Recent Posts

Navigating Out Of Rain Damage

2/5/2019 (Permalink)

A flooded home is a devastating event for any homeowner. It has the ability to ruin many of your possessions in addition to your property itself. If you suffer flood damage to your home, it is important that you call the professionals at SERVPRO of South Hills to help restore your home or business. There are some things that you can do before we arrive. Here are some things you can do immediately after a flood to start the restoration process.  

Call Your Insurance Agent


Regardless of how bad a flood has hit your home, it is likely caused some significant damage to some of your possessions and to the structure of your home. Soon after you recognize the damage, you should call your insurance agent. Most water damage in the home is covered by homeowner’s insurance policies but you will want to contact them to make sure about exclusions.


Check Before Entering Home


Before you re-enter your home 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 your 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 your home, document the evidence of that 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 South Hills crew arrives to restore your home, 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, 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. Store that list with any inventory of your possessions that you may have taken before the flood. 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 visit 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.  


Proper Protection


Regardless of how well you think you can clean up after a flood, you should call the professionals at SERVPRO of South Hills to ensure that as much of your property is salvaged as possible. But if you do 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.

If you suffer flood damage in your home, you should contact the professionals at SERVPRO of South Hills to clean up. But if you want to get the process started prior to their arrival, these tips will help you remain safe. Best wishes!

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.

Minimize Flood Damage By Preparing Your Local Building

1/15/2019 (Permalink)

Weather in South Hills, Pennsylvania can change in an instant, and it only takes a small shift in a storm’s track to bring torrential downpours that could lead to devastating flooding. If you are a business owner, a flood can represent a serious threat to your company’s operations. While there is not a lot you can do to stop major floods from hurricanes and other natural disasters, here are some steps you can take to lessen the impact of storm and flood damage. 

Build Barriers to Slow Water Incursion

Water is a powerful force, and it is virtually impossible to keep it at bay, but you can align barriers in the path to slow it down. You can start this process long before the onset of flooding by building a levee, berm or flood control wall if local building codes permit. Have a professional assess your lower floors to see if you should apply sealants to walls or relocate utility boxes. When the rain starts falling, you could enlist help to place sandbags in strategic areas around the structure:

  • Across doorways, right up against the door.
  • In front of garage doors.
  • Around showers and floor drains to prevent incursion of water.

When building sandbag walls, make certain you do not completely surround your building, and use a plastic tarp as a base for extra waterproofing.

Clean Storm Drains and Gutters

In many cases, flood damage happens during normal storms because the building owner did not keep up on maintenance. Gutters, storm drains and other devices are designed to channel water away from the building, which is why it is important to clean them regularly to ensure they are free of debris that could cause a backup.

Minimize Losses, Being Prepared

Why risk significant disruptions to your operations in Pennsylvania when you could cut down on storm damage by taking some preparatory steps? Should you experience flooding despite your efforts, be sure to contact an experienced remediation company to get you back up and running as soon as possible.

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. 

    • 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 South Hills Property?

12/26/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO How Our Professional Services Can Restore Your Fire Damaged South Hills Property? 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 of South Hills 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 South Hills 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 South Hills can provide you an example emergency preparedness plan to help minimize interruption, overall costs and tenant inconvenience.

Air Duct Cleaning

12/21/2018 (Permalink)

There are many reasons why your home could use air duct cleaning.

Dust levels in homes increase due to dirty air ducts, this is one of the many ways that particulates can enter your home. Other ways are through cooking, cleaning, smoking or just moving around. There has not been concrete evidence that household dust can pose different health risks but there are other things to be on the look out for that can be potentially dangerous.

How to tell if you need to have your air ducts cleaned out:

  • There is substantial visible mold growth on ducts.

  • Ducts are infected with vermin (rodents or insects).

  • Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust/debris.

You may just want to consider air duct cleaning simply because it is logical that the air ducts will get dirty over time and occasionally need to be cleaned.

Whether or not you decide to have your ducts cleaned, preventing dirt from entering the system is the most effective way to prevent any contamination from entering your home or business. 

Understanding Industry Terms

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of South Hills is always "Here to Help". We know that jargon can be confusing so we usually try to break it down as easy as we can out in the field, but we know that our customers like to stay informed. Here are some common terms used in the field with their definition so you can understand better what is happening in your home or business.

Anti-Microbials: A substance, mechanism, or condition that inhibits the growth or existence of an organism.

Fire Damage Recovery: The process of restoring and recovering property and belongings after a fire. The objectives include minimizing existing damage, damage mitigation, structure stabilization, soot & odor removal and reconstruction.

Fungi: The unicellular or multicellular eukaryotic/ DNA organisms embracing a large group of microflora including: molds, mildews, yeasts, mushrooms, rusts and smuts.

HVAC: Heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

HEPA Filter: High efficiency particulate air filter, a specialized filter capable of removing 99.7% of particles.

Masking Agents: Designed to prevent or remove heightened awareness to odors by providing a fragrance, which is stronger and more pleasant to smell while the source of the odor is being eliminated.

Smoke Damage Removal: Neutralizing or removing smoke odors that linger after fires.

Smoke Particles: Smoke is composed of gases / sometimes aerosols, and airborne solids. Dry wood, natural fibers and paper all produce small non-smearing material. Plastic, foam, and rubber (polymers) produce large easily smeared residues.

Importance of Mold Testing

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

When a home suffers a water damage event, a mold infestation can quickly arise and spread throughout a home. Because mold can produce allergens and irritants, you will want a professional that has training and experience to properly resolve the mold infestation.

In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling may be unnecessary. However at SERVPRO of South Hills we find it important to do the mold testing before and after the remediation process.

We do surface sampling to make sure the affected area has been cleaned and remediated properly. We also have the mold tested to see what kind of mold was growing. We do this because there are more dangerous strains of mold than others.

If you’ve already seen outbreaks of mold, you may need to retain the services of a mold remediation specialist. These technicians can help you identify sources of mold that aren’t readily apparent on initial inspection and recommend appropriate cleanup and prevention actions.