure that we use the right COVID cleaning program to get the job done. Speaking of cleaning, we have over 100 exclusive cleaning products. One of the most utilized products during COVID is our proprietary cleaning agent, SERVPROXIDE. This hospital-grade disinfectant carries the EPAs lowest toxicity category. It is also National Sanitation Foundation certified for direct food contact surface use. When providing cleaning services, we always adhere to the standards provided by the Centers for Disease Control, as well as local and national authorities. 

Emergency COVID Cleaning and Disinfection

Need help in a hurry? Our SERVPRO team is trained to perform emergency COVID-19 cleaning and disinfection. Depending on the business, this may include cleaning porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting equipment, tools, and supplies used for the cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.

In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will come to your aid within 24 hours to ensure your business can get back to work as quickly as possible. 

Once your business is cleaned, the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned shield is placed on your front window. This emblem highlights your commitment to the health, safety, and wellbeing of the people within your community. All of which provide comfort and reassurance for your customers. Consider it an investment in public perception. 

Whenever you are ready, we are here for you. For more information about COVID cleaning in Bend, OR, or throughout Central Oregon, give us a call at 541-385-7044.

SERVPRO of Bend Emergency Ready Profile

9/8/2021 (Permalink)

Did you know that 50% of businesses close down following a disaster?

Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at your peace of mind.

SERVPRO offers a no cost Emergency Ready Profile assessment of your facility?

SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Profile is a tool used to minimize business interruption and allow a facility to have an immediate plan of action. Our Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) is a concise profile document that contains critical information that is needed in case your facility has an emergency.

The Emergency Ready Profile can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action

The profile provides a facility with details such as shut-off valves locations, priority areas and priority contact information.

Having quick access via your cellular phone, or computer of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."

Protect Yourself & Your Property from Smoke This Wildfire Season

8/19/2021 (Permalink)

Since this year’s wildfire season began in the Western U.S. and into Canada, the presence of smoke in seemingly unlikely areas across the country has drawn the attention of Americans as well as the media.

Where typically we might see images of ashy skies and smokey sunsets in our own region, both the media and our online friends have been quick to share overcast-looking images from regions as far as the Midwest and the Eastern Seaboard. The captions of the images point out, “This isn’t a foggy day. This is smoke!”

One particular series of images and videos show the Manhattan skyline blanketed in smoke along with news that the Air Quality Index (AQI) for fine particulate matter in the air had reached nearly 160 – all due to wildfires in the West.

While the long-distance travel potential of wildfire smoke may be surprising to some, it’s certainly not surprising to wildfire experts. In fact, just last year during what was considered one of the worst wildfire seasons in decades, smoke from wildfires in the Western U.S. drifted through the atmosphere for nearly 5,000 miles.

Even at such a distance, smoke can be harmful to young children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with respiratory and heart disease. Imagine the effect smoke can have on both health and property when its source is less than a tank of gas away!

As we at SERVPRO of Bend are experts in smoke damage and odor remediation, we wanted to offer you some expert advice about protecting your body and property from wildfire smoke. But first, let’s take a look at how air quality is measured.

A Little About the Air Quality Index (AQI)

If a wildfire is close enough to threaten your property, or even just a few miles away, you need little warning that smoke rolling into your area may be harmful. In addition to the smell and the difficulty you may have breathing, you may also notice ash falling from the sky.

There’s no doubt you’ll need to take precautions to protect yourself, your family, your pets, and your home.

But, what if the fire is hundreds or thousands of miles away, presenting itself as a hazy day with an odor reminiscent of a warm campfire? In this case, paying attention to the Air Quality Index (AQI) can help you determine your risk.

AQI is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) index for air quality. It takes into consideration the number of pollutants in the air (i.e., ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide), then assigns a number that indicates the severity of such pollutants.

The numbers go from zero to well-over 300, with the highest numbers indicating the most extreme levels of concern. AQIs from zero to 50 is considered good, and those 51 to 100 are moderate to acceptable. Beyond that, people should begin to take precautions.

  • 101-150 – Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups: Members of sensitive groups (children, seniors, those with respiratory health issues, etc.) may experience health effects, while others are less likely to be affected.
  • 151-200 – Unhealthy: Some members of the public may experience health effects, and those insensitive groups may have more serious health issues.
  • 201-300 – Very Unhealthy: This is high enough for authorities to put out a health alert as the risk increases for everyone. Everyone should take precautions.
  • 300-Plus – Hazardous: This indicates an emergency condition. You’ll want to leave ASAP.

You can typically track your region's AQI in real-time through your smartphone’s weather and/or news app.

Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke

Wildfire smoke can be unpredictable and can enter your area to varying degrees with little to no warning. So, it’s important you’re prepared and know how to respond when the sky darkens and your nose first picks up the scent. Here are tips for reacting in such conditions:

Keep Your Indoor Air Clean: When smoke rolls into your area, seal off all entry points into your home by closing all doors, windows, and vents. Turn your AC to recirculate and close the fresh-air intake. If you need to, consider the use of an air purifier. Not only do you want to keep the air you breathe clean, but you also want to prevent the possibility of your home absorbing smoke odors and damage.

Stay Indoors: If you have no reason to go outdoors, don’t. Stay inside to keep your smoke exposure to a minimum. This goes not just for you and your family, but also for your pets.

Wear a Mask: If and when you have to go outside – say, to go to work, head to the grocery store or pick up the kids from school – wear a mask. We all have them at this point.

Don’t Contribute to the Problem: Lighting candles, using the fireplace and even vacuuming and dusting can further contribute to poor air quality in your home. So, why do it when you’re already fighting the smoke?

Don’t Ignore Your Health: If you experience health effects, leave your home and consider visiting your physician or an ER doctor. Or, if you’re in a high-risk population and your home’s not sealed and equipped to handle the smoke, perhaps treat yourself to a night in a nice hotel. You get no points for toughing it out.

Contact SERVPRO of Bend

During this wildfire season, if your home sustains any smoke damage, don’t try to handle it on your own. Contact the Fire and Smoke Restoration Technicians at SERVPRO of Bend, and our team will quickly respond to your needs and provide you an estimate for getting your home back to normal.

To learn more, call us at (541) 385-7044 or fill out our online contact form. We’ll be happy to get back in touch with you as soon as possible!

It’s Wildfire Season. Think ‘Fire Prevention’ When Maintaining Your Property

7/26/2021 (Permalink)

It’s wildfire season again in Central Oregon – a reality that few people are eager to deal with less than a year after we saw more area burned in the Oregon Cascades than any of the previous 36 years combined.

The Labor Day wildfires of 2020 may have affected more land in and around the Oregon Cascades than any single wildfire season over the last 120 years. And, the devastation wasn’t limited to isolated wilderness land. The fires damaged more than 4,000 structures (including homes) and led to more than 10% of the state’s residents experiencing some level of evacuation advisory.

Yes, last year’s wildfire season was one for the history books.

For homeowners specifically, we at SERVPRO of Bend believe such recent events can also serve as a great reminder of why it’s essential to always think of “fire prevention” when maintaining your home and property. These efforts include such considerations as using non-combustible building materials whenever possible and creating a defensible space around your home.

Keep reading to learn what you can do today and in the future to help keep your home safe in the event there’s a wildfire in your area.

What is a Defensible Space?

One of the best things a homeowner can do to prevent wildfires from spreading to their homes (or vice-versa, a home fire spreading into surrounding land) is to create a “bubble” around the house where burnable material, or fuel, is kept to a minimum.

This area is called defensible space.

“To help your home survive a wildfire, create defensible space between your home and its surroundings by 100 feet or more,” states the document “Keeping Your Home and Property Safe from Wildfire,” which was created by the Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service.

According to the OSU Extension Service, in the event of a wildfire, defensible spaces allow firefighters to safely defend your home and other structures while breaking up a direct pathway from the fire to your home.

The primary way to create such a space is to reduce flammable vegetation and other fuels around the home. Regularly remove dead plant material (i.e., leaves, needles, twigs, dry mulch, and woodpiles) that accumulates along the ground and in your gutters, and trim back overhanging limbs by at least 10 feet from the roof and siding.

Keep your property “lean and green” as you extend away from the house, working to incorporate fire-resistant plants into the landscape. These options include various types of plants, from trees and shrubs to annuals and perennials. (OSU Extension Service offers a 48-page guide to fire-resistant plants that you can download here.)

Other Fire-Safe Considerations

Besides creating a defensible space, other fire-resistant considerations can be made when building, remodeling, or even simply replacing features of your home. These include:

Roof & Siding: Always consider combustibility when building or replacing your roof or siding. Avoid using easily combustible material, such as cedar shakes, which, while attractive, can act as kindling when dry.

Patios & Decks: These outdoor spaces can also serve as fuel when a wildfire’s close. Ideally, for fire prevention, these spaces will be made from concrete or first-resistant composites. Wood decking is fine so long as it’s been treated against fire.

Screen Entry Points: Homes typically have several low-key entry points, such as vents or chimneys, that can be susceptible to flying embers. Be sure to screen these areas with 1/8th- to 1/4th-inch wire mesh to prevent flaming materials from finding their way into your home. Do NOT use nylon window screens as they can quickly melt.

What If I Get Fire or Smoke Damage?

Despite these efforts at keeping wildfires at bay and away from your property, it’s still possible your home may sustain fire, soot, and smoke damage if a wildfire finds its way into your area or neighborhood.

Should this happen, SERVPRO of Bend is there to respond quickly to your needs. After all. Immediate action and fast response can limit damage, prevent further damage and reduce restoration costs.

If you’ve experienced the misfortune of fire, soot, or smoke damage, contact us today. Our 24/7 emergency services are available by calling us at (541) 385-7044. Our highly trained fire restoration technicians will be there to help you!

Have a Safe and Happy Independence Day

7/2/2021 (Permalink)

Independence Day Happy 4th of July

On behalf of all of us here at SERVPRO of Bend, have a great Independence Day.

Everybody be safe while we celebrate our Country's Independence. Quick History Moment: Independence Day commemorates the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. There are a lot of great things going on in our community this 4th of July. If you're looking for things to do in Bend, Oregon this 4th of July, here are a few options to consider: July 3rd -  Fireworks in the Ballpark Night!The Bend Elks are proud to host one of the only firework shows in Central Oregon! Join us July 3rd as we take on Yakima Valley with a show after the game. Bend Pet Parade and Festival at Drake Park 9 AM - 2 PM Bend July 4th Fireworks, Pilot Butte at 10 PM La Pine Frontier Days, Jul 1, 5 PM – Mon, Jul 5, 6 AM  

Dry Rot in Central Oregon: Where, How & What to Do

6/28/2021 (Permalink)

A home that needs mold removal in Bend, Oregon A home that needs mold removal in Bend, Oregon

More than 90 percent of all new homes are designed with wood serving as the primary material. Both natural and abundant, wood gives homes their shape while enhancing certain design elements that are pleasing to the eye.

Its most essential responsibility, however, is establishing a home’s structural integrity.

From beams, trusses, and joists to roofing, siding, and window frames, both builders and homeowners rely on wood to protect the longevity and safety of the structure while also protecting what, to most of us, is the most significant investment of our lives.

That’s why we at SERVPRO of Bend have determined that safeguarding a home from an all-to-common issue like dry rot is so critical.

If left undetected and untreated, dry rot can jeopardize a home’s structural integrity as well as its value. This can lead to safety issues, diminished home values, and thousands of dollars in future repair costs.

What is Dry Rot?

First off, the term “dry rot” is a bit of a misnomer.

Dry rot is a type of wood decay caused by a fungus called Serpula lacrymans. This type of fungus feeds on wood and timber, and for it to grow and spread, it needs a higher-than-normal level of moisture.

So, for dry rot to occur in a home, an excess moisture level must first exist. Unfortunately, there are plenty of ways for such levels of wetness to penetrate a home. These can include a leaky roof, undetected drippings from a pipe, or high moisture levels at or near the foundation of the house.

However, the moisture gets there, over time, it can permeate the wood that helps the fungus grow and breed. As it does, the fungus feeds on the wood, causing it to weaken and rot.

Despite this moisture-dependent structural breakdown, the affected wood can often feel dry and stiff to the touch.

To make matters worse, dry rot can spread through moisture-rich areas due to the release of airborne spores. So if your home’s crawl space is excessively humid, all the wood near your home’s foundation is at risk of dry rot.

This certainly isn’t a pleasant thought.

What Are the Signs of Dry Rot?

Unlike seemingly more extreme water damage caused by sudden pipe bursts, roof damage, or waterline leaks, dry rot often appears silently. But don’t let that fool you.

Under the right conditions, dry rot can spread quickly. It’s a fungi that is known to cause damage in areas of homes in, near, or around:

  • Windows & Doors
  • Basements & Crawl Spaces
  • Wet Rooms (Bathrooms, Kitchen, Laundry Room, or any room with a plumbing fixture)
  • Attics (Caused by roof damage or improper ventilation)
  • Outdoor Siding & Decks

Regardless of where it occurs, the signs you may be dealing with (or soon will be dealing with) dry rot are relatively obvious. They include:

Wet or Moist Areas: Areas that are humid or improperly ventilated are prime spots for dry rot, whether that’s under your home or in the attic. Also, if you find leaks or condensation anywhere in your home – around windows, under sinks, near pipes, etc., you should also consider the possibility of dry rot.

Damp Smells: As a fungi, dry rot – as it grows and spreads – puts off a relatively distinct smell often  described as damp, stale, or “mushroomy.” If you notice such smells in your home, be aware that dry rot (or, at the very least, water/moisture damage) may be the cause.

Swelling or Discoloration: If hidden around windowsills, in walls, along floorboards, etc., dry rot can cause areas of the interior to swell, discolor or become softer to the touch. Such signs can also show up outdoors, often near the bottom or along the seams of siding.

Wood Discoloration or Fungal Growth: An obvious sign to be sure, if you see this under a sink, in the attic, or under your home, you’re likely witnessing dry rot in action. In turn, this should cause you to spring into action.

What Do I Do?

If you suspect dry rot is eating away at the wood in, under, over, or around your house, don’t assume the damage is already done. You must limit the damage before it spreads any further.

This includes, of course, determining the source of your home’s excess moisture and correcting it, so your dry rot issue doesn’t return.

At SERVPRO of Bend, our mold removal team is trained and highly experienced in dry rot and mold remediation, applied microbial remediation, water damage restoration, and applied structural drying.

After taking care of your source of water or excess moisture, our team will:

  • Inspect and assess the damage
  • Contain the area using a negative air pressure system
  • Filter the air in the infected areas
  • Remove the fungi materials
  • Clean and restore the area and its contents

We provide these as both scheduled and emergency services. And, if you require these services as part of an insurance claim, know that while it’s OK for an insurance company to suggest a service provider, it’s your right to choose the mold remediation service provider you desire.

To learn more or schedule your initial mold assessment, call us at (541) 385-7044.

Intense Thunderstorms Bring Hail and Rain Followed by Record Heat

6/24/2021 (Permalink)

Hail Storm Hail Storm

Central Oregon is prone to Thunderstorms but Wednesday brought hail that piled up as if it were a winter day in Bend, OR. 

 The slow moving storm began dumping up to an hour of torrential rain and hail that flooded streets, stripped leaves off trees and flattened bushes while dropping dime- to quarter-sized hail and sending small rivers of bark mulch or dirt flowing from yards.

The storm did, however, provide a temporary respite from recent high temperatures that is due to soar into potentially record-breaking over-100 temperatures for several days, starting this weekend and continuing through July 1st.

Residents of Central Oregon should be "Heat Aware," limiting outdoor activities. Some things to consider are drinking plenty of fluids, staying in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the direct sunlight, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.