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What if I Don't Have Flood Insurance When a Hurricane Hits?

12/5/2022 (Permalink)

House destroyed by hurricane Hurricane damage in Ebensburg, PA.

Hurricanes and No Flood Insurance

Hurricanes are the most destructive natural disaster in the United States, and they can cause a lot of damage. Flooding is one of the most common hazards associated with hurricanes. Floods can occur when water from heavy rains builds up in low-lying areas or when rivers overflow their banks due to intense rainfall. Frequently, separate flood insurance is required for your home or business — standard home insurance will not cover the losses due to flood. What happens if you don’t have flood insurance and you are hit by a flood?

First Steps When You Don’t Have Flood Insurance

If you’re uninsured and have flood damage, here are some steps to take:

  • Contact your insurance agent. If he or she can’t help you with the claim, they will be able to point you in the right direction.
  • Contact FEMA. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an independent agency that is also authorized by Congress to provide disaster assistance to individuals and communities affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes.
  • Contact the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NFIP manages a program offering flood insurance coverage for homeowners through private insurance companies licensed by FEMA who write policies underwritten by the federal government; these policies are called “Federal Flood Insurance Policies." The NFIP helps protect communities from flood losses through a combination of private and public funds dedicated to mitigation and land use management practices that reduce future flood risk in participating communities' designated Special Flood Hazard Areas

If you have no flood insurance when a hurricane hits, you’ll likely need to rely on government agencies and nonprofit groups if your home is damaged by a hurricane. These organizations may offer assistance with temporary housing, moving expenses and other costs associated with the disaster.

You should also take photos or videos of damage to prove what happened in the case that your insurance claim is denied due to fraud or material misrepresentation. If this happens, file an appeal as soon as possible so that you don't lose out on any potential financial payouts from the company's claims administrator.

Recovering with Federal Help

The FEMA Individual Assistance Program provides financial assistance to eligible homeowners, renters, and business owners in declared disaster areas. This includes up to $33,000 in grant money for repairs and replacement of essential household items.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a program to help businesses replace the money they lost due to a disaster. It allows businesses to borrow funds at low-interest rates, pay back the loan over time and use the funds for operating costs like insurance or payroll costs during recovery efforts. The SBA also offers grants for small businesses looking for loans of up to $200,000 that can be used as working capital after a disaster strikes.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a federal program that helps individuals who live in flood zones get affordable coverage from private insurers. If you want more information about this type of coverage, visit FloodSmart.gov or call 1-800-621-3362 from 7 am until 10 pm ET 7 days a week without interruptions except holidays.

Document Everything

If you don't have flood insurance when a hurricane hits, it's important to take photos or videos of the damage to prove what happened. This can help you get reimbursed by your homeowner’s insurance company if they decide that they can cover the damage.

You may also need to prove that you didn't cause the damage yourself. If you break something or make a mistake while cleaning up after a storm, insurers may consider this so-called “self-inflicted loss” and deny any claim for reimbursement.

If you're worried about not having flood insurance when a hurricane hits, it's important to know that there are other options available to you. You can check with your local government officials or disaster relief agencies (such as FEMA) to see if they offer assistance with recovery efforts after a natural disaster. You may also want to contact nonprofit groups like the Red Cross or Salvation Army because they may be able to help you out too.

If you experience damage due to flooding or other hurricane damage in your Ebensburg,PA home, give SERVPRO of Ebensburg a call today!

What is IICRC?

11/30/2022 (Permalink)

IICRC certification badge SERVPRO of Ebensburg is proud to be an IICRC Certified Firm!

Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification or IICRC is an organization dedicated to protecting the environment, homes and businesses through professional restoration services. The IICRC has certified individual technicians and firms who meet industry standards of knowledge and skill. Firms and technicians are required to maintain the IICRC's stringent qualifications to retain certification with ongoing education. These programs are designed to educate and improve the restoration industry every year. 

IICRC is a professional certification body.

The IICRC has been around for 50 years, and the organization's goals are to protect the public from injuries caused by water damage, mold remediation, and other building related issues. The IICRC provides training and education to its members. It also offers certification for members who successfully complete certain levels of training in their field as well as for those who have reached a certain level of experience in their field.

The Institute certifies individual technicians and firms that have met industry standards of knowledge and skill through continued education to keep their training up-to-date.

IICRC promotes education and improving techniques.

IICRC certification is the gold standard of commercial cleaning and restoration industry professionals. These programs are designed to educate technical professionals regarding new technologies and improve techniques regarding communication with customers, insurers, and other professionals. Having an IICRC certified firm also increases employee retention rates, deters litigation through education and promotes market credibility.

IICRC certification is a mark of quality that you can count on. If you’re looking for a safe and reliable company to handle your water damage restoration needs, look no further than SERVPRO of Ebensburg. Our team is proudly IICRC certified to ensure thorough and safe restoration services. We are here to safely support and restore our Ebensburg community.

What Are the Three Different Kinds of Contaminated Water?

11/8/2022 (Permalink)

Leaking dishwasher A spill from the dishwasher could be considered Category 2

What Are the Three Types of Contaminated Water?

An emergency water damage event can be devastating to the home or business and sometimes it’s not possible to avoid it. If you have a flood, it’s important to know who to call and when.

It’s important to know the difference between the three types of water contamination. If you don’t, you could end up with a bigger problem than you expected.

There are three types of water contamination: biological, chemical, and radioactive contamination.

Each type requires different steps for treatment and cleanup so it is important to know how to recognize each one if you find yourself working in an area where contaminated water may be present.

Biological Contamination is caused when there are living organisms in a body of water or liquid (like milk or juice). These can include bacteria, viruses, parasites like worms and amoebas which make people sick if they get into their bodies through food or drink that contains them; therefore this type can occur anywhere that humans live near water sources such as lakes and rivers but it's most common at large-scale events where thousands upon thousands of people attend without proper sanitation facilities nearby like bathrooms/toilets etcetera - because then they have no choice but use whatever source they have available nearby instead - which often leads

Category 1 - Clean Water

Unsanitary water sources known as Category 1 (clean water) would be from a clean supply line, such as your sink or bathtub. This is called category 1 water. It is safe to use for cleaning and washing, but it is not recommended for drinking due to the lack of purification treatment.

Category 2 - Gray Water

Category 2 (contaminated) is gray water. Gray water can be discharged due to a dishwasher, washing machine flood, or even an overflowing toilet that only contains urine.

Gray water is not safe to use for drinking or cooking because it may contain some dangerous chemicals or components:

  • Fecal coliform bacteria and other organisms from human waste
  • Chemical pollutants used in laundry detergents, household cleaners, and personal care products such as shampoo and soap

Category 3 - Black Water

Black water requires special attention because it often contains harmful bacteria and pathogens. It's called black water because it is not clean, and it should never be ingested. If you've found yourself in a situation where your home or business is flooded with this kind of water, you need to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Ebensburg immediately and avoid the area. 

If you find your Ebensburg, PA home or business flooded with any kind of water — you need professionals on the job to take care of the mess and restore your home or business to its original, preloss condition. SERVPRO of Ebensburg is here to help make that process as easy and painless as possible. Give us a call!

What Can Expect After a Partial Loss?

10/11/2022 (Permalink)

Walls and wooden structure damaged by fire. Our technicians are trained in fire and water damage restoration.

Everything You Need to Know About Partial Losses

A partial loss can be confusing and can take more time than a total loss. However, it is also an opportunity for improvement and positive change for your business. You may want to consider updating your insurance coverage or security system as a result of this experience.

A partial loss can seem like more work than a total loss, but SERVPRO of Ebensburg can help. We have the resources and expertise to take care of your home or business after a fire. Here are some common questions we hear from our customers:

What has to be cleaned up?

  • Structural damage: The structure may be damaged by fire and smoke, which can cause the walls to bow, the roof to sag or collapse, and even the foundation to crack.
  • Cleanup: If this is a partial loss, you will need to remove all contents from your home so they can be cleaned, deodorized, and stored until it’s safe for them to come back inside. Some items may be salvageable while others might not.
  • Carpets: A carpet that has been drenched with water (and possibly exposed to smoke) will need replacement if it was an expensive one or if its color or pattern is important. You may want to consider replacing all of your carpets after a fire—even those that were not damaged—for reasons of appearance and safety; they really don't look good when they've been soaked with water!

What happens to the contents of my home or business? 

All contents will be inventoried and moved to a safe place to be cleaned, deodorized, and stored until the structure is ready for them. Once the fire has been extinguished, your property manager or adjuster will walk through with you to see what can be saved. They'll take photos of any damage so you can review it later. If there's any question about whether something was damaged by the fire or whether it's been stolen, an inspection report from an expert should clear things up for you.

Can I clean my carpets? 

Carpeting can be cleaned or replaced. If you have a partial loss, your carpet will likely have to be cleaned and deodorized as a result of smoke damage. You’ll want to hire a professional to do this. If the damage is too severe for cleaning alone, however, carpets may need to be removed entirely and replaced with new ones.

Carpets should also be dried using fans and/or dehumidifiers after they've been cleaned. The moisture in wet carpets can cause mold growth if left untreated—and once mold sets in on your property—it's extremely difficult (if not impossible) to get rid of completely!

What about the electrical outlets in my home?

Electrical outlets and light switches often sustain damage in fires, so replacing these items is a good idea for safety purposes. However, it's also important to note that this job can be very time-consuming.

The wiring in your house may have been damaged by water or smoke as well as heat. If this is the case, installing new wiring will be necessary to restore power to your home—and it will be even more time-consuming than simply replacing electrical outlets and light switches!

If you’re an owner of a business, you may have some questions about what to expect after a partial loss. This happens when only a portion of your building is damaged in comparison to the total loss. While this can seem like more work than a total loss, SERVPRO of Ebensburg can help!

The best way to restore your home after a partial loss is to call SERVPRO of Ebensburg. We can help you with all stages of the restoration process, including clean-up, deodorization, and repairs. Our technicians are trained in fire and water damage restoration so they know exactly what they are doing when they arrive on the scene.

The 4 Leading Causes of Home Fires

8/27/2022 (Permalink)

Interior a house burned House fire in Ebensburg, PA

The Top Four Home Fire Causes

Fire statistics in the U.S. paint a picture of a disturbingly common problem. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a fire breaks out somewhere in the nation every 24 seconds. While progress has been made over the years, a home fire still happens frequently. Most of the fires are preventable with common-sense precautions. The leading causes of a fire show people often make unwise choices in their homes.


1. Cooking Fires - When it comes to fire causes in homes, this is among the most common fires. In addition to causing about 550 deaths a year, these fires account for about $1 billion in property damage. This type of home fire spikes around the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
2. Candle Fires - While candles can be soothing, they can also be dangerous. About 21 candle fires are reported every day in the U.S. December and January are the peak months for this fire type. They cause a higher amount of property damage than many other fires.
3. Home Grill Fires - This type of fire accounts for about 10,600 home fires each year. Though home grill fires do not cause a lot of deaths, they still cause a lot of damage to home structures.
4. Electrical Fires - This type of fire is caused when electrical systems malfunction. They are most common in old weather months. Electrical fires are often caused by arcing, and they result in many deaths and significant property damage every year.
A home fire is a devastating event for many families. To help people cope with the aftermath of a fire, a local fire remediation franchise in Ebensburg, PA, is often the best resource to aid in recovery. The technicians are experts in fire cleaning, and they can deal with both the effects of structural damage as well as smoke damage. The technicians can also offer excellent advice on fire precautions and avoiding a fire in the first place.

3 Possible Consequences of Hidden Water Leaks

8/27/2022 (Permalink)

Hand pointing to mold growth on a wall The incursion of unchecked water also promotes the growth of mold and mildew

Keep An Eye Out For Any Sign Of It

While a sudden tide of water sweeping through a building and its negative impact on said structure is quite noticeable, not all sources of water damage are so easily detectable. Broken pipes in walls with thin cracks or leaky fittings that just barely allow trickles of water to escape gradually, for example, may go unnoticed for quite some time. By the time they have been discovered, the resulting consequences and the water cleanup required may be quite extensive, requiring a professional cleanup and restoration service in Belsano, PA, to deal with.


1. Building Damage
Moisture can cause water damage and compromise the structural integrity of the commercial property. Examples of harm it may cause to buildings include:

  • Peeled paint
  • Stained wallpaper and walls
  • Rotten and weakened wood
  • Rusted/corroded metal


It may also affect contents like inventory.


2. Mold, Mildew, and Pest Invasion
The incursion of unchecked water also promotes the growth of mold and mildew, both of which thrive in wet environments. Mold and mildew also eat away at construction materials as they spread, causing further structural deterioration. They are also unappealing to clients and customers when they spread from out of sight locations to more visible ones, possibly costing some establishments business. The erosion of wood from the wetness also invites pests to burrow into the softened ceiling and walls.


3. Increased Utility Expenses
There is also often a spike in utility bills associated with undiscovered leaks. The cost of water goes up as liquid drips unnoticed from broken pipes. The price of heating and air conditioning may also see a rise in cases where insulation has been damaged, causing HVAC systems to have to work harder. Higher humidity in the air also correlates to more strain on air conditioning units.
Water damage is not the only less than pleasant repercussion that may arise from a hidden leak. Neither are the ones listed here all that may occur. There are many less than positive likelihoods that may happen because of unfound leaks, so it is important to keep an eye out for any sign of one.

Identifying and Remediating Mold

8/10/2022 (Permalink)

Mold growth on drywall Mold can be found anywhere

Take The Right Steps To Remediate Mold

Mold is found everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. While most species of mold don’t present a problem, it will multiply if given the ideal environment of moisture and oxygen. Fortunately, there are mold remediation specialists available to take care of any mold situation. If you suspect that your Belsano, PA, business has black mold, it’s important to take the right steps to remediate the problem.


Identification
Most people have heard horror stories of mold. Regrettably, sensational news stories only impair the goal of helping people understand mold. Here are some basic facts about mold:

  • Mold spores are common inside and outside
  • Mold grows in places with high moisture
  • Mold enters buildings through windows, vents, and HVAC systems
  • Mold may produce a musty odor


Additionally, there are thousands of species of mold in a variety of colors. Thus, it is often difficult for individuals to tell if they have a mold problem. To prevent mold infestations, business owners should regularly inspect their property. Check around windows, heating and air conditioning systems, roofs, basements, and pipes. To identify what specific type of mold is in your building, such as black mold, you will need the help of an Indoor Environmental Specialist.


Remediation
The first step in remediation is finding the source of moisture. A leaky roof, faulty plumbing, flooding, and high humidity are common causes of moisture. A mold remediation specialist will inspect the building and assess the damage. Next, the specialist will contain the mold using advanced procedures and tools. Once the mold spores are contained, air filtration equipment is used to capture the spores and eliminate mold colonies. The final step in remediation is cleaning and restoration.
Business owners should be aware of the signs of black mold in order to prevent major problems. If you see or smell any signs of mold, get professional help for proper mold cleanup.

How To Protect Your Home From Winter Storms

7/27/2022 (Permalink)

Cleaning gutter with a rag and gloves Keep your gutters clean

These Simple Steps Can Help Protect Your Home From Damage

It's no secret that a winter storm can wreak havoc on your home, but a few simple steps can help you protect your home from damage.


Have Supplies on Hand
When a winter storm hits, it's not always safe to go buy the things you need. That's why it's best to keep an eye on the forecast and make sure you have all the supplies you require before a storm occurs. You will need:

  • Food
  • Drinking water
  • Snow shovel
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Generator or firewood
  • Warm clothing and blankets


Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks, such as extra space around doors, allow warm air to escape from your home. This will make it harder to heat your home, increasing energy costs. Seals can be applied to doors, windows, and other areas to keep the warm air in and the cold air out.


Keep Trees Trimmed
Cold temperatures and the weight of snow and ice can cause tree branches to fall. Trimming branches that could fall onto your house or vehicles can help prevent roof damage, car damage, and injury. It is also a good idea to cut off any loose or dying branches before a storm regardless of location.


Clean Gutters
Having blockage in your gutters can cause ice dams. These dams can prevent water from exiting your gutter normally and can push it under the roof, which can cause leaks and roof damage.


React Quickly
If your home incurs any damage, it is best to call an emergency restoration service immediately. You may hesitate to call if a blizzard is still ongoing, but not addressing the damage leaves your home vulnerable to additional damage.
A winter storm can be dangerous and cause damage to your home, but you can keep yourself and your house safer by having supplies on hand, sealing air leaks, trimming tree branches, cleaning gutters and reacting quickly.

Cleaning Up an Overflowing Toilet

7/19/2022 (Permalink)

Overflowing broken toilet An overflowing toilet is a disastrous sanitary issue that can potentially cause massive amounts of damage

Follow The Steps Below If You Have An Overflowing Toilet

An overflowing toilet is a disastrous sanitary issue that can potentially cause massive amounts of damage. Preventing the sewer damage from reaching other areas of your house is key to keeping damage at a minimum. Quickly follow the steps below if your home in Belsano, PA, has an overflowing toilet.

1. Stop the Overflow.
Lift the lid from the back of the flooded toilet and press down on the rubber valve to close the tank. Then lift the float to stop more water from entering the toilet bowl. Turn the valve at the back of the toilet clockwise to completely shut off the water supply.

2. Mop Up the Spill.
Quickly mop up the standing water on the bathroom floor to prevent liquid sewer damage. Once you finish, wring the mop out into an empty bucket.

3. Unclog the Toilet.
Try using a plunger to dislodge the clog first. If this doesn't work, you can opt to use a closet auger instead. To do this, insert the auger so the curve of its tip faces the same direction as the drain. Crank the auger as far as you physically can in both directions to dislodge the clog. Carefully pull the auger out before switching back to a plunger. If these steps aren't successful, call a plumber.

4. Discard the Toilet Waste.
If, and only if, you were successful in Step 3, pour the contents of the mop bucket back into the toilet and flush. Use hot water to rinse and clean the mop and the bucket.

5. Sanitize the Area.
Create a cleaning solution using a gallon of hot water, and 1 cup of bleach. Use this solution to scrub and sanitize any area that came into contact with the toilet water. Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin during this process.
Sewer damage caused from toilet overflow can wreck havoc on your residential bathroom. After you finish cleaning the bathroom, you need to contact either a sewage company or water remediation professionals to help resolve the damage.

Why Your Water Heater Is Making Noise

7/12/2022 (Permalink)

Water heater What does it mean when your water heater starts making mysterious noises?

Why Is Your Water Heater Noisy?

Your water heater may have started as a strange popping sound and eventually progressed to popping plus an ominous rumble. What does it mean when your water heater starts making mysterious noises? While loose elements and heat traps can account for some of the sounds you may hear, the most likely explanation is that you have sediment build-up inside your tank and it’s time to call a professional in Vinco, PA, to flush them out. Ignoring sediment build-up can lead to serious problems, such as:

  • Decreased energy efficiency
  • Sediment coming out of faucets
  • Decreased water pressure
  • Burst water pipes
  • Water heater failure

Many manufacturers recommend getting a water heater flush every year, but how often it actually needs to be done depends on the water in your region.

What Causes the Noise?

When sediments collect around the element, they can trap water below them. When the water is heated, it makes a popping or crackling noise as it bubbles up through the sediments. As more sediment collects, it can get mixed around by the water flow inside your tank, causing a rumbling sound. If you notice these or other unusual sounds, especially when you haven’t noticed them before, it’s an indication that your tank needs to be serviced.

Where Does Sediment Come From?

Most sediment build-up is a result of minerals found in the water supply. If you have hard water, lime deposits build up in your tank over time, creating a sediment layer on the bottom that interferes with heating the water inside the tank. In some areas, the municipal water supply carries sediment in it, and this can also build up in your tank.

If you’re not sure what water quality is like in Vinco, PA, it’s better to err on the side of caution and have your water heater flushed annually to avoid the damage sediment build-up can cause.