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What Your Fire Insurance Doesn't Cover

5/22/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage What Your Fire Insurance Doesn't Cover Fire in a vacant home in Homer City, PA

If you have a standard home fire insurance policy in Homer City, PA, you can usually count on that to cover several types of damage:

  • Blazes started by lightning
  • Damage caused by the flames and smoke
  • Losses due to theft and vandalism
  • Your property inside the building
  • Costs of living away from home

You can generally count on coverage for the costs of hiring fire damage and remediation professionals. Liability coverage extends the protection to people who suffer injuries while on your property, as well as coverage if you or a member of your household is legally responsible. There are, however, some circumstances that your standard insurance won't cover.

Deliberately Set Fires

Fires set deliberately by a homeowner are not covered by an insurance policy. Arson, purposely setting the fire, is a crime. Sometimes, homeowners set these fires, so they can collect insurance money. Insurance companies know this happens, so they will send investigators to the site of the home fire. If professionals find evidence to suggest the fire was set deliberately, there won't be any coverage. Additionally, this action is "arson insurance fraud," and the homeowner may face criminal charges.

Fires in Vacant Homes

Homes that haven't been occupied for more than 30 consecutive days may be defined as vacant. (It's important to note that the terms of vacancy are defined differently from one provider to another.) If the insurance company is able to prove that a home hasn't been lived in for that set amount of time, there won't be any coverage for the vacant home fire.

If you have a vacation home, you may want to check with your insurance provider about an endorsement to your policy to cover the dangers of leaving your home vacant. Those risks include vandalism, damage from storms, and theft.

Protection for Your Home

You can feel confident about your insurance coverage for most home fire losses, except for cases of deliberate fires and damages to vacant homes. If you're not sure what your insurance covers, contact your insurance agent for specific answers.

3 Tips for Conducting Workplace Emergency Drills

5/11/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage 3 Tips for Conducting Workplace Emergency Drills The International Fire Code recommends having a fire drill every 90 days

3 Tips for Conducting Workplace Emergency Drills

You probably participated in a fire drill when you were in school. Well, disaster drills are just as important for businesses in Indiana, PA. An unexpected event, such as a fire, severe storm or flood can stir up a lot of fear, panic and chaos. Conducting drills conditions your workers to react properly under these stressful conditions. Below are a few tips to keep your plan running smoothly.

1. Implement a Schedule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends regular drill sessions because it's the best way to prepare employees for an unexpected event. The number of drills your company needs to conduct can vary based on the following factors:

  • Employee turnover rates
  • Employee schedules
  • Workplace risk factors
  • State laws
  • Local municipality laws or codes
  • Industry-specific guidelines

For example, there are recommendations for fire drills. The International Fire Code recommends having a fire drill every 90 days.

2. Keep the Drill Unpredictable

There are two types of crisis drills: planned and unplanned. The former is less disruptive to employee workflow and productivity. While it's more convenient, it's not the most effective approach. Often employees don't take planned drills seriously. On the other hand, an unannounced drill keeps staff on its toes. With this approach, employees are more likely to find the best and safest building exits during a real-life catastrophe.

3. Evaluate Each Drill

You can learn a lot from conducting post-drill evaluations. You can see what worked. You can identify problem areas. From there, you can devise an effective solution. Ongoing testing provides valuable feedback that helps employees remain safe during and after a crisis.

Stay Prepared

A workplace fire drill (or another disaster drill) enhances employee safety. Practicing evacuations on a regular basis helps them remain calm when seeking safety in the midst of an unexpected disaster. Whether it’s a crisis ranging from a fire to a flood, you want to restore daily business operations as quickly as possible. You can do that with emergency restoration services in Indiana, PA.

Dealing with a Furnace Puff Back

4/29/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Dealing with a Furnace Puff Back Soot webs in the upstairs stairwell due to a furnace puff back in the basement.

Is Your Furnace Ready for Winter?

It doesn't get much worse than finally giving into turning on your furnace for the next few months and having it blow a whole bunch of soot back out through your entire home.

What is a Puff Back?

The term "Puff Back" refers to the sudden explosion of soot into your home or business caused by a malfunction in the heating system. This soot is usually a sticky, greasy, grimy mess that can present a sever health hazard. All of those minuscule, oil based particles embed themselves in your curtains, carpets, and clothing while contaminating the air with known carcinogens.

How Can I Know if I had a Puff Back?

Puff Backs are characterized by the oily black soot left behind, often appearing like spider webs. The soot and other debris from the explosion can easily be carried throughout your home by the exhaust and heating systems meaning that every room in your home has the potential to be damaged.   

You might be tempted to try and clean up this mess by yourself, but running a vacuum over the soot only grinds it deeper and creates stains that will never come out. Wiping the soot from walls and ceilings creates a place where paint will no longer stick, and unless the soot is quickly and professionally removed, it can cause corrosion of metal on doorknobs, faucets, and even electronic equipment in the home. Because every inch of the home is affected, a puff back is an overwhelming job to clean properly.

About SERVPRO of Indiana County

As a trusted leader in the restoration industry, SERVPRO of Indiana County has highly trained technicians that are dedicated to responding to any size disaster with 24-hour emergency response. Contact us today, at (724) 717-4098, to see what SERVPRO of Indiana County can do to help you!

3 Tips for Protecting Your Home From a Flood

4/25/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage 3 Tips for Protecting Your Home From a Flood Employ a sump pump to prevent standing water and damage when basement floodings occur.

Flood Safety Tips To Protect Your Home 

Flooding can cause serious damage to your Iselin, PA, home. Standing water, mold and other types of problems are likely to result in both lost time and money. While it can be difficult to predict floods, especially those caused by violent weather, there are a few flood safety tips you can keep in mind when attempting to protect your home from such an event.

1. Keep Sandbags on Hand

If you live in an area that floods often, it is wise to keep items on hand that can help you protect your home. For example, keeping sandbags on hand might prevent water levels from rising and entering your property. You can either make these bags yourself or obtain them through a few local government offices during flood season. Place sandbags around your home’s foundation and in low-lying areas to keep flood waters at bay.

2. Install a Sump Pump in Your Basement

When it comes to flooding safety tips, few are more important than being prepared for basement flooding. When floods occur, the lower levels of your home are likely to be affected first, and a sump pump can prevent standing water and damage to the items you might have stored in your basement. There are many different types of pumps available, including portable models that you can employ in other areas of your home during a flood.

3. Have Your Sewer System Inspected

While it might be difficult to completely flood proof your home, calling in a storm damage and flood mitigation service to inspect and service your sewage system may lower the risk. Flood technicians may be able to either install or advise you on the installation of devices that prevent sewage backflow during heavy flooding. This flood safety tip can help prevent dangerous or contaminated water from entering your home.

When floods occur in Iselin, PA, the outcome can be dangerous. Learning a few flood safety tips and practicing prevention may be useful when it comes to protecting your home, family and property.

3 Facts About Category 1 Water Cleanup

4/18/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage 3 Facts About Category 1 Water Cleanup Category 1 water damage comes from a clean water source

3 Facts About Category 1 Water Cleanup 

Not all types of flooding are the same, so when one occurs at your Two Lick, PA, business, it is important to understand the type of cleanup procedures you require. Even clean water floods can cause long-term damage to your building, so when a breakroom kitchen pipe burst or some other uncontaminated source of water causes this issue, understanding how to proceed can prevent costly secondary damage in the future.

1. It Comes From a Sanitary Source

Flood water that comes from a sanitary source is labeled as category 1 by cleanup technicians and certain specialized government organizations that help to regulate and assist during flood conditions. For example, a broken breakroom refrigerator water supply line is a source of category 1 flooding and will likely not cause serious problems unless it come in contact with porous building materials, such as drywall.

2. Restoration May Be Simpler

If stored documents and inventory are affected by clean water flooding, restoration processes may be simpler because your items will not have to be sanitized or disinfected. Company records, handbooks and archived records can likely be freeze dried and then otherwise restored without fear of contamination, which is much more likely in the case of a category 3 flood, where the water source comes from outdoor or sewer flooding.

3. Category 1 Water Can Degrade

A broken pipe or water line in the kitchen can cause several inches of sanitized water to flood your breakroom, which may not seem like a major issue at first. However, if this happens over a long weekend or if it is not cleaned properly by a flood damage and restoration service, the water can degrade until it is considered to be contaminated. This can cause mold to form on floors and walls within a day of the initial flood, which can be costly to remove in the aftermath.

A clean water flood at your Two Lick, PA, business may seem like a minor inconvenience. However, unless you know the facts about category 1 water, you may find yourself dealing with secondary damage that could affect the future of your company.

How To Avoid Mold Problems in Your Seasonal Rental Home

4/12/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial How To Avoid Mold Problems in Your Seasonal Rental Home Turn off your water heater when you leave your home for extended period of times

The rental of seasonal property is one of the most basic home-based businesses around. A big challenge that renters face is mold prevention during the off-season. The underlying problem is that nobody is on-site to identify and report problems. These problems include:

  • Plumbing failures
  • Weather damage
  • Damage from theft, vandalism and unauthorized use of the property
  • Minor flooding

Any water damage caused by these situations encourages mold growth. Over the course of a long off-season period, mold damage could be substantial. There are several steps to help you in your mold prevention efforts.

Shut Off the Water

The best way to avoid a plumbing failure in the off-season is to drain the water system. This means shutting off the water at the point of entry and emptying the water heater and pipes.

Address the Humidity Problem

In areas where the off-season is warm, set up a dehumidifier that drains directly into a sink or floor drain. Set it to keep the humidity level below 50 percent.

Central air conditioning also works. Remember that the goal is to dry out the air, not cool it. Set the thermostat high enough to save money but low enough to guarantee that it comes on a few times each day.

Properties with cold off-seasons have a lower risk of mold. Cold air is dry, and mold does not grow well in cool temperatures. The biggest threat in a cold off-season period is the risk of frozen pipes. They break and cause water damage when they thaw. This sets the stage for a mold infestation.

Visit Your Property Occasionally

It’s always a good idea to check on your property. If it is too far away, see if a local friend will check it for you.

It doesn’t matter whether your property is in the Black Lick, PA, area or far away. If your mold prevention strategy fails, there are teams of mold remediation specialists nearby. They can quickly move in and address your mold problem. Getting ready for the upcoming season couldn’t be easier.

How To Locate the Source of a Ceiling Leak

4/4/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage How To Locate the Source of a Ceiling Leak Water leak from ceiling in a Indiana, PA home

How to Identify the Source of a Ceiling Leak?

Finding the source of a water leak in the ceiling can be a difficult task because water doesn’t always flow from one point to another in a straight line to end up as water in a light. Instead, it often follows along a path until it comes to an obstruction or dip where it will begin puddling before taking off in another direction along a secondary object. Answering the following three questions may help you identify the source of a ceiling leak.

1. What Type of Water Is It?

Collect some of the leaking water at the ceiling damage in a clear container. If the water is clean and clear, it is an indication the liquid has not traveled far and is probably from a nearby plumping pipe. If the water is dirty, the liquid has probably traveled a long way through the muck and is undoubtedly from the roof.

2. When Do You See the Leak?

If you only see the leak when someone is showering, you can probably find the source of the leak in the bathroom. On the other hand, if the leak only appears when there is a heavy rainstorm outside in Indiana, PA, you might find the source of the leak is your home’s roof. When water in a light fixture appears, the liquid may be traveling along a plumbing pipe, a wooden beam, or an electrical wire. Knowing when the leak appears is one of your best investigative tools.


3. How Does the Water Flow?

When a leak gushes suddenly and erratically, it is an indication that water is moving somewhere at the source in random moments – such as a toilet flushing. If the leak is a constant drip, it could mean the pressure of the water is consistently pushing water through a small hole.

Whether your leak is water in a light or a soggy ceiling stain, knowing the path, type, and flow of the liquid can best help you quickly find and eliminate the source of the problem. When you need help, consider calling a water remediation team to aid you in locating and repairing the leak.

The Benefits of IICRC Certification

4/4/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO The Benefits of IICRC Certification SERVPRO has certified mitigation specialists

Benefits of Seeking Out Technicians Certified by The IICRC

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification is a third-party certification agency that develops the national standards for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industry. When you select certified mitigation specialists as your preferred vendors for clients who need remediation on their commercial properties, you can rest assured that the technicians have the training and experience necessary to restore damaged property in a timely manner. There are several benefits to seeking out technicians who are certified by the IICRC.

High Standards

When a technician earns a mitigation certificate from an IICRC-approved training school, you can reasonably expect a certain standard of work from him or her. Training schools near your clients in Homer City, PA, may offer specialized courses in several categories:

  • Water Mitigation
  • Fire Restoration
  • Textile Cleaning
  • Applied Structural Drying
  • Mold Remediation

Often, a cleanup job will require more than just one type of training. For example, if a building catches fire, the technicians should know how to handle soot damage as well as water damage, as a lot of water is used in putting the fire out. A wide spectrum of training can inspire confidence.

Safety Commitment

High standards are especially important on jobs that are potentially hazardous or require the use of specific equipment. A seal from the IICRC tells you that your technicians not only know how to fix the problem but that they can do so in a manner that ensures safety for themselves and your clients.

Ongoing Education

Learning doesn't stop at certification. Trained specialists are expected to engage in continuing education in their industry. By doing so, they stay current on new procedures and upgraded standards of operation so that they can give you and your client the most cutting edge service possible.

The certification seal from the IICRC is not just a decoration. When you see it, you can be confident that the training the specialists have undergone empower them to meet excellent standards.

4 Times You Should Replace the Supply Lines in Your Bathroom

4/3/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage 4 Times You Should Replace the Supply Lines in Your Bathroom Replacing water supply lines in your home can avoid severe Water Damage in Indiana County, PA.

Supply line damage is one of the most expensive claims made by homeowners. This kind of bathroom leak can remain hidden until it has done extensive damage, and if the supply line fails completely, it will spew around 50 psi of water into your home until you can locate the main shut-off valve. So how often should you replace your bathroom supply lines to avoid a supply line leak?

Here are four times you should consider calling a professional in Indiana County, PA, to replace your bathroom supply lines.

1. Your House Is Over 65 Years Old

If you live in an older home, you probably have the original rigid copper, brass or galvanized steel pipe supply lines installed when it was built. The good news is these lines typically last a long time: 70 to 80 years for copper and 80 to 100 years for brass or galvanized steel. If you’re restoring an older home or replacing bathroom fixtures anyway, it may be a good time to update your supply lines.

2. You Have Rigid Plastic or Vinyl Supply Lines

These are the cheapest type of supply lines and they tend to fail faster than other types, sometimes in just five years. If you aren’t sure when they were installed, you’re better off upgrading before you develop supply line damage.

3. Your Washing Machine Is in Your Bathroom

 If your bathroom supply lines include the line to your washing machine, you’ll want to keep it updated. Experts in Indiana, PA, recommend washing machine supply lines be changed every three years because of how hard they work and how much damage they can cause if they leak.

4.You Notice Corrosion on Your Supply Lines

Flexible braided steel supply lines are one of the best types available and most come with a lifetime warranty, but they aren’t immune to corrosion. If your municipal water supply contains a lot of chlorine or you store bleach under your bathroom sink, you may be at risk for supply line damage due to corrosion. If you notice pits or holes in the steel, it’s time to replace them no matter how old they are.

If you have any questions, please call as at (724) 717-4098. SERVPRO of Indiana County has the training and experience to properly restore your home after a Water Damage event. 

Is It Possible To Restore a Painting With Mold Damage?

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

Many paintings with mold damage can be cleaned and restored. This process may be painstaking and costly, so homeowners should consider the value of artwork prior to pursuing mold remediation. Mold cleaning experts can determine which treatment will cause the least additional damage to a work of art.

Cleaning Methods

Restoration experts will assess the materials used in a painting and the degree of damage before attempting restoration. Professionals may use several methods:

  • Loosening mold with a soft brush and gently removing spores with an attachment on a HEPA-filtered vacuum
  • Spot-cleaning mold with diluted isopropyl alcohol
  • Treating the back of a painting with diluted alcohol or antifungal cleaning agent

Even though some of these methods do not require specialized equipment, homeowners should not attempt to remove mold from a painting. Paints and materials can react to cleaning solutions and methods in unpredictable ways.

Types of Paint

Owners should be aware of the materials used in artwork so that mold cleaning professionals can make accurate recommendations. Here are pointers for several common paint types:

  • Acrylics are water-soluble and prone to damage while wet
  • Oils may behave unexpectedly when exposed to chemicals
  • Watercolors are not suited for damp cleaning methods

Some paintings also have protective varnishes. Mold remediation experts should consider the chemical composition of artwork when determining the best cleaning methods.

Frames and Glass

Frames and glass may also require cleaning. Stretcher frames can be cleaned with diluted alcohol or antifungal agents. Other types of frames or glass may be treated with diluted bleach. Experts will perform a discreet patch test.

Seek advice on restoring a mold-damaged painting from a mold cleaning service in Homer City, PA. It is a good idea to contact a restoration service as soon as a painting is exposed to moisture. If mold is already growing, homeowners should contact experts prior to making any attempt at restoration.