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Is Mold Lingering In My Mercer County Home?

10/19/2020 (Permalink)

image of residential mold present in the corner of a room Once mold is inside the home, it can grow and attach itself on to pretty much any type of surface.

Did you know your home could have mold even if you have not experienced a water loss? We all know we need to look for mold after our home is exposed to some sort of flooding. However, it does not usually cross a normal homeowner’s mind if it is not so blatantly right in front of their eyes. But how would you even know if your home has it?

Just so you know---even the cleanest of homes have mold. It is impossible to eliminate it in its entirety. Mold can creep into a home just by going outside and walking back in with your shoes on. Once it is inside the home, it can grow and attach itself on to pretty much any type of surface. Especially the more common household items like carpets, walls and clothing.

The rooms in your home that are the most at risk to have mold damage are bathrooms, kitchens and basements since mold is so good at reproducing anywhere there is moisture. According to the Environmental Protection Agency “Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors.  If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem.  If you clean up the mold, but don't fix the water problem, most likely, the mold problem will come back.”

The most common indoor molds are CladosporiumPenicilliumAspergillus, and Alternaria, and Stachybotrys chartarum also known as Black mold. Rest assured--- the CDC says that Black Mold is no more harmful than the other types listed. That’s a relief!

Nevertheless, mold should always be removed from your home no matter what the type. All have a potential to be harmful. 

If you’re still not sure and you think you may need a mold test. There is no company better prepared to deal with mold than SERVPRO of Mercer County. We are trained mold damage specialists who get started quickly to get your home or business back to normal, with specific training and certifications to handle your restoration needs. As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Mercer County is close by and ready to help with your mold-damaged property. Call us today to help at 724.704.8939.

National Fire Safety Month: Smoke Alarm Testing

10/19/2020 (Permalink)

image of hand testing a smoke alarm but taking it off and back on You should be testing the alarm monthly to ensure the battery has not died and changing the batteries in the Spring and the Fall

October is here. Beautiful leaves are falling to the ground here in Western Pennsylvania. More importantly…October is Fire Prevention Month. Something many of us know, but we don’t do much to get ready around the home. SERVPRO of Mercer County is here to remind you of the most basic thing you can do to protect your home before the cold months come…test your smoke alarms.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month and batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a year.

There are two kinds of smoke detectors. Battery operated and AC-powered. Battery operated are the more common, more affordable option. They require bi-yearly inspection to make sure the battery is operating properly. AC-powered are installed by a certified electrician. They are pricier, yet more dependable over a long period of time. However, they should have an independent battery backup in the case a storm or electrical fire creates a power outage.

All smoke detectors have a test button to properly asses if they are working. They also have lights that blink to show they are using power. You should be testing the alarm monthly to ensure the battery has not died and changing the batteries in the Spring and the Fall.

This is also a great time to clear the unit of any dust or debris. Never use a solvent cleaner. Use a vacuum instead.  This could contaminate the sensor and break the detector.

The test button may check if the batteries are working okay. But it does not really prove if the detector is able to identify smoke. To check if the detector is working to its full potential---light two or three matches and blow them out underneath the detector to check the functionality.

The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) states that the best location for a smoke detector is on the ceiling near a doorway or stairway. As a fire burns, the smoke rises and seeks easiest route of escape. Kitchens, basements are a top priority to place a smoke detector.  

SERVPRO of Mercer County is an expert when it comes to fire damage. We have the specific damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment and can quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition.

Please refer to our Fire Damage Tips - Until Help Arrives Guide and follow these tips to protect yourself and your property.

Have Questions? Call Us Today – (724) 704-8939

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

10/9/2020 (Permalink)

Image of Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Program sticker on a glass door. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, our new defensive pathogen cleaning program, goes way beyond standard janitorial cleaning practices.

If you thought, you knew what it meant to be clean, COVID-19 has changed all that and more. At SERVPRO of Mercer County, we are dedicated to educating businesses and communities find their way to a new higher standard of clean. We are doing just that with Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, our new defensive pathogen cleaning program, goes way beyond standard janitorial cleaning practices. This is proactive viral pathogen cleaning. With over 50 years of experience in biochemical spill remediation and decontamination, you can trust SERVPRO of Southern Trumbull County professionals to bring a higher standard of clean to the places we gather.

So how does it work? It’s grounded in our unique 3 C’s:

  • Consult: Not all businesses are the same, so we will tailor a bespoke cleaning program based on the unique needs of each facility.
  • Clean: Based on the agreed plan, an expert deep clean is initiated using our proprietary EPA-Approved Hospital-Grade cleaning solutions and always adhering to the leading level of cleaning and decontamination standards set by the CDC.
  • Certify: You’ll know a business is Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned by the shield posted on their front window. Along with digital emblems and other collateral, this beacon represents their commitment to the comfort and security of their employees, customers and community.

So--- when you look on the window of your favorite establishment and see the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned shield---rest assured you can walk in just like you always did. Worry-free.

Are you interested in our Commercial Services, or are you a consumer who wants to learn more? Please call us today at (330)393-9999.

What’s Really Important When the Power Goes Out?

10/5/2020 (Permalink)

Candles lit during a power outage. There is a digital timer in the background. The room is dark. Rest assured power outages are usually very temporary and are a nice way to detune from our technology-filled lives.

You are watching television with your family during a thunderstorm. When BOOM! The lights go out.

We have all been in this situation before. But what truly is the best thing to do when the lights go out?

SERVPRO of Mercer County has detailed the important steps you should take before you light those candles and bust out the board games.

If the power is out due to an issue in your home, don't wait. Call an electrician as soon as you can to get your power up and running.

  1. Check the Circuit Breakers

Always check the circuit breakers first. All breakers should be on the “on” side, but if a breaker tripped, it would have moved to the “off” side. Make sure all breakers are in the same position. If all the breakers are in the “on” position, turn off the main breaker and then switch it back “on”.

      2. Call your local Power Company

Chances are they will be on top of it…but if you do not see a down line and your power is still out, call your local power company and inform them. 

      3. Preserve Food

You might be hanging around for a while. Try not to open the refrigerator or freezer to preserve the cold air. Order a pizza instead of allowing the cold air to escape the freezer or fridge.

     4. Unplug Major Appliances

Do not unplug the fridge. But other appliances can get damaged when the power comes back on due to a surge.

     5.Don't Try To DIY

Electrical work should always be done by a skilled professional or tradesman. This could save your life and prevent further damage to your home.

Rest assured power outages are usually very temporary and are a nice way to detune from our technology-filled lives. Make sure to take essential steps, and you can detune calmly knowing that you and your family will be safe until the power comes back.

Should you need help before, during, or after a storm, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Mercer County. We are at your service and ready to help 24/7.

Call us today! 724) 704-8939

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Termites Love Water Damaged Wood

10/1/2020 (Permalink)

a swarm of termites infesting wood Termites are the silent destroyers and one of homeowners’ biggest enemies.

Most people dream about the day they finally get the keys to their own home. They finally can remodel, knock down the wall to make a bigger kitchen, buy new carpet, and update the bathroom.

Although all the remodeling and adding finishing touches can be fun and exciting, the best thing you can do for your home is preserve the value and structure of your home. The biggest threat to the structure and value of your house is moisture. Moisture can cause a host of problems such as mold, mildew, rotting and decaying wood and damage to painted surfaces. Moisture can pose health risks, structural damage, and even scarier – termites.

Termites love moisture! They need to be constantly surrounded by it. They live several feet under the ground in the damp, cool dirt. They build tunnels and make their way into your home to have a feast of water-damaged wood.

Termites are the silent destroyers and one of homeowners’ biggest enemies. Even if your home has been newly purchased and declared termite free by the home inspector, you are still at-risk. Termites often go undetected because they do their damage from the inside out and are usually not found until there is extensive damage.

To help protect yourself against moisture problems and termites, it is important to periodically check the caulking around your shower or tub, and around your toilet where it connects to the floor. It does not always require a major flood to create moisture, it can be as simple as a slow leak over time under your toilet.

Keep your home dry and free of excess moisture, decaying wood, and termites! If you do find water in your home, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Mercer County! We are water restoration experts and can have your home looking “Like it never even happened.”

Call us today for more information! (724) 704 8939

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Thunderstorms Versus Plugged-In Electronics

10/1/2020 (Permalink)

power lines and electrical tower When lightning creates a power surge---the voltage coming through the power lines can be in the millions!

Who Will Prevail?

Our homes are filled with many treasurers. But I am not talking about the kids or the dog. When a thunderstorm begins---we all get a little worried about our other special, expensive items. You know the things you cannot live without? Phones. TV’s. iPads. Computers. Do we really ‘have’ to unplug electronics during a lightning storm? Or is this just a myth?

Well, for starters, the Department of Homeland Security says you should unplug all of your appliances. This is primarily because lightning striking near a local electric pole can cause a surge of electricity to burst through the power lines. 

A normal object plugged into an electrical outlet is designed to use about 120 volts of electricity and can withstand up to 169 volts. But when lightning creates a power surge---the voltage coming through the power lines can be in the millions!

Think your technology and appliances can withstand that? I guess mom was right (again.) So, it probably would be wise to unplug the high-ticket items like computers, TV’s and the X-Box.

However, I know what you are thinking, I have a surge protector! That will save my awesome, expensive, “I can’t live without stuff.” Wrong again! Surge protectors are intended to save your ‘cool’ stuff from small surges within the electrical grid.

If you really want to spend some cash on saving your stuff… invest in a whole-house surge protector. Although it won’t protect your whole home---they are installed on your home’s main electrical panel and are much more reliable in taking on those bigger surges.

Should you need help before, during, or after a storm, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Mercer County. We are at your service and ready to help 24/7.

Call us today! (724) 704-8939

National Preparedness Month: Thunderstorm Safety

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

image of severe rains during thunderstorm When a large storm hits, you need food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours.

September is National Preparedness Month! SERVPRO of Mercer County is here to help you be prepared and stay safe during a thunderstorm.

A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding, and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles.

When a large storm hits, you need food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. Depending on the nature of the disaster, road conditions may prevent help from arriving in a timely manner and you may be without electricity and the capability to travel.

Your basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days or even weeks. Making sure you prepare a supply kit that contains items that will keep you afloat is crucial.

Everyone in your household should be aware of your supply/emergency kit, where it is located, and what is inside. Here are some items that are suggested to keep on hand:

  • Necessary Medications
  • Flashlights for each family member
  • Battery-operated radio and clock
  • Extra batteries
  • Bottled water
  • Canned, freeze-dried, or dehydrated food, powdered milk, baby supplies for infants, pet food
  • Non-electric can opener
  • List of important phone numbers
  • First-aid kit

If you need help during or after a severe thunderstorm, SERVPRO of Mercer County is ready 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! We are fire and water restoration experts with over 50 years of experience. Take these important storm preparedness steps so you can stay safe any time the weather decides to take a turn for the worst!

Call us if you need our help! (724) 704 8939

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Best Smart Home Devices

9/15/2020 (Permalink)

image of several different smart home devices that can aid in the daily life of homeowners Smart home devices tackle more serious tasks like home security. Before purchasing a device, you should look at the reviews and capabilities.

In 2020, the smart home systems are more impressive and expansive than ever. Alexa can add items to your shopping list, you can turn off the lights in your kitchen while you are in the living room, and have a robot vacuum your floors while you are at work.

Although many of those tasks are very convenient, smart home devices can tackle more serious tasks such as home security. Before purchasing a smart home device, you should research the reviews and integrations. Integrations will tell you how many products you can connect your device to and use in conjunction.

For example, Amazon Alexa will connect to smart thermostats like Nest of Ecobee4 and then you will be able to control the thermostat from any room in the house by speaking to Alexa. Alexa can also close your garage door and lock your doors for you when you leave the house. This eliminates the guessing game of “did I close the garage door?”

Phillips Hue lightbulbs allow you to control both the intensity and color of the light. You can create specific color coordinated moods and color coordinated alarms to ensure you can wake up a bright pink bedroom every morning if that is your wish.

As mentioned before, Ecobee4 is a smart thermostat that enables you to control air temperature with voice commands and has its own Amazon speaker. You can control the room you are in, not just the room it is installed in.

Lastly, Netgear Arlo Q is a useful tool for home security. It records high quality video when you are not home and can even produce clear images of people in pitch black darkness. You can set it to record at specific times and offers seven days of video and audio backup for free.

SERVPRO of Mercer County always wants you to stay safe and prepared. We are happy to help and support our local communities. If your home or business incurs water or fire damage, or mold – call our highly trained professionals at SERVPRO of Mercer County.

Call us today! (724) 704 8939

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10 Tips to Prepare for the Fall Season

9/15/2020 (Permalink)

image of home during a visible fall season with the leaves on the trees orange and brown To help keep small issues from turning into bigger disasters, inspect your roof using binoculars, to check for damaged or missing shingles.

Coolers days, crisp air, and changing colors make fall a fan favorite when it comes to the changing seasons in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. While you are out leaf peeping, enjoying apple cider and donuts, and picking pumpkins, your home will also need some attention to ensure it's ready for the cold weather on the horizon. The weather can change quickly, and a bit of preparation now could save you from aggregation and costly repairs later.

Below are 10 tips for you to consider when preparing your home for fall.

  1. Reprogram the thermostat

Keep the house warm when people are active, but do not be afraid to lower the temperature when the family is sleeping or at work/school for the day.

  1. Remove air conditioner(s)

If you do not have the luxury of central air conditioning, be sure to remove any window units you placed in the windows over the hot summer. This will eliminate the cooler air from entering your home, causing your heating source to work harder.

  1. Close the pool

If you have a pool and close it when the temperature drops, schedule a service or if you are handy, buy the supplies and do it yourself.

  1. Clean your furnace and replace the filters

Check your furnace for soot, and pilot light health. This is also a great time to switch out your filters; clean air is important when the house is closed for winter.

  1. Inspect your fireplace and have it cleaned

If you have a fireplace and plan on using it as the weather turns colder, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.

  1. Insulate your pipes for the winter

As temperatures drop below freezing, standing water in your pipes can start to freeze. By adding foam covers you can help insulate and protect your pipes.

  1. Clean and prepare your outdoor furniture

Clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture in a safe place. Cover with a tarp to protect it from snow, ice, and cold. If you have removable cushions, consider storing them indoors to help them last longer.

  1. Check your water heater

Your water heater has a lot of work to do in fall and winter. If you have not inspected your water heater lately, it may be time to clean it out or have it serviced. Overtime, it can get loaded with sediment, or other problems may arise that reduce its efficiency.

  1. Inspect your rook for leaks

There is nothing worse for a homeowner than a leaking roof. To help keep small issues from turning into bigger disasters, inspect your roof using binoculars, to check for damaged or missing shingles. Also make sure your gutters are flowing freely of sticks and leaves.

  1. Turn off outdoor faucets and store hoses

Disconnect and drain any outside hoses you have used over the spring/summer to water gardens and lawns. Shut off exterior faucets to help prevent frozen pipes if a deep freeze were to occur in your area.

If you need help preparing your home for fall, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Mercer County! We specialize in repairing and restoring fire and water damage. But we also can clean air ducts, repair roofs, and offer quality construction services.

Call us today if you need our help! (724) 704 8939

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Who’s Responsible for Water Damage? Tenants or Landlords?

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

image of landlord handing over keys to a home to tenants In general, a landlord is responsible for maintaining the property, so it is habitable and functioning up to code.

Unfortunately, water damage is a common problem for homeowners and renters alike. When water damage occurs, it is important to know who is responsible for the damage cost. The tenant or the landlord?

Water damage can be very unpredictable. In general, a landlord is responsible for maintaining the property, so it is habitable and functioning up to code. In some cases, the landlord may refuse to address issues in a timely manner or at all. This can lead to bigger problems such as mold.

Review Your Lease

It is important to know the details of your lease especially regarding property damage. For example, if the water damage is severe and the home or apartment is inhabitable, is the tenant still expected to pay rent?

Landlord Responsibilities

Basic plumbing and upkeep such as sinks, toilets, and tubs is usually the responsibility of the landlord. If the landlord, refuses to repair these functions, they may be liable for negligence.

Water damage to the building itself such as the floors, walls, or utilities should be covered under the landlord’s insurance.

Tenant Responsibilities

Personal property damage may fall under the responsibility of the tenant. For example, if the tenant leaves a faucet on and falls asleep, they will probably be responsible for the damage.

Water damage requires a fast response to minimize damage. SERVPRO of Mercer County is ready to help. We are water restoration experts and will have your home looking “Like it never even happened.”

Give us a call if you need help! (724) 704 8939

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