Why Your Smoke Alarm is Going Off Without a Fire

One of the predominant reasons for homeowners to seek out a fire damage cleanup company is to help remediate the effects of firefighting. Not only does fire do a lot of damage to homes, but smoke and the water from fighting the fires can be devastating to your property and require professional cleanup. 

One of the best ways to prevent widespread fire damage is to keep the batteries in your smoke alarms charged, but some homeowners worry that the smoke detector will go off all the time. However, a fire is not always the reason your smoke alarm might be going off, and do not worry, they will not all result in the need for a fire damage cleanup crew.  

Top Reasons Your Smoke Detector is Going Off

  1. Burning Food- Leaving food in the oven or on the stove for too long is one of the biggest reasons why smoke detectors go off. The toaster and microwave can also easily burn food and cause a lot of smoke to build up. Popcorn is one of the easiest foods to burn in the microwave. 
  2. Fireplaces- If your fireplace is not properly ventilated the smoke can enter your home and cause the fire alarm to go off. If your smoke detector is going off every time you start your fireplace, you might want to have your chimney cleaned or the dampers reset. 
  3. Steam and Humidity- Your smoke detector may not be able to differentiate between smoke particles and steam or humidity molecules. If your home has high humidity you should consider a dehumidifier or reevaluate your ventilation systems. 
  4. Insects- Gnats, spiders, mosquitoes, and other small bugs can crawl into the tiny crevices in the smoke detectors and cause them to malfunction. Open the battery lid or take the smoke detector apart to check for insects and sweep them out. Dust and dirt can also cause malfunctions and false alarms. 

Fire Damage Cleanup is never something homeowners want to deal with, but fires and other home disasters are sometimes unavoidable. Make sure to keep your smoke detectors up and with charged batteries to keep your family as safe as possible. The detectors should be outside every bedroom, in the kitchen, and main living areas and hallways. 

ServiceMaster of Greater Pittsburgh is here to help when disaster strikes your home or business.  Call us today at 412-376-4645.

How to Prevent Home Sewage Backup

Homeowners who have been through hiring a water removal company for sewage cleanup in their homes understand the hazards and risk of black water. Anyone who has dealt with sewage cleanups will tell you that the one thing they are most concerned with afterwards is how to prevent it from ever happening again and the risk of mold developing.  In that case, you would need to look for a company that specializes in mold removal in Pittsburg. 

When would you need Mold Removal in Pittsburgh? 

Sewage backups can be caused by drain clogs, tree roots, damaged lines, and even heavy rainfall that overwhelms the city plumbing infrastructure. There are few things you can do as a homeowner to prevent some of the worst-case scenarios; however, there are a few little things you can do to prevent toilets overflowing or appliances leaking.

 

  • Never Poor Grease Down the Drain- You might think grease flows right through the pipes with the water, but it does not. Grease sticks to the sides of the drains and hardens which leads to obstructions. Grease should be put into containers and thrown in the garbage. 
  • Paper and Hygiene Product Disposal- Never flush feminine hygiene products, paper towels, baby wipes, q-tips, and other products down the toilet. You should also be cognizant of how much toilet paper you are using. Overflowing toilets are the number one reason for sewage backup into your home. 
  • Sump Pump Maintenance- Why is a sump pump important?  Silt, sand and dirt can be pulled into the pump and ruin the motor. The pump can also lose power or stop working without your knowledge. If you know the flood risk is high due to a coming storm, make sure to double check the sump pump. 

 

Sewage backup needs to be cleaned up by a professional water cleanup company.  If the sewage backup isn’t addressed properly, water damage occurs, and then the risk of mold.  There are many hazards and dangers associated with mold that can affect the health of your family and pets.   Contact a professional mold removal  company in Pittsburgh.

ServiceMaster of Greater Pittsburgh is here to help you with all of your mold removal needs. Call us today at 412-376-4645.

Protecting Hardwood Floors from Water Damage

Hardwood floors are elegant, charming, warm, and expensive. When you take the proper care of your hardwood floors, they can last decades or longer. However, when a natural disaster strikes, flood damage can ruin hardwood floors quick. Water damage removal should happen as soon as possible after a flood if you want to fully salvage your floors. There are a few preventative measures you can take that will extend the time you have to clean up before your floors are a total loss. 

 

  • Sealants- Protect your hardwood floors with a wax sealant to make them water resistant. Sealants can also stop humidity moisture from creating an environment for mold and mildew growth on your hardwood floors. Your floors will also be protected from minor scratches and spills. 
  • Plumbing Inspection- When you are installing new hardwood floors, get a plumbing inspection first, especially if your home is aged. The last thing you want is a huge pipe break that will flood your home and have you calling a professional water damage restoration company before you are finished with the remodel. 
  • Rugs- Although placing rugs will not keep your hardwood floors completely safe from destruction of a flood, they can minimize damages caused by appliance leaks or a small pipe leak. Rugs can soak up the water so the wood below is not saturated. Put rugs in front of the dishwasher, sink, laundry machine, and refrigerator. 
  • Cleaning- When cleaning hardwood floors, ensure no pools of water are left on the floor after mopping. You should also never soak a mop head, use only damp materials on hardwood. Also take care to use products specifically for hardwood cleaning. 

 

There is never any guarantee to be able to protect your flooring in times of a natural disaster or a flooding accident. However, most homeowners will benefit by contacting a water removal company for accidents big or small to properly clean and preserve your floors. 

ServiceMaster of Greater Pittsburgh is here to help you with all of your water damage restoration needs. Call us today at 412-376-4645.

What Equipment is Needed to Remove Flood Water?

Flood waters in your home is the last catastrophe anyone wants to deal with but property owners living around the Allegheny River, risk the dangers of flooding. Some people like to be prepared and have the equipment needed to remove flood waters on hand to try to DIY their disaster cleanup; while others rely on professional water damage restoration company to get the job done right. 

Some of the equipment needed to remove water from your home can be found at any hardware or home store such as shop vacuums, pumps, and dehumidifiers. However water damage restoration companies have access to industrial grade equipment that makes the job go faster and more efficiently. 

Common Industrial Tools for Flood Water Extraction

When it comes to the hazardous conditions that flood waters cause, you want the professional water removal companies handling the disaster cleanup. Some of the tools these companies have at their disposal include

  • Light wands/ carpet wands
  • Deep extraction tools
  • Trash pumps
  • Submersible pumps
  • High-pressure pumps
  • Extraction units
  • Personal protection equipment
  • Industrial grade cleaning products and chemicals
  • Mold remediation chemicals
  • Commercial carpet cleaners
  • Industrial box fans

While some of this equipment can be purchased through janitorial supply stores or commercial sales, the cost will often outweigh what you would spend on professional water removal companies. Relying on a team of people who cleanup flood damage and complete disaster restoration will cost less and take less time than trying to DIY a disaster as large as flooding. 

Cost of Professional Water Removal Services 

Professional water removal services will range in price from a few hundred to few thousand dollars depending on the extent of damage and services needed to fully remediate the property. Luckily, homeowner’s insurance and flood protection add-ons can sometimes help cover these costs. You might also have home warranties or appliance warranties that can be applied to water cleanup if the flooding was a result of sump pump or appliance failure. 

ServiceMaster of Greater Pittsburg is here to help you with all of your water cleanup needs. Call us today at 412-376-4645.

Top Tips for Cleaning Up a Water Disaster

Water disasters come in many sizes—from a small appliance leak, to a flood that can damage the structure of your home. All sized water disasters need to be cleaned up as soon as possible. The bigger disasters, such as flooding or accidents resulting in standing water, need a professional.  In order to prevent damage to your home or business, you need a professional water damage restoration company in Greater Pittsburgh. For the smaller water accidents, there are several tips you can employ at home to clean up.

 

  • Wet/Dry Vacuum- A shop vacuum or wet/dry vacuum is vital for cleaning up water disasters at home. There are many varied sizes and the size you need will depend on how much water is standing. These vacuums are made to suction water. Do not use your regular household vacuum to try to remove water from carpets. 
  • Dehumidifiers- Most homeowners have fans, but what companies that perform water disaster restoration know is that it is the dehumidifiers that are vital to drying out the room. Dehumidifiers pull moisture lingering in the air and as it evaporates from the walls, floors, and furniture to stop mold and mildew from growing. 
  • Always Turn off Power- When your home is flooded, the power needs to be completely cut off to the home to avoid electrocution risks. If the water disaster is contained to one room or is only enough to saturate the carpet, you can turn off the breaker to only that room. 
  • Always Wear PPE- Wearing Personal Protective Equipment is especially important when cleaning up water disasters. Gloves, rubber boots, protective eyewear and sometimes even a full body suit are necessary for cleaning up hazardous waste like flood waters or sewage backup. 

 

Water damage restoration can take a day to complete or sometimes weeks depending on the extent of damage. The number one tip any homeowner can take advantage of when dealing with flooding is to call a professional water cleanup company such as ServiceMaster. 

ServiceMaster of Greater Pittsburgh is here to help you with all your water cleanup needs. Call us today at 412-376-4645.

Is Carpeting Easy To Replace?

One of the things replaced most frequently after a flood and water damage restoration is the carpeting in the affected room(s). Water can deteriorate carpeting and cause mold and mildew growth. While many carpets can be cleaned and restored, some homeowners take the opportunity to get brand-new carpet instead. However, some people don’t realize that carpeting is not always easy to replace.

Steps to Replace Carpeting

A professional water damage restoration company can restore carpeting quickly in many cases; however, when it comes time for replacement, you still need a professional. Carpet replacement is not easy and professional carpet layers can always get the job done quicker, more efficiently, and with fewer errors than someone trying to DIY the job.

Tools you need to replace carpet:

  • Tackless strips
  • Carpeting
  • Carpet scissors
  • Staple gun
  • Knee kicker
  • Hammer
  • Dust mask
  • Gloves
  • Utility mask

Steps to replacing carpet include:

  1. Put on dust mask and gloves
  2. Tear our existing carpet and padding
  3. Clean the flooring to ensure no mold or mildew will grow
  4. Install tackless strips
  5. Install padding
  6. Lay the carpeting
  7. Trim excess threads
  8. Vacuum

Many of the steps to replacing the carpet are a process including the way to install tackless strips, padding, and laying the carpet. In some cases, you can reuse the tackless strips from the previous carpeting if there was no damage; however, when it comes to water damage restoration, total replacement is recommended to avoid mold, bacteria, and other contaminants from affecting the new carpet.

Is Carpet Replacement Expensive?

Carpet replacement is often a part of water damage restoration and when included as part of the process to mitigate flooding and other water damage, replacing carpet is often less expensive than if you were to do it on a whim. Most homeowners can expect the average cost of replacement to be around $1,500 depending on the size of the room.

Call ServiceMaster of Greater Pittsburgh today to find out how we can help you with your water damage restoration needs at 412-376-4645.

Salvaging Furniture After a Flood

Flooding is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a home. When floods occur, there is often structural damage, loss of personal possessions, and more that can happen. Some homeowners worry that when they can return to the home, water damage restoration will be impossible. Some home damage needs much more work than others; however, there are many cases where salvaging furniture and even documents are possible.

Steps to Salvaging Water Damaged Furniture

Before entering a home and beginning any sort of water damage restoration, you must ensure you are taking the proper safety precautions including wearing boots, a dust mask, gloves, and protective clothing. Make sure the power is turned off if there was extensive flooding or standing water still in the home. When you are safe, there are several steps to the furniture restoration process.

  1. Separate what is salvageable from what needs to be thrown away. Make sure to take pictures of everything for your insurance claim. When evaluating saving a piece of furniture you must consider the extent of damage and how much it will cost to restore vs. Buying something new. You might also need to consider sentimental value. Upholstered furniture will be difficult to save and restore if it has been sitting in the water because of bacteria and mold. Wood furniture that has been saturated may warp and be unrepairable.
  2. The furniture you will save needs to be removed from the home if possible and laid under the sun to dry out. If you cannot take the pieces outside, move them into a dry room with fans and ventilation.
  3. Cleaning and sanitizing the furniture after it is dry is especially important. A home solution of ammonia and warm water should kill bacteria. You might need to consider using a mold killer as well. Wipe dry but do not put back into the room until water damage restoration is complete.
  4. Mattress shampooing is possible for beds and sometimes for upholstered furniture such as cushions or pillows. Profession cleaners are the optimal solution for restoring any of your upholstered furniture.

Salvaging your water-damaged furniture can be exceedingly difficult and professional water damage restoration companies always have your back in times of crisis. If you need someone to help you restore your home after a flood or help you salvage furniture, call Service Master of Pittsburgh.

ServiceMaster of Pittsburgh is here to get you through some of the most stressful times of homeownership. Call us for water damage cleanup today at 412-376-4645.

Fire Damage Cleanup | Can You DIY Fire Damage Cleanup?

Many homeowners love the chance to jump into a DIY project; however, there are some projects that really should be left to the professionals. Fire damage cleanup is one of those projects. The aftermath of fire takes days and sometimes even weeks to complete and much of the restoration takes professional knowledge that only carpenters, construction workers, or engineers are trained in.

Many homeowners do not realize how big of a project fire damage cleanup can be. Here are the elements that make up the process:

  • Checking for and sealing structural breaches
  • Water removal
  • Soot removal
  • Repairing walls, ceiling, floors, and foundation
  • Furniture restoration
  • Deodorizing

The longest processes to complete are water and soot removal and repairing the structural elements of the home. These repairs can take weeks to complete depending on the extent of fire damage. These processes are all incredibly detailed and have their own best practices to make sure a complete restoration takes place. There are specific cleaning solutions and tools needed for water and soot removal and while those processes can sometimes be easy to DIY, others are not. Repairing the structural elements of your home such as beams, posts, and framework, replacing the roof or flooring, or needing to fix cracks in the foundation should always be handled by professional contractors and companies that are trained in fire damage cleanup.

Cost of Fire Damage Cleanup

Returning your home to its pre-fire condition will always be costly. There is no way around the cost of renovations and remodeling, repairing structural elements, mold mitigation, and water removal. However, homeowners or renter’s insurance should cover a lot of these expenses. Make sure when you are working with a company that does fire damage restoration, the company is approved to receive payments and reimbursement from your insurance company.

If you have recently suffered from a fire disaster in your home and need help with the cleanup and restoration, call ServiceMaster of Pittsburgh at 412-376-4645.

Water Damage Removal | Protecting Your Basement from Flooding

Every homeowner knows that one of the most vulnerable parts of their home is the basement. Flooding, leaks, sewer backup, and sump pump failure happens to even the most diligent of homeowners which is why there are water damage removal companies ready to rescue you from your latest disaster. However, wouldn’t it be nice if you could just prevent flooding in your basement? Well luckily, you can! There are several ways to protect your dry basement and belonging to water damage, just follow the tips and tricks below.

  1. Basement Sealant- Sealant is a high-quality waterproof paint that stops moisture from coming into the home from the outside. Sealant rolls or brushes on quickly and is quite easy to use. When the liquid dries it creates a watertight barrier. Five gallons is typically needed for a 500 square footwall.
  2. Strategic Gardens- Many homeowners like to line the perimeter of their home in a beautiful garden and flower beds; however, constant watering of the plants can increase the water seeping into the ground and raise your risk for foundation leaks. Plant bushes and other plants that do not need much water around your foundation and save the pretty blooms for the lawn, around trees, or along a fence line.
  3. Interior Drainage- Sometimes you need more than just a sump pump to avoid having a water damage removal company on speed dial. Interior drainage channels are installed inside the basement walls. You will need a foundation contractor to complete this job, and the price tag is high; however, homes that are in flood zones can often benefit from this solution.
  4. Smart Storage- Keeping your belonging up off the floor if your basement is used for storage is important to reduce their risk of water damage. Shelving and plastic, waterproof storage totes are the best to utilize if your basement is used for storage of your personal belongings and mementos.

Water damage removal is costly and takes several days to complete in the worst cases. Avoid having a total loss by following our tips and tricks for maintaining a dry basement. If you run into trouble and need professional flood damage help, call ServiceMaster today!

Set up an appointment with your ServiceMaster of Greater Pittsburgh today by calling 412-314-3832

Water Damage Removal | Home Appliances Likely to Flood Your Home

Every homeowner is terrified of the day they will need water damage removal services. While most people believe this day will come when they experience a natural disaster, there are several common appliances in every home that are known to leak, flood, and cause water damage at some point during their life. If you have any of these appliances in your home, check for leaking or abnormalities often.

  1. Water Heater- Your hot water heater may be out of sight, out of mind, but when corrosion, age, and other factors lead to leaks and holes, you will lose gallons of water and may experience property damage. Hot water heaters should be expected at least once per year for signs of wear and tear and remember to replace every decade. Hot water is nearly guaranteed to fail after the twelve years and can cause thousands of dollars in losses and the need for water damage removal.
  2. Washing Machine- Most washing machine leaks are caused by hose failure and most washing machine owners do not even realize they need to check their hoses monthly for cracks, leaks, and drying out and replace them as needed. Not keeping up on appliance maintenance can result in a water damage removal service that you were not prepared to need.
  3. Refrigerator- The defrost drain being clogged is usually the reason refrigerators leak. Sometimes the drain can freeze over which will cause water to back up and leak. Hoses and waterlines, as well as bad seals, can also cause a lot of water problems.
  4. Dishwasher- This appliance is one of the smaller ones you own, but it can cause one of the biggest messes! Dishwashers that get clogged, have bad valves or hoses, or are not connected properly to the drain can cause a large, soapy puddle to quickly form on your floor or worse. Several gallons of water being lost from your dishwasher can cause quite a bit of water damage.

When your appliances fail, they are often covered by warranty; however, those warranties do not cover water damage removal services. Make sure to check your connections, hoses, and valves to all your appliances at least once per month to increase longevity and prevent flooding.

If you have experienced a major leak or flood at your home, call ServiceMaster of Pittsburgh at 412-314-3832.