Three Types of Contaminated Water Damage
Water damage example.
Category 1: "Clean Water"
It is from a clean source like a broken water supply line or leaking faucet. If not treated quickly, this water can turn into category 2 or 3, depending on length of time, temperature, and contact with surrounding contaminants.
- Water from a clean source like a broken water line
- If left untreated, can degrade into category 2 or 3
Category 2: "Gray Water"
It is contaminated and could cause discomfort or illness.
- Washing machine overflow
- Toilet overflow with some urine, but not feces
- Dishwasher overflow
May contain bacteria and viruses and can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated.
Category 3: "Black Water"
It is grossly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death, if ingested because of chemicals and microbes. Any contact should be avoided.
- Flooding from rivers or streams from sewer backup
- Water from beyond the toilet trap
- Water from the toilet bowl with feces
- Standing water that has begun to support microbial growth
Cleanup must not be taken lightly. Serious long-term health issues to adults, children and even pets may occur due to bacteria, viruses and even parasites. Don't delay. Take immediate action.
If You See Signs of Water Damage, Call Us
Prevent Business Down Time by Checking for Water Leaks
We recommend you check your ceiling tiles for stains. Look for stain changes and that grow bigger after storms or for no reason. A leak that is there and being ignored has the potential to interrupt your business and cause significant damage.
We have encountered many buildings that have suffered a sudden and significant deluge of water. Often the area of impact was not anticipated since pipes are tucked out of sight and behind drop ceilings that absorb small leaks.
When there is overflow we have seen massive losses on warehouse floors, out on retail floors where thousands of dollars of new merchandise was damaged and could no longer be sold.
Drop ceilings will become heavy from the weight of water and collapse onto the office or sales floor and businesses would have to close until the area is safe through the clean up process.
To avoid interruption we recommend paying attention to the small leaks and water spots. Have periodic inspections by a master plumbing contractor.
Should a leak happen or worsen, SERVPRO is here for you, to make it, "Like it never even happened."
Storm Safety Knowledge
The American Red Cross suggests everyone know what steps are necessary to stay safe if dangerous weather is predicted for your community. If you are to encounter any damage SERVPRO is here to help.
Tornadoes can occur anywhere, at any time of the year or day. Safety steps you should take now to be ready if a tornado warning is issued for your neighborhood:
- Know your community’s warning system.
- Pick a safe room in your home where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. This should be a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
- Prepare for strong winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
- Move or secure lawn furniture, trashcans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
- Know the tornado danger signs: dark, often greenish clouds, a wall cloud, cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel cloud or a roaring noise.
Thunderstorms are most likely to happen in the spring and summer, during the afternoon and evening. However, similar to tornadoes, they can happen anywhere, at any hour of the day. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people every year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Safety steps you can take if a thunderstorm is predicted for your area:
- If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning.
- Watch for storm signs like darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing winds.
- Postpone any outdoor activities. Many people who are struck by lightning are not where it is raining.
- Take shelter in a substantial building or a vehicle with the windows closed. Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Stay away from windows.
- Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
Flooding can occur due to heavy spring rains filling rivers and streams and snow melt. Flash floods occur suddenly when water rises rapidly along a stream or low-lying area. You should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and head for higher ground when a flood or flash flood warning is issued. Additional safety steps include:
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
- If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
Steps To Clean Up a Fire
Our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East team has specialized fire restoration training needed to restore your home or business to pre-fire condition fast. To make it, "Like it never even happened."
The steps listed below illustrate how to approach “typical” fire damage that occurs:
1. Connect With Emergency Contact
2. Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
3. Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service
4. Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
5. Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
6. Cleaning and Sanitizing
For more details on the proper steps to follow after a fire, check out the fire damage sections on our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East website.
Smoke Alarm Safety
Research shows that when a smoke alarm sounds off in a household, that you have less than 2 minutes to get out of the house for safety. This means that families must have a very specific plan of action when it comes to fire safety.
Smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years. The smoke alarm batteries (9-volt battery) needs to be replaced at least once per year. Although some smoke detectors are hard wired. Smoke alarms should be tested every month.
Having a smoke alarm properly installed in your home can be the difference between life and death. Reports from the U.S. Fire Administration state that three out of five home fire deaths are a result of smoke alarms that do no work.
There are a few additional tips beyond replacing smoke alarms every 10 years and batteries every year that each person should know. When discussing your evacuation with your family it is important to exit immediately. Smoke alarm placement is key. Be sure to have a smoke alarm inside and outside of any and all sleeping areas and bedrooms as well as installing alarms on every level of a home. It is best if the smoke alarms are interconnected. New versions of the smoke alarms contain carbon monoxide detectors as well.
If you or a loved one has suffered from fire damage in your home, SERVPRO is here to help you recover from the tragedy. Contact our team of fire damage cleanup professionals to learn more about your restoration options today.
Mold In A Home Or Business?
While mold can happen anywhere, it seems most attracted to residential buildings. Finding black mold in your home can be a nightmare of mold cleanup and remediation, but you can prevent it by understanding the common causes that lead to infestations.
It’s All About the Water
Mold growth can almost always be traced back to one source: a moisture problem. Black mold thrives on organic matter, but it requires moisture to truly grow out of control and proliferate. Common sources of moisture that lead to mold outbreaks include the following:
• Broken and leaking pipes
• Roof and window leaks
• Standing water left behind by bathtub, shower, and toilet splashing or overflow
• Water trapped beneath linoleum and tile
• Standing water left behind by floods
• Excess humidity and condensation in the air
How Can I Fix Mold in My Home?
Avoid a mold infestation in the first place by keeping your home dry and free of leaks or other moisture sources.
• Check the integrity of your roofing and window seals and have them repaired as needed.
• If you’ve recently suffered flooding, quickly dispose of any sodden materials and dry out any remaining water, even if you may have to pull up carpeting and floorboards.
• Have a plumber in to check your pipes and keep them in good health.
• Check your appliances, particularly refrigerators and air conditioners, to ensure they aren’t leaking or having problems with condensation.
• If you live in a high-humidity environment, invest in a dehumidifier and run it as necessary to bring down the moisture levels in the air inside your home.
If you’ve already seen outbreaks of black mold, you may need to retain the services of a mold remediation specialist. These technicians can help you identify sources of mold that aren’t readily apparent on initial inspection and recommend appropriate cleanup and prevention actions.
When it Rains, it Pours
A flooded home is a devastating event for any homeowner. It has the ability to ruin many of your possessions in addition to your property itself. Due to the fact that water damage can quickly become permanent if not addressed as soon as possible, if you do suffer flood damage to your home, it’s important that you call the professionals at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East to help restore the home. However, there are some things that you can do before they arrive. Here are some things you can do immediately after a flood to start the restoration process.
Call Your Insurance Agent
Regardless of how bad a flood has hit your home, it’s likely done some significant damage to some of your possessions and to the structure of your home. Soon after you recognize the damage, you should call your insurance agent. Most water damage in the home is covered by homeowner’s insurance policies but you’ll want to contact them to make sure as there could be exclusions.
Check Before Entering Home
Before you re-enter your home after flood damage, check for any structural damage that may have occurred. Severe flooding or water damage has the ability to compromise the integrity of the structure. If you enter the home without closely inspecting what you’re walking into, the building could potentially collapse, trapping you inside. Once you’ve entered the home, you should be very careful about where you’re walking, especially if you’re moving from carpeting onto a hard surface.
Once you have entered the home, document the evidence of that damage that has been done by taking photos of it. If there are any questions, particularly by your insurance company about the validity of your claim, you’ll have evidence to show them. While you document the damage, save any items that you can. Some items, such as porous materials, may have been damaged beyond repair. When the SERVPRO crew arrives to restore the home, they’ll save as many items as possible. But if there are items that have not been damaged, you can take them out to avoid any further potential damage.
While you’re examining the damage that has occurred in your home, make a list of the damage or lost items in the home. Make sure to include the date they were purchased and their value with any receipts you may have. Store that list with any inventory of your possessions that you may have taken before the flood. If any of your possessions must be disposed of, which some may, make sure you have photographs of the items.
Turn Off Power
After the flood damage occurs, turn off all power, especially to the affected rooms. Also refrain from using any electrical appliances as you could electrocute yourself if you’re standing in water. Keep the power to the home off until an electrician can come and thoroughly inspect the system to ensure it’s safe to turn back on again.
Mold thrives in environments where moisture is present which makes flooded parts of a house ideal for mold growth. The existence of mold in a home can be hazardous so it’s important to prevent the mold from growing if at all possible. Removing any wet contents from the home as soon as possible will help to prevent such mold growth around the home.
Regardless of how well you think you can clean up after a flood, you should call the professionals at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East to ensure that as much of your property is salvaged as possible. But if you do decide to start the cleanup process before they arrive, it’s important that you are properly attired. Wear long sleeves, pants, gloves, and boots when dealing with flood water to ensure your safety.
If you suffer flood damage in your home, you should contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East to clean up. But if you want to get the process started prior to their arrival, these tips will help you remain safe.
Christmas Trees and Mold
4 Ways To Reduce Christmas Tree Mold Levels
Live Christmas trees may bring more than the fresh pine scent of the holiday season into homes. With most trees cut in advance of the holidays and stored in a moist environment for fresh keeping, this makes them a likely mold source.
Here are a few tips to help you cut the Christmas mold level in your home, without giving up the fresh tree:
Limit The Time You Leave Your Tree Up
The longer the tree is inside of your home, the higher the mold level may be. If those in your household are prone to mold allergies, but don’t want to give up the fresh Christmas tree, consider putting the tree up Christmas Eve and taking it down on New Year’s Day. Try to keep a live tree in your home between 4-7 days at maximum.
Wash Your Tree
Before bringing the freshly cut tree inside of your home, wash it first using the garden hose. Set the nozzle to a hard-spray level to get into all of those little nooks and crannies of the trunk. Then, wipe the trunk thoroughly with a solution of warm water and bleach (1 part bleach to 20 parts water). Let it dry in the sun before bringing it inside of your home.
Use an Air Purifier
Run an air purifier in the same room as the fresh tree. Cleaner air is key during the holidays, and helps to reduce your mold exposure and lessen the effects of your tree allergies.
The best way to avoid the mold infestation is to buy an artificial tree. Unless you store your artificial tree inside of a sealed plastic bag, it will still need a good shaking outside when it’s brought out of storage each year to relieve it of dust. Also, store all of your Christmas ornaments and decorations in plastic containers (instead of cardboard ones) to keep the dust off of them.
If you see signs of mold, call SERVPRO!
Don't Let a Sprinkler Leak Get You Down
What is low head drainage?
This is when the sprinkler continues to siphon water once the system has been turned off. This typically occurs at one of the lowest points in your yard as water drains down to that water spout. According to experts at Sprinkler Warehouse, "If a sprinkler head is located in the lowest part of the system, water will flow out of that head until an equilibrium has been reached or all of the water has emptied out of the zone's pipes."
When this happens, puddles start to form and or water flows across walkways and driveways. This can be prevented by a few adjustments being made to your system or the installation of a drain check valve.
How does a broken pipe occur?
A broken pipe can occur in the main line or lateral line of an irrigation system. In the main line, there is continuous pressure, so if there is a break or leak in this pipe, then water is continuing to run. Unfortunately, this can cause erosion or a wet spot. Attention needs to be made to this problem immediately so that the water line can be completely turned off for repair.
A lateral line reaches different zones in your yard and are under pressure when the system is running. It can be hard to detect a leak because it's only visible when the system is on and you have to notice which zone actually has the leak. Regardless of its location, it too can cause erosion or holes in your lawn. If you notice a leak in your irrigation system, it can be fixed and should be addressed fairly quickly.
Use this information to keep an eye out for any leaks or problems that could arise this Spring.
Minimize Damage by Preparing Your Building
Weather in Pennsylvania can change in an instant, and it only takes a small shift in a storm’s track to bring torrential downpours that could lead to devastating flooding. If you’re a business owner, a flood can represent a serious threat to your company’s operations. While there’s not a lot you can do to stop major floods from hurricanes and other natural disasters, here are some steps you can take to lessen the impact of storm and flood damage.
Build Barriers to Slow Water Incursion
Water is a powerful force, and it’s virtually impossible to keep it at bay, but you can throw barriers in its path to slow it down. You can start this process long before the onset of flooding by building a levee, berm or flood control wall if local building codes permit. Have a professional assess your lower floors to see if you should apply sealants to walls or relocate utility boxes. When the rain starts falling, you can also place sandbags in strategic areas around the structure:
Across doorways, right up against the door
In front of garage doors
Around showers and floor drains to prevent incursion by backed up “black water”
When building sandbag walls, make certain you don’t completely surround your building, and use a plastic tarp as a base for extra waterproofing.
Clean Storm Drains and Gutters
In many cases, flood damage happens during normal storms because the building owner didn’t keep up on maintenance. Gutters, storm drains and other devices are designed to channel water away from the building, which is why it’s important to clean them regularly to ensure they’re free from debris that could cause a backup.
Minimize Losses by Being Prepared
Why risk significant disruptions to your operations when you could cut down on storm damage by taking some preparatory steps? Should you experience flooding despite your efforts, be sure to contact an experienced remediation company immediately to get you back up and running as soon as possible.