Recent Posts

Tips for Making a Fire Claim

7/17/2018 (Permalink)

In the unfortunate event of a house fire in Pottsville, PA, feelings of not knowing where to begin the fire restoration process would be natural. Once you are certain that everyone is safe, there are steps to take to organize your response. After the fire trucks leave, it is important to seek professional help to assess the damage and secure the structure instead of trying to do this on your own.


Simplifying the Insurance Process.


Home fire expenses can mount up quickly, and that is where your insurer steps in. To achieve the maximum benefit of your fire insurance policy, there are a few important tips to keep in mind.

• Call your insurance company to ask for an advance against your claim if you find that you have immediate expenses to cover out of pocket. This will be deducted from your overall claim once it is settled.
• Obtain a copy of the police report.
• Make a detailed list of losses, and don’t discard anything until after the adjuster’s visit. Documenting damage and losses is essential to a fair settlement.
• File your insurance claim without delay.
• Track all expenses related to fire restoration, and keep all receipts.
• Collect accurate and appropriate repair estimates in writing.
• Do not feel compelled to settle unless you are satisfied with the insurance company’s response. It is likely to be a negotiation.


Recovering From a Fire.


Replacement, repair and restoration are all part of the process of rebounding from a house fire. However, feeling overwhelmed by all that needs to be done does not have to be inevitable. A methodical approach will go a long way in making the process run smoothly. Documenting all expenses and keeping the lines of communication open with your insurer will help keep things moving in the right direction. Fire restoration is not complete until you are resettled in your home with all remediation, including smoke cleaning, finished to your satisfaction.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROpottsville.com.

Let Infrared Thermography Uncover the Mold Hiding in Your Building

7/12/2018 (Permalink)

Perhaps there is no visible mold on the walls or carpet, so you believe that your building must be free and clear of mold growth. Not so fast! You know that musty, dank smell that hits you square in the nose when you head down to the basement of your building in Pottsville, PA? That odor is typically a dead giveaway that mold is lurking somewhere out of sight. But what is responsible for that mold smell? Microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC) are gases produced by mold. While some gases may be odorless, others carry that unmistakable scent that tells you that mold is hiding somewhere inside your building.


When Should You Use Infrared Thermography for Moisture Detection?


That telltale fungus smell may tip you off to the presence of mold, so you may want to consider using an infrared thermography camera to look for water leaks and potential mold conditions. This can be a valuable tool in a number of circumstances:

• You believe doors or windows may be leaking.
• Your building suffered an event that caused substantial water damage.
• You suspect a plumbing leak.
• You want to check for wet insulation.
• Your new construction warranty is about to expire.
• You’re interested in buying a property with suspected moisture damage.


Technology Goes Beyond the Mold Smell To Reveal the Moisture. 


Infrared imaging may help locate your unwelcome tenant – don’t rely on that mildew smell alone. Employing an infrared camera is an efficient way to help detect moisture lurking behind walls, under floors, and even inside ceilings. Images of heat radiation that are invisible to the human eye help a trained technician identify moisture inside of walls and other hidden areas. When this information is used in conjunction with temperature measurements taken by the camera, a technician can determine whether the proper conditions to produce mold exist and take appropriate action.


Bring in the Professionals.


If a mold smell causes you to suspect water damage in your building even if you can’t see it, call on a qualified technician in Pottsville, PA, to utilize infrared thermography. Don’t take chances when it comes to mold growing out of sight.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROpottsville.com.

3 Steps To Minimize Damage From a Leaky Kitchen Sink

6/28/2018 (Permalink)

Leaks under the kitchen sink aren’t always immediately noticeable. If the area is crowded with cleaning supplies and tools, water or flooding under the sink might be hidden by those items. A slow leak can cause damage to cabinets and flooring for a long time without being noticed. Here’s what to do to prevent any more damage once you find water under your sink.


1. Shut Off the Water.


Dripping from faucet use adds up quickly and can cause damage or flooding in a cabinet area. You can prevent further damage by turning off the water immediately.
Depending on the source of the leak, water can drip even when the faucet is not in use. Remove everything under the sink, and look for a knob on both the hot and cold lines of the piping. A counterclockwise turn of each knob should shut off the water delivery. This step will stop water in your home from continuing to leak under the sink.


2. Call Your Insurance Company.


Your insurance company can tell you what kind of kitchen repair is covered by your policy, depending on the source of the water and the kind of policy you have. An insurance adjuster may assess the leak and the damage and figure out how your policy applies to any repairs. Be aware that flooding will often be covered by a separate policy from the typical home insurance package.


3. Call a Restoration Company.


Restoration companies in Pottsville, PA, can inform you of the best solution to the leak and whatever damage may have occurred. Flooring repair or cabinet repair might be necessary. Other likely steps are dehumidifying and drying services. Kitchen repair might also include dealing with mold or rot caused by damp conditions.

Following these steps can help take some of the stress out of dealing with leaking water in your home. Confronting the problem head-on will make the process much faster and reduce the likelihood of extensive damage to your kitchen.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROpottsville.com.

Drying Specialists: What Certification Means and Why It Is Important

6/21/2018 (Permalink)

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification sets the industry standards in restoration services. When you hire a drying specialist to conduct water cleanup for your business in Pottsville, PA, it is worth the effort to verify that the specialist is certified by the IICRC. Certification tells you that the professional is trustworthy, well-trained and insured.


Trust.


In the ideal world, no one who is not trustworthy would be in the restoration business. They assist people at some of the worst times in their business history. Certification requires that service providers prove their trustworthiness. At the very least, this means adherence to certain requirements:

• Documented proof of necessary training
• Proof of insurance
• Clear policies and procedures
• Proper customer complaint system with procedures for follow-up

When you need water cleanup from a broken pipe, you want someone reliable whom you can trust to do the job quickly and correctly. Seeing that the technician is certified can ease your mind.


Expertise.


The IICRC requires a certain number of hours of training to qualify for certifications. For example, an applied structural drying technician must complete a three-day course on drying procedures alone to become certified. When you hire certified drying experts, you know they have had at least 21 hours of training. Ongoing training is available as well so that specialists can learn new technologies and fine-tune their knowledge.


Insurance.


Finally, certification requires proof of a solid insurance policy. This is not just a one-time requirement. In order to remain certified, business owners must maintain their policy and keep it in good standing. They cannot let coverage lapse, which not only protects their business but also offers assurance to yours as well.

When you need water cleanup, don’t settle for just any technicians who call themselves experts. Find an IICRC-certified technician who specializes in flood restoration techniques. Certification can make a world of difference.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROpottsville.com.

The Ins and Outs of Storm Safety for Your Business

6/16/2018 (Permalink)

It’s thunderstorm season in Pottsville, PA, and you are prepared at home with a good plan and a well-stocked emergency kit. What about your business? Sure, you have already designated someone at the office as the unofficial meteorologist to provide regular storm updates to your team, but does your plan include more than just communicating when you are in a storm watch or a warning? Put on your inspector hat for three areas where you can keep your business safe in a rain storm.

1. Check for safety risks inside. With lightning and high winds, the most dangerous indoor areas include those near windows, skylights, external doors, and reinforced concrete (remember, concrete has metal bars running within). Remind your employees to stay clear of these areas as well as to avoid phones, computer equipment, and plumbing during a thunderstorm.

2. Get outside. Be sure your building has a lightning protection system. These may not seem as obvious as the old-school lightning rods from the early years, but these systems help provide a path of least resistance when there is lightning in the area. In addition to lightning, a rain storm can also bring high winds. Walk your property, inspecting shrubs and trees, and have dead limbs trimmed to help reduce damage from debris. Make a note of items that need to be secured or brought indoors before a storm begins.

3. Don’t forget electronics. Your printers, copiers, and computers can add up to a significant amount of money. In addition to the small surge suppressors you already use indoors, you can use an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to protect your server or any other irreplaceable machines. You may also add a voltage arrester to the lines coming into your building to help minimize damage from voltage surges due to local lightning strikes.

A rain storm can bring on a multitude of hazards, but knowing your risks and having a plan for recovery can help protect your business and the people who work for you. A little physical preparation now can help you get back to work more quickly.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROpottsville.com.

Who Covers What Costs in an Apartment Fire

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

If the tenant or one of their guests caused the apartment fire, the cost of repairing structure damage becomes the tenant’s responsibility. However, even in this scenario, the landlord’s homeowner policy is vitally important. Through that policy, the landlord will need to coordinate the necessary property restoration and repairs. If the policy contains a liability portion, the landlord’s insurance company usually contacts the tenant’s insurance company for compensation up to the liability limit for the fire damage. 

In other cases, a fire might be the result of landlord negligence or factors beyond the control of the landlord and tenant. It will usually be the landlord’s responsibility to cover expenses related to repairing structure damage. While homeowner insurance may pay for structure repairs under a number of circumstances, it will not cover the following: 

• A tenant’s damaged or lost belongings (content damage) 
• Tenant relocation 
• Temporary housing for the tenant 

In the case of a fire resulting from something the landlord did or failed to do, the landlord may be obligated to pay a tenant’s hotel bills.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROpottsville.com.

Different Types of Smoke In a Fire

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Pottsville will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROpottsville.com. We are a certified fire restoration company.

Securing A Home After Fire

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

How do I keep my home from being looted after a fire?

When a home is devastated by a fire there are many gapping holes. Fire fighters may have broken windows or broken doors. These openings to your home are easily taken advantage of by looters.

SERVPRO of Pottsville will work with your insurance to secure your home by adding boards to the openings. Securing your home will help keep costs down for the insurance company. The adjuster will not want to have to make a separate claim for theft or vandalism.

Part of the Emergency Services for a home that suffers from a fire is to keep it secure. Along with securing the home we can also put up tarps and boards on the roof to keep the elements out of the damaged home.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROpottsville.com.

Landlord and Tenant: Who Pays for What in an Apartment Fire?

5/20/2018 (Permalink)

Being a landlord in Pottsville, PA, requires that you know more than just general information about your responsibilities, especially in the event of an unforeseen disaster. When it comes to an apartment fire, it’s important to be knowledgeable in order to understand your potential obligations.

Structure Damage vs. Content Damage

To better comprehend your financial responsibilities in the aftermath of a fire, it’s necessary to distinguish the difference between structure damage and content damage:

• Any fire damage that impairs the building’s structural integrity can be considered structure damage. Examples include the building’s interior walls, frame, windows, heating system and plumbing system.
• Content damage refers to the tenant’s personal property within the unit that experienced the fire. Personal property might be items such as furniture, clothing and electronic devices.

Be Prepared

Even if an apartment fire is a headache to contemplate, knowing ahead of time what kinds of costs you might need to cover is essential to being prepared and equipping yourself to protect your investment.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROpottsville.com.

Stopping Bathroom Mold Before It Starts

5/13/2018 (Permalink)

Unless you live in a highly humid environment, you’re likely to find mold in your bathroom before anywhere else. Even if you don’t have any leaks or flooding leading to water damage, you’re still dealing with splashing water, standing water, and humidity – all of which encourage mold to grow. So how can you prevent mold from springing up in your Pottsville, PA, home?


Steps to Prevent Bathroom Mold Growth


To keep your bathroom mold-free, just follow these simple steps for mold prevention:

1. Use your fan. The humidity after you bathe or shower can activate mold spores in the air and turn them into an active infestation. Run your fan during and after your bath or shower to remove humidity from the air.
2. Wipe down sinks, toilets, and shower walls. Condensation and splashes can accumulate on all these surfaces, and invite mold to breed.
3. Wipe down the bathroom walls and floors. These surfaces, too, are likely to sprout mold if water is left condensed or puddled too long on their surfaces, not to mention water damage weakening the drywall and tile to make it easier for mold to take root.
4. Frequently check your pipes and the seal around your toilet. Leaks also lead to water damage, and the more water damage you suffer, the more mold you’ll find.
5. Check and seal your grout. Grout is meant to act as a seal to prevent water from leaking past tile and into close, dark spaces full of things mold loves to feed on. Grout can age, though, and can crack. You should periodically check your grout and re-seal it as needed to ensure it’s watertight.

You can also speak to a mold remediation specialist. Even if you don’t actively have mold, a specialist can assess your bathroom and determine what areas could be problem areas – and provide invaluable pointers on managing them.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROpottsville.com.