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Hidden Threat: Mold in Air Ducts - What You Need to Know and How to Deal with It

5/23/2023 (Permalink)

window seal mold damage If you suspect mold in your home, its essential to call a professional immediately.

As a homeowner, you want to ensure that your indoor air is clean and safe for you and your family to breathe. However, one potential threat that often goes unnoticed is mold in air ducts. Mold growth in air ducts can be harmful to your health and may lead to poor indoor air quality. In this blog, we will explore the signs of mold in air ducts, the risks associated with it, and what you can do to address this issue.

Signs of Mold in Air Ducts

Air ducts are hidden from view, making it challenging to detect mold growth. However, there are several signs that may indicate the presence of mold in your air ducts.

If you notice a persistent musty or moldy smell coming from your air vents, it could be an indication of mold growth in the air ducts. Mold produces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can create an unpleasant odor.

Visible Mold Growth

In some cases, you may be able to see visible mold growth around the air vents or inside the air ducts. Mold can appear as fuzzy patches, discoloration, or black spots. If your home has experienced water damage or has high humidity levels, it can create favorable conditions for mold growth in air ducts. Moisture from leaks, condensation, or flooding can promote mold growth.

Risks of Mold in Air Ducts

Mold spores released from air ducts can circulate in the air and negatively impact indoor air quality. Breathing in mold spores can trigger allergies, respiratory issues, and other health problems, especially for those with allergies, asthma, or weakened immune systems.

Air ducts are part of the HVAC system, which means that mold growth in air ducts can spread to other areas of your home through the air circulation. This can lead to widespread mold contamination and make it more challenging to remediate.

Damage to HVAC System

Mold can also cause damage to your HVAC system, including the air ducts, vents, and coils. Mold can clog the air ducts, reduce airflow, and decrease the efficiency of your HVAC system, leading to higher energy bills and potential costly repairs.

Structural Damage

If mold growth in air ducts is left unaddressed for an extended period, it can cause structural damage to your home. Mold can deteriorate the ductwork, insulation, and other building materials, leading to costly repairs and renovations.

What to Do If You Suspect Mold in Air Ducts

If you suspect mold in your air ducts, it's crucial to take prompt action to address the issue. Here are some steps you can take. It's best to consult with a professional mold remediation service that has experience in handling mold in air ducts. They can conduct a thorough inspection of your HVAC system, identify the extent of mold growth, and provide appropriate remediation measures.

Ensure proper ventilation in your home can help reduce moisture buildup and inhibit mold growth in air ducts. Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, and consider installing a dehumidifier to maintain optimal humidity levels. Also, fix any leaks or water damage promptly to prevent mold growth.

Clean and Seal Ducts

Professional duct cleaning can help remove accumulated dust, debris, and mold spores from the air ducts. Once cleaned, consider sealing the air ducts to prevent further mold growth.

If you suspect mold in your air ducts, it's essential to take swift action and consult with a professional mold remediation service. Proper inspection, cleaning, sealing, and maintenance of your HVAC system can help prevent the spread of mold and ensure clean and healthy indoor air. By being vigilant and proactive, you can safeguard your home and loved ones from the potential risks of mold in air ducts.

Clearing the Air: The Importance of Professional Smoke Odor Cleanup

4/12/2023 (Permalink)

ash tray Smoke odor cleanup can be complex, hire a professional.

Fire damage can be devastating, whether it's a small kitchen fire or a large commercial blaze. The effects of fire damage are not limited to the structure itself but also include everything in its path: furniture, clothing, personal items and even family heirlooms. Fire damage restoration requires specialized cleaning methods to remove soot and smoke residue from every surface imaginable including walls, floors, ceiling tiles and more.

Fire damage restoration also involves removing water used for extinguishing the flames as well as any other sources of moisture that may have been introduced during cleanup efforts (such as rainwater). When combined with water damage from broken pipes or sprinkler systems during cleanup efforts--it becomes even more important for SERVPRO professionals to respond quickly with trained technicians who know how best to handle these situations safely while minimizing further damage caused by exposure over time if left untreated properly before beginning any repairs needed afterwards.

Smoke Odor Cleanup Process

Smoke odor cleanup is a complex process that requires specialized equipment and techniques. At SERVPRO, our team of experts uses a variety of methods to remove smoke odor from your home or business. These methods include:

Thermal fogging

This involves using a special machine that creates a fog-like substance that penetrates every surface and crevice in your home or business. The fog contains deodorizing agents that neutralize the smoke odor at the molecular level.

Ozone treatment

This involves using a machine that generates ozone gas, which reacts with the smoke odor to neutralize it. This method is particularly effective for removing smoke odor from fabrics, upholstery, and other porous materials.

Air scrubbing

This involves using a machine that filters the air in your home or business to remove smoke particles and other contaminants. This method is particularly effective for removing smoke odor from the air.

Surface cleaning

This involves using specialized cleaning products and techniques to clean every surface in your home or business. This method is particularly effective for removing smoke residue that can contribute to smoke odor.

Importance of Professional Smoke Odor Cleanup

It's important to hire a professional smoke odor cleanup company like SERVPRO to handle smoke odor removal for several reasons:

Property damage: Smoke particles can cause significant damage to your property, including discoloration and corrosion. Professional smoke odor cleanup can help prevent further damage and restore your property to its pre-fire condition.

Insurance coverage: If you have insurance coverage for smoke damage, it's important to hire a professional smoke odor cleanup company to ensure that your claim is processed properly.

Smoke odor cleanup is a complex process that requires specialized equipment and techniques. At SERVPRO, we have the expertise and experience to handle smoke odor removal in your home or business. If you've been affected by a fire or smoke damage, don't hesitate to contact us for a free quote on your restoration project. We're available 24/7 to respond to your emergency and provide the professional smoke odor cleanup services you need to get your life back to normal.

How to properly snake a clogged pipe.

3/12/2023 (Permalink)

toilet auger Need assistance with a clogged toilet, give SERVPRO a call today.

Don't let fear of failure keep you from trying out this DIY method for unclogging your pipes at home. If anything goes wrong, call in a professional plumber who knows how to use their own snake instead! Before you call a plumber and spend hundreds of dollars on repairs, try clearing the clog yourself. This guide will show you how to snake a drain using only common household tools.

Locate the clog.

Locate the clog. You'll want to check all of your drains, starting with the kitchen sink. If you have a garbage disposal, be sure to remove it and run water through it to see if anything's stuck in there. Then move on down through your plumbing system, if there's any type of bathtub drain or shower drain (including a tub/shower combo), make sure that it isn't blocked by hair or soap scum buildup.

If you're still having trouble finding where things are getting backed up, try inspecting all of your drains outside as well. Sometimes leaves can get stuck in an exterior drainpipe that leads away from the house, or even small animals like mice could make their way inside if there are openings around pipes leading outside.

Remove debris.

Once you have removed the clogged drain, it is important to clean out any hair or other debris that may have been trapped in there. If left behind, this material will just clog up again, requiring another snake job and possibly leading to a bigger problem down the road if not addressed properly. Water damage could potentially occur if the debris is not cleaned out of the drain.

Snake the drain.

You can use a snake to push the clog further down the line. A snake is a flexible wire with an attached hook at one end and a handle on the other end. The hook is used to grab onto pieces of debris that may be caught in your pipe, then you pull them through until they reach where you want them to go.

If you're using this method, make sure that your drainpipe isn't plugged up all too tightly, you don't want it breaking under pressure! You might need someone else's help if it does break or get stuck inside your drainpipe (which could cause even more mess).

Snaking a clogged pipe is not hard or scary, it just takes some patience and know-how (and maybe a little bit of elbow grease. If your still in need of plumbing assistance, SERVPRO is here to help! Give us a call at the sign of a clogged drain.

What is the Water Damage Restoration process?

2/10/2023 (Permalink)

overflowing toliet When disaster strikes, give SERVPRO a call at the first sign of water damage.

Water damage is a serious problem for homeowners and business owners alike. If you have water damage in your home or business, SERVPRO has the experience and expertise to help. Water damage restoration is a process that takes many steps. After you've experienced water damage, it's important to take immediate action. Your technician will assess the damage and determine its source before creating a plan of action based on your unique situation.

After water damage occurs.

If you've experienced water damage, it's important to take immediate action. Water damage can cause mold and other problems if not addressed quickly. In addition to causing structural damage and secondary damages. Mold can also be very expensive to remove once it has begun growing in your home or business.

Assess the damage.

Upon arrival, your technician will assess the damage. First, they'll look for structural damage to your home and determine if there is any risk of secondary damages. The technician will also take note of how long the water has been standing in your home, as well as what caused it (i.e., broken pipe). They will inspect all items that have been damaged by this incident in order to determine whether they can be salvaged or if they need to be discarded entirely.

Source of the water

The source of the water will be determined, as well as its cause. If you have a broken pipe, your technician will identify where it's located and how much damage has been done by determining where there is standing water or puddles on your property. After this initial assessment, he or she will go about removing any debris and drying out areas that have been affected by moisture, for example, carpets, walls and ceilings.

A plan of action

The technician will assess the damage and create a plan of action. The source of the water, if it can be determined, should be addressed first. If there is standing water in your home or office, this needs to be removed before any cleaning can begin. Removing the wet materials as soon as possible, will cut down on secondary damages. Once this has been done, they will determine what needs to be removed and what needs cleaned up. The use of dehumidifiers and air movers are also put in place to remove moisture and dry surfaces quickly.

Restoration begins.

Once everything is dry, it's time to start the restoration process. Restoration is the final step in water damage restoration and can be best done by a professional. SERVPRO has the experience and equipment to restore your property quickly and efficiency. The goal of this step is to clean, repair and replace damaged items as needed.

SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County has  technicians that are available 24/7 for your water damage needs, and they can get you back to normal as quickly as possible. SERVPRO is the most trusted name in the water damage restoration industry. We're ready to respond immediately when you need us most: day or night, weekends and holidays included.

How Do Restoration Professionals Remediate Smoke Damage?

12/12/2022 (Permalink)

Kitchen severely damaged by fire Home damaged by fire

How Can Restoration Experts Repair Smoke Damage?

Fires are a stressful experience for anyone involved. The initial shock of a fire may lead you to make decisions that could cause further damage to your home or business. For example, if you try to remove smoke residue yourself, you may end up making an even bigger mess—and it could make the process of restoration more difficult for the professionals who come in afterward to clean up after the fire.

If someone asks me how I help people recover from fires, I like to use the analogy of a waiter taking food orders at a restaurant. The waiter takes his time with each table so he can get it right—he’s not going as fast as possible just because he has another table waiting! That’s what we do here at SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County; we take our time with each client so we can get it right and help them recover from their loss quickly."

The first step in these situations is protecting the contents of your home or business.

Smoke damage can be devastating to a structure and its contents. The goal is to prevent mold growth on your belongings, but this protection also helps keep out dust and debris that could otherwise fill up every nook and cranny as you breathe in contaminants through the air.

You should remove any sensitive items that can't be cleaned, such as artwork, books or products made from animal fur. If you don't have access to professional equipment for drying out any electronics, move them away from walls or other areas where smoke has collected. Cover carpets and floors with plastic sheets or tarps to contain moisture; ventilate the area by opening windows and doors until it feels dry (usually three days).

Next, the restoration team will remove any remaining soot and smoke residue.

Soot can be removed by hand with a vacuum or through the use of specialized equipment. Smoke residue is often removed with a machine that scrubs the surface clean to complete this step of the process. The amount of time it takes for a complete cleaning will vary depending on how much soot and smoke residue is present in your home or building.

Finally, restoration experts will repair and refinish any areas with smoke damage.

Additionally, restoration experts will repair and refinish any areas with smoke damage. If the damage is severe, they may need to replace the damaged items. If the damage is minor, they may be able to restore the item to its original condition.

Restoration experts can aid you in recovering after a fire.

When you need help recovering from a fire, SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County can be there for you. Our team of highly trained restoration professionals is ready to respond with emergency services and cleanup. We are experts at managing the damage caused by smoke, soot and odor following a fire.

SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County technicians also have years of experience working with insurance companies on behalf of our customers. We know how to prevent or minimize additional living expenses resulting from mold or water damage while repairing your home or business property. Our goal is always to make things right again as quickly as possible so that clients can get back to their lives in the least amount of time possible while restoring everything, they lost in the fire back to its original condition.


Smoke damage can be a difficult problem to remediate. That's why it's best to call in professionals who know what they're doing.

What is an IICRC Certified Firm?

11/30/2022 (Permalink)

IICRC certification badge SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County is an IICRC Certified Firm!

If you're wondering what an IICRC Certified Firm is, then you should know that it's more than just an "independent" organization. In fact, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the science and technology in inspection, cleaning and restoration.

The IICRC was established in 1972 by Ed York, but is managed by 15 industry leaders elected by the shareholders. The organization is known for a set of standards for conducting any inspection or cleaning job within the industry, as well as guidelines for setting up your firm as a certified business (or getting certified yourself).

Certified Firms are required to complete a rigorous training program developed by the leaders at the Institute of Inspection Cleaning & Restoration Certification. After completing training, each firm must pass an exam that measures knowledge of proper cleaning techniques as well as business management skills. The firm must also demonstrate financial stability, high levels of technical experience and unmatched professionalism. 

An IICRC Certification Means: 

  • You can trust your certified firm to do the job right.
  • Your certified firm will meet or exceed all industry standards.
  • Your certified firm will provide you with a high quality, professional service.

An IICRC Certified Firm is a restoration company or business that has been trained and tested, has documented procedures, and offers qualified personnel, insurance and appropriate equipment, tools and/or vehicles. The certification process is a way to ensure that the firm you hire has the knowledge and experience necessary to perform the work. Certification ensures that your restoration service provider has proper equipment, tools and vehicles for performing their job. 

IICRC and SERVPRO of Southern Blair/Bedford County

The IICRC is committed to helping the public by making sure that your firm is qualified and has demonstrated its ability to meet the highest standards of professionalism. It’s important that you hire a certified firm, like SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County. With our team of certified professionals, you are assured of their training and experience in the field. SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County wants to assure our customers that they are hiring professionals who have been trained by an accredited organization and tested on their knowledge base. SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County is the local firm you can trust! 

What to Do If a Pipe Bursts

11/8/2022 (Permalink)

Leaking pipe with a sign that says Don't wait A leaking pipe will become a burst pipe causing flooding.

How to Handle a Burst Pipe

It's unfortunate, but every home has the potential to suffer from a burst pipe or line. Knowing what to do in this situation can help you minimize water damage and get your home back up and running again. It also helps to know what not to do: don't try fixing it yourself! If you're faced with this problem at home, follow these steps:

Shut Off the Main Water Valve

Once you've ensured that no one is injured and everyone has evacuated the premises, shut off the main water valve. If you're unsure how to turn it off, there should be instructions nearby; if not, simply call a plumber who can help you find where it is and what to do with it.

Shutting off your home's main water valve will stop all water flow into or out of your property. This action is critical because if left unchecked, leaking pipes can cause damage to floors and walls as well as cause flooding in surrounding areas. Once this step has been taken and any necessary repairs made to prevent further damage (see below), turn on your home's faucets again using only cold tap water for flushing purposes until everything is back up-and-running smoothly.

Open a Faucet to Relieve Pressure In the Line and Stop the Flow of Water

If a pipe bursts, you should open a faucet to relieve pressure in the line and stop the flow of water. This will reduce stress on the pipe and prevent further damage. You may also use a wet/dry vacuum to remove water from your flooring.

If you have any questions about whether you have a burst pipe, contact one of our trained technicians today!

Call an Emergency Plumber

If the pipe has burst, it’s important to call an emergency plumber right away. Here's why:

The plumbing system is often your home's most vulnerable part of your infrastructure. It contains water and gas, which can be deadly if not handled properly. Leaky pipes can cause severe damage to your property, so you need a professional who knows what they're doing come in as soon as possible.

If a pipe bursts within the walls of your home, it could cause serious damage to everything around it—from drywall and floorboards to electrical wiring and insulation. This can lead to further leaks or costly repairs down the road.

Use a Bucket To Remove Excess Standing Water, if Possible

If you can, remove any excess water from the area. This can help prevent a small leak from becoming a big problem. Use a bucket to collect water and remove it from the area or use a wet/dry vacuum if you have one on hand. If your house has hardwood floors, put down large pieces of cardboard to prevent damage while you work.

Another way to try and catch the leak is by using a shop towel or something similar as an absorbent pad underneath your leaking pipe.

Call SERVPRO for Cleanup and Restoration Services

Call SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County at (814) 624-9083 to receive help with your cleanup and restoration needs. We are a 24/7 emergency service, so there's no need to wait until regular business hours to call us. We'll be there right away!

Our fast response time, guarantee for all work performed, and certified technicians mean that you can rest assured knowing we'll take care of everything needed for restoring your home or business back to its pre-burst condition. If you're looking for an expert in basement water damage or any other type of pipe burst cleanup or repair work, look no further than SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County!

If you find yourself with a burst pipe, don’t wait to call for help. The longer you wait, the more damage your home could suffer from secondary water damage like mold growth. Contact SERVPRO today if you need immediate cleanup services after a burst pipe incident!

How Do I Protect My Business from Fire Disaster?

10/11/2022 (Permalink)

Fire extinguisher hanging on a wall Have a fire extinguisher in your office.

Fire is a threat to any business, no matter how small or large. While you can't stop every fire, you can make sure that your business is prepared if one does happen. Here's how…

How to Protect your Business from Fire

Your business is your livelihood, and it's always wise to take action to protect yourself and others in the event of a fire. To do so, you'll need to install various safety features in your building. The following are some of the most important ones:

  • Fire extinguishers. Extinguishers discharge foam or powder that smothers flames. They should be installed at key locations throughout your building, including near exits and stairwells, the cafeteria or kitchen area, and the garage if you have one on site.
  • Alarms/detectors. Detectors should be installed on each floor of your office building as well as in every room (including bathrooms). 

What is the first step?

The first step is to have a fire extinguisher in your office. They are relatively easy to use, and everyone should be familiar with the process of using one.

The second step is to have fire alarms and sprinklers installed in your office. These will help detect any fires as quickly as possible, alerting you and others nearby so they can safely exit the building before any damage occurs.

The third step is to have a plan for when there is a fire in your building or on its way (e.g., calling 911). You'll need an escape route mapped out that takes people away from danger while getting them out of the building safely—and this map needs to be posted somewhere everyone can see it as soon as possible!

What do you need in a commercial fire protection plan?

  • Have a plan. It's important to include your business’s emergency contact information, any commercial fire protection equipment you have and where it is located, as well as the evacuation route for employees and customers.
  • Practice your plan regularly. A good idea is to do so monthly or even weekly with all employees so that everyone knows what to do in case of a fire or other emergency.
  • Make sure everyone knows the plan—including new hires! It's also important that everyone stays informed about changes to the plan over time, such as when new exits open or security cameras are added for extra protection against theft and vandalism during power outages.
  • Test your plans regularly with drills that simulate real-life situations so people know what actions they should take in an actual emergency like a house fire or earthquake (or whatever else might happen).

Train your employees

Training your employees is a crucial part of preventing a fire disaster in your business. It's important to train them on how to handle certain situations like a fire or other emergency. You need to tell them what they should do if they see something suspicious, hear an alarm going off, or have any other suspicions that might mean something bad is happening in the building.

You should also provide training on what actions they can take if there's an actual fire or other emergency and all exits are blocked by smoke and flames (e.g., by making sure everyone knows how to break through an unbroken window).

Create an Emergency Action Plan with employees and make sure it is practiced regularly.

To ensure that everyone is prepared and knows what to do, you should create an emergency action plan with employees before a fire strikes. When creating your plan, make sure it includes:

  • How and when to evacuate your business
  • Who will evacuate first, second and so on (you should designate roles for each employee)
  • What items need to be saved before exiting the building

Once you’ve created this crucial document, you need to make sure it is practiced regularly with all employees so they know exactly what steps they need to take in case of a real-life emergency.

With the right planning and preparation, you can be ready for any disaster. We hope these tips have given you some ideas on how to protect your business from fire and put your mind at ease that everything will be okay if something goes wrong.

Keeping Your Pet Fire Safe

8/27/2022 (Permalink)

Pomeranian dressed as fire fighter Include your pet in your family emergency plan.

Preparing Your Pet For Fire Emergency

Your pets are a part of your family, and as such, it’s only natural that you’d want to protect them in the event a fire occurs in your home. Unfortunately, many homeowners in Hollidaysburg, PA fail to include their dog, cat or other pet in their family fire emergency plan, leading to heartbreaking outcomes. However, by preparing your pet for fire emergencies early on, you can keep your furry friend safe from harm. These extra precautions are sometimes as simple as:

  • Taking a few common fire prevention precautions
  • Training your pet to respond to your voice
  • Setting up a proper safe space for your pet while you’re away.

Reducing Fire Hazards

It’s estimated that unattended pets are responsible for almost 1,000 house fires annually. Ensure that you’re not leaving any open flames, such as candles, unattended, remove your stove’s knobs while you’re away so they can’t be turned by curious paws, and consider securing your pet in a safe place while you’re not around to supervise them.

Prepare for Disasters

If a fire does start on your lot, you and your pet both need to be prepared. First, ensure that you have fire emergency supplies such as food and medication for your pet on hand. Pet preparation can also be made just a bit easier if you take the time to teach your pet to come running when they hear you call their name.

When You’re Not Home

Fires happen when you least expect them, including when you’re not at home. That’s why you need to make it easy for rescue services to help your pet if this situation does arise. Keep your pet on a collar, keep a leash nearby and secure them somewhere near the door while you’re away. Furthermore, keep your vaccination and pet ownership records in a firebox.

Preparing your pet for a fire emergency can take a bit of time and patience, but in the end, it’s well worth it if it means keeping your companion safe.

3 Storm Preparedness Tips for Business Owners

8/27/2022 (Permalink)

Flooded building Flooded building due to heavy rains in Bedford, PA.

Are You Prepared For a Storm?

Suddenly, your business is in the path of a natural disaster in Bedford, PA. As the floodwater accumulates, the potential consequences of a flooded building start to sink in. Will your business survive this disaster? Unfortunately, not all businesses do. Prepare ahead of time to recover faster in the aftermath of a storm.

1. Purchase Insurance

Every business owner knows the importance of commercial property insurance. But, do you know the specifics of your plan? Does it cover damage caused by flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and fires? What about business interruption insurance to keep you afloat during the restoration process? If you cannot answer these questions off the top of your head, it is time to meet with your insurance agent and review the policy. Supplemental insurance may be needed. The worst time to find out your policy does not cover damage from floodwater is after a flood.

2. Back up Documents

Do you store important records for your business in spreadsheets, word processing programs, or in file cabinets? Consider what happens to computers or papers in a flooded building. It is possible to lose the data forever. To avoid this scenario, ensure that all-important information is backed up securely in another location. This includes employee data, financial and tax records, and customer information.

3. Put a Plan in Writing

Stressful situations can easily turn into chaos. In a weather emergency, do your employees know how to safely evacuate? Is there a plan for protecting the building and contents from flooding and water damage? To be efficient in an emergency, write down a plan, assign roles and responsibilities and communicate the plan with staff. Keep important numbers handy, including your insurance agent and a storm restoration company.

Increase your business’s chance of survival in Bedford, PA, by preparing for a natural disaster. After the danger has passed, act immediately to have restoration specialists remove the excess flood water and restore your business.