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Types of Contaminated Water Damage

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage example.

Category 1: "Clean Water"

It is from a clean source such as a 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. 

Examples include:

  • 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. 

Examples include:

  • 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

Continuing Education Schedule

7/23/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh is pleased to have the following continuing education schedule:

September 19, 2019 South Hills
Restorative Drying for Water Damage. 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Ethics 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM

October 15, 2019 Monroeville
Understanding the Restoration Industry - Property Fire Damage Restoration 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Biohazard Cleanup 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM

November 14, 2019 South Hills
Understanding the Restoration Industry - Property Fire Damage Restoration 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Biohazard Cleanup 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM

December 10, 2019 Monroeville
Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Mitigation Awareness and Response Seminar (MARS) 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM

All Monroeville Classes will be held at our office, located at 1951 Lincoln Highway, North Versailles PA 15137

All South Hills Classes will be held at the Spring Hills Suites, located at 611 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon PA 15228

Please call 412-825-5480 to register for any of these classes.

Safety Knowledge For Storm

7/9/2019 (Permalink)

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 of Metro Pittsburgh 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.

Your Home or Business Fire Exposure

5/6/2019 (Permalink)

No business owner wants to watch years of investment and effort go up in smoke. If your business, in Pittsburgh has gone through a fire, damage may be more extensive than you think.

A Fire May Touch All Parts of Your Business

Fires can be unbelievably destructive. Once smoke clears and fire crews leave, you may notice damage to all parts of your business. Damaged structures may include office buildings, warehouses, storage facilities and distribution centers. Further, inventory, office supplies, computers and equipment may sustain fire damage as well.

Fire Containment

The best way to limit damage during a business fire is to extinguish flames as quickly as possible. Even if your business did not turn into a raging inferno, you may have to deal with the messes water, fire retardant and smoke left behind. Fortunately, you probably do not have to figure out cleanup on your own. A professional restoration technician from a reputable service likely has the equipment and knowledge to assess damage and recommend a restoration strategy.

While all fires are different, many have the potential to cause serious damage to your business. You should have a plan.

Contact SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East for help!

Recovering From Water and Fire

3/26/2019 (Permalink)

A flooded home due to a fire is a devastating event for any homeowner or business-owner. 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 is important that you call the professionals at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East to help restore the home or business. We recommend having the professionals take care of your property. However, there are some things that you can do before they arrive. Here are some things you can do immediately after to start the restoration process.

Call Your Insurance Agent

Regardless of how bad water damage has hit your home, it has likely done some significant damage to some of your possessions and to the structure of your home. After you recognize the damage, you should call your insurance agent. Most water damage is covered by insurance policies, however you will want to contact them to make sure since there could be exclusions.

Proper Protection

Regardless of how well you think you can clean up, you should call the professionals at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh to ensure that as much of your property is salvaged as possible. If you decide to start the cleanup process before they arrive, it is important that you are properly attired. Wear long sleeves, pants, gloves, and boots when dealing with flood water to ensure your safety.  The below tips will help you remain safe.

Check Before Entering Home or Business

Before you re-enter your home or business 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 are walking into, the building could potentially collapse, trapping you inside. Once you have entered the home, you should be very careful about where you are walking, especially if you are moving from carpeting onto a hard surface.

Document Evidence

Once you have entered the home, document the evidence of 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 will 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 of Metro Pittsburgh East crew arrives to restore the home or business, they will 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.

Take Inventory

While you are examining the damage that has occurred in your home or business, 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. Inventory of your possessions before the flood will be helpful. 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 are standing in water. Keep the power to the home off until an electrician can come and thoroughly inspect the system to ensure it is safe to turn back on again.

Prevent Mold

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 is 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.

Old Building Smell? Let SERVPRO ® Freshen The Air

1/15/2019 (Permalink)

Many of the older buildings in the Pittsburgh area have a distinct smell. People may say that they smell musty or old material. One way to freshen up the place is to have some deodorization done by SERVPRO ®.

We use state of the art equipment to clean the air within your building. Depending on the odor we have a few techniques that we could use.

  • Thermal fogging is technique which helps penetrate deeply into building materials.

  • An ozone machine is used to help add a fresh smell to odors that seem to linger such as smoke.

  • Old fashioned deep cleaning of walls should not be overlooked.

  • Carpet cleaning, using hot water extraction to remove deep and hard to remove soils.

  • Adding to any of the above methods is that of heating, ventilation and air conditioning cleaning (HVAC).

  • Getting the air ducts clean will definitely freshen any building, no matter the age.

What To Do Before Help Arrives?

1/3/2019 (Permalink)

When your home or business suffers from a storm, it is critical to know the difference between different levels of contaminated water. There are 3 classes of water: clean, gray and black.

Clean water is water from a broken pipe, water from a hot water heater, or sink. The time frame for a clean water damage is gray water.

Here is a list of precautions to take to protect your personal belongings from a clean source water damage until help arrives. Or contact a qualified professional to the following:

    • Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified professional.

    • Turn off the circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electric shock.

    • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.

    • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow a more even drying.

    • Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other valuable items that may be sensitive to moisture to a safe place.

    • Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet as they may cause staining.

    • Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to the vacuum cleaner.

    • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.

When you have water damage, do not leave your property to chance.

Water Leaks Can Cause Mold 

1/3/2019 (Permalink)

About Mold Growth

A leaky faucet in your home can be very annoying, but it has the potential to be much more than an annoyance. The moisture caused by leaks can make your home into the perfect environment for mold growth. Mold spores are known to cause allergic reactions and exacerbate respiratory problems. Mold can grow rapidly if you fail to notice a leak shortly after it starts, especially in humid climates. Knowing the risks that mold presents and quickly fixing your water leaks can help to protect your home from mold growth and protect your health as well.

Mold growth will begin in areas of your home that are wet. The mold spores will land on moist surfaces and then start to germinate. The materials on which mold can grow include:

• Sheetrock

• Tile

• Painted surfaces

• Carpet

• Wood

How Mold Can Affect Your Health

Most types of mold are harmless but can cause problems for individuals with allergies. They can cause symptoms such as coughing, a runny nose or breathing problems. A few types of mold are indeed very toxic, whether or not you have allergies.

Indications of Mold Growth Due To Water Leaks

If you see black and white spots in the area of the leak, this is a sign that you have mold. Kitchens and basements are some of the areas in your home where there is a high risk of mold growth as these areas are prone to leaks. It is therefore, important that you properly maintain your plumbing fixtures.

Preventing Mold Growth After Fixing Leaks

If you discover a water leak, have it fixed as soon as possible to minimize the potential for mold growth. After the leak has been fixed, use a mild detergent to wash the area and then allow it to dry completely. After it has dried, thoroughly wipe the area with bleach to kill any spores present. Boric acid also effective at killing mold spores could be used as a substitute for bleach. Be sure to keep your kids and pets out of the area while handling chemicals. It is always recommended to have a professional do the work.

Get Professional Assistance

If there is a part of your home that is prone to water leaks, contact someone with experience, which includes a plumber. If there are hidden problems that are causing leaks to recur, you may not be able to find them yourself. A licensed plumber who is experienced at finding and fixing leaks will be better able to find and fix the issues. Your plumber will also be able to advise you on how to maintain your plumbing to prevent water leaks and mold growth in the future.

Understanding Mold

Microscopic mold spores exist almost everywhere, outdoors and indoors, making it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.

  • 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 Our Professional Services Can Restore Your Fire Damaged Property

12/26/2018 (Permalink)

Thank you to our firefighters.

When materials burn they release carbon in the form of smoke.

The Use Of Sand Blasting, Water Pressure, And Air Pressure In Removing Fire Damage

When materials burn they release carbon in the form of smoke. As smoke comes into contact with a surface, it deposits parts of that carbon in the form of residue on that surface. These residues typically account for the lion's share of cleaning duties when restoring property after a small kitchen or living room fire. Although these types of fire are usually easily contained the smoke, which travels into open oxygen pockets, can spread far and wide. However, smoke residues contain more than just carbon, which is why professional cleaning services are a wise choice in the aftermath of soot or smoke harm.

A trained technician should be able to recognize the different types of fire and property owners can benefit from this expertise.

At SERVPRO we have a range of different cleaning methods and techniques to tackle all damages. Synthetic materials, for example, can release carcinogens when burned. Likewise, differing temperatures, airflows and fabrics require a tailored cleaning response.

On arrival at your property, a SERVPRO technician can conduct a pre-test. This involves testing different areas of the property for the type of damage.

Wet-smoke, caused by burning synthetics, is particularly susceptible to wet cleaning methods. Dry smoke, on the other hand, may benefit from dry cleaning to avoid spreading smoke around and inadvertently causing further damages.

In fire fighting efforts, there is a high chance that water is used which can set soot and make it tricky to clean. One technique that can be used to tackle soot is water pressure and air pressure. These advanced techniques help to dislodge soot from the surface, which can then be washed away. If there is significant structural damage, we could use sandblasting to rapidly smooth the affected area and remove charring or ingrained soot.

As part of a franchise with access to national resources, SERVPRO can afford to train our technicians to the highest level. With expertise in odor control, certified by the IICRC, and industrial fogging equipment, we can help to remove the unpleasant burning odors that may remain long after a property is restored.

Are You Prepared?

12/24/2018 (Permalink)

Is your business prepared in case a disaster or emergency situation should occur? Disasters and resulting business interruptions can devastate companies; in fact, as many as 50% of businesses that experience a disaster never reopen. With the proper planning and proactive restoration, you can better prepare to survive a disaster should one occur.

The need and benefit of having a detailed emergency action plan is crucial. A well-developed plan can help mitigate the effects of disasters and help you return to business quickly, saving time, unnecessary frustration and money. Those few minutes and hours immediately following a loss can be significant in determining the amount of time the property will be non-functional. Fast response can mean the difference between restoration and cleaning, versus costly replacement from prolonged exposure and secondary damage.

Developing a solid working contingency plan and networking with reputable vendors to assist you in your time of need are essential in your recovery efforts. Having a reliable company to respond immediately and begin emergency procedures is a critical part of any contingency plan. As part of a franchise, SERVPRO ® of Metro Pittsburgh East has access to over 10,000 quality teammates with thousands of pieces of commercial equipment and service vehicles that can typically respond to a crisis within hours.

SERVPRO ® of Metro Pittsburgh East can provide you an example emergency preparedness plan to help minimize interruption, overall costs and tenant inconvenience.