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Protecting Your Haven: A Comprehensive Guide to Preventing Water Damage at Home and Business

8/29/2023 (Permalink)

SERVPRO employees by a SERVPRO Green Van SERVPRO is always Here to Help®.

Whether you're a homeowner or a business owner, water damage can wreak havoc on your property, leading to costly repairs, health hazards, and the disruption of your daily life or business. Check out the preventive measures below to see how you can protect your home or business.

  1. Regularly Inspect and Maintain Appliances:

Appliances are often the source of water-related mishaps. Routine checks and maintenance can prevent potential issues:

Washing Machines: Examine hoses for cracks or leaks and replace them every five years. Ensure the machine is level to prevent overflow. Leave space between the machine and the wall to avoid kinks in the hoses.

-Dishwashers: Inspect the supply and drainage lines for leaks or blockages. Ensure the door seal is intact, and clean the filter regularly to prevent clogs.

-Refrigerators: Check the water line for the ice maker and refrigerator. Replace if damaged. Position the fridge away from the walls to avoid damaging said line.

-Water Heaters: Inspect the tank and connections for leaks. Drain the tank annually to prevent sediment buildup.

  1. Maintain Roof and Gutters:

A well-maintained roof and gutters are your first line of defense against water damage:

-Roof: Regularly inspect for missing or damaged shingles. Look for signs of water or leaks in the attic.

-Gutters: Clean gutters and downspouts regularly to prevent clogs that can lead to overflowing water. Ensure they are securely attached and direct water away from the foundation.

  1. Proper Landscaping:

-Landscaping can impact water flow and drainage around your property:

-Grading: Ensure the ground slopes away from your property's foundation to prevent water from pooling around it.

-Planting: Avoid planting trees with invasive roots near water lines or your foundation, as they can damage these structures.

  1. Install a Sump Pump:

For properties prone to flooding, install a sump pump in the basement or crawl space. Sump pumps can prevent water damage by pumping out extra water.

  1. Sealing and Insulation:

Proper sealing and insulation can help prevent water infiltration:

-Windows and Doors: Check for gaps or cracks and apply weather stripping or caulking as needed.

-Foundation: Seal any visible cracks in the foundation to prevent water seepage.

  1. Swift Repairs:

Don't delay repairs when you notice water-related issues:

-Leaks: Address leaks promptly, whether a dripping faucet or a small roof leak. Small problems can escalate quickly if left untreated.

-Cracks: If you notice cracks in walls, ceilings, or the foundation, investigate and repair them to prevent water seepage.

  1. Educate Residents or Employees:

Whether it's your family or your employees, everyone should be aware of water damage prevention:

-Emergency Procedures: Teach everyone how to shut off the water supply in case of a leak or burst pipe.

-Reporting: Encourage open communication about leaks or water-related issues so they can be addressed promptly.

Water damage prevention is a responsibility that both homeowners and business owners share. You can significantly reduce the risk of water damage by performing regular checks on appliances, maintaining your roof and gutters, ensuring proper landscaping, and taking quick action on repairs. If you experience water damage in your property, call SERVPRO of Greensburg. We are always Here to Help®.

Flood Coverage... Do You Need It?

8/8/2023 (Permalink)

Flooded Flower When flooding wreaks havoc on your home, call SERVPRO!

Two insurance policies deal with a homeowner's damage due to water -- a flood insurance policy and a homeowners insurance policy. Losses not covered by one of these policies may be covered by the other. Understanding how your home may be affected by water can help you decide whether you need one or both policies. While insurance policies may differ in the coverage provided from homeowner to homeowner, some basic features are common to all policies. Be sure to ask your insurance agent or insurance company about the specifics of your insurance policy. In the meantime, the Insurance Information Network of California offers the following general information based on standard insurance policies.

Flood Insurance

As the name implies, a standard flood insurance policy written by the National Flood Insurance Program provides coverage up to the policy limit for damage caused by a flood. The dictionary defines "flood" as the rising and overflowing of a body of water onto normally dry land. For insurance purposes, the word "rising" in this definition is the key to distinguishing flood damage from water damage. Generally, damage caused by water on the ground at some point before damaging your home is considered flood damage. A handful of examples of flood damage include:

  • A nearby river overflows and washes into your home.
  • Heavy rain seeps into your basement because the soil can't absorb the water quickly enough.
  • A heavy rain or flash flood causes the hill behind your house to collapse into a mud slide that oozes into your home.

The only way to insure flood damage is with a flood insurance policy -- no other insurance will cover flood damage. Flood insurance is available through your insurance agent, insurance company, or local Federal Emergency Management Office (FEMA). Contact your county planning office to determine if your home is in a flood plain. If you reside in a flood plain, flood insurance may be an excellent option to protect your home.

Homeowners Insurance

A homeowners insurance policy will not provide flood damage coverage, but it does provide many types of water damage coverage. When water causes significant damage to your home before it comes in contact with the ground, your homeowner's insurance policy may cover the cost of mitigation and repairs. A few examples of water damage include:

  • A hailstorm smashes your window, permitting hail and rain-free access into your home.
  • Heavy rain soaks through the roof, allowing water to drip through your attic or ceiling.
  • A broken water pipe spews water into your home.

Your homeowner's insurance policy may not cover flood or water damage, but if a water or flood loss leads to other losses, such as theft or fire damage, your policy may cover it. For example, if a nearby creek overflows and floods your home, and looters steal some of your furnishings after you evacuate, the theft would be covered by your homeowner's insurance because it is a result of the water damage. However, the flood damage is only covered if you have flood insurance.

When dealing with water or flood damage, always contact your insurance provider for policy details, then call SERVPRO®. We are always Here to Help® with your fire and water disaster needs!

Forest Fire Safety

7/24/2023 (Permalink)

Summer is finally here! You can expect to see sunshine and hot temperatures around this time of the year, but as you may have noticed, most of North America is experiencing an abnormal dry spell. While the weather has been lovely, with sunny skies and thermostats reaching well into the high 80s, wildfires can quickly become a cause for concern. Dry weather like this can create perfect conditions for forest fires, especially in heavily wooded areas like Western Pennsylvania. Here are some essential tips to protect your home from forest fires :

1. Create a Defensible Space:
-Clear vegetation and flammable materials, such as dry leaves and fallen branches, within at least 30 feet of your house.
-Trim tree branches that overhang the roof and maintain a safe distance between trees and shrubs to prevent the rapid spread of flames.

2. Maintain a Clean and Debris-Free Environment:
-Regularly clean your property by removing dry leaves, pine needles, and other debris that can accumulate in gutters, roofs, and decks. 
-Keep a safe distance between firewood stacks and your home.

3. Maintain an Emergency Water Supply:
-Ensure you have an emergency water supply readily available on your property.
-Create a firebreak by installing fire hoses around your home, and regularly inspect and test their functionality. 
-Consider having a water storage tank or a swimming pool that can serve as an additional water source for firefighters or for protecting your property in case of a fire.

4. Develop an Evacuation Plan:
-Identify multiple escape routes and establish a meeting point away from the danger zone.
-Pack essential documents, medications, and supplies in an easily accessible emergency kit.

5. Stay Informed:
-Stay informed about the current fire conditions and follow the guidelines provided by local authorities. 
-Sign up for emergency alerts and notifications through your local fire department or relevant agencies. 
-Familiarize yourself with evacuation orders and be prepared to act swiftly if necessary.

Forest fires are dangerous, and it is imperative to remain prepared. If your Westmoreland County home is affected by fire or smoke damage, call SERVPRO of Greensburg. We’ll help make your disaster feel “Like it never even happened.”®

Have You Ever Had a Sewage Backup?

4/20/2023 (Permalink)

Sewage seeping out from door If left untreated, sewage backups can damage multiple rooms in your home or business.

They stink... Literally...

As a property owner, it's essential to understand the potential causes of sewage backups and how to prevent them. Sewage backups can cause significant damage to your property, and they can also pose health risks to you and your family.

Understanding the most common causes of sewage backups can help you prevent damage before it happens:

  1. Clogged Pipes: One of the most common causes of sewage backups is clogged pipes. Over time, debris such as grease, soap, and hair can accumulate in your pipes, eventually causing a blockage that prevents sewage from flowing through.
  1. Tree Roots: Tree roots can invade your sewer line through small cracks or joints, causing blockages and backups. If you have trees growing near your sewer line, it's essential to have them inspected regularly to ensure they're not causing any damage.
  1. Broken or Collapsed Pipes: Older homes may have pipes that are made from materials such as clay or cast iron that can break or collapse over time, causing backups. If you have an older home, it's essential to have your sewer line inspected periodically to identify any potential issues.
  1. Heavy Rainfall: Heavy rainfall can overwhelm your sewer system, causing sewage to back up into your home. If you live in an area that experiences heavy rainfall, consider installing a backwater valve to prevent sewage from flowing back into your home.

To prevent sewage backups, here are some tips you can follow:

- Avoid flushing anything other than toilet paper down your toilet.

- Dispose of cooking grease and oil properly.

- Install a strainer in your sink to prevent food scraps and other debris from going down the drain.

- Have your sewer line inspected periodically to identify any potential issues.

- Consider installing a backwater valve if you live in an area that experiences heavy rainfall.

If you do experience a sewage backup, it's essential to act quickly. Turn off your water supply and avoid using any plumbing fixtures until the issue has been resolved. Call a licensed plumber to come and assess the problem and perform any necessary repairs. Make sure you call SERVPRO of Greensburg to clean, sanitize, and dry your property.

I hope this information helps you understand the causes of sewage backups and how to prevent them. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to our office at (724) 837-8830.

The Dos and Don'ts of Fire Damage

8/25/2022 (Permalink)

House fire with fire fighter A firefighter fighting the flames in a home.

Flames roaring, smoke billowing from windows, lights and sirens blaring…

In other words: a property owner's nightmare. Dealing with a fire can be incredibly demanding and frustrating. Not only do you have to worry about structural damage but also the clean-up and restoration of your property. Skip the stress and call SERVPRO of Greensburg, the locally owned, operated, and trusted leader in fire damage restoration. We are open 24/7 and our highly trained technicians are always prepared to make your fire and smoke damage look "Like it never even happened." Although we are faster to any size disaster, we suggest you follow these “Dos” and “Don’ts” before we arrive at your home or business:

The Dos:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into the carpet.
  • Keep hands clean to limit soot spread.
  • Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim, and appliances. After wiping down, these surfaces can be protected with a light coating of lubricant.
  • Change the HVAC filter, but leave the system off until a trained professional has inspected it.
  • Watch for any slip, trip, or fall hazards created by the fire.

The Don'ts:

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces.
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture.
  • Consume food or beverages that may have been stored close to the fire, heat, or water.
  • Send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet or sagging.

We are proud to have had the opportunity to serve Greensburg and its surrounding areas since 2004. If you require assistance, please call us at (724) 837-8830!

Planning a Vacation? SERVPRO is here to help!

7/15/2022 (Permalink)

With the hottest months in full swing, it is about that time of the year to cool down with a summer vacation. While planning for time away, many homeowners forget that protecting their home is just as important as the vacation itself. To keep your home safe from burglary and internal damage, here are tips and tricks from SERVPRO of Greensburg: 

  1. Have a close friend or neighbor be checking your home daily
  2. Provide this neighbor with emergency contact names and phone numbers
  3. Provide information for the alarm system to the house sitter
  4. Leave your porch lights on
  5. Cancel mail or have it collected daily
  6. Unplug electronics to cut down on any possible shortages
  7. Check smoke detectors to make sure they are working properly
  8. Shut off gas and water at the meter, supply, or appliances
  9. Turn off water valves to washing machine, sinks, and dishwasher
  10. Adjust your thermostat to 75-80 – this will help control usage

Protecting your home before leaving can help preserve your peace of mind while on vacation. If disaster strikes while you are away, call SERVPRO of Greensburg at (724) 837-8830. Let us show you that we are faster to any size disaster!

Understanding the Water Damage Timeline

7/7/2022 (Permalink)

Water damages are incredibly unpredictable, striking when you least expect it. Whether it be severe weather or leaking pipes, SERVPRO of Greensburg understands the stress and inconvenience that comes with damage to your home or business. Water damages progress rapidly, causing an excessive loss in a short window of time. While we are open and always prepared to respond to these losses 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we believe that it is essential for YOU to understand how water damages work, and the timeline they generally follow when left untreated. Doing so will allow us to help you successfully mitigate, remediate, and salvage as much of your precious belongings as we possibly can.

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes:

  • Water spreads throughout the property, both in visible and non-visible cavities.
  • Water is absorbed into drywall, flooring, and furniture.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing staining on surrounding carpets.
  • Paper documents, photographs, and books absorb water and begin to swell.

Within 24 Hours:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Odor begins to develop.
  • Furniture may begin to swell and warp.

48 Hours to One Week:

  • Microbial growth begins and may start spreading.
  • Doors, windows, and studs begin to swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust.
  • Paint will begin to blister.
  • Conditions can become hazardous for occupancy.

Greater than One Week:

  • Structural safety is compromised.
  • Microbial growth intensifies.
  • Occupancy can be extremely unsafe.
  • Cleanup and Restoration costs increase dramatically.

The longer the water sits, the more damage your home will obtain. That's why it is crucial to call the team that is faster to any size disaster: SERVPRO of Greensburg! Our teams of highly skilled technicians provide the best possible customer service and make your water damage look "Like it never even happened." For more information about our services or company, call us at (724) 837-4126.

4th of July Fire Safety

6/30/2022 (Permalink)

With Independence Day on its way, many communities look forward to celebrating the USA's freedom with a bang! Literally. While fireworks are a fun way to show some national pride, they can be extremely dangerous to homes and businesses, especially in wooded areas.  

Whether you are in your backyard or at a local show, here are some tips from the US Forest Service on what to do if a fire flares up near you:

  • Remain calm. 
  • Move flammable materials such as wood to a safe place away from the house. 
  • Close the garage door, but leave it unlocked (an electric door may need to be disconnected from the power source to move manually).
  • Open the entrance of your yard to facilitate the access of the firefighters and vehicles. 
  • Shut off any fuel tanks and gas cylinders. 
  • Close all exterior vents, exterior doors (do not lock them), and windows. 
  • Make sure all garden hoses connect to a faucet with a nozzle set on SPRAY.
  • Do a headcount to make sure that all family members are safe and accounted for 

Enjoy your 4th of July weekend and call SERVPRO of Greensburg at (724) 837-8830 for any smoke, water, or fire damage cleanup!

Broken Pipe? Follow These 3 Steps…

6/15/2022 (Permalink)

Amid the rainy season in Pennsylvania, many homeowners in Greensburg worry about flash flooding and how it can affect their homes. While wet weather is a common cause of flooding, many homeowners overlook another common source: leaking/bursting pipes. If this happens to you, the first thing to do is contact a professional to fix the burst pipe immediately. After that is taken care of, be sure to follow these three steps below to help minimize water damage in your home:

  1. Stop the Flow of Water

The first thing you, as a homeowner, can do is prevent the flooding from getting any worse. You will need to shut off the main water line. After you do so, you still need to drain the pipes of all water. This will require you to run every sink and flush each toilet in your house at least once. You will also need to turn off your home’s water heater. Once there is no running tap water left, the leak should stop entirely.

  1. Inspect the Damage

Next, you will need to locate the burst pipes. If you are able to find the broken pipe, then you should take pictures of the damage for insurance purposes. If you cannot find the culprit, then you will need to bring in a professional crew as soon as possible.

  1. Contact SERVPRO of Greensburg

Even if you are fairly handy around the house, it is always a good idea to call a professional team to take care of any water damage just to be safe. There is a lot of remediation that needs to take place, such as drying any damaged structures and preventing mold growth. Professionals also know how to safely work around water to prevent electrocution or illness.

Choose the team that can make your water disaster seem "Like it never even happened." SERVPRO of Greensburg is here to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn more about our services, please call us at  (724) 837-8830!

The professionals at SERVPRO of Greensburg have seen the devastation that a grill fire can cause, and we want to help you avoid severe damage.

6/8/2022 (Permalink)

Grill Fire with statistics If you are part of that 8,900, we can help! Call SERVPRO of Greensburg at (724) 837-8830

With the summer months comes delicious BBQ! But before you get too excited about all of those backyard cookouts, let us give you a few tips and tricks to make sure you entertain safely. 

The professionals at SERVPRO of Greensburg understand that BBQs are a great way to bring together friends and family. Still, they can also be a significant source of fire damage if not used safely. 

Here are 5 BBQ grill fire prevention tips to help keep your summer BBQs safe:

  1. Keep a close eye on the grill at all times.
  2. Make sure the grill is in a well-ventilated area.
  3. Clean the grill regularly to prevent grease build-up
  4. Keep flammable materials away from the grill.
  5. Use the right fuel.

Keep on reading to learn more about each of these tips in detail!

What causes a grill fire?

Grill fires can happen for various reasons, but the most common cause is an overheated grill. When the fat or grease from your food drips down onto the heat source, it can burst into flame. As well as that, sparks from the grill coming in contact with the heat source are another cause for devastating grill fires.

Five tips to prevent grill fires

Now that we know what can cause a grill fire let’s go over some tips on avoiding them:

1) Keep a close eye on the grill at all times

Keeping a close eye on your grill may seem like a no-brainer, but it is essential to be aware and watcful whenever it is in use. If you leave the grill unattended, you risk a fire starting.

2) Make sure the grill is in a well-ventilated area

It is crucial to make sure the grill is in a well-ventilated area. If the area lacks ventilation, the smoke will have nowhere to go. When smoke becomes trapped, it can cause a fire.

3) Clean the grill regularly to prevent grease build-up

Cleaning your grill is one of the best and most foolproof ways to avoid fires. When you remove any old food and grease build-up, it greatly reduces the chances of a fire. Make sure to clean your grill before and after each use.

4) Keep flammable materials away from the grill.

It’s important to keep anything flammable away from the grill. Everyday flammable items include things like paper plates, napkins, and towels. If these materials come in contact with the heat source, they can catch fire quickly.

5) Use the right fuel

Another way to prevent grill fires is to use the correct fuel type. Only use charcoal or propanel, and make sure to follow the instructions on how to light the grill. Never add accelerants to your grill, as this can cause a fire.

What to do if a grill fire starts

If a grill fire does start, the first thing you should do is turn off the heat source. If the fire is small, you can try to extinguish it with a fire extinguisher. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, baking soda, sand, or salt can be used, but NEVER put water on a grill fire. If the fire is large, or if you cannot put it out, call 911 immediately.

Once the fire has been extinguished, you will need to assess the damage. If there is any damage to your grill, it’s imperative to have it repaired or replaced before using it again.

If your home sustains any fire damage from the grill fire, SERVPRO of Greensburg is here to help. We are a 24-hour emergency service company, and we are faster to any size disaster.

Wrapping up

Preventing grill fires this summertime will help you avoid costly repairs and damages. Use these five tips to help you enjoy a safe and fun summer grilling season!

When you contact us, we will start the fire damage restoration process right away. Our fire restoration process includes:

  • Assessment of the damage
  • Pack out of undamaged belongings
  • Contents cleaning
  • Demolition
  • Cleaning
  • Deodorization

Here at SERVPRO of Greensburg, we know the overwhelming emotions that come with a fire in your home. That is why our goal is to make the restoration process as easy and stress-free as possible. To ensure this happens, we will work hand in hand with your insurance company and keep you updated throughout the entire process.

If you have any questions about fire damage restoration or if you need emergency services, feel free to contact us today. SERVPRO of Greensburg is here to make it "Like it never even happened."