Recent Posts

Why Does Mold Love Bread – and Is Moldy Bread Safe to Eat?

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Mold growth on bread Mold growth on bread

Why Does Mold Love Bread?

Looking at something covered with mold triggers a massive wave of disgust in most people. This is a natural feeling, probably built into human beings to help prevent them from eating or handling harmful substances. Bread mold seems to be about the most common moldy food encountered, and many of the preservatives in bread are specifically there to prevent fungus growth.

What Is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungus, which plays a critical role in the world. Unlike plants, they have no way to photosynthesize light into energy, so they feed off plants and animals instead. Fungi are essential for the world to function, with benefits such as

Decomposing dead plants and animals.
Allowing the creation of foods, including bread and some cheese.
Antibiotics, including penicillin.

They are probably the most important decomposers in the natural environment, and without fungi, the world would be covered by millions of years of dead plants and animals.
It makes mold sound dreadful, but there are millions of mold spores right in your immediate area. Many molds are beneficial to humans, and some are used in a variety of industries. Fungi like bread mold, however, are not beneficial.

Why Is Bread Mold So Common?

Bread is like the ideal buffet for mold. It has all the right basic foodstuffs that mold needs to flourish. Warm areas tend to encourage mold growth, but even bread put in the refrigerator will eventually get moldy. Fridge mold should be cleaned with a light bleach and water mix.
You should avoid eating moldy bread. However, if you consume a little, don’t panic! The chances are very high that ingesting a tiny amount of mold will have literally no impact on your health. If you are allergic to mold, that could be an issue, but otherwise just discard the uneaten portion and regretfully mourn your now useless sandwich.
If you have a fungus growth problem in Carrolltown, PA, that goes well beyond bread mold, call a professional mold remediation company to inspect, locate the problem and clean it up before it spreads.

4 Things You Should Never Do If You Smell Natural Gas

11/22/2019 (Permalink)

Someone with both hands holding a lighted candle Lighting an open flame near natural gas is a quick way to start a gas fire

4 Things You Should Never Do If You Smell Natural Gas

If you ever suspect that there might be leaking gas in your home in Cresson, PA, taking immediate action is the only way to avoid an unfortunate gas fire from starting, which can damage your home and require fire damage cleanup services. While natural gas is odorless on its own, mercaptan is added to produce a smell similar to rotten eggs. If you detect this scent or hear a distinct hissing noise inside your home, your main goal should be to escape the area and call for help. A gas explosion can happen quickly if certain precautions aren’t taken, so make sure to refrain from any of the following actions:

Do Not Turn On Any Lights or Appliances

While your first instinct might be to turn on the light if you hear a hissing noise at night, never flip the switch. Similarly, don’t turn on any other appliance for whatever reason. Even a flashlight can create a spark, so focus on escaping safely if it is too dark to find the source of the leak.

Do Not Light a Candle

Lighting an open flame near natural gas is a quick way to start a gas fire. A candle should never be used to mask a sulfur-like odor, and don’t use one as a light source at night.

Do Not Open the Garage Door

When exiting your house, use the front or back door instead of the garage. If you are trying to air out your home, you can open windows and doors instead.

Do Not Use Your Phone or Other Electronic Device

Wait to call for help until you are outside of your home. Using your phone or other electronic devices can result in a gas fire.
Even if you’re not sure if there is actually a natural gas leak in your home, you should always take your suspicions seriously. Avoid any actions that can cause a spark and focus on finding your way to safety.

What To Do About Flood-Damaged Walls

11/16/2019 (Permalink)

Water damaged interior wall in an old house Flooding affects walls in a Portage, PA home

What To Do About Flood-Damaged Walls

Flooding to your Portage, PA, home can be a serious problem, especially behind walls where the damage is not fully visible. In some cases the drywall can be salvaged, but in others it must be removed.

Dangers of Wet Walls

Soaked walls pose a variety of problems. If they are not dried or replaced, the following may occur:

  • mold growth
  • decreased R-value of insulation
  • loss of structural integrity

The drywall itself may become weak and moldy if left wet. Insulation may lose its ability to retain heat (its R-value) and harbor contamination. In these cases, it is necessary to replace the wall.

Remediation of Wet Walls

Fortunately, if the flooding is from a clean water source, such as a pipe break, the drywall can be dried and does not have to be replaced. Special equipment, such as commercial-grade dehumidifiers, will be necessary for this task. However, if the drywall is not dry within 24-48 hours, it will probably need to be replaced because mold has likely begun to grow and the water has had time to permanently damage the wall.
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to decontaminate drywall or fully dry insulation, so if insulation is affected or the water is dirty, a flood cut is necessary. A flood cut is the removal of drywall and insulation after water damage has occurred. It is necessary to tear out the material above the water line, usually 12 to 18 inches above, due to the fact that moisture wicks upward. A moisture meter can detect exactly how far up the water has traveled.
If flooding affects your walls, you may feel overwhelmed trying to determine if the wall can be salvaged, trying to act quickly, etc. Fortunately, a certified restoration company can help you with every step of the flood remediation process and get your home back to normal quickly and safely.

How To Pump Out a Flooded Basement

10/30/2019 (Permalink)

A sump pump Pumping water out of a basement

You can find yourself in the clutches of a basement flood in Johnstown, PA, for a multitude of reasons. The weather, a ruptured water line or an appliance malfunction could easily be the culprit. So what can you do about it?

Stop the Flooding

Before you can begin to think about removing the water, you have to make sure that it isn't still flowing into your flooded basement. If it is a plumbing issue, you can turn the shut-off valve on the main water line to stop it. If the weather is to blame, you will have to wait it out. You will need to wait until there is no more standing water in your yard. You should also turn off the electricity, to avoid any danger of an electric shock.

Begin Pumping

You can rent or buy a submersible pump from local hardware or construction rental store. You will need an extension cord so that the pump can be plugged in to a generator high and away from the basement flood. Some tips to get started:

  • Make sure to hang the cord in such a way that it doesn't touch the water.
  • A hose will be attached to the top, be sure to position it away from the house, ideally into a storm drain or sewer.
  • Use a nylon rope to lower it into the water.

Drying Out

If there's still a small amount of water after pumping, you can use a wet vacuum to suck out the rest. All porous materials will need to be thrown away, as they carry the risk of growing mold, including drywall and carpeting- you'll want to avoid mold damage as it can get quite costly, even with insurance coverage. You should ventilate the area well and run a dehumidifier to dry out the rest.
There are companies that can do the pumping for you, but if your home was part of a larger flooding event they may not be able to get to you for awhile. Luckily, you can do it yourself with a little bit of guidance.

How To Mitigate Storm Damage to Your Business

10/30/2019 (Permalink)

Man collecting water in bucket from ceiling Leaking ceiling in a Cresson, PA building

Storms are a common cause of destruction to businesses in Cresson, PA. Though many business owners focus on insurance policies that can often help cover damage, such as a roof leak or cracked shingles, it's also often useful for business owners to consider ways to mitigate the damage to their properties.

What Are Common Types of Damage That Occur From Storms?

There are a variety of ways a storm can impact a commercial property, but some areas are more prone to damage than others. Destruction from a storm often includes:

  • Missing shingles
  • Leaky roofs
  • Interior mold damage
  • Broken windows
  • Flooding in the interior and exterior of the building
  • Broken shutters

Can You Prevent a Storm From Harming Your Business?

Knowing how your business may be affected by a storm can make it easier for you to appropriately prepare for an approaching storm. If you are concerned about a roof leak or an otherwise damaged roof, it can be wise to have a roof inspection before a storm occurs. Removing any loose items, such as trash, dead limbs or furniture that isn't cemented into the ground, can also help to decrease the chance of storm damage.

What Mitigation Methods Can You Use After a Storm?

Though taking steps to prevent damage is often wise, it's not always possible to prevent the destruction of your business. If your business is affected by a storm, there are several steps you can take to prevent further damage. Covering your roof with a tarp if there are missing shingles or leaks can help to keep water out of your building. Boarding up your building can also help to prevent theft and can help to prevent further devastation. If your business was affected by a storm, it's frequently useful to contact emergency restoration services soon after the storm has passed

Whether your business has a roof leak or damaged windows, mitigation is often an important aspect of preparing for and reacting to a storm. For business owners, it can be useful to know what damage storms frequently cause to businesses, how to prevent destruction from a storm and how to mitigate damage after it occurs.

What To Expect During a Fire Cleanup

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

White door with glass in the middle Post fire cleanup in Johnstown,PA

Fire Cleanup

If your Johnstown, PA, home has experienced fire or smoke damage you may be wondering the best way to get everything restored. Fortunately, a fire restoration service may be able to help. Here are the three steps you may see these professionals perform during a fire cleanup.

1. Inspection

The first step you may see your local fire damage restoration service take is to thoroughly inspect the damaged area. This allows them to locate any fire, smoke and soot damage that may be present, as well as formulate a plan for the restoration process. Once they know where the damage is located, what type, and how much is present, they can begin taking steps to help prevent any further loss.

2. Prevention

After the area is assessed, you may see your restoration company began covering over areas of smoke damage with tarps or boards. This step helps prevent additional damage by preventing weather, animals, or other humans from accessing the area until appropriate repairs can be made. Your restoration service may also take the opportunity to recommend upgrades to your home that may help mitigate potential issues in the future.

3. Restoration

Once the inspection and any necessary damage prevention measures have been taken, the restoration service can begin any smoke cleaning necessary before the repair process. Once the area has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, repairs can begin. It may take a little time depending on the extent of the damage, but your home can be restored back to its original condition.
When a fire restoration service begins work on smoke damage in your home, you may see them start with inspecting the property and damage type so that they can correctly formulate a plan. The next step will often be to take steps to prevent further damage until repairs can be made. After everything is prepared the restoration process can begin, and your home can be restored to look as it did before the fire

When Does Insurance Cover Mold Damage?

9/25/2019 (Permalink)

A man's hand pointing with a pen to a sheet that says INSURANCE It can be hard to determine if your insurance policy covers damage caused by fungus growth

Black mold cleanup of your Ebensburg, PA, home can be expensive. While you may think your homeowners' insurance will cover the cost of the repairs, that is not the case. There are some exceptions, however.

Covered Perils

The main way to determine whether your insurance will pay for mold cleanup is to look at the source of the fungus growth. If the mold resulted from an emergency covered by your policy, otherwise known as a covered peril, you should be able to file a claim for the cost of the damage. Typical covered perils include:

  • The weight of ice and snow on your roof
  • Fire
  • Frozen pipes
  • Water overflow from sprinklers, air conditioning units, appliances and plumbing

Essentially, any mold growth that results from an accidental and sudden incident will be covered by your policy. However, insurance will not cover the cost of mold removal if the damage was partly the result of your negligence.
Therefore, if you don’t address the fungus growth immediately, your insurer likely will not pay for the repairs. Insurers similarly will not pay for mold caused by a persistently leaky pipe or roof that you fail to address.
A regular homeowners' policy also will not cover mold resulting from flood damage. However, a flood insurance policy should cover the cost of this mold removal, as long as you properly clean and maintain your property after the flood.

Mold Endorsements

Even if your mold damage does not result from a covered peril, you still may be able to get insurance coverage. You can actually buy mold insurance via an endorsement to your regular policy.
However, your insurance provider may limit your mold coverage. The insurer may only pay for certain services or put a cap on how much it will spend.
It can be hard to determine if your insurance policy covers damage caused by fungus growth. If you are not sure, contact a claims adjuster or your local mold remediation company representative.

Be Prepared with Business Interruption Insurance

9/25/2019 (Permalink)

A yellow sign that says "Are you prepared?" If flooding or another disaster happens, being prepared can lessen the burden of large water damage

As a successful business owner in Johnstown, PA, there are many knowns and unknowns that need to be considered. A business plan should not only include the company’s mission and operational strategies. If flooding or another disaster happens, being prepared can lessen the burden of large water damage. Part of the plan should be having business interruption insurance secured.

What Does Business Interruption Insurance Do?

While small mishaps can easily be fixed, extensive water damage from a broken pipe or flooding is much more severe. Along with the potential loss of important documents, furniture and the like, this kind of damage can result in the need for restoration services. Those kinds of repairs are typically not a quick fix and could result in have to close down while they are made. Business interruption insurance helps cover costs associated with the damage and operational losses. While all policies are different, they often include:

  • Earnings your company would make under normal operating conditions.
  • Bills that continue even when closed including taxes, rent, loan payments and utilities.
  • Moving expenses for temporary relocation.
  • Even if not working, employees need to be paid. This insurance can assist with payroll.

Plan Ahead to Speed Up the Process

Along with being insured, create a plan to handle disasters. It should also include detailed steps for what to do in an emergency. It is also a good idea to already have some trusted professionals researched so you know who to call for the fastest cleanup. Other things to consider include:

  • Have backup power and other resources in place.
  • Keep copies of important documents off site or in a safe.
  • Maintain an inventory of equipment, including receipts and maintenance schedules if applicable.
  • Ensure building is regularly inspected to minimize costly repairs.

Although flooding can be overwhelming, having a plan of action can help ensure the aftermath is dealt with as smoothly as possible. Making insurance part of the plan is key to recovery.

Steps to Take to Flood Proof Your Home

9/9/2019 (Permalink)

A breaker panel with a sign on top that says "Cut the power" Turn off all electricity with your breaker panel to avoid getting electrocuted

Steps to Take to Flood Proof Your Home

Flooding is one of the most common weather disasters to take place in the United States. It is wise to be informed when it comes to common flood safety advice that can protect you and your home from water damage and danger.

1. Keep Electrical and Climate Systems Safe

Circuit breakers, switches, and any wiring should be placed at least one foot above the estimated flood level where you live. If you have all of these things sitting above your home’s flood level, you can try to minimize the amount of damage that takes place when a flood does come through. This is one of the most important safety tips to follow to keep you and your home secure.

2. Determine Water Flow

Check out the slope of the ground around your house because this can determine if water is going to be directed away from or toward your home. Watch the water flow during the next rainstorm and see which direction it goes. If the street you live on tends to have standing water after a storm, it is wise to talk to the environmental services department to see if they can make suggestions for flood safety in your area.

3. Keep Outdoor Equipment Secure

Air conditioning units and fuel tanks should be anchored down and elevated above flood level to avoid a dangerous situation. Electrical power units should never sit on the ground because they will be useless once they get wet.

4. Last Minute Tips

There are ways to flood proof the area even if the waters are already coming your way. Be sure to clear out the gutters and drains, so you can get rid of as much water as possible. Move all of your belongings upstairs or above the ground if possible. You should also turn off all electricity with your breaker panel to avoid getting electrocuted.
As you can see, there are so many flood safety tips to keep in mind in Belsano, PA. While you can always contact a professional for water damage repair after the flood, it is a good idea to be prepared beforehand to avoid as much damage as possible.

Steps to Take After a Fire at a Business

8/28/2019 (Permalink)

A big commercial building burned out Fire loss in Belsano, PA

Steps to Take After a Fire at a Business

Fire damage caused by a blaze at a business in Belsano, PA can make for a costly and time-consuming restoration process if the situation is not handled properly and efficiently. Fortunately, there are steps that a business owner can take in order to ensure that the fire mitigation and cleanup process goes as smoothly as possible. Here are three suggestions for steps that a business owner can take after a fire to have the damage repaired quickly.

1. Remove Salvageable Items and Take Photos of the Damage

Returning to a building after a fire may evoke many emotions, including frustration, sadness and a sense of feeling overwhelmed. It is vital to stay focused on the restoration process and keep moving forward. A beneficial first step to take may be to enter the building (if it is safe to do so) and collect salvageable items. While at the property, it will be helpful to take lots of photos of the fire damage to send to an insurance adjuster.

2. Plan to Make Repairs to the Structure

It’s understandable that an individual may feel overwhelmed after a disaster. However, there is always an opportunity for good to come from a situation. Deciding to repair and restore the company may enable a businessperson to feel empowered. Making plans for repairs to be made to the commercial building is a great step to take. Calling professionals who specialize in fire cleanup can help repair the building and restore the destruction to the point that it looks “Like it never even happened.”

3. Communicate with Employees

After a catastrophe at a company, employees may have questions about the future of the business. Communicating with workers and coming up with a plan – such as allowing them to work from home temporarily if possible – may be advantageous.
While fire damage may be difficult for a company owner, taking these steps after a blaze can provide the comfort of knowing that the business will be up and running again as soon as possible.