Recent Posts

Five Ways to Keep Mold from Coming Back

5/5/2022 (Permalink)

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 preventative 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.

  1. Run an air purifier

Air purifiers with HEPA filters trap mold spores. Fewer mold spores circulating around your homes 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

  1. 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.

  1. 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 growth. 

  1. 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 thorough homeowners can experience a mold re-infestation. If the problem is too large for you to handle alone, a certified restoration company can help you get your home back to normal quickly and safely.  

Creating an Inventory Is a Great Way to Plan for Fire Damage

5/5/2022 (Permalink)

Almost everyone these days has a smart phone. This can come in handy when it comes to fire damage. Go through your home and take video inventory of all your valuable items. This will help you realize what is lost after the fire. It’s a great idea to update your homeowner’s policy with newly purchased or received items that hold some value. This way, incase something does happen, they will have proof of bigger ticket items being owned and stored in the home that were lost in the fire. They will then be able to provide you with replacement options.

SERVPRO of West Hills can assist with fire damage restoration services for commercial or residential fire losses. We will also help inventory all damaged items into categories of salvageable and non-salvageable. All contents must be attempted to be restored before the insurance company can provide a replacement value them.

We pride ourselves on being faster to any size disaster. SERVPRO is open 365 days a year including weekends and holidays.

To learn more about our fire damage services, click here.

To check out some fire damage tips for what to do and what not to do, click here.

Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or are looking for an estimate. (412) 299-5520

Common Pipe Noises and How to Address Them

5/4/2022 (Permalink)

A noisy pipe is not just an inconvenience. It could also be evidence that something is wrong with your plumbing system.

If the problem is not addressed, it could lead to a pipe break that causes major damage to your home. Some common pipe noises are:

  • Banging
  • Hammering
  • Whistling

These sounds each signal a potential issue with your plumbing system. Below is a discussion of the causes of these noises and how to address them.

Banging and Hammering

Banging or hammering occurs when there is a sudden stop in the flow of water. Momentum causes the water to slam against the sides of the pipes. This can damage the joints and connections, which can lead to a pipe burst.

To combat this issue, start by inspecting the pipes for any signs of vibration or looseness. If your pipes bang against the wood while vibrating, you can install a rubber pad between the wood and the pipe to reduce the noise.

You can also try installing an air chamber, also called an anti-hammer device. There are several different types, all of which fill up with air that absorbs the sudden increase in water pressure. This, in turn, reduces the risk of a pipe break.

Whistling

Your pipes may make a whistling noise when water flows quickly through an obstructed area. This can occur when a faucet is running.

To determine where the noise is coming from, turn a faucet on and see if you hear the whistling. If you don’t, turn that faucet off and move on to the next one. Once you have found the source of the whistling, you can take that faucet off and move on to the next one. Once you have found the source of the whistling, you can take that faucet apart and replace the brass screw and the washer.

By performing the above maintenance tips in your home, you can avoid a burst pipe. If you do find yourself dealing with a pipe break, however, try calling water repair specialists. They not only fix a broken pipe, but they also can assist with the cleanup process.

Five Areas That Mold Can Be Found in Your Building

5/3/2022 (Permalink)

If your commercial building 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 an emergency 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.

  1. 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. Growth can also occur in ovens, dishwashers, and washing machines if the insulation gets wet.

  1. HVAC Systems

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

  1. Walls

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

  1. 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.

Fire and Water Damage Go Hand in Hand

5/2/2022 (Permalink)

When firefighters extinguish the fire in your building, home, or business you will be left with both fire and water damage. As they put out the fire, massive amounts of water will be used to get this done and to make sure there are no hot spots left. This means that everywhere they hose off will be completely saturated and water damaged.

After the firefighters leave, give SERVPRO of West Hills a call so we can begin the restoration process.

We will first assess the damage and then begin removing all the damaged materials. We will then begin a pack out process to remove all your damaged items and take them to our cleaning facility to remove smoke odor and soot damage. Next is to start the drying process with our specialized equipment. Once everything is dried, we can start the major restoration work. Before you know it, your property will look “Like it never even happened.”

Ways Property Managers Can Prepare For a Storm

4/11/2022 (Permalink)

Here is a list of storm preparation tips that have the exterior of your building prepared to help you make sure your property is ready to withstand any storm.

Exterior Preparation Tips:

There are several steps property managers can take to ensure that the exterior of a commercial property is ready for a storm.

  • Check the condition of exterior doors
    • Clear roof drains, downspouts, and gutters
    • Make sure no loose objects are left unsecured outside, such as antennas on the roof or trash cans on the ground
    • Install storm shutters or board up windows for severe storms with high winds
    • Use strong tape to make an "X" shape on the inside of plate glass to prevent shattering

Property managers should plan for adverse weather. Storm preparedness involves taking steps to ready the exterior and interior of a commercial property, as well as gathering important information.

Ways to Recover From Water Damage

4/11/2022 (Permalink)

Flooding, extreme weather and broken pipes can quickly cause a home to fill with water, threatening the integrity of a building in the process. Once the water is pumped out, it leaves behind a trail of damaged household items, some of which may feel irreplaceable. If you find that your home has recently suffered from severe water damage, it may feel overwhelming to navigate the process. The following are ways to ensure that you salvage the maximum amount possible and return your home to normal.

Remove Water ASAP

Leaving large amounts of stagnant water unattended to for days can lead to mold, which can quickly get out of hand. Flooding in the basement is especially dangerous, as it can result in the following problems.

  • Mold, mildew, or fungus growing and spreading across rooms
  • Damage to appliances, such as washer/dryer units or water heaters
  • Cracks in the foundation of the house
  • Electrical shock from contact with exposed wires

For minor fixes, such as a dripping pipe, a dehumidifier can clean the mess in a matter of hours. These can either be rented or purchased from a reputable dealer.

Contact Professionals for Major Cleanup

In a scenario where is simply too much water to remove through simple measures, professional restoration services can be contacted to take care of things. Restoration servicers specialize in water damage repair and know the best methods for restoring your home.

Dry Off Wet Items

After the water cleanup is completed, the restoration of recovered personal items comes into focus. In all cases, only trained professionals should handle electronics damaged by water. Air-drying works for most non-electronics, although not all belongings will be the same after suffering damage.

The dangers of stagnant water in a residence demand immediate and swift action. Finding and confronting water damage in a timely manner can get your family back on track as soon as possible.

What To Do About Hoarding

4/11/2022 (Permalink)

Where does all the stuff come from?  And more importantly, how can we--as individuals and families--manage all the stuff?

Our SERVPRO Team Assists on Hoarders Clean Out

Our SERVPRO helps individuals and families when the stuff gets totally out of control. We assist on hoarders clean outs and estimates are free.  Even now, with some many communications being electronic in nature, there is still a mountain of paper and things out in our Universe.

Some tools to help manage, or prevent, the buildup of stuff in our homes and worlds may be getting a home shredder and using it every single day in conjunction with the US mail delivery.

Also, remembering to send out boxes and magazines with bi-weekly recycle pickups can help diminish the pile up of paper.  No recycle pick up? Magazines and periodicals can be donated to hair salons, etc.

Blocking out an hour of time a week, to go through things: clothes, shoes, knickknacks, papers, and other items, and being realistic about whether they are needed or used, and then unneeded items can be donated to charity, or perhaps friends or family may enjoy receiving the items.

Common Plumbing Materials and Their Uses

4/11/2022 (Permalink)

Learn About Your Pipes

Most people don't get curious about their plumbing until something like supply line damage comes along. If you'd like to be prepared before this happens, you should learn about your pipes. The type you have can tell you a lot about what kind of damage can happen or how long they will last.

Case Study: Plastic

There are a couple types of plastic you will find out there. The first is CPVC, which usually carries a warranty of 5-8 years. It is a rigid plastic prone to supply line leak at the joints and easy to damage, especially in a freeze. They are usually chosen because they are cheap and easy to install. An upgraded plastic option is PEX, with a warranty of 25 years. Some benefits are:

  • Easy to install with fewer fittings
  • Flexible so it can fit in small spaces
  • Durable and corrosion resistant
  • Can withstand temperatures ranging from 30 degrees to 200 degrees


Case Study: Metal

Copper was the industry standard for a long time, especially for exposed piping. It is still respected by most plumbers and lasts approximately 40 years. Soft copper can be bent to fit in tight places. However, pin hole damage is common to this type of pipe. It is also very expensive. If you have an older home, you may have galvanized iron piping. This type of pipe almost always falls prey to corrosion or rust and supply line damage and is not recommended anymore.

Case Study: Braided

Stainless steel braided supply lines are rubber tubes covered by a woven steel jacket. They usually come with a life-time warranty. They are extremely durable, and usually only cause a bathroom leak if damaged by harsh chemical cleaning supplies stored nearby. Also known as SS lines, they are very flexible and are corrosion resistant. Aesthetically they are very attractive- the woven metal appears like fabric.


Supply line damage can be repaired, but it may also be a blessing in disguise. A leak could uncover problematic plumbing that should be upgraded to something better. Get to know your pipes to keep your home running smoothly.

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.