Recent Posts

Preventing Basement Floods Due to Snowmelt

2/13/2020 (Permalink)

Stone Wall SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is always ready to tackle a new water loss in order to protect your property from further damage.

During rainy seasons, we often brace ourselves for basement flooding. However, did you know that basements can flood at any time of the year if moisture is present in the ground? Regardless of whether your basement has never flooded before or has flooded many times, all basements have the potential to flood, as they are commonly located below ground level. When moisture is present in the ground surrounding the basement, water can seep through basement walls. This moisture can result from rain, but during the winter season, the snow, ice, and other frozen precipitation that accumulates during snowstorms heavily saturate the ground upon melting, which increases the likelihood of basement flooding. This winter and spring season, protect your basement from flooding due to snowmelt by considering the following tips:

Remove Snow

Snow or ice that accumulate close to the perimeter of the home after significant snowfall can increase the likelihood of snowmelt seeping into basement walls after being absorbed into the ground. In order to decrease the chance of your basement flooding due to this occurrence, it is important to shovel a five-foot barrier between the snow and your basement. In addition, snow on roofs and overhangs should also be removed, as it can also accumulate around the perimeter of the home, which can contribute to basement flooding upon melting.

Fix Cracks in Foundation

Water can enter basements and cause flooding if there are cracks present in the basement’s walls or foundation. Water damage to objects such as nearby furniture, walls, and carpets often results from this, in addition to mold growth. The only way to decrease the risk of such damage is to repair cracks in order to prevent water from seeping into the basement. Filling cracks with epoxy can serve as a temporary solution, but professional assistance is usually needed for long-term repair. Basement walls and foundations that are free from cracks will significantly decrease the chances of your basement suffering from flooding as a result of snowmelt.

If Your Basement Floods…

Although one can take every preventative measure possible, there is always the possibility of an unexpected disaster. If your basement floods as a result of snowmelt, water must be immediately removed in order to minimize water damage, which can be achieved through the use of a wet vacuum and dehumidifiers. However, if the flood damage is overwhelming, professional assistance may be required. Calling SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East ensures that your basement will be restored quickly and thoroughly after flooding due to snowmelt, minimizing any further water damage that may result from the flooding.

Flooding In Iowa

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

Storm Be wary of all storms. Keep up to date with your local weather and call SERVPRO if you suspect your building might be at risk to set up an ERP.

Flooding in Iowa

13 inches of rain hit Burlington, Iowa by storm this May over a 2 day period, leaving the city flooded and in need of remediation. In addition to the rain, large hail, high winds, and tornadoes hammered the area, which resulted in flooding that swept through the city as well as the flooding of nearby rivers, such as the Missouri River. During February of this year, a remarkable 25 inches of snow blanketed Des Moines, Iowa. The melting of all that snow left the ground completely saturated with liquid, unable to hold any more water. Therefore, the 13 inches of rain spread across the ground just as it would across a cement or tile floor, flooding highways, roads, and homes in its path. SERVPRO received around 30 job files and three crews were sent to Iowa to restore what was damaged in the flood.

Flooding can result in the contamination and damage of drywall, support beams, and even the foundation of homes. The damage to homes ranged anywhere from wet finished basements of 500 square ft to 3,000 square ft to wet flooring, walls, and content. Mold is most likely to grow in the initial 24 hours of the flooding, which calls for swift action from restoration crews.

The most satisfying component of restoring flooded homes was the crews’ ability to help flood victims bounce back in addition to the gratifying feeling that emerged as a result of helping those affected by the floods.

Prevent Water Damage to Carpets

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

Cleaning A Carpet To be able to correctly react you must have the knowledge to act.

Preventing Water Damage To Carpets

How Can Carpets Be Damaged by Water?

Water damage to carpets is most commonly the result of plumbing issues such as leaky pipes and weather effects such as flooding or leaking after the buildup of water in areas that store water during storms such as attics or basements.

Warning Signs

Discoloration of the carpet is a visible sign of water damage. However, water damage can impact carpet without visible indicators. For example, another common sign of water damage is a putrid, musty odor that will not vanish after cleaning. Illness of those living in the house as well as amplified allergy symptoms may also signify the presence of water damage to carpets in a home.

Why You Should Act Quickly

Mold and mildew will grow in the damaged carpet the longer it remains untreated. In this case, the carpet will need to be completely removed, as mold and mildew cannot be destroyed through simple cleaning. The carpet padding and subfloor underneath the carpet can also be damaged if the area is not hastily cleaned. Finally, mold and mildew can cause detrimental effects to the health of those living in the home, as they can infiltrate the home’s ventilation system.

Precautions to Take

Any moisture in the carpet will need to be removed using a wet water vacuum. Surrounding furniture should also be checked to ensure that they have not also been contaminated. To prevent further mold growth, it may also be beneficial to scrub other carpets and walls in the room that was affected. Dry out the room and create better ventilation by opening windows and utilizing fans or a dehumidifier. To treat a specific area, sprinkle baking soda on top of the area and vacuum. Steam-cleaning the area will also help to destroy dead mold spores. When in doubt, call SERVPRO to guarantee a thorough and sufficient elimination of water damage in your carpet.

Preventing Fire Damage in the Home

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

Lit Match Fire Mitigation is important after you've experienced a devastating loss, however, knowing how to prevent it is incredibly valuable.

Preventing Fire Damage in Your Home

How Can Fires Start in Homes?

Several objects that are commonly found inside homes can cause fires including hair spray as well as other aerosol cans, shaving cream, hand sanitizer, and rubbing alcohol among others. It is necessary to be aware that these items are flammable in order to practice caution when handling them.

Electrical Dangers

Blown sockets as well as hot plugs and sockets can increase the risk of a fire igniting in the home. Flames can result from exploded wires that spark, however, a flame does not need to be present for there to be a chance of a fire starting.

Proceed With Caution When…

  1. Smoking Indoors

Careless smoking while indoors is the number one reason as to why fires start in homes, so extreme caution must be taken when smoking indoors. It is important to completely put out all cigarettes. Also, refrain from falling asleep with a cigarette still burning and using improper ashtrays.

  1. Burning Candles Indoors

While many of us burn candles inside regularly, it is still important to monitor them in order to protect against candle flames catching any other objects on fire. Candle flames can be blown by drafts such as those originating from open windows. If those drafts reach flammable objects, it can result in a larger and more dangerous fire. Also keep candles in proper candle holders in order to better constrict the flame.

Avoid These Combinations

Avoid placing certain household objects beside one another in order to decrease the risk of fire. Electrical appliances and water should not be placed within close proximity to one another, nor should grease be kept by an open flame or linens/clothes by a heater. Make sure to prevent flames from spreading to other objects from fireplaces by ensuring that it’s protected by a screen or glass doors.

5 Tips For Preventing Fires In Your Home

  1. Change out frayed wires for new ones
  2. Check the batteries in your smoke detectors every month
  3. Check heating devices in your home regularly
  4. Monitor objects placed on top of hot surfaces
  5. Store a fire extinguisher somewhere handy

How to Prevent Grease Fires

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

Fire in A Pot Grease fires can become out of control in a matter of milliseconds. Understand how to prevent grease fires.

How to Prevent Grease Fires

It might surprise you that grease is the common culprit when it comes to initiating the majority of kitchen fires. Grease fires can become uncontrollable in very little time, so it is necessary to prevent them from igniting in your kitchen. Be conscious of safe and dangerous practices alike for cooking with hot oil in order to best protect your home from grease fires.

Safe Practices

Be sure to remove any flammable objects from the cooking area before you begin cooking. If a grease fire were to ignite, leaving combustible items, including cookbooks or paper towels, on the cooking surface or even in areas surrounding the surface enhances the risk of the grease fire expanding, as those items would also catch fire. While cooking, make sure that you are monitoring the cooking space. Turning your back for even a few seconds can allow for a grease fire to ignite, so it is crucial to be as attentive as possible when cooking with hot oil and grease. Also, be sure to save any cocktails that you may be drinking before the meal until after you’ve finished cooking in order to prevent misjudgment or any mistakes from occurring that could cause a grease fire. In the event that a grease fire does ignite, however, keep a metal lid as well as some baking soda nearby, as both can be used to smother it. It is important to understand, though, that baking soda should only be used to smother small, isolated grease fires.

Dangerous Practices

Throwing food into hot oil would be an example of a dangerous practice when cooking with hot oil. Doing so can cause the hot oil to splash and potentially find its way onto the hot cooking surface, resulting in a grease fire. Instead, be sure to gently place the food into the hot oil. This is especially important to remember when cooking with frozen food. Allow those foods to thaw before cooking them in hot oil. Finally, refrain from throwing any type of liquid onto a grease fire if one were to break out, as doing so may cause the fire to grow instead of smother.

Upgrade Your Security Standards With the ERP

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Cover Photo Making sure your property is protected is an important priority. Call SERVPRO Metro Pittsburgh East to help facilitate your upgrade.

The SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East

Emergency READY Profile Advantage

Did you know as many as 50% of businesses never recover following a disaster? The majority of businesses that do survive had an emergency preparedness plan in place. Being fully prepared with proper planning can bring you peace of mind. When you are "Ready for whatever happens" this provides a solid level of trust with your clients and employees, so that if there is an emergency event and your business is affected by a disaster, you’ll be able to recover as quickly as possible.

By developing a SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.

  • FREE Program!! We will provide an assessment of your facility at no cost to you.
    This is a high quality, digital profile with no need for you to allocate funds. This program provides exceptional value with zero cost.
  • A Profile Document containing critical information needed in an emergency.
    Completion of your profile will only take a little time to complete without taking you away from your current work projects, but it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
  • A Digital Guide to help you get back into your building after a disaster.
    Having a complete, updated Emergency Ready Profile can help minimize the amount of time your business is affected by a disaster by having an immediate plan of action.
  • Establishes SERVPRO Metro Pittsburgh East as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
    You’ll have a go-to source with a provider recognized as the industry leader right around the corner.
  • Identifies the line of command for authorizing restoration work to begin.
    This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
  • Provides facility details such as electrical box and water shut-off valve locations, as well as priority areas such as entrances, exits, and priority contact information.
    Your team will be fully ready with a quick reference of who to call, what to do, and how to do it providing you with solutions in advance of an emergency situation so you’re "Ready for whatever happens."

Are You Ready to Get Started?

Sign up below and a representative of SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East will be in contact with you in the next 24 hours.   

For a consultation, E-Mail our ERP Coordinator, Colleen Kilchenstein @ with the following!

Your Name:
Company Name:
Dates and Time Available:

We thank you for your interest! Remember, creating an ERP isn't just establishing a plan for Loss Mitigation, it's establishing a Security Standard.

Job of the Quarter (Q4 2019)

2/3/2020 (Permalink)

Man in flooded hallway Flooding as low as this can still cause major damage to the walls surrounding it if not properly dealt with.

Baltimore was established in 1729, 47 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It's an old city, in terms of the "new world."

Major advances in construction, engineering, and innovation have occurred in the last 291 years since the founding of the city. Sadly, the sewage system in Baltimore City has not made the necessary changes to get it to modern-day standards. An essay in sums it up best:

“Baltimore City’s sewage system was designed with dozens of Sanitary Sewer Overflow Structures: intentional release valves that allowed sewage to overflow into streams, rather than streets or people’s basements. Although this was a best practice in the early 1900’s, using streams as open sewer pipes is a significant public health and environmental threat…”

“In 2002, Baltimore City finalized a Consent Decree… outlining how it would end the chronic sewage overflows into local streams that were fouling the Inner Harbor…”

“Between 2002 and 2016, Baltimore City completed half the work that was described in the Consent Decree - but backups of sewage into homes in Baltimore grew from a minor problem to a major hazard” According to an investigation by the Baltimore Sun, in 2004, the Department of Public Works responded to 622 sewage backups and by 2015, that number had hit nearly 5000.

 “When we closed those other 60 overflows that increased the number of basement backups that we saw in the city. Again, because the sewage has to go somewhere.” ~Department of Public Work’s General Counsel

At SERVPRO Metro Pittsburgh East, we see sewage backups quite regularly throughout the city and counties. At the beginning of November, we were honored to help multiple homeowners recover from a large sewage backup affecting the basements in all eight of their attached town row homes. We have decided to choose this job as our "Quarter Job" not only because of our speedy response to the completion timeline but also because it is a great example of our full-service capabilities.

The call came to our office early on Friday afternoon, and we had crews on-site within 30 minutes to start the sewage extraction from the basements of the row home. Because drywall wicks water as quickly as 1 inch per hour and sewage are classified as Category 3 water loss (water containing unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness), it was necessary to cut drywall and remove 2' insulation to allow proper drying and sanitation. All contents in the basement affected by the sewage have been removed and disposed of. Even with a few appliances. We are proud to be the "one-stop solution shop" for all our customers ' problems. We have managed to replace the appliances for these homeowners and have continued to provide even more timely solutions.

Many people don't realize that SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East not only mitigates your disaster, but we're going to put it all back together. "Like it never even happened," remember? That's exactly what we've done for the 8 row home basements affected by this mass sewage backup. Our mitigation teams finished and our rebuilding team moved in, replaced all the contaminated insulation, installed fresh drywall, and repainted the entire basement. Our team laid new carpets, tile floors, installed new kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, and tiled backsplashes in the kitchen. New doors and trim work were installed and painted and appliances were installed. All these times 8 homeowners and completed in a matter of 35 days.

Our team members have certainly signed up for a dirty, messy and labor-intensive job. But the pride they take in making people's lives come back together quickly and efficiently could not be greater. This is what we all love to do at Team Wall's SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team... we love being your "One Stop Solution Shop!"

Reduce Cost & Time Settling Claims

1/28/2020 (Permalink)

Man in burnt down house using Matterport The Matterport in action inside of a residential home.

Have you ever been frustrated with the amount of time an insurance claim takes to settle? If you’re an insurance or property management professional, you understand that time is money! The cost and time involved with settling a property claim are usually based on the professionalism and efficiency of the contractor performing clean up and repairs. Retention of your insured or tenant is at great risk when you hire a contractor that lacks the skills, training, and equipment to submit accurate estimates. However, when you hire the right professional to help settle the claim – you get pin-point accuracy with the estimate, quick turn-around time and quality work. In the end, your claim is settled in a professional, efficient manner and your insured or tenant is impressed with your service!        

Introducing Matterport! The most advanced three-dimensional camera ever produced. With over 2 million spaces captured, Matterport boasts of the largest index of 3-D files of structures in the world. The Matterport is a game-changer in settling claims more efficiently because of the high definition photos, accurate measurements with schematic floor plans and guided tours. Imagine if you could virtually walk through a residence or commercial structure to assess damage without ever having to even leave your office chair… now you can!

No more messing around with hand-drawn sketches and having to take your own measurements because you have no confidence in the contractor you hired to help settle the claim. As an insurance adjuster, agent or property manager, you can now view digital spaces from multiple angles to capture accurate measurements, experience three dimensional, self-guided tours, OBJ files, 4K print-quality photos, and schematic floor plans. As an immersive technology organization that has produced the first end-to-end digital capture system, Matterport has changed the paradigm of the restoration and reconstruction industry. So, how does a true professional contractor provide you with the cost-reducing, time-saving expertise that you need to settle your claim by utilizing the cutting-edge technology of the Matterport camera? One that understands time, money, loss ratio and ultimately customer service. When you have a property claim that needs to be settled with quality work in the most efficient manner – Call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East.

Employee of the Quarter (Q4 2019)

1/23/2020 (Permalink)

Short Haired Man Jon Dell himself.

The following is the official write up from SERVPRO Metro Pittsburgh East regarding Jon Dell's exceptional work as part of the team:

Jon Dell has worked for SERVPRO for about 5 years. With the new ownership this past October, he has embraced the change as a Production Crew Chief. He is always willing to help his team wherever he is needed, showing is devoted teamwork. When a loss comes in he is the first to jump at the chance of going, showing his hustle. He takes his time with jobs to ensure the quality and consistency of workmanship.  He communicates with customers and addresses their concerns as they come to light, showing accountability.  

Our goal is to provide all of our clients with this level of service and expertise every single visit.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you Jon for being an exemplary part of the team.

In The Know: Ice Dams

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Ice on Roof Always be wary of possible build-up on ice on your roof.

Many local areas have recently seen their first significant snowfall, indicating that we’re in store for more winter weather in the coming months. Alongside significant snowfall comes the possibility for winter weather to wreak havoc on your home or business. One of the most dangerous types of winter storm damage is ice dams. Ice dams are ridges of ice that form on below-freezing sections of a roof that prevent melted snow from draining off of the roof. When the melted snow cannot escape the roof, it will pile up behind the block of ice. This liquid can then leak down into attics, insulation, ceilings, and other walls within the building through cracks, risking serious damage.

Causes, Effects, and Prevention

After a significant snowfall, ice dams form due to roof temperatures that are not uniform. One factor that contributes to uneven roof temperatures is heat loss from the building. Without proper insulation, warm air from inside of the building can heat areas of the roof, causing snow to melt and contribute to ice dams. When the melted snow that sits behind the block of ice leaks down into the building, mold and mildew can grow on ceilings, walls, and other structures of the building, risking structural damage.

In this video, the formation of ice dams is demonstrated on a model roof, providing a visual explanation of the information above. The video also explains various techniques, both short-term and long-term, that homeowners or business owners can use in order to treat an ice dam. One short-term solution shown in the video is filling a sock with rock salt and throwing it up onto the roof in hopes of breaking up the ice. A long-term solution shown in the video is adding additional insulation in your attic or having a professional spray foam underneath of the roof in order to keep warm air inside of the building.

To avoid the risk of mold growth, it is important to prevent any formation of ice dams on your roof this winter. Should an ice dam form on your roof, call SERVPRO in order to take care of the problem as quickly as possible and spare your home or business from any further damage.