Recent Posts

What Is That "White Stuff" Growing On My Basement Walls?

10/18/2022 (Permalink)

Basement brick wall with water damage and white crystals growing on it Efflorescence - A Common Problem In Wisconsin Basements

Have you ever seen that white/gray "fuzzy stuff" growing on your basement walls or in someone else's house?  Were you worried that it was hazardous?  Well, the "fuzzy stuff" is called efflorescense and it is NOT dangerous.  It is more annoying and unattractive, but nothing to worry about or nothing that can't be fixed.  

If you have a concrete or masonry block foundation, this is a common problem.  Efflorescence can be easily removed because it simply is salt.  If you observe efflorescence on in your home, this means that you have a water issue that must be taken care of.  This moisture problem can cause deterioration if ignored.  

The cause of this is water from the outside is penetrating the brick or concrete and comes in contact with minerals.  A chemical reaction then takes place and dissolves the minerals.  The moisture then migrates to the other side of the block or concrete (the inside of your home) and eventually evaporates.  As water evaporates from the surface the mineral deposits are left behind, and these efflorescence crystals can grow.

The concern is that the efflorescence is NOT just on the side of the brick or concrete, but these same crystals can also grow inside the brick or concrete and cause spalling.  The definition of spalling the breaking of ore, rock, stone or concrete into smaller pieces or fragments.  This spalling can make the surface peel, pop or flake off.  The salt pushes from the inside out and can eventually cause crumbling and deterioration.

Hopefully if you remove the efflorescence it does not come back.  If it does not return, this probably means that the cause was the initial moisture and salts from when the concrete was placed.  However, if the efflorescence does return, this is a clear indication that water is entering the brick or concrete wall and pushing the salts out.  

Can I Prevent Efflorescence?

The answer is YES!  The best way to prevent the efflorescence is to prevent water from infiltrating the wall. If you see efflorescence crystals it usually means there is a leak somewhere letting outside water in. Once, the source of the water infiltration has been located and stopped then the walls can be cleaned with an efflorescence remover.

While inside systems can divert the water, it may not solve the problem of efflorescence and other moisture-related mineral build-ups. Regardless of what is done on the inside, water is still entering through the wall from the outside.

The salt that ends up as efflorescence crystals on your walls, can come from salt laden soils or the Portland cement in the mortar and grout. The soluble salts could come from the sand or from contaminated water used to make the concrete, grout or mortar.

Another culprit is, of course, the clay brick itself. The natural clays used in the manufacture of brick often contain soluble alkali sulfates. Most modern fired clay brick have balanced chemical additives to immobilize the sulfates and render them insoluble. This prevents the salts from being dissolved into a solution that could migrate through the wall to the surface. Most fired clay brick do not greatly contribute towards the efflorescence problem.

If you have a problem if efflorescence and would like to have it removed, please call the water damage professionals at SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County (262-542-0900) or SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc (920-674-3002).

Desiccant Dehu vs. Low-Grain Refrigerant Dehu

8/31/2022 (Permalink)

Two types of dehumidifiers in front of SERVPRO work truck Various Types of Dehumidifiers Used by SERVPRO

Desiccant dehu vs Compressor dehu

SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County and SERVPRO Jefferson County/Oconomowoc use both types of dehumidifiers on our jobs.  The commercial grade Phoenix D385 dehumidifier units are used for large jobs or cold temperature situations.

A desiccant dehumidifier functions by drawing air through an intake duct, where it is then passed through a large rotating wheel composed of a water-absorbing material (desiccant). This is a material that absorbs the humidity from the air. The air is then pushed by a fan operated by an electric motor and the air is blown back out into the room. The air duct is often kept hot by an electric heating element, which also heats the airspace within the rotating wheel to dry it out. Excess moister is ran through a drain line or directly outside through lay flat ducting creating a negative air process if viable. In some cases, a desiccant is ducted directly into a standard compressor dehumidifier. This is a viable option for above average moister levels accompanied by a secondary heat source to get rapid drying done in large spaces.

When it comes to using a standard low-grain refrigerant dehumidifier in an area such as a basement, garage, or space below 60 degrees, it is important to know that these dehumidifiers will often have trouble working to their full potential. This is due to the fact that the inside of a compressor dehumidifier needs to be colder than the ambient air in the space it is occupying in order for it to work efficiently. If the room temperature falls below 50°, it means that the components within a compressor dehumidifier will be close to freezing, which means that ice could form on the cooling coils. Most compressor dehumidifiers will spend the majority of their time defrosting themselves when faced with temperatures below or around 50°.

With this being said it is important to know when it would be better to implement the use of a desiccant dehumidifier vs a standard compressor dehumidifier.

For all your water damage questions or needs, please contact a certified water restoration technician.  The SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County location is 262-542-0900 and our SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc location is 920-674-3002

Delafield Block Party

7/21/2022 (Permalink)

A collage of images, orange shirt with SERVPRO logo, a sign that says Sanitation Sponsor and Block Party logo SERVPRO enjoys being a part of the Delafield Chamber events.

Every year the Delafield Chamber of Commerce holds a Block Party. There is music, food, and drinks. This year the music was Bella Cain, Totally Neon, Kingfish, and The Toys. People came from all over to enjoy two beautiful nights in Delafield.

This year SERVPRO of Southwest Waukesha County was the sanitation sponsor. SERVPRO feels it is important to support the chamber because they give back to the businesses. 

Fire Damage? Here's What YOU Can (and Can't) Do

7/20/2022 (Permalink)

After a fire causes damage to your home, we understand that you want to restore everything from your home to your possessions to "normal" as soon as possible. Here are some active steps you can and can't take following a fire

  • DO make sure everyone in your family is safe, including all beloved pets. 
  • DON'T enter the fire-damaged structure until the fire department deems it safe.
  • DO document the damage with pictures once you have permission to reenter the home.
  • DON'T turn on gas, water or electric utilities until a professional has deemed them safe.
  • DO call insurance and utility providers to inform them of the fire. 
  • DON'T wash smoke-damaged clothing yourself. This can set the smoke odors or stains and ruin them. Smoke-damaged clothing should quickly be taken to the dry cleaner. 
  • DO Call SERVPRO: If you experience fire damage, call the cleaning and restoration pros at SERVPRO to restore your home to its normal as soon as possible.

Got Storm Damage? We Got You.

6/28/2022 (Permalink)

Natural disasters are never planned, but when they do occur they can cause damage to your business and slow down operations while your property is being restored. With over 45 years in the restoration industry and top of the line equipment, the professionals at SERVPRO provide a quick response to any disaster. From restoring water damage from leaks to repairing your building, we aim to help you avoid revenue loss and minimize inconvenience to your business. Our quick response can help you resume normal business functions quickly while avoiding costly construction downtime. 

For a quick response to any disaster give the professionals at SERVPRO a call to restore your property and its contents to their preloss conditions and return your business to its normal function as soon as possible. 

Clean Homes Sell Faster

6/28/2022 (Permalink)

Get it clean, get it sold! Selling a house can be stressful, and SERVPRO is here to help get your home in condition to sell without the hassle.  

Duct and HVAC Cleaning: Dirty ducts can circulate odors and allergens in your home. Duct and HVAC cleaning can reduce allergens and pet dander, eliminate smells and improve operating conditions and efficiency.

Control Moisture and Mold: Mold can be found in any environment and can affect decrease property appeal. With top-of-the-line equipment and training, SERVPRO professionals can clean existing mold so that your property retains its value.

Pass More Home Inspections: SERVPRO professionals are prepared to resolve any issue from water stains to mildew smell to get your home in condition to sell. 

A clean, fresh-smelling home sells faster, and SERVPRO is here to help you get there, no matter the starting condition. For all your cleaning needs give the professionals at SERVPRO a call. 

Business of the Year

4/28/2022 (Permalink)

Clear circular award Proud to be a part of a fantastic team that won the Business of the Year Award.

Delafield Chamber of Commerce

In April 2022, the Delafield Chamber of Commerce nominated SERVPRO of Southwest Waukesha County as Business of the Year.

The Delafield Chamber of Commerce gave SERVPRO the Business of the Year award at the Annual Awards event. 

This award is for a business that demonstrates all-around business excellence, with commercial success, growth, and community involvement.

SERVPRO is so proud of the team and all their hard work to receive this award.

Spring Thunderstorms and How to Prepare

4/12/2022 (Permalink)

Spring can bring lots of rainy weather and thunderstorms. Here are our top tips on how to prevent water damage and ensure your safety.

To keep your property safe:

  • Keep up with your home maintenance- replace missing shingles and loose siding to prevent water from leaking in and damaging your home. 
  • Check your sump pump- make sure it is in working order to prevent basement flooding.
  • Check for loose fence posts- anything that's not secured can be blown into your house by the wind and cause damage.
  • Trim your trees- make sure dead branches are removed to prevent them falling on your home or car. 
  • If bad thunderstorms are in the forecast, have a generator on hand for the event of a possible power outage and prepare and emergency kit with flashlights, batteries and a first aid kit. 

To keep you safe:

  • Check the forecast- be aware if a bad thunderstorm is predicted for your area.
  • When thunder roars, go indoors- try to get out of the storm and find shelter inside in the event of a thunderstorm.
  • Stay dry- do not shwer, wash dishes or run water during a thunderstorm and avoid bodies of water.

What is Asbestos?

2/15/2022 (Permalink)

An image of asbestos in an attic Insulation containing asbestos can be dangerous. Luckily, SERVPRO professionals are here to help with all your removal needs.

As a property owner you may find yourself asking, What is asbestos? Asbestos is fiberous crystals of silicate that are often used in atic and wall insulation due to its strength and ability to resist heat.

Ok, but why is it dangerous? Asbestos is dangerous because the long fiberous crystals that it is comprised of have the ability to break down into microscopically thin fibers. These fibers are so small they can remain airborne for days if they are disturbed. While airborne, individuals can breathe these fibers in. Since the fibers are so small, they can travel deep into a person’s lungs, where they may eventually lodge in the lung tissue. Once there, these fibers can cause several serious medical issues including asbestosis. For this reason, it is important to identify and remove asbestos in your home or workspace.

With our cutting-edge equipment and comprehensive training, the professionals at SERVPRO are here to help with all your asbestos removal needs.

Storm Damage Ruining Your Carpeting? SERVPRO Can Help

2/3/2022 (Permalink)

Storms can cause a variety of damage to your home and property, Luckily SERVPRO professionals are here to help you recover from any weather disaster. 

High winds can cause damage to roofing, allowing water to leak in from thunderstorms or melting hail or snow. This water damage can affect the structural integrity of the building and cause damage to flooring, carpeting, furniture and ceilings. SERVPRO has the service, training and equipment to restore any of these damages. Our professionals have the tools to clean and restore carpeting that has been soiled to any degree, from light staining to moderate to heavy soiling. SERVPRO professionals will take the time to determine and communicate which cleaning option is best for your carpet's level of soiling, provide and estimate of the time and cost of the job, and explain how to prolong your carpet's appearance and quality following restoration.

Remember, for all you your carpet cleaning needs SERVPRO is here to make it "Like it never even happened."