Recent Storm Damage Posts

5 Reasons Sewage Could End Up in Your Basement

11/16/2019 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. It is visible line showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. Flooded basement in Donora, PA

Common Causes Of Finding Black Water in Your Basement

People might have nightmares about intruders breaking in at night, or bears chasing them, or clowns, but for many homeowners having a flooded basement is one scary situation. This is especially true if the water is contaminated or contains sewage. The reasons for finding black water in your basement in Donora, PA, are many, but here are some of the most common causes.

A Flood. Floods are among the most common disasters that a homeowner could face. When water rushes in from the outside, there is no telling what it could contain. Chemicals, dirt, oil and sewage are often present in flood water. Because of this, a professional disaster mitigation company should be called in for safety and for cleanup.

Plumbing Problems. Everything from a bathtub backing up to a toilet overflow can bring unwelcome dirty water into the home and result in a flooded basement.

A Clogged Sewer Line. Your municipal sewer line can get clogged or damaged from tree roots, enabling an unpleasant back up of sewage into your home.

Melting Snow and Runoff. When a large amount of snow melts quickly, often accompanied by warm rains, this extra water can leak into basements. This is more likely if your home's landscaping slopes toward your basement, or if cracks in the foundation exist.

A Neglected Septic System. If your home is served by a septic system instead of a municipal wastewater system, make sure it is pumped out periodically. Otherwise, this could result in sewage backing up into your home.

The presence of contaminated water, also known as black water, should be treated with care. The water could be harmful to humans and pets and should be avoided. The best practice is to call in a company that is trained and experienced in dealing with a flooded basement. The company will safely clean up the mess and restore your home "Like it never even happened."

Can Your Office Contents Be Saved After a Flood or Storm?

10/30/2019 (Permalink)

Wet documents Wet documents damaged after storm in Strabane, PA

Can Your Office Contents Be Saved After a Flood or Storm?

Storm damage can be devastating to a Strabane, PA, business. Rain and wind can cause severe flooding that harms your office's equipment, furniture and more. Major disasters can also lead to a buildup of black water from sewers or toilets.

Some porous materials may be unsalvageable after a flood. However, content cleaning and restoration experts may be able to wash and dry non-porous materials within the building.
Several methods will be used during the flood cleanup process. They include:

  • Foam Cleaning
  • Spray and Wipe
  • Wet Cleaning
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Immersion Cleaning
  • Abrasive Cleaning

The method used depends on the types of objects being cleaned, and the amount of damage. Foam Cleaning is bests for fabrics that might bleed or shrink when wet. Spray and Wipe, meanwhile, is designed for objects that can't handle a more thorough cleaning.
Items with minor residue will likely just be dry-cleaned. Wet Cleaning is preserved for moderate or heavy damage.
Immersion Cleaning involves dipping the item into bathwater. Finally, Abrasive Cleaning agitates the surface of the damaged item.

Document Cleaning

Your office probably has plenty of contracts and documents that are essential to your business. Content cleaning professionals can use freeze-drying or thermal drying techniques to minimize any water damage to these items after a storm. This technology works on a variety of items, including photographs, manuscripts, blueprints and X-rays.


Of course, many of your most important records are probably digitized on computers and tablets. Even these can be saved following a disaster. DVD players and television can be restored, as well.
During the storm cleanup process, the professionals will take steps to prevent additional corrosion to the electronics. They will then give the items to a technician for specialized repair.
Flood damage to your commercial building does not have to destroy your business. With the help of content cleaning experts, many items in your office can be saved.

Will Insurance Cover My Sewage Backup?

9/9/2019 (Permalink)

Someone's hand holding a shovel and with the other hand holding roots coming out a sewer line Tree roots growing in the sewer line is a common reason for sewer backup problems

Different Causes of Sewage Backup In A Home

A sewer backup in Hanover Township, PA, is more than just a smelly inconvenience. It can also be quite dangerous. That’s because sewage can contain disease-causing bacteria or viruses.
There are several different causes of sewage backup in the home. They include:

  1. A blockage in the city sanitary main
  2. A water leak in the basement
  3. Tree roots blocking the sewer line

Sewage Backups and Insurance

Whatever the cause of the sewage backup, the damage can be expensive to fix. However, your home insurance policy should pay for most of the repairs. While a basic insurance policy does not typically cover sewage backup, you can usually add it to your policy for an additional $40 to $160 a year.
Neither regular homeowners’ insurance nor sewage backup policies usually include general flood coverage. However, you can purchase flood insurance from a private insurer or the National Flood Insurance Program. Otherwise, your insurance may only cover some of the damage from a flood-related sewer backup.
If you need to file an insurance claim, make sure to take photos of the affected area. Attach some “before” pictures as well so the insurer can see the extent of the damage. You should also make a list of any items that were destroyed.

How To Clean Sewage Backup

If you experience a sewage backup or similar disaster such as a toilet overflow, you should hire an emergency restoration services company to clean up your home. Restoration experts will disinfect the walls and plumbing fixtures. They will also mop up the floors and dry off wet drapes or carpets. They may even be able to eliminate that nasty odor. Once you pay these professional cleaners, make sure to save your receipt so you can show it to your insurance company.
No one wants a sewer backup to occur in their home. If you do experience this disaster, however, proper home insurance and cleaning professionals can make the ordeal less painful.

Common Causes of Generator Failure

8/26/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial generator Generator failure in the case of a storm can be difficult.

Common Generator Problems

If your business in Union Township, PA, is gearing up for a storm, you’ll need to have a properly functioning generator handy in case the power goes out. It’s crucial to address anything that seems to be going wrong as soon as possible in order to keep your business running smoothly after the storm. As you work on preparing for a severe weather event, be sure to keep these common generator problems in mind.


Various types of leaks can cause your unit to fail. Some of these may include:

  • Oil leaks
  • Fuel leaks
  • Coolant leaks
  • Wet stacking

Coolant leaks are typically a result of failed block heater hoses. These hoses fail when the high temperatures of block heaters cause the hoses to become worn out. Wet stacking, which describes a generator’s inability to use its excess fuel efficiently, may also appear as a leak. Make sure you pay close attention to each type of leak and take action immediately if one occurs.

Battery Failure

Battery failure is another common cause of generator problems. Not only is this a very simple cause, but it can also be easily prevented. When maintaining your unit, be sure to regularly check the batteries and confirm that they are in good condition. It’s also important to examine your chargers and cables on a regular basis so that you can detect any issues right away.

Low Fuel Levels

A generator may stop working suddenly if its fuel levels are too low. In some cases, a unit’s fuel gauges fail to display the correct levels of fuel, causing the unit to run out of fuel before you are aware of it. To prevent your fuel levels from running out, make sure that you manually check the levels and always be prepared to supply the unit with more fuel when necessary.
Generator problems may cause your business to suffer severe damage after a storm hits. No matter what type of storm damage you’re facing, emergency restoration services can give your business the help it needs.

How To Get Rid of Bad Odors After a Flood

7/11/2019 (Permalink)

Flooding causes water damage in a Cross Creek, PA home

Tips on How to Get Rid of Bad Odors After a Flood

Having excess water in your home in Cross Creek, PA, is never a pleasant experience. In addition to the damage the water alone can do, it can also lead to many problems such as contamination or mold growth that leave behind a terrible smell. Here are some tips on getting rid of the odors and their underlying causes.

Contaminated Water

The foul stench in your home after a heavy storm may be a sign of sewage. There are several ways that sewage can get into your home during a flood:

  • Toilet overflow
  • Sewer backup into shower or bath
  • Sewage in groundwater soaking into foundation

If you think you smell sewer water in your home, don't try to clean it up yourself. Sewer cleanup professionals have the protective gear and the proper equipment to deal with your sewage loss effectively. They can remove contaminated items and materials, disinfect the affected area and replace any ruined materials. An ozone machine or industrial purifier can then be used to freshen the air in your home.

Mold Problems

Unless technicians dry and clean the flooded areas of your home quickly, the musty odor you smell is probably mold. Mold growth can occur within as little as 24 hours after your home has flooded. Mold doesn't just stay on the surface where it lands, so wiping it away doesn't solve the problem. If you want to get rid of fungus, you will need professional mediation. After technicians have gotten rid of the secondary damage from the flood water, they can then address the smell. Air purifiers with a HEPA filter and an activated charcoal prefilter are particularly adept at trapping spores, thus improving air quality and smell.

Flooding not only causes damage but can also leave behind bad odors. Professional remediation can take care of the whole problem, leaving your home clean and ridding the air of any foul smells.

Heavy Winds

6/13/2019 (Permalink)

Is your home or business ready for heavy winds?

Heavy winds can damage literally hundreds of trees and create dangerous conditions.

Additionally, heavy winds can cause power outages.

Prepare BEFORE Heavy Winds strikes

  • Being proactive, and having a first aid kit--with fresh, non-expired products--both in your home and vehicles,
  • Walking your property during fair weather days, looking for ill and diseased trees,
  • Hanging or cracked branches which are extremely large and heavy.

If you note any of these things, seek out estimates to address and solve these problem trees BEFORE heavy, inclement weather arrives.

Also, consider how you and your family would function if you lost power due to heavy winds.

  • Do you have candles and flash lights with working batteries, and an extra sets of batteries?  
  • Blankets, and dry or pre-packaged food supplies for 2 or 3 days?
  • Don't forget water--assume one gallon per day for each person and animal.

If your home or business has experienced storm damage after heavy rains and winds please contact SERVPRO of North Washington County to clean up and restore. 

4 Steps to Take Before a Storm

6/8/2019 (Permalink)

If you are expecting a storm in North Washington County, and want to protect your home and family, there are several steps that you should follow. Flood water can cause quite a bit of damage and can compromise your safety, so keep these tips in mind during bad weather.

Have a Safety Plan

One of the most important things to do before a storm is to create a plan. You should know what you will do if the power goes out or, if the storm is severe, what you will do in the case of a flooded building. Consider all possibilities and be prepared.

Check Doors and Windows

To protect your home from water damage, you should make sure all of your doors and windows are properly sealed. A loose or broken seal can allow water to get inside, and even a small amount can cause problems. It is a good idea to perform regular maintenance on your home to prevent this.

Inspect the Outside of the House

If you have cracks in the exterior of your house, moisture can build up inside of the walls and damage the structure of the building. It can also contribute to the growth of mold. This fungus spreads quickly in dark, moist environments and can cause both discoloration and a musty odor.

Create an Emergency Kit

Depending on the type and severity of the storm, the contents of your emergency kit may vary. Some useful items to include are flashlights, radios, batteries, canned foods, and bottled water. Flood water can cause contamination, so you shouldn’t consume anything it touches.

Being prepared can help keep both your family and your home safe. However, if you do experience damage from a storm or flood water, a water damage remediation specialist can help get your home back to its previous condition. They can perform remediation, make repairs and restore damaged belongings.

3 Reasons Wildfires Could Lead to More Floods

6/5/2019 (Permalink)

There are a lot of natural disasters that can affect the North Washington County area. From floods to wildfires, you never know what's going to strike. Did you know that after a wildfire your area could actually be at a higher risk for flooding? The National Flood Insurance Program can help you better understand your risk of flooding. Check out these three reasons you could see more flooding after a wildfire from the FEMA NFIP.

No More Vegetation

One major component of wildfire damage is burned vegetation. Plants actually help take in water. When the vegetation is burnt away, the ground is now expected to soak up all of the rain that falls in the area. When the water no longer has anywhere to go, you may need a storm damage restoration professional.

New Terrain

The fires can even cause the terrain in your area to change. What was once solid ground can become weaker thanks to the new charred and barren features. You may notice that the top soil is swept away in heavy rains, which can mean that any flooding that does take place includes rocks and other potentially damaging debris. Because of the increased damage potential of floods after a wildfire, the FEMA NFIP suggests you update your flood insurance after any wild burnings.

Less Absorption

Not only does the decrease in vegetation lead to less water absorption, but so does the new soil. Fires can turn healthy top soil into ash. The burned ground actually acts a lot like pavement in that it does not let the rain water into the ground. With this increased run off, you may notice more standing water in your area even after light rains. Flooding damage then becomes more of a risk for your home because the water has nowhere else to go.

Wildfires don't always lead to flooding, but according to the FEMA NFIP, they could increase your future risk of floods. Because it takes a while for an environment to bounce back after fires, you could have an increased risk of flooding for at least five years.

4 Tips for Commercial Roof Maintenance

5/11/2019 (Permalink)

Always be sure to clean your gutters

Use the Following Tips for Proper Roof Upkeep

The roof is an important part of your Hanover Township, PA, building, but it might not be something that you often think about. Keeping your roof in good condition is an easy way to protect your building, as roof damage can contribute to problems in other areas.

1. Waterproof Your Roof

Water can cause a lot of damage to your building, from mold growth to warping walls. One way to prevent this is to seal your roof against water. This will make it less likely for your roof to be damaged during a storm or severe weather and will protect against leaks that might otherwise affect the floors underneath.

2. Have Regular Inspections

Proper maintenance requires inspections. This should be done at least a couple times each year to catch any roof damage before it becomes severe. If you see any cracks or broken areas, you should have these addressed immediately. It might be a good idea to hire a commercial building restoration service to conduct these inspections and perform any needed repairs.

3. Keep Your Roof Clean

One of the easiest ways to prevent damage and the need for a roof rebuild is to simply keep the area clean. If there are heavy rains, having debris on the roof can prevent the water from properly draining. This can result in pooling which can cause leaks and a weakened building structure. Always be sure to clean any drains and gutters as well.

4. Maintain the Area Around the Roof

The surrounding area can be just as important as the building itself. Severe storms with high winds can result in trees falling onto the roof and can also cause debris build-up. Trimming any nearby trees and keeping the area clean can help prevent this roof damage from occurring.

From wind damage to heavy rains, there are many factors that can contribute to damage of your roof. Keep it well-maintained to limit problems and prevent the rest of your building from being affected.

Black Water: 3 Tips for Cleanup and Remediation

4/23/2019 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO, highly trained specialists for black water cleanup.

How to Handle Black Water Cleanup

When flooding impacts your Hanover Township, PA, home, there is much to consider in terms of cleanup efforts. Assessing water damage, draining away standing water and salvaging household items will all likely be among your concerns; however, not all types of flood waters are the same, and those that come from outdoor and sewer sources are usually highly contaminated. If you are facing the cleanup of such water, there are a few tips you can keep in mind to prevent additional damage to your home and belongings.

1. Learn What Category Types Mean

Before you attempt to restore your home after flooding, it is important to understand what different water grades mean. For example, Category 1 comes from sanitary sources, such as from a broken kitchen pipe. Category 2 might include laundry detergent or other types of cleaning residue. Category 3, or black water, comes from storm and sewer flooding and may contain caustic chemicals, raw sewage and other contaminants. If this type of flooding is responsible for any water damage in your home, it is wise to avoid cleaning it up on your own.

2. Seal Affected Areas if Possible

You can mitigate category 3 water problems by sealing off affected rooms if it is safe to enter your home after flooding occurs. Shut any doors to prevent water from leaking into other areas and stuff their bases with towels. Avoid trying to drain any of the water yourself, as you may come into contact with harmful contaminants.

3. Call in a Professional Water Removal Service

Cleaning up category 3 water is a job best left to professionals who have the equipment and experience to handle it. A storm damage and flooding restoration service can bring in machinery such as trash and sumps pumps and ozone units to drain away the water and clean the air of any offensive odors that may remain.

When black water damage affects your Hanover Township, PA, home, understanding how to handle it safely can be vital to the process. While you might be able to perform some mitigation on your own, it is best to call a professional for drainage and restoration efforts.

3 Types of Home Damage To Look for After a Hail Storm

2/13/2019 (Permalink)

Hail storm in Burgettstown, PA

3 Areas to Inspect After a Hail Storm

Severe weather can happen in any season in  Burgettstown, PA, and without warning, you may find yourself in the middle of a violent hail storm. Once the storm is over, you will want to give your home a thorough inspection for hail damage. Some damage may simply be cosmetic, but there could be heavier damage that will lead to greater concerns. These are the three areas you should inspect after a hail storm:

1. Windows and Doors

Large pieces of hail can reach speeds of up to 100 mph, and broken windows can easily happen. Be sure to inspect glass doors for cracks or holes. Depending on the severity of the rain, water seepage could have occurred, causing greater damage to the interior of the house. Carefully check for any water damage to the window frames or drywall.

2. Siding and Exterior

Hail can dent aluminum siding and even cause shredding and splitting. It is important to look for dents, holes or chipping on the exterior of the house. Hail can also peel away paint, exposing the wood underneath to the elements.

3. Roofing and Structure Covering

Roof damage is the No. 1 type of damage from a hail storm. A metal roof may appear to only have dents and dings, but it could also have damage to the seams, which will cause leaking. Shingled roofs should be thoroughly inspected because their damage is not easily seen. Keep an eye out for “bruising,” or dark spots on an asphalt shingle where it is missing its granule finish. Wood shingles may have splits. Shingles that have sustained significant damage and all missing shingles should be replaced.

Once you've identified roof damage or other destruction from a storm, or if you want assistance in doing so, your local storm damage restoration company can help. The professionals can give you added advice and help you maintain your peace of mind after Mother Nature makes a house call.

Evacuation Plan

6/19/2018 (Permalink)

Summer brings longer days, and opportunities to share fun family activities together like boating, swimming, fireworks, the zoo, vacationing, and much, much more.  It's challenging to focus on ideas which would demand an evacuation plan from your home or business.  These are things that we definitely don't want to think about, especially when there's so much opportunity for summer fun.  However, disaster can strike at any single unexpected moment, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Take about 10 or 15 minutes to have a family meeting, and discuss logical plans to escape the building, and please absolutely agree on a meeting locale outside the home--so often, family members will re-enter a burning home, searching for a family member who may already be out, and they don't know it.  This sort of unplanned event would become all you can think about:  the unplanned expense, finding a reliable contractor, plus the inconvenience to you and your family.  We are always here to help. Estimates are free.