Mold In A Home Or Business?
While mold can happen anywhere, it seems most attracted to residential buildings. Finding black mold in your home can be a nightmare of mold cleanup and remediation, but you can prevent it by understanding the common causes that lead to infestations.
It’s All About the Water
Mold growth can almost always be traced back to one source: a moisture problem. Black mold thrives on organic matter, but it requires moisture to truly grow out of control and proliferate. Common sources of moisture that lead to mold outbreaks include the following:
• Broken and leaking pipes
• Roof and window leaks
• Standing water left behind by bathtub, shower, and toilet splashing or overflow
• Water trapped beneath linoleum and tile
• Standing water left behind by floods
• Excess humidity and condensation in the air
How Can I Fix Mold in My Home?
Avoid a mold infestation in the first place by keeping your home dry and free of leaks or other moisture sources.
• Check the integrity of your roofing and window seals and have them repaired as needed.
• If you’ve recently suffered flooding, quickly dispose of any sodden materials and dry out any remaining water, even if you may have to pull up carpeting and floorboards.
• Have a plumber in to check your pipes and keep them in good health.
• Check your appliances, particularly refrigerators and air conditioners, to ensure they aren’t leaking or having problems with condensation.
• If you live in a high-humidity environment, invest in a dehumidifier and run it as necessary to bring down the moisture levels in the air inside your home.
If you’ve already seen outbreaks of black mold, you may need to retain the services of a mold remediation specialist. These technicians can help you identify sources of mold that aren’t readily apparent on initial inspection and recommend appropriate cleanup and prevention actions.
When it Rains, it Pours
A flooded home is a devastating event for any homeowner. It has the ability to ruin many of your possessions in addition to your property itself. Due to the fact that water damage can quickly become permanent if not addressed as soon as possible, if you do suffer flood damage to your home, it’s important that you call the professionals at SERVPRO of Monroeville to help restore the home. However, there are some things that you can do before they arrive. Here are some things you can do immediately after a flood to start the restoration process.
Call Your Insurance Agent
Regardless of how bad a flood has hit your home, it’s likely done some significant damage to some of your possessions and to the structure of your home. Soon after you recognize the damage, you should call your insurance agent. Most water damage in the home is covered by homeowner’s insurance policies but you’ll want to contact them to make sure as there could be exclusions.
Check Before Entering Home
Before you re-enter your home after flood damage, check for any structural damage that may have occurred. Severe flooding or water damage has the ability to compromise the integrity of the structure. If you enter the home without closely inspecting what you’re walking into, the building could potentially collapse, trapping you inside. Once you’ve entered the home, you should be very careful about where you’re walking, especially if you’re moving from carpeting onto a hard surface.
Once you have entered the home, document the evidence of that damage that has been done by taking photos of it. If there are any questions, particularly by your insurance company about the validity of your claim, you’ll have evidence to show them. While you document the damage, save any items that you can. Some items, such as porous materials, may have been damaged beyond repair. When the SERVPRO crew arrives to restore the home, they’ll save as many items as possible. But if there are items that have not been damaged, you can take them out to avoid any further potential damage.
While you’re examining the damage that has occurred in your home, make a list of the damage or lost items in the home. Make sure to include the date they were purchased and their value with any receipts you may have. Store that list with any inventory of your possessions that you may have taken before the flood. If any of your possessions must be disposed of, which some may, make sure you have photographs of the items.
Turn Off Power
After the flood damage occurs, turn off all power, especially to the affected rooms. Also refrain from using any electrical appliances as you could electrocute yourself if you’re standing in water. Keep the power to the home off until an electrician can come and thoroughly inspect the system to ensure it’s safe to turn back on again.
Mold thrives in environments where moisture is present which makes flooded parts of a house ideal for mold growth. The existence of mold in a home can be hazardous so it’s important to prevent the mold from growing if at all possible. Removing any wet contents from the home as soon as possible will help to prevent such mold growth around the home.
Regardless of how well you think you can clean up after a flood, you should call the professionals at SERVPRO of Monroeville to ensure that as much of your property is salvaged as possible. But if you do decide to start the cleanup process before they arrive, it’s important that you are properly attired. Wear long sleeves, pants, gloves, and boots when dealing with flood water to ensure your safety.
If you suffer flood damage in your home, you should contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Monroeville to clean up. But if you want to get the process started prior to their arrival, these tips will help you remain safe.
Christmas Trees and Mold
4 Ways To Reduce Christmas Tree Mold Levels
Live Christmas trees may bring more than the fresh pine scent of the holiday season into homes. With most trees cut in advance of the holidays and stored in a moist environment for fresh keeping, this makes them a likely mold source.
Here are a few tips to help you cut the Christmas mold level in your home, without giving up the fresh tree:
Limit The Time You Leave Your Tree Up
The longer the tree is inside of your home, the higher the mold level may be. If those in your household are prone to mold allergies, but don’t want to give up the fresh Christmas tree, consider putting the tree up Christmas Eve and taking it down on New Year’s Day. Try to keep a live tree in your home between 4-7 days at maximum.
Wash Your Tree
Before bringing the freshly cut tree inside of your home, wash it first using the garden hose. Set the nozzle to a hard-spray level to get into all of those little nooks and crannies of the trunk. Then, wipe the trunk thoroughly with a solution of warm water and bleach (1 part bleach to 20 parts water). Let it dry in the sun before bringing it inside of your home.
Use an Air Purifier
Run an air purifier in the same room as the fresh tree. Cleaner air is key during the holidays, and helps to reduce your mold exposure and lessen the effects of your tree allergies.
The best way to avoid the mold infestation is to buy an artificial tree. Unless you store your artificial tree inside of a sealed plastic bag, it will still need a good shaking outside when it’s brought out of storage each year to relieve it of dust. Also, store all of your Christmas ornaments and decorations in plastic containers (instead of cardboard ones) to keep the dust off of them.
If you see signs of mold, call SERVPRO!
Don't Let a Sprinkler Leak Get You Down
What is low head drainage?
This is when the sprinkler continues to siphon water once the system has been turned off. This typically occurs at one of the lowest points in your yard as water drains down to that water spout. According to experts at Sprinkler Warehouse, "If a sprinkler head is located in the lowest part of the system, water will flow out of that head until an equilibrium has been reached or all of the water has emptied out of the zone's pipes."
When this happens, puddles start to form and or water flows across walkways and driveways. This can be prevented by a few adjustments being made to your system or the installation of a drain check valve.
How does a broken pipe occur?
A broken pipe can occur in the main line or lateral line of an irrigation system. In the main line, there is continuous pressure, so if there is a break or leak in this pipe, then water is continuing to run. Unfortunately, this can cause erosion or a wet spot. Attention needs to be made to this problem immediately so that the water line can be completely turned off for repair.
A lateral line reaches different zones in your yard and are under pressure when the system is running. It can be hard to detect a leak because it's only visible when the system is on and you have to notice which zone actually has the leak. Regardless of its location, it too can cause erosion or holes in your lawn. If you notice a leak in your irrigation system, it can be fixed and should be addressed fairly quickly.
Use this information to keep an eye out for any leaks or problems that could arise this Spring.
According to a study done by National Fire Protection Association
- Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
- One-quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
- Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 365,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,560 deaths, 11,075 civilian injuries, and $7 billion in direct damage.
- On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
- Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
- Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Most fatal fires kill one or two people..
- During 2010--2014, roughly, one of every 338 households reported a home fire per year.
- According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
- Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, less than half ever practiced it.
- One-third of survey respondents who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. Only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!
- Three out of five home fire deaths in 2010-2014 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
- In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 94% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated 80% of the time.
- When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
- An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended.
When disaster strikes, call SERVPRO of Monroeville!
Commercial Water Removal
SERVPRO Works to Restore Any Size Disaster
Western PA factories help keep the rest of the state, and much of the nation, running smoothly. Downtime can affect businesses all over, and we know that minimizing non-productive time periods is vital to the economic growth we all enjoy.
Factories in the Pittsburgh region that have developed leaks or other problems with water benefit from professional water removal services. SERVPRO works with all sizes of organizations, including government entities, in providing disaster relief and preventative maintenance in many different disasters and problematic situations of all sizes. Any size disaster can halt production and become larger without proper mitigation of the situation.
Holding IICRC certificates in Water Damage Restoration (WRT), our employees know exactly what each factory needs to restore everything efficiently. Tracking water throughout your factory helps discover currently unknown locations, ensuring the removal of all water, even before it causes problems. We remove the water in your factory with appropriately sized equipment. Never too large or too small, our equipment efficiently eliminates the water imposing on your business operations.
Elimination of moisture is crucial for machinery to remain functional. A dry environment also protects any materials and finished products. Heating and then circulating the air, so moisture is directed toward dehumidifiers pulls it out of the air. We implement moisture detectors so we can keep track of and document the process from start to finish. Similar equipment helps us locate the source of the water so we can keep it from continuing to trouble your business operations.
Machinery and electronic equipment is more appropriately cared for by our qualified partners when damaged. Arranging for simultaneous care with these individuals helps complete the entire scope of work required by your factory's situation so you can have everything up and running again sooner and without worry about unexpected and unforeseen problems.
Locally owned and operated, the technicians at SERVPRO of Monroeville know how crucial it is for businesses to work together in our community. Call us when your factory has a setback with water so we can perform water removal services. Our number, (412) 825-5480, is answered 24/7, every day of the year.
Ways to Prevent Mold Growth
“Mold” is a colloquial term that refers to a group of fungi that are commonly found on food or wet materials. Most of them produce a lot of spores. Mold growth found on damp building materials are also found in the soil and are adapted to grow on a wide variety of materials. Different species are adapted to different moisture conditions. A musty odor is a sign that you might have indoor mold. We are all exposed to a variety of airborne fungal spores in the air we breathe both indoors and out.
Mold in Your Home
In order to grow indoors, mold needs a moist environment. If you have water damage, prolonged high humidity or dampness, you may develop a mold problem. Sources of excessive indoor moisture include:
Flooding from overflowing rivers and streams or storms
Roof leaks due to blocked gutters, damaged roofs or ice dams
Sewer backups, overflows or leaking pipes
Damp basements or crawlspaces
Wind-driven rain through windows, doors and walls
Condensation on cold surfaces
Preventing Mold Growth
In order to prevent mold growth, you need to control excessive moisture and condensation in your home. Make sure to keep areas susceptible to dampness clean and dry. Mold needs moisture to grow. Three main factors that contribute to condensation on building surfaces include:
Temperature – Warm air holds more moisture than cold air. When warm, humid air comes in contact with a cold surface, condensation forms. You might notice this on single-pane windows.
Poor Ventilation – If there is not enough ventilation, humidity can build up inside. Use fans to keep air circulating in areas where there is little or no air movement.
Relative Humidity – When the air is saturated with water and it cannot hold any additional moisture, condensation occurs. You can use dehumidifiers indoors during warm, humid weather.
Controlling the moisture in your home will help prevent mold growth. Make sure to contact a professional if your home suffers from water damage. Proper cleanup is necessary to prevent problems in the future.
Water Leaks Can Cause Mold
Water Leaks Can Cause Mold
A leaky faucet in your home can be very annoying, but it has the potential to be much more than an annoyance. The moisture caused by leaks can make your home into the perfect environment for Spring mold growth. Mold spores are known to cause allergic reactions and exacerbate respiratory problems. Mold can grow rapidly if you fail to notice a leak shortly after it starts, especially in humid climates. Knowing the risks that mold presents and quickly fixing your water leaks can help to protect your home from mold growth and protect your health as well.
About Mold Growth
Spring mold growth will begin in areas of your home that are wet. The mold spores will land on moist surfaces and then start to germinate. The materials on which mold can grow include:
• Painted surfaces
How Mold Can Affect Your Health
Most types of mold are harmless but can cause problems for individuals with allergies. They can cause symptoms such as coughing, a runny nose or breathing problems. A few types of mold are indeed very toxic, whether or not you have allergies.
Indications of Mold Growth Due to Water Leaks
If you see black and white spots in the area of the leak, this is a sign that you have mold. Kitchens and basements are some of the areas in your home where there is a high risk of mold growth as these areas are prone to leaks. It is therefore important that you properly maintain your plumbing fixtures.
Preventing Mold Growth after Fixing Leaks
If you discover a water leak, have it fixed as soon as possible to minimize the potential for Spring mold growth. After the leak has been fixed, use a mild detergent to wash the area and then allow it to dry completely. After it has dried, thoroughly wipe the area with bleach to kill any spores present. Boric acid also effective at killing mold spores and can be used as a substitute for bleach. Be sure to keep kids and pets out of the area while handling chemicals.
Get Professional Assistance
If there is a part of your home that is prone to water leaks, contact a plumber. If there are hidden problems that are causing leaks to recur, you may not be able to find them yourself. A licensed plumber who is experienced at finding and fixing leaks will be better able to find and fix the issues. Your plumber will also be able to advise you on how to maintain your plumbing to prevent water leaks and mold growth in the future.
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 a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- 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.
Old Building Smell? Let SERVPRO Freshen The Air
Older Buildings Are Smelly
Many of the older buildings in the Pittsburgh area have a distinct smell. People may say that they smell musty or of old material. One way to freshen up the place is to have some deodorization done by SERVPRO.
We use state of the art equipment to clean the air within your building. Depending on the odor we have a few techniques that we'll use.
- Thermal Fogging technique which helps penetrate deeply into building materials.
- An ozone machine is used to help add a fresh smell to odors that seem to linger such as smoke.
- Old fashioned deep cleaning of walls shouldn't be overlooked.
- Carpet cleaning using hot water extraction to remove deep and hard to remove soils.
- Adding to any of the above methods is that of HVAC cleaning. Getting the air ducts clean will definitely freshen any building no matter the age.
Are you Prepared?
Is your business prepared in case a disaster or emergency situation should occur? Disasters and resulting business interruptions can devastate companies; in fact, as many as 50% of businesses that experience a disaster never reopen. With the proper planning and proactive restoration, you can be better prepared to survive a disaster should one occur.
The need and benefit of having a detailed emergency action plan is crucial. A well-developed plan can help mitigate the effects of disasters and help you return to business quickly, saving time, unnecessary frustration and money. Those few minutes and hours immediately following a loss can be significant in determining the amount of time the property will be non-functional. Fast response can mean the difference between restoration and cleaning versus costly replacement resulting from prolonged exposure and secondary damage.
Developing a solid working contingency plan and networking with reputable vendors to assist you in your time of need are essential in your recovery efforts. Having a reliable company to respond immediately and begin emergency procedures is a critical part of any contingency plan. As part of a Franchise System, SERVPRO has access to over 10,000 quality teammates with thousands of pieces of commercial equipment and service vehicles that can typically respond to a crisis within hours.
SERVPRO of Monroeville can provide you a free emergency preparedness plan to help minimize interruption, overall costs and tenant inconvenience. Listed below are some of the items that are found in the Emergency Response Profile:
- Immediate Response Checklist - An organized and prioritized list of persons who need to be contacted when an emergency occurs, including insurance contacts and emergency service providers.
- Building and Grounds Information - Building statistics and key support companies (i.e. security, engineering and elevator).
- Content Information – Inventories of contents and locations of valuable documents, articles and other important items. This also includes machinery and office equipment inventory lists and information as well as vital documents and records.
As a free service to you, we will catalog all of this important information into a customized Emergency Response Profile for your property or properties. Call us today at 412-825-5480 for a straight, no-nonsense discussion on how to get your facility back up and running following an adverse situation.