Recent Water Damage Posts

Winter Storm Recap: Winter Storm Uri

4/14/2021 (Permalink)

After the long drive across the country, our crew went face-to-face with the aftermath of February’s Winter Storm Uri. Keep reading to read our team members’ testimonials about their proudest moments of the Winter Storm Uri projects.

“We were grateful for the opportunity to travel to Oklahoma and Texas in order to aid businesses, local franchises, and residents after they had endured damage from Winter Storm Uri. All three of our Team Wall offices took part in the storm restoration process. To me, the thing that most stands out is the cooperation and teamwork between our team members and those from other offices. Even thousands of miles from home, it was easy to recognize our One Team mindset. Everyone worked hard in order to restore the lives of the inhabitants of homes and business owners.  Our traveling teams, who participated and provided support, as well as our team at home, working to assist businesses locally, both played a critical role in the success of our work. The pride I feel for our team cannot be properly expressed.”

- Jim Wall, Owner

“Even though every storm is different, it is always good to be out helping people. Because these storms leave homes and businesses backed up, it is very meaningful to us to be able to help.”

- Vinny Matthews, Resource Coordinator

“At the end of the day, we are satisfied that our clients express happiness and contentment with the work that we do, which makes it all worth it on our end. The SERVPRO brand is amazing in that we are supported from every angle. As a united front, our team bands together in order to assist our clients during the hardest time.”

- Brian Barry, Fire Production Manager

Opportunities to give back to the community, both near and far, and restore normalcy in our clients’ lives after enduring a disaster are always gratifying. Count on SERVPRO of Harrisburg West to remediate your home or business’ storm, fire, water, or mold emergency and make it “Like it never even happened.” By picking up the phone and calling us at (717) 510-6779, you will have our renowned Storm Damage Restoration Services, Commercial Storm Damage Restoration Services, and trusted Building Services on your side. Allow us to handle both the remediation and rebuild processes, having your back throughout the entire job, start to finish.

Black Mold in Your Shower? Here's What to Know

2/24/2021 (Permalink)

During a nice, relaxing shower after a long day, mold growth is certainly not something that you ever want to discover staring back at you. Unfortunately, showers and other areas of bathrooms are prime locations for mold growth, as mold thrives in environments that are damp or humid. Perhaps you’ve heard of the ominous black mold, rumored to be toxic and a major threat to the health of anyone who crosses its path. Two questions may come to mind: Is black mold as dangerous as it’s rumored to be? What should I do if I find black mold growing in my shower?

What is Black Mold?

Our page “Black Mold, What is It?” describes black mold in detail, but the following paragraph will give you a brief overview:

“Stachybotrys chartarum”, better known as black mold, is a type of mold with a black or dark green hue. It has been found that black mold dispenses toxic substances called mycotoxins that can lead to health effects. According to Medical News Today, there has not yet been evidence to prove that these symptoms are the direct result of mold spore inhalation. It is widely understood, however, that numerous types of mold bring about irritations and aggravate allergies. In order to best keep everyone in your home safe, it is important that you decrease exposure to mold growth of any kind and get help immediately. It may seem more effective to attempt to clean or get rid of mold yourself, but this can actually be counterproductive since coming into contact with mold of any kind can make the situation more dangerous. SERVPRO of Harrisburg West possesses the specialized equipment and training needed for the treatment of black mold and combatting a mold infestation of any size or variety. Immediately after discovering mold growth in your shower, pick up the phone and call us at (717) 510-6779.

Black Mold Infestation in Your Shower

So what if the mold that you’ve discovered in your shower is, in fact, black mold? You can often deduce that it’s black mold based on its color and texture. Black mold is typically black or dark green in color and appears slimy. Where does black mold grow? Does it make sense that it could be in your shower? The answer is yes. Because black mold requires the same conditions as other types of mold to grow and thrive, your moist and humid shower is susceptible to the growth of black mold. If you believe that the mold in your shower is black mold, or any other variety of mold, don’t hesitate. Call us immediately.

Preventing Black Mold Growth

To avoid the growth of black mold in your shower, you can take the following steps: First, increase ventilation and keep air moving in your bathroom by opening a window if one is available or turning on a fan while showering. Both of these actions are beneficial in decreasing moisture and humidity levels in your bathroom, making it more difficult for mold to grow. After a shower, you can utilize a squeegee or simply dry the walls of your shower in order to reduce the amount of lingering moisture. Another catalyst of mold growth of any kind in showers is leaking pipes. Therefore, keep a lookout for leaks in your bathroom and quickly dry any that you find. In order to prevent black mold growth, broken bathroom pipes must be repaired as soon as possible.

Don’t Waste Time: Call SERVPRO Immediately

Through the years, we’ve seen many different kinds of mold infestations and understand how pertinent it is that any kind of mold issue is remediated immediately. We’re committed to getting to you quickly and beginning our mold remediation process without delay. Here at SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, we have the tools and resources necessary for the level of mold and water remediation services that your home needs. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call us at (717) 510-6779 for professional black mold removal and mold remediation services that will make your mold infestation “Like it never even happened.” For more of our mold resources, be sure to take a look at our Mold Remediation Process and Overview of Mold Services.

How to Deal With a Polar Vortex

2/2/2021 (Permalink)

If you or I ever hear the term “polar vortex”, it means we are going to need to add a jumper or two to the list. The Polar Vortex is a region of cold air that gravitates towards the earth's poles. According to the National Weather Service, this zone will block jet streams and bring unseasonably cold weather. We were lucky enough to witness the plane Polar Vortex when our Arctic air took a trip south during the winter through the jet stream, falling in our own slice of Arctic air. It causes such cold conditions that are almost intolerable. It may come as a surprise to know that our homes and businesses, too, will suffer from the cold. As we need to dress warm and wear hats, we need to protect our homes and businesses the same way.

Effects of the Polar Vortex

Our homes and workplaces can be destroyed due to frozen pipes and ice jams during the “polar vortex” of the winter. It is now freezing cold in the Arctic, temperatures in the Arctic can cause the water in the pipes to ice and swell, which can cause the pipe to break. In the attic, as snow and ice mix and pile up, a "ridge" of ice will form and prevent the melting snow from leaving the roof. This is called "Ice Damming" which allows water and ice to spill down through the roof and into the house.

How to Prepare

  • Clean snow off of the roof as soon as possible. Be sure to remove any lingering snow or ice from a previous storm off the roof first.
  • Be sure that your attic or top floor is properly insulated before a storm. If your amount of insulation is lacking, adding extra insulation may be helpful.
  • Before a storm, be sure that all pipes are insulated and any cracks are sealed.
  • When temperatures drop, let your faucets drip in order to keep water flowing.
  • Maintain consistent, warm temperatures inside of your home or business. Additionally, make certain that your insulation is sufficient throughout the home or building

How We Care For Your Water Damaged Products

12/23/2020 (Permalink)

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “home” as “one’s place of residence”, but here at SERVPRO, we know that it’s much more than that. Beyond being the place in which you live, your home is also the foundation that holds your personal belongings. These items are what transform your house into your home. In the event that your house sustains water damage, both its physical foundation and its contents are put at risk for significant damage, as water can impose serious damage on the furniture, photographs, or other types of belongings that you adore. At SERVPRO, we are committed to handling your home and personal belongings with care and we strive to restore the contents of your home rather than replacing them.

Because SERVPRO offers a wide variety of contents restoration services, we have a service that will meet your needs, no matter the nature of the water damage that has affected your home. Keep reading in order to gain a deeper understanding of our commitment to handling the contents of your home with care after any devastating water emergency.

Contents Restoration

We offer 7 different options for restoration services, depending on your unique situation and the kind of water damage that the contents have sustained. For cases in which there is only light residue, dry cleaning may be utilized. Conversely, if there is moderate to heavy residue, wet cleaning may be necessary. If wet cleaning is not appropriate for some contents, we may utilize spray and wipe or, for fabric items, foam cleaning. Finally, we may utilize immersion cleaning or abrasive cleaning, contingent on the type of items affected.

Move-Out and Pack-Out

If your home requires cleaning services that are substantial for water-damaged contents, a move-out of the affected area may be beneficial. Protecting your belongings from additional damage, a move-out often proves to facilitate the restoration process. We also offer move-in day services, but be sure to check with your insurance in order to understand which services will be available to you.

Electronic Cleanup

Electronic devices can be the most dangerous of all belongings if they come into contact with water. It is imperative that you do not attempt to power on or utilize any electronic devices in the event that they have sustained water damage, as water and electronics make for a dangerous and sometimes deadly combination. Whether it be a T.V., computer, DVD player, or another kind of electronic device, our specialists will focus on professionally cleaning the exterior in an effort to protect the interior of each electronic device. Lastly, an experienced electronics technician will inspect all electronics after they’ve been cleaned in order to ensure your safety.

Document and Photograph Drying

Photographs and other types of documents are especially at risk for serious damage in the event that they come into contact with water, as even the smallest drop of liquid can result in important information or images becoming smudged, unrecognizable, or ruined. Therefore, we are devoted to drying contents and preventing the possibility of the item sustaining additional water damage to the best of our ability, even if we are not able to restore the item to its preloss condition.  No matter the type of contents in need of drying, one of the five drying services that we offer will fit your needs. From air drying, dehumidifier, or freezer drying to vacuum freeze drying and vacuum thermal drying, we have a drying service that will work for you.

Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS)

We know how stressful a water damage emergency in your home can be, which is why we offer our Contents Claim Inventory Service, or CCIS for short. The CCIS is a tool that can help limit your feelings of stress by making a detailed list of your belongings. This list will include each item in every room of your home with details concerning any water damage that it has sustained in addition to its value before the water loss. In conjunction with photos and barcoding, the CCIS will form a detailed picture of the contents of your home and, above all, it will restore your peace of mind during a tumultuous time.

Need More Information?

If the contents of your home have endured water damage and are in need of our services, don’t wait. Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West immediately at (717) 510-6779. You can also find answers to any questions that you may have concerning the ways in which we care for your personal belongings after a water emergency here. Additionally, you can learn more about our water damage restoration services and process by clicking here. We know that the contents of your home hold a tremendous amount of value to you and your family and are the items that make your house your home. As a result, we are committed to working tirelessly to restore your damaged belongings to their previous condition, handling them with the utmost care every step of the way.

Causes of Sump Pump Failure

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

“Causes of Sump Pump Failure”

You can usually find sump pumps in commercial buildings’ basements, working to drain water from the basement and pump it out, away from the building. Sump pumps play a critical role in protecting buildings from flooding and water damage. This is why a sump pump failure can be devastating and lead to a costly cleanup. In order to prevent a sump pump failure in your commercial building, it is important to first gain an understanding of why sump pumps fail.


Old Age

First, consider the age of your building’s sump pump. One of the most common reasons for sump pump failure is that the unit is old. After 7-10 years, sump pump failure is inevitable. Therefore, it is paramount that sump pumps be replaced when they begin to show signs of wear and tear in order to avoid disaster.

Power Outage

During these stormy summer months and hurricane season, a common reason as to why sump pumps fail is a power outage. Rain water from storms alone can overwhelm sump pumps, but major problems can occur if the storm causes a power outage, as it will prevent the sump pump from being able to do its job. In order to prevent your building’s basement from flooding during a power outage, be sure to hook your sump pump up to a backup generator. 

Infrequent Maintenance

Finally, sump pumps can fail if they are not receiving regular maintenance. To avoid a failure due to infrequent maintenance, make sure that you run a vinegar solution through the unit and check that its vents are functioning properly.

Sump Pump Failure? Call SERVPRO

In the event that your commercial building experiences water damage due to a sump pump failure, look no further than SERVPRO. We are experts in commercial water damage and have years of experience in our tool belt to provide you with effective restoration services unique to your building. We’ll also protect your building from the growth of mold and mildew through our advanced drying techniques. Read an overview of our water damage services by clicking here. Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West today at (717) 510-6779 to schedule a consultation.

Top 3 Source of Water Damage in Your Kitchen

9/1/2020 (Permalink)

Water Faucet The effects of water damage on your home can be devastating and costly.

We’re in our kitchens every day, cooking meals, washing dishes, and so much more. These activities involve significant quantities of water, so it makes sense that kitchens are notorious for experiencing water damage. Several areas of the kitchen can be problematic in terms of water leakage and in order to protect your kitchen from water damage, it is important to know the locations of common problem spots. Keep reading to learn about 3 of the most common water damage sources in the kitchen.

  • The Sink

Whether it’s washing the dishes, handwashing, or filling up a cup of water to drink, sinks use a lot of water. Sinks leak due to a variety of complications, including corrosion of sink parts and leaks in the drain or faucet. The best way to prevent water damage stemming from the sink is to check the sink’s piping for corroded parts and leaks every 6 months.

  • The Dishwasher

Dishwashers require a tremendous amount of water in order to wash cups, plates, and silverware on a daily basis. The large quantity of water required by the dishwasher combined with its frequent usage makes for greater chances that the dishwasher will leak. When dishwashers leak, it may be the result of the wrong type of detergent being used, the unit overfilling with water, or a bent dishwasher door latch. To protect your kitchen from water damage due to a dishwasher leak, keep an eye out for pools of water beneath the dishwasher.

  • The Refrigerator and Ice Maker

There’s nothing better on a summer day than a refreshing glass of your favorite beverage, made cool with the help of a little refrigeration and ice. However, the refrigerator and ice maker can make for a mess of water damage, as they’re prone to breaking down and causing leaks. Ice maker leaks can be the result of a wide array of problems, with the two most common being worn-out or damaged parts as well as improper installation. Keep an eye out for water accumulating on the floor underneath the fridge and ice maker, which is usually evidence that a leak has sprung. Additionally, it is beneficial to have refrigerators and ice makers inspected and maintenanced regularly to prevent unexpected leaks.

The effects of water damage on your home can be devastating and costly, risking structural damage and destruction of surfaces and appliances, as well as mold and mildew growth. If you have experienced water damage in your kitchen, remember that SERVPRO is standing by, ready to help. Here at SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, our water damage specialists have years of experience with kitchen water damage and will know what to do to restore your kitchen. Learn more about our water damage services here and call us today at (717) 510-6779 for a quick and thorough restoration.

Dealing With Toilet Overflow

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Toilet in Abandoned Bathroom Sometimes, it is possible to resolve a toilet overflow on your own if you catch it right away and know for a fact that it hasn’t caused water damage.

There’s nothing worse than realizing that your toilet has overflowed, leaving water spread across your bathroom floor, risking serious water damage. Water resulting from a toilet overflow can inflict damage on bathroom floors and potentially leak into the ceiling below, creating an ever more serious issue. Toilet overflows can be messy, unpleasant, and potentially costly, which makes it important to do everything in your power to prevent them from happening. To understand common causes of toilet overflows, prevent them from happening, and know how to clean up, continue reading.

What Causes a Toilet Overflow?

Toilet overflows can be the result of many different complications. Three common causes are sewage complications, a clogged drain, and a blocked vent.

A full septic tank or a clogged sewer line are two sewage complications that can be the root cause of a toilet overflow. If your home has a septic tank, it works to release excess water into the ground. If your tank is full, the water will travel back into the house, risking an overflow. Additionally, if a sewer line becomes blocked, whether it be by tree roots and debris or sanitary wipes, flooding can occur in addition to a toilet overflow.

When the toilet drain becomes clogged or blocked, which can occur frequently, the toilet cannot flush properly and may overflow. Usually, using a plunger to unclog the toilet works to resolve the issue.

Lastly, the vent pipe works to pump external air, which is used every time you flush the toilet. A blocked vent pipe restricts proper flushing, therefore risking an overflow. A professional, experienced plumber is usually needed in order to relieve the problem.

How to Clean Up

Upon seeing a toilet overflow, your initial reaction may consist of wincing and exclaiming “oh no!” Immediately after coming to terms with what happened, the first thing that you should do is turn off the water and stop the flow of water from the toilet. Next, remove any standing water on your bathroom surfaces as quickly as possible using a mop, wet vacuum, or towels. Regardless of the method you choose, time is of the essence because the longer water sits on surfaces, the more serious damage it may cause. Once all standing water is removed, it is important to use a high-powered fan to dry out the area in order to prevent mold and mildew growth. Lastly, be sure to disinfect and clean both the affected surfaces and any areas nearby.

We’re Water Damage Specialists

Sometimes, it is possible to resolve a toilet overflow on your own if you catch it right away and know for a fact that it hasn’t caused water damage. In most cases, however, toilet overflows cause serious damage that requires the help of a professional to remediate water damage caused by the overflow. For a water damage restoration that you can trust, call SERVPRO today. Our team of water damage specialists are experienced in restoring water damage resulting from toilet overflows. To learn more about the water damage services that we provide, click here.

Bathroom Mold: A Growing Concern

7/14/2020 (Permalink)

Dark Bathroom Set up your inspection and mold damage assessment by calling us at (717) 510-6779. Our mold remediation specialists will provide expert, reliable help

Habitually filled with moisture and humidity, it’s no wonder mold is so drawn to bathrooms. These two characteristics present prime conditions for mold growth. Mold can grow exponentially in as few as 24 hours in optimal conditions, which can bring about major damage. Because mold infestations can negatively affect not only the safety of your bathroom, but the health of those in your home as well, taking preventative measures against mold growth is critical. The first step is to develop an understanding of how and why mold grows in bathrooms.

Understanding the Causes of Bathroom Mold Growth

Lack of ventilation is one of the top reasons as to why mold can grow so easily in bathrooms. After taking a bath or shower, moisture has a habit of lingering on walls and other surfaces. Mold growth is facilitated if that moisture sits idly and isn’t dried. Additionally, fabric materials in the bathroom, such as bath rugs and towels, can become damp after a bath or shower, which increases the chances of mold growing on those surfaces. Finally, leaking plumbing, sinks, and toilets can cause moisture to accumulate in isolated areas, risking mold growth.

How to Prevent Mold Growth

Due to bathrooms’ constant exposure to water, eliminating moisture altogether is unreasonable. However, there are various ways in which you can reduce the chances of mold growth in your bathroom. Get into the habit of turning on your bathroom fan for a minimum of 30 minutes after every bath or shower in order to increase ventilation. It is also important that humidity levels in the home stay below 45% in an effort to reduce humidity in your bathroom. Bath towels, rugs, and other fabrics can be washed frequently to combat the risk of mold growth. Regularly check plumbing for leaks so that if a leak forms, you can bring it to a halt before it can do any serious damage. In an effort to prevent moisture from lingering after a bath or shower, consider using a squeegee to remove the moisture from shower walls.

What to Do If You Spot Mold Growth

Because mold commonly grows in dark, isolated, and hidden spots like corners and in between tile, it can sometimes be difficult to catch. In the event that you discover mold growth in your bathroom, it is imperative that you don’t touch the mold. Coming into contact with mold can cause health effects. Attempting to clean the mold or dry it out may seem like helpful steps, but they can actually cause mold spores to travel to other areas of the bathroom, increasing the severity of the mold problem. While all of this may seem scary, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to face your mold problem on your own. SERVPRO is here to help. Set up your inspection and mold damage assessment by calling us at (717) 510-6779. Our mold remediation specialists will provide expert, reliable help immediately so that your bathroom can return to a safe and clean condition as soon as possible. Visit to learn more about our mold remediation services.

Deal with A Leaky Dishwasher

4/27/2020 (Permalink)

We use dishwashers practically every day in order to ensure that our silverware, cups, and dishes are clean. Because dishwashers are used so frequently, there is a greater risk for the formation of a leak and even flooding. Your kitchen and its surrounding areas can experience serious water damage if the leak or flooding from the dishwasher is significant. At first glance, a small leak may not seem capable of instigating major water damage, but a series of small leaks or a recurring leak can cause a large quantity of water to accumulate over time, thus resulting in larger-scale water damage. It is important to understand the common causes of dishwasher leaks and floods, as well as methods of effective cleaning in order to protect your home from extensive water damage.

There are many reasons as to why dishwashers can leak or flood, but there are three common causes with which it is beneficial to be familiar. Damage to a dishwasher door, such as a bent door latch or an improperly latched door, is the first of three common causes of dishwasher leaks. Dishwasher door damage is most likely the culprit of your leak if you observe a leak directly beneath the dishwasher door. The use of an improper dishwasher detergent is a second common cause of dishwasher leaks. Standard dish soap may appear to be an acceptable alternative to dishwasher detergent, but dish soap is not appropriate for dishwashers, as it produces an excess of foam and suds. Those suds push water against the dishwasher door, which apply pressure to the dishwasher door and can result in water leaking out of the unit. Dishwasher units can malfunction on occasion and take in more water than they should, which serves as a third common cause of dishwasher leaks. When dishwashers overfill with water, the unit may have trouble draining properly, thus increasing the likelihood of water leaking or flooding from the unit.

Cleaning Up
In order to prevent more water from escaping the unit, water must be shut off before the cleanup process begins. Because water and electricity are not a safe combination, it is extremely important to also shut off electricity if your dishwasher unit is located near electrical outlets or other electrical appliances. Following this step, the next order of business is to, through the use of a mop or towels, remove as much standing water as possible. If there is still water flowing from the unit, it may be beneficial to create a barrier using towels. The leak or flood water may have reached surrounding areas of your kitchen, such as cabinets, nearby furniture, or pantries, so it is important to check those areas for water damage. If they have undergone such damage, remove items within cabinets or pantries and clear out damaged furniture from the area. A wet-dry vacuum can be used to eliminate any additional standing water. After this has been completed, it is important to dry and disinfect the surfaces that have been impacted by the dishwasher leak or flood in order to protect against the growth of mold or mildew, which can lead to further damage. Mold thrives in moisture and humidity, so it is a good idea to open windows as a means of maintaining air circulation and utilize a dehumidifier to sustain low levels of humidity inside of your home.

Need Additional Help?
Dishwasher leaks and floods can be overwhelming. SERVPRO’s trained water damage specialists and advanced drying equipment are just a call away and ready to help remediate the areas of your home that have experienced water damage as a result of a dishwasher leak or flood.

Spring Mold Prevention

4/10/2020 (Permalink)

"Now Is The Time For Special Cleaning" graphic text If not handled properly, mold has a better chance to regrow, or even spread.

Springtime is in full swing, with flowers blossoming, birds singing, and temperatures getting a little warmer. This change in direction towards more pleasant weather drives us to open windows and let in the fresh air. While this may seem appealing, doing so can actually increase the chances of mold growing in your home.

What Should I Look For?

Mold can grow at any time during the year, but during the spring, warmer and more humid spring air enters the home, which creates the perfect conditions for mold growth when combined with moisture on any surface, including wood, carpet, and insulation among others. This spring, protect your home and those living in it by understanding effective preventative measures that you can take to stop mold from growing in your home.
First and foremost, it is crucial to keep air circulating throughout the home during the spring in order to reduce humidity and prevent mold growth. Fans can be incredibly helpful in maintaining air flow and dehumidifiers are effective in decreasing humidity levels within the home. Humidity levels in the home should not exceed 45%. Some areas of the home that are habitually cold and dark are particularly susceptible to mold growth, so it may be beneficial to pay close attention to these areas and do your best to bring in natural or artificial light in order to help prevent mold growth.
Rain showers and storms are prevalent during the springtime, which can lead to the growth of mold on areas surrounding windows and doors of your home.

How Do I Handle Mold Growth?

In order to prevent mold growth in these areas, be sure to frequently check surfaces surrounding doors and windows, including walls, floors, and windowsills. If moisture from rain or storms accumulates on these areas, it is important that they are dried quickly and thoroughly. Moisture can also accumulate in these areas due to condensation on windows and doors, which occurs frequently throughout the spring with differing temperatures indoors and outdoors. When met with humidity, mold can grow quickly in these areas.
If you see mold growing on a surface in your home, it is important to scrub the area diligently using detergent and water. Thoroughly drying the surface afterward is equally important, because if there is still moisture left in the area, you run the risk of mold growing on the surface once more. Usually, isolated and small-scale mold growth is manageable.

If Mold Is Unmanageable -- Call A Pro

However, larger-scale mold infestations can become overwhelming and require the assistance of professionals. Call SERVPRO’s mold remediation specialists to effectively inspect, assess, and remediate your home’s mold situation.

Understanding Ceiling Stains

9/30/2019 (Permalink)

A water stain on your ceiling could be caused by a leaky pipe.

An unwanted yellow ring or streak of discolored substance is undoubtedly one of the worst discoveries to make when glancing up at the ceiling in passing. The visible markings of a water leak, these stains indicate water damage in your ceiling, which can not be expunged with a new coat of paint or averting your eyes from the stain. Ignorance will only cause the problem to grow, facilitating the growth of mold and mildew. Therefore, it is crucial that the damaged area of the ceiling is quickly remedied. However, before taking action, it may be beneficial to understand the common causes of ceiling water stains.

Common Causes

With a solid understanding of the common causes of these stains, the root of your ceiling’s stain can be determined, which can help identify the best course of action to take. Ceiling water stains are primarily formed from three scenarios: clogged gutters, caulking issues, and leaky pipes. If a heavy rainstorm has recently occurred, clogged gutters may be the cause of your ceiling’s water stain. When gutters overflow, rain water can seep into your home and stain ceilings. If the ceiling stain appears soon after a shower or bath was taken in your home, the stain may be due to a caulking issue. Old caulking is prone to cracking and deteriorating, which can lead to leaks when water escapes a shower or bathtub. Finally, water can leak from pipes that run throughout your home. If a dishwasher, bathtub, refrigerator, or even an air conditioner are situated directly above the stain on the next floor up, your ceiling stain may have been caused by leaky pipes. Take a moment to recall the last time someone took a shower or bath, last week’s heavy rainstorm, and the last time you ran the dishwasher. Your leak may have been connected to one of those situations.

Taking Action vs Calling a Professional

Drilling into your ceiling in order to verify the source of the leak can be a daunting task for many homeowners. If you have any hesitation, calling a professional may be the right call. With the tools, knowledge, and experience, a professional can remedy the water stain quickly and effectively.

Why Is My Air Conditioner Leaking?

8/23/2019 (Permalink)

As we near the end of August and begin the transition into fall, summer temperatures will remain for a while longer, pressuring our air conditioners to continue relieving us from the heat. The chances of your air conditioning unit leaking are increased with constant use. While a small leak may seem manageable and not immediately concerning, it can grow into a much larger issue, resulting in serious amounts of water damage if your faulty AC unit isn't repaired quickly. Without repairs, you run the risk of mold or bacteria growth and caved-in ceilings as well as other types of structural damage to walls and floors. Being able to understand the problems that lead to leaky air conditioners, such as clogged drain lines, improper installation, and frozen evaporator coils, will help you to identify the reason why your unit is leaking and how to resolve the issue. 

An air conditioning unit's drain line clogs when debris, dirt, or rust accumulates within the drain line, creating a blockage that results in the drain pan overflowing. Leaking onto the pan's surroundings, objects such as carpets, floors, walls, and ceilings can be damaged. Suppose your home's AC unit was installed recently and a leak emerges. This is a common result of improper installation. When the drain line isn't secured tightly, the pipe can loosen and eventually separate from the unit, causing a leak. If your unit was not recently installed and its drain line is not blocked, your unit's air filter may be to blame. The longer an air conditioner is used, the greater the possibility of the filter filling with dirt, clogging the filter. When the filter clogs, ice forms inside of the evaporator coils and when that ice melts, the unit can leak. Replace your air filter on a regular basis in order to prevent the filter from clogging.

While you can take every preventative measure to prevent your air conditioning unit from leaking, there is always a chance that your unit could leak. In that case, turn off your AC unit and call a professional immediately after you discover a leak. Automatically shutting off the AC unit when its air filter or drain line clogs, a float switch can be installed by a professional to provide additional protection.

What to Do When Your Washing Machine Floods

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Suppose you enter your laundry room one day to find that the floor is covered in water from your washing machine. As horrific as this hypothetical situation may be, it is important to recognize that washing machines can and most likely will flood at some point in time, so knowing how to manage the flooding is absolutely necessary. Hoses as well as seals located inside of the washing machine are usually to blame when a washing machine breaks and floods. When this occurs, flood water can spread to surrounding carpets and walls, which can easily be damaged by the water if it is not removed quickly.

Turn off the water and unplug the washer immediately after you discover that the washing machine is flooding in order to stifle the flow of water and prevent the water and electricity from reacting with one another while cleaning up. Before you begin cleaning, take any clothes that were inside of the washing machine when it began to flood out of the washer. Use towels, a mop, or a wet water vacuum depending on what you have available in order to eliminate any water. Dry the affected area using fans or dehumidifiers and if the weather is mild and dry. If carpets or drywall were destroyed by water damage during the flood, replace these items with fresh carpet and drywall. Disinfect the affected area before you return to regular use of the washing machine.

In order to ensure that you don’t discover a broken washing machine in your laundry room once more, avoid pouring too much detergent into the washing machine. Using an unnecessarily large amount of detergent for a load of laundry can result in the formation of an excessive amount of suds that can overflow and cause the washing machine to flood. If you notice any signs of corrosion on the washing machine’s hoses, be cautious when running loads of laundry until they can be replaced or repaired, as the machine can flood of the hoses break. Finally, monitor the state of the washing machine’s drain line because if the drain clogs, the risk of the machine to flood will be enhanced.

What Causes Pipes to Leak?

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage can occur as a result of flooding in homes. But what causes that flooding? A common origin is pipes that leak. Water damage can be destructive, so it is beneficial to be able to understand the reasons as to why pipes leak.

Eating away at pipes, corrosion can cause pipes to rust, break, and therefore leak. Make sure to watch for discolored water coming from the pipes and deformed pipes, since these can indicate corrosion. Any rusting on the pipe itself as well as other visible signs of corrosion can also imply this type of damage. Avoid pipe corrosion by surveying the condition of pipes before buying a home in order to make sure that they are in good shape. You can also have the pH of your water tested by professionals and make an effort to stop leakage using satisfactory clamps until professionals can sufficiently fix the damaged pipes.

To bind water connectors, seals are adhered to the pipes when installed. With age and usage, the seals can break and therefore cause flooding. If you see any puddles of water forming on the ground beneath a seal or condensation on the outside of the pipes, the seals have likely been damaged. In order to protect seals from this damage, be sure to run water through your pipes regularly so that the don’t dry out and keep your eyes peeled for any of the aforementioned indicators of damage. If you don’t run water through the pipes regularly, the dried pipes can cause seals to crack and eventually break. Ask a friend or neighbor to run the water in your home in the event that you must leave town for a prolonged period of time, as doing so will protect the pipes and seals from damage.

Causing pipes to contract and expand, extreme changes in temperature can cause pressure buildups in pipes. This increased pressure results in pipes rupturing and leaking in response. Pay close attention to the price of your water bill, as leakage can skyrocket the price. While it may sound odd, monitoring the smell your drains can also be beneficial, as a musty smell emanating from the drain can signify leaky pipes. Finally, if you notice any sudden changes in water pressure or flow, it may also be pointing to leaky pipes. Open cabinet doors, allow warmth to reach the pipes, and keep water flowing through the pipes in order to prevent your pipes from freezing during the cold months. Setting your thermostat to a certain, fixed temperature may also prove to maintain the good condition of your pipes.

Preventing Water Damage To Carpets

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

Preventing Water Damage To Carpets

How Can Carpets Be Damaged by Water?

Water damage to carpets is most commonly the result of plumbing issues such as leaky pipes and weather effects such as flooding or leaking after the buildup of water in areas that store water during storms such as attics or basements.

Warning Signs

Discoloration of the carpet is a visible sign of water damage. However, water damage can impact carpet without visible indicators. For example, another common sign of water damage is a putrid, musty odor that will not vanish after cleaning. Illness of those living in the house as well as amplified allergy symptoms may also signify the presence of water damage to carpets in a home.

Why You Should Act Quickly

Mold and mildew will grow in the damaged carpet the longer it remains untreated. In this case, the carpet will need to be completely removed, as mold and mildew cannot be destroyed through simple cleaning. The carpet padding and subfloor underneath the carpet can also be damaged if the area is not hastily cleaned. Finally, mold and mildew can cause detrimental effects to the health of those living in the home, as they can infiltrate the home’s ventilation system.

Precautions to Take

Any moisture in the carpet will need to be removed using a wet water vacuum. Surrounding furniture should also be checked to ensure that they have not also been contaminated. To prevent further mold growth, it may also be beneficial to scrub other carpets and walls in the room that was affected. Dry out the room and create better ventilation by opening windows and utilizing fans or a dehumidifier. To treat a specific area, sprinkle baking soda on top of the area and vacuum. Steam-cleaning the area will also help to destroy dead mold spores. When in doubt, call SERVPRO to guarantee a thorough and sufficient elimination of water damage in your carpet.

Why Did My Basement Flood?

4/3/2019 (Permalink)

Water will find the least path of resistance and it could be into your basement. Be prepared and know how to prevent a flooded home!

Why Did My Basement Flood?

Flooding of basements is one of the most common issues most homeowners face. Although flooding occurs during heavy rains or rapid snowmelts, it can also occur in dry weather.

There are many reasons for basement flooding including seepage, storm sewer backup, and improper grading among others. As the basement lies in the lowest level of a building, it is prone to flooding.

What causes basement flooding?

These are the most common causes of basement flooding:

Foundation Leaks: Water can seep into the foundation if there are cracks in it. The risk of flood in your foundation is more if your home is near groundwater. Cracks in the foundation can lead to significant water leakage into the basement.

Leaking basement windows: Windows in the basement can leak and let water creep in during rains. Whenever it rains, there could be a significant collection of water on the windowsills. Fixing the windowsill is the only option to prevent basement flooding.

Blocked sewer: If the manifold that connects the public sewer system to your house is blocked it can lead to floods in your basement. It is important to call local authorities immediately to address blocked gutters and SERVPRO of New Cumberland/Carlisle to mitigate the sewage and water damage.

Debris in gutters: The gutters play a critical role in preventing basement flooding as they carry away rain water from the home.  If they are clogged or damaged, they can overflow during rains and allow water to build up. If the ground near the basement soaks up too much water, it can seep into the basement as well.

Improper grading or sloping: If the yard does not slope away in the right manner, rain water does not drain effectively. If the sloping is towards your home rather than away, excess water can result in basement flooding. 

Improper downspouts: Downspouts channel water away from the foundation and should be at least 5 to 6 feet away from the wall of the basement. If the downspouts are missing or broken, water tends to pool near the house and slowly seeps into the basement.

SERVPRO of New Cumberland/Carlisle provides professional emergency clean up and restoration services on a 24/7 basis. Should you encounter water or sewage damage call our office directly at 717-761-2173.

When Does Insurance Cover Mold Remediation?

2/15/2019 (Permalink)

Window in a bathroom Water Damage that goes unaddressed can lead to a much bigger and more costly situation!

When Insurance Will and Won’t Cover Mold Remediation

One of the unwelcome consequences of water damage, dampness or humidity is mold overgrowth. The costs of mold-related diseases are as high as $22.4 billion annually in the U.S. alone as per the Journal of Environmental and Public Health.

Mold is a fungus that occurs naturally and is not visible to the naked eye. Reproducing with the help of spores, mold can infiltrate buildings easily. Mold insurance is an absolute must for homeowners given the high cost of repair and maintenance of buildings that have been damaged by mold.

What does insurance cover mold remediation?

Homeowners insurance typically covers mold damage only when a "covered peril" causes it. The “covered perils” for which mold remediation is covered by insurance companies include:

  • Fire
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Malicious mischief
  • Lightning
  • Damage due to vehicles
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of snow, ice, or sleet
  • Frozen pipes
  • Accidental water overflow from heating, plumbing, sprinkler systems, air conditioners, and household appliances

When does insurance not cover mold remediation?

Home insurance policies do not cover mold remediation if it resulted from preventable causes such as flood, water damage, or high humidity. Homeowners are expected to take preventive measures to avoid mold damage that includes professional cleaning, drying, and regular maintenance.

Standard homeowners’ policies will not provide mold remediation cover for “maintenance” problems such as repeated water leaks, continuous water seepage, humidity problems, and ongoing issues related to condensation, landscaping or drainage. Most homeowners’ policies also do not cover flood damage which is usually provided as a separate add-on.

Addressing water damage at it's onset with the help of professionals at SERVPRO of New Cumberland/Carlisle is the ideal way to prevent the costly expense of mold remediation.