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Why Does Mold Smell?

11/29/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Why Does Mold Smell? Mold after water loss in Portage,PA

If you're a property owner in Portage,PA, the upkeep of your building is a constant concern. Besides making sure the plumbing is in top shape and the roof is free of leaks, you also want to be certain that the structure is free of mold and the mycotoxins it produces. One of the key indicators of the presence of mold is the smell. The musty odor is unmistakable, and can let you know right away that you've got a problem. But why does mold smell?

Chemical Compounds

You might think that the odor of mold is produced by the airborne spores the fungus uses to reproduce, but that's not the case. Actually, the odors are causes by various chemical components that are released as the mold grows and consumes nutrients. These substances are called Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds, or MVOCs. These compounds don't contain the dangerous mycotoxins, although some of them are known to be toxic in large quantities. The list of MVOCs includes:

  • 1-butanol - an odor of alcohol fermentation
  • 2-hexanone - a smell like acetone
  • 1-octen-3-ol - a moldy, green or meaty odor
  • Geosmin - an earthy scent
  • Borneol - smells like camphor
  • 3-octanone - an odor like nuts or herbs

Smells as Growth Indicators

When the mold is dry and has stopped growing, this is usually the time for it to release spores, and no MVOCs will be produced. MVOCs are usually detected only when the mold is active. This is a good indicator that there is a constant source of moisture for the mold to grow in, and you might have a problem.

If you detect a mold problem in your building, it's a good idea to get in touch with a professional mold remediation specialist right away. They can test the mold to see what type it is and if any mycotoxins are present. Once they assess the problem and isolate the sources, they can completely eradicate the mold, making sure your property is safe and free from further damage.

How To Choose and Use a Fire Extinguisher

11/21/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO How To Choose and Use a Fire Extinguisher A fire extinguisher can help minimize fire damage in your Ebensburg,PA business

Tips of Selecting and Operating a Portable Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is a common sight in public buildings and offices. A portable extinguisher can save lives and reduce property damage in the case of fires contained to small areas, such as a wastebasket, equipment closet, or garbage can. While fire inspectors and fire safety professionals in Ebensburg, PA, can be helpful resources in fire safety planning, here are a few basic tips you can use when selecting and operating a portable extinguisher.

  1. Choose the right extinguisher. Portable extinguishers are designed for specific applications. For example, a dry chemical extinguisher is for electrical fires, while a CO2 extinguisher is best suited for flammable liquids, such as grease in a kitchen or break room fire. The type of fire extinguisher needed will depend on the flammable materials present in the environment where it will be located.
  2. Locate extinguishers in key areas. Keep extinguishers close to where fires are most likely to occur. Take into consideration the workplace or building layout when deciding where to place an extinguisher.

  3. When using an extinguisher, remember PASS:
    • Pull the safety pin in the handle.
    • Aim at the base or source of the fire.
    • Squeeze the lever.
    • Sweep back and forth.

  4. When in doubt, just get out. If a fire appears too big to tackle, the room is filled with smoke, or someone is injured, the average person should not attempt to extinguish a fire. He or she should get safely out of the building and help others escape.

A fire extinguisher can help minimize fire damage, but it is only part of a sound fire safety plan. Functioning smoke detectors and an escape route are other important components to have in place before a fire occurs. It is important to remember getting to safety is always the top priority in any fire. Structural fire and water damage can always be addressed, but lives cannot be replaced.

What Is Roof Damage Mitigation?

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO What Is Roof Damage Mitigation? Roof damage in Portage, PA

If your precious home’s roof has ever suffered from destruction related to a severe storm in Portage, PA, or you are trying to prepare for such an event, you may have wondered what roof damage mitigation is and how it could benefit you and your house. Here’s an overview of what this service is and what it entails.

Mitigation Definition

Mitigation for wind damage to a home’s roof involves finding a temporary but effective solution to the situation until more permanent remediation and repairs are possible. This is a very important process to help protect your home and its integrity, and is usually best completed by residential storm damage restoration specialists who typically understand what your home needs to stay secure after damage.

Steps Involved

There are a few steps that are involved when a remediation technician comes to help you with your roof damage concerns. The professionals’ duties typically include the following:

  1. Inspection of the damaged property
  2. Boarding and tarping of the damaged areas to mitigate the issue
  3. Creating a more thorough restoration plan or suggesting other solutions

In some cases, quick mitigation fixes are all a roof will need. However, some situations may require that a trained technician find a more permanent option for remediation or suggest a different way to get assistance if the situation is more complex.

How to Prepare

Facing a Portage, PA, storm is enough to make any homeowner anxious, but realizing that roof damage could also occur makes the situation seem that much more alarming. The best thing you can do if you are preparing for an expected or theoretical future storm is to try to use your best judgment instead of listening to your emotions, and also to understand your remediation options as outlined above. Preparation helps you to take better control of your home’s future if an emergency should ever come its way.

3 Things to Throw Away After a Fire

10/24/2018 (Permalink)

Recovering from a home fire is a long, frustrating process, sometimes compounded by the loss of cherished belongings. When you face the destruction of the furnishings and content of your Portage, PA, home, it can be hard to say good-bye to belongings that don't seem to have been affected. However, there are some items that you need to throw away, even if they don't look like they've damaged by fire or smoke.

1. Food

Obviously, you'll toss out any cereals and breads that were on the counter. Of course, you'll throw away anything in open containers and foods there were stored in cardboard or thin plastic bags. It may surprise you to learn, however, that even your canned foods should be tossed out. This is because the high heat of the fire will activate the growth of bacteria, even when food is sealed in glass jars and cans from the store.

The contents of your fridge may be safe, even if the power has gone out, but remember that it's safer to throw out questionable foods than to suffer through physical sickness. Anything that smells smoky or odd, has visible soot, or doesn't feel cold should be disposed of.

2. Medicine

The last thing you need after a fire is to be left without your necessary medications. However, these items can be affected by fire damage. If there's warping, charring, or signs of soot, throw it out. It's better to contact your doctor for refills than to become sick or suffer other side effects.

3. Cosmetics

You may think that heat could affect cosmetics to the point that they are harmful to your health. However, the same temperatures that affect your food and medications could affect the chemicals in cosmetics to the point that they are no longer usable.

Ultimately, it's best to throw away any belongings that have suffered fire damage. This is particularly true for food, medicine, and cosmetics. Don't put yourself at risk. Ask professionals from the fire department or a fire restoration company if you aren't sure if something is safe to keep.

Maintaining Building Exteriors To Reduce Storm Damage

10/19/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Maintaining Building Exteriors To Reduce Storm Damage Blocked gutters can cause damage in your commercial building in Johnstown,PA

Rain, wind, hail – if you have a business in Johnstown, PA, it can be severely damaged by strong storms. Performing exterior maintenance on your building can help reduce storm damage. It is important to keep your building maintained in order to minimize the time and money spent on repairs after a severe storm.

Early Indications of Wear

Many problems with building exteriors can be identified while in the early stages and can be repaired before becoming a costly burden, especially after a storm. For example, rust stains may indicate a leak in the gutters or windows. The easiest places to start a building inspection are the areas that are the most vulnerable:

  • Windows – Check the caulking around the exterior for cracks or gaps.
  • Doors – Check that the doors close tightly and there are no gaps.
  • Walls and siding – Check for hairline cracks in siding or even slight gaps in brick-and-mortar exteriors.
  • Gutters – Poorly-fitting or blocked gutters can cause water to pool and drain down the side of your building, causing damage to the exterior.

Without proper exterior maintenance, problems with any of the above can be exacerbated during a strong storm and damage to the interior of the building, as well as the exterior, may result.

Prevention Is Key

The easiest way to save time and money is to keep your building maintained and perform a building inspection on a regular basis. A few simple things to do include the following:

  • Re-caulk windows to keep them water- and wind-proof.
  • Install weather-stripping around windows and doors to help plug gaps.
  • Thoroughly clean all gutters and ensure that they are free from cracks or holes.

Making large repairs to a building exterior after a storm is often much more difficult than doing preventive maintenance and making small repairs as the need arises.

What To Do

If you need to repair your building after a severe storm, be sure to call a professional crew in Johnstown, PA. While routine exterior maintenance can help reduce costs, if there is a need for a major repair, you will need an experienced team to get you back in business.

How To Know When Your Water Heater Might Fail

10/11/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage How To Know When Your Water Heater Might Fail Check your water heater in Ebensburg,PA to avoid water damage

As a homeowner, you want to prevent as much damage to your Ebensburg, PA, house as possible. Keeping an eye on your appliances can help you avoid unnecessary flooding. A leaking water heater, for example, can cause a lot of damage to your home. If you knew your heater might start leaking before it happened, you could potentially stop the flooding from taking place. A residential water team may be able to help you inspect your water heater and other appliances for signs of impending failure.

1. You hear strange noises.

Some noises coming from your water heater are normal, but too much banging, whistling or rumbling could be a sign that you have a broken water heater. Built up sediment, for example, can cause the heating coils to bang and shake each time they heat up. Eventually, this can cause breaks in the elements or sides of the heater.

2. You see rusty water.

If you notice rusty water whenever you run a hot bath or try to wash the dishes, it could be a major sign of a failed water heater. The rust could mean your heating unit is rusting away from the inside. However, in some cases rusty water could simply mean you have rusty pipes. Before replacing your appliance, drain some water to make sure the rust is coming from the water heater itself.
3. You see standing water. A sure sign of a leaking water heater is seeing water coming out of the unit. If you don't see the active leak but still see standing water, you should do some investigation to figure out where the flood is coming from. In some cases, a water heater may only leak while the water inside is hot because the heat expands the fractures of the metal.

A leaking water heater can leave you with little warm water and serious water damage. Catching the problem early can help reduce the problems caused by the failed equipment.

Commercial Property Recovery After Water Damage

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Commercial Property Recovery After Water Damage Air mover on a water loss in a Johnstown, PA museum

Water damage caused by broken pipes can lead to a complete business shut down because of the water cleanup. It can be difficult after this type of disaster to see any hope, but with a little elbow grease and a lot of luck, the damage may not be as bad as it seems. Before you begin the potentially long and grueling process, you may want to familiarize yourself with the following steps:

1. Stay Safe

The first thing you should do before entering a flooded area is cut the power because, even if it looks like the power is off, there is the possibility of electrical currents still flowing through submerged appliances and outlets.

2. Pump and Wet Vac

After you have ensured your safety, it is time to begin the process of moving the water from the interior of your building to the exterior. Instead of dealing with the low-tech option of buckets and assembly lines, you may find it more beneficial to rent a few pumps and wet vacs to speed up the process. As you had to turn the power off, you can use generators and extension cords to power up.

3. Salvage What You Can

Once you have removed all the water, you can begin salvaging items that have not been affected by the water damage. Keep in mind that porous items hold water and may pose a mold or mildew risk.

4. Ventilate and Dry

After the water removal and salvaging work is complete, you can open all windows and doors to help ventilate and dry the building. You can rent air movers and dehumidifiers to help with the drying process, once again utilizing generators to power these tools.

5. Scrub Away

Once the building is dry, you can scrub and disinfect the entire area. It may be beneficial to search the Johnstown, PA, area for restoration companies, as they have the expertise and equipment necessary to speed up the process.

Water damage is difficult for a business owner, but if you follow the five steps above and seek any additional help you may need, the process may just make you a stronger leader.

How You Can Use Landscaping to Protect Your Home

9/20/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage How You Can Use Landscaping to Protect Your Home Basement storm flooding in Indiana, PA

The threat of outside flooding during a rain storm can be a severe risk in Indiana, PA, and it can stem from the lack of proper rain drainage. There are several ways to divert rainfall utilizing landscaping that is both practical and affordable. The list below gives you five ideas.

1. Reconfigure the Downspouts

One of the most cost-effective ways to prevent the buildup of excess water is to reconfigure your downspouts. Downspout diverters help to move the rainwater away from your home, preferably to a lower surface. This solution is cost-effective while also minimally changing the exterior of your home.

2. Add Driveway Drainage

If you have a driveway that slants towards your home, it can cause flooding during significant downpours. An excellent solution to avoid this is to add a driveway drainage system. Unfortunately, you will likely need to rely on a professional to install the system, which means the cost will vary based on the scope of work.

3. Plant Rain Gardens

A rain garden is an excellent way to prevent outside flooding. While it does little to divert water, the garden often hoards water, and it will do this most effectively if you choose plants with the highest water soil tolerance. Most homeowners prefer to build rain gardens that are around 100 square foot, but any size can help.

4. Use Dense Mulch

Similar to rain gardens, dense mulch allows water to build up in a highly absorbent area. Additionally, the use of heavier mulch can prevent it from floating away and causing blockages in exterior drains.

5. Dig Swale Ditches

One of the more expensive options is to dig a ditch, commonly referred to as a trench or a swale. While many homes do have naturally occurring swales, it is possible to excavate a trench to redirect and divert water.

While outside flooding is a significant concern for many homeowners, there are many potential solutions to help ease that concern that are both cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing. Choose your favorite.

Can I Prevent Mold From Returning To My Home?

9/13/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Can I Prevent Mold From Returning To My Home? Mold growing on wet walls from flood waters in a Ebensburg, PA home

As a homeowner in Ebensburg, PA, you have a lot to worry about as you try to maintain a clean, safe, comfortable place to live. Despite your best efforts, it’s sometimes impossible to prevent all issues from causing damage to your house. Black mold is no exception. This invader can creep into your walls, floors or other areas without you even knowing it. However, you can take measures to minimize the likelihood of it spreading in your house.

Mold Is Unavoidable

It may not sound pleasant, but everywhere you go, there is at least a trace of mold. No matter how clean and sterile you keep the environment around you, this substance will find its way to you. Here are some facts about mold and its pervasive nature:

  • Mold spores are microscopic and float in the air.
  • Mold may enter your home from the outside via windows or doors.
  • Mold can find its way into your house on anyone or anything that comes inside.
  • Mold grows quickly when it is exposed to water.
  • Mold thrives in humid environments.

Professionals Are the Answer

Though mold is everywhere, there are steps you can take to clean it up when you see it in your home. While you can use some household items to combat it, it’s best to call a trained professional who knows how to get rid of black mold. The pros use the best techniques and have powerful tools for mold cleanup.

Remediation is the Key

You may not be able to keep mold out for good, but a skilled technician can employ industry-standard mold remediation techniques to increase your chances of being mold free. The professionals will remove and replace any areas of your home that have visible signs of mold damage.

You don’t want to take a black mold and any other form of this culprit lightly. Be aware of conditions that invite mold. Then, call a reputable professional to remove it.

Got a Fire? Put it out Quickly With a Fire Extinguisher

8/21/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Got a Fire? Put it out Quickly With a Fire Extinguisher Learn how to use a fire extinguisher today.

It’s never pleasant to have a fire you in your workplace. Even small incidents can cause damage and disrupt your business. Fortunately, if you catch a fire before it has a chance to grow and spread, you can put it out with a fire extinguisher. The problem is, many people don’t know how to use this valuable tool. Make sure you and everyone in your company can operate one. It could save you money and a lot of grief.

When to use One

A fire extinguisher can be a remarkably effective measure again fires in your building. If you act fast, you can put out a blaze in a matter of seconds. While firefighters will handle large fires in your facility, an extinguisher is an ideal defense against some of the following:

• Kitchen fire
• Fire in a garbage can
• Electrical fire

If you spot any of these, don’t wait for a second to act. When you know how to use an extinguisher, you can have peace of mind and confidence.

How to use One

It’s easy to remember the PASS method when it comes to putting out a fire with an extinguisher. The faster you put it to use, the less likely you’ll have to contend with fire damage. First, pull the pin from the handle at the top of the device. Next, aim the hose at the base of the fire. You then squeeze the handle with one hand while firmly holding the hose with the other. Lastly, in a sweeping motion, spray the chemical or foam on the flames.

Why use One

While an extinguisher won’t douse large fires in your Ebensburg, PA, office building, this tool can mitigate damage and even save lives. It can control a fire before it starts to spread to other areas.

Learn how to use a fire extinguisher today. Teach your staff how to use one as well so you can eliminate the threats of a major disaster. For more information, visit