Archived Blog Posts
Attic Mold After Water Damage
This is a frank discussion about proper attic and roof ventilation in order to prevent the onset of mold issues and shingle warranties in your properties. All modern construction should be code inspected to ensure that the proper ventilation was done at the time of construction, but, sadly, often doesn't due to inspections missing these critical observations. Older homes should be evaluated to ensure that proper ventilation is in place and working sufficiently, and the ventilation system(s) should be upgraded whenever there is going to be a probability of having new roof installations. Remember too, to pay attention to the chimney. Flashing can become loose over time, and there may be less obvious leaks related to the chimney. Mold must eat, and it feeds on moisture.
Creating Inventory to Prepare for Potential Fire
Creating an inventory is a great way to plan for fire damage.
Almost everyone these days has a smart phone. A smart phone 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 fire damage.
SERVPRO of North Washington Hills can assist with fire damage restoration services after both commercial or residential fire damage.
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 restoration services, click here.
To check out some fire damage tips for what and what not to do, click here.
Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions. (724) 746-1414
Why It’s Important not to Drive in a Rains Storm
Even a small amount of water can result in hydroplaning, which is when your car’s tires lose traction against the road. When there are flooded roads, the risk of losing control of your vehicle is even greater. Just two feet of water is enough to wash away most cars, and smaller automobiles can be carried away with even less. If this happens, you may end up having to abandon your vehicle.
Water isn’t the only thing that can present an issue during a storm. A flooded street can easily hide debris, sinkholes, and other road damage. Flood water can fill holes in the road, making it look safe to drive on even though there may be hidden dangers lurking beneath the water.
Most cars are not designed to travel in high waters and could suffer a lot of damage if you attempt to drive on a flooded street. If the water is high enough, it can enter the engine or other parts of the car. Not only can this affect your safety while you are driving, but you may also end up needing to spend money on water damage repair.
SERVPRO of West Hills wants to remind the citizens of Fayetteville to be safe and prepared for storms.
Why is flood water considered a Category 3
Sewage Damage after Flooding in a local home.
Heavy rain and localized flooding can cause your neighborhood’s sewers to backup and overflow out of your sinks and toilets. This can cause feces, used toilet paper and other sewer contents to spill into your home. While you might be able to stem the flood temporarily by closing doors and stuffing the bottoms of the bathroom doors with towels, the condition of the water makes its removal by a qualified flood damage and restoration service a must.
Flood waters fall into three categories:
- Category 1 - comes from a sterile source, such as a burst kitchen pipe.
- Category 2 - may contain rinse water and detergent residue from a washing machine or dishwasher
- Category 3 – this water may carry human and animal feces, chemical waste and other hazards.
Outdoor floods that occur as the result of heavy rainstorms or other weather events are almost always Category 3, as rushing waters can pick up a variety of contaminants before they enter your home.
How Can Property Managers Prepare for a Storm?
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 ahead for adverse weather. Storm preparedness involves taking steps to ready the exterior and interior of a commercial property, as well as gathering important information.
Too Much Rain Can Cause Water Damage
We cannot forecast the number of major storm events, but when storm damage happens, please keep it green with SERVPRO WEST HILLS. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Assoc. reported that in 2016, flooding alone resulted in an estimated collective $99 billion dollars in loss. Also, remember to review your homeowner's insurance policy to be certain that the policy covers sewer back up. Many homeowners insurance policies DO NOT cover this. You may add $5,000 or $10,000 worth of sewer back up coverage, by adding an ENDORSEMENT to the existing homeowners insurance policy, if the coverage is currently not available on your existing policy. SERVPRO WEST HILLS is here to help when storm events result in disaster for your home or business.
3 Steps a Flood Damage Service May Take To Resolve a Sewer Flood at Your Business
SERVPRO can quickly respond to sewer cleanup service and make sure your business is taken care of.
Become Familiar With The Steps Professional Sewer Cleanup Service May Take To Restore Your Building
There are many different types of floods your Edgeworth, PA, business might endure, but few are more damaging than those that originate from a sewer. Black water, raw sewage and other contaminated contents can ruin building materials, stored items and office equipment. If you are currently dealing with this situation or want to be prepared for the future, then you may want to become familiar with the steps a professional sewer cleanup service might take to restore your property in the wake of such a flood.
When professional flood damage technicians arrive, they will likely inspect the flooded areas and take whatever steps they can to keep the sewer backup from spreading. For example, they will likely evacuate the rooms or the entire building so they can safely assess the situation before sealing off rooms or using portable sump pumps to drain away water that still might be flowing from contaminated sources.
2. Building Material Inspection
Some building materials, such as drywall and insulation, are porous and can absorb sewage water. As such, an important part of the sewer cleanup process for your technicians is to inspect floors, ceilings and carpeting once the flood water is cleared to gauge the level of damage and which might need tearing out and replacing. Your flood specialists may perform flood cuts, which involves removing a section of a wall a few inches above the water line to know how seriously the interior and the components it contains might have been damaged.
3. Restoration and Odor Removal
Sewage odor from a flooded toilet can linger long after the water has been drained away. Experienced technicians from a flood damage and mitigation service can give you several options for removing any unpleasant smells, from replacing floors and sections of drywall to ozone machines that cleanse the air and leave no trace of sewage behind.
When a sewer flood affects your Edgeworth, PA , business, the results can be devastating. However, understanding the process a professional sewer cleanup service may take to restore your building can help you feel confident about the results.
WATER AND FIRE: IN THE EVENT OF LOSS, WHAT ABOUT YOUR VALUABLES?
WATER and FIRE LOSS: When these type of disasters occur, contents in your home can be adversely effected. You can certainly look to rely on the contents coverage on your homeowners policy, but more than likely, you'll find yourself disappointed to learn that there are special sublimits for certain categories of valuables, including but not limited to jewelry, fine art, silverware, and other collectibles. A separate valuable articles rider/endorsement can adequately protect these items. Additionally, consider taking time out of your busy week to either video and/or photograph rooms and valuable items. Remember to print out photos, and secure them in an alternate location in the event of a water or fire loss (like a safety deposit box, or your Mother's home).
Preparing Your Pets for a Fire
In the blink of an eye, our lives can change. None of us want to experience loss due to fire, water, or storm events. However, it is important to be prepared, and always think about safety first. Family members should have an agreed upon meeting spot if they would have to exit the home in the event of a sudden emergency. Also, an escape ladder should be positioned near a window inside the home. Often, families have pets, and let us not forget the furry ones of our family. Is there a "get away bag" near an exit with a few cans of food for the furry ones, some water, and one or two of their favorite toys, and some of their medications packed. Also, are there friends or family that would take the pets in if you and your family were to be displaced as a result of a fire, water, or storm event loss at your place of living.
Can Employees Come To Work During Mold Removal?
Contact SERVPRO for mold remediation services
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 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 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 in Edgeworth, PA.
How To Improve Claim Processing With Reliable Emergency Services
Commercial water damage in Moon,PA
As an insurance agent or adjuster, you work to make sure clients are getting the compensation they deserve when disaster strikes their commercial property. Your claim services, however, depend on the efficient response of other entities. When you work with a reliable damage mitigation company, you can improve the speed at which you process your claims.
It pays to build a relationship with a company that specializes in various types of emergency response:
- Flood Remediation
- Fire Restoration
- Mold Mitigation
- Storm Cleanup
It's best to choose a company in Moon, PA, that not only cleans up the mess the disaster left behind but also restores your client's building to its former state. A company that includes both remediation and restoration in one fluid process will likely work well as a preferred vendor and help you streamline your claim services.
Starting mitigation as soon as possible can help minimize the damage to your client's property, thus lowering the cost of repairing it. When you call the 24-hour help line, local SERVPRO agents spring into action. Within a few hours, technicians can be on-site, assessing your client's property to determine what kind of mitigation is needed so that you can get the claim process started.
With years of experience and skills training backing them up, the experts who take on your client's cleanup job can provide detailed reports of their progress. They remove unsalvageable materials, make sure the building is clean and dry to prevent secondary damage and rebuild the affected area so that it is functional again. Many insurance companies choose SERVPRO as their preferred vendor because they know they can rely on the company's reputation for quality service.
You can improve your claim services by working with a trustworthy restoration company. You can depend on reliable scope, response and service with a certified remediation team.
Does Water Damage Ruin Carpet?
Replacing carpeting exposed to water damage
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.
The Category of Damage
The extent of damage to 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 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 in Morgan, PA.
Why Does Mold Grow on Food?
Mold spores are everywhere
Food is one of the most common places that mold can be found. Most people have seen mold on bread or food stored in the refrigerator for too long. The most common types of bread mold include cladosporium, penicillium and rhizopus stolonifera. Find out why these and many other types of mold grow on food.
Spores Are Everywhere
Mold spores are present in air, soil and water. As a result, food items are likely to be exposed to spores throughout the food supply chain:
Exposure to spores usually does not immediately cause fungus growth. Spores only settle and multiply in a suitable environment.
Moisture and Nutriment
Practically every type of food is a dense source of nutriment. Moisture and a food source are the two requirements for mold growth. The starches in bread break down into sugars, which sustain bread mold. Limited air circulation during storage at room temperature or in a refrigerator is also favorable for fungi.
Delaying Mold Growth
It is all but impossible to prevent mold from growing on food eventually. Delay growth by taking the following food safety measures:
- Cover cooked food as soon as possible
- Promptly refrigerate food
- Make sure containers and surfaces are clean
- Maintain low humidity levels
Even if fridge mold starts growing on one item, containment and cleanliness can limit cross-contamination. Throw away food as soon as mold growth becomes apparent. Some preserved foods contain mold that is safe to eat or which should be removed prior to consumption.
Mold grows on food for the same reasons that people eat food. Bread and other items are sources of sustenance. Bread mold usually does not indicate a major problem. If homeowners smell a musty odor or see signs of mold growth on building materials or contents, they should schedule a consultation with mold remediation specialists in Oakdale, PA.
3 Reasons to Choose SERVPRO
SERVPRO offers protective boarding services
3 Reasons to Choose SERVPRO
If you have a client with property needing restoration, then you may want to consider recommending a SERVPRO franchise in their local Noblestown, PA, 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's 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 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.
Extending the Life of Your Commercial Roof
Schedule regular maintenance for your roof in Fayetteville, PA
Regular Maintenance To Your Commercial Roof
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’s 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 in Fayetteville, PA, 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’s one of the most important steps you can take to prevent major issues such as a roof leak that will threaten your business.
What Happens During the Fire Cleanup Process
SERVPRO equipment ULV Foggers can be used to get your home smelling clean again
Fire Cleanup Process
If your Robinson Township, PA, home has been damaged by a fire, contacting a remediation service is a good idea. They can professionally remove fire and smoke damage from your home and help get everything back to the way it was before the incident. One crucial part of restoring your house is cleaning up your home and any damaged belongings.
1. Removing Soot From Your Home
The first part of the cleanup process will be removing any soot from your home. Soot consists of carbon particles that are created during a fire and will likely cover walls, floors, and items near where the fire occurred. A fire restoration service will be able to clean and remove the soot damage from the structure of your home.
2. Cleaning Your Belongings
Some of your belongings may have fire damage that makes it difficult to save or restore them, but others might only have smoke damage that can be removed. Any items that can be salvaged will be cleaned during the restoration process to return them to the condition they were in before the fire.
3. Removing Smoke Odor From Your Home
Once all of the soot has been removed from the home and your belongings have been restored, smoke cleaning will be performed to remove any remaining odors. Smoke has a strong smell that can linger in your home after a fire, but fogging equipment and industrial air scrubbers can be used to get your home smelling clean again.
After a fire, it is important that you call a professional service to perform the cleanup process for you. Depending on the size of the fire, there can be quite a bit of smoke damage that can be difficult for you to remove on your own. A fire restoration company will have the proper training and equipment to return your home to its prior condition.
The Emergency Action Plan: Understanding the Basic Principles
The best time to plan your evacuation plan is now!
Basics of An Emergency Action Plan
Every business should have a contingency plan, but that doesn’t only refer to whether or not a company succeeds or fails. Emergency planning is also a part of any good contingency. You need to know that your employees are safe and accounted for in the event of a disaster. Therefore, you should understand the basics of an emergency action plan.
1. Make a List of Contacts
Every well-crafted evacuation plan requires a list of contacts. By ensuring contacts are regularly updated, you can keep track of people in a more thorough way. For instance, if your business is evacuated because of a fire, you can double-check counts to your list of contacts, and you can reach out to anyone not accounted for.
2. Designate and Assign Clear Evacuation Routes
An emergency contingency plan should include several exit routes designed to lead outdoors from every point in the building. Additionally, employees should be assigned a route that corresponds to their section of the building. This allows evacuations to happen in an orderly and predictable manner.
3. Design a Way To Account for Employees
You may also want to assign specific floor managers to specific exit routes, making them responsible for counting and verifying everyone assigned to their route. This will make accounting for all personnel easier, and it will allow a small group of managers to interact and check numbers.
4. Know Who Is Responsible for Reporting Fires
You should assign the task of reporting fires to specific people yet encourage others to call as well. By assigning the responsibility, you ensure someone reports the problem, but by encouraging others, you make certain that no one drops the ball.
Beyond reporting fires to emergency services and your insurer, you should keep a disaster restoration specialist in the Edgeworth, PA, area on file. These professionals may even set up an emergency plan with you, making the process that much easier.
A proper contingency plan in the event of an emergency can be the difference between life and death. Keep your employees and yourself safe by planning ahead, and seek assistance when and if you need it.
Your Insurance Adjuster Is a Big Fan of Organization
Water damage is the second most frequently filed insurance claim in the United States
Feel sorry for home adjusters, especially when they come in teams to handle a regional disaster in the Coraopolis, PA area. They work long hours. Claimants are neither happy nor prepared. The list of water damage claims goes on and on. When they finally do sleep, they dream that they will one day visit an insured who is organized and ready to go.
Learn Where You Stand and What You Need to Do
You may already know everything there is to know about how your policy covers your home for water damage, but that’s not enough. You need to have a good understanding of the insurance claim process and your responsibilities in it. Here are a few questions you should ask your agent or company in your initial call:
- What is the deadline for filing claims?
- Can temporary repairs to secure the home proceed?
- When can permanent repairs begin?
- What do you need for documentation?
- Will your insurance pay for you to relocate temporarily?
Hopefully, your insurer doesn’t expect you let the water damage continue to grow while you wait for a home adjuster. If they allow you to begin before the adjuster shows up, make sure that you understand the rules.
Be That Insured That Adjusters Dream About
Your adjuster needs copies of everything you can collect. If you can provide these items in an organized fashion, your adjuster will be ecstatic:
- Digital photos
- Inspection reports
- Written bids
Also, the adjuster must have the opportunity to examine big-ticket items destined for the dump, if possible. However, bear in mind that no adjuster wants to inspect a damaged freezer full of food three weeks after the event. Dispose of the contents.
The Home Adjuster Approved Your Claim, and You May Begin Permanent Repairs
When it comes to repairs, it’s always best to choose a company that works well with insurance companies. You will find such a team of water damage restoration experts nearby and ready to begin.
Combating Fungus: Controlling Mold Growth in Your Home
Airflow will keep humidity out and avoid mold growth
Controlling Mold Growth in Your Home
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 in the Neville Township, PA, area to 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.
Hoarding--it was a term which began with folks known to have their savings by them, probably hidden inside their flock-beds; in the contemporary day, hoarding in a living or work space is a pattern characterized by excessive acquisition of and/or an inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that cover the living areas of the home, or an office area. You may have made a New Year's resolution to clear out and clean out. It takes time. Some conditions that may be present in a hoarding situation: Beds that cannot be slept in; Kitchens that cannot be used for food preparation; Tables, chairs, or sofas that cannot be used for dining or sitting; Unsanitary bathrooms; Tubs, showers, and sinks filled with items and can no longer be used for washing or bathing; Their clutter and mess is at a point where it can cause illness, distress, and impairment. Also, if pets are present, they may have caused significant damage to floors and carpeting because they have been having accidents inside. We do rebuild--We are also capable of laying flooring, carpeting and much, much more. We are here to help, and estimates are complimentary. Make one of those New Year's Resolutions become a reality--give us a call for help. SERVPRO WEST HILLS 412-660-5457
Unattended cooking is the main cause of home fires. When cooking during the holiday season, you may be distracted by guests or cooking in ways that are out of your normal cooking routine. Don't leave the kitchen without turning off the heat, and remember to keep flammable items such as pot holders, wooden utensils, and food packaging off the stovetop. When using the oven, set a timer to remind yourself it's in use. You might want to consider keeping a lid nearby when you are cooking on top of the stove. You can use that lid to smother a grease fire. For a flame up in the oven, turn off the heat and leave the oven door closed until the fire goes out. Never use water to put out a grease fire. Keeping a box of baking soda nearby will help put down a grease fire. And last, but certainly not least, if the fire is big--everyone get out of the building, close the door to contain the flames.
Winter Season Fire Risks
There are 25,000 house fires annually due to overly soiled chimneys. When was your chimney last swept. Some folks have more than one fire place--get them all swept. Please consider taking your cellular phone charger out of the outlet when it is not charging your mobile phone--ever notice how hot that charger gets? If you enjoy supplementing winter time warmth with electric blankets and space heaters, consider their age, and examine all cords at the beginning of the season, and always remember to turn off and/or unplug these items when not in use, and especially when you are leaving the house--even if it be for just a 20 minute journey up the street to the convenience store.
Fall Check For Increased Pollutant & Risk Loads
Pollutants can be around the home, or actually stored within the home, and may increase the probability of fire, or other risk events. Think about items being stored in and around the home, and check with local municipalities for correct disposal methods. Some examples of items we keep, and may forget about for many, many years: oil, grease, and toxic chemicals; pesticides and lawn and garden treatments; viruses and bacteria can materialize from forgotten pet waste, and failing septic systems; heavy metals from roof shingles, and other sources. Fall, like Spring, is a great time--before the days get really short, to clean the gutters, walk the property and look for ill or dying trees, test the furnace and the smoke detector batteries, and removed items which may have been stored much too long.
Back To School
Welcome to September! School is back in session, and there is a shift of patterns of behavior in the household. Safety awareness is always important. Now, the kids may be plugging in flat irons and forget to turn them off. Some may be back onto the morning coffee, and leave the coffee pot powered on all day when they leave the house. Additionally, you may want to consider pulling out the cell phone charger from the wall when you are not charging the cell phone. Did you ever happen to feel how hot it gets plugged into the wall when it is not charging a cell phone? Also, please check smoke detector batteries, and have at least one extra set of batteries in the home--ready to go, so there is no "down time" without batteries in the smoke detector. Please have a family plan for emergency exit, and consider a minimum of two exits. Have all persons in the household agree to a designated meeting spot outside the home in advance.
In recent area June and July rains and storms left one area with an estimated 126 homes and 48 businesses affected by it in some way. People living in the area have said they have lived here their entire lives and have not seen anything like it. Who would think that living in Robinson, McKees Rocks, Stowe, Neville Island, Moon, West View, Leetsdale, Kennedy Township, Imperial, Ingram, Crafton, and Carnegie, and other airport area locales would bring these sorts of storm systems? When we hear about landslides, we think California--not Pittsburgh. Do what you can to prepare for emergencies in advance. Select an agreed upon spot to meet, have a smoke detector and regularly check the batteries, have some bottled water and portable foods, and don't forget to think about the pets, and have a plan for them as well.
Summer brings longer days, and opportunities to share fun family activities together like boating, swimming, fireworks, the zoo, vacationing, and much, much more. It's challenging to focus on ideas which would demand an evacuation plan from your home or business. These are things that we definitely don't want to think about, especially when there's so much opportunity for summer fun. However, disaster can strike at any single unexpected moment, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take about 10 or 15 minutes to have a family meeting, and discuss logical plans to escape the building, and please absolutely agree on a meeting locale outside the home--so often, family members will re-enter a burning home, searching for a family member who may already be out, and they don't know it. This sort of unplanned event would become all you can think about: the unplanned expense, finding a reliable contractor, plus the inconvenience to you and your family. We are always here to help. Estimates are free.
Mold is bigger than us. Our professionals use advanced water detection equipment to locate the source of the problem and remediate (remove/take away) any mold or water damage. It's important to note that mold--just like us--needs fed. Areas with moisture, darkness, and no ventilation are ideal to feed mold, and help it grow and thrive. Remember to find the food source for the mold. You don't want to remove the mold, only to have it return yet again due to a hidden leaking pipe, ground water seeping into the building, absence of a French drain or sump pump, leaking roof, or a cracked foundation--these examples come from a very long list of ways mold can be fed. The source of their food (the moisture) must be solved and removed in order to ensure that the mold will not return.
From 2011-2015, USA fire departments responded to an estimated average of 170,200 home structure fires that involved cooking equipment. Forty-seven (47 %) percent of reported homes structure fires were caused by cooking. Never leave pots and pans unattended on the stove--don't forget to turn the oven off after the baking is completed; double check yourself. Don't believe that running up the street to the convenience store for 5 minutes and leaving flames on, yet low, on the stove, is safe--it's not. For instance, boiling water on the stove, and then going off to check the laundry. The laundry is finished, and you become distracted, wanting to fold the clothes while they are still hot out of the dryer. In an effort to save time later, and complete the task, you continue on to another area of the home, to put all the folded clothes away. How much time has passed? How high was that flame on the stove? How much water was in the pot? It could be long enough to evaporate all the water in the pot, and the flame continues on without the benefit of water in the pot. Most fires are not total losses, and most fires are kitchen fires, however, no one wants to have a fire experience in their lives.
We hope Spring brings you more flowers and less showers, but if you experience water damage in your home or auto, we are here to help with solutions. When it becomes warmer, and we park outside, we may forget to close those windows, and then there is a massive, heavy over night rain storm. Our vehicle becomes water saturated. Then you may begin to have an itchy nose, and smell that mold smell. Next, you vacuum, and put the little scent tree on your rearview mirror--but oh, that smell. The same situation of leaving that open window in the house, and then, oh, that smell! We live in such a damp geographical region, thankful for our abundant drinking water source, but--mold is everywhere, and our mold estimates are free.
Heavy winds can damage literally hundreds of trees and create dangerous conditions. Additionally, heavy winds can cause power outages. Being proactive, and having a first aid kit--with fresh, non-expired products--both in your home and vehicles, walking your property during fair weather days, looking for ill and diseased trees, or hanging or cracked branches which are extremely large and heavy. If you note any of these things, seek out estimates to address and solve these problem trees BEFORE heavy, inclement weather arrives. Also, consider how you and your family would function if you lost power due to heavy winds. Do you have candles and flash lights with working batteries, and an extra sets of batteries? Blankets, and dry or pre-packaged food supplies for 2 or 3 days? Don't forget water--assume one gallon per day for each person and animal.
With all the cold weather, it is hard to conceptualize that spring is nearly here. Purging the home and garage twice a year helps eliminate headaches down the road. Plan for sections, or rooms, and work in phases, so it won't be overwhelmingly time consuming. Work from the top down, inside to outside, to avoid getting what you just cleaned dirty again.
Do one room, or just one area at a time. The satisfaction of seeing one room sparkle will inspire to do more. When tidying, reduce trips around the house by temporarily depositing items in one spot. Don't forget to scrub the shower stall. Make small repairs. If you're not handy, hire someone. Invest in good rubber or vinyl gloves to protect your skin and nails.
Dust before vacuuming or cleaning the floor--floor work kicks up the dust. Household rags are invaluable for jobs requiring a damp cloth – natural fibres work best. Buy mops with a squeeze mechanism (great for vinyl, linoleum or ceramic tile floors) and a decent-size heavy-duty pail. Use a Swiffer for light dusting, or your favorite broom or vacuum attachment to clean hardwood floors. Then damp-mop with a mild cleaner such as Murphy Oil Soap.
When Pipes Freeze
When temperatures drop and stay below 32 degrees for a full three days, it is highly likely that pipes can freeze. The following thaw that comes along after the freeze is when the pipes are likely to burst, and the result is not only a broken pipe, but water damage. Water damage to floors, carpets, dry wall and plaster, personal property, and appliances. The damage list can--sadly--go on and on. Remember, during the frigid, wintery season that you do NOT drop the thermostat below 58 degrees when you go out, and if the building is much older, a light drip, drip in both cold and hot spigots in all locations in the home. Make sure you know where your water main shut off is in your home. Also, does it turn easily? If no, a little spritz of WD-40 on the valve to help it move easily in the event there is an issue where the water main must be shut off, you won't be struggling with an uncooperative valve in an emergency.
Prevent Christmas Tree Fires
There are certain types of fires and injuries associated with holiday decorating, and are much more common during this season. Look for a Christmas tree that is fresh, and has green needles that don't fall out. Brownish needles mean the tree is dried out and more prone to catch fire. Test your lights out BEFORE you add them to the tree for any irregularities. Water your tree daily to prevent it from drying out. Consider the behavior of pets and small children when laying out your tree area. Keep your tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source, such as a fireplace, radiator, candles or lights. Always turn off lights on a tree before going to bed, or leaving your home. And it is a very wise and practical idea--if you haven't checked lately--that you check to confirm that your smoke alarm(s) are working properly. Remember, safety first.
Ductwork Cleaning And Filter Changes
Not only are we known for fire, water, mold, body fluid/crime scene clean up, graffiti removal, and fast efficient post-fire board ups, we do a variety of residential and commercial and construction cleaning. During the winter months, not only should we remember to ensure that our smoke detector batteries are working on a monthly basis, but what about furnace filters and furnace ductwork in your living space? Ask yourself some of these questions: When was my house built? Have the ducts ever been cleaned? How long has it been since the ductwork has been cleaned, or the furnace filter changed? Can you remember? Additionally, during winter months, windows and doors are shut, and sometimes windows are actually sealed up, making it important to vacuum and dust regularly. Otherwise, air circulated is NOT ventilated and can contain very high levels of dust. You should consider setting up an annual maintenance contract to ensure that your ductwork remains free of dust and dirt.
Where does all the stuff come from? And more importantly, how can we--as individuals and families--manage all the stuff? SERVPRO of WEST HILLS helps individuals and families when the stuff gets totally out of control. We assist on HOARDER clean outs. 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 build up 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 pick ups 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.
Purging one's office or living space several times a year helps diminish the build up of clutter, and saves time when cleaning. It's amazing the volume of mail that arrives on a daily basis. Where does all the paper, magazines, knickknacks, and general stuff come from anyway? When piles of paper, magazines, files, and other paper materials become too high, they can hide visibility to the walls and other surroundings. These piles can hide spots from water leaks--for instance. Blocking out small windows of time--since we are all so very busy these days--to attack particular pieces of furniture, or target a certain room. Perhaps a good rule of thumb might be: if it hasn't been used or worn in one year, it can be placed in the "Out" pile. Select a Purging "season," and then do your Purging annually or quarterly.
Electric Shock Drownings
Watch Those Storm Event Skies
Don't let summer fun turn to tragedy. Electric shock drownings are a hidden danger in swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, and around boats, marinas, and launch ramps.
Electric shock drowning (ESD) can occur when faulty wiring sends an electrical current into the water. The current then passes through the body, causing paralysis, and results in drowning.
Life saving measures such as ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection and all grounding and bonding systems are functioning properly.
Just a reminder that with such a rainy summer season this year, keep your eye on the sky for incoming storm events and rain. Thunder and lightening are best seen from inside the house, not inside the pool or hot tub. Error on the side of caution, and get out of the water.
It Is A New Year--Make A Home Inventory
It Is A New Year--Make A Home Inventory: Making a list of items in your home BEFORE a fire, water, smoke, soot or mold emergency happens; it helps guarantee that you won't forget to claim something lost in the event of a disaster. SERVPRO of West Hills 412.299.5520