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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!

How Do Fire Sprinklers Work During a Fire?

10/11/2022 (Permalink)

Active fire sprinkler Fire sprinklers are designed to activate as soon as a fire is detected.

How Do Fire Sprinklers Work?

Fire sprinkler systems have long been considered the last line of defense against a fire in a commercial space. However, according to NFPA statistics, sprinklers are used to contain fires in only about 32 percent of commercial building fires. That figure is far lower than it should be. Most people don't realize that there's another layer of protection—the fire alarm system—that can be used with sprinklers in order to make them even more effective at preventing loss and damage from fires by alerting occupants quickly when one starts.

A fire sprinkler system is made of several key components.

A fire sprinkler system is made up of several key components. A detector, or smoke sensor, is a device that senses when there's smoke in the air and sounds an alarm. It might be placed in a hallway or ceiling of a building. The control valve opens when the detector senses smoke to let water flow through pipes to activate sprinklers on the ceiling throughout the room. When a fire breaks out, heat from flames causes water in the pipe to turn into steam which triggers sprinklers above them to release water onto them (and hopefully extinguish any flames). The piping system includes pipes that carry water throughout buildings; valves that control where it goes; and hydrants at street level providing access points for firefighters if needed (and also allowing repairs after fires are extinguished).

Detecting a fire

A fire sprinkler is a type of automatic sprinkler system. The building's heat-sensitive detectors are mounted in the ceiling, and they are connected to a control panel. When a fire starts, these sensors sense its temperature rise, and they trigger the release of water from sprinklers around that room or space.

Sprinkler activation

Sprinklers are activated by heat. During a fire, the sprinkler head will be exposed to high temperatures, which cause the water inside of them to expand and force out through holes in their top. These sprinklers can be activated by heat from a fire or from another source (such as malfunctioning appliances or heating systems) that produces enough heat. They can also be activated by a cooking fire that produces enough heat.

Water flow

In the event of a fire, water is released from a sprinkler head. The design of these sprinkler heads allows them to release water in the right amount at exactly the right time. To accomplish this feat, each one contains a heat sensing element that's sensitive enough to detect even slight temperature changes. When activated by heat or movement, it opens and releases its contents onto an array of tiny holes on top of it—these holes then discharge their contents downward into the room below them (in most cases).

This means that when you're walking through your building on a day with no apparent signs of trouble, all those sprinklers are still working hard behind closed doors. A typical residential fire sprinkler system will use about 30 gallons per minute; however large commercial buildings are equipped with larger systems capable of discharging more than 1,400 gallons per minute!

Fire sprinklers are often able to contain a commercial fire to the room in which they start.

Fire sprinklers are designed to activate as soon as a fire is detected. Sprinklers are not designed to put out fires, but rather to suppress them. Sprinkler systems may be used in conjunction with other types of fire suppression systems, such as portable fire extinguishers and fire alarms.

Fire sprinklers are often able to contain a commercial building fire within the room where it starts—meaning that if your work supplies catch on fire, for example, there’s a good chance that you can put it out yourself before it spreads any further than your desk. This means you save on water damage costs because there isn't any need for large-scale flooding caused by hoses or other means of water delivery; the water used by sprinkler systems goes directly onto flames rather than spreading outward over dry floors and carpets as well as into nearby rooms through gaps under doors or windows (which could lead to hazardous conditions).

It's important to remember that fire sprinklers work best when installed in accordance with local laws and building codes and maintained regularly. Fire sprinklers can provide an extra layer of protection for the people who are most at risk from fires: those who are sleeping or otherwise unconscious when their homes catch fire.

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.

What To Expect During Mold Remediation at Your Business

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Black mold growth on a wall Black mold damage in Black Lick, PA

What to Expect When Cleaning Up Mold at Your Business

If your Black Lick, PA, business is in need of mold removal after water damage, then it’s recommended that you contact a local mold remediation service. There are several things these professionals will do as part of the process. Here’s what you can expect.

1. Damage Assessment

One of the first things you can expect professionals to do when looking for mold at your place of business is a damage assessment. This will help them determine if mold is present, and how severe it is. This is important as if left unattended mold can eventually turn into black mold which may cause larger-scale damage. Once the assessment has finished they can begin creating a plan for mold remediation.

2. Mold Containment

One of the main steps of the mold removal process is containing the area where mold is growing. This process usually involves sectioning off the space with plastic sheeting, and using a ventilation system to control airflow. The controlled ventilation can be used to help prevent mold spore from becoming airborne and contaminating other parts of the building. Once the controlled environment has been set up, the professionals working on your space can begin the mold cleanup and cleaning of the space.

3. Item Cleaning

After the area affected by mold growth has been contained, professionals working on your business can begin working on item cleaning and restoration. Each item may have a different cleaning method based on the material it is composed of, and what damage it has sustained. Once cleaned these items will be placed into content storage until they can be safely returned to the space.

During the mold removal process it’s not uncommon for the professionals involved to start with damage assessment. From there they will contain any areas affected by mold and begin the repair process and item cleaning. If you have any questions the remediation crew working on your business should be able to help.

3 Ways To Flood Proof Your Home

7/27/2022 (Permalink)

Flooding Flood damage in Homer City, PA.

Protect Your House From Flood Damage

Floods are the most weather disaster in America. The heavy rains that accompany hurricanes and other major storms can cause lots of harm to your Homer City, PA, house. In fact, floods caused more than $260 billion in damage to American property between 1980 and 2013. Storms have only become more frequent and powerful since then, so many homeowners are interested in flood safety.
Luckily, there are some ways to flood proof your home. The below steps should help you protect your house from flood damage.

1. Alter Your Water Valves
During a flood, it is not just rainwater that enters your home. Your sewer system could back up, forcing contaminated sewage inside the property. To prevent this, install backflow valves on all of your pipes.

2. Protect Your Climate and Electrical Systems
Any anchored indoor equipment, including your water heater and furnace, should be placed above the expected flood level of your home. Your circuit breakers, switches, wiring and sockets must be elevated as well. For maximum flood safety, they should be at least a foot above the flood level.

3. Elevate Outdoor Equipment
Similarly, any air conditioners, generators or fuel tanks outside your home should be raised and anchored. This is particularly important for generators. After all, if your generator remains on the ground, it could get easily overcome by floodwater.
You should implement most of these measures well before the storm arrives. Yet there are safety tips you can use once the waters start to rise, as well. As the flooding begins, make sure to shut off the electricity in your home. You should also put your major appliances onto concrete blocks and move your belongings to the top floors of the home.
While the above flood safety strategies should reduce the flood damage to your home, the water may still cause extensive harm to your walls and floors. Emergency restoration specialists can repair your house and any items inside of it that are affected by the storm.

What, Exactly, Is a Flood Cut?

7/19/2022 (Permalink)

Flood cuts performed on a drywall. One of the most common procedures performed after severe flooding is a flood cut.

The Aftermath Of a Flood

If you want to give your business the best possible care in the aftermath of a flood, you need to know exactly what your flood restoration company has in store for your building. One of the most common procedures performed after severe flooding is a flood cut, a service performed by professional restoration companies in Indiana, PA, to mitigate damage and restore materials that have already been damaged by the flood waters. There are a few noteworthy things to know about this process:

  • It’s done to preserve your business’s remaining drywall.
  • It cuts off an additional length of drywall to prevent contamination.
  • It’s not always necessary; that depends on the type of flood water.

The Cutting Line

While this process is done to preserve the majority of your drywall, it’s typically not just the damaged materials that are removed during a flood cut. Instead, the restoration crew will begin cutting between 12 and 18 inches above where the water damage ends. This is done so that moisture issues behind the wall can be addressed as well, reducing the likelihood for mold growth and other problems in the future.

Preventing Contamination

Typically, you only need to worry about a tear-out if your flood water is ranked as “black water.” During this type of flooding, the water can be contaminated with bacteria, sewage or other harmful waste, which pose health threats to you and your employees. When dealing with this type of water, it’s always best to perform a flood cut to completely remove the affected walls in order to reduce the likelihood of contamination to the rest of your building.

Dealing with flooding in Indiana, PA, is never fun or convenient. However, by knowing what your building is in for, you can better prepare your business and your employees for emergency situations and restoration work in the years to come.