Recent Posts

3 Reasons to Choose SERVPRO

4/6/2021 (Permalink)

If you have a client with property needing restoration, then you may want to consider recommending a SERVPRO franchise in their local area. This professional restoration service may be able to provide the right team to take care of multiple restoration needs. Here are a few reasons you may want to consider them.

1. They Are Trained in Multiple Damage Types

The individuals at SERVPRO are all certified to perform a variety of restoration jobs. This allows them to assess and repair any damages they may find regardless of the source, whether it is water damage, fire damage, mold remediation, or storm damage. This means that on occasions real property has suffered more than one damage type, a single team of restoration professionals can still conduct repairs.

2. They Offer Excellent Service and Results

The SERVPRO franchise is locally owned and operated, meaning that you can often find a service in the vicinity of your clients. This allows for a quick response time. A restoration team can quickly be on the property and begin assessment and planning for the repair process. Their teams pride themselves on providing quality service in every aspect of the job.

3. They Can Help With More Than Building Repairs

These restoration professionals are in areas other than repair. They also offer document restoration, an electronic inventory management system to help insurance companies, item restoration, protective boarding and tarping services, and may even help with security measures for large commercial properties under repair.

If you're looking for a restoration team with excellent service, quality results, and great customer service, then you may want to choose the SERVPRO franchise. These restoration professionals are trained in multiple damage types including fire, flooding, storm damage, and even mold remediation. They even offer a variety of services outside repairs. The variety of services offered, and the ability to deal with multiple types of damage, allows you to recommend a single service to your clients for whatever disaster may have occurred to their property.

Regular Maintenance To Your Commercial Roof

3/31/2021 (Permalink)

Your roof is probably the most important exterior element of your business. Every day, it defends your building against damage from weather elements including wind, rain, sleet, and extreme heat and cold. That is why regular maintenance to prevent potentially catastrophic issues such as a roof leak is so important. By keeping a few basic upkeep guidelines in mind, you can extend the life of your commercial roof and ensure your business is shielded from natural threats.

1. Conduct a visual inspection. Many major roof problems can be identified by simply examining the condition of the roofing material. Any excessive standing water due to rain, snow, or melting ice can cause leaks that will rot wood and rust steel. A “bubbling” effect where roofing materials begin to separate from the base is a possible sign of trapped moisture that may also lead to major leaking. Gaps in the strips of metal around a roof’s perimeter can weaken its structural integrity and increase the potential for wind damage.

2. Schedule regular maintenance. Twice yearly upkeep in the fall and spring is essential in keeping your commercial roof in peak condition. Start by clearing the entire area of any debris including leaves, dirt, and gravel that can hold moisture and generate a roof leak. Clean all gutters and downspouts thoroughly to ensure proper damage during precipitation heavy weather events. Seal any gaps in rooftop vents that can allow water to enter and cause flooding.

3. Know when to contact a professional. While maintaining your own commercial roof can be very effective, extensive issues will require the services of a qualified roofing restoration professional. Major moisture damage, significant material loss due to heavy winds, and destruction due to a major weather event like hail are all problems that should be handled by a professional.

While maintaining your commercial roof will require an investment of time and money, it is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent major issues such as a roof leak that will threaten your business.

How A Sump Pump Can Help Prevent Flooding

3/19/2021 (Permalink)

Image of how a submersible sump pump works. Image of how a submersible sump pump works.

Water will always seek the lowest level, which in most homes is the basement. Because of this, flooding in a basement can occur in many ways including:

  • Drainage tile failure
  • Cracked or burst pipe
  • Hot water tank failure
  • Storm sewer backup
  • Foundation cracks
  • Broken washing machine hose

When one of these issues happens, give SERVPRO of West Hills & North Washington County a call. Acting quickly can help avoid further damage. One of the best ways to keep your basement dry and to prevent flooding in the first place is by installing a sump pump.

Types of sump pumps?

Sump pumps are small pumps that move water from your basement out of your home. There are two different types of primary sump pumps:

  • Submersible – Submersible sump pumps contain the pump and motor in one unit and sit submerged in a basin. They are quieter and less obtrusive but are harder to fix and a little more expensive.
  • Pedestal – Pedestal sump pumps are mounted above the floor and consist of a separate pump and a motor that cannot get wet. They are less expensive and easier to repair but are noisier and more obtrusive.

Submersible pumps are usually found in finished basements, whereas pedestal pumps are found in unfished basements.

How do sump pumps work?

When pressure builds upon the foundation walls, cracks will form and allow water to leak through. Sump pumps are necessary because they remove water from around the foundation and not allowing that water to slip through. A sump pit collects water from around the foundation, and then pipes attached to the pump push water through a discharge pipe, out of the house, and away from the foundation. These pipes have a one-way valve to move the water in a single direction, which ensures water does not come right back down.

Sump pumps require electricity, so if a storm were to knock out the power, that would render it useless. A battery backup helps provide some extra security during a power outage. When the power goes out and water rises in the basin, the float switch is triggered and allows your pump to operate normally. Make sure to occasionally check those batteries!

Basement flooding can be costly to repair, but losing personal items and family heirlooms can make it a tragedy. Make sure to waterproof your basement as much as possible and take the right preventative steps. For any questions or concerns give SERVPRO of West Hills & North Washington County a call at 412-299-5520!

Winter Storms & Polar Vortex Preparation

2/23/2021 (Permalink)

This image shows how an ice dam is formed. How ice dams are formed.

There is always talk this time of year about when the next “polar vortex” is on the way, but what is this phenomenon? A polar vortex is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both Earth’s poles. During the winter, the polar vortex will expand and send cold air south with the jet stream. Arctic air can bring abnormally low temperatures to places that do not typically get too cold. This can cause complications in buildings if precautionary steps are not taken. When colder temperatures hit, people will prepare themselves with hats, gloves, and warm clothes. That level of preparation should also take place for homes and businesses.

Problems that can arise during these conditions:

  • Ice damming happens when indoor heating melts the snow on the roof above a conditioned space forcing water to move to and freeze on the roof eaves. A ridge of ice then forms and prevents melting snow to drain off the roof, thus allowing water to move into the structure through cracks in the roof.
  • Problems with the foundation can be caused by a frost heave, which is when freezing temperatures and water penetrate the ground, forming ice, and then forcing the soil to swell and push up against the foundation. Added pressure on the foundation walls can create cracks in the concrete where water can seep through.
  • Frozen pipes occur when the temperature is cold enough to freeze the water inside of the pipe. Water molecules expand when frozen to create a blockage of ice within the pipe causing unfrozen water to build up and increase pressure on that pipe. An increase in pressure can thus raise the chance of a pipe rupturing.

From all these scenarios, water damage can appear inside and possibly lead to the growth of mold. Keep an eye on any problem areas you may have to make sure things are not worsening.

Steps you can take to prepare:

  • Make sure your top floor or attic is well insulated.
  • Try to clean the snow off your roof as much as possible.
  • Wrap pipes with added insulation.
  • Seal in any foundation cracks.
  • To avoid freezing, let your faucets drip to keep water flowing.
  • If ice damming is a reoccurring issue, install heat cables along the edges of the roof.
  • Shut off exterior water sources that are not insulated.
  • If you are away for an extended period, keep temperature in the structure at 55°F or higher.

Make sure to have extra supplies and to stay informed on weather events coming to the area. It is best to be proactive during the winter months because you never know what mother nature will bring!

3 Ways To Reduce Your Commercial Fire Risk

4/20/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke detector of fire alarm in action Consider including smoke alarms on your Noblestown, PA facility

3 Ways To Reduce Your Commercial Fire Risk

Most people have never had to operate a fire extinguisher or flee a burning building, yet according to the U.S. Fire Administration, each year over one million structure fires cause damage to property. If you want to reduce the risk of fire damage for your Noblestown, PA, business, this discussion may help boost your preparation quotient.

Fire Extinguishers
The benefit of well-placed fire extinguishers can’t be overstated. The following facts about commercial fires illustrate their importance:

  • A high percentage of commercial fires don’t require an emergency response because an extinguisher was available.
  • Most business fires happen when workers are present, and a small fire can be handled with a good fire extinguisher.
  • Cleaning up a little bit of foam from the extinguisher is far preferable to the damage that can occur while waiting for emergency responders to arrive.

Knowing where to store your extinguishers and how to use them are crucial factors in their effectiveness. It is essential your employees know where your extinguishers are located and their proper operation. Your local fire remediation specialist or fire department can help evaluate your site and recommend the number and placement of fire extinguishers.

Smoke Alarms
Commercial building codes require smoke alarms because they are your best chance of detecting smoke and fire in the early stages. A working smoke alarm and a good fire extinguisher can be a life-saving combination. Consider including smoke alarms on your facility maintenance schedule. Backup batteries should be replaced every six to nine months, and the alarm exterior should be vacuumed monthly to remove dust and lint.

Fire Sprinklers
Most regional building codes require fire sprinklers in commercial buildings. They may save your facility if a fire starts when no one is in the building. If no one is there to hear the alarms, the sprinklers can completely extinguish a fire or keep it at bay until emergency services arrive.
A small kitchen fire in your lunchroom doesn’t have a chance against the fire prevention triad: a working smoke alarm system, nearby fire extinguishers, and fire sprinklers. They can be the difference between a little smoke damage and costly commercial property damage.

Why You Should Worry About Mold After Flooding

4/9/2020 (Permalink)

Background of mold, sign that says ANYWHERE Microbial spores are everywhere

Why You Should Worry About Mold After Flooding

How could water mean mold growth? It seems like something so ordinary, yet it is the catalyst of fungal spores. Therefore, for business owners in Fayetteville, PA, water damage from flooding is a much larger issue than soggy carpeting. The longer the fluid sits in the establishment, the more likely you'll have a bigger threat, and that could mean more time shut down and a larger restoration bill. Mitigate the situation by working swiftly and considering the following three points.

1. Mold Loves Moisture

Microbial spores are everywhere. Your company has them on a daily basis. They make their way onto the premises through windows, doors and you. In fact, you pick them up outside and bring them in. Usually, that means very little because they lack anything to make them grow; however, when standing water is permitted to linger, you provide the spark needed for development. Fungus only requires a few things to spread: water, organic matter and itself. Add darkness to it, and you have a perfect storm.

2. It Spreads Quickly

You may not realize that mold growth is fast. Within 24 to 48 hours, those little beings begin to multiply, eating away at the structure. Their function in nature is to break things down. Outside, that's a log. Inside, that's your walls, floorboards, and ceiling. Without a doubt, proprietors need to work immediately to prevent a major catastrophe.

3. It Needs Removal

You'll have to gut the place of any contaminated sections. The bacterial and fungal spores are trouble, and they will cause a shutdown. As an environmental hazard, people won't be allowed in until the place clears inspection. Hire a water and mold restoration company as soon as flooding occurs. Doing so, may limit the reproduction or even prevent it from happening. They'll tear out ruined areas, dry out the sections and rebuild what is needed.
Don't allow mold growth. Seek assistance as soon as you see flooding issues. This may keep it at bay.

How To Prevent a Mold Re-Infestation

3/25/2020 (Permalink)

Air purifier machine in a house Air purifiers with HEPA filters trap mold spores

Five Ways To Keep Mold From Coming Back

Even after black mold and other fungus varieties have been fully remediated, the growth can return. This is because mold remediation does not eliminate all mold spores. They are invisible and can be found almost everywhere. Fortunately, a little preventive maintenance decreases the chances of a re-infestation. The following are five ways to keep mold from coming back.

1. Keep humidity low. Ideally, indoor humidity should be below 50%. In particularly humid rooms, like bathrooms and basements, you may need to run a dehumidifier.
2. Run an air purifier. Air purifiers with HEPA filters trap mold spores. Fewer mold spores circulating around your home means a lower chance of them landing somewhere they can grow. You can also install HEPA filters in your HVAC system or use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
3. Use mold-resistant products. Toxic black mold is usually found in water-damaged insulation, drywall, or other building materials. If your home is prone to mold growth, you may want to replace these materials with mold-resistant alternatives. Additionally, you can apply a mold-prevention product such as a mold-control spray or mold-resistant primer.
4. Clean up spills and water damage immediately. In many areas of your home, all that is needed for mold to grow is a little moisture. Therefore, it is important to clean up water, everything from small spills to large appliance leaks, as quickly as possible to prevent an infestation.
5. Check for mold frequently. Check mold-prone areas of your home frequently to spot any mildew before it becomes a large infestation. Mold cleanup is easier and more effective if the growth is caught early.
Even the most fastidious homeowners can experience a mold re-infestation. If the problem is too large for you to handle alone, or if you suspect black mold or another potentially toxic variety, a certified restoration company can help you get your home back to normal quickly and safely.

5 Places To Check for Mold After a Storm

3/3/2020 (Permalink)

Drywall with mold growth. Water can saturate drywall, making its way deep into your building’s structure

Five Areas That Mold Can Be Found In Your Building

If your commercial building in Robinson Township, PA, has experienced widespread damage due to a flood, it can be near impossible for you to track down all the areas that have been saturated with water. If water damaged areas are not addressed in a timely manner, mold growth can take over your building. To keep the situation from growing out of control, it is essential you get help from a water and storm damage restoration specialist to remove standing water and stop mold in its tracks. Here are five common areas that mold can be found in your building after a flood.

1. Flooring Materials

While wet flooring is a common place where mold can be found, it is often hiding below the surface where you can’t see it. Often, soaked porous materials, such as carpeting and certain types of hardwood floors, need to be discarded.

2. Appliances

Mold and other bacteria may start to develop in the refrigerator after a flood, especially if the power went out for an extended period of time. Growth can also occur in ovens, dishwashers, and washing machines if the insulation gets wet.

3. HVAC Systems

Mold growth in your HVAC system is particularly problematic. Don’t turn on your system until all mold is removed to keep it from spreading to other areas of the building.

4. Dry Wall

Water can saturate drywall, making its way deep into your building’s structure. Removal of the drywall is typically necessary to find and remove any mold.

5. Furniture and Other Personal Contents

Furniture, office equipment, and personal belongings left in the building at the time of a flood can be a suitable surface for mold to grow on. A content cleaning specialist can be helpful for restoring any salvageable items.
What may start out as a small amount of fungus can spread quickly, thriving in areas that contain standing water and excess humidity. A restoration specialist can target mold growth in these areas and get your building back to its pre-flood condition.

3 Types of Home Fires Not Covered by Insurance

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

Structure of a garage with fire damage Fire damage in a Neville Township, PA home

3 Types of Home Fires Not Covered by Insurance

A solid homeowner's insurance usually includes protection against home fire. While most plans cover nearly every scenario and fire damage, there are some incidents that cannot be included. These fires are usually either unlikely to occur or are often used for exploitation and financial gain. If you are a homeowner in Neville Township, PA, you might need to learn more about these fires to prepare working with an insurance agent and a residential remediation company.

1. Vacant Fire
A common exception in general fire insurance involves a vacant home. While a vacant home fire can be defined differently by multiple insurance providers, a house is generally considered vacant if there are no inhabitants for 30 days in a row. So, if a fire occurs due to vandalism or a natural disaster in your uninhabited property, it cannot be covered. However, you can add separate vacant home coverage to your existing plan.

2. Self-Inflicted Fire
Sometimes, a home fire may be caused by someone with the intention of hurting you or destroying your property. This is generally considered arson. However, in the insurance field, this term only applies to fires started by owners to make a claim. Insurance companies send investigators who collaborate with police to determine the cause. If the authorities discover a third party started the fire, it is classified as vandalism and you can make a valid claim.

3. Unlikely Hazards
There are also other situations that insurance agencies cannot properly cover because either the loss is too great or the causes are too unlikely to include in a general plan. Destruction caused by a war conflict or an incident involving nuclear energy are likely excluded from your policy. However, there are some agencies that provide additional, specialized coverage in addition to the regular risk areas.
Insurance for a home fire can cover a variety of factors, from natural disasters to vandalism. However, there are a few exceptions you must consider when choosing the right plan for your property.

The Facts About Water Damage

2/14/2020 (Permalink)

Drying equipment in a living room Air movers drying up the affected area after water damage

If you're 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 can't always prepare for everything. Something such as a pipe burst or sewer backup can inflict widespread damage. It's 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's not enough to get rid of the water. A professional water removal team in Coraopolis, PA, 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.
Don't 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.