Puff back Season is Approaching
A picture frame hung on this wall in this Scranton home which shows how much soot can be expelled from a malfunctioning furnace.
As the nights get cooler, we will be turning on our heaters for the first time this season. If it hasn't been properly serviced, it could possibly misfire and create a puff back sending oily, sooty dirt throughout your home. These fine particles land on everything - furniture, drapes, carpets, and contents - and must be properly cleaned to avoid additional/permanent damage.
The soot from the puff backs needs to be professionally cleaned with dry sponges. Using anything else will only smear the soot and make the problem worse. Should your home experience a furnace malfunction do not attempt to clean it yourself, call the smoke, fire and water cleanup and restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forge.
As a Lackawanna County's leading cleanup company, SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forge is an emergency services company available to respond to your home disaster on a 24/7/365 basis.
Are You Prepared for Heating Season?
Pictured was an attempt to clean a soot damaged ceiling which only made the situation worse by permanently embedding the soot into the sheetrock.
Living in Northeastern Pennsylvania, when most of think of winter we think snow, ice and cold and all three of these weather phenomenons translate to heating bills. ChaChing!
Nonetheless a well functioning furnace will not only be more effective and save us money, it will also reduce the chance that it malfunctions and causes a puffback. I got my furnace services yesterday and would recommend that everyone do the same. It's the old adage that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
A puff back occurs when a furnace misfires causing soot to expel from the floorboards (baseboard heat) or radiators (steam heat) covering everything in its path. Whether your furnace be powered by oil or gas it causes a mess. Oily clothes, furniture, childrens toys and kitchen utensils.
A puffback is normally a covered loss and should be cleaned by a professional restoration company like SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forge because it requires specialized training and equipment. I can't tell you the amount of times a homeowner in good faith has attempted to clean his or her home with over the counter cleaning products only to make it worse. Don't make it worse and possible cause damage which is irreversible, call the professionals.
SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forge has the specialized training and resources to safely clean your soot damaged home following a puffback. We are Lackawanna Counties leader in smoke, fire and water cleanup.
Mold-The Result of the Summer Storms
Mold in this basement from the recent flooding. Mold is the byproduct of wet basements.
f you have mold on the walls in your home then it's usually easy to remove. If the wall is non-porous then you can simply wipe the mold away using a wet cloth. You can also use a mold killing product if you like.
However, if the wall is porous, such as unpainted drywall, then you will usually need to cut away the wall where the mold is growing. This is because mold grows inside the material, instead of just on the surface, and so you can't remove it completely.
Mold on Drywall Walls
Because drywall is a substance high in cellulose, it is one of the most common materials mold grows on in the home. As there is no practical way to completely remove mold from drywall, you will have to cut out and dispose of any drywall you discover which has mold growing on it.
Mold Growing Behind Walls
Mold commonly grows out of sight behind walls in the wall cavities. These spaces often contain pockets of humid, moist air. Mold can also grow hidden behind wallpaper. Wallpaper glue can hold organic debris, which can then become a food source for mold growth.
To find hidden mold behind walls you need to use invasive inspection methods and, optionally, mold testing. It's best to talk to a professional mold specialist in this case.
Mold on Ceiling
If you see mold on the ceiling in your home then you probably have a humidity or condensation problem. It is also possible that the mold is caused by a water leak above the ceiling.
Like with mold on walls, if the ceiling is made of a non-porous material then you can usually just wipe the mold away with a wet cloth. You can use a mold-killing product like bleach if you like too.
If the ceiling is made of a porous material though, like unpainted drywall, then you may have to cut away the material where the mold is growing since the mold has probably grown inside the material.
Mold Growing Above Ceiling
Just as mold grows behind walls you can also sometimes find mold growing on the other side of ceilings. Mold colonies growing above ceilings are usually fed by water from a leaking roof.
For clues that mold could be growing above the ceiling in your home look for signs of water damage in the ceiling. Small patches of mold growth visible from under the ceiling can be a sign that there is a large colony of mold on the other side.
Mold in Floor
Mold can grow beneath the floor in your home just like it grows above ceilings and within wall cavities. Dirt and dust, which fall under the floor, become trapped, along with moisture, leading to perfect conditions for mold growth.
Tiles and especially carpets trap large amounts of dust and can become a haven for mold growth. Carpets hold moisture particularly well, taking a long time to dry out, which means they can very easily foster mold growth if there are spilled liquids, water leaks or floods.
Mold in Insulation
Insulation can be a reservoir for mold. Any insulation, which you can see exposed in your home, should be checked thoroughly for mold, especially if there was once a water problem in that particular room, or if there was once mold growth anywhere in the room. Even if the insulation looks clean at first glance make sure to thoroughly examine and inspect it.
If you do end up finding any mold in the insulation inside your home you will have to remove and replace the affected insulation as it will be impossible to completely clean all the mold out from it.
Mold in Air Ducts and HVAC
Unseen mold could also be lurking in vents; ducts, air conditioning and heating systems in your home so don't forget to check inside these areas when you're looking for mold.
Mold on Clothes
Mold can grow on the clothes in your home if they've been left wet for a long period of time. Clothes sitting in a wet pile for more than a day after being washed, or damp clothes left wet for more than a day while waiting to be washed can become moldy.
Mold Growing in Basement
Out of all the rooms in the house the basement is usually the most likely to contain mold growth. Because the basement is usually lower than any other room in the house it is often damp from water leaks flowing down into it. The cold temperature of the basement can also create a lot of moisture from condensation. To add to this basement is often dark, is rarely attended and the air in the basement is usually stagnant from poor ventilation.
Mold often grows on the wooden walls, posts or building frames in a basement. From there mold can spread along the wood and up into the other rooms of the house. Over time the mold can also weaken the frames and beams, which it grows on and slowly eats away at.
To check if there's a mold problem in your basement look for signs of water or dampness. Also if flooding has occurred or there are water leaks in or near your basement then there's a high chance mold could soon begin to grow.
SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forge is Northeastern Pennsylvania leader in mold remediation.
Flash Flood Alerts-Lackawanna County
Florence is upon us. If your basements floods like this one, call SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forge
The National Weather Center has issued a flash flood watch for Lackawanna County. With the ground already saturated, flooding will occur easily.
SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forge has been extremely busy dealing with flooded basements from this unprecedented stormy summer. This rain is certainly not needed and will most certainly cause additional damage to homes and businesses through the county.
One benefit of SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forge is our ability to partner with other local franchises to ensure that your home or business is being mitigated and restored by IICRC certified companies and qualified restoration professionals. No disaster is too large.
if your home or business experiences water damage from this most recent storm call Lackawanna Counties leader in smoke, fire and water damage cleanup and restoration at (570) 235-1646. SERVPRO is "always here to help."
We Offer Air Quality Testing
Mike Chrzan is a certified mold inspector here conducting a air quality test at a home in Scranton.
Mold is a living organism and is present everywhere. It has a necessary function in the environment. The goal of mold remediation companies is to ensure that your home or business is safe for living. There are too many strains of mold to mention and some are more harmful than others. That being said, some people are more sensitive to mold than others. The only definitive way to know what type and how prevalent the mold intrusion is, is to conduct air-quality tests. Test can range from hundreds of dollars from an qualified environmental company to several dollars for a home testing kit. Naturally, choose wisely when deciding how best to test the indoor air quality of your home or business. SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forge employs a certified mold inspector who can test your home or business for $90.00/test and with very limited interruption. The test are sent to a qualified lab who sends a detailed report identifying the types of spores as well as the amount present. Once the problem is know, a remediation plan can be developed to make your home or business safe. The few hundred dollars is well worth the piece of mind. Call SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forge at (570) 235-1646 to discuss having your home or business tested.
Flooding Safety Precautions
This hotel experienced an indoor flood during the recent heavy rains.
lood Hazard: Terms and Steps to Take After a Flood to Safely Get Back into Your Home
The following terms are commonly used to describe a potential flood hazard:
Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Keep up to date regarding flood risk by watching the local news, listening to the radio or using the internet.
Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible so identify and be prepared to move to higher ground and keep up to date regarding flood risk by watching the local news, listening to the radio or using the internet.
Flood Warning: Flooding either is occurring or will be occurring. Depending on the projected severity of the flooding, evacuation may be advised. If evacuation is advised, follow the recommended evacuation plan.
Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring. Move to higher ground and if possible find shelter.
If a flood occurs, a building damaged by water intrusion can be dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. Common hazards after a home has water damage are:
- Electrical Hazards: If the power is on, do not enter a building that is flooded or water damaged. If electrical circuits have gotten wet, have the power turned off at the main breaker or fuse box and call a licensed electrician.
- Structural Damage: If the structure or foundation is damaged, do not enter the home. Be sure to look carefully before entering the home and leave immediately if the structure looks, feels or sounds unstable.
- Hazardous materials: Items such as pesticides, fuel, oil, gasoline, asbestos or lead based paint may have been brought into the home or spilled as a result of the flood damage and should be cleaned up using proper precautionary measures.
- Injuries: Injuries can occur after flood damage, such as slipping and falling, being struck by falling objects, lifting heavy objects, broken bones and cuts that occur while cleaning up are common when cleaning up a home that has flood damage.
- Bacteria and Virus can be brought into a home that has flood water. Standing water can enable mold growth. Exposure to any of these biohazards can be dangerous to your health.
Safety Precautions Should be Taken if Working in a Home with Flood Damage
- Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (“PPE”): The appropriate types of hats, safety goggles, gloves and a face mask should be worn.
- Stay alert and be cognizant of your surroundings: It is important to stay alert and to continually be on the lookout for potential hazards and hazardous materials.
- Protect yourself from bacteria and viruses: Wear a mask, do not eat or drink in the house, wear gloves and wash your hands frequently.
- Be careful when lifting heavy objects.
- Get help when dealing with hazardous materials: Do not remove or touch hazardous materials without the help of a qualified professional. If you suspect hazardous materials are present, call your local health or fire department.
Importance of a Sump Pump
Pictured is a sump pump that was inundated from all the recent heavy rains causing a backup in the basement of this Scranton home.
When a severe storm hits, homeowners may experience excess water in their basements or the lower levels of their home. A sump pump is an important tool that can help protect your property by controlling water and keeping your home dry.
Sump pumps are typically found in the lowest part of a house, such as a basement, and are usually installed by a professional in a specially constructed sump pit. The sump pump’s primary job is to pump water outside and away from the home. There are generally two types of sump pumps: pedestal and submersible.
How to Keep Your Sump Pump in Good Condition
Once installed, consider the following maintenance tips to help ensure your sump pump is ready when you need it.
Check the pump at least once a year to make sure it is still in good working condition.
- Is the sump pump plugged in?
- Is the power cord in good shape?
- Is the drain hose connected properly?
- Is there any debris in the area that could clog the pump and prevent it from working properly?
- Pour water into the sump pit to test if the sump pump starts up automatically and quickly drains the water.
Since sump pumps run on electricity, consider installing a battery backup to help ensure yours will not fail, even in the event of a power outage. If you have installed a battery backup, during your test of the sump pump installation, unplug the pump to ensure that it will function properly on battery power.
Contact a professional if your sump pump is not working properly.
Finally, consider obtaining optional coverage for water backup or sump discharge or overflow. Many homeowners' policies do not cover water in the basement.
If your home or business does experience a water emergency, call Lackawanna County's premier water restoration company at (570) 235-1646. SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forge is an IICRC certified firm available 24/7 to serve the greater Scranton area.
Water Damage Restoration Process
To avoid secondary damage following anyu water or flood damage, always call a professional water mitigation company.
SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forges highly trained technicians are ready to respond immediately to flood or water damage at your Northeastern Pa. residenrtial or commercial property. We have the experience, expertise, and training to restore your home or business quickly and properly. We use advanced inspection and extraction equipment to find the water and remove it as quickly as possible. Our technicians will monitor and document the drying process to ensure your property is back to normal.
SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forges Water Damage Restoration Process:
Every water damage situation is a little different, and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our process for the “typical” water damage emergency.
Step 1: Emergency Contact
Step 2: Inspection and Damage Assessment
Step 3: Water Removal/Water Extraction
Step 4: Drying and De-humidification
Step 5: Cleaning and Repair
Step 6: Restoration
Call SERVPRO of Carbondale/Clarks Summit/Old Forge, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barres area leader in disaster cleanup. We serve all of Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, Wyoming and Susquehanna counties. Call today (570) 235-1646 24hrs/day 7 days/week for any water emergency.
Mold along the baseboard of this Scranton home from a recent flood.
Confusion and misunderstanding surround the topic of mold and mold remediation. Some restoration businesses even make claims to remove all mold from a building. This is a fallacy. Mold spores occur naturally almost everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. These microscopic spores float along in the air and can enter a home or business through windows and HVAC systems. Consider these 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.
Mold-The After Effects of Water Damage
The effects of the recent heavy rains and floods. When water intrusion is not treated in a timely fashion, mold can be the result.
It’s the beginning of a new school year and nothing has been more newsworthy than schools being delayed or disrupted due to mold issues. The unprecedented amount of rain has certainly been the major culprit of these issues and SERVPRO is on the scene of several schools throughout the Northeast remediating the problem and making the environment safe for both students and staff.
Mold has become a generic term used to describe any discoloration found and is often misunderstood. Mold is present everywhere. The only definitive way to know if your building has a mold issue is to conduct air quality testing. SERVPRO employs a certified mold inspector who can test and determine if an issue is present. We supply the results so that all concern have the documentation needed to ensure safety. Air quality testing costs $90.00/test which is extremely competitive considering many companies charge several hundreds of dollars per test. If elevated levels are found we can help develop a remediation plan and will guarantee a clean post test. We will certified all work.