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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Why Does Mold Keep Coming Back?

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

Black spots of mold on wall Mold contamination.

The quick, and accurate, answer to repeated mold growth is water trouble. Knowing this, however, doesn't always help you prevent further growth and contamination, especially after repeated growth in the area. You shouldn't be too hard on yourself; mold is well-known for cropping up again in the same spot. This is especially true when you've had water damage on your Roaring Spring, PA, property.

The Reasons for the Return

Certain properties of mold can help you understand why it keeps coming back:

• Most molds aren't harmful. These organisms exist everywhere, inside and outside. Most of the time, molds aren't dangerous and are often helpful. However, certain types, such as black mold, can be unsightly and costly.

• Molds are fungi. They reproduce by spreading spores. To facilitate colony growth and the spread of spores, thread-like hyphae (branching filaments of mold) release enzymes and spores. If a hypha is detached from the rest of the colony, it can begin to take root and establish a new colony on a new surface.

• Mold is microscopic. This means it can get into places that you may not think possible. It also makes it very hard for you to clean mold completely with a spray solution and scrubbing. For example, you probably can't access both sides of the drywall, but when there's high humidity, this is an ideal location for mold growth.

• Mold grows quickly. Whether spores are carried into an area through the ductwork or hyphae have broken off and transferred to a new surface, it only takes 24 to 48 hours for a new colony to take hold.

Prevention and Remediation

The best route for water damage restoration is to work with a professional and prevent water damage. Inspect your property for any leaking pipes or faucets, install a dehumidifier, and keep the property well-ventilated. Any fabrics that get wet often, such as towels, washrags, and coats, should be hung where they can dry completely.

When you don't know what else to try, contact a professional. These Roaring Spring, PA, experts can handle problems in inaccessible areas, locate areas of moisture you couldn't find, and provide education for further prevention of mold

How To Clean a Dryer Exhaust Hose

7/21/2021 (Permalink)

exhaust hose in dryer vent Properly clean the dryer exhaust hose at your home to keep your dryer running effectively and prevent a lint fire.

Cleaning A Dryer Exhaust Hose

You are doing laundry at your home in Morrisons Cove, PA and suddenly smell a burning odor. Panic spreads as you realize the smell is coming from your dryer. A lint fire is the last thing you may expect, but it can happen. Even though you clean the lint filter before each load as recommended, sometimes that is not enough to prevent a dryer fire. If you notice a decrease in the efficiency of your dryer, clean out the exhaust hose and vent by following the steps below.

1. Cut the power. Unplug the dryer cord from the outlet. This allows you to easily and safely move the dryer around for cleaning.

2. Detach the hose. The exhaust hose, an accordion shaped tube, connects from the back of the dryer to the wall. Depending on your dryer, either squeeze or unscrew a bolt to loosen the circular clamp. Remove the hose from both the wall and the dryer.

3. Empty the lint. Use a long brush or vacuum attachment to remove the accumulated lint from the detached exhaust hose. This step is key to preventing a lint fire.

4. Use a cleaning rod. Carefully insert the brush on the cleaning rod into the wall vent, rotating as you go. Remove, clean the brush and repeat until the lint is clear.

5. Attach the hose. Reattach the exhaust hose to the dryer and wall. Tighten the clamp, plug the dryer in and ensure there is no escaping air before pushing the dryer back against the wall.

6. Check the vent. The outside vent is typically a square vent with a screen. Remove the screen and take out any accumulated lint. Use a vacuum or brush to clean remaining lint and reattach the screen.

Properly clean the dryer exhaust hose at your home in Morrisons Cove, PA to keep your dryer running effectively and prevent a lint fire. If a fire occurs, immediately call 911 and exit the house. After the fire is contained, contact your insurance company and a fire restoration specialist to assess the fire damage and return your home to pre-fire condition.

Why a Basement Floods and What You Should Do About It

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. A visible line is showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. A flooded basement in Huntingdon, PA.

What Should You Do If Your Basement Floods?

Typically, the best way to deal with flooding in your basement in Huntingdon, PA, is prevention. By understanding the usual causes of water retention in the lower floors of your home, you can take the necessary maintenance steps to ensure that your property stays dry for years to come.

1. Location and Climate Factors

A primary cause of excess water is above-average rainfall. Choosing to reside in a coastal area, for example, can increase the risk of a basement flood. Even in dryer climates, laying your home’s foundation on a low-lying or sloped part of the property can cause water to pool under walls and seep through the outer layers of the building.

2. Basement Drainage

Should your home sit near or on the water table, a basement drainage system and sump pump will likely be necessary to prevent excess dampness in the flooring. If the pump system breaks down due to electrical or plumbing problems, contact a qualified professional who can perform wiring or pipe repair. A powered mechanism for removing water from the basement after flooding is the most robust method for the prevention of property damage.

3. Sources of Leakage

Sometimes the biggest issues facing the homeowner lie in the ingress of water. Cracked walls or insufficient sealants and waterproof coatings can allow water that would otherwise drain away to enter the basement. Improperly positioned or damaged gutters and downspouts can divert water toward the house rather than into the yard. Gutters can also become clogged with leaves or other material, causing them to overflow. Gaps in roofing tiles or shingles can also cause undesirable water redirection, especially in periods of extreme rain or snow melt. Controlling the water volume before it reaches the basement is often the best preventative measure.

Following the above checklist of troubleshooting tips will usually stop the problem before it begins. Should you experience unavoidable flooding and require basement cleanup and decontamination, contact a company that specializes in that process to avoid potential health hazards.

Keeping Your Pet Fire Safe

7/13/2021 (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

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

Building flooded 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.

Why IICRC Certifications Are Important

7/7/2021 (Permalink)

IICRC Wall IICRC is the acronym for the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification

If you've ever hired a disaster restoration company, you have probably noticed that certain businesses in and around Bedford, PA, list IICRC certified in their credentials. In fact, there are a lot of them that are certified. All of these businesses seem to be boasting that this type of certification means they are more qualified. If you don't work in the restoration industry, you probably don't understand its significance and why it is important to look for a company with this certification. Keep reading for information about this type of certification.

1. This Organization Is a Leader in the Remediation Industry
IICRC translates to Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. This is a substantial organization dedicated to improving the quality of work performed in the remediation industry by setting high standards. It was originally founded in the United States in 1972. Since these early years, it has grown to have thousands of certified technicians and businesses worldwide. It sets the standards for various areas within the restoration industry so that technicians may have multiple certifications and provide top-quality work for any disaster.

2. A Certification Ensures You Will Get Better Quality Work
To get an IICRC certification, technicians must undergo rigorous training and prove they meet the high-standards by passing an exam. Whether a technician has a cleaning, restoration, inspection, or mitigation certificate, they can be expected to uphold certain principles and standards set forth by this organization. This means that any customers who look for this type of certification ensure they are getting the highest-quality team available.
Technicians that have been trained and certified by this company provide high-quality work. There are many businesses in numerous locations that offer technicians with these certifications. Choosing one of these businesses ensures that you get a better quality of work for your remediation tasks. Therefore, businesses must look for this certification when choosing a restoration company.

Stay Safe: Understanding the Categories of Water Contamination

7/7/2021 (Permalink)

There are few amenities as easy to take for granted as clean water, but also few amenities more damaging to be without. From maintaining hydration to hygiene, access to clean water is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, access to clean water is not universal and many are exposed to contaminated water. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) classifies water into three tiers:

1. Clean water
2. Water that is contaminated
3. Sewer and outside flood water

It is important to understand these classifications in order to properly assess the safety of a water source.


Category 1 – Clean, Safe Water.


The highest classification is reserved for water from sources that pose no significant health risk. When using water from this category, it is important to ensure that the water has not become contaminated from an outside source elsewhere in the supply line, such as traveling through unclean pipes or being stored in a dirty receptacle.


Category 2 – Contaminated Water.


Water that carries potential risks is classified as category 2. Due to exposure to high levels of microorganisms, category 2 water should be avoided as it can lead to irritation or illness. Although ingestion of category 2 water is an obvious risk, it is also inadvisable to come in contact with this water as well, such as using it for cleaning, as the pollutants contained within it may not require ingestion to cause illness.


Category 3 – Septic and Outdoor Water.


The most polluted water is classified as category 3, and it carries extremely high levels of potentially harmful elements. The most common form of contamination leading to this classification is backed up toilet water, known as black water; however, septic water can also be caused by the introduction of unclean outside water sources into the supply line.

Exposure to contaminated water is a hazard, and cleaning it up is something that should not be put off to a later date once it’s identified. When unsafe water is discovered, it is important to contact a restoration professional in Ebensburg, PA, promptly. The professional can assess the contamination, identify the source of the pollution, and clean up the problem to once again restore access to healthy water.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROsouthernblairbedford.com.

Volunteerism - Supporting our Community

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Hydration Set-up Ready, set, go

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!

Water Damage - 5 Steps for Prevention

6/22/2021 (Permalink)

Downspout Prevent downspouts from creating basement flooding

Steps To Prevent Water Damage In Your Home

For a new homeowner in East Conemaugh, PA, especially one who has only ever lived in apartments, the maintenance list for your new purchase can seem daunting! As you plan how to manage lawn care, home upgrades, and regular maintenance, make sure that your checklist includes steps for preventing water in your home. Water intrusion can be costly in a number of ways. Here are five things you can do to prevent water damage.

1. Check Seals
Especially in the basement and near windows and doors, check to make sure that all edges are sealed. Even a slight crack in the caulking can allow water to seep, causing mold damage or structural problems.

2. Inspect the Roof
A leaky roof is a common way that you can end up with water in your home. Look for wet or discolored spots in the attic that indicate the presence of water. If you're unsure as to whether water damage has occurred or is occurring, call a local water damage specialist to complete an assessment.

3. Extend Downspouts
Water that pools around the foundation of your house will compromise the structural integrity of your home. Ensure that the downspouts are not cracked and that they extend at least two feet away from your home to prevent water pooling.

4. Maintain Drains
If a sink is slow to drain, don't ignore it. A clogged pipe can lead to a broken pipe if the clog isn't cleared. The pressure of water building up can compromise your plumbing and lead to big problems.

5. Upgrade Pipes
In an older home, check the status of the pipes. Pipes that are corroded or old can easily crack under pressure or from extreme temperatures. If a pipe does crack, a leak might occur, causing extensive damage in a short amount of time. Pipe cleanup and repair can protect your home.
Preventing water in your home is a simple matter of following a regular home maintenance schedule. Always contact a professional if you're concerned about potential damage to your home.