Archived Blog Posts
Mold in Your Home Series - The Bathroom (Part 1)
Mold around bathtub caulking.
Mold is a fungus that sprout microscopic spores. What causes mold to grow in your home? It needs the right conditions.
- Mold spores need to be present in order to grow.
- Mold needs a food source like wood or cotton or drywall.
- Mold needs warmth. It doesn’t grow in freezing temperatures.
- It needs oxygen, which is in the air.
- It likes darkness and can’t grow under ultraviolet lights.
- And, it loves moisture, humidity, dampness.
Mold loves humidity. When it’s rainy outside and the humidity is high, mold can start to grow and can grow quickly. This is why, when you experience water damage, SERVPRO wants to start remediating your damage immediately to help avoid growth in your home. If you live in an area with high humidity, which can be an issue for Erie, PA residents because we live near a body of water, then mold can be a recurring problem. Erie residents need to keep the conditions that contribute to mold growth under control.
Our series will start with the Bathroom.
The bathroom is a very moist room due to showers, baths and toilets. If not properly ventilated, it is a perfect place for mold growth.
Where to check for mold in the bathroom.
- Check shampoo bottles, wash cloths and loofahs.
- Check tile, showers, sinks and toilets
- Under the sink where supplies are stored
- Check shower curtains, toothbrush caddies.
- Around faucets and shower heads.
- And, bathroom rugs
Bathrooms are rooms that have an environment perfect for mold growth. Tips to fight against mold in the bathroom.
- Wash items often such as towels, wash cloths, shower curtains and rugs.
- Replace loofahs and toothbrushes regularly.
- Use a ventilation fan while showering and make sure it is vented properly.
- A dehumidifier or air conditioner keeps humidity down.
- Keep all surfaces (showers, sinks, toilets, tile, floors) clean and dry.
- Check for leaky faucets and toilets.
If you still find yourself in need of mold remediation, call SERVPRO of West Erie County at 814-806-1987.
Why Choose SERVPRO for Biohazard Cleanup
Our SERVPRO of West Erie County technicians are trained to dispose of contaminated content properly
In the world of restoration, fire and water damage can be very overwhelming to a property owner. However, property damage resulting from a suicide or an unattended death poses great risk to the policyholder and adjuster.
Our technicians at SERVPRO of West Erie County are ready to respond during your time of need. We are highly trained in bioremediation and truly understand the science behind the decontamination process.
In every biohazard crime scene there are always health risks. The process to recovery begins with restoring the surroundings so that there is once again a refuge to come home to at the end of the day and find peace.
Our biohazard technicians at SERVPRO must follow mandated employee safety regulations and decontamination procedures to ensure safety for all. These regulations that are in accordance with federal, state, and/or local regulations and are in compliance with OSHA, EPA and the State Environmental Agency.
The disposal of medical waste must be in accordance with federal, state and/or local regulations as well. Our SERVPRO of West Erie County technicians are trained to dispose contaminated content properly and are also trained in the proper use of cleaning agents. It is important to report, test, and communicate to the adjuster and policyholder why some content is being removed, disposed, and or cleaned with proper equipment.
Our biohazard cleanup specialists at SERVPRO of West Erie County are trained to be compassionate and sensitive during a crime scene investigation and during a traumatic loss of a loved one. We will work with you and your insurance company so that work can begin immediately.
Call SERVPRO of West Erie County for all your restoration and cleaning needs at (814) 806-1987 and stay connected with us on Facebook.
ERIE Supports Those In Need With Smoke Detectors
The amount of time a person has to escape a fire is down to less than 5 minutes
“They don’t make’em like they use to” is a saying that rings true for a lot of things. In terms of fire safety, it applies as well. Dating back as far as the 1960’s, a person had up to 20 minutes to escape a house when fire broke out because of the slower burning materials used in home construction.
Today, because home construction incorporates of a lot of plastics and vinyl, the amount of time a person has to escape a fire is down to less than 5 minutes. So, it stands to reason that the importance of having a smoke alarm that can activate within seconds of a fire starting becomes of the utmost importance.
Over the past decade, the Erie Bureau of Fire Prevention & Investigation supplied city homeowners who needed smoke alarms with free ones through a federal grant. The grant covered 8,000 alarms back in 2013.
After a similar grant was approved in 2017, the city purchased another 4,000 smoke detectors for distribution to city homeowners in need. A portion of those were distributed to those with hearing impairments. Hearing-impaired detectors include strobe lights as alerts or vibrating sensors that could be placed under a mattress or a pillow.
These distributions have been a part of an Erie Bureau of Fire project in partnership with the Erie County Department of Health. The project, called “Protect the Place You Call Home,” began in 2006 as a way of identifying city residences without alarms. At the time the project started, about half of the houses visited by city firefighters didn’t have alarms, didn’t have enough alarms or had alarms that didn’t work. The Erie Bureau of Fire has given out about 22,000 smoke alarms since 2006.
Free smoke detectors are available in Erie and the surrounding areas through the American Red Cross of Northwestern Pennsylvania. If you are in need of an alarm, please call the Red Cross at (814) 240-7667 and provide your name, phone number and address. A volunteer crew will be sent to assess your home and provide and install alarms.
For fire, smoke or soot damage restoration, call SERVPRO of West Erie County at (814) 806-1987. We provide 24-hour emergency services and can help to make it “Like it never even happened.”
A Very Special Easter by SteelehouseMedia.com
It’s Time for Easter in Erie, PA
From the Owner’s desk of SERVPRO of West Erie County
Happy Easter to Everyone in Girard, Fairview, Millcreek, Harborcreek, Edinboro, Summit, Springfield, Washington, Cranesville, McKean, Erie and any other city I haven’t mention in Erie County.
On occasion, I would like to share with you something that has impacted me or touched me. The link below will take you to a short video that tells the Easter Story from a child’s perspective. Every year, at Easter, I remember this video and feel the need to watch it because it makes me smile. I then desire to share it with someone else. This year, I would like to share with the people of Erie, Pennsylvania. Take notice to what is eaten during the last supper, and the gesture used when talking about something crazy, and even the use of cell phones to spread the word.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Happy Easter!! Enjoy the holiday with family and friends.
Electrical Wiring and Old Houses
Knob and Tube Wiring
We think of the wiring in our home as the arteries of power that feeds everything electrical in the household. Do you wonder if parts of it can become damaged or deteriorate over time? Can it present a serious fire or shock hazard? Any of these questions can be answered by an experienced professional. Only an experienced professional can answer to the condition of your old wiring and if your power panel can handle the electrical load of your home.
There are a few things to keep in mind to help with the beginning assessment of old wiring.
- Identify old wiring: Knob and Tube is the oldest type of wiring and we have seen this in some of the older homes we have serviced in Erie, PA. These systems date back to pre1940. Knob and Tube may lack grounding that is needed for safety. You can keep Knob and Tube wiring according to the National Electrical Code (NEC) but you must follow local codes when adding to or changing.
- Knob and Tube becomes dangerous when the wiring insulation wears away. There can be a problem when alterations weren’t performed properly and to code. And, there can also be issues with covering it with building insulation. All these can be potential fire hazards.
If you have concerns about your wiring, contact a professional electrician. If you have a fire, contact the professional fire restoration specialists, SERVPRO of West Erie County.
How Erie Became to Be!
The Erie Stone on Parade St.
In 1795, Andrew Ellicott and General William Irvine were commissioned by the State of Pennsylvania to layout the town of Erie. PA. At the foot of Parade St. is a stone known as the “Erie Stone”, which is the starting point to laying out the town. This information can be read on the “Erie Stone”; it is inscribed there. The town was laid out in three sections, each one mile square extending from the bay south to Twelfth Street. Each section of land had a center which was to be reserved for public use, such as a park. Central Park and Perry Square were the first public areas.
There are at least 8 other markers within walking distance of the “Erie Stone” marker. American Fort, Erie Heritage, Erie Area Native Americans, Fort Presque Isle, Fort de la Presqu’ile, French Fort de la Presqu’ile – 1753, Russian Town, and Hero of Gettysburg. Go to the Historical Marker Database link below for more information.
SERVPRO of West Erie County is proud to be part of the Erie Community.
What Affects the Cost of Water Damage Restoration
It’s a very stressful situation when water damage occurs at your house. You immediately want professional help that will clean and restore your surroundings. But, there are also concerns of whether you have insurance coverage? Will your policy cover the cost? If the policy doesn’t cover the damage, what will it cost you?
How do we determine the cost of water mitigation?
According to IICRC (The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) http://www.IICRC.org/what-affects-water-damage-restoration-cost-a-192.html
The extent of the destruction will be the most determining factor when calculating price. Most companies bill by the square foot, so professionals should be hired right away to keep the problem from spreading and becoming more expensive.
Another major part of the cost is the type of water that caused the damage. The dirtiness of the water is classified by Categories.
Category 1 – is the cleanest type. Examples are rain water and clean tap water.
Category 2 - sources contain some chemical or biological agents that can pose a health risk if they come in contact with a person. This usually includes discharge from appliances like washing machines.
Category 3 - sources pose an extreme health risk and normally include active biological agents that can cause serious illness. Sewage and ground flooding produce Category 3 threats.
Companies will charge more when dealing with Category 2 and 3 than Category 1 sources because additional cleaning with specialized chemicals will be required as well as protective equipment and gear.
The location of the destruction will also dictate price to an extent, as some materials are easier to replace than others. Replacing baseboards is relatively easy and inexpensive. Replacing drywall is more expensive and time consuming. Changing out carpet is even more expensive and requires additional time.
Not performing the cleanup properly can affect the cost too.
While some people may choose a water damage restoration company by cost alone, a homeowner must make sure they are dealing with certified professionals. If the house is not cleaned out thoroughly, lingering moisture will cause major problems down the road that will be even more expensive to fix. For these reasons, a homeowner should only select a reputable company with a strong training background and one certified in this area of restoration.
We recommend that you choose us, SERVPRO of West Erie County.
Pricing a Water Damage Restoration Job
You probably wonder how we determine the cost of a water damage job. We discussed in a previous blog that there are various factors affecting the cost of cleaning up after water damage such as the category or dirtiness of the water, the size of the area affected, and the different components affected such as walls, floors, ceilings and contents.
Knowing all this, how do we determine a price?
We, SERVPRO of West Erie County, use various tools to make pricing standard and acceptable to insurance industry standards. We use customary rates.
We want our customers to know how these prices are derived so that they can feel that they are getting treated fairly.
There are three factors to pricing fairly.
- We use a tool called “Xactimate”. Xactimate is an estimating software of national influence that features a price list with standard and customary prices. According to the Xactimate web page, Xactimate is the industry's most powerful and comprehensive solution for property claims estimation. It is the number one choice for restoration professionals, thanks to its accuracy and flexibility throughout all stages of the repair process.
We draw your rooms in the software according to square footage. We then, attach line items that are task-oriented pertaining to your damage.
- We adhere to industry standards that are established by a standards-setting authority. The most prominent of these organizations is called the IICRC, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. The IICRC has set standards that say how many air movers and dehumidifiers should be placed on a water damage job. This is based on cubic footage, square footage, and linear footage.
- The third tool is a SERVPRO developed tool called DryBook™. DryBook™ has the IICRC rules coded into the software. The application tells us how many air movers to place in your room and how many dehumidifiers are allowed based on the size of the room according to acceptable standards.
So, with information from the above three areas, we have tools and guidelines that tell us how to accurately handle and price the water damage job specifically for your home.
In closing, we want to let you know that our pricing isn’t based on who you are, where you live or if we are in need of business. It’s based on rules and guidelines. We want to be fair and consistent with our customers. We want to focus on doing the best job for you, at the fairest price.
Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Coverage
Scenario 1: Your basement pipes froze and burst. You don’t realize it for a couple of weeks. Now there is inches of water on your basement floor with mold starting to grow.
Scenario 2: Broken shingles on your 50-year-old roof is allowing water to leak into the attic. Water is saturating the wood and insulation which is leading to mold in the attic.
Scenario 3: You don’t think much about the mold forming in your shower until one day you notice how unpleasant it looks and you’re concerned whether it may be causing health risks.
Do any of the above scenarios sound familiar? Or, have they happened to you? Do you think your insurance policy would cover these scenarios?
Most the time, these scenarios are not covered by the insurer. Home insurance policies usually don’t cover mold that resulted from a preventable water leak, flooding, or high humidity. Also, Insurance companies typically don’t pay for maintenance issues that insurers think a homeowner should have prevented such as properly ventilating a bathroom or maintaining lower humidity in a basement. The standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover water damage caused by a flood. Thus, if a flood causes water damage that leads to mold, the resulting mold issue would not be covered by your home policy.
Let’s discuss what options there are if you are unsure of your policy coverages for disaster preparedness.
How do I know what my homeowner’s insurance policy covers?
A homeowner’s insurance ‘usually’ does not cover the following:
- Sewer Backup
A homeowner’s insurance ‘usually’ does cover the following:
- Damage Caused by vehicles
- Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
These are accidental and sudden incidents. Insurance companies typically cover this type of damage. Non-weather-related water damage is one of the most common home insurance claim and one of the most expensive!
What To Do:
Check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if there is any language or endorsements for claims concerning mold, sewer, flood, etc. Some insurers require special add ons to cover mold, sewer backup, floods, etc. The insurance company may also place limits on the coverage which means limiting how much the insurer will pay for a related claim. Call your insurance agent to review the coverage you have and discuss the limit/coverage you desire. The least expensive insurance policy is not always the best. You may be giving up coverage you think you automatically have with a homeowner’s policy.
Last but not least, if you experience a loss that you know will be covered and need to file a claim then always remember SERVPRO of West Erie County is just one call away! Our professional technicians will get your lives back in order and your home restored the right way, "Like it never even happened."
Benefect® Antimicrobial Agent
Mold. The thought of mold, fungus, or any other unwanted organisms that can wreak havoc on both your mental and physical health in one’s home can be extremely alarming. However, for some the thought of using harsh chemicals is just as equally alarming, so what is one to do?
Fear no more! SERVPRO of West Erie County would like to introduce you to Benefect®, the world’s only authentically botanical disinfectant! Harnessing the power of the essential oil from the thyme plant as its active ingredient, Benefect® and its line of products kills 99.999% of specific bacteria, viruses, and fungi. By only using ingredients that are either F.D.A (Food and Drug Administration) approved as Food Additives or on the United States G.R.A.S. (Generally Recognized as Safe) list Benefect® enables SERVPRO to bring a health conscience alternative to your mitigation needs. Whether it be mold, water damage, or even biohazard, Benefect® can be used to safely mitigate your home or commercial property during a catastrophic event.
Here at SERVPRO of West Erie County PA we favor using Benefect® for the following:
- Commercial and Residential Kitchen Cleaning
- Public and Private School Cleaning
- Community Centers
- Day Care and Nursery
- Residences with an emphasis on organic living
- And many other buildings and facilities where the use of harsh chemicals is prohibited
With any questions about the uses of these amazing products please contact us at SERVPRO of West Erie County Pennsylvania for all you’re cleaning and mitigation needs.
As spring fever hits us all, it is time to say goodbye to that dirt and those germs and get your home in shape for the spring! We want you to take advantage of these spring cleaning tips to make your home as fresh as possible.
-dust crown molding and baseboards
-wash window blinds
-polish wood furniture
-clean air vents
-change air/furnace filter
-replace batteries in smoke detector
-remove rugs to shake out, then vacuum, then clean under them
-touch up paint
-wash table linens
-clean shower curtain and liner
-clean dryer vent
-clean inside washing machine
-empty washing machine drain pump
-clean out garage
We hope these are useful to you and aid in you getting your home in shape to have a great spring!
Presque Isle : Bucket List
presque isle beaches
As the weather in Erie County is starting warm up, Presque Isle is definitely an attraction that everyone should get to. It is very large and has many things to do there, visitors will have a great time and certainly not be bored.
Things To Do
Spend time on the beaches- The 11 miles of beaches is what makes Presque Isle the magnet for locals and tourists from all over the region.
Eat a hot dog at Sara’s
Check out the kites-On the western end of the park you will find Sunset Point situated between Beaches 9 and 10.
Take a loop on the Multi-purpose Trail-The paved trail starts right when you enter the park and continues around the entire perimeter of the park, ending just about where you started, 13.5 miles later.
Listen to the music-For six weeks in June and July, Beach 1 is transformed every Wednesday night into a free, open-air concert venue.
Check out the North Pier
Hunt for beach glass- If you enjoy looking for the needle in a haystack, you will likely enjoy the hunt for beach glass.
Explore the lagoons-Bring your canoe, kayak or other boat down and explore the many lagoons of Presque Isle.
Tour the Presque Isle Lighthouse-Located near Beach 8, the Presque Isle Lighthouse is the second oldest lighthouse on Lake Erie’s shore.
Enjoy a sunrise or sunset- We would put a Lake Erie sunrise or sunset up against any in the tropics and feel like we had a good chance of winning.
National Burn Awareness Week
National Burn Awareness Week is February 5th through the 11th.
For homeowners, putting out a fire can be worse than the fire itself. The first 48 hours after a fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings.
What You Can Do Until Help Arrives
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery.
- Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
- Do not wash any walls or painted surfaces.
- Do not shampoo carpet or upholstery.
- Do not clean any electrical equipment.
- Do not send clothing to a dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
For more information, The American Burn Association (ABA) offers many different prevention resources.
Emergency Ready Profile
Here at SERVPRO, for the month of February, our theme is "Ready". Any type of disaster can be devastating for a company. However, in the midst of a disaster having an Emergency Ready Profile can help you and your company be "ready" and limit the damage as much as possible. As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster, according to the latest research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place.
The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile Advantage
- A no cost assessment of your facility.
- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
- Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
History of SERVPRO
Ted and Doris Isaacson started SERVPRO Industries in 1967, originally as a painting business out of Sacramento, California. With experience in cleaning and restoration they changed the company into a franchisor of cleanup and restoration. The first franchise was bought in 1969, since then SERVPRO has continued to grow.
They then relocated their corporate headquarters to Gallatin, Tennessee in 1988; placing itself within 600 miles of 50% of the United States. SERVPRO sold it's 1,000th franchise in 2000. In 2015, The Tennessean listed SERVPRO as one of the top workplaces in the state. Today SERVPRO has over 1,700 franchises across the United States and Canada.
With a proud history, a successful present, and a bright future SERVPRO will continue toward becoming the leading cleaning and restoration company in the world.
Water Damage Tips
"Like it Never Even Happened"
What To Do After Flooding
-Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
-Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
-Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
-Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
-Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
-Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
-Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
-Gather loose items from floors.
What Not To Do After Flooding
-Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
-Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
-Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
-Don't use television or other household appliances.
-Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.