Recent Storm Damage Posts

Basement Flooding!

9/30/2014 (Permalink)

BASEMENT FLOOD CLEANUP: If you have a flood in your basement because of  a broken hot water tank, sub pump failure or even a leaking foundation don’t try to clean it up yourself - call the experts at SERVPRO of Hershey Swatara. Our crews specialize in flood damage restoration.  We are certified by the IICRC in water damage restoration we are and trained and experienced in all phases of flood damage restoration.

We serve the Hershey, Harrisburg, Lebanon and Palmyra area.  We are ready 24/7 - 365 days a year.  Call us at 717-561-1404.  

We do quality work - you don't need to take our word for it.  You can see our reviews at  http://www.guildquality.com/ServproHersheySwatara

Flood Watch vs Flood Warning

9/29/2014 (Permalink)

Know the difference in flood prediction terminology - especially if you love in an area that is prone or susceptible to periodic flooding. 

Flood Watch vs Flood Warning

9/29/2014 (Permalink)

Know the difference in flood prediction terminology - especially if you love in an area that is prone or susceptible to periodic flooding. 

Ice Dams

2/21/2014 (Permalink)

With warming temperatures and significant build-up of ice and snow - ice damming is a significant source of water damnage.

Ice dams form when melting snow on a roof refreezes at the edge of a roof. Why does snow melt on your roof when it’s freezing outside? OK, fair question. Well, it melts because the underside of the roof in the attic above 32 degrees Fahrenheit enough that it warms the outside roof surface to the point that snow melts. Now here’s the weird part. Ice dams start or get worse after a heavy snow because of its insulating properties. Since snow is such a good insulator (R-0.5 to R-1 per inch) the outside roof surface is able to warm up easier from the warm attic space, thereby melting the snow faster.

Warm attic spaces occur because of inadequate outside air circulation (ventilation) through the attic (soffit to roof ridge), which is necessary to keep the roof deck cold. Attic warming from poor ventilation is made worse with the introduction of heat from the occupied floor below the attic including sources such as lighting, air leaks, ductwork, etc.

As mentioned earlier, when roof snow is melted by a warm attic space, the water runs between the snow and the warm roof surface. The water then freezes and turns to ice when it gets past the exterior wall and hits a cold unheated roof edge or gutter. The ice dam grows as the snow pack continues to melt, and as water continues to flow down the roof surface. When the water flow hits the ice it creates a larger and larger ice dam.

Ice Dam Damage
If this situation continues, the ice can work its way back up the roof edge, get under shingles, melt and leak into the exterior wall, home or attic. Damage from ice dams may not be readily apparent. As the ice melts and possibly drips into the wall or attic, insulation can be become wet and lose its ability to perform. In some cases if the right temperature and humidity exist, mold may begin to grow in the attic. Often paint will peel or blister weeks or months after the ice dam has melted as moisture from the leak in the wall or ceiling cavities tries to leave and pushes outward.

The most effective long term solution is to reduce or eliminate any sources of heat in the attic and ventilate the attic space of the roof. The underside of the roof deck must be close to the temperature of the exterior side of the roof. Ideally ventilation should be installed using a continuous soffit-and-ridge vent system with baffles at the lower side of the roof. Provide at least a 2-inch space between insulation and sheathing. By providing adequate ventilation as illustrated in this diagram, the temperature of the attic will be lowered thereby lowering the underside roof deck temperature.

It is also critical to eliminate all sources of heat in the attic space. Make sure to eliminate sources of heat such as:

  • uninsulated recessed ceiling can lights installed in the floor below,
  • poor attic floor insulation (Use this DOE insulation calculator to see what insulation levels you should have for your home based upon your zip code location),
  • uninsulated folding attic stair openings,
  • heating ducts,
  • furnace or water heating equipment in the attic,
  • bathroom vent fans that improperly vent to the attic, and
  • other similar problems.

Understanding Flood Insurance

2/4/2014 (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 

    Five Steps to Avoid Mold Growth After a Flood

    1/30/2014 (Permalink)

    Flooding is the leading natural disaster in the U.S and flooding can wreak havoc on a home or building that lasts long after waters recede. Over the past five years, the average paid flood insurance claim was more than $35,000, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). From damaged personal items to the growth of mold spores that can impact the health of a home and its inhabitants, taking the proper steps to restore a property after a flood can limit the extent of the damage incurred.

    To help direct home owners and businesses during cleanup efforts, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning Restoration and Certification (IICRC) and the Healthy House Institute (HHI) share the following five steps for preventing mold growth after a catastrophic flood. 

    Step One: Check it out!

    • Once a building is flooded from a river, lake, stream, hurricane or rainstorm, inspecting and documenting damage is very important for several reasons, including insurance and tax purposes. Electrical, gas, structural and other safety hazards present must be eliminated "before" assessing physical damage to the building and contents.
    • Once health and safety hazards have been eliminated, inspect the building and all contents. Generally, the rule of thumb is that everything below the water line gets thrown out. Building materials and contents above the water line should be inspected for discoloration, odor and damage. 

    Step Two: Get it out!

    • Extract standing water with a pump or wet vacuum from slabs, basements, crawlspaces, heating systems and anywhere water could be sitting. Shovel or flush out remaining silt and sand with water.
    • Next, remove all wallboard material (e.g., plaster, drywall, paneling), finished flooring (e.g., carpet, hardwood, vinyl flooring), insulation and any other wet materials that are below the water line.
    • Remove contents damaged by floodwater. Keep a record of your activities before, during and after cleanup. Take photo or video recording inventory of discarded material.

    Step Three: Clean it up!

    • Start with vacuuming as much loose debris and soil as possible. It is preferable to use a HEPA vacuum, but a simple wet/dry vacuum can work. When using a wet/dry vacuum, attach a hose to the exhaust and vent the exhaust air to the outside. This keeps dust, spores and other fine particles from being suspended in the air and settling back on clean surfaces.
    • Clean framing with a pressure washer or low-pressure flushing. Scrub framing with a mild detergent (e.g. dish soap) to remove embedded soils. Wipe all adjacent surfaces with a mild detergent. Rinse by low-pressure flushing or wiping with clean water. Vacuum all remaining moisture using a wet/dry vacuum.
    • If mold is visible and remains after cleaning, additional scrubbing or multiple rounds of cleaning may be necessary. If significant mold growth is present, or if occupants have immune deficiencies, are elderly, pregnant, or if there are young children present.
    • After all surfaces are clean, wipe surfaces with a sanitizer such as a solution of up to ¼ cup of bleach to one gallon of water. After 20 minutes, wipe surfaces using clean water. This step helps neutralize remaining or embedded contaminants. 
    • For those with chemical sensitivities, perform multiple rounds of cleaning as an alternative to using bleach.

    Step Four: Dry it out – quickly!

    • Mold spores are everywhere, and it is impossible to remove all spores and potential contaminants. All spores need to grow is moisture. To inhibit future mold growth, dry affected areas as quickly as possible, preferably within 24 to 48 hours from the completion of cleaning and sanitizing.
    • The key is directing warm, dry air across wet surfaces. This directed airflow should be exhausted outside or collected using dehumidification equipment. Take care to not spread contaminants. Properly directing airflow may require putting up barriers or containing the affected areas to prevent the spread of contaminants to unaffected areas.
    • Drying a wet building correctly is an art as well as a science. IICRC trained and certified experts know how to use state-of-the-art moisture detection and monitoring equipment that identifies hidden moisture in building materials, ventilation systems, flooring and walls. Certified restorers also understand and use the equipment necessary to dry buildings, while preventing the spread of contaminants.
    • In a community-wide flood, the availability of power and rental equipment to complete structural drying can be a challenge. If drying cannot be properly initiated, contact an IICRC Certified Firm. 

    Step Five: Keep it dry

    • The cardinal rule for preventing mold growth is to keep surfaces dry. Strive to ensure your home stays dry and you will be following industry best practices for preventing mold growth and protecting the health of others in your home. It’s also a way to protect the investment of your home, since excess mold growth and moisture will damage the structure. Try to keep indoor humidity below 50 percent using air conditioning or a dehumidifier.
    • Tip: Use a water-sensing alarm (battery-operated) in moisture-prone areas such as next to the washer, hot water heater, in the basement and other possible wet zones, so you are alerted to the accumulation of excess moisture. 

    No one wants to experience the devastation of a flood, but by keeping mold outside where it belongs, you can limit its impact on the health of your family and home.

    At SERVPRO of Hershey / Swatara, we are ready and able to address any and all water damage issues that you may have in your home or business.  We have the resipources and the capabilities to remediate any size loss.  Give us a call at 717-5611404 or visit our website at www.SERVPROHersheySwatara.com for more information.

    Note: the source of the above information is http://www.healthyhouseinstitute.com/a-1328-Five-Steps-to-Prevent-Mold-Growth-after-a-Catastrophic-Flood

    No Disaster Is Too Big!

    1/21/2014 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO Storm Damage Cleanup & Restoration

    Disaster Recovery Team

    When a natural disaster strikes it can be all too easy to lose hope in light of severe damage and loss. Whether it’s a tornado, hurricane, blizzard or flood – the SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team can provide help fast.

    No Disaster Is Too Big
    The SERVPRO System has a network of strategically positioned storm teams on standby should a disaster strike near you. Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara Professionals are prepared for the unpredictable.

    With the ability to mobilize local command centers, along with the resources of more than 1,600 Franchises nationwide, no disaster is too big.

    Recent mobilizations of the Castastrophic Storm Response Teams include:

    • 2012 Sandy
    • 2010 Nashville Floods
    • 2008 Ike
    • 2007 Chicago floods
    • 2007 Ohio floods
    • 2007 California wildfires
    • 2005 Katrina/Wilma/Rita

    Should a catastrophic storm strike, call (717) 561-1404. SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara proudly serves Hershey, Harrisburg, Hummelstown, Lebanon, Camp Hill, and surrounding areas.

    Even in the face of a disaster, SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara Professionals will strive to help make it "Like it never even happened."

    Be Prepared For Flood Damage!

    1/12/2014 (Permalink)

    The NWS declaring ice jam related flood warnings and melting ice combined with rain - many people will be dealing with the ravages of flood damage in our region.

    Our partners at the Red Cross have prepared a very helpful list of action items to follow before and after you are impacted by flood damage.  

    When flood damage threatens to take-over your life - we at SERVPRO of Hershey / Swatara are here to help you take back control.  Our hero's are ready to help 24/7.