Recent Posts

How To Prepare Your Building for Spring Floods

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

Flood cuts and removed tile flooring. Being proactive can help you keep your commercial building safe from flooding.

Spring is a time for new beginnings, but it’s also time for a spring flood or two. With the sun coming out and the snow melting in Indiana, PA, your business might be at risk. To avoid the worst water damage and flooding, here are four things you can do to prepare for the season.

1. Check Your Drains

With the extra inflow of water, your drains need to be fully functional. Rain gutters, downspouts, and roof drain divert the water from vulnerable parts of your building. If a gutter or downspout isn’t fully functional, it can lead to liquid that enters the building and causes a lot of water damage. You might want to check for any blockage or potential obstructions near your storm drains.

2. Create a Flood Plan

Even if you protect your roof from potential water damage and flooding, your building might still be exposed. A great way to deal with these types of disasters is to create a plan that you, your employees, and customers can follow if needed. Locate any safe nearby locations that everyone can travel to.

3. Move Your Valuables

If a flood does occur, it will most likely affect your lower floors the most. You can move electronics, important files, and other equipment on a higher floor to prevent damage. If you are concerned with losing important data, backup files and put them in a secure location.

4. Maintain Your Pipes

With fluctuating temperatures outside, you might deal with a frozen pipe or two. These pipes can burst and lead to serious water damage, but by keeping the building at a decent temperature and thawing out pipes when the problem arises, you can prevent the worse damage.

Being proactive can help you keep your commercial building safe from flooding. By being aware of spring thaw and preparing your structure for the worst, you can minimize damage and continue business throughout the year.

Important Steps To Filing a Claim for Flood Damage

9/6/2021 (Permalink)

Flooding in a basement. While recovering from a flood can be a long and arduous process, helping your family and your home with a proper flood is a great first step.

After a major flood has caused extensive damage to your Indiana County home, knowing what to do first can be overwhelming. However, if there’s anything worth taking the time to properly research and set into motion, it’s filing a flood claim for help with the damages. If you’re unfamiliar with the general process required to make an insurance claim, here are some important steps to take when you decide to file and get your family’s home and life back in order.

? Contact your insurance company or your personal agent to get the ball rolling on the filing process. It’s best to notify your insurer as soon as possible and have them discuss your options with you directly, as different policies can vary depending on the amount of storm damage. Having easy access to important documentation such as your policy number and contact info is helpful in speeding the flood claim process along.

? Sort through your belongings and determine the extent of the damage in your home. Before a professional team of restoration experts has begun to clear out your residence, it’s important to collect evidence of the damage to your home’s structure for the insurance claim. Taking photos of your property and your belongings, forming lists of damaged items, and collecting useful receipts if they’re available are all vital to creating a good case for your claim.

? Once your insurance agent is involved, have them help set you up with a sworn statement of the damages called a Proof of Loss. While individual insurance policies can differ on the details of your claim, the standard procedure generally follows this rule for claiming your damages. Once this paperwork has been approved and signed, your family’s claim payment should be well on its way to help you restore your home.

While recovering from a catastrophic flood in Indiana County can be a long and arduous process, helping your family and your home with a proper flood claim is a great first step in getting back to your normal, daily lives.

What You Should Throw Away When Dealing With Mold

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

Team member in PPE on a mold job. Although many of your belongings might be damaged, you can be satisfied that the structure of your home will be restored to its pre-mold state.

Whether you have dealt with floodwater in Indiana County or have recently discovered mold spores in your home, you should properly dispose of contaminated belongings. Mold is known for spreading quickly, and you’ll want to avoid that. This article lists what you should throw away and what you can preserve during the mold cleaning process.

Porous Objects

Any belongings that can easily soak up water can become a problem if you are dealing with mold damage. If these types of objects were affected by floodwater or mold, they should be thrown away. Here are a few items that are considered porous:

• Mattresses
• Furniture
• Stuffed animals
• Cardboard
• Carpet

There are many other porous items that can get ruined when in contact with mold. However, clothes can be professionally cleaned and preserved.

Food Items

Food that is affected by mold should be thrown away. Mold has some dangerous qualities, and food can easily become contaminated by it. Plan on getting rid of all food items that have touched mold spores.

Sentimental Objects

Some porous belongings have great sentimental value, such as wedding albums, family pictures, or journals. Fortunately, these can be sanitized and preserved if you act quickly. As soon as you’ve noticed the damage, place any items you wish to save in the freezer and contact a mold remediation professional. Most items can be partially or completely fixed.

Professional Opinions

Restoration experts can ultimately give you a final opinion on contaminated objects. A mold cleaning inspection can help professionals determine which objects are salvageable, and which should be gotten rid of. Once the inspection is complete, they can properly clean and sanitize everything with their specialized equipment.

Although many of your belongings might be damaged or ruined, you can be satisfied that the structure of your home will be restored to its pre-mold state. The mold cleaning process can protect you and prevent any more damage from occurring.

The Unintentional Skylight: Mitigating Roof Damage After a Storm

8/6/2021 (Permalink)

Temporary roof tarp over a house. If your home has been damaged by a storm, call SERVPRO.

After A Storm, What Could We Do To Mitigating Roof Damage?

The storm is over, and there is a moment of relief before you realize that your living room has a new skylight, courtesy of your neighbor’s intrusive maple. Overwhelmed, it is easy to write off the incident, walk away, and let your homeowner’s policy take care of the mess. You have protection against wind damage and roof damage, so why not?

The problem is that insurance companies may not cover damage that occurs after a storm, meaning that if any further damage occurs because of a gaping hole in your ceiling and that dangling tree limb, you could be liable. Therefore, it is up to you to prevent further damage, or to mitigate that damage. There are three steps to follow after a storm has caused damage: remove debris, clean and dry the damaged area, and cover/protect the area to prevent further damage.

1. Remove Debris

It is important to remove debris after a storm to prevent both further roof damage and potential physical injury. For instance, the weight of a heavy tree limb can continue to put pressure on a compromised roof, opening a hole further or collapsing the roof altogether. By removing the tree limb, you mitigate the risk of further damage to both the roof and yourself.

2. Clean and Dry the Damaged Area

Water damage can cause many problems, including mold, which is why it is important to clean and dry damaged areas thoroughly. After major storms, it can take insurance adjusters weeks or more to review your case, and that is not time you can afford to waste.

3. Cover and Protect To Prevent Further Damage

After removing debris and cleaning the damaged areas, it is important to cover any openings to protect the inside of your home. The most cost-effective option is to use either tarps or plywood to cover exposed areas. There are local restoration specialists in the Indiana, PA, area that can help with large or dangerous mitigation jobs.

Storms can be frightening, and their aftermath devastating. Nevertheless, most insurance companies require homeowners to mitigate further home and roof damage by taking the above steps, so be safe and be prepared.

Understand Mold Growth for Prevention

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

Black mold growth on wall Commercial mold damage in Willet, PA.

In Order To Prevent Mold Growth, You Must First Understand It

Many commercial property owners in Willet, PA, are well-aware of the need for mold prevention and the high cost of water damage. In their efforts to avoid mold growth, property owners have identified many of the most likely areas for growth, but other areas have gone unnoticed. In light of this, one of the best ways to control the growth and spread of mold is to understand the conditions that encourage growth.

Four Ingredients Necessary for Mold

  • Organic nutrients
  • Moisture, whether water or humidity
  • A hospitable surface
  • Darkness

Identifying these four ingredients and taking efforts to isolate or control those ingredients is key to mold prevention. For example, something as ubiquitous as dust particles on a building surface in an out-of-the-way place in an air-conditioned building can become an ideal environment for floating spores to take root and colonize. Dimly-lit basements and attics are often full of dust and can be easily affected by high humidity, leaks from appliances on the roof, or seepage through aging foundations.

Overlooked Areas of Mold Colonization

Other likely areas to inspect and maintain in prevention efforts include:

  • Carpeting
  • Cavity walls
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Corners without air circulation
  • Ductwork
  • Electrical equipment
  • HVAC system drain pans
  • Masonry surfaces
  • Paper storage
  • Terminal Units
  • Wallboards

Awareness of the possibility for mold contamination, ongoing maintenance, and routine inspections by mold prevention and remediation professionals is key to controlling mold in commercial buildings. Any possible source of humidity, moisture, and water should be monitored regularly, so property owners can immediately respond to water damage, limiting the possibility of mold growth.

Your Responsibility for Property in Willet, PA

If you're a property owner, your ability to control the ingredients of mold colonization is crucial in combating its growth. By recognizing the necessary ingredients for mold to grow and learning to appropriately prevent growth, you have already taken an important step in protecting your building. As you commit to responding immediately when signs of damage from water are present, you can be confident that remediation efforts will be successful and effective.

How To Clean Your Grill in 6 Easy Steps

7/21/2021 (Permalink)

Supplies to clean a grill With consistent grill maintenance, the risk of a grease fire is significantly reduced.

In 6 Simple Steps, Clean Your Grill

You are the grill master of your neighborhood in South Bend, PA. You make the best hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers on the block. But, are you the best at grill cleaning? Many people do not consider the aftermath left on the grill after the barbeque ends. Follow the six steps below to keep your grill at peak performance all season long:

1. Turn the grill off. For a gas grill, ensure that all knobs are turned off and the propane tank is disconnected.

2. Disassemble the parts. Take the plates and grates off of the grill. Wear gloves to keep your hands clean and protect yourself from any remaining heat.

3. Soak and scrub. Soak the parts from the previous step in a mixture of dish soap and hot water. Scrub the inside walls and the underside of the grill hood. After scrubbing, use a wet paper towel to wipe the areas down. Scrub the grates and rinse with clean water.

4. Take care of the drip pan. Empty, soak and scrub the drip pan. Rinse with fresh water when clean.

5. Reassemble the grill. After the grill cleaning, return the removed parts back to the grill. This includes the drip pan, plates and grates. Reattach the propane tank on a gas grill.

6. Clean the outside. Use soapy water or stainless-steel cleaning wipes to quickly wipe down the exterior of the grill. For grills with a cabinet, wipe down the inside of that as well.

When you master the art of grill cleaning in South Bend, PA your food tastes better and your home is safer. With consistent grill maintenance, the risk of a grease fire is significantly reduced. If a fire spreads from the grill and threatens the safety of your home immediately vacate the area and call 911. If the unthinkable happens and the blaze damages your house, contact a fire restoration specialist and your homeowner’s insurance agent as soon as possible.

Preparing for a Home Adjuster’s Visit

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

Air movers inside a room Water restoration services in Black Lick, PA.

Steps To Prepare Yourself Before You File a Claim

Having to deal with a disaster in Black Lick, PA can feel intimidating. On top of that, you have to feel organized and prepared enough to answer all the questions of a home adjuster when you contact your insurance company. Even if you have little to no experience dealing with insurance claims, there are some key steps you can take to prepare yourself before you file a claim.

Keep Good Records

Documentation is key for filing an insurance claim — the more descriptive you are, the better. Things to note in your documentation are:

  • What item(s) are damaged
  • How much it would cost you to repair/replace damaged items
  • When you bought damaged items

Preparation is important to help the visit from the home adjuster go smoothly; it can also speed up your claims process. It's a good idea to have a list written out of the damaged items, with receipts if possible. If you are working with damaged items, it can be helpful to take pictures or record video of the damage to help substantiate your claim. If your property or items were destroyed, try your best to recall what information you can when receipts aren't available.

Make a List of Structural Damage

In addition to your records for any damaged items, you should make another list of structural damage you would like to show the adjuster, such as missing shingles or cracks in the wall or foundation. Are there any signs of electrical damage? Often, insurance will pay for the inspection of electrical and structural damage to the house or other property, such as an inground pool, shed, or garage. When obtaining bids from contractors for the damage, be sure that they are itemized bids that include materials and labor.

Whether you're dealing with property damage, structural damage, or both, the most important thing to remember is document, document, document. Write down the names and contact information of everyone you speak to, including your water restoration professionals. Make a copy for yourself of whatever you submit to the home adjuster for your claim — even lists and receipts. This will help you feel more prepared and your claim process faster. 

Flood Planning for Businesses

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

Wet floor with mud Flood damage in Two Lick, PA.

Flood Preparation for Businesses

Blowing winds and flooding are expected in Two Lick, PA, where your business is located. What actions do you take to avoid flood damage before and during the storm? What steps do you take afterward?

Before a Flood

Sometimes, flooding can occur with little to no warning. Be prepared ahead of time so you can take action quickly when a flood is imminent:

  • Review your commercial property insurance information. Often, flood damage is not covered unless separate flood insurance is added to the policy.
  • Prepare a flood plan for your business. Include important contact information and procedures to keep staff safe. Record plans to secure the property and protect the contents.
  • Train your staff on flood plans and evacuation procedures. Review regularly and update the plan as needed.

During a Flood

Act fast to avoid significant flood damage in a storm. Follow your flood plan to ensure the safety of your employees. Do the following to protect the contents of your business:

  • Move important contents above ground level, either to an upper level of the building or to a different location. This includes furniture, electrical equipment, and files.
  • Use sandbags and plastic sheeting to block floodwaters around doors and windows. Use wood to board up openings.

After a Flood

Once the floodwaters have settled and your staff is safe, take stock of the storm damage. To avoid secondary problems, immediately make plans for cleanup and repair:

  • Contact your commercial property insurance agent.
  • Arrange for a water restoration company to assess the storm damage and begin the repair process.

When a storm hits in Two Lick, PA, sometimes flooding is unavoidable. By planning ahead, you can keep your employees safe, and reduce the risk of damage to your commercial property and its contents. Knowing the steps to take after a flood are just as important so you can return your business to pre-flood condition as soon as possible. 

Volunteerism - Supporting our Community

7/7/2021 (Permalink)

Hydration Set-up The calm, right before the storms!

We were fortunate enough to be the official water sponsor of a 50k race, that is 31 miles for all of the folks who haven't yet converted to the metric system, which if I'm not mistaken has been in the works for the past 245 years.  I'm not sure if any of you participate in races, but a 50k is brutal and the torrential downpours didn't do anything to help the runners. 

Humidity along with soaked clothing and water logged shoes does wonders for morale when you are spending an entire day running, or attempting to run.  To add insult to injury, the course was on the Ghost Town Trail, PA's 2020 Trail of the Year, which includes a steady 2% incline for the entire race.  

At 5:30am we were set up at four (4) hydration stations.  We had volunteers working the stations who also checked off the participants as they passed through each checkpoint.  I was set up at the finish line, handing out water to each participant as they completed the event.

I was amazed at the number of participants.  We had 314 racers and 148 of them traveled from multiple states to go head-to-head with this 50k course.  (Spoiler alert, the course destroyed many an ego.)  Even the first finisher, who clocked in at 4 hours and 11 minutes was humbled by this course.  He finished strong and at the same time he looked as if he had taken one too many head shots from the heavyweight champ of the world.  He was the human version of a Weeble... as he wobbled, but he didn't fall down.  

It was a blessing to be able to support our community for the entirety of the race.  Our water was a hit and all but a few finishers took the time to thank us.  Those who didn't were obviously delirious from the race.  I figure that nearly 300 racers finished over a 13 hour period which gave me a lot of time, hours in fact, spent talking with the finishers, anxious family members, the other race sponsors and the race organizers.  I met many folks who have used SERVPRO, some who had recommended our services and others who had many questions about what we actually do for a living.  I offered answers as short as "we provide fire/water restoration, mold remediation and cleaning services" to full blown discussions on how we tackle certain types of losses, big and small.  I made many new contacts, both commercial and residential, and I also made new friends, mostly with the members and volunteers of the race organizer, the Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Association (CCCRA).  I also spent time with local ambulance associations, as their services were required for a few unfortunate participants throughout the race.  

The long and short of it is that with the proper planning and preparation of the station locations and the water distribution, everyone was properly hydrated.  I had a chance to meet to a group of highly motivated community members that I likely never would have met if we weren't supporting our community.  

Lessons learned... 20 ounce bottles of water were too much for water runners to carry, the more volunteers the better and if you plan for the worst, you will probably have a wildly successful experience, while supporting your community!

Five Things To Do To Prevent a Gas Fire From a Leak

7/5/2021 (Permalink)

outdoor of a home damaged by a fire. Fire damage in Indiana, PA.

Whether it is after a storm or even on a normal day, smelling gas in your home is an unsettling feeling. A gas fire is a common type of house fire, but the good news is you can easily prevent fires caused by natural gas leaks. By following these simple steps, you can protect your home and family.

What To Do When You Smell Gas

1. Remain Calm. You have a better chance of preventing a gas fire when you can think clearly.

2. Ventilate the House. When you open windows, it allows the gas to escape, lessening the chance of a gas explosion.

3. Avoid Making Sparks or Using a Flame. A spark can trigger a gas explosion. Light switches can create sparks, so you don’t want to turn any lights on or off. You also don’t want to use candles or lighters for this same reason. Use a flashlight instead.

4. Make Sure the Stove Is Off. In most instances, the natural gas is coming from the stove. Check to see that all the dials have been shut off properly. You can hear a hiss coming from the burner in this case.

5. Move the Family Outside and Shut Off the Gas. Being outside is the safest place for your family. Once you are outside, go to the meter and shut off the gas. Every meter has an emergency shut-off valve. Find it and turn it to the off position. Then, call the appropriate authorities from a neighbor’s home or your cellphone.

Following these steps can help you when you smell natural gas. Know where your meter and shut-off valve are located, so you can easily find them in an emergency. If you have had the unfortunate event of a gas fire in Indiana, PA, you can find the help you need by calling a restoration professional to help you get your home back to normal.