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How to avoid a house fire

August 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Blog

avoid house firesSome things are common sense, like not leaving burning candles unattended and keeping a fire extinguisher on hand.  There are, however, a few other things you can do to help prevent having a fire in your home.  At Mellon Certified Restoration, we’ve compiled some tips to help increase your odds of avoiding a house fire.

  1.  Have your furnace, heat pump, etc. serviced regularly by a professional.   If you have a wood stove or fireplace, be sure to have your chimney cleaned before each season. Clean around your furnace, stove, etc. and keep dust and other flammable items away from them.
  2. Clean your clothes dryer lint trap after every use. A clogged filter and lint trap will restricts airflow and causes heat build up in the vents.  This forces lint build up on the heating coils, which could ignite.  It’s also not a good idea to let your dryer run when you aren’t home.  In the event there was a problem, you would have no chance at containing it before it spreads.
  3. Keep firewood, piles of leaves and trash away from the home. If a grass fire starts nearby, these items next to your home could easily become kindling. Never dump hot ashes inside or near your home; keep them in a metal container well away from your house and garage.
  4. Avoid using extension cords or power strips when possible.  These can quickly overload an electrical circuit and cause a fire. Replace old, damaged or frayed appliance cords, and never force a three-pronged plug into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
  5. Keep cooking oil and other flammable objects away from your cooking stove. When cooking with oil, never walk away from the stove. In the event of a grease fire, turn off the burner and place a lid on the pan to suffocate the flames, or pour baking soda on the fire. Never pour water on a grease fire or try to carry the pan outside; water splatters the grease and will make the fire bigger.
  6. If you smoke, be sure to properly extinguish your cigarettes, cigars, etc. Smoking materials that are not properly extinguished can smolder for days before igniting into a fire. Never discard smoking materials in the trash can until you are certain they have long since been extinguished.  Avoid putting smoking materials out on the ground or in plant pots.

Hopefully just being cautious and avoiding some of these common causes of house fires will be enough to spare you the tragedy of watching your home burn down.  Obviously, in the event of a house fire, call 911 immediately.  Be smart, stay safe!

Flooding from heavy summer storms

July 24, 2017 by  
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Wether you believe global climate change has anything to do with it or not, the fact is – if you live in Pennsylvania right now, you’ve experienced a stormy summer so far in 2017. It seems like a pattern of high heat index and humidity causing torrential downpours almost daily.
These downpours often bring heavy rain totals and flooding of all kinds. Flash floods, saturated ground flooding, high creeks and streams, etc.flooding from heavy rain

Unfortunately, flood claims on your homeowners insurance can leave you holding the bag, depending on the type of flood and coverage you have. Mellon Certified Restoration has spent over 35 years dealing with floods of all types and severities. If you have insurance coverage we will work with them as well as yourself to get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. If your insurance doesn’t cover your flooding issue, we will work with you just the same and make sure your home is well taken care of.

All too often we receive calls from homeowners who attempted to clean up the flooding themselves and found out the hard way that it wasn’t a good idea. Water has a way of finding itself into the small cracks and crevasses, under flooring, behind walls, etc. When missed or left untreated, this can lead to a host of bigger problems like mold, rotting wood, peeling and bubbling paint, etc. It’s preventing issues like these that we do best. The things you don’t see! We have the equipment you don’t have, or often don’t know you need to fully resolve the water damage issues that stem from flooding.

In a nutshell, if you find yourself in a situation with water coming into your home, you should strongly consider calling a professional to take a look. It may very well save you a fortune down the road.

Mellon Certified Restoration is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with locations throughout Pennsylvania. Our Certified Technicians will quickly respond with specialized equipment to minimize the damage by removing the water and starting the cleanup and drying process.

How do I detect Black Mold and What if I find it?

July 20, 2017 by  
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You want to look first in places where water flows, such as near pipes and sinks, or places where you know there’s been leaks or flood water in the past. Check spots where moisture accumulates such as surfaces with condensation, humid areas or any other places where you often see moisture collect. Rooms that are routinely wet, like the bathroom, laundry and kitchen are common locations for mold.

You also need to look for signs of water damage. Water damaged areas usually show signs such as warping or bulging.  Stained, cracked or peeling paint are also signs to look for. Small dots can be a clue there’s more collecting nearby.black mold on wall surface

Drywall and air ducts are also common places for mold to grow.

If you do find mold make sure not to disturb it. Large  colonies should not be removed without properly sealing off the room first and following best practice removal methods.  You will need to seek professional help for proper remediation.  Attempting to remove it on your own can create more problems, risking the health and well being of those living in the affected area.

Professional inspectors are generally a good idea because they can locate hidden mold in the home. The tips we’ve provided can help with finding visible mold, but they are often an indicator that more is probably growing. If you think you have identified an area where hidden mold is potentially growing you will need a full inspection to properly look into the area.

This kind of inspection usually involves removing surfaces to look behind them for hidden spots, like drilling a hole in the wall to insert a borescope to look in the wall cavity.

This is where it’s necessary to hire a professional inspector to find the hidden mold with minimal damage to your home.

If you attempt to do such an inspection yourself, be sure to wear protective equipment. This is because there is a good chance you could trigger the release of large amounts of spores into the air in the process.

A thorough inspection for hidden mold also includes lifting carpet to check underneath, looking behind paneling, looking behind ceiling tiles, looking under wallpaper, looking inside air ducts and moving furniture or insulation to check behind.

Your house could have hidden mold if you’ve had flooding or leaks. Leaks in pipes which run behind walls are an especially common cause. Another sign is if you can smell mold or you have allergic symptoms but you can’t see any actual growth.

In summary, if you visibly see signs of mold in your home, you may want to consider contacting a professional to inspect it.  Black mold remediation is best handled by experienced professionals.  Mellon Certified Restoration has over 35 years experience in these remediation services that go beyond the typical specialties required by most property damage jobs.

A few tips to avoid a flooded basement

July 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Blog

Every house is potentially at risk of a flood.  Even if you live on the top of a hill, water from heavy rainfall or melting snow can make it’s way in, resulting in a flooded basement. Fortunately there are things you can do to reduce the chance of this happening to you.

There are a handful of things that contribute to a flooded basement. Below are a list of the most common:

Flooded basement

  •  Ground water can seep into your home due to poor drainage:
      • Cracks in your home’s foundation, basement walls, or basement windows or doors.
      • Improper grading or drainage
      • Failure in your foundation drain
      • Failure with your sump pump
      • Clogged downspouts backing up
  • From a sewer backup:
      • Waste water from the sewer system or a combination of waste water and stormwater from the combined sewer system back up into the the floor drain, toilets, sinks, showers or laundry room located in the basement.
      • Blocked connection between your home and the main sewer line, sometimes caused by stormwater backup.

Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of a flooded basement.

On the outside of your home:

  • Seal any cracks or openings in walls, floors, windows, foundations and window wells.
  • Clean downspouts of leaves and debris.
  • Make sure your spouts are draining properly at least 6 feet from your foundation walls.
  • Make sure the grading around your house slopes away from your foundation.
  • Add more plants, shrubs, etc. to help absorb rainwater and melted snow.
  • Keep any storm water grates clear.
  • Ensure drainage ditches between properties are clear of obstructions.

On the inside the home:

  • Make sure all plumbing and drainage systems are in good working condition. Homeowners are responsible for the plumbing from the property line to inside the home.
  • Know the location and condition of your sewer lateral (the pipe that connects the plumbing in your home to the main line on the street).
  • If you have a backwater valve or sump pump, be sure to maintain them properly, and what is needed to keep them operational during power outages.
  • Fix cracks, blockages or other condition problems.
  • Avoiding creating clogs
  • Do not flush down the toilet items such as dental floss, personal care products (including “flushable” wipes), condoms, tampons, or anything which can cause blockages.
  • Don’t pour any oils, or grease down the drain.

What should you do if you see water leaking into your home?
Call Mellon Certified Restoration! Our Certified Technicians will quickly respond with specialized equipment to minimize the damage by removing the water and starting the cleanup and drying process. All of our full service branches are managed and staffed 24/7.

To see a list of our local branch addresses and phone numbers for all of Mellon Certified Restoration locations, click here

Preventing disaster from falling trees and limbs

June 15, 2017 by  
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Falling trees and tree limbs can cause major damage to your home.  Saturated ground, high winds and other perils caused by nature are out of our control.  There are, however, things you can do to help avoid the dangers of falling trees and limbs from damaging your home.tree falls on house

The following is a checklist of some basic preventative measures you can take:

  • Inspect your trees carefully several times each year and in all seasons.
  • Avoid planting brittle species where falling limbs could damage your property.
    Some examples:
    Silver Maple
    Lombardy Poplar
    Box Elder
    Willows
  • Prune trees when they are young, and regularly thereafter.
  • Use correct pruning methods, always making the pruning cut outside the branch collar.
  • Don’t allow trees to be topped!
  • Always plant the right tree in the right place. For example, avoid planting large-growing trees under power lines, or too close to your house, and make sure the species selected matches the soil and other site characteristics.
  • Water deeply during dry periods.
  • Consider cabling or bracing weak branches in older trees of high value.
  • Do not plant trees with narrowly-forked stems.

Mellon Certified Restoration has 35 years of experience in restoring damage due to falling trees and limbs.  We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and ready to respond to your emergency needs.  Contact one of our offices in Harrisburg, Williamsport, Scranton, Allentown, Exton, Huntindon Valley, Yeadon, and the Philadelphia Metro area for help.  See our contact us page for more info.

Mellon Certified Restoration is celebrating its 35th anniversary!

June 5, 2017 by  
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Mellon Certified Restoration 35 YearsAs Jim Mellon reflects on the last 35 years, this is what he had to say, “I would like to thank our staff for a job “Well Done”!

Over the years I have had so many hard working individuals working for me that have made Mellon Certified Restoration such a success. Without them we wouldn’t be celebrating our 35th Anniversary. What a ride it has been and where did 35 years go?”

History of Mellon Certified Restoration
As the company’s president and owner, Jim Mellon’s interest in restoration began in 1982. As a general contractor and a Delaware County area firefighter, he personally experienced a major property fire loss and quickly discovered that specialized skills, equipment and education were required to correctly restore his property. That was the spark that ignited a new direction! Pardon the pun!

Beginning in 1988, with some new found knowledge and skills, Jim Mellon General Contracting, Inc.’s core business was gradually moving from general contracting work to the more defined, restoration of peril damaged property niche. In 1992, the company officially became known as Mellon Certified Restoration.

Recognizing that there was still much to understand and learn about insurance related restoration, Jim joined ASCR (now RIA) in 1994. He went on to fulfill the rigorous educational requirements of the National Institute of Disaster Restoration (NIDR), earning the prestigious Certified Restorer (CR) designation in 1995.

In 1996, the company adopted a new logo and coined the slogan “We Bring Order to Chaos” to reflect what truly is the mission of the fire & water restoration company.

In 2000, the company acquired one of its larger competitors in the restoration business, adding five additional office locations in Pennsylvania which overnight, nearly doubled its volume of business and increased the employee base by 100%.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in business in 2012, the company also established its 7th full service Branch in Williamsport, PA.

The future never looked brighter! To meet the growing needs of its clients and customers, the company has progressed from 1 office – 1 employee – 1 vehicle with very basic equipment to 7 locations – over 100 employees – 80 vehicles and a large inventory of specialized, state-of-the-art equipment.

Always looking forward, Mellon Certified Restoration pledges to continue its involvement with local civic and industry associations and to build upon its great reputation for “bringing order to chaos” to commercial & residential property owners.

Jim Mellon's first MCR truck in 1982

Jim Mellon’s first MCR truck in 1982

Mellon Certified Restoration trucks

A few of the current fleet of Mellon Certified Restoration trucks

Soot and Smoke Contents Cleaning

May 15, 2017 by  
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Soot damage from fire

Soot from fire can leave behind oily residue that is difficult to clean and deodorize.

Mellon Certified Restoration uses proven methods to eliminate soot, smoke odor and fire residue from your personal contents. Detailed cleaning with appropriate detergents and techniques provide amazing results. Whenever possible we try to utilize “green” cleaning products to protect the homeowner and our environment. We have successfully cleaned items that were originally thought to be ruined.

During a fire, smoke can permeate every everywhere. It can flow around plumbing systems, travel from one floor to another, and drift through air ducts where the odor becomes trapped.

Soot is oily and can easily stain carpets, draperies and other fabrics. Everything becomes covered in soot, and the odor can be extremely difficult to get rid of. If not properly removed by a professional, soot and smoke odor will keep coming back.

Our ability to pack out contents, clean them, and store them under one roof makes our contents cleaning a value asset in getting you back to pre-disaster condition. Our inventory control program tracks each item and makes locating your valuables during storage possible.

Mellon Certified Restoration also offers electronics cleaning for fire damaged contents. We have the ability to clean televisions, stereos, computers and other items of this nature.

How to Prevent Water Damage from your HVAC Unit

May 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Blog

Clean or replace your HVAC filters regularly.
When dirt and contaminants build up on your filters, particulate matter can start to build up on the evaporator coil. This material can then enter the A/C’s drain system, contributing to clogs.

Check your condensate drain.
As well as looking out for clogs, check to make sure that the main drain line and emergency drain line are properly connected and installed. The pipe can be knocked out of alignment; check to see that it’s oriented the right way. Installing a safety tee can help — this device cuts power to your A/C if the drain isn’t working properly.

Flush the drain twice a year.
Twice yearly, flush out the drain line to get rid of clogs. Some systems use pressurized water; others use compressed air. If you have a maintenance agreement the service technician will flush the line with pressure on his maintenance checkups.

Flush the drain with an algae killer.
Once a month, flush out your drain line with an algaecide. You can buy commercial prepared mixtures, although simple household materials work very effectively. A quarter-cup of vinegar poured down the drain line will disrupt the algal growth that forms many clogs.

Have your system serviced yearly.
An annual service performed by a properly licensed HVAC expert will in many cases catch blocked drains before they become an issue, as well as identifying other problems. Sometimes the cause of a blocked drain can be found elsewhere in the system.

What should you do if you see water leaking into your home?
Call Mellon Certified Restoration! Our Certified Technicians will quickly respond with specialized equipment to minimize the damage by removing the water and starting the drying process.  All of our full service branches are managed and staffed 24/7.

To see a list of our local branch addresses and phone numbers for all of Mellon Certified Restoration locations, click here

MCR Makes the Grade!

April 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog

Mellon Certified Restoration Returns Students to School in Just Three Days!

When C.G. Johnson Elementary fell victim to a broken water pipe in the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 8th over half of the school was damaged by water. As a previous customer, the Dubois Area School District was already familiar with our experience in getting our commercial customers back to business faster. Or in this case, getting students back to learning faster! Superintendent Mark Heckman says, “Having experienced MCR’s professionalism and knowledge at another large water loss in the school district, I knew they were the right company to call.”

Despite being an hour outside of the typical service area for our Harrisburg Branch, our crews were able to arrive just a few hours after the pipe broke.  Setting to work immediately we began demolition and deployed our large loss mobile desiccant dehumidifier, space dehumidifiers and ample supply of fans strategically throughout the 24,000 square feet affected by water damage. In just three days we successfully dried and inventoried contents in approximately half of the rooms inside the school including numerous classrooms, storage areas, server room, special needs area, restrooms, lounges, and hallways. Working through the weekend to restore the school to safe operations we were able to return students to class just three school days after the initial loss.

Thanks to our quick action the school’s vital functions were restored quickly, but physical education activities in the gymnasium would need to be temporarily suspended while the gym floor received continued work. Thanks to our expert tenting of the wet hardwood gym floor we were able to minimize drying required and maximize our ability to save the gym floor.  Needing just a final sanding and refinishing we were able to spare the insurance company the costs and time involved in replacing the hardwood. The elementary school’s Principal Edward Dombroski, was very grateful for our quick response and dedication to the project. “Thanks to Mellon Certified Restoration we were able to minimize the disruption to the students’ education. They even went the extra mile for us and our insurance company to restore the gym floor rather than replace it. Mellon knows what’s important to a school and is definitely the right choice for our emergency service needs.”

MCR Cares!

March 17, 2014 by  
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 Mellon Certified Restoration Steps Up to Help Out!

After 25 years of providing meals for thousands of hungry members of the community at Channels Food Rescue, the cooking equipment, storage, and prep areas vital to operations were ready for a facelift. Finding it difficult to find a contractor willing to just provide an estimate, Mellon Certified Restoration stepped up to deliver much more than just an estimate!

In existence since June 1989, Channels Food Rescue provides and delivers meals to thousands of families in our community. This alone makes them worthy of accolades, but combined with their six other community programs including a culinary training certificate program for low income persons and a food delivery program that delivers over one million pounds of donated food each year this organization is truly making strong strides toward their goal of alleviating hunger in Central Pennsylvania. Upon meeting with Channels Food Rescue our Regional Manager Ryan Straley was thoroughly impressed with the impact this organization was having on the community. Scott Kelly, Director of Operations says, “Our volunteers, students, and staff work tirelessly to feed local families and ensure all excess food available is utilized by someone in need. Our facilities showed the wear and tear of that dedication and we needed to find an organization willing to be a partner in restoring our equipment to look brand new again.”

Moved by their dedication, Ryan met with the Harrisburg Branch Manager Matt Vincent to discuss the possibility of performing the work at no cost. Recognizing an incredible local organization in need, the pair set to work coordinating the materials, tools and manpower we would need to complete the job.  Reaching out to our many local connections Mellon’s long time partners, United Rentals and Valspar Paint offered to donate a heated power washer, commercial grade paint, and epoxy flooring. Armed with materials to get the job done Greg Motter, a Property Loss Specialist, took up the cause to rally the manpower. Securing volunteers from our Harrisburg branch including Brent Lesperance (Production Manager), Adrienne Lageman (Claims Coordinator), several of our field staff and friends at Covenant Motorcycle Ministries we had ready a small army of eager volunteers! Power washing the commercial cooking equipment, cleaning the stainless steel food preparation area and scouring the kitchen floors took two very full days. We returned the following week to install the epoxy floor and present a sparkling, completed project to a very grateful Channels Food Rescue staff.

Executive Director Vicki DiSylvester expressed the value of their partnership with Mellon Certified Restoration, “Mellon Certified Restoration’s involvement in our organization will provide an impact in this community far beyond the walls of our kitchen. The transformation of the kitchen truly reinvigorated our students and staff with a renewed dedication to accomplishing our mission of alleviating hunger in Central PA. As our partners they have proven themselves to be the excellent stewards of the community they are known to be. We are very grateful for the compassion and generosity of the company, their vendors, and most of all their employees.”