Recent Posts

The Secret to Having a Reliable Fire Sprinkler System

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

Automatic fire sprinklers are an ingenious idea, designed to save lives and protect property. However, most businesses set and forget these systems, and that is where they go wrong. Neglected sprinklers are more likely to fail in the event of a fire, or cause water damage if they leak. Here are some of the things you could do to avoid sprinkler failure in your business.

Regular Sprinkler Maintenance

Sprinkler maintenance is the first step towards securing your property from a fire. For example, if you have a wet pipe system, there is a high chance water could freeze in the piping, resulting in a lot of pressure in that area. Such situations can break fittings or forcefully open sprinkler valves.
Other reasons for sprinkler failure include:

  • Mechanical damage
  • Corrosion
  • Deliberate sabotage

You have two options when it comes to maintaining a sprinkler system – do it monthly or quarterly. Most companies in this line of work charge surprisingly low rates for this service, and it can save you thousands of dollars in return.

Use the Right Materials

Steel-based sprinkler systems are more likely to fail compared to CPVC systems. Metal gets corrosion and scaling over time, leaving it at a high risk of blocking. It happens when the metal’s ions break away after reacting with stationary water that has 6.5 PH or more. These particles build up in one spot, and that translates to more maintenance expenses.


Scaling is a result of water minerals settling to form a solid layer in the pipes. That limits water flow during a fire and can even clog the sprinklers completely. To avoid these complications, replace the entire system with a newer one that will not corrode or let the water freeze.

That said, it is essential to schedule regular sprinkler maintenance with a local company. It will not only save you from potential body injury claims, but it will also protect your business from a fire.

After the Storm: What to Expect During the Restoration Process

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

It can be difficult to comprehend the type of damage a violent storm can do to your home. Flooding, damaged building materials, and soaked furniture are just a few problems you may be dealing with in the wake of a storm. A professional flood damage company can help your home recover. Knowing what to expect during the process, from tear-out services to water drainage, may help you feel more confident about the outcome.

Storm Mitigation

When a powerful storm causes water damage to your home, it is important to contain the water. Preventing its spread can help reduce these future problems:

  • Rapid mold growth
  • Swelling and warping of wood
  • High humidity

When a storm damage service arrives, they will likely act to prevent floodwaters from spreading to dry areas. Rooms that contain electronic components, such as fuse boxes or thermostats, may be drained first to prevent long-term damage to these systems.

Water and Debris Drainage


A storm restoration service will probably bring in a variety of machinery to drain away floodwater. When outdoor flooding invades your home, it may bring in not only water, but debris that includes dead leaves, mud, and garbage as well. Trash pumps and portable sump pumps can drain away this waste so your flood technicians can continue with tear-out services and other restoration actions.

Flood Cuts and Drywall Replacement

Because many building materials are porous, such as drywall, they can absorb and retain floodwater. This can cause rotting and damage to interior wall components, including insulation. Your storm damage and restoration service techs may perform a flood cut into the drywall about a foot above the water line to assess such issues and to gauge what kind of repairs might be needed.

When violent storms impact your home it can be difficult to know what to expect once repairs begin. Learning about tear-out services and other restorative actions may help give you peace of mind about the future state of your home.

6 Ways to Minimize the Risk of a Space Heater Fire

6/21/2021 (Permalink)

A space heater can be an efficient way to keep your home warm during frigid winter days. However, improper usage of a supplemental heating device can be dangerous. Six key safety tips can safeguard your residence from a burned space heater, a potentially damaging inferno, and a costly and time-consuming smoke cleanup.

Consider Safety Features

There are many models available on the market. If you have children or pets, consider purchasing a device with safety features, such as cool-touch housing or a tip-over protection switch that can automatically turn the unit off. With pets and kids running around you have the possibility of a space heater getting knocked over, and if there is no tip-over protection the heater will run and end up burning the material that it is set on.

Place in a Safe Area

Placing your heater in a safe location is also important. Avoid putting it in high-traffic areas where people may easily bump into it or trip over its cord. You should also ensure the device is several feet away from potential combustibles, such as curtains, newspapers, blankets, and upholstered furniture.


Check for Frayed Wires

Using any appliance with exposed wiring can result in an electrical fire. To avoid a burned space heater, you should routinely inspect your heater’s cord for damage.

Plug Only into Outlets

Although useful, extension cords can overheat. Because of this, you should avoid using them with your space heater. Plugging the unit directly into an available outlet is the safest option.


Do Not Place Objects on Heater

Because the space heater emits heat, it may be tempting to warm towels and clothing on the structure. However, draping any item over the unit represents a potential fire hazard.

Avoid Use in Damp Areas

Water and electricity can be a deadly combination. To alleviate the threat of electrocution, do not use a space heater in your bathroom. You should also avoid touching the device if your hands are wet.

No homeowner wants to endure a smoke cleanup or fire damage restoration project. Making conscientious decisions about how and where you use your supplemental heating source can spare you from a burned space heater and unintentional residential destruction.

Does Water Damage Ruin Carpet?

6/18/2021 (Permalink)

A pipe break, leak, or flood can ruin carpeting. Even if an incident involves clean water, prompt drying is necessary to prevent mold growth. Homeowners should consider the following factors when weighing the options of restoring or replacing flooring.

Water Categories

The extent of damage to the carpet depends on the level of contamination in water. Mitigation professionals classify water damage into three categories:

  • Category One water is clean and treated
  • Category Two water is contaminated but does not contain solid waste
  • Category Three water is heavily contaminated and may contain solid waste

Carpeting saturated with Category One water from a pipe break can be dried, but it is important to mitigate damage quickly to prevent mold growth. Porous flooring exposed to contaminated water may run a higher risk of developing mold. Depending on the duration of time since the damage occurred, it may be possible to clean carpeting, or porous flooring material may need to be torn up, disposed of, and replaced. 

The Condition of Carpeting

Carpet that has remained waterlogged for longer than 24 hours runs a higher risk of supporting mold growth. Moisture can penetrate to the underlayment and subfloor where hidden mold may multiply. It is important to dry every layer of flooring.


Advice From Restoration Experts

A service that specializes in cleaning up residential water damage can advise homeowners about whether flooring should be restored or replaced. Trained professionals will factor in the type of damage and condition of the flooring. It is important to allow the affected area to dry completely before replacing flooring.

Water damage caused by a pipe break can simply be dried if homeowners act quickly. Replacing carpeting exposed to contaminated water may be safer in the long run. Mold can result in costly damage to a residence. Seek a recommendation from a damage mitigation and restoration company.

Can Employees Go to Work During Mold Removal

6/9/2021 (Permalink)

Building or business owners may want to continue operating during mold remediation. It can be possible to do so depending on the containment methods in use and how much of a structure will be affected by mold removal. Owners should consider the following factors to provide employees with a safe working environment during remediation.

Confirm the Containment Strategy

The extent and type of mold present in a structure will determine whether containment is necessary. These measures will affect the portion of a building affected by mold growth that is being removed:

  • Limited containment for contamination of 10 to 100 square feet
  • Full containment for contamination of over 100 square feet
  • Airlocks and decontamination chambers for major infestations and toxigenic species, such as black mold

If employees usually work in an area that is now contained, it will be off-limits during mold removal. These individuals should be relocated until remediation is complete.

Relocate Within a Structure or to a Temporary Location

Even if a work area is not within a containment zone, it can still be helpful to relocate staff to another part of a structure or a temporary location. As long as work can continue, a business owner should not need to make an interruption insurance claim.

Turn Off the HVAC

Air conditioning, heating, and fans can spread spores throughout a structure. Even if limited or full containment is in use with negative air pressure, an HVAC system may still spread preexisting spores throughout a structure. Climate control and ventilation should not be used until the main unit and ductwork have been cleaned.

Be sure to inform employees about the remediation process. Notifications about the mold removal schedule and safety measures can help to maintain productivity levels during this time. Building and business owners can trust that removal will be completed thoroughly and quickly by certified mold remediation professionals.

Replacing a Faulty Toilet

6/9/2021 (Permalink)

Day-to-day life can be busy and hectic. When your home is your castle, the last thing you want is a leaking toilet to turn into more than just a leak. It does not take time for a simple drip to turn into extensive water damage that can lead to mold and other issues. While sometimes a simple repair can fix the problem, replacing an old toilet may be the best choice for peace of mind.

Is It Time to Replace My Toilet?

When small issues only occasionally arise, a toilet repair may be all that is needed. If more signs keep popping up, it is best to not ignore them. Signs for a replacement may include:

  • Clogging is consistent or randomly happens when it should not
  • Visible cracks in the bowl or tank
    Repairs are needed frequently or more than one is needed
  • Toilet was installed prior to 2000
  • Noticeable wobbling or loose fixtures
  • Excessive mineral buildup

Be Prepared Before Replacing

Before starting the process, it is important to be prepared. When buying a new toilet, measurements are everything. The rough-in for your existing toilet needs to be verified before purchasing. While most pipes are 12 inches from the wall, some models are closer or farther. Once you have your new toilet, be sure to have the tools necessary for the replacement.

Replacement Steps

When you are finally ready for installation, the process includes the following steps:

  • Remove old toilet and clean the flange
  • Snugly position and affix closet bolts against the flange
  • Install new wax ring on flange
  • Position new toilet over the flange, aligned with closet bolts
  • Use washer and nuts to secure the toilet
  • Ensure replacement is level and stable before attaching supply line
  • Check fill line is met and caulk if needed

Although a leaking toilet and replacement may be relatively easy fixes, some people do not have the time or know-how to tackle the project. Luckily, there are many trusted professionals that can help including SERVPRO of West Hills & North Washington County. Give us a call at 412-299-5520 for a free assessment!

Is Flooding Considered Storm Damage?

6/8/2021 (Permalink)

Flooding may accompany storm damage, but storms may also result in other types of damage. The clearest distinction between the kinds of damage caused by a storm involves the fact that most general commercial property insurance policies exclude flood damage. A separate policy obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurer may be necessary to cover this kind of damage. Find out more about how damage from floods or storms can coincide along with the firm distinctions between the types of damage that may occur to commercial properties.

Flooding From Rain or Rising Water

A flood is caused by external water. There are three common origins of floodwater:

  • Precipitation
  • Rising bodies of water
  • Storm surges

Flood damage tends to involve contaminated Category 3 water. This black water may contain chemicals, heavy metals, and microbes and calls for cleaning and disinfecting.

Water Damage Due to Storms

A storm may cause floods or backup sewers, but other adverse weather conditions can also result in water damage. Hail, high winds, ice, and snow lead to any of the following types of damage:

  • Broken windows
  • Roof leaks
  • Cave-ins or collapses

External moisture can enter a structure through damaged external doors, windows, or roofing. This damage may take the form of saturated or stained building materials and mold growth.

Flood and Storm Damage Restoration

It is necessary to extract contaminated water from a flood or storm, tear out ruined building materials, and clean and disinfect the area before promoting fast drying. This process may take several days, depending on the damage.

A commercial building owner or manager should determine whether a building has suffered a storm or flood damage. This categorization will determine whether the damage is covered by a standard property insurance policy or calls for flood coverage. Both types of damage necessitate similar mitigation and restoration measures. A one-stop-shop can quickly clean and dry any type of damage caused by water.

Controlling Mold Growth in Your Home

6/1/2021 (Permalink)

While mold damage can occur relatively quickly, most structural harm will come from prolonged instances of moisture buildup. Therefore, to prevent and control the level of mold development in your home, it may be necessary to perform regular inspections as well as install and maintain proper preventative measures.

1. Controlling Humidity

Mold and mildew growth are tied directly to moisture. One of the most advantageous times of the year for this type of fungus is in the warmer summer months when humidity is high. Therefore, as an extra layer of protection, you may want to install dehumidifiers around your home, especially in your basement and possibly attic where moisture levels are typically highest.

2. Ventilating High Moisture Areas

Extensive mold damage can be prevented in areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms by using proper ventilation. You can install ceiling fans and even ductwork that vents to the outside to minimize the amount of remnant moisture in these areas.

3. Sealing Your Home

A lot of mold growth occurs around windows, doors, and even rooflines. You can inspect these areas, looking for signs of sealant wear and tear. If you come across areas of yellowing or cracked caulk lines, it is in your best interest to replace the caulk before dampness infiltrates your framing and home interior. 

4. Inspecting and Resolving Home Repair Issues

While surface inspections are easy enough, it can be beneficial to have annual inspections of your home to ensure that there are no hidden problems. You can call a mold remediation specialist and have your home assessed for possible damage. Many of these companies will offer a free assessment of your property and even provide you with a preventative plan.

Mold damage can be a costly problem that seems to come from nowhere but being vigilant about moisture control can minimize those risks. Installing dehumidifiers and ventilation systems can eliminate most environmental moisture problems. Also, scheduling regular inspections can help pinpoint issues before significant repairs are needed.

A Handful of Low-Cost Fire Alarms Can Help Save Lives

6/1/2021 (Permalink)

If you could spend a few bucks to be virtually certain your family would survive a home fire, would you? Installing a fire alarm in your house wherever it is needed is an incredibly cheap and effective way to accomplish this. There may be no more cost-effective method to mitigate your risk of death than installing the correct number of smoke detectors. These tips help make the most of these simple devices.

You Cannot Go Wrong Installing More Alarms

Strategically place the smoke detectors throughout the house. Experts strongly recommend installing a fire alarm in these locations:

  • Every bedroom
  • Outside every sleeping area
  • Every level of the house

Do not forget the basement. Go ahead and install one wherever it seems logical. The sooner your family finds out about a fire, the better. A small fire can heat up other materials in a room. Once they reach a critical temperature, an event called flashover happens where the fire spreads to most surfaces instantly. Once this occurs, it is probably too late to survive the event. In a fire evacuation, every second matters.

Install Both Ionization Alarms and Photoelectric Alarms

A photoelectric fire alarm reacts quickly to smoldering fires before they can cause a flashover. Ionization alarms are better at catching fast-moving fires. With the prices so low, go ahead and get both kinds to ensure protection and reduce fire damage. Also, some detectors now include both types of sensors.

Modern Materials Drastically Reduce Escape Time


Tests run about 30 years ago indicated that people had approximately 20 minutes to escape a home fire. However, these days that number is reduced to three or four minutes thanks to materials that are subject to quick flashover. The best way to deal with this is to use new wirelessly linked detectors that will set all alarms off throughout the house no matter where the fire is detected.

If you have a fire, make sure to get a professional smoke damage mitigation company to do a proper cleanup. Smoke can leave highly toxic residue behind in every nook and cranny, and it takes expertise to thoroughly remove all traces.

The Facts About Water Damage

5/27/2021 (Permalink)

If you are a conscientious homeowner, you do your best to keep up with maintenance and necessary repairs. While there are things you can do to prevent disasters and emergencies in the home, you cannot always prepare for everything. Something such as a pipe burst or sewer backup can inflict widespread damage. It is important to understand these issues and how professional flood remediation teams can get your home back into good condition.

Typical Causes of Water Damage

Coming home and seeing flooding can be a nightmare. Water can find its way into the house in many ways. Even minor issues can turn into big problems. Here are some of the most common culprits:

  • Roof leaks
  • Broken or leaky pipes
  • Leaky or bursting appliances such as a water heater or dishwasher
  • Backed-up sewer

The Assessment


You should call a professional cleanup team and your homeowner's insurance company immediately after you discover a pipe burst or another cause of the flood. Cleanup crews will first inspect the home and determine the cause of the issue. The team will review the extent of the damage, come up with a restoration plan and share the timeline with you.

Removing the Water

Incoming water from a broken water line or severe weather can leave large amounts of water on the floor, walls, ceilings, and your belongings. Technicians will use industrial-strength machines to extract all standing water. Crews will also take the machines to furniture, carpet, and materials that are saturated with water.

Dry it Up

It is not enough to get rid of the water. A professional water removal team will also thoroughly dry the affected area. The technicians will use fans and dehumidifiers to make sure your entire home is moisture-free.

Sanitize and Rebuild

To keep mold away, the crews will disinfect all affected materials. For any materials the technicians can't save, they'll rebuild and restore your home.


Do not let a pipe burst or other problems keep you out of your home too long. A disaster relief company has the right processes and tools to make your house safe again.