Recent Posts

Understanding Homeowners Insurance Coverage for Mold Damage: What You Need to Know

5/15/2023 (Permalink)

Hand pointing at a piece of paper that says "INSURANCE" on it. Whether or not your homeowner's insurance policy covers mold damage will depend on several factors.

As a homeowner, you may be wondering whether your homeowner's insurance policy covers mold damage. Mold growth in homes is a common problem, and it can cause significant damage to your property if left unchecked. However, whether or not your insurance policy covers mold damage will depend on several factors.

Understanding Mold Damage

Mold is a type of fungus that thrives in warm, damp environments. It can grow on a variety of surfaces, including walls, ceilings, floors, and even furniture. Mold can cause serious damage to your home if left untreated, including structural damage, unsightly stains, and unpleasant odors.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Damage?

The answer to this question is not straightforward. While some homeowner's insurance policies may cover mold damage, others specifically exclude it from coverage. Additionally, even policies that do cover mold damage may have limitations and conditions that must be met before coverage kicks in.

Types of Homeowners Insurance Coverage

There are three main types of homeowner's insurance coverage: dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, and liability coverage. Each of these types of coverage provides protection for different aspects of your home and property.

Dwelling Coverage and Mold Damage

Dwelling coverage is designed to protect the structure of your home, including walls, roofs, and foundations. Some homeowners' insurance policies may cover mold damage as part of their dwelling coverage, but others may specifically exclude it. It is important to review your policy carefully to determine whether or not mold damage is covered.

Personal Property Coverage and Mold Damage

Personal property coverage is designed to protect your belongings, such as furniture, clothing, and electronics. Some homeowner's insurance policies may cover mold damage to your personal property, but again, it is important to review your policy to determine whether or not this coverage is included.

Liability Coverage and Mold Damage

Liability coverage is designed to protect you in the event that someone is injured on your property or if you cause damage to someone else's property. While liability coverage does not typically cover mold damage specifically, it may provide some protection if the mold is caused by a covered event, such as a burst pipe or a roof leak.

Limitations and Conditions

Even if your homeowner's insurance policy does cover mold damage, there may be limitations and conditions that you need to be aware of. For example, some policies may only cover mold damage up to a certain dollar amount or may require you to take certain actions, such as hiring a professional mold remediation company, in order to be eligible for coverage.

Prevention is Key

The best way to protect your home and property from mold damage is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. This means taking steps to keep your home dry and well-ventilated, fixing any leaks or water damage immediately, and cleaning up any spills or moisture promptly.

In conclusion, whether or not your homeowner's insurance policy covers mold damage will depend on several factors, including the type of coverage you have and the specific terms of your policy. It is important to review your policy carefully and to talk to your insurance provider if you have any questions or concerns. And remember, prevention is always the best defense against mold damage.

7 Essential Steps to Take If Your House is on Fire

4/17/2023 (Permalink)

Fire alarm system on a wall. By remaining calm and taking the proper steps, you can ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones.

A house fire can be a devastating experience for any homeowner. In the event of a fire, it is important to remain calm and take the proper steps to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones. Here are the steps to take if your house is on fire:

Step 1: Get Out Immediately

The first and most important step in the event of a house fire is to get out of the house immediately. Do not attempt to grab any belongings or valuables, as these can be replaced. If there are other people in the house, make sure they are aware of the fire and are also evacuating. If possible, use the closest exit to escape the house.

Step 2: Call 911

Once you are safely outside, call 911 immediately. Provide the operator with your name, address, and a brief description of the situation. Stay on the line until the operator tells you it is safe to hang up.

Step 3: Stay Outside

Do not re-enter the house for any reason. Even if the fire appears to be small or contained, it can spread quickly and become dangerous. Wait for the fire department to arrive and handle the situation.

Step 4: Alert Neighbors

If you have neighbors nearby, alert them to the situation and ask if they can offer any assistance. They may be able to provide a place for you to wait while the fire department works to extinguish the fire.

Step 5: Follow Up with Insurance

After the fire has been extinguished and the situation is under control, contact your insurance company to file a claim. Be sure to provide a detailed list of damages and any personal belongings that were lost in the fire.

Step 6: Seek Professional Restoration Services

Once the fire department has given the all-clear to enter your home, it is important to seek professional restoration services. These professionals can help with the cleanup and restoration process, including removing any water damage and smoke damage.

Step 7: Take Preventative Measures

After the fire has been extinguished and your home has been restored, it is important to take preventative measures to reduce the risk of a future fire. This includes installing smoke detectors in every room of your home, having a fire escape plan in place, and ensuring that all electrical wiring and appliances are up to code and properly maintained.

In conclusion, a house fire can be a traumatic experience for any homeowner. However, by remaining calm and taking the proper steps, you can ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones. Remember to evacuate immediately, call 911, stay outside, alert neighbors, follow up with insurance, seek professional restoration services, and take preventative measures to reduce the risk of a future fire. By taking these steps, you can recover from a house fire and move forward with your life.

How To Find Your Home's Main Water Shutoff Valve

3/12/2023 (Permalink)

Boiler system diagram. Finding your home's main water shutoff valve is an important step in protecting your property from water damage.

As a homeowner, it's important to know where your home's main water shutoff valve is located. In the event of a water emergency, such as a burst pipe or major leak, shutting off the main water supply can help prevent costly damage to your property. Here's how to find your home's main water shutoff valve.

Locate Your Water Meter

The first step in finding your main water shutoff valve is to locate your water meter. This is typically located outside your home, near the street or sidewalk. It may be inside a meter box or a covered pit.

Check the Area Near Your Water Meter

Once you've located your water meter, check the surrounding area for any visible pipes. Your main water shutoff valve is typically located within a few feet of your water meter, either inside or outside your home. Look for a valve or lever that controls the water flow.

Look for Your Home's Curb Valve

If you can't find your main water shutoff valve near your water meter, it's possible that your home has a curb valve. This valve is typically located near the street, in a box or pit. To access the curb valve, you may need a special tool or key. Contact your local water department to find out more information.

Check Your Home's Inspection Report

If you're still having trouble finding your main water shutoff valve, check your home's inspection report. This report should contain information about the location of your main water shutoff valve. If you can't find your inspection report, contact your home inspector or a local plumber for assistance.

Turn Off Individual Water Valves

If you cannot find your main water shutoff valve, the first thing you should do is turn off individual water valves. These valves are usually located near plumbing fixtures such as sinks, toilets, and water heaters. By turning off these valves, you can isolate the area where the problem is occurring and prevent further damage.

Label Your Valve

Once you've located your main water shutoff valve, it's important to label it so that it's easy to find in an emergency. Use a waterproof marker or label maker to mark the valve with "main water shutoff valve" or "emergency water shutoff." Make sure that all members of your household know where the valve is located and how to shut it off.

In conclusion, finding your home's main water shutoff valve is an important step in protecting your property from water damage. Take the time to locate your valve and label it for easy identification in an emergency. If you're having trouble finding your valve, don't hesitate to give our SERVPRO of Indiana County team a call today! Our team can help shut off the flow of water and clean up the mess that was left behind. 

What is an Emergency Ready Plan?

2/12/2023 (Permalink)

Finger pointing at "Be Prepared" text. Don't wait until disaster strikes, create your ERP today!

The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Plan is a free service that helps you to prepare for emergencies. The ERP documents all the key information of your commercial business, and it's designed to help the commercial business be prepared for any kind of disaster that might occur.

An Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) is a free service provided by SERVPRO.

The Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) is a free service provided by SERVPRO that provides emergency response services and emergency preparedness services. It's also part of our commitment to helping you prepare your business in case of an emergency.

The plan is designed to help the commercial business to be prepared for any kind of emergency disaster that might occur in your business, minimizing business interruption and downtime as much as possible during an emergency situation.

The ERP prepares your business.

The ERP plan documents all the key information of your commercial business, including priority contact details, property description and location, and insurance information. It will also include vital information about your building, including the floor plans, shut-off valve locations, and priority areas of your property.

The ERP gives you peace of mind.

The Emergency Ready Plan gives you peace of mind knowing that if a disaster happens at any time, SERVPRO will be ready to help you out immediately. The ERP will also provide you with a plan of action to get you back in your building as quickly as possible after a loss.

This plan establishes your local SERVPRO as your go-to mitigation and restoration provider. It also identifies a clear line of command, so both parties know exactly who to communicate with when there is an emergency on your property.

Lastly, the ERP also gives you peace of mind with the insurance claims process. When disaster strikes, SERVPRO will assist you with the entire claims process and collect the documentation needed to ensure you get the proper compensation as quickly as possible.

Why Use the SERVPRO Emergency Ready Plan?

The Emergency Ready Plan is a free tool that allows you to create a comprehensive emergency plan for your business in minutes. It's simple and easy to use, making it the perfect tool for both small businesses and large corporations alike.

  • It's a good way to document everything that’s important about your business.
  • It's easy to share with other people who are responsible for helping out during an emergency.
  • If there’s ever an actual emergency at your property (or even if there isn't), you can use the Emergency Ready Plan as proof that you're prepared for any kind of disaster or emergency situation.

Don't wait until disaster strikes, create your ERP today!

Now is the time to start planning for the next disaster. Don't wait until disaster strikes, create your ERP today! Our SERVPRO team will create an emergency ready plan tailored to your business. Your plan will minimize secondary damage and costs and will help you get back into business as quickly as possible, with one phone call to SERVPRO of Indiana County.

We hope that you are now better informed on what the Emergency Ready Plan is and how it can help your business. If you have any questions or would like more information about this free service, please contact us today!

How To Recognize Mold

1/20/2023 (Permalink)

Mold growing on a wall. Now that you know what mold looks like, it’s time to take action.

How To Recognize Mold

Mold is a fungus. It's everywhere, and mold infestations are also very common. Most homeowners have experienced a bit of mold at one point or another, but that doesn't mean you should ignore it. Mold is one of the most common indoor air pollutants. Mold grows best in warm and humid environments, such as bathrooms or basements. You may see mold growing on walls, tiles, and even your personal belongings. If you have reason to suspect that your house has mold growth, take a closer look at these signs to confirm what's going on.

If you see some mold in your home, how can you tell if it's dangerous? What does mold look like? How do you know if it goes beyond just being unsightly? And what about the smell—does that mean something too? Here are the two main ways to check for mold in your home or business:  

1. By sight

The most common way to detect mold is by sight. If the spot in question looked fuzzy, furry, or powdery, there is a good chance it could be mold. Mold can vary in color, so look for green, red, black, or even white.

2.  By smell.

You may not recognize the smell of mold because it's not always strong. There are some subtle smells that could indicate mold in your home:

  • A musty odor in the air
  • An earthy smell like dirt or hay
  • A rotten food odor, particularly near areas where there is moisture from a leaky pipe, leaky roof or window, or an appliance with a wet basement-like smell.

Call SERVPRO of Indiana County

If you suspect that your Indiana County home has been contaminated with mold, it is essential that you contact SERVPRO of Indiana County immediately. Our professionals will come to your home and assess the problem. Then come up with a plan to get your home or business back to normal. We will also begin cleaning up the affected area as soon as possible so that you can return to living in a clean environment as soon as possible.

Now that you know what mold looks like, it’s time to take action. If you see any signs of mold in or around your home, then it is important to get it checked out immediately. This is especially true if you have a family with young children or someone who may be sensitive to mold exposure.

The Different Types of Floods

12/16/2022 (Permalink)

flash flood Flash floods may occur after a dam break or waterway failure.

The 4 Different Types of Floods

Floods are one of the most devastating natural disasters in the world. Unfortunately, they can be hard to prevent. A flood is a natural disaster that occurs when an area is overwhelmed by water. It can be caused by any number of factors, including heavy rain, high tides, and extreme weather. Floods can cause damage to property and infrastructure. They can also cause ecological damage, such as soil erosion and pollution of water sources.

Flash Floods

Flash floods are common in arid and semi-arid regions, where heavy rainfall can quickly overwhelm the capacity of rivers to transport water away from their drainage basin. Flash floods may occur after a dam break or waterway failure. Flash flooding is also common during tropical cyclones when high winds move water downstream faster than expected and cause additional erosion, which further increases flow rates.

Urban Floods

Urban floods are caused by heavy rainfall, usually in a storm. The water flows down streets and through poor drainage systems, causing flooding in low-lying areas. Urban flooding can be the most destructive type of flood because of the amount of damage it causes.

River Floods

River floods are the most common type of flood in the US, making up approximately 40 percent of all flood events. They’re caused by rain, snowmelt and ice jams. In fact, river floods can be so severe that they aren’t even considered localized—they become regional or even national disasters.

River floods often occur along rivers with steep banks, which makes it easier for water to flow over its banks and into communities along its path. This is why many areas prone to river flooding are not usually considered high-risk areas for other types of flooding (such as coastal or urban flooding).

Coastal Floods

If you live on the coast, this is the flood you're most likely to experience. Coastal floods are caused by heavy rain or strong winds and can lead to serious damage if your home is built in a low-lying area. Coastal flooding happens when stormwater is unable to drain into the ocean or bay quickly enough because of high tides, strong winds, or storm surges. Storm surges are large waves created by tropical cyclones that can cause flooding even in areas far inland. Even if your home doesn't have any waterfront views, it's important to know about coastal flood risk so you can prepare for an emergency situation and know what steps to take if one occurs.

Floods are a very dangerous and costly natural disaster. They can cause damage to property, injury to people, and may require evacuation from your home. Floods can be devastating, not just for the people that are directly affected but also for the community and economy as a whole. It is important to know what type of flood you're dealing with so that you can have the best chance of staying safe or recovering from it quickly.

About the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification

11/30/2022 (Permalink)

IICRC certification badge SERVPRO of Indiana County is an ICRC Certified Firm!

The IICRC is a non-profit organization that sets standards for restoration companies and businesses across the United States. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is an organization of industry professionals who work in or are interested in these industries and have the necessary certifications. IICRC offers certification programs, educational training and other resources for the restoration industry. 

50 Years of Experience 

The IICRC has been certifying companies and technicians in all aspects of cleaning, flooring inspection, water damage restoration and mold remediation since 1972. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to improving the skills of the industry through an educational program that teaches best practices for cleaning, restoration and repair.

There are certain levels of certification according to the IICRC: 

  • Certified Technician: Entry level certification designed for individuals who have little or no experience with cleaning services or who wish to advance their career in this field
  • Certified Associate: For individuals looking to expand their knowledge base beyond entry level requirements while maintaining a manageable workload by working within their current company structure as they move towards full-time employment within a professional cleaning service organization

Restoration Industry Standards 

IICRC Certified firms are held to a higher standard of business ethics and performance. IICRC's certification programs help businesses build credibility by creating trust with customers. The Institute works to ensure that companies who hold its certifications are committed to providing quality services so that clients feel confident about hiring them for their projects.

When you are looking for a professional to inspect and clean your home or business, it is important to know who is inspecting and cleaning your property. This can be especially important when it comes to the health and safety of your family or employees.

The IICRC certification process ensures that an individual has passed a rigorous testing process and is found competent in their job duties by peers within their industry. It also means that they have agreed to adhere to ethical standards of conduct while on the job. SERVPRO of Indiana County embraces these standards and requires them of our entire team. You can trust that SERVPRO of Indiana County is an IICRC Certified Firm!

Tips for Preventing Water Damage While on Vacation

11/8/2022 (Permalink)

A serum pump installed in a basement of a house with a water-powered backup system. If you have a sump pump, be sure to test it before leaving.

Four Ways To Prevent Water Damage on Vacation

If you don't own a home, you might not ever have to worry about water damage. But if you do, whether it's your primary residence or a vacation rental property, the thought of experiencing water damage is probably terrifying. This guide will help you prevent—and be prepared for—the worst-case scenario: Water damage in your Indiana, PA, home while you're away on vacation.

Shut Off the Water

If you're going on vacation, it's important to be prepared for any eventuality. Water damage is one of the most common and costly problems homeowners face. If there's a possibility that you'll be away from home while your plumbing might spring a leak or flood, take these steps to prevent disaster:

  • Shut off the water supply.
  • Shut off the breaker for the water supply.
  • Shut off the main valve for your house (usually located by either your meter or in an exterior wall).

Check for Pre-Existing Leaks

Before you pack your bags, make sure to check for leaks under sinks, toilets, and faucets. If there’s a leak in the supply line connecting either of these fixtures to the main drainage system, water may continue flowing even when you think it’s off. Check for any signs of mold or mildew on these surfaces as well—this can be an indication that there is some kind of leak underneath them. If you notice any signs of damage or mold growth underneath these fixtures, call a professional immediately so they can determine what the problem is before it causes more serious damage to your home.

Check for leaks around windows and doors, cracks in window frames, water stains on windows or walls, or signs of water damage on the outside of your home.

Take photos of everything. Take pictures of every room in your house to document any visible damage before you leave. You can use this as proof if you need to make an insurance claim later on.

Check Your Sump Pump

If you have a sump pump, be sure to test it before leaving. There are two ways to do this:

1. You can check the float switch by looking at how much water has accumulated in your sump basin (it should be somewhere between 4-6 inches of water). If the float switch has been activated, your pump will turn on automatically and remove the excess water from your basement floor.

2. Check that all of the power sources to your sump pumps are still working properly. This includes checking fuses or circuit breakers for any damage and inspecting any extension cords for fraying wires or broken plugs. The same goes for filters—if they're clogged with sediment from use, clean them out before leaving so that they don't stop up during an emergency situation!

Leave Your HVAC System On

The best way to prevent water damage on vacation is to keep your HVAC system running. This will keep the humidity levels down, prevent pipes from freezing and rusting and help you avoid expensive repair bills when you return home.

If you do find that the HVAC has been shut off while you were away—or if it breaks down later in your trip—remember that there are a few things that can be done to help minimize the damage. First of all, don't panic! Just like when an appliance breaks, don't waste time digging into problem-solving; instead, call for professional assistance immediately. Once they arrive on the scene with their tools and expertise, they'll quickly assess what needs to be done and let everyone know what steps should be taken next so everything runs smoothly again as soon as possible!

Water damage can happen anywhere and at any time, so it’s important to be prepared!

Friend, do not let water damage ruin your vacation. Use these tips to avoid such an unfortunate scenario next time around; they’re simple enough for anyone who follows them regularly at home—so there’s no reason not to follow them while away from home too!

4 Things to Do if You Live in a Flood Zone

8/27/2022 (Permalink)

Neighborhood flooded Flood damage in Black Lick, PA

If You Live in a Flood Zone, Here Are 4 Things to Do

If you've ever seen the satellite images of Black Lick, PA, you may wonder why it is laid out that way. However, if you lay a flood zone map over it, you will quickly understand why it looks like that. People who live in high-risk areas need to know how to protect themselves so they don't end up paying the costs associated with hiring a remediation company.

1. Check the Flood Maps
FEMA offers an online tool so you can easily check to see what flood zone your home is in. Through the online portal, you can easily determine your home's risk. These maps are continually changing as different topographical features are altered. Regularly check these, so you are up-to-date on your home's risk.

2. Keep Track of Changes
New construction can easily change a flood zone's risk. Therefore, you need to keep track of nearby changes and note how they impact your property. This can ensure that you are properly prepared for a flood.

3. Buy Flood Insurance
If you are at risk, you need to have flood insurance. This is because flooding is not covered under your property insurance. Flood insurance is available through both private companies and a government-sponsored program. If you choose a private company, you will likely spend a few hundred dollars each year. However, it is worth it to protect you financially.

4. Use Flood Sensors
There are several ways you can protect your home from a flood. One of these is a flood sensor. These are installed throughout your home and let you know if your appliances leak, a pipe breaks, or outside water enters your basement. They can be worked into your home security system. This way, they can send you an alert if water enters your home.
These are just some of the measures you can take to protect your home. Learning more about living in an at-risk area can help you protect your home from storm and flood damage.

How To Maintain Your Swamp Cooler and Prevent Mold Damage

8/27/2022 (Permalink)

leaking swamp cooler A leaking swamp cooler can lead to mold damage

How To Prevent Mold Issues In Your Home

Swamp coolers use three-quarters less energy than standard air conditioners but cost only half the price. However, they require more maintenance than central air conditioners do because they use moisture evaporation to cool the air. A leaking swamp cooler can lead to mold damage. Here are three ways to prevent issues so you can keep your White, PA, home cool and comfortable during hot weather.

1. Schedule Regular Maintenance
Even if you don’t see (or smell) any issues, have a licensed professional clean and inspect your swamp cooler. The cooling pads are susceptible to mold growth; replace them halfway through the season. Cleaning the drip pans, ducts and other parts helps prevent the buildup that leads to property damage. Mineral buildup can keep the system from running correctly. Get rid of buildup with descaler tablets or install a filter to remove excess minerals from hard water.

2. Make Repairs Right Away
You don’t want water from your leaking swamp cooler getting into your foundation and causing issues. Replace damaged parts such as hoses, connections and float valves. If the swamp cooler’s reservoir has cracks or holes, water can seep into your home and cause mildew. If you notice your home has mold growth, contact mold remediation experts to clean up the damage.

3. Watch Your Home’s Humidity Levels
Because swamp coolers add moisture to your home, they work best in areas where the humidity is less than 50% during hot weather. If there’s a lot of water in the air, run a dehumidifier or keep your windows open. If you live in an area with high humidity, installing an air conditioner system may be a better option.
When the weather cools down and you’re ready to store your swamp cooler, drain the water supply, clean the water reservoir, let all the parts dry out, and put the unit in a cool, dry space.