Recent Posts

Water Damage

6/6/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara is a company that specializes in restoring water damage.

With any leak, its the water you don't see that can cause the most damage. When you experience a water damage, make the right choice. A mop and common household cleaning products may not be enough for the unseen water intrusions.  While the surface may seem dry, the water you do not see can contain bacteria, or cause mold, rot and other unseen damage.

DID YOU KNOW...The insurance industry estimates that approximately 90 percent of household damages stem from water-related occurrences. The most commonly reported cause is leaky or broken pipes and plumbing fixtures.


Home appliances are considered a leading cause of preventable water damage. By implementing a simple inspection and maintenance program, homeowners can reduce their risk significantly:

  • Dishwasher - Periodically check around the base of the dishwasher, as well as the water supply line under the sink.
  • Refrigerator - For refrigerators with ice makers, periodically check the hose connection attached to the water supply.
  • Washing Machine - Hoses should be inspected regularly for wetness around hose ends, as well as for signs of bulging, cracking or fraying. Hoses should be replaced every three to five years.
  • Water Heater - While the service life of the standard water heater is 10 to 15 years, water heaters should be inspected routinely for signs of leaks or tank rust. Water heaters should be located next to a floor drain or placed inside a drain pan piped to the floor drain.

So before risking the value of your home or further damage by attempting to clean and dry it yourself, or if you want to be sure that a past event is not creating problems today, call SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara today at 717-561-1404

"Toxic Black Mold"

6/6/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara brings you the following article which we believe is timely regarding the 'dangers' of mold.

Insights on so the called  "Toxic Black Mold from Eric Mercer of Aether Assesments   

" Before you start thinking that we are jumping on-board with the media or other companies that use scare tactics to drum up business, the article title was merely meant to get your attention!  You will never see me write about toxic black mold on my website or in a report, despite the power it seems to have in getting people to open their wallets.  

You see, there are actually many things wrong with that label.  One is that molds themselves are not toxic.  Under certain conditions they produce mycotoxins, but the actual research into doses and health effects is not very clear.  Second, even though it has become synonymous with Stachybotrys, many molds can appear black at various stages of their life cycle.

Don't get me wrong - I have no doubt that reactions to mold and mold by-products exist and I am not down-playing any potential health issues that people have experienced, it is just that it is not feasible to quantify this reaction and exposure.  As a matter of fact I routinely experience multiple physical symptoms during an assessment.  In addition, mold is problematic as it is well documented that it is allergenic alive or dead, degrades building materials, and is indicative of an underlying water intrusion issue that needs to be corrected.

So, with some exceptions your concern should be why do you have mold growth and not be so much whether you have toxic black mold - After all, if I were to provide an assessment and told you that Stachybotrys was not identified, but that the predominant genera appeared to be Penicillium or Cladosporium  would you be content to leave that nice fuzzy growth on your walls? Of course not.  That would be like saying you have a Pit Bull biting one leg and a Doberman biting the other, but you are only worried about getting rid of the Pit Bull because you have heard their bite is a little worse!

Determining the predominant types of mold present can provide useful information in certain situations, but will typically not alter the recommendations for corrective actions and remediation procedures.  Therefore, I would recommend that you recognize that ANY type of mold growth on building materials is a potential signal that a deficiency is present that needs to be identified, corrected, and remediated in order to return your indoor space to normal fungal ecology..."

At SERVPRO of Hershey Swatara - we are trained and equiped to remediate mold damage, following IICRC guidelines.  We proudly serve the Central Pennsylvania area and we will glady provide you with a free estimate for mold remediation.

How to select a Mold Remediation Company

6/6/2018 (Permalink)

Many people will have a hard time trying to find a reliable mold remediation company here in Central Pa. It can be overwhelming. Here are a few ideas to help you wade through the myriad of mold remediation company listings, and hopefully find one that you can count on to do the job right, and for the right price.

  1. Check out the reputation of the company - do some research on-line. 

  2. Are they insured for what they do? Because of the litigation associated with mold there are many insurance companies who will not insure against mold. It is common for commercial liability insurance to exclude pollution that apply to mold. Those that do usually require high premiums to offset the risk they incur. As a result, companies that advertise themselves as remediation companies may not be properly insured against risks.  You ask specifically about pollution coverage because it will be a special coverage of the liability insurance.

  3. Are they trained?  Pennsylvania does not have any special certification requirements. However, that does not mean that the technicians performing the work are not trained. The company you use should have an employee training and certification program.

  4. What is the planned job process?  Mold should be contained, and then removed. Generally accepted guidelines for mold remediation recommends that any mold remediation in excess of 10 square feet should be isolated with a containment to prevent spread of mold spores. A HEPA filtered air scrubber should be used inside the containment, and it is most effective if it is set up to provide negative air pressure (meaning air is being sucked into the containment so that mold spores can’t leak out). Mold infested porous material like sheetrock, carpet, and carpet pad should be removed and discarded (bagged for removal to prevent spreading the spores when being transferred out of the containment). The surfaces of non-porous material should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. For example, wood framing can be sprayed with an EPA approved disinfecting solution, then wiped and physically abraded with a wire brush or sandpaper to remove mold.  All surfaces inside the containment should then be thoroughly HEPA vacuumed, and wiped using an EPA-approved disinfecting solution.  Finally, no mold remediation job would be complete without post-remediation testing performed by a certified independent laboratory.  There are variations of the job process, especially if the mold-infested materials are still wet. If so, you should expect that after setting up the containment, the mold contaminated porous material will be removed, the non-porous wet mold –infested structure will be cleaned of mold as much as possible and dried, and then remediated to completion.  Testing generally involves taking an air sample inside the containment area and comparing the results to an air sample drawn outside the house or building. Finally, the remediation company should have its workers properly protected. They should wear protective coveralls, gloves, and a HEPA filtered respirator.

  5. How do they determine pricing? Most mold remediation jobs being performed as part of an insurance claim should be estimated using an estimating software system called Xactimate. Almost all insurance companies expect Xactimate to be used, and your mold remediation company should be familiar with it, and capable of submitting the estimate in this format. If the job is not covered by insurance you can still ask to see an Xactimate estimate for the job. The Xactimate pricing list is based on monthly surveys performed in the local area, so the pricing for labor and materials are the average price for the job being performed. Any quote provided to you that is not consistent with an Xactimate estimate (either too high or too low) should raise flags and be investigated.  They should provide you with a detailed list of charges.

  6. Does the company stand behind its work? The company doing remediation should offer a guarantee on workmanship for the area being remediated. 

  7. Beware of scare tactics - Mold can be a scary problem but many people exagerate the health impact.  Do your own research first - don't let someone scare you with phrases like "You have toxic black mold".  Mold contamination can present significant health and quality of life issues - but don't let remediators scare you into signing a contract.

Whenever you discover that you have a mold problem, call SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara. We promise that you will get an honest assessment of the problem, and we will ensure that you will be satisfied with our work.

The Smell in your Home Making You Sick?

6/6/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara brings you the following article about the dangers which may be lurking inside your home!

Dr. Joan Wennstrom Bennett of the Plant Biology and Pathology points-out that VOCs from mold may be an important contributor to Parkinson’s disease.  As noted in a recent article in Discover Magazine, Bennett's discovery could possibly explain a long-standing mystery: Every known toxin that causes Parkinson’s is man-made and relatively recent, but Parkinson’s has existed for thousands of years. Bennett says that a variety of natural neurotoxins – mushroom alcohol as well as other VOCs – may lead to the disease.

At SERVPRO of Hershey / Swatara - we work closely with a Council-Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) to assist us in assessing mold damage in your home or office because the full extent of the impact on the air quality can not be assessed by visual inspection only. Once the consultant has defined the extent of the damage - we get to work on remediation.

The consultant then does a post remediation assessment to confirm that mold levels in the building are normal before we say we are done.

At SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara we endeavor to provide a safe environment for everyone who utilizes our services. Call 717-561-1404 to learn how we can help you today!

The Circus Came to Town

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

We never know what is going to happen when the phone rings.....

The Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus train was making it's way through Central Pennsylvania. They found some water damage and because 'The Show Must Go On' they called SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara to make it 'Like it never even happened'! SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara is a leading Fire and Water Restoration Company. We have the equipment, experience and tools to ascertain if there has been water intrusion. we have the knowledge and experience to help pinpoint the cause of the water intrusion, and we have the equipment, knowledge and experience to mitigate the water intrusion.

We investigated, found and addressed some moisture related issues. The Circus was able to stay on schedule. And the Show Went On! 

We were honored to be able to assist in this way and help others through their time of difficulty.

Mold Remediation

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

Understanding Mold

Microscopic mold spores exist almost everywhere, outdoors and indoors, making it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold 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 on a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. 
  • 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.

Common Mold Misconceptions

With sensational news stories and misleading advertising, you can easily understand why so many people are misinformed about indoor mold. Learn the facts about mold and the mold remediation process.

Why Choose SERVPRO of Hershey?

We are dedicated to responding immediately when you contact us. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces cost.

We Are Highly Trained Mold Remediation Specialists

We specialize in water and mold damage restoration, the cornerstone of our business. Our Professionals have the training and expertise to safely handle any mold situation.

  • Applied Microbial Remediation Specialist
  • Water Damage Restoration Technician
  • Applied Structural Drying Technician

We Use Advanced Mold Remediation Techniques and Equipment

We use advanced equipment to detect the source of water feeding the mold. Next, we isolate the affected area using a negative air pressure chamber and perform mitigation work according to established professional standards per IICRC 520. 

Call us at 717-561-1404 if you suspect you may have a mold problem in your home or business.  We can help!

What to do if your home floods in Hershey

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

If you discover significant water damage to your home your primary focus should be safety first:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

Have A  Water Damage Emergency in the Harrisburg or Hershey area? Call (717) 561-1404

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

Some Common Myths about Bio-Hazard

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

5 Myths about Cleaning Blood Spills

When it comes to cleaning blood spills, there is pressure to get it right the first time. Why? Because blood can harbor serious health risks, and bloodborne pathogens can seep into surfaces and cause potential illnesses, bacterial growth, and foul odors. It can be difficult to effectively clean a blood spill, however, if you do not have the correct information or tools to do so. Below are 5 common myths about cleaning blood spills.

1st Myth:

The best way to thoroughly clean a blood spill is with bleach. Bleach has long been thought of as the ultimate sanitizer. Unfortunately, according to Educating Wellness, "Chlorine bleach is a strong corrosive material. It will irritate the eyes, skin, and the respiratory tract by merely inhaling the gasses. The dangers of bleach are even greater when mixing it with other cleaners." Not only is it dangerous to your health, but bleach also has the ability to destroy carpet, furnishings, and other surfaces, and can disturb ecological balance if overuse

2nd Myth

Cleaning up a blood spill and sanitizing a blood spill are the same thing. Although these words are often used interchangeably, they mean very different things. Cleaning is simply the process of removing material from a surface, whereas sanitizing is completely ridding a surface of microorganisms and biological material. Remember: Although a surface may look clean, biological material may still be present.

3rd Myth

It is impossible to fully sanitize a surface without using bleach. Believe it or not, there are better ways to sanitize blood spills than by using bleach. Furthermore, many of these processes are not toxic to humans, animals, or the environment.

4th Myth

If you are cleaning the blood of a family member, you do not have to take the same precautions as you would if you were cleaning up the blood of a stranger. No matter whose blood has been spilled, you should wear protective equipment like gloves and goggles. Because 1 in 24 people are carrying HIV, Hepatitis B and C, or a host of other pathogens (and are often unaware that they have been infected), all blood should be handled as if it poses a serious health risk.

5th Myth

You are on your own. In the case of a homicide, suicide, or serious accident that happens at home, it is generally the responsibility of the family to clean up the scene afterwards. For many families, this seems like an impossible and trying task. Fortunately, no family has to go through this process alone.

SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara is an industry leader in bioremediation. As such we approach cleaning blood spills with both a compassionate and scientific perspective. Our method for cleaning blood spills includes rigorous cleaning procedures, structural remediation, biohazard removal (cutting away affected carpet and flooring and remove them via legal medical waste transportation), and surface sanitization of affected and adjacent areas. 

Contact SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara today at 717-561-1404 

Understanding Flood Insurance

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which works closely with nearly 90 private insurance companies to offer flood insurance to property owners and renters. In order to qualify for flood insurance, a community must join the NFIP and agree to enforce sound floodplain management standards.

The NFIP, a federal program, offers flood insurance, which can be purchased through property and casualty insurance agents. Rates are set and do not differ from company to company or agent to agent. These rates depend on many factors, which include the date and type of construction of your home, along with your buildings level of risk.

Flood insurance protects two types of insurable property: building and contents. The first covers your building, the latter covers your possessions; neither covers the land they occupy.

Building coverage includes:

  • The insured building and its foundation
  • The electrical and plumbing system
  • Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
  • Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
  • Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring

Contents coverage includes:

  • Clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
  • Curtains
  • Portable and window air conditioners
  • Portable microwaves and dishwashers
  • Carpeting that is not already included in property coverage
  • Clothing washers and dryers

 The two most common reimbursement methods for flood claims are : Replacement Cost Value (RCV) and Actual Cash Value (ACV). The RCV is the cost to replace damaged property. It is reimbursable to owners of single-family, primary residences insured to within 80% of the buildings replacement cost.

All other buildings and personal property (i.e. contents) are valued at ACV. The ACV is the RCV at the time of loss minus physical depreciation. Personal property is always valued using the ACV.

At SERVPRO of Hershey / Swatara - we are prepared to help you recover from flood damage and to get your life back!  Call us at 717-561-1404 

Fire & Soot in Harrisburg, Hershey and Surrounding areas in Central PA

6/5/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
  • Limit movement to prevent further damage
  • Place clean towels or old linens on carpeted traffic areas to prevent more siling.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open
  • Clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets and appliances with light coating of WD-40 or petroleum jelly
  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces.
  • Don't attempt to clean carpet or upholstered furniture

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins,
SERVPRO of Hershey will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services:

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara at 717-561-1404