Archived Blog Posts
3 Reasons Mold Grows on Bread
if you suspect the presence of mold in your home where it cannot be seen, SERVPRO can help you.
Mold Grows On Bread for Three Reasons
You may have dealt with bread mold in the past and wondered where it came from when you make such an effort to keep your Burr Hill, VA, home clean. However, when mold grows on bread you have stored in a breadbox or on a counter, it has little to do with cleanliness. There are several reasons you might encounter this mold, and being aware of them may help you prevent it from spreading to other foods or, even more troublesome, other areas of your home.
1. Mold Can Grow Without Sunlight
Unlike other plants, all mold species are fungi, which means they do not get their energy from sunlight. Instead, fungus growth occurs when mold spores in the air find a food source they can latch onto, such as your bread. The warm, moist conditions inside a plastic bread bag can also cause mold to grow, which is why bread can go moldy even when it is properly stored.
2. It Can Grow in Cool Environments
You might believe you can prevent bread mold by storing it in the fridge. However, mold does not always need warm conditions to thrive. While it does tend to grow more quickly in warm areas, species that grow on food can also form within your fridge. This is why you might sometimes find mold on old leftovers and fridge mold inside your fruit or vegetable keeper.
3. Mold Spreads Quickly
Mold spores, which are invisible to the naked eye, can spread quickly once they find a food source. Since bread is moist and yeasty, it can be a perfect environment for mold to multiply. If you suspect mold spores might have originated from another area of your home, a water damage cleanup and mold remediation company can inspect your home to find and eradicate the source.
Finding bread mold in your Burr Hill, VA, home can be a common occurrence and little cause for alarm. However, if you suspect the presence of mold in your home where it cannot be seen, calling for mold remediation can be the first step in having it treated.
3 Ways Secondary Damage Can Affect Your Home After a Flood
We have expert equipment to clean up water and flood damages in homes.
3 Ways Secondary Flood Damage Can Affect Your Home
The aftereffects of a flood at your Rhoadsville, VA, home can be devastating. Estimating repair costs, sorting through damaged items and gathering data for a flood insurance claim are just a few things you might be dealing with. However, even as you try to handle the aftermath, water damage could be creating issues that you may not notice until days later. From black mold to warping and discoloration of your home's surfaces, secondary damage can exacerbate your flooding woes.
1. Mold growth
After a flood, the high humidity in the area can cause rapid mold growth on walls and other surfaces. Black mold is especially common after flooding, and if you encounter this issue, it is wise to call in a storm cleanup and restoration company to remove it. This can prevent the spores from spreading to other areas, where it may take hold out of sight.
Once flood waters recede, items with porous surfaces, such as wood, can retain moisture and warp. This damage may not occur right away, but over time, you may notice the effects in hardwood floors and wooden furniture. Your countertops may also suffer discoloration if they were constructed with a porous material, such as polished concrete.
3. Musty or Wet Odors
Secondary damage, such as unpleasant odors left behind from dirty water, may not be noticeable until days or weeks after a flood. These odors can linger in furniture, carpeting or even in your home's interior walls, where insulation may be wet and rotting. Restoration technicians have specialized equipment that can help them locate the source of these wet or musty odors and eliminate them.
The immediate effects of a flood in your Rhoadsville, VA, home can be difficult to deal with. However, problems that may crop up days or weeks afterward, such as black mold and wood rot, can be equally hard to handle, and being aware of them may help you be more vigilant about their presence once flood waters recede.
Making a Flood Damage Claim
Storm restoration services in a Louisa, VA home
How to File a Flood Damage Claim
In the event that you have to make a flood claim in Louisa, VA, following a storm, knowing how the process works will make a challenging situation a bit easier to endure. It is in your best interest to move quickly to contact your insurance adjuster, particularly when damage is widespread throughout your locality.
Begin Remediation Immediately
After you have notified your insurance company that your home has sustained flood damage, get to work right away on your own or by engaging the services of professionals to address it. Mold can begin to grow within 24 to 48 hours after inundation, so your adjuster will understand the need to move quickly.
• Take lots of digital photos and videos to document the damage to your home and property.
• Remove but do not yet discard, materials that cannot be salvaged.
• Remove excess water by pumping, mopping and blotting to prevent further harm to your home.
• Get the air circulating with fans and air conditioners, and as a last step, dehumidifiers.
• Be sure to inspect, and work to dry, hidden areas where mold can grow.
• Begin the cleaning process for belongings that can be salvaged.
• Compile a list of losses and include any receipts you have retained. Your credit card history can be useful for the task of filing out an accurate flood claim.
• Keep receipts for any purchases of goods or services related to the flood.
• Sign the proof of loss statement that your adjuster produces. Additions can be made if necessary for the insurance claim.
It is important to understand that both the restoration of your home and the settlement of your insurance claim will be processes that require time, effort and patience.
Unless you live in an area prone to flooding, it is likely that a flood claim will be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Accurate documentation is the key to fair compensation.
5 Tips To Prevent Kitchen Fires
Be attentive to your cooking and do not leave it unattended, even for a few minutes.
5 Kitchen Fire Prevention Tips
In 2016, 50% of house fires in the United States were caused by cooking. As a homeowner in Unionville, VA follow these five helpful tips to reduce the chance of fire damage in your kitchen:
1. Pay Attention
Be attentive to your cooking and do not leave it unattended, even for a few minutes. If you must leave the house, turn off the oven first. Regularly check on the food, especially if you are frying, broiling or grilling. If you are not in the kitchen, set a timer so you know when the food is done. Double check that appliances are turned off before heading to bed.
2. Reduce Fire Hazards
Move anything that is flammable away from heat sources in the kitchen, especially those that generate open flames. This includes dish towels, pot holders, grocery bags and long sleeves or hair when cooking.
3. Clean Surfaces
Over time, grease and oil residue build up. Regular cleaning is one of the best tips to prevent a grease fire. If a grease fire occurs, never put water on it. Rather, cut off the oxygen to the flames by covering it with a pot or pan.
4. Take Precautions
The kitchen is no place for small children while you are cooking. Teach your kids to stay at least three feet away from the oven for safety.
5. Be Prepared
Protect your home by installing a working smoke detector in or near your kitchen, and on all levels of your home. Check the batteries and test the device on a regular basis. Keep a fire extinguisher within reach to combat small fires in early stages.
Follow the above tips to decrease the risk of fire in your home. Sometimes even taking precautions cannot prevent a fire in Unionville, VA. If this happens, immediately get your family to safety and call the fire department. After the blaze it out, contact a fire restoration specialist and your homeowner’s insurance agent to learn about your next steps to restore your fire damaged home.
The Four Usual Suspects of Tile Discoloration
Ceiling damaged by mold growth.
The Four Most Common Causes of Tile Discoloration
When it came to (literally) building your business in Rhoadsville, VA, you opted for the convenience, ease, and longevity of ceiling tiles. Now you've noticed some tile discoloration and you're unsure if it's due to natural aging, issues caused by surrounding lighting, proximity to exhaust fans, or tile mold. Let's take a closer look at these four common issues and how to identify them.
Nothing lasts forever, not even ceiling tiles. If the tiles were installed before your business began operation out of your building, it's difficult to ascertain their exact age. For older buildings from a pre-no-smoking era, cigarette smoke may have quickened the aging process as well.
Lights are lights, right? Wrong. Ultraviolet lights actually cause discoloration. This type of lighting is typically used in healthcare facilities like hospitals and labs in order to sterilize equipment. UV lights affect and degrade the chemical bonds in ceiling tiles, which leads to bleaching and gradual fading.
Are the tiles near your exhaust fans showing more advanced signs of discoloration than other tiles? This may be caused by a lack of insulation in the duct, allowing the moisture the fan is redirecting to slowly seep into the surrounding tiles.
4. Tile Mold
One of the most prevalent suspects, mold, is caused by water damage through exposure to moisture due to plumbing-, HVAC system-, or roof-related issues. If the source of the problem is not found and rectified, your tiles will take on a telltale brownish hue that will make them appear darker than unaffected tiles.
Ceiling tiles may require less upkeep, but the discoloration is a common issue. While simple aging, light sources, and placement of fans can be relatively easy problems to address, tile mold should be confirmed and remediated by a professional mold restoration company. After all, keeping your business – and more importantly, your employees – thriving and safe is their business.
Can Water Damage Be Prevented?
Ceiling damage due to water in Unionville, VA.
Prevent Water Damage By Keeping The Following Tips In Mind
If you take pride in your Unionville, VA, home, you want to do what you can to keep your property looking its best. Maintaining your house can go a long way toward helping you avoid major catastrophes, including the following:
- Water in home
- Roof in disrepair
- Electrical fire in the kitchen
- Mold in home
Of course, you can't always foresee into the future. This means there may be times when you have to turn to a professional remediation team to help you clean up water damages. You may be able to prevent some water dilemmas by keeping the following tips in mind.
An excess amount of moisture from a broken pipe can leave you with a lot of damage if you don't catch it early. If you're vigilant around your house, you'll notice signs of leaks before the water introduces mold into your space. Watch for water stains on your walls and ceiling. Look for other signs of moisture, such as peeling paint and bubbling flooring.
Your plumbing, HVAC unit and appliances could malfunction and lead to water in home. If you have these parts of your house inspected annually, you can reduce the chances of a flood happening. A plumber can look at your pipes to ensure there are no clogs or breaks you need to know about. An HVAC repairman can assess your heating and cooling units to check for signs of wear and tear. You should make sure your dishwasher, washing machine and refrigerator are inspected too because these appliances can have faulty hoses or broken water supply lines that lead to flooding.
Make a Plan
Sometimes knowing who you would call for a pipe cleanup can help you prevent major damage to your home. Figure out which water cleanup crew you want to turn to before flooding starts, so you can react as quickly as possible.
You may find water at home at any time. Doing what you can to prevent this problem can save you hassle in the future.
Restoring Your Home After a Fire
Fire damage in a Louisa, VA home.
Residential Fire Restoration
Thanks to your efforts and those of responding firefighters, your home survived a blaze that otherwise could have destroyed it. However, that doesn’t exactly mean the job is done. Even a small fire can lead to significant home damage in Louisa, VA, such as:
- Soot damage to walls, floors and furniture
- Embedded smoke smell
- Damage to important structural pieces
Your home still has a long way to go toward getting back to normal, but by working with a professional fire and smoke cleaning crew, you can expedite the process and get things done right. Of course, there are a few things you can do on your own as well.
Air Out the Area
Once you’ve received the okay to go back into your house, consider airing out the affected space. This means opening up windows and doors, and maybe even installing some high-powered fans or box fans in the windows. This can help carry some of the soot and smoke outdoors, mitigating some smoke damage and making the cleanup job a little easier.
Work With Professionals
Soot damage might seem simple to clean up, but in reality, it requires special tools to get the job done right. Porous surfaces like those on some countertops and fabrics such as carpets, rugs and couches can thoroughly absorb soot, making them nearly impossible to clean with regular means. Fortunately, the pros have the tools and know-how to rescue a majority of your belongings.
Finally, note that a simple cleaning or airing-out isn’t likely to completely get rid of the smoke smell right away. Smoke, like soot, is absorbed into fabrics and other porous materials, giving it a means to linger longer. Likely your clean-up crew will use a special machine over a series of weeks to get rid of the smell.
By working with your clean-up crew and lending a hand where you can, you can get rid of smoke damage. Work to get your home back to its old self as quickly as possible in the aftermath of a fire.
Reasons To Have Commercial Flood Coverage
To protect against flooding from storms, you need additional flood insurance.
Reasons To Have Proper Flood Coverage
You may feel pretty confident about the commercial insurance package your agent has put together for your business in Burr Hill, VA, but it may still be lacking something. If you don't have flood insurance, you could be setting yourself up for a devastating loss, particularly if you live in an area that is prone to flooding. Here are some reasons to have proper flood coverage in addition to all the other policies in your portfolio.
Commercial Property Limitations
Your commercial property insurance is essential. A solid policy will cover most of the damages that might occur:
- Fire damage to the structure of the building
- Stolen property
- Damaged business personal property
- Repairs to building
Natural disasters are generally not covered under a standard commercial property policy. To protect against flooding from storms, you need additional flood insurance.
Flood Policy Coverage
While a flood policy does not cover damage from the storm to landscaping or others' property, it protects your building and the items in it. Good flood coverage can pay for repairs after a storm. It also covers any damage done to insured items, such as office or production machines, that need to be restored by water remediation specialists.
Finally, if you live in an area prone to flooding, a commercial insurance policy that specifically protects against the damage it can cause may be required by law. This is particularly likely if you have a federally backed mortgage or if you rent your commercial property from someone else. In the latter scenario, if the law doesn't require insurance for flooding, your landlord probably does.
Your business in Burr Hill, VA, needs protection from many problems that may arise. Your insurance agent can recommend the policies that are necessary for your particular business in your location. If you live in an area that floods often, make sure you get flood insurance. You will probably be glad you included it someday.
How To Tackle Black Shower Mold
Ceiling moisture produces mold growth
Water that bombards your shower every day can lead to mold growth. Discovering shower mold at your home in Locust Hill, VA, can be concerning, and you may worry about how to manage it.
How Causes Mold to Grow In a Shower?
Several factors contribute to black mold in your shower. Mold spores thrive under conditions in your bathroom, including:
- Excessive moisture
- Warm temperature
- Insufficient venitaltion
- Low lighting
Mold can quickly overtake non-porous surfaces, including tile and grout, leaving behind stains that can be difficult to remove.
What Can You Do To Prevent a Moldy Shower?
Preventing mold is challenging, but you can clean it away using a solution of equal parts bleach and water and a scrub brush. Before you commit to routine, rigorous shower cleaning sessions, you can commit to a plan to minimize mold growth.
Controlling shower mold starts with keeping all areas of your shower as dry as possible. Use an absorbent towel to wipe up excess water that lands on the tiles, walls, grout and porcelain surfaces of your shower. A squeegee can help you access inner and upper walls.
After taking a shower, your bathroom will fill with steam quickly, and you should open a window or use an exhaust fan to help it escape. Remember to draw your bathroom curtains to let in sunlight and prevent darkness that encourages mold growth. Be sure to keep your shower curtain open also; this will allow it to dry thoroughly.
In between each use, spray the surfaces of your shower with white vinegar, which has anti-fungal properties that inhibit mold growth. Scenting the vinegar with a drop or two of your favorite essential oil will also infuse your entire bathroom with a pleasant aroma.
When Do You Need Help?
Shower mold can be unpleasant, but it is usually manageable. If you worry about black mold in any part of your home in Locust Hill, VA, a mold remediation service is your best resource for safely addressing it and restoring sanitary conditions.
How To Prepare Your Building For a Storm
Storm shutters can protect your buildings window against high winds.
Preparation Tips Before a Storm
Many are aptly prepared for storm damage, such as flood water, in their homes, but it's equally important to prepare your commercial building if you know a storm is approaching in Rhoadsville, VA. Whether you are an employee or own the building, you should help prepare your commercial building for a storm. There are many preparation tips you can keep in mind before a storm.
Assess Your Property Beforehand
To begin your storm preparation plan, it's important to assess your commercial building. You should take note of the strengths and weaknesses of where your building is located and how a storm would affect your property. Reinforce anything that would be damaged by a storm or flood water. A few ideas for your inspection include:
- Ensuring shutters are on windows in case of high wind
- Anchoring any large furniture to its place
- Removing any large branches or trees that are close to your building and could fall on it during a storm
- Making sure you've had a recent roof inspection to ensure it is strong enough to withstand a storm
Although an assessment may not seem necessary, it is important to do before a storm comes. It's always better to be safe than be sorry.
Put Documents in a Safe Place
No matter what type of business you have, there are almost certainly important documents that need to be kept safe and dry. If you have a flooded building, documents can quickly be ruined beyond repair. Documents to preserve include legal documents, financial documents such as account statements and tax information.
Move all documents to a safe and dry space, such as an upper-level floor in a filing cabinet or back up digital information on a hard drive. Any backed-up data should be kept off-site to ensure it is kept safe.
Preparing your building for storm or water damage can prevent costly repairs from wind or flood water. If your building does experience storm damage, be sure to call in a storm damage company to help you with the restoration process.
How Can Electronics Be Damaged by Fire?
An electrical fire can wreak havoc on your Burr Hill, VA, commercial building and its contents.
Post - Fire Causes Of Electronics Damage
An electrical fire can wreak havoc on your Burr Hill, VA, commercial building and its contents. This damage can include electronics that didn't ignite the fire. You may see this burnt equipment and think it's unsalvageable. However, there's a chance you or a professional can save some of it. The first step is knowing the various post-fire causes of electronics damage.
A fire can result in burnt or even melted electronics, media and memory. This damage can make it virtually impossible to restore any data. If it's essential data, you may want to consult with a data restoration expert to see if it's possible to retrieve it.
2. Smoke and Soot
Removable memory, such as computer hard drives and SD cards, is typically encased in semi-sealed assemblies. Although mostly safe, they're still somewhat vulnerable to soot and smoke damage after an electrical fire. After all, smoke can drift into the tiniest of crevices, causing various problems. Many people don't realize that smoke is magnetically charged, which can cause electronics to short-circuit. Smoke can also leave a black film on the interior of electronics, leaving them sensitive to overheating. Soot is acidic and can deteriorate electronics, shortening their lifespan. If a computer or other device is damaged, you can probably remove the memory. Then, move it to a safe location. You may be able to retrieve the data yourself.
After a fire, at least some of your electronics will probably receive water damage resulting from sprinkler systems and firefighters extinguishing the flames.
After an electrical fire, restoration must begin as soon as possible. This process includes electronics and computer cleanup. Fire damage will progressively and quickly get worse the longer it lingers. The longer it's left, the less chance of saving what could be salvageable early on.
Creating an Effective Business Continuity Plan
Storm creates water damage in a Louisa, VA property.
Create An Effective Continuity Plan For Your Business
Flooding and other disasters can strike at a moment's notice. Even with advanced warning, things are going to go drastically wrong. However, having a plan for these kinds of disasters can help your business recover quickly. This is why you need to create an effective continuity plan for your business. You need to take the time to outline, test, and improve it.
To start making your continuity plan, you will need to evaluate your business and note your processes, vulnerabilities, and potential losses. This step is crucial to creating a tailored plan for your business in Louisa, VA. From there, you can outline your plan. The things to include are:
- Scope of the plan
- Business areas
- Critical functions
- Acceptable downtime
- Plan for hiring storm remediation professionals, maintaining operations, and reopening
The only way to know if your continuity plan works is to test it. A real incident will be the true test and the best way to see if your plan works. However, a controlled test is much more comfortable for business owners and can give you a realistic sense of gaps and areas that need improvement.
You are going to put a lot of effort into creating and testing your plan. Once you complete the job, it is tempting to let your plan sit and hope for the best amid a disaster. However, if you do this, your plan could be useless when a disaster strikes, so you need to improve it after getting the test results.
This plan is crucial for businesses to recover from floods and storm damage. Therefore, you want to make sure you take the time to create an effective plan. Make sure you create a tailored plan and then test it out before a disaster hits. Keep improving it until it is thorough enough to withstand a disaster.
Proactive Cleaning with SERVPRO
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned
SERVPRO of Louisa, Orange & Madison Counties is "Here to Help" during all times of need.
When we were faced with unprecedented times caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, we want to remind our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.
We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope
of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.
The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures,
toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:
• Kitchen/Food Areas
• Retail Spaces
• Water Fountains
• Sales Counters
• Carpets and Rugs
• Stair Handrails• Elevator Cars
• Playground Equipment
• Fitness Equipment
Specialized Products The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no
product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local
Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning
If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call us today!
Immediate Steps To Take After a Fire
Fire damage in a Unionville, VA home.
Fire Restoration Process
A fire in your home in Unionville, VA, can leave behind a lot of devastation, and this experience can be overwhelming. Knowing the first few steps that you need to take can help to focus your attention and get the fire restoration process started as soon as possible so that everything can go back to normal again.
Call Cleanup Experts
Even a moderate fire is going to cause a lot of damage, and you will need to know what was destroyed not only by the fire but also by the water used to put it out. This information, along with the estimated cost of fixing your home, will be useful when you file your fire insurance claim. Contact fire damage mitigation experts to handle the problem. They will walk you through every step of the process:
- Water removal
- Material tear-out
- Smoke cleaning
Having a team that handles everything from the initial consultation to the final touches of fire restoration can help the cleanup go more smoothly.
Avoid the Damage
When your home is damaged, it's tempting to take matters into your own hands and start cleaning immediately. This is not a good idea when it comes to the cleanup after a fire, though. You don't know which parts of the structure are secure enough to be safe, or you may end up doing more damage to your home. It's best to wait for the experts to arrive.
Secure Your Home
The restoration process may take a while, particularly if there is a lot of damage. In the meantime, you will need to secure your home by making sure broken windows and any gaping holes left by the flames are boarded up. Your restoration team can advise and assist with this process as well.
Your home will likely need a lot of work after a fire, but the good news is that you don't have to do everything yourself. By enlisting the help of trusted fire restoration experts, you can rest assured that everything will be taken care of properly.
Important Insurance Facts for Landlords and Renters
Rental property in Bur Hill, VA.
Important Insurance Facts for Landlords and Renters
If you own a large rental property, you know that a large storm in Burr Hill, VA, has the potential to cause a lot of damage to your property. It could even require your tenants to have to relocate for a period of time. With the right insurance policy, you will be covered for structural damage to your property from such things as high winds, heavy rains and lightning. A storm remediation company in your area can help you recover from a large storm and in some cases help you more efficiently handle insurance claims. For your tenants, renters insurance protects them for losses to their belongings and has provisions for other important situations. Some landlords strongly encourage or require their tenants to purchase this coverage.
Renters Insurance Facts
Many people who rent think they do not own enough stuff to make insurance worthwhile. However, when everything is added up, the value of a person's clothes, furniture and personal items can be significant. In general, renters insurance is fairly inexpensive, plus this insurance coverage includes the following protections:
- Provides for relocation expenses if necessary
- Includes liability coverage for damages causes by a tenant
- Includes different levels of replacement for personal items
The right policy provides peace of mind for the renter and has benefits for the landlord, too. It is an affordable way for renters to avoid a financial loss.
Commercial Property Information
As a landlord, there are many things you can do to protect your property, including getting the right insurance, and seeing that your tenant has renters insurance. Also, make sure to follow all applicable rules and regulations concerning your tenants, such as including the necessary safety devices and alarm systems on your building. Regulation inspections of your property by knowledgeable contractors also help you withstand the effects of a storm. It's important to keep an eye out for items that could cause injury on your property, such as broken railings on stairways.
The Specifics of Commercial Fire Cleanup
Commercial fire damage in Rhoadsville, VA.
The Specifics of Commercial Fire Cleanup
If you experience a commercial fire in Rhoadsville, VA, you will need help in the cleanup and restoration process. A professional fire mitigation team is your best choice to guide you through the recovery steps. The process has been honed through years of experience. Technicians have been trained to take care of smoke damage and to operate advanced equipment that helps return the building to the way it was before the fire. The process begins with an inspection and assessment of the property and the damage. This step provides the framework for the rest of the cleanup.
The Early Stages
It is important to secure the building against further damage. The mitigation team will look at safety hazards and the extent of structural damage. Workers could recommend the building be boarded up or have a tarp placed over the roof to keep out the rain. The next steps are as follows:
- Water removal
- Drying of surfaces
- Treatment of smoke damage
- Treatment of soot damage
Specialized equipment such as dehumidifiers and air dryers are used to eliminate moisture that is often the result of fire fighting efforts. Advanced cleaning techniques are used in this stage of the smoke cleaning process. The final step is the complete restoration of the building. The goal is to restore the property "Like it never even happened."
The Final Stages
A commercial fire causes smoke damage to a variety of materials, including clothes and furniture. These items will be restored if possible or replaced if necessary. Surfaces in the building will need to be cleaned and sanitized according to best industry practices. This includes removing odors with air scrubbers and fogging equipment. Drywall and carpeting may need to be replaced, while walls might need a fresh coat of paint. In major fires, some structural elements may need to be rebuilt. Each fire is different, but a proven process guides the technicians in charge of recovery.
I Just Discovered Standing Water in My Building. Now What?
Turn off the electricity at the fuse box.
Prevention Is Key When It Comes To Black Mold
In only a couple of days, water left to stand in your commercial building can result in major damage. Black mold and structural damage are real possibilities. Once the water is finally discovered, you’ll need to act quickly by:
1. Turning Off Electricity
First and foremost, when safely accessible, turn off the electricity at the fuse box. Appliances, electronics or exposed wires in the affected area will mean there’s probably an electric current traveling through the standing water. If the box isn’t safe to approach, you can call the power company to have them turn it off.
2. Stopping the Water
When it’s safe to enter the flooded area, stop the inflow of water, if possible. This might involve turning off the building’s main water supply or shutting it off at the source.
3. Turning Off HVAC System
No matter how long the water has been in the area, there will be some degree of water damage. If it’s been over 24 hours, it’s possible that black mold has started growing. You’ll want to turn off the HVAC system until the mold clean-up is completed. Mold spores could be in the vents, which means possible cross-contamination to other areas.
4. Removing Water
A wet/dry vacuum is a great way to quickly and safely extract standing water. It’ll also pull small debris from the water.
5. Containing Affected Area
The water-damaged area should be contained from the rest of the building until the mold remediation process is complete. Simply closing all doors to the area and sealing them with painter's tape will work until the professionals arrive. It’s also best to cover all vents to prevent mold spores from getting into the ventilation system.
Prevention is key when it comes to black mold. However, it’s sometimes unavoidable in the wake of a disaster, especially if the water has gone unnoticed for 24 hours or more. Locust Hill, VA, mold cleanup experts can handle these jobs along with any resulting moisture problem.
How To Know When It Is Time for a Plumbing Overhaul
Collapsed ceiling due to water damage in Louisa, VA.
How To Know When It Is Time for a Plumbing Overhaul
Many people ignore the home's plumbing system until it is too late. This often leads to repeated repairs for leaks, pipe breaks and similar issues. The problem with this approach is that some plumbing issues can lead to significant water damage in a home. Supply line damage is one example of a problem that could release hundreds of gallons into a home in Louisa, VA. Though this water is likely to be clean water, it still has the power to inflict damage on flooring, walls, insulation and furniture. In some situations, a complete plumbing system overhaul might be the best solution.
Signs of Big Trouble
An occasional bathroom leak is fairly common and nothing to cause undue alarm. However, if the plumbing system experiences frequent breaks, especially in difficult-to-access locations, a replacement system might be in order. Still, it is important to carefully assess the situation by considering the following factors:
- The age of the plumbing system
- The lifespan of piping materials
- The condition of the joints and fittings
- The presence of corrosion
Each type of piping material has an expected lifespan. Supply line damage is rarer in PVC, copper and cast iron piping that is less than 50 years old. Brass and galvanized steel piping wear out more quickly.
A Reasonable Solution
While avoiding a supply line leak is important, a major replacement of plumbing is a big job. It can make sense to look for reasonable opportunities to replace plumbing components. For example, remodeling projects are great times to include a plumbing upgrade, especially if walls are being removed.
If major supply line damage does occur, calling in a water damage restoration company is the best way to avoid significant harm to a home. Trained technicians will remove standing water quickly and dry out the home to prevent future damage such as mold growth. Avoiding water damage is a worthy goal as is minimizing the consequences of a water disaster.
Storm Damage and Your Business: How SERVPRO Can Help
Commercial storm damage in Unionville, VA.
Storm Damage and Your Business
A severe storm can wreak havoc on your Unionville, VA, business and cause many different types of damage. From flooding to wrecked building materials to mold growth due to standing water, you may be looking at a substantial insurance claim. Working with a storm restoration service like SERVPRO may help ease the path to rebuilding your business.
A Fast Response
Having a storm response team on your side that you can reach out to 24/7 may offer you peace of mind when a major storm damages your business. Not only do you have someplace to turn to for assistance but a swift response may also prevent secondary damage, including:
- Mold growth
- A weakening of exterior building materials
- Broken and cracked windows or skylights
A fast response may lower the cost of your insurance claim and the price of some repairs, which may help you increase your overall restoration budget.
Insurance Claim Assistance
Flood damage can cause widespread problems throughout your commercial building and the items it contains, which means filing an insurance claim that can help cover the cost of repairs. Because SERVPRO is a well-known and preferred storm restoration and emergency disaster response service, both you and your agent will take comfort in knowing you are both working with experienced repair technicians.
Local and Corporate Support
Working with an emergency disaster response service that provides both local and corporate support can provide you with all the assistance you need after a storm damages your business. Your local team acts swiftly when you need immediate mitigation and later, when the time comes to file an insurance claim, the company’s corporate contacts may assist you with itemizing the damage so the filing process is simpler.
When a severe storm causes damage to your Unionville, VA, property, it can cause serious upheaval in your life. Having somewhere to turn to for storm restoration can make a significant difference in how quickly repairs and insurance claims take place.
Preventing Water Damage During Construction
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
- 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.
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?
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:
- food scraps
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
- 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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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?
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:
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 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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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
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".