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Mold Removal in Three Easy Steps

11/29/2021 (Permalink)

Moldy walls and carpeting When people clean up their own water damage but don't fully resolve the issue, mold will grow. Call SERVPRO!

How Rid Your Home of Musty Mold Odors

Enjoying all the comforts of your home can be difficult when it has a bad odor. These smells may have a variety of sources, but one of the most common is mold. All of the different types of mold release a substance called mycotoxin, which causes an unpleasant odor. However, there are several actions you can take to trace this smell to its source and eradicate it so your home smells fresh and clean once more.

1. Use an Air Filtration System

An air filtration system with a certified HEPA filter can remove mold spores from the air and reduce the musty odor that mold creates. Before you buy a filter, it may be wise to review several different brands and ensure that the filter is designed to handle mold, as some only remove dust, pollen and animal dander. Using a filter can help clear the air as you search for the source of the mold.

2. Call In Mold Specialists

If you cannot find the source of the mold odor on your own, you might want to call in a mold remediation and removal company like SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest Counties to assist you. The technicians usually have special equipment on hand to trace the mycotoxin odor to its source, whether it is behind a wall or in your attic. No matter what is causing the mold to grow, these specialists can remove it safely and ensure that the conditions in your home will not encourage it to grow again.

3. Invest in Deodorizing Services

Once the techs remove the mold, the smell may linger. This can be especially true if bad weather is preventing you from opening your windows. However, your mold remediation service can neutralize these odors with ozone machines and other tools and completely erase this offensive odor for good.

When mold invades your home, the smell it brings with it can be troublesome and unpleasant. Knowing how to banish mycotoxin odors and their cause can help you and your family breathe easy once again. 

Call the experts at SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest Counties at 814 849-5653 our phones answer 24/7 to make it "Like it never even happened."

WINTER IS ON ITS WAY! SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest Counties Offers Tips To Prevent Frozen/Burst Pipes.

11/22/2021 (Permalink)

Frozen water pipe Unfortunately Winter weather can cause water pipes to freeze and burst!

It’s that time of year to once again remind homeowners and renters to be aware of the potential for frozen pipes.  Every winter season, the pipes in your business and home are at risk of damage from freezing conditions. Low temperatures can cause your water pipes to freeze, and in some cases burst. The following tips can help you safeguard your home before, during and after a pipe freezes.

PREVENT YOUR PIPES FROM FREEZING

  • Disconnect all gardening hoses and install covers on all outside faucets.
  • Keep your house temperature at 68 degrees or higher, even if you're leaving the house for an extended period of time.
  • Open cabinet doors below sinks to allow heat from the home to circulate.
  • Identify the location of the main water valve and the valve on your water heater. (Learning the location of these valves may come in handy during an emergency.
  • Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape. This can prevent freezing, especially for interior pipes that run along outside walls.
  • Close all windows near water pipes; cover or close open-air vents. Freezing temperatures combined with wind drafts can cause pipes to freeze more frequently.
  • Heat your basement and consider weather sealing your windows.
  • Insulate outside walls and unheated areas of your home.
  • If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, shut off water supply valves to your washing machine. Also have someone checking your home daily.

IF YOUR PIPES UNFORTUNATELY FREEZE AND BURST, CALL SERVPRO of Clarion, Jefferson & Forest Counties TO HELP ASSIST YOU IN YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS AT 814 849-5653. WE ANSWER 24/7 TO HELP MAKE IT “Like it never even happened.” 

The Adjuster’s Visit: Minimizing Potential Problems

11/1/2021 (Permalink)

Fall season with SERVPRO vans SERVPRO stands ready to help you with your restoration needs.

SERVPRO is ready to help you with your fire, water, mold, or storm loss.

Avoiding Potential Problems During An Insurance Adjuster's Visit

Few things cause as much consternation to a homeowner as working with a home adjuster after filing a loss with your insurance company. Knowing the insurance company has the future of your repairs in its hands can be both frustrating and frightening. But you can be prepared for any questions the representative may have by following a few simple steps. Although not all policies are equal, most insurance adjusters require the following information to settle an insurance claim.

1. Keep a log of everything possible. Yes, even in this technological world, information can get lost.  By keeping a log of phone calls, timeline, emails, and face-to-face communications, you are protecting yourself. Many people even send emails to confirm conversations after a meeting to prevent the “he said, she said” problems that can occur.

2. Create an inventory of damaged property and personal possessions. It is important to keep a complete inventory list of anything you plan to claim. Don’t forget to include the unseen items, such as damaged carpet padding, objects in cabinets, and sheetrock. For every item listed, include the following:

  • Description of item, including make and model number
  • Cash value when the item was purchased
  • Cost of the replacement item
  • Include any applicable paperwork, receipts, and bills

3. Ask your insurance company what restoration team it prefers to work with and contact the business immediately.This can ensure you are doing your best to protect the property from additional damage. Ask the crew to detail its cleanup efforts for your home’s adjuster, and request pictures before, during, and after cleanup.

4. Obtain written bids from licensed contractors.Get more than one bid, if possible. Bids should include a complete materials list with itemized prices.

5. Keep accurate records of expenses and repairs. If your safety is involved, and restorations must be made before a visit by the adjuster, keep detailed records. Also, notify the insurance company for approval before making the repairs.

Being prepared can minimize potential problems during a home adjuster visit. It can also help speed the claim process forward.

Your SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest Counties team stands ready to help you get back to your life "Like it never even happened," call us at 814 849-5653

Safety Tips to Prevent Home Cooking Fires

10/27/2021 (Permalink)

Stovetop Cooking Fire Cooking Fires are the biggest cause of home fires and injuries according to the National Fire Protection Agency

Cooking Fires - How They Can Affect Your Home

SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest County can help with all your fire restoration needs.   

Cooking at home can be a fire hazard due to grease fires.  The National Fire Protection Association reports that firefighters respond to roughly 172,100 fires started from cooking each year, or an average of 471 cooking fires each day.  

Though there are more occurrences around the winter holidays. We should be prepared year-round for grease fires. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Here are a few ways to prevent these grease fires: 

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food
  • While simmering, baking, or roasting food check it regularly and use a timer to remind yourself that you are cooking
  • Be gentle when adding food or oil to the pot or pan 
  • Use a thermometer to monitor temperature 
  • Always keep a lid, baking soda, and salt nearby 
  • Keep anything flammable (wooden spoon, oven mitts, etc.) away from pot or pan 

These measures can all significantly help prevent a grease fire. Sometimes, these fires do break out, and here’s what you can do to fight it: 

  • If your fire leaves the stovetop, call 911 immediately 
  • Cover your pot or pan with a metal pan or cooking sheet 
  • NEVER use water to put out a grease fire 
  • Turn your burner off 
  • Use a Class-K fire extinguisher to fight the fire (Aim low, go slow!)

Remember, if your fire leaves your stovetop, you should call 911 immediately.

If those prevention tips do not work, and you do experience a fire, please follow those tips. If your home is damaged, SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest County can help with all your fire restoration needs.

SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest County can provide you with: 

  • Board-up and tarp-up services 
  • Smoke and soot removal 
  • Odor removal 
  • Carpet and upholstery cleaning 
  • Caring for your belongings 

SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest County understands how important it is to have your home and lives back to normal. If fire restoration services are needed, please call us at (814 849-5653). 

Can Wet Documents Be Dried?

10/13/2021 (Permalink)

Damaged documents Many wet documents can be dried with specialized methods to avoid additional damage.

WE CAN DRY YOUR WET DOCUMENTS!

Many wet documents can be dried with specialized methods, such as vacuum freeze-drying, that restore the prior condition of these materials. Depending on the rarity of documents, books, manuscripts or photographs, you may want to clean and disinfect original items. In other cases, records may be salvaged in the form of paper copies or digitized versions.

SERVPRO uses sublimation-turning a solid directly into a vapor, skipping the liquid stage to avoid causing more damage to the documents.

Mitigate Document Damage
Documents with less damage tend to be better candidates for restoration. Taking the following mitigation measures may improve the outcome of document drying:

  • Contain the spread of water
  • Move documents to dry location
  • Maintain a temperature below 65 degrees
  • Fahrenheit
  • Keep humidity levels lower than 40%

All of these measures may reduce the damage documents sustain due to water.  Maintaining a low temperature and moisture level discourages mold growth on paper.

Standard drying time is 30-60 days. However, the time of completion will depend on the quantity of the job, services being completed, and how much damage is sustained. The time frame can vary, though, based on moisture content.  SERVPRO's goal is to make the process as simple as possible for our customers.

Restoration companies also offer advanced disinfection services, such as gamma irradiation for killing microorganisms including fungi, bacteria and viruses on documents damaged by flooding.

Have you recently suffered water damage in your home or business?  Were tax records or business files affected?  Call your local SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest Counties (814 849-5653) today to get them well on their way to recovery.  

Practicing Fire Safety With Lithium Batteries

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

Batteries in all shapes and sizes Batteries can create fire hazards

OH NOOO!!!!! MY laptop is on fire!!!!

Lithium may sound familiar to you as we hear of it a lot because of our reliance on electronic devices. In terms of power, lithium tackles multiple different roles, including the power source for lithium batteries and lithium-ion batteries. The two types of lithium batteries differ in their cell type and abilities to recharge, but they both allow electronic devices to run on portable energy. As a result, many of the electronic devices that we use on a daily basis employ lithium batteries. It is important then to understand that lithium is a powerful substance that can create fire hazards in some circumstances. Read on in order to learn more about the steps that you can take to prevent fire damage caused by lithium batteries.

Why Are Lithium Batteries Such a Concern?

While risks accompany lithium batteries, they are still safe for everyday use. Unless they short-circuit or overheat to a certain degree, both of which are rare occurrences, lithium batteries can be used safely on a regular basis. However, overheating and overcharging can both cause electronic devices to release a significant amount of heat, increasing the risk of fire. You may have seen news stories about cell phones and hover boards going up in flames on hot days, but these circumstances are extraordinarily rare. As a matter of fact, the US Postal Service categorizes lithium batteries as Class 9 hazards, a category consisting of miscellaneous hazardous materials that are only dangerous in transit situations.

Preventing Lithium Battery Fires

In our everyday lives, lithium batteries and lithium-ion batteries play important roles by powering devices of all kinds, from electric toothbrushes to cell phones and laptops. Certain times of the year, like summer, increases the risk of fires resulting from overheating. One preventative measure is making sure that electronic devices are not left lying idle in hot environments such as hot cars or under the sun for prolonged periods of time. Additionally, it is a good idea to avoid charging electronic devices in hot environments. Charging your devices can be made safer by avoiding overcharging and utilizing a high-quality charger. It may also be helpful to purchase a strong case for your device that will effectively protect its battery from potential damage.

If You Experience Fire Damage, Call SERVPRO

Even if preventative measures are put in place, it is still possible for the unimaginable to happen. That’s why SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest Counties is always standing by in the event that an emergency occurs and we are ready to make it "Like it never even happened." Whether it’s a lithium battery or a different reason that causes a fire to ignite and cause damage to your property, SERVPRO can help. As a leading name in the fire damage restoration industry, we offer top-of-the-line Commercial and Residential Fire Damage Restoration Services for your property. For immediate services and the best chance of preventing any further damage, CALL SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest Counties at 814 849-5653.And by reading more on our website. Trust SERVPRO and our 24 hour emergency services to help you restore your residential or commercial property to its preloss condition in the event of a fire.

September is National Preparedness Month

9/14/2021 (Permalink)

Make a PLAN Be Ready for Whatever May Come Your Way

        National Preparedness Month 2021

                 BE Prepared Not Scared

WEEK ONE (September 1-4): Make A Plan. Talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster. Make sure to update your plan based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations due to COVID and the Delta variant.

WEEK TWO (September 5-11): Build A Kit. Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home. Don’t forget to consider the unique needs each person or pet may have in case you have to evacuate quickly. Update your kits and supplies based on recommendations by Ready.gov a website from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

WEEK THREE (September 12-18): Low-Cost, No-Cost Preparedness. Limit the impacts that disasters have on you and your family. Know the risk of disasters in your area. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards. Check your insurance coverage to make sure it is active and updated.

WEEK FOUR {September 19-25}: Teach Youth About Preparedness. Talk to your kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved.

Be sure to visit Ready.gov for additional tips and lists.

What ever happens SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest Counties will be there to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Is There Mold In My Attic

9/14/2021 (Permalink)

Moldy Wall Mold can just creep up on YOU!

Is there Mold in My Attic?

When was the last time you ventured into your attic? Probably has been a while.  Attics typically remain empty spaces that are often forgotten about until a roof leak occurs.

Since attics are often “out of sight, out of mind” they easily become a hotbed for mold. Believe it or not, attics are one of the most common places for mold growth in a home.

This is because attics have the perfect conditions for mold growth. Moisture, heat and humidity are mold’s best friends.

WHAT CAUSES ATTIC MOLD?

Mold grows in attics due to four main reasons.

  1. Warmer temperatures
  2. High humidity, condensation, or major water intrusion from a roof leak
  3. Improper ventilation, no ventilation, or blocked vents
  4. Lots of food (insulation, wood, dust, stored household items)

SIGNS YOU HAVE MOLD IN THE ATTIC

In no particular order, here are 8 common signs of attic mold.

  1. Water stains on your ceiling. This could be from a new or old leak but any water staining should be investigated.
  2. Water dripping from smoke detectors, light fixtures, bathroom exhaust fans, and ceiling fans. This is a sure sign that the attic has a level of moisture that needs to be addressed. 
  3. Wet insulation in the attic. Attic mold loves wet insulation. In fact, it often times only takes 12 hours for certain types of insulation to start growing mold. This is why mold resistant insulation is so important in an attic.
  4. Dark black staining on wood surfaces in the attic.  Wood can change color a bit as it ages but aging wood in the attic doesn’t develop dark patches here and there. If you see dark brown or black areas on the wood, chances are you have mold in the attic.  
  5. Attic feels very hot or stuffy. When attics are properly ventilated, they should have the feel of a gentle (but warmish) breeze. When an attic is stuffy, that indicates you have a ventilation problem.
  6. A musty smell in the attic.  Mold can smell like a lot of things but an attic with mold will always have a pretty musty odor.
  7. Frost buildup on the underside of the roof sheathing in winter. When it’s cold enough outside, water vapor in an attic can freeze on the underside of your roof. 

IS ATTIC MOLD DANGEROUS?

Yes. In fact, attic mold can be more dangerous than other molds because it goes unnoticed for so long. This allows it to penetrate into walls, the HVAC system, ductwork, and more. By the time most people realize they have a mold problem in the attic, their entire house is compromised with high levels of air born mold.

HOW DO YOU PREVENT ATTIC MOLD?

Inspect your attic four times per year. This is the best way to ensure that a leak doesn’t go unnoticed for too long and that everything else is in good repair in the attic. Things to look for include:

  • Discoloration of insulation and wood (e.g. rafters, sheathing, joists, attic side of fascia boards, etc.).
  • Wet areas in roof valleys (where two roofs join at an angle), which are highly susceptible to roof leaks.
  • Raised shingles. When shingles become brittle and dry they are subject to nails pushing the shingles upward and exposing the interior joists and other structures of the interior roof. 
  • Skylights, chimneys, attic windows and any portion of the attic/roof where dissimilar materials join each other (including flashings). These places are hotbeds for potential moisture intrusion.
  • Condensation underneath a vapor barrier if one is installed.
  • Leaks coming from and around attic plumbing stacks.
  • Soffit vents.  Make sure they are free of insulation, bird nests, and other debris that could be blocking them and preventing proper air flow.
  • Discolored insulation. This is a sign of leaking air as insulation acts as a filter, becoming discolored in areas of air infiltration.  Leaking areas can typically be caulked from within the attic to prevent warm, moist interior air from entering the (cold) attic where it may condense and create elevated moisture conditions conducive to mold growth.
  • Dryer exhaust vents, kitchen exhaust fans and bathroom exhaust fans are designed to pump moisture out of your home. Make sure that they are vented to the outside of your home and not in the attic.
  • Plumbing stacks in the attic can be a source of condensation, which can lead to attic mold growth.

Each appliance and vent should have its own dedicated port to transport the hot air outside. However, because dryer vents require periodic cleaning, you’ll want to be able to easily access the inside of the pipe to remove any lint build up, therefore, your dryer vent should have a removable section of pipe in the attic area.

  • Don’t over-insulate. Sounds weird but attics are weird. Adding too much insulation will make mold growth more likely. Why? Your roof needs a certain amount of heat to reach it so it can dry out moisture in the air. Over insulated cold attic + wet winter air = mold growth.
  • Make sure insulation is properly installed. Insulation should prevent warmer air from penetrating into the colder attic, which will cause condensation and moisture build up. Check that there is insulation:

    • On and surrounding your access panel (the pull-down stairs or utility hole you use to enter the attic)
    • Surrounding your skylight chases
    • On the attic floor or if you have finished attic floors, between your attic floor and living quarter’s ceiling.
    • In any empty wall spaces between the attic and other parts of the house (crawl space, open chases, etc.)
    • Heating ducts – insulate their surface to help your heating and air conditioning system perform more efficiently. Besides wasting expensive energy, heat released from the air ducts surface might condensate on the roof decking surface and cause mold growth.

    Furnaces and water heaters installed in attic areas should be contained inside a separate and insulated room – code requirement in some jurisdictions. Have both these items inspected twice a year and serviced if there is an issue.

    Install an attic vent fan.  This is extra insurance against potential future elevated moisture conditions because the fan will turn on when/if elevated moisture conditions present.

    Do not install a vapor barrier on top of insulation. Moisture in the attic cannot pass through the insulation and out the vents. Instead it gets trapped by the vapor barrier allowing mold to grow in the insulation.

    Use externally baffled ridge venting. Externally baffled ventilation relies on barriers on the outside to prevent water intrusion.  This allows for much larger openings in the actual ventilation portion of the ridge vent.  These ridge vents also sit significantly taller than a typical internally baffled model.  This also allows for great air flow.

    Prevent ice dams. Ice Dams occur when water can’t drain properly from the roof, freezes, and backs up into the home through the attic. The stagnant water causes attic mold growth. Clean your gutters regularly. As you’re cleaning the gutters, look for leaks and misaligned pipes and make sure the downspouts carry water at least 10 feet away from the house’s foundation.

    Don’t used your attic as storage. The less there is in your attic, the better.

    HELP! I HAVE MOLD IN MY ATTIC! HOW DO I REMOVE IT?

    YOU don’t. Attics are dangerous and structurally difficult to deal with. You are working in a small space with very little ventilation which makes breathing quite difficult when you are wearing a respirator.

    This is NOT a DIY job. Professional mold remediation is prudent when it comes to attic mold.

    As you can see, attic mold is not only difficult to deal with once you have it but it also requires a lot of special preventative measures. However, it is 100% worth the effort as attic mold can have devastating consequences both on a building structure as well as your health.

    SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest Counties is your local Mold Remediation specialist and we will make it "Like it never even happened."   

A Brief Guide To Mold Containment

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Residential mold containment Mold hides EVERYWHERE!

Microscopic mold spores occur naturally almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors.

It is impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy.

Reasons To Contain Mold 

Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.

Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.  Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.

Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.

Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

How To Contain Mold
Proximity to mold requires extensive protective gear. Wearing rubber gloves, respirators with built-in HEPA filters, and goggles can help avoid exposure to mold contamination. Disposable full-body protective suits are also recommended.

Identify the source of the mold and fix it. For instance, if the cause is a leaky pipe, shut off your water supply and contact a plumber.

Isolate the contaminated area. Always close doors leading to rooms where mold exists. Place warning signs to prevent accidental entry. Keep indoor-facing windows closed. Use polyethylene sheeting to cover doorways and other openings. Duct tape can be used to seal your sheeting in place.

Remove everything from the room, including rugs. This will prevent mold from attaching itself to more items that people may touch. Have these things professionally cleaned. Throw them away if they prove to be unsalvageable.

Spray a dust suppressant to prevent particles from floating around. The drier the room, the longer your dust suppressant solution will work. Consider using one that is biodegradable.

Prepare the room for professional remediation by wiping every surface with a cloth and a mold-killing detergent. Floors can be mopped with the same solution. Discard the materials you're wiping with after use. Visually inspect the area and, if you detect dust or dirt, continue cleaning.

Containing mold is an essential preliminary step before mold remediation. Follow these guidelines to limit mold contamination and prevent further destruction.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 814 849-5653

You've Had a Water Damage..Now What...

6/23/2021 (Permalink)

Water cleanup equipment SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest Counties has your back!

After walking into water filling your basement or hearing that dreaded noise of water over flowing from some room in your home thoughts of what to do next can make your head spin…..

What do I do? Who do I call?

SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest Counties is always our answer for that at 814 849-5653.  Our phone is answered 24/7.

But as always….we want to give you some good advice! Here are some quick tips on things you can do:

- Shut off the source of water if possible.

- Turn off circuit breakers to prevent any electrical shock.

- Call SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest Counties to get crews headed your way. 

- If you water loss is not a large loss, let SERVPRO come in before submitting a claim to insurance.

- Call your insurance company to see if this particular loss will be covered. 

- If you are able to, mop up excess water to help drying time. DO NOT use a household vacuum to    suck up water. Using a household vacuum could cause electrical shock.

- Remove any important items or documents, move them to a dry area. 

SERVPRO of Clarion Jefferson and Forest Counties helping make water damage, "Like it never even happened."