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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Preventing Water Damage During Construction

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

Group of construction engineer team in standard safety uniform work planing in construction site Prevent water damage during construction in Locust Hill, VA.

If you are a contractor, you probably want to avoid water issues, like a broken pipe that requires costly and time-consuming fixes, such as hiring a water pipe repair person. To protect your projects from requiring a water cleanup company, you should take the proper preventative steps. This means being proactive.

Identify Water Sources

Water leaks can sometimes happen when you are testing a building's systems and will require that you fix them with appropriate water pipe repair measures. The most common sources you should watch include:

  • Water distribution fixtures
  • Roof drains
  • Sewer hookups
  • HVAC fluid systems
  • Fire sprinklers

Create a Plan
To avoid performing a water pipe repair, contractors should take the potential water sources and create a plan to mitigate threats. These methods of mitigation should also be included in your project budget since they are necessary precautions.

Use Water Damage Prevention Tools
When building, there are water damage prevention tools that can limit the amount of damage a site sees. It is recommended that contractors use at least two of the readily available tools to reduce water damage.

Conduct a Shutdown Inspection
To ensure that the building is safe, a shutdown inspection should be conducted every time your crew leaves the site in Locust Hill, VA. This inspection should be conducted according to a checklist that incorporates potential threats and your mitigation plan. It should also be conducted if a storm is approaching.
All project staff should conduct their part of the checklist before leaving the site. The responsibility can be handed to one staff member to ensure completion if necessary. However, this may not be feasible on larger projects. It is also a great idea to train new employees on the preventative measures used to reduce water damage and why they are necessary.
By incorporating these strategies, contractors can reduce the amount of damage they experience from flooded worksites. This is because they know where the potential threats are and plan to deal with them using the proper tools. Additionally, contractors should perform a shutdown inspection to ensure a site is waterproofed before leaving it.

3 Ways To Keep Employees Safe During Mold Removal

1/26/2021 (Permalink)

Mold Quarantine Whether you are removing black mold or any other kind, personal protection should be a priority

Here Are Three Ways To Do That

If you are a business owner in Rhoadsville, VA, who is dealing with mold growth in your commercial property, there are several steps you need to take. First, call a professional. After speaking with a mold remediation expert, the next thing on your to-do list is to consider how you want to coordinate business functions around mold removal. Think about your employees. You will need to figure out a way to keep them safe while the restoration efforts are underway.


1. Provide Personal Protection Equipment
Whether you are removing black mold or any other kind, personal protection should be a priority. To keep skin and respiratory systems clear of any possible contaminants, make sure you provide everyone in the area with appropriate PPE. At a minimum, offer face masks and gloves and direct everyone to wear protective clothing. No one wants to breathe mold.


2. Follow Mold Removal Guidelines
When it comes to cleanup, follow standard guidelines to prevent making any harmful mistakes. For example, the remediation crew should clean mold with soap and water. They should not use bleach or other chemicals that can cause adverse health reactions in humans. Doing so can put everyone at increased risk. Additionally, never begin cleanup before everyone is wearing PPE.


3. Keep Unnecessary Workers Away
While it may seem extreme to send employees home or close shop for the day simply because of mold growth, it may be necessary to at least temporarily relocate anyone who is not part of the cleanup. Having unnecessary people in the area can increase the number of people whose safety you need to worry about. Why put yourself in a position to face a liability?
No matter what kind of business you run out of your commercial property, any building can be susceptible to unwanted mold growth. To help you prepare for this kind of situation, have a plan in place for coordinating the essentials like employee safety. This can help make mold removal much easier if and when you need these services.

Understanding the Different Levels of Sewage Damage

1/13/2021 (Permalink)

Dishwasher causes water damage Category 2 water damage comes from a dirty water source

As a homeowner, it’s important to be prepared for various types of damage in your home, including sewer backup. Whether you’re dealing with a flooded toilet or a faulty dishwasher, you should recognize that you’re in the middle of an emergency situation. If you ever have to deal with sewage in your residence in Burr Hill, VA, you need to reach out to professional experts in sewer cleanup to address this issue quickly and thoroughly. They will know the proper approach based on the type of contaminated water or sewage damage level found.

Exploring Different Levels of Water Contamination

Sewage damage is categorized based on three different levels or types of contaminated water:

  • Clean Water (Category 1): This describes damage from a clean source such as a leaky faucet or broken pipe.
  • Gray Water (Category 2): This describes contaminated water that comes from overflow from a house appliance or a toilet containing some urine. Gray water may contain microbes.
  • Black Water (Category 3): Severely contaminated water that contains sewage, harsh chemicals and microbes such as sewer backup or flooding is referred to as black water.


When clean and gray water are left untreated, they may degrade into gray and black water, respectively. Items that experience damage from Category 3 or black water usually cannot be salvaged. It is important to address any contaminated water damage with a comprehensive sewer cleanup approach that can only be offered by professionals.


Understanding the Professional Difference
Sewage backup in your house is a serious matter. Professional restoration specialists have the equipment and know-how to quickly and fully address any damage. The aim of a full restoration process is to bring your residence back to pre-damage conditions as soon as possible.
It is not recommended that you attempt to clean sewage backup yourself. Trust your home to sewer cleanup experts who are focused on fully addressing the problem, including damage that may be hidden from view.

How To Know Whether Your Sprinklers Are Ready for a Fire

1/13/2021 (Permalink)

Automatic ceiling Fire Sprinkler at the Office You must perform fire sprinkler tests

Below Are Some Of the Tests You Should Regularly Perform

A fire sprinkler system is a valuable piece of your Rhoadsville, VA, commercial building. It can prevent a small blaze from turning into a massive and destructive fire. While you may need fire sprinkler cleanup services after the system activates, this is a small price to pay compared to the thousands of dollars in damage that flames could cause.
You thus need to make sure that your sprinklers are ready for a potential emergency. That is why sprinkler tests are required by the National Fire Protection Association. Below are some of the tests you should regularly perform.


1. Water Flow Test
Simply open the inspector's test valve and let the water flow for 60 seconds. Ideally, the alarm should sound and send a signal to the local fire station. Before you perform this quarterly test, contact the fire department so it knows not to respond to the property.

2. Main Drain Test
This test of the fire sprinkler system checks both the drain valves and the water supply. To start, record the static pressure indicated on the gauge. Then let the water in the main valve run until the pressure stabilizes. Look at the pressure again before slowly closing the valve. The difference between the two pressure readings should be less than 10 percent. A larger variance could mean a dropped gate or obstruction.

3. Trip Test
A partial dry pipe valve trip test should be done each year. Ideally, you should conduct the test when the weather is warmer to limit freezing. Partially open the control valve and make sure the system trips within one minute.
You should also do a full trip test every three years. This is the same as the partial test but requires you to fully open the control valve so the water flows.
To comply with insurance requirements and NFPA regulations, you must perform fire sprinkler tests. You can then rest assured that your fire suppression system will work during a blaze.

Don't Wait for Adjusters After a Storm

1/13/2021 (Permalink)

air movers placed in a home that has suffered from storm damage Storm restoration services in Locust Hill, Va

Don't Wait for Adjusters After a Storm

Strong storms with high winds and heavy rains can lead to floods and the destruction of property. If your home in Locust Hill, VA, suffers damage in a flood, immediate action is needed to begin cleanup and repairs. Check with your insurance provider to see if you have flood insurance to help cover the cost of repairs, but don't delay your rebuilding efforts.


1. Safety first
After a flood, shut off the gas and electricity as soon as possible. Wear protective gear whenever you enter the premises as flood water can be toxic.


2. Clean everything
Delaying the cleanup process until you hear from an adjuster about your flood insurance can lead to mold damage. Cleanup should begin as soon as safely possible. Standing water should be removed and soaked furniture and other salvageable items should be removed and thoroughly dried out. All appliances should be unplugged and dried out. Mud and storm debris often makes its way into the home during a flood. Shovel it all out. Scrub down the walls and floors with disinfectant and sanitizer before attempting to move anything back inside. You can consult a storm damage restoration specialist if you don't want to handle the task of cleanup yourself.


3. Make a list of damages
As you clean up, keep a detailed list of damages. Everything from furniture and items that were destroyed to flood damage to the structure of your home. Provide this list to your insurance adjuster when they are able to visit. Adjusters are often very busy after major storms. Keeping a list of damages for them allows you to report what you have lost while moving forward with cleanup and rebuilding.


4. Rebuild
Only after your home is safely cleaned and dried out should you move ahead with repairs and rebuilding.
If your home in Locust Hill, VA, is in an area known for frequent devastating storms, check with your insurance to verify that you have flood insurance or what type of protection you might want to add in case of a flood.

Understanding the Fire Cleanup Process

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

chair and furniture in room after burned by fire Fire damage in Rhoadsville, VA

Fire Cleanup Process

If a fire starts in your home, your priority is to get out safely. You will next be concerned about the state of your home and your possessions inside. Unfortunately, some things might not be salvageable. The good news is that with the right help, you can clean damaged items and restore your home to a livable condition once again. By learning how the professionals clean up after fire and smoke damage, you can have peace of mind knowing that this process can be effective.

Calling the Pros
When you have something as serious as a house fire, you need a professional disaster cleanup and restoration company to get you back on your feet. Professional technicians offer these benefits:

  • They can respond promptly and give fast service.
  • They have experience cleaning up after house fires.
  • They have the tools and equipment to thoroughly handle smoke cleaning.
  • They are licensed and insured.

Getting Rid of the Smell
The odor of lingering smoke can stay in your home for months or even years after a fire. Smoke damage can especially affect furniture and clothing. To remove the odor, technicians dry-clean the items and then use a deodorizer. Professionals also use ozone generators, which eliminate the molecules that smoke leaves in your home.

Removing the Soot
After a fire, the smoke will likely leave a layer of soot on the surfaces of your home. Soot damage can be detrimental to electronics, carpet, and other materials. You can start by wiping off the damaged surfaces with a damp cloth. Professional cleanup teams in Rhoadsville, VA, use powerful soot-removal sprays to eliminate the layers. After spraying the affected area, the product hardens and technicians can then peel it away, bringing the soot and its harmful components with it.
Don't let smoke damage sit in your home for too long. Remediation professionals can take these steps and more to properly clean your home.

Mold Prevention in Rental Homes

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Woman covering her nose while looking at wall with black mold Hidden damp, moist areas are prime places for mold growth

When you own a rental property, keeping up with the maintenance of the home is key. These properties are often left vacant for extended periods of time between renters. Rental owners in Locust Hill, VA, should make mold prevention a priority in the maintenance of their homes so that the property is always safely available for the next tenant.

Steps To Prevent Mold

Whenever your rental property becomes vacant, do a thorough site inspection. If you know the property will be vacant for an extended period, take these additional steps:

  • Check for leaky pipes or any signs of water intrusion
  • Fix all leaks as soon as they are discovered to prevent water damage
  • Inspect the foundation of the home
  • Check the attic, basement, and other frequently overlooked areas where water might sit
  • Turn off and disconnect any appliances that use water
  • Turn off the water entirely, if possible
    Adjust the temperature controls

Humidity helps mold grow, so maintaining the temperature inside the home while vacant is an important step in mold prevention. Whether this involves lowering the heat or adjusting the air conditioning depends on the climate in which your rental is located.

How Mold Happens
Mold grows when damp surfaces are left moist and unattended. Water from leaky pipes, malfunctioning appliances, or even built-up rainwater or snow, can seep into unseen places in any structure. Damp floors and carpets are easily discovered, but moisture hidden behind walls, in attics, and within cracks and crevices of a foundation can create problems. Hidden damp, moist areas are prime places for mold growth.
Mold prevention should be considered part of the general maintenance of any rental home. Periodically check-in while the property is occupied, deep clean between tenants, and turn off the water during all vacant periods. Promptly address any water intrusions as they arise to stop mold before it starts. If mold is discovered, find a mold remediation specialist to resolve the issue and restore the home to safe rental conditions.

5 Ways to Prevent Sewage Backup

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Pouring grease down the drain Never pour grease down the drain

Five Ways You Can Protect Your Property From Black Water Flooding

A sewage backup is one of the most common causes of black water floods. These dangerous incidents contain harmful biohazards and can cause severe damage to your property in Rhoadsville, VA. Preventing the issue in the first place is preferable to having to pay for expensive damage repairs. 

1. Take Care of Your Sump Pump.
Proper sump pump maintenance is super easy and can save you a lot of storm damage and flood-related trouble in the long run. Make sure to check the filters and pipes for debris, such as gravel and silt, regularly. Also, make time to test your sump pump to ensure it's working properly.

2. Install Backwater Prevention Valves.
Backwater prevention valves can help prevent sewage backup and flooding. These devices are typically installed into your residential sewer line, working to enhance sewer cleaning. They permit raw sewage to leave your pipes, while simultaneously preventing it from backing up into your basement.

3. Opt for Plastic Sewer Pipes.
Older sewer pipes are typically made out of cast iron, which can age and crack over time. Newer pipes are constructed from plastic, which has a significantly longer lifespan.

4. Only Flush Proper Paper Products.
You can easily clog your toilet by flushing the incorrect items down the pipes. Make sure that you never flush feminine hygiene products, diapers, paper towels, or other thick items down the toilet. If you use multi-ply toilet paper, try to limit how much you flush at once to prevent toilet flooding.

5. Never Pour Grease Down the Drain.
Oils can harden inside your pipes, gradually slowing drainage and building up clogs over time. Instead, you need to pour the grease into a heat-resistant container and dispose of it in the trash.
Sewage backup floods are extremely messy and can cause a lot of damage. This is why your best course of action is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Contact flood remediation experts if you have suffered from one of these floods.

Severe Storm and Flooding FAQs

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Debri blocking road during a storm Storm damage in Locust Hill, VA

Common Questions Regarding Flood Risk Answered

Floods are a relatively common natural disaster that many homeowners have to deal with at some point, especially if your home in Locust Hill, VA, is located in a major flood zone. 

1. Can Flooding Occur Anywhere?
Flooding can occur anywhere in the United States, no matter what time of year it is. There are certain seasons when floods are significantly more common, however. These seasons vary depending on where in the country you reside in.

2. How Can You Gauge Flood Severity?
The National Weather Service (NWS) has a list of flash flood warnings, categorized in order of severity. You typically receive these alerts via your emergency weather channels within approximately 6 hours of heavy rainfall or severe weather. The three major flash flood classes are "Base," "Considerable" and "Catastrophic."

3. What is a Flood Zone?
These are the areas that have the greatest risk of succumbing to a major flood in the event of a severe storm or natural disaster. There are multiple different levels, but it's still best to anticipate the worst, just to make sure you're adequately prepared.

4. How Do You Know Whether You're in a High-Risk Zone?
The easiest way to gauge your personal risk is to check the map provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). There are several different maps provided, and each has their own unique information to offer regarding flooding.

5. How Can You Tell When a Flood is Coming?
The best way to stay informed is to sign up for an emergency broadcast alert system. NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is just one of the many channels you should pay attention to in order to stay up to date on an incoming flood or storm.
Knowing your property's specific flood zone can help you prepare to face any imminent storms. If your property does succumb to water damage, then you need to contact flood remediation experts as soon as possible.

Preventing Mold Growth After Water Damage

12/30/2020 (Permalink)

Hand pointing to mold growth on ceiling Mold growth after water damage in Louisa, VA

If your Louisa, VA, commercial property suffers water damage, there will be many things for you as a business owner to deal with. One of the most important is preventing mold growth.

How Water Incursion Leads to Mold

There are a variety of reasons that your business could be inundated with water. The following are some of the most common:

  • Pipe breaks
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Heavy rains
  • Snow melt

When water from any source enters a building, the risk for mold increases. This is because most indoor areas have all of the conditions necessary for mold growth except a water source. Most commercial buildings are in the right temperature range to sustain mold and have a variety of sources of nutrients present, including drywall, upholstery, and other materials.

How To Prevent Mold After Water Damage
Because water is key to mold growth, it is also key to mold prevention. As soon as everyone is safe and the damage has been documented, it is important to begin drying out the property. An experienced restoration service can assist you with this process if necessary. There are wet/dry vacuums and specialized pumps available that you can use to extract standing water. If you do not have access to these tools, you can use buckets to scoop out the water. After removing the standing water, there will likely be moisture remaining in porous surfaces. Dehumidifiers and fans can help dry these items. Ideally, you should ensure the property is completely dry within 24 hours. After this, mold can begin to colonize the area. Even if you believe you were successful in fully drying the property, remain vigilant for signs of mold growth, including a musty odor or deterioration or discoloration of walls and floors.
Mold damage often co-occurs with water damage. Fortunately, acting quickly decreases the likelihood of mold appearing and increases the likelihood that you can get back to business.

Brief Overview of Category 3 Water Damage

12/30/2020 (Permalink)

Drainage fountain of sewage. SERVPRO logo Blackwater comes from dirty and bacteria-filled sources

All water damage is not equal. In the same way, not all floodwater or water from other sources results in equal amounts of harm. When a professional cleanup and restoration company in Burr Hill, VA, is contacted to handle devastation caused by water in commercial property, one thing taken into account is the category of water that caused it. There are three categories, Category 1, or clean water, Category 2, or greywater, and Category 3, or black water. Category 3 is the worst kind of water damage.

What Is Category 3 Water Damage?

Category 3 water damage is caused by water that is highly contaminated. This black water contains substances, chemicals, microbes, and other contents capable of causing severe illness and even death.

What Are Possible Sources of Category 3 Water Damage?
Blackwater comes from dirty and bacteria-filled sources. This includes:

  • Toilet overflow from a backed-up toilet
  • Flood water that has picked up garbage or toxic materials
  • Sewage overflow
  • Runoff from rivers or the sea
  • Contaminated groundwater
  • Rising waters

What Are Options for Dealing With Category 3 Water Damage?
Because of the severe health risks associated with black water, Category 3 water damage should never be handled solely by untrained individuals. It is quickly absorbed by construction materials like wood, sheetrock, carpet, and anything that is porous in commercial buildings, allowing pathogens to spread and mold to breed. Exposure to such water carries the potential of contracting diseases like Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Norovirus. Building contents that have come into contact with the water must be thoroughly sanitized and may have to be disposed of. Cleanup should be left to professionals wearing proper personal protective equipment.
Not all flood water causes Category 3 water damage. However, since it can pick up harmful things as it travels, rising flood water often does. Besides water damage, it propagates the spread of mold and sickness, so it is best to have it handled by professionals as soon as possible.

How To Protect Your Property After a Fire

12/30/2020 (Permalink)

Firefighters putting out a fire in a house House fire in Unionville, VA

Three Things You Can Do After A House Fire

After a Unionville, VA, house fire has been extinguished, it may seem like no more damage can be done. However, this is not the case. It is important to board up your home and take other precautions to prevent further problems. The following are three things you can do after a house fire to protect your home.

Secure the Property
Your home is vulnerable to a variety of threats after a fire has occurred, including:

  • Wildlife
  • Trespassers
  • Inclement weather

After the fire department has told you it is safe to do so, you can begin making temporary repairs to your home. There will likely be broken windows, holes, and other openings resulting from the fire damage and extinguishing efforts. Board up or tarp over these openings to protect the inside of the home. Installing a temporary security fence can add an extra layer of protection. Remember to keep receipts for emergency board up materials and other security expenses, because your homeowner's insurance may reimburse you.

Begin Cleanup
In addition to the fire itself, residual smoke and soot from the fire and standing water from the extinguishing efforts can cause further damage. Soot is often corrosive and standing water fosters mold growth, so acting quickly is key. Make sure to use the appropriate cleaning product and technique for the type of soot with which you are dealing. Otherwise, you may end up doing more harm than good. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need professional restoration assistance.

Prevent Future Damage
During the restoration process, you may consider taking measures to prevent future fires. Possible steps include investing in flame-resistant paint and installing a sprinkler system. Test your smoke detectors regularly and make sure you have enough fire extinguishers.
Whether you are dealing with major or minor fire damage, it is important to take steps to prevent further damage from occurring. From board up to cleanup, acting quickly but cautiously is the best way to protect your property.

Why Does Mold Have an Odor?

12/30/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth on wall with the phrase Musty Odor? A mold smell is a red flag that mold has found a moisture source

The musty odor that most people associate with mold is actually the smell of mycotoxins. A mycotoxin is a type of microbial, volatile, organic compound (MVOC) that mold releases as part of its digestive function. Not all MVOCs are mycotoxins, and consequently, not all mold has a smell.

How MVOCs Are Released

The air in Louisa, VA, is filled with tiny, invisible mold spores. These spores grow into mold when they come into contact with a moisture source, such as a leak. For mold to grow and colonize, it also needs a food source. Most materials can serve as food for mold, including:

  • wood
  • paper
  • cloth
  • drywall
  • food scraps
  • soil

Mold grows on the surface of its food source. As it digests this surface material, mold releases MVOCs and mycotoxins. These compounds are, essentially, mold burps.

Why Mycotoxins Exist
Scientists are still in the early stages of mycotoxin research, and the purpose of mycotoxins isn’t completely clear. The most pervasive theory is that they act as a defense mechanism for mold that may be competing with other organisms. In a damp building, there may be several organisms present and competing for the same food and moisture source, including other fungi, bacteria, dust mites, and/or insects. Studies suggest that the higher the competition levels, the higher the production of mycotoxins.

What The Odor Means
A mold smell is a red flag that mold has found a moisture source and is actively eating away at some part of your building. DIY cleanup efforts are often inadequate and can lead to recurring mold outbreaks. To ensure the mold is completely eradicated, it’s best to call a professional mold remediation company. These specialists have the necessary equipment and training to completely remove surface mold and airborne mold spores to eliminate the smell and prevent future mold damage.
While that distinctive, musty mycotoxin odor isn’t pleasant, it does serve as an excellent signal that your building has a mold problem. Don’t ignore the smell: The sooner mold remediation begins, the less mold damage will occur.

What You Can Do To Prevent Your Basement From Flooding

12/30/2020 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. A visible line is showing a maximum water level higher than 7 feet. A flooded basement requires intense cleanup.

A flooded basement is no fun. Thankfully, there are preventative measures you can take to lessen the odds it happens to you.

Difficult To Control Causes

Water can invade your basement as a result of complications that cannot be easily remedied without the expertise of a specialist. These origins include:

  • Surface water leaks.
  • Storm sewer systems backing up.
  • Wet soil pushed via hydrostatic pressure.

Preventing these causes may lie outside your immediate control. Other reasons you may experience a deluge within your cellar can be handled much more directly.

Easy To Implement Prevention Measures
Poor drainage is often the cause of a flooded basement. Therefore, it is recommended you install gutters and downspouts to divert water away from your residence. You can bolster this improvement by upgrading windows and doors with ones that are certified watertight.
Deteriorating plumbing is another source of basement inundations. Pipes have lifespans of only 50 to 80 years. Therefore, hire a plumber to inspect older homes. Pay attention to water-based appliances such as washing machines that reside within your lower quadrant. Replace supply hoses every three to five years as wear from prolonged usage puts them at risk of cracking or collapsing.
Water leak detection systems are fantastic forms of flood deterrence. Through the use of automatic shut-off valves, these beauties shut down your water supply at the first sign of irregular flow or after floors become damp, preventing troubling situations from developing.
Owning a sump pump means you can remove water and mitigate the damage as soon as it accumulates. Test yours twice a year to be certain it stands ready for when the need suddenly arises. Once your basement has been dried, the next stage is hiring a water restoration service professional to carry out the necessary repairs.
A flooded basement requires intense cleanup. Lessen the chances you ever have to recondition yours in Burr Hill, VA, by implementing these recommended defensive actions.

Why You Should Choose Only Certified Mold Removers

12/22/2020 (Permalink)

professional works on mold remediaation Choose an IICRC approved renovator for your mold removal needs!

When your home requires mold removal, only hire a certified mold specialist. To do so, select one that has been blessed by an educator-approved by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. A non-profit organization servicing more than 25 countries, the IICRC sets standards for many restorations, cleaning, and inspection disciplines.

Finding a Licensed Mold Remover

In many states, technicians are not required to hold official mold certification in order to practice. States that mandate removers carry a license are:

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Florida
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Louisiana

When searching for a mold renovation service outside these territories, check that the individual you are considering possesses legitimate certified mold treatment credentials.

Regarding Your Licensed Mold Remover
Choosing an IICRC-approved renovator means that your contractor is able to maintain certain ethical expectations. As members in good standing, every certified mold remediation specialist must follow a strict set of rules that assures satisfactory customer service.
Because the IICRC provides standardized training, teams carrying this stamp of approval have the skills and knowledge to complete an entire project safely and effectively. The organization further offers updated learning opportunities, meaning you should anticipate specialists who have a working familiarity concerning their discipline’s latest advances.
Most importantly, IICRC businesses are required to carry insurance, meaning that should something go wrong you and your property remain protected.
Mold has the ability to regrow if not eliminated properly. Hiring someone without accurate knowledge may mean a quick return of the unwelcomed spores you already paid to have evicted. Confirm with the IICRC that any prospective agent has been truthful regarding their status to avoid this from happening.
If you need a certified mold remover to stamp out a fungal assault in Louisa, VA, pick one that comes bearing an endorsement from the industry’s authority. Doing otherwise means placing your family and home at unnecessary risk.

3 Ways To Eliminate Common Home Odors

12/15/2020 (Permalink)

baking soda and vinegar with cleaning tools Baking soda and vinegar can help to remove unwanted odors!

Is there a noxious smell floating around your Locust Hill, VA, home that you just can’t seem to lose? Whether it’s a musty stench, an offensive cooking odor or the foul smell emanating from your puppy’s accident on the carpet, reliable home deodorization methods are useful for everyone from time to time. Here are tips for successfully removing stubborn home odors. 
1. Fabrics and Carpet
Fabrics and carpet are some of the most difficult materials from which to remove odors because these materials can absorb smells. The good news is, baking soda also absorbs odors, making it a great solution to eliminate foul smells, e.g., that of cigarette smoke. It’s as easy as sprinkling the baking soda onto the area and letting it sit for a few hours. Then just shake it out or vacuum it up.
Foul odors from biological matter (e.g., urine or vomit) can be removed with a mixture of three parts water to one part vinegar. First, blot the excess moisture from the material. Then, spray the area with the mixture and blot it with a clean towel. It may take a few applications to completely remove the smell.
2. Mildew and Mold 
If a space in your home is emitting a noticeable musty odor, you should have professionals inspect and clean the area. An issue with mold can get out of hand fast, and it may take more than just home deodorization to solve this problem.
3. Stale Air
Sometimes the air doesn’t necessarily smell bad, just stale. One of the best things you can do is open the windows and let fresh air go to work. You can also put a tiny smudge of vanilla on a light bulb; the warmth of the bulb will heat the vanilla, sending its sweet fragrance throughout the air. In addition, try cutting lemons into sections and placing them around your home for a refreshing aroma. 
If you’ve tried these methods and a foul odor is still lingering, home deodorization experts are available with professional equipment, such as ozone for eliminating cigarette smoke. They’ll have your home smelling clean and fresh in no time.

How Does Professional Mold Testing Work?

12/14/2020 (Permalink)

Mold remediation specialist inspects walls Mold inspection in Orange, VA

An indoor environmental specialist can help commercial property managers and owners determine whether mold is present in a building in in Orange, VA. A visual inspection may be sufficient, or a trained expert may take air, batch or surface samples to detect mold and identify the species.

Schedule a Mold Inspection

A mold inspection may start with a search for visible mold and lead to a mold test. Testing is only cost-effective at early stages for the following reasons:

  • detecting the presence of hidden mold
  • determining the toxicity of mold
  • measuring concentrations of spores or off-gasses


If an infestation is obvious, testing is more practical to confirm the completion of cleanup. Personal protective equipment is recommended for all mold cleanup, though full containment is necessary for toxic species.


Have Experts Take Samples
An indoor environmental specialist may take any of the following types of samples from a commercial building:

  • Airborne spore and gas samples
  • Batch spore samples
  • Surface spore samples


Spores can be gathered from the air inside a building or directly from contents or surfaces. These samples are used to grow the same mold in a controlled lab environment for identifying the species and toxicity status.


Wait for Lab Results
It may take several days for lab analysis to return results to a specialist. Once test results are in, an expert will contact property owners to report on the species or concentration of spores and microbial volatile organic compounds. This data can help an specialist recommend the best strategy for stopping mold growth and eradicating existing colonies.
Regardless of test results, an indoor environmental specialist can recommend the right approach to cleaning up mold or preventing an infestation at a building in Hamilton, OH. Cleanup can take up to a week and remediation may go on for longer based on whether contaminated building materials need to be replaced during restoration.

How To Lower Business Interruption Insurance

12/14/2020 (Permalink)

Financial concept meaning Business Interruption Insurance with sign on the piece of paper. Business interruption insurance

When your business suffers water damage from leaking pipes or flooding, it is more than likely that you will have to temporarily close your business operations while those repairs are made. In the event that your business in Hamilton, OH, is forced to close for repairs, business interruption insurance can help you stay afloat until restorations are complete.

What Business Interruption Insurance Covers

Business interruption insurance steps in to cover the cost of operating your business in the event of a shutdown due to covered reasons. When there is limited or no amount of money coming into the business, there are a number of expenditures that still need to be paid. Business interruption insurance can help with:

  • Lost net income according to your financial records
  • Employee payroll
  • Loan payments
  • Taxes
  • Mortgage, rent, and lease payments


Business interruption insurance will not cover things like utilities, damaged property, damages covered by separate insurance like floods or earthquakes, or any lost income not documented in your financial records.


How To Lower Business Interruption Insurance Costs
The best way to keep costs low is to avoid the need to make any claims. Hire professionals to conduct regular scheduled inspections of the electrical and plumbing systems and to maintain their proper working order. Address every leaky or broken pipe as soon as it is discovered. Don't let an easily repaired leak become a large water damage claim. When damage does occur due to flooding, sewer backups, or burst pipes, work with restoration specialists to get your business back to safe conditions quickly. Clean, repair, replace, and restore everything as needed as quickly as possible.
The faster you can get your business up and running again, the lower your claim will be for business interruption insurance. To make a decision regarding the need for business interruption insurance, or the amount of it to purchase, consult your other existing policies. Check with your property insurance provider and your coverage regarding flooding and earthquakes.

3 Candle Alternatives That Keep Your Home Free From Fire Hazards

12/14/2020 (Permalink)

White Ceramic Wax Melt Wax melts are essentially candle wax without the wick

Choose The Three Following Candle Alternatives

Candles are desirable for their versatility in creating different ambiances. For example, a candlelit dinner is considered romantic and candles on an altar are considered spiritual light. Whatever their use, candles are a notorious fire hazard and should be used with caution or entirely avoided. To avoid a candle fire in Hamilton, OH, you can choose to opt for these candle alternatives:

  • Flameless LED candles
  • Essential oil diffusers
  • Candle wax melts


1. LED Candles
A fire can be avoided by opting for candle alternatives that use electronic lights. Flameless LED candles are equipped with many perks, such as the ability to set a timer or to change the color of the lights. If you like the ambiance created by the flickering lights, you can also purchase LED candles that flicker.


2. Essential Oil Diffusers
If you prefer the scent of the candles to the ambiance, an essential oil diffuser will provide the scent without the use of flames. Diffusers use ultrasonic vibrations to turn liquid water infused with essential oils into vapor. The vapor carries the scent of the essential oils with it into the air. These can be purchased with lights to give both the desired lighting and scent.


3. Candle Wax Melts
Wax melts are essentially candle wax without the wick. These are placed on a ceramic bowl with an opening in the center for a lightbulb. The heat from the lightbulb melts the wax, releasing its scent. Some wax warmers use heat from tealight candles rather than a lightbulb. Verify that it does not use flames when making your purchase to avoid a fire hazard.
Candle alternatives are a great way to make your home a safer place without compromising the desired ambiance from candles. If you have already had a candle fire in your home, contact a fire damage restoration service to aid in restoring your property. The best way to prevent a candle fire is to utilize their flameless counterparts.

An Ounce of (Water Damage) Prevention

12/8/2020 (Permalink)

leaky faucet Check your appliances for leaks!

No one in Louisa, VA, wants to experience gushing water in home spaces, or pooling water on adjacent areas, such as a porch or patio. Water damage is ruinous, work intensive and costly no matter where it occurs. And while no one can predict a malfunctioning dishwasher or a broken pipe, you can take a number of easy-to-do steps to lessen the chances of an emergency requiring water damage repair and restoration services. Maintenance is the operative word. Keep in mind that standard homeowner's insurance covers water damage, but not if that damage resulted from a lack of proper maintenance.
To keep your home water damage-safe, here are some basic preventive measures.
Indoors

Check appliances regularly for leaks or gathering moisture. Make small fixes—a broken pipe and pipe cleanup, for example—to ward off big repairs stemming from outright flooding or mildew, mold and structural damage.
Replace old, brittle washing machine hoses prone to cracking.
Ensure your home's water pressure is not so high that it puts undue stress on pipes and hoses.
Track water bills to spot gradually increasing or spiking costs that can indicate hidden leaks. 
Shut off the water main valve when your home is unoccupied for a long period.
Test your sump pump for operability.

Outdoors

Disconnect water hoses in winter to prevent frozen pipes that can burst and damage your home's interior.
Clean gutters and downspouts to free them of blockages that can harm the house foundation.
Inspect the roof and repair missing or cracked shingles to prevent leaking water in home interior areas.
Repoint loose chimney mortar and repair cracked bricks—another water entry point.
Keep landscaping clear of utility pipes to stop tree roots from splintering a water pipe.

Prevention is a proven strategy for all homeowners. It goes a long way toward avoiding the anguish and expense of finding unwanted water in home interiors—especially yours.

3 Problems Experts Have With Home Mold Testing Kits

12/3/2020 (Permalink)

mold testing kits At home mold testing kits.

Experts agree that home mold testing kits are no substitute for an investigation by a professional mold remediation company. Mold industry organizations, government agencies, and consumer groups have all issued statements advising homeowners against using these kits. Here are 4 common concerns experts raise about DIY mold tests.
1. Agar Sensitivity
Most home mold kits use a petri dish containing a common sampling medium called agar. You place the open dish in your home and wait for mold spores to grow on the agar, then seal the dish and mail it to a lab. Agar has a limited shelf life; however, some test kits don’t have an expiration date or a manufacturing date. Agar is also sensitive to heat and cold, and there’s no way to know how the kits were handled or where they were stored before they landed on your store shelf.
2. Shipping Requirement
All home mold testing kits require you to ship the sample to a lab. But once you place your sample in the mail, you have no control over what happens to it before it reaches its destination. Exposure to hot or cold temperatures, like in the back of a mail truck or on a loading dock, can damage the sample and throw off your results. Many DIY kits use glass slides, which are prone to breaking during transit.
3. Meaningless Lab Results
Mold levels vary from place to place and season to season; there is no universal, “normal” level. A mold kit can’t tell you what the “normal” levels for a home in Madison County, VA, should be. Without knowing what’s normal, it’s impossible to tell whether the levels found in the test dish were too high. In addition, professional mold tests measure the density of mold spores in a specific amount of air. DIY kits can’t provide this information, since they have no way of measuring the volume of air flowing past the test dish.
A home mold kit may be able to detect mold spores in your home, but it shouldn’t be considered a reliable mold testing option.

4 Ways To Know if You Have a Shower Pan Leak

12/1/2020 (Permalink)

Leakage of water from a shower cabin with glass wall that is damaged Shower pan leak

Four Ways To Determine If You Might Have A Water Leak Coming From Your Bathroom

If you have a bathtub leak, fixing it quickly will lessen the amount of time the water can damage your property. Many homeowners in Louisa, VA, suspect a water problem but do not know how to discover where the water could be coming from. Here are four ways to determine if you might have a water leak coming from your bathroom.


1. Check Ceilings for Rings
Even tiny water leaks can lead to damage over time. If you suspect a bathtub leak and have a room underneath your bathroom, check its ceiling for signs of water damage. Water rings, discolored paint, and sagging ceilings are all signs of water damage coming from above.


2. Look for Warped Walls and Floors
Water can break down and weaken fibrous material. Drywall, baseboards, and sub-floors can all become less stable when water damage occurs. Check your walls and floors for any signs of warping or peeling.


3. Test the Shower Pan
Test your shower pan for leaks by closing off the drain and marking the pan with a piece of tape. Next, fill the basin up to the level of the tape. Leave the water to sit for 24-72 hours. At the end of the waiting period, the water level should still be in the same place it was originally. If the water level has gone down, you may have a shower pan leak.


4. Smell the Bathroom
Leaks can lead to moisture problems, which can lead to mold and mildew overtaking your bathroom. If you cannot see the mold, but suspect a moisture problem, try closing the door for an hour or two. When you re-enter the room, notice if there is an unexpected musky smell. If so, you may have mold or mildew hiding where you cannot see it.
A bathtub leak is a fairly common problem that needs to be taken care of quickly to avoid further damage. Luckily, a professional water remediation company can fix the source of the problem and return your home to its pre-leak condition.

DIY Mold Testing: Is It Reliable?

12/1/2020 (Permalink)

Mold Armor DIY test kit. For testing mold at home. A home mold kit can only detect the presence of mold

Do They Work?

Molds are a normal part of our natural environment and are usually found at levels that have no effect on people. However, mold grows rapidly indoors if one element is present — moisture. This fungus flourishes in warmth, darkness and oxygen, making many spaces in your house likely candidates for mold growth, especially "mold magnets" like basements. Homeowners in Louisa, VA, sometimes buy mold testing kits, DIY mold screening devices and various mold-detecting tape lifts and swabs to determine if they have a mold problem. Are they reliable? Here's a rundown:
Basically, a home mold kit can only detect the presence of mold. Because mold is all around us, outdoors and indoors, it will always test positive. An over-the-counter kit doesn't have the capability to provide more important information:


Mold Type
Home testing can't distinguish between the two types of mold:

  • Harmful mold, or black mold, is often found in large patches across surfaces. It grows rapidly, causes property and structural damage and requires professional mold remediation.
  • Non-harmful mold is the kind found in spaces like the pantry, refrigerator or breadbox. Although a common nuisance, this type of mold can be easily cleaned and removed.

Mold Source
Mold testing kits can't identify the mold's place of origin. The first step in remediation is pinpointing the location of the moisture causing the mold. In residential properties, the source could be anything from a seeping chimney to a cracked water pipe. In most instances, a professional evaluation is needed to determine the cause of the moisture.


Mold Level
DIY testing can't determine the level of infestation. The DIY kit only collects mold spores and confirms its presence. To know the degree of mold infestation, a homeowner would need to submit the kit for lab analysis (at added expense) or contact a mold remediation company for an assessment.
So, do mold testing kits work? Yes. Are they reliable or useful? No. The effectiveness of a DIY kit is limited. Only environmental hygienists and trained remediation professionals can accurately test for mold in your home.

Why and How You Should Deal With Smoke Damage

11/23/2020 (Permalink)

smoke alarm Smoke & soot damage is no joke!

Putting your life back together after a home fire is an enormous task. There are so many things to think about during fire cleanup that you might overlook a small chore like cleaning electronics. While it may seem trivial, smoke damage is no joke, and cleanup should always be a team effort.
Team Up To Clean Up Damage 
Checking for issues and fixing devices is not easy. Here are three steps that you can do to help start the fire cleanup process:

1. Unplug all electronics. Do not turn on any possibly affected devices.
2. Use a cloth to wipe away soot and assess external damage.
3. Let equipment sit and air out thoroughly.

Why Smoke and Soot Are Serious Problems 
Smoke causes electronics to overheat. When devices reach high temperatures, they shut down and may not be salvageable. There are also corrosive chemicals and other elements in smoke that can cause hardwiring to short circuit.
Soot is made up of particles that are left behind once the smoke has dissipated. It blankets components and acts as an insulator. It is also acidic, so it will corrode surfaces. The damage might not be immediate but will happen over time.
Because smoke and soot can cause problems after a fire has been put out, it is important to check all electronics immediately to avoid future mishaps. Even if a device does not have any apparent issues, there could still be underlying smoke damage.
Once you’ve done your part, call a professional fire damage restoration company. Their team of certified technicians will examine all of your devices for possible problems. They will get your electronics back to working condition and returned to you as soon as possible.
Fire cleanup comes with a long list of to-dos. Getting your devices checked and cleaned promptly will make getting life back to normal in Orange, VA, a little easier.

Preventing Bread From Getting Moldy

11/17/2020 (Permalink)

mold growth on bread What should you do when you find mold on your bread?

It's possible for mold to grow on almost anything, as long as there's an adequate amount of moisture for it to thrive off of. Even so, some items are significantly more prone to mold growth than others, including bread. Read on to learn how to prevent bread mold from forming in your kitchen in Louisa, VA. 
Mold Prevention Tips
The following tips can help prevent mold from forming on your freshly baked or bought bread:

Consume the bread as quickly as possible: You don't necessarily have to feast on the entire loaf the second you return from the grocery store, but you should attempt to avoid storing it for long periods of time. 
Store your bread in a breadbox: Breadboxes are nifty tools designed to keep and store bread for prolonged periods. They help keep your bread dry by preventing moisture from building up. Even so, they can only do their job for so long, so don't assume that your bread is automatically safe.
Use ingredients that contain oil when baking bread: If you prefer to bake your own bread, opt for ingredients that contain oils. This includes eggs, milk, butter and more. These ingredients help prolong your bread's freshness. 
Store bread in the freezer for prolonged periods: If you really do need to keep your bread fresh for a long time, your best bet is to store it in the freezer. Mold spores aren't capable of surviving in conditions that cold.

What to Do When You Find Bread Mold
Even if you do everything right, safety is not always guaranteed. If you do find fungus growth on your bread, then you need to throw it away. Store the moldy bread in a plastic bag before disposing of it in a covered trash can. Next, thoroughly clean the area where the bread was found, as the spores can spread quickly. Fridge mold can quickly infect the rest of your fresh ingredients.
Bread mold is a common occurrence that isn't necessarily indicative of a larger mold problem. If you do suspect a bigger issue, contact mold remediation experts for support.

How To Determine When Storm Damage Is Deductible

11/16/2020 (Permalink)

Closeup on businessman holding a card with text TAX DEDUCTIBLE Some expenses caused by a storm might be tax-deductible

How To Determine When Storm Damage Is Deductible

When a storm sweeps through your community, it can leave a path of destruction both physically and financially. A company in Louisa, VA, should investigate all of its options in the wake of storm damage. It's easy to miss out on potential relief options such as signing up for disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans. Insurance is also a big source of financial relief depending upon a company's policy. In general, a company's insurance will pay for damage as the result of high winds, hail, heavy snow and rains. In the case of a flood, a business will be covered for some damages if it has a flood insurance policy.


Professional Advice
Some expenses caused by a storm might be tax deductible. The rules for claiming tax write-offs on the federal and state level can be a little confusing so it makes sense to consult with professionals on what costs and expenses to claim. These professionals might be of help:

  • Tax accountant or professional
  • Insurance agent
  • Company accounting department
    Storm damage remediation franchise

In general, expenses paid for by the insurance company will not qualify for a tax deduction. However, expenses above and beyond what is covered by insurance can often be written off as losses and therefore reduce the amount of taxes that must be paid that year.

Quality Cleanup
Another option for improving financial results is for a company to work with a local storm mitigation team. The fast response of technicians can get to storm damage before it gets worse and causes such secondary damage as mold growth or degradation of materials. The faster water damage is addressed the less it is likely to cost. A professional team will also be able to help with keeping good records in terms of damages and costs. This is important both when dealing with the insurance company and the tax man.

Results of a Broken Toilet Supply Line

11/6/2020 (Permalink)

Injectadry system on hard wood floors. We were able to save these 80 year old white oak floors!

This homeowner went out of town for vacation, while they were away the toilet supply line broke. This is a common occurrence and can easily be avoided by turning the main water supply valve off when leaving the home for several days.

SERVPRO of Louisa, Orange, & Madison was contacted by a local insurance agent asking if we could save these floors. Prior to contacting our franchise, another competitor had been to the home and had proposed that these floors needed to be removed and could not be saved.

Our crew arrived the same day and we set up the Injectadry system with rescue mats. We also placed a couple fans and a dehumidifier. After 3 days of drying, we removed the moisture from the floors, the floors had no cupping and were left in preloss condition. 

The homeowner was extremely pleased to know we were able to save the 80 year old white oak floors that were just refinished 2 months prior to the loss. This is another example of how SERVPRO training separates us from the competition, we always try to restore before we remove, if possible! 

Broken Pipe

1/14/2020 (Permalink)

Water ran from the upstairs laundry room through the sofit and froze on the outside of the home Frozen water from a large loss

This picture depicts what happens when several hundreds of gallons of water run through the exterior walls of a home and the water freezes to the outside. Unfortunately for this home owner, the tenant had vacated the home, the pipe broke almost immediately after leaving, then the loss was not discovered for 10 days. The meter was read when the tenant vacated, it was then read the morning SERVPRO responded to provide services, we discovered that approximately 1,249 gallons of water ran through this home in almost 10 days! We performed a fair amount of demolition, set our drying equipment, and dried the home in a timely fashion. Just a tip to all our readers, if you vacate a home for an extended period of time, shutting the main water valve to the home will help to avoid such a disaster. 

Creative way to dry the ceiling cavity and sub flooring

1/14/2020 (Permalink)

Fan with lay flat ducting drying the ceiling cavity and sub flooring Creative drying

This image depicts how to funnel the air flow from a fan directly into the ceiling cavity, while also drying the under side of the sub flooring. This was not a very large water loss, the bathroom above the kitchen had a slow leak coming from the supply line. SERVPRO was able to dry the bathroom tile flooring, which saved the insurance money in floor replacement. We had to remove a small amount of drywall from the ceiling, and dry the ceiling cavity, as well as the under side of the bathroom sub flooring. The only repairs needed after drying took place was a small drywall repair and painting to the kitchen ceiling. This is an example of how SERVPRO restores and saves insurance carriers money as well we reduce the headache of time consuming repairs for the insured.

When a Pack Out has to be performed before mitigation

10/2/2019 (Permalink)

Contents throughout a flooded basement Contents throughout this flooded basement

This photo is an example of a flooded basement that was fully affected, however the basement was completely full of contents. What do you do when you have this much content in a flooded basement?

SERVPRO of Louisa, Orange & Madison Counties provides pack out and content cleaning services. We carefully document, wrap and protect each large item and box all smaller items. Once the home is packed out, the contents are transported to our climate controlled warehouse where we unwrap, clean and process the affected items, then wrap and protect the items again to be delivered back to the client once all repairs are performed.

This photo shows a job where we performed the pack out services, then we mitigated and dried this basement before any microbial growth began. Once the repairs are performed in this home, and we deliver all of the customers household goods, this basement will be back to preloss condition, or as we say " Like it never even happened". 

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