Dealing With the Aftermath of a Fire
After a fire, SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County knows exactly what steps to follow to restore your home. Let us help guide you through the process.
Damage to your home from even a small fire can be difficult to deal with. In many cases, the water and smoke damage cause more problems than the fire actually does. Dealing with the clean up after a fire can be a huge task and for many people, calling in a professional restoration service is the way to go. Learn more about how to recover from a fire below.
Insurance Coverage and Inspection
Before you begin to clean up after a fire, you need to have the insurance company come and assess the damage to your house. You need to know what is covered by your insurance and what is not. You should not move things in the house until after the adjuster has looked everything over and give you the okay to start working on cleaning up the mess.
Most insurance policies will cover smoke and water damage to the home as result of the fire, but if you want to hire a company to do the clean-up, check your policy to make sure the insurance coverage will cover the cost of that service.
Before any work can start inside the house, inspect the structure of the home. Hire a contractor to come to inspect the entire building to determine if it is safe to enter and begin cleaning up. If the structural integrity of your home is compromised in any way, stay out of it until a professional can handle repairs.
The contractor may need to shore up the building and replace some framing to support the structure properly. Whatever needs to be done to make your home safe to enter and work in, make sure it’s done safely and before anything else.
Once the house is turned over to you after the fire, you need to look at the damage and figure out where to start. Smoke damage is one of the hardest parts of cleaning up after a fire because the odor gets into the fabric, wood, and other material in the home.
Washing the walls down with a mild detergent and water will clean soot and other chemicals off. Take the drapes down and get them out of the house. Remove all the furnishings as well and take a look at the carpeting.
If the carpets are not too wet, you could have a professional carpet cleaner come in and clean them. If there is damage to the carpets, you may have to remove them have them replaced.
Water damage in your home is more than likely a result of the extinguishment efforts, and it can be one of the most extensive problems you have. Inspect the home thoroughly for signs of water damage, which includes mold and mildew forming in nooks and crannies throughout the interior of the home.
Water can seep through floorboards, into wall spaces, and get into fabrics and wreak havoc. If you are working with a restoration company, they will inspect all the areas where water can settle and will have the tools to remove the water.
Mold and mildew can start to grow pretty quickly, so once the water has been cleaned up, you need to check the house for mold. If you find mold, call a mold remediation company and have them come inspect the situation. Removing the mold yourself can be unhealthy, and there are rules about the disposal of the mold. Let the contractor handle it for you.
SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County offers water, fire, and smoke restoration and cleanup services to help you recover from a disaster in your home. We have the knowledge and experience to get your home clean and ready to move back into quickly. Give us a call to have a member of our team come out and give you an estimate for repairs and restoration.
4 Warning Signs of Water Leaks in Your Home | SERVPRO of Western Lancaster
Visible water leaks are the easiest to spot; however, not all leaks are quite noticeable. Know the warning signs of a potential problem.
While water leaks are a common problem that any homeowner can face, you can’t always find them easily. Leaks that are hidden behind walls and floors can cause significant damage before they are located, and they are often the most challenging to repair. Here are four signs that can indicate hidden water leaks in your home.
Visible Water Damage
Unfortunately, you’ll most easily find a leak after it has already done some damage. Not all leaks lead to large, noticeable water spots, however, so you should be on the lookout for more subtle signs. Peeling or blistering in paint and wallpaper is often a sign that the drywall behind them is swelling with water. As the leak continues, you may notice the walls bowing inward in these areas as the drywall becomes completely saturated.
Several of the pipes and fittings under your bathroom floor can be points of failure, which makes this one of the most common places for leaks to occur. This will sometimes cause stains on the bathroom floor, or the tiles may begin to lift. However, gravity tends to draw the leaking water downward, so you should keep a watchful eye for stains on the ceiling of the room below your bathroom.
Unexplained Stale or Musty Odor
Stagnant water is likely to create a noticeable odor in any environment. If there is an unexplained stale or musty smell in one of the rooms of your home, a hidden leak is likely. Plumbing leaks can create an even more serious problem by emitting a lingering sewage odor.
Mold on Walls or Ceilings
Mold flourishes in environments that are dark and damp, so leaks behind the walls of your home can create the ideal conditions for mold growth. Because drywall is porous, mold will eventually grow through it and begin to show on the outside of the walls as well. Although mold is common where leaks occur, mold can grow in some places without necessarily indicating a leak.
Common examples of places in your home where moisture can build up are the areas below air conditioners, the space behind your fridge, the area around your shower or tub, and in damp spots in your basement. Mold in these areas should not be immediate cause for alarm about a leak. Hidden leaks will typically cause mold to grow on walls, floors, and ceilings that don't normally come in contact with water.
Increasing Water Bill
If your water bill has significantly increased but you haven’t had any significant change in water usage, a leak is likely to blame. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, an average household can lose almost 10,000 gallons of water a year to leaks, and 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 or more gallons of water per day! Needless to say, wasting this much water can cause a significant increase in your bill if the problem is not addressed in a timely manner.
If your water bill has sharply increased over a short amount of time, you should suspect a high-flow leak. These types of leaks should be fixed as soon as possible to minimize the risk of water damage to your home. A gradual increase in your bill may be caused by a smaller leak, but you should still have your plumbing inspected promptly before the leak begins to worsen over time.
Locating a hidden water leak is less difficult if you know the most common symptoms. Keep an eye out for these signs of water leaks, and contact us at SERVPRO of Western Lancaster for repairs if a leak has led to water damage in your home.
When Storms or Floods hit Lancaster County, SERVPRO is ready!
SERVPRO of Western Lancaster specializes in storm and flood damage restoration. Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.
Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.
Resources to Handle Floods and Storms
When storms hit Lancaster County, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 717-665-1270
24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service
SERVPRO of Western Lancaster is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help Call Today - 717-665-1270
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Western Lancaster has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- The street address of the water-damaged home or business
- When did the flooding or water damage occur?
- What caused the water damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity available (on-site)?
About SERVPRO of Western Lancaster
SERVPRO of Western Lancaster specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Emergency Ready Profile valuable to this local nursing home!
SERVPRO knows where to park.
Approximately, 2 years ago SERVPRO prepared a local nursing home with an Emergency Ready Profile, ERP. The ERP is great for the administrators of a facility to keep track of regular maintenance vendors, utility vendors, police departments, etc. It also has an android or iPhone app for easy usage. This program also tells SERVPRO where emergency vehicles are required to park when needed.
This year, we were called to a water emergency at the homes. Nursing home administrator alerted us and we followed their ERP parking protocol. Everyone was safe and secured during the entire process.
This is a great example of an ERP in use and why your company should have one as well! Call SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County for a free ERP!
Cold Temps=Cold Pipes
Give your pipes a helping hand this winter season.
If your pipes run through a cabinet or vanity open the doors to give your pipes some warmth from the warm temperature of the room. If there is no doors to open, just leave the water trickle from the faucet. The cost of the water running is a LOT lower then the cost of a frozen pipe being repaired.
If you would forget to leave the water trickle or a door open, here is what you can do to thaw the pipe.
Turn off the main shut-off valve. Use warm air from a hair dryer or space heater to melt the water frozen inside the pipe. NEVER leave the space heater unattended. After the pipe is thawed slowly turn the main shut-off back on. When the water is running throw the pipe check for any cracks or leaks which could of been caused by the freezing.
If you have a burst pipe, shut off your water and give us a call! We are here to help!
Mold Remediation in Mount Gretna/Lebanon Home
Mold Remediation in Mount Gretna/Lebanon Home
We remediated a home located in the Mount Gretna/Lebanon area. Mold growth started in the basement and the spores spread throughout the home. Quality air tests, dry ice blasting and cleaning put this home back into a safe environment.
Mold can spread through a home in as little as 48 hours!
Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it 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. 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.
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 SERVPRO of Western Lancaster Today – 717-665-1270
Six Signs Water Damage Is Ruining Your Foundation
Water Damage in Lancaster County Can Be Restored by SERVPRO
Water damage may be fairly simple to spot, especially if you are a hands-on homeowner who fixes and repairs things as they crop up. The problem is that water damage to foundations is not an easy water damaging problem to identify.
Nevertheless, the key to minimizing the extent of the damage is always to spot it quickly and address it as soon as possible. How are you supposed to achieve this if you don’t know that there is water damage in the first place? This guide, provided by SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County, to some of the most common symptoms of water damage within foundations will help you spot any problem areas.
Symptom One: Water Below Ground
If you are routinely dealing with standing water in the basement, you are probably getting a little stressed out. As a consolation, however, it does mean that you can be reasonably sure of a foundation problem. Standing water only accumulates and sits in a basement if drainage systems are not functioning properly.
Symptom Two: Overly Damp Soil
If you speculate that there could be an issue with moisture, take a look at the soil around the foundations of the property. If it is unusually wet (even after days without rain), there is a good chance that groundwater is seeping into the foundation.
Symptom Three: Water in the Crawlspace
Standing water or condensation and moisture building up within a crawlspace is a pretty good sign that something is wrong with the foundation, circulation of air, lack of adequate insulation, or burst pipe. If it is too damp in this area, the quality of the air in your house can decline, and it may give off a musty odor.
Symptom Four: Sagging and Bowing Floors
A lot of homeowners walk up and down uneven floors for years before they spot a problem. You can test the level of your own with nothing more than a small rubber ball. Unless you know of a reason the foundation is or could be unlevel and not caused by water damage, imbalances should be checked out immediately. They can indicate soil erosion due to water.
Symptom Five: Slimy Patches Outside
When the water from rains and storms is draining away from the property in a secure and efficient manner, it never spends enough time close to the building to have a lasting impact. On the other hand, if groundwater is pooling, you may be able to spot slimy and moldy patches on the outer walls of your home.
Symptom Six: Mal-functioning Doorframes or windows
This might sound like a surprising sign, but if your doorframes used to open and close correctly, but have recently started to stick, the problem could be moisture related. It may be a sign that the doorframes have begun to warp, from excessive water absorption.
Call SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County for any unwanted water damaging situations that may occur on your property. We are experts in water removal, cleanup, and water damage restoration. We will recondition your home "Like it never even happened."
We’re Highly Trained Water Damage Specialists
As leaders in the water damage industry, SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County has advanced expertise and training, not to mention a tremendous amount of hands-on experience. Call us 24/7 for help at (717) 665-1270
SERVPRO of Western Lancaster Helps Clean Up After Fire in Manheim
This fire was caused by a grease fire.
Nobody ever plans for a fire, but when one does happen, SERVPRO of Western Lancaster is here to help!
This loss was caused by a grease fire in a kitchen. Now, our natural instinct would be to use water for any fire, but avoid this practice with grease fires! This will just make matters worse.
Grease fires are caused when the cooking oil gets to hot and catches on fire. If you should find yourself in this predicament, turn off the heat and do the following:
- Cover with a metal lid, this will deprive the fire of oxygen it needs to burn. Do not use glass, it will shatter.
- For small fires, use baking soda.
- If available, use a kitchen fire extinguisher.
- If it becomes too much or out of control, get out of the house and call 911 immediately!
Safety is of utmost important. For any help with clean-up after, be sure to call SERVPRO!
What Ice Damage Can DO
Why YES, it is that time of year again when we will see snow! Snow is very pretty when it is falling from the sky, not so pretty when it is causing trouble in your home. Keep your home protected from winter disasters by taking some extra time to clear the snow and ice off your roof. Not clearing the ice and snow could possible cause ice dams. Ice dams are formed when the higher end of the rooftop temperature is above 32 degrees and the edge of the roofline is below 32 degrees. Snow from the heated part of the roof melts and flows down till it reaches the part of the roof below 32 degrees causing the water to freeze and form an ice dam. The water held back from the dam will back up and stay liquid. The trapped liquid will go under shingles finding cracks and flow into the attic; from there it could possible seep through the ceiling and into the interior walls. Sometimes you may have water coming through the ceiling. Sometimes the stagnant water that collects in the attic causes mold growth.
The best way to prevent this: clean your gutters when you’re installing your outdoor Christmas lights so that winter’s rain and melting snow can drain. 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.
If you do find mold in your attic, DON’T use bleach! The first step is to call in the experts for an evaluation.
At SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County, we’re standing by to answer any questions you might have about attic mold growth or anywhere in your home.