Recent Posts

The REAL Boogie Man | Teaching Kids About Emergency Preparedness

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

Have you ever had to convince your child that the boogie man is not hiding in their closet? You know it is an irrational fear, however, you do everything capable to put your child at ease. It’s just part of parenting! But how do you navigate educating your kids about the real monster of the world? The last thing you want to do is give them more things to become scared of!

We don’t want you to worry. Addressing scary topics, such as emergency preparedness is a good thing. It can empower your kids, and strengthen the family bond. Also, there are many opportunities to turn an educational lesson to fun and engaging exercises that your kids can enjoy.


    • Practice your emergency plan: role-playing will ensure that your kids understand what do to in times of emergency. You can take turns being the emergency plan leader and see who remembers your family plan best.
  • Treasure hunt: Hide some emergency supplies around the house and for every tool they find and correctly describe the purpose of the supply, they get a special treat!
  • Make a Song: Bring out your best rhyming skills and create a step by step jingle of do’s and don’ts. It can put your child at ease and could help them remember during a time of a crisis 
  • Get Creative: You know your family best! Create a game the whole family can play that you know your child will love and learn from.

Children can be the most vulnerable community during a crisis. We want to make sure that they can protect themselves to the best of their ability. Educating the youth about emergency preparedness helps them become fearless and fight the real boogie men of the world.

Are You Prepared For This Year's Tropical Storm?

9/9/2020 (Permalink)

According to, September is the most common month for hurricanes in the United States. Luckily, Hurricane Laura wasn’t able to reach Maryland, however, are YOU prepared to face the next Tropical Storm? Thunderstorms and high winds are inevitable in the late summer season, which means there is a higher chance that you will experience a power outage. Therefore, you must stay proactive and make sure you have an emergency power outage toolkit. Below, we suggest some items to keep in your toolkit to help you through a Blackout:

Power Outage Survival Kit

  • Plastic container to store all your items
  • Enough water bottles for the household
  • Portable charger (solar panel options are highly recommended)
  • Extra batteries
  • Nonperishable food (Ex: canned food, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Fully stocked first aid kit
  • Glow-sticks (Highly recommended if you have kids, a good way to keep them entertained)
  • Battery-powered fan
  • Fire Extinguisher 
  • 4-1 Emergency Tool Kit
  • Sanitary Wipes
  • Your favorite source of entertainment!

Now, these are just common items that we recommend to the general public, but we encourage everyone to customize their toolkit to best fit their household. Lastly, we recommend that you check your toolkit periodically, to make sure you have the necessary tools to face an unexpected power outage.

Unexpected Water Damage

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it is the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call us, we will ask questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring. This includes how many trained SERVPRO professionals we may need.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover is here for you 24/7 all 365 days of the year. Call us at 301-577-1166.

Faster to Any Size Water Damage

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO provides 24/7/365 fire and water damage restoration service.

We do not wait for regular business hours. SERVPRO provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, plus more.  SERVPRO arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

If you need further assistance with your water damage, please call SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover at 301-577-1166.

3 Things to Avoid After a Flood

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

If you have standing water from a recent flood, your business is susceptible to various types of infestation. The three most common and most damaging factors that affect flooded facilities are the following: 

• Insects 
• Bacteria 
• Mold growth


Insects are important to the ecosystem, but you do not want a whole ecosystem growing throughout your business. Most of the peskiest bugs out there love it when your building has a flood. That's because some of them lay eggs in stagnant water and others enjoy dining on the building materials that have been softened up by moisture. Getting rid of the water as soon as possible is a priority if you want to avoid turning your facility into a swarm of insects.


Warm weather flooding provides a breeding ground for disease. Even if the water source is clean, it is unlikely that every object the floodwater comes into contact with is disinfected. Furthermore, organic materials start to dissolve in water very quickly, providing a solution that becomes a food source for disease-causing bacteria. A good flood recovery company will come armed with antiseptics for this reason.

Black Mold

Mold growth starts rapidly when water is present in a building. It can take as little as 24 hours for the first spores to start multiplying. This is because even in the most pristine buildings, the mold is already present. All it needs is a high level of moisture to get started multiplying and taking over the walls, ceilings and furnishings of your business. This is what makes mold one of the most common secondary sources of loss in businesses that experience flooding. 

Insects, diseases and mold growth form a triad of secondary problems that can end up costing you a fortune to clean. Make sure that your water damage is taken care of correctly, and your facility is thoroughly dried, and you will minimize the risk of having issues in the future.

2 Reasons to Address Mold Immediately

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

The presence of mold leaves behind an unmistakable musty odor. Although this fungus can develop inside a house when it is simply a little too humid, it is more likely to develop after floodwater damages the premises. When that flooding is accompanied by sewage loss, the contaminants only exacerbate the problem. Homeowners should try to prevent mold growth entirely. However, if mold does develop, then you need to address it right away before a bad stench turns into something much worse.

1. Structural Damage

Mold is particularly destructive to certain materials, including gypsum board, plaster and wood. Over time, these materials may weaken and change color. You may not even see the damage if the item is painted, but the paint merely hides the mildew. The only way to ensure your home remains structurally sound is to remove all presence of mold. Certain structures may need to be replaced entirely to make sure your house is safe.

2. Rapid Growth

Mold growth can get out of hand in just 24 hours. It can spread exponentially when exposed to the right conditions. Leaks, condensation and high humidity can accelerate the growth process, causing the mold to overtake entire sections of walls and flooring. Over time, this can lead to toxic black mold.

An even more dangerous aspect is that visible mold is only half the story. If you see mold, then there is a very high likelihood there is even more growing out of sight. You need someone to come out to your place immediately to ensure your house remains mold-free.

When bringing in a professional team to address mold in your home, it is vital that every sign of it is removed. This includes the mold you see on the wall as well as spores that have entered the air. Without addressing the problem comprehensively, the mold growth will simply resume, sometimes in less than a day.

The Fire is Out, Now What?

3/24/2020 (Permalink)

Residential and commercial fires are unpredictable and can be devastating. Hopefully you have given thought to fire prevention for your home. In addition to taking these steps, you have also developed an escape plan with your family. In the unfortunate case of a serious fire, would you know where to turn after the fire crews leave?

SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover, 301-577-1166, is the simple, effective solution. We'll respond quickly and get to work restoring your property.

One of the first steps in our fire damage restoration process is the inspection.

Without proper and careful inspection, we cannot be sure of risk factors in the environment, the extent of damage, critical utility locations, and numerous other important factors. Inspection can sometimes be a lengthy process, as SERVPRO inspectors have to look for and catalog many different factors.

Here are some of the things that we look for in homes that have taken fire damage.
Structural Instability
One of the most important considerations when inspecting fire damage is structural stability. Fires, as they burn through supports and other structural components, can create unstable conditions and high potential for collapse. Our technicians look for signs of structural weakening to ensure the safety of both you and SERVPRO technicians, such as warped walls, burned columns, caved-in ceilings, buckled door frames, and scraping between doors, windows, and their upper frames. Any of these may be an indicator of a weakened structure, so knowing of them before any work begins has the potential to save lives.
Spots for Tarping and Boarding
Immediately following inspection, our crews move in with tarps and boards to seal up any windows, doors, or holes in the home that leave it open to the elements. Inspectors look for these openings and compose plans to seal them most effectively.
Damage Inspection
Of course, the central part of any fire damage inspection is what has been hurt, and how much. Inspectors will catalog items, surfaces, and areas which have taken damage, describing in detail for our other teams how bad the situation is and what factors caused it. From there, our technicians can work to apply appropriate cleanup processes and measures. If you have used our ERP (Emergency Ready Profile) system, this process may be greatly accelerated as our inspectors will have access to plans and inventory lists beforehand.
SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover works with you to get fire damage cleaned up quickly, cheaply, and with the minimal safety concern. Call us at 301-577-1166

You Can Count on Team SERVPRO

3/23/2020 (Permalink)

When commercial property owners and managers are expected to produce excellent business operations and a disaster strikes, it can be an overwhelming experience for these individuals. SERVPRO has completed some of the area’s largest disasters including the Pentagon clean up after 9-11, the U.S. Treasury, NIH, Francis Scott Key schools, Georgetown University, Howard University, and the Department of Health. We also assist with any industrial services. Facility managers love working with SERVPRO and rely on us for their disaster solutions.

General adjusters and consultants in D.C. Metro area trust SERVPRO with their largest losses and overwhelmingly complicated claims.

Some of our specialties include, but are not limited to:

  • Small Office Buildings
  • Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
  • Apartment Buildings
  • Restaurants
  • Hotel/Motels
  • Small Retail Stores
  • Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
  • High-Rise Residential
  • Manufacturing & Industrial
  • Government/Military
  • Universities
  • Schools
  • Restaurants
  • Commercial Disaster Recovery Services 
  • Commercial Reconstruction

When a disaster strikes, SERVPRO is here to make it seem “Like it never even happened.” Choose SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover as your team who will assist you with any future disaster.

We Are Cleaning Experts

3/19/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is Here to Help During This Time of Need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have 45 years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform daily.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover at 301-577-1166

Puffback Prevention

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

For those who live in colder parts of the United States, there are home appliances that play a critical role when it comes to your furnace. A quality furnace can ensure optimal comfort inside your home while minimizing the amount of energy you consume at home. Even a top-quality furnace will not provide consistent results if you do not maintain it properly.

Those who neglect regular furnace servicing may find themselves dealing with a wide variety of issues, including a common problem such as a puffback. Here are some key points to know about your furnace at home and how it could produce a puffback when it is least expected:

  1. What is a Puffback?

Puffbacks are explosions of soot and smoke caused by improper furnace ignition. They typically occur when excessive amounts of fuel vapors accumulate inside of your furnace’s burner chamber. When the furnace ignites, these vapors explode. Fortunately, this explosion does not have the force to put you and your family at risk. However, over time, a puffback can make a serious impact on your HVAC system.

When an oil burner does not ignite immediately, excess oil builds up within the combustion chamber. The fuel could then ignite explosively, like the backfiring of a car. Depending on how much fuel has built up in the chamber, the result can range from a small explosion to a cloud of oily smoke.  

This disaster poses the greatest threat due to the excessive amounts of soot and smoke they produce. Over time, soot builds up on the inner surfaces of your furnace and heat exchanger, often leading to problems such as corrosion and clogged burner nozzles. The worst aspect of a puffback is that both soot and smoke will find their way and impact your home’s air quality.  

  1. Oil and Gas Furnaces Can Have Puffbacks

Puffbacks can occur in both natural gas and oil-burning furnaces. All furnaces have the capability of accumulating fuel vapors in the combustion chamber if it is not properly maintained. With that said, a puffback poses a more common problem for oil furnaces.

Fun fact, oil furnaces have greater maintenance needs. A neglected oil furnace will accumulate issues that lead to a puffback at a faster rate. Furthermore, oil furnaces tend to experience more severe puffbacks. Heating oil dissipates at a lower rate than natural gas. This will ultimately allow it to accumulate in greater quantities.

  1. Issues Leading Up to a Puffback

A puffback may stem from a variety of furnace problems, many of which relate back to a lack of maintenance. The most direct mechanism of puffback involves leaks in or around the furnace’s combustion chamber. These leaks allow fuel to trickle into the combustion chamber even when the furnace is not running. As soon as the burner turns on, fuel will ignite.

A puffback can also be due to the exhaust flue or chimney. If exhaust gases cannot vacate the system quickly enough, they will remain inside of the furnace. This specific scenario alters the delicate pressure balance needed for proper combustion, changing the air-fuel ratio and leading to a puffback. Such pressure problems may cause additional damages to the heat exchanger.

Puffbacks frequently happen as the result of clogged burners. When fuel cannot enter a furnace efficiently, misfires allow for fuel (that was not burned) to accumulate inside the combustion chamber. Finally, puffbacks may stem from excessive dirt ignition electrodes. A dirty electrode may fail to generate the spark needed for combustion, instead of allowing fuel to puddle inside of the furnace.

As a result, the mess of soot and debris will be mixed with oil. It can quickly spread throughout your home, covering cabinets, walls, furniture, and everything else you would never want covered in black, sticky grime. In addition to the mess, puffbacks contaminate the air and surfaces with unhealthy material. The consequences can be unpleasant, but SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover can work with you in the cleaning and restoration process of your home and belongings.

Should a puffback occur, here are some helpful tips to follow:

  • Assess the damage
  • Wash all affected clothing and throw out exposed food
  • Contact a technician to repair the malfunctioning furnace
  • Contact SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover

SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover is a trusted leader in the restoration industry. We have the specific damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to quickly restore your home to its original state. If you need someone to help with any type of smoke, soot, or fire damage, our high trained technicians will by there to start the restoration process. For more information about what it takes to manage a puffback and prevention steps towards avoiding an expected disaster, please reach out to us at SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover at 301-577-1166.