Signs You Have a Mold Problem in Your Business
Discovering you have a mold problem can be a bit overwhelming at first. Before you sell your company, hire a professional to assess the situation. You may notice an odor or react to a mycotoxin in the mold.
It is important to recognize the warning signs of mold before it takes over your home and affects your company.
Smell – Mold has a pungent, musty odor. If it is in one area of your building, you might notice a distinct smell when you enter that part of the property. It is not always visually apparent. Mold can grow behind wallpaper, inside walls and under the carpet. If you notice an unusual and persistent odor in your property, contact a professional to perform an inspection.
Sight – Watch for the appearance of mold. It may be black, discolored, fuzzy or slimy. You will notice a suspect area growing overtime. Like most fungi, it likes damp areas. Regularly check and clean areas that have a high humidity or tend to collect dampness.
Health – Because mold is not always visible, it may not be apparent that you have a mold problem. If you notice a musty odor when you are at the office or you spot water damaged areas, you may need to hire a mold remediation specialist. If you do have a mold problem, you may notice that you feel better when you are away from home.
Organisms of the fungus kingdom, like mold, produce toxic secondary metabolites called mycotoxins.
Things to Know
The best way to prevent mold growth is to control the moisture in your home. Molds can be found almost anywhere and are able to grow on most surfaces, so keeping an eye out for it is essential to keeping you and your employees.
What To Do Before Allowing Employees To Return After a Flood
The SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team can provide help whether you're dealing with a tornado, hurricane, blizzard, earthquake or flood.
If a flood happens in Kentucky it is likely that your business could receive harmful damage. Backed-up sewage lines often lead to black water damage, and leaking water can ruin machinery and important documents. Flood cleanup can take a while, but it’s important to get your business up and running as soon as possible. Here are a few things to consider before calling your employees back into work.
Before you allow anyone back into your building, be sure to inspect the stability of the structure. You’ll likely use water damage repair services, but once you can safely re-enter the building, it’s important to do a thorough check up on everything. There are a few things you might do to ensure the security of your employees:
• Examining water supplies for any contamination
• Confirming secure connections to all electrical systems
• Testing for asbestos or black water corruption
• Checking air filtration devices used during the cleanup and restoration process
Once you have thoroughly inspected your commercial building, you can consider contacting your workers.
Area-wide disasters can be scary. Be sure to take care of your workers during this challenging time, especially if some of them are dealing with their own loss of property or transportation. Consider accommodations such as flexible scheduling and on-site daycare to support your employees.
Don’t forget to keep your workers and customers informed. There are many ways to communicate, so use your resources to connect clearly and concisely. Your business should provide reassurance to your employees by sharing restoration plans and recent updates. When you are thinking about allowing your workers to return, notify them in advance so that they can prepare themselves.
Taking these steps to take care of your employees will not only provide security but will also improve their attitude towards your business. Black water damage may harm your building’s structure, but it doesn’t have to ruin your employees’ relationship with the company.
5 Things You Need to Know About Mold
Mold can spread if moisture is present.
As a homeowner, you don't want to hear that there is black mold in your living space. The thought of mold growth may terrify you. It's true that this fungus can be a problem, but the spores themselves really aren't that scary. If you talk to any residential mold professional, you'll learn a few important things about this growth.
1. It is everywhere. Mold already exists in your home. This doesn't mean you need to call in a remediation team right now, but it does mean that the spores naturally occur both indoors and outdoors. You can never have a mold-free house because the spores are always around.
2. It requires water. While the spores may be everywhere, mold cannot thrive in every location. Water is a key ingredient for mold survival. If you have been dealing with a moisture problem in your house, even just high humidity, you may be inviting colonies of mold.
3. It can travel easily. Part of the reason spores can be everywhere is because they travel through water, in the air and on humans and animals. You may introduce mold to your home without realizing that a few spores caught a ride on your shoes.
4. It may have a smell. Some molds, particularly black mold, are associated with a musty odor. This aroma may be what clues you in to your growth. However, this fungus can exist without a tell-tale smell.
5. It needs to be dealt with quickly. Because mold is everywhere and can spread easily, a mold cleanup crew should be called as soon as you suspect the growth is in your house. If not taken care of right away, it may spread to other rooms and the remediation process may grow.
Black mold is something that no one wants to find in their home, but sometimes it finds a way to show up. The more you know about mold the better prepared you will be to take care of the problem.
Which Types of Mold Grow in Houses?
There are many different types and subspecies of mold that may grow in a house. If you have found mold in your home or smell an odor that leads you to suspect the presence of hidden mold, you should contact a certified service that provides testing, clean-up, and restoration services. Skilled professionals can determine whether mold growth poses a risk to any member of the household and limit your family's exposure.
• Aspergillus is a common genus of mold found on food such as bread or potatoes and in HVAC systems. This type of mold is highly aerobic and depends on the presence of oxygen in order to thrive.
• Cladosporium is black or green mold growth that often forms on air ducts, toilets, or painted surfaces in high humidity or when excessive moisture is present.
• Black mold is a type of mold that is known to cause problems for residents in homes with substantial growths. The scientific name for black mold is stachybotrys chartarum. This type of mold should be identified and handled only by mold experts.
• White mold tends to be in the early stages of growth. A reputable service should be able to prevent this type of mold from continuing to grow into mature colonies. White or light grey molds on plants are mildew – a related type of fungus.
These are just a few of the major types of mold growth that you may see in a home in the wake of water damage. You may attempt to identify visible mold in your home, but when it comes to determining the real risk posed by mold and eliminating its presence, you should rely on trained hygienists and remediation experts at SERVPRO. These specialists can provide accurate results with either microscopy or culturing and determine the type or subspecies of mold and the best way to eliminate it from your home.
Professional Storm Restoration Services Provide the Best Solution
Natural disasters can happen fast. Even if storms or other weather events are expected, storms can suddenly change course and become worse than projected. They can leave things like hurricane damage, excess ground water, flood water from river flooding, hail damage, frozen pipes, ice damming and ice damage behind.
When there is storm damage that includes wind damage, flooding, roof damage, a roof leak requiring roof repair, and water damage to your home or business you need the professional services of experts in storm restoration. The faster you get expert help with wind or water damage, the less permanent destruction you'll see.
Professional Help is Best
It's always best to hire experts in storm restoration when the unthinkable has happened. They can remove flood water and dirty ground water thoroughly. They know how to extract water fast with professional water removal using drying equipment, before standing water can create more damage from mold and mildew. Water restoration is a complicated process.
Professionals get businesses or homes dry again by using proven water restoration techniques. They'll sanitize and deodorize areas that have experienced flooding, whether it resulted from hurricane damage, river flooding or tornado damage. Professionals use special sensing equipment to find hidden water damage behind ceilings or walls. Storm restoration is something you never want to tackle on your own. It needs to be done right.
Steps Behind Water Extraction
When you call water restoration experts, the first step they'll take is to come to the home or business to evaluate the extent of water damage. Since they've seen the damage that comes from flood water, ground water, hurricane damage and storm damage, they have experience that helps them to know exactly what methods will be best for your storm remediation. Here are some of the steps they'll take:
- Water Removal - The first thing professionals do is remove the water quickly. Using specially designed flood pump technology and industrial strength wet and dry vacuum equipment, thorough home restoration will soon be underway. In cases of river flooding or damage by other types of standing water, after a flood pump is used, the water is evaluated for levels of bacteria and put into a category.
- Professional Drying - Professional, industrial grade dryers are used in water restoration service. After flood pumps have removed water, it's crucial to begin the drying process. Even when things look dry to the touch, they can still be wet. Specialty blowers are used to create airflow across previously flooded surfaces.
- De-humidification - A special complementary service to drying makes sure water is thoroughly removed from drywall and other building materials. Experts in storm restoration use specially designed meters to track the drying progress to be sure you get the most effective storm remediation.
- Cleanup and Sanitizing - After water is removed with a flood pump and other equipment, a critical part of your total home restoration is to have the area professionally cleaned and sanitized. River flooding and flooding due to hurricane damage or other storm damage features ground water and flood water that can be filled with bacteria or potentially dangerous organisms. Sanitizing after storm damage is an important part of storm remediation.
Winter Storms Create More Challenges
Winter storms like blizzards and whiteout situations can create ice damming, frozen pipes, hail damage, ice damage, wind damage and other problems making home restoration a challenge. There may be denting from hail damage, ice dam formation, frozen pipes, roof damage, severe ice damming, wind damage and damage from a roof leak requiring roof repair. These situations call for professional storm remediation. Frozen pipes require specialized treatment to thaw. Roof damage with a roof leak needs to be assessed so problem areas can be fixed correctly.
In an ice dam situation, shingles and gutters can be permanently damaged if it isn't corrected early. Ice damming left unchecked can lead to further flooding or roof leak scenarios leading to expensive roof repair situations. Wind damage, hail damage, ice dam events and ice damage can be incredibly destructive. Ice damage including an ice dam can lead to roof damage needing roof repair due to excessive weight. Professional home restoration is always the smart choice.
Best Tips for Getting Rid of Bad Smells After Flooding
Drying system in use after flood damage.
Flood water can leave your home with a funky smell. Whether the flood introduced mold growth or caused a sewer backup, you don't want to let the bad smell linger in your home any longer than necessary. It can be hard to completely remove the odors on your own. After all, it could take some high-quality equipment to really rid your home of the aromas. When you want to do more than cover up a funky odor, you need to turn to water and storm damage remediation experts. Consider these tips as the professionals get to work:
• Find the Source: Bed smells usually have a source. When you find the source, such as sewage loss or mold growth, you can address the problem better.
• Get Rid of Water: Before you can really take care of the scent problem, you need to make sure the water issue is cleared up. Removing excess water from your home can also help you avoid further damage.
• Disinfect the Area: Using a powerful cleaner can help you kill the fungus or bacteria causing the smells. If you don't clean the area, you may only end up covering up the unwelcoming odors.
• Deodorize the Area: After a thorough cleaning, you can start the deodorization process. Your cleanup team may want to spray the area directly.
• Deodorize the Air: Because scents can waft throughout a home, you may also need to use a mixture to absorb the smells from the air. You may be able to use items you have on hand, such as cat litter, vinegar or baking soda, to freshen the air.
Flood water can cause a lot of issues in your home. After the waters have been cleaned up, you may notice a lingering aroma. This could be due to mold growth or dirty water. With a little bit of work and some help, you can get rid of the bad smells.
Are You Prepared for Spring Flooding?
While spring brings the promise of warm weather and longer days, it also brings a variety of conditions that can include heavy rains and severe weather, which can increase your flood risk. During the rainy season, we are at high risk for flash flooding, which can occur rapidly within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall.
As one of the most common hazards in the United States, it's important we prepare for the potential disaster that flooding can cause. Even if you are located in a low risk flood zone remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past, doesn't mean you won't in the future.
In order to help prepare you for the possibility of a flood, I offer the following tips:
- Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan
- Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk
- Install check-valves to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your facility
- Seal basement walls and floors with waterproofing compounds to prevent seepage through cracks
- Always keep your gutters and downspouts clean to allow water to flow freely
- Prepare a flood evacuation plan
- Know how to safely shut-off utilities
- Keep insurance and vital records in a water-proof box
- Have a portable radio to listen for important current information
The Dangers of Secondary Water Damage After a Flood
Water loss restoration in progress.
If your business experiences flooding, whether from a burst pipe, overflowing sewer or an extreme weather event, you may think only areas that are underwater will be damaged. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The flood water in your building can do a lot of primary damage, but the high humidity conditions inside your business caused by the evaporation of flood water can lead to serious secondary damage, such as the growth of black mold. Hiring a professional trained in water damage restoration at SERVPRO can ensure that the water is extracted and your building thoroughly dried before more damage can be done.
Why Does Secondary Damage Occur?
When a building floods, the large amount of water begins to evaporate, creating high humidity conditions. This atmospheric moisture can saturate walls, cabinets and shelves and condense on metal surfaces. The longer these moist conditions persist, the more damage they can do.
What Are the Consequences of Secondary Damage?
Prolonged exposure to damp conditions can cause serious deterioration of many building materials:
• Drywall crumbles.
• Plaster can crack and crumble.
• Plywood and wood swells, warps and cracks.
• Metal begins to rust.
• Black mold grows on virtually any moist surface.
If flood water is not extracted in a timely fashion, these secondary effects can impact structural beams and concrete, weakening your building’s structure and threatening your place of business.
What Can You Do About It?
Don’t wait to take action. As soon as conditions are safe, contact an experienced water damage restoration professional at SERVPRO to assess the situation and formulate a plan. The more quickly water is extracted from the premises, the lower restoration costs will be in the long run. Once pumps and vacuums have been employed to remove excess water, specialized industrial air movers and dehumidifiers will ensure there’s no lingering moisture to deteriorate materials or foster black mold growth.
Protecting Your Commercial Property From A Fire
Commercial fires are often the most devastating reality that a property owner will have to oversee. In addition to wreaking havoc on your property, fires can force you to relocate temporarily so you can maintain running your business while the restoration process is completed. However, property owners who access and implement high-quality safety practices can often avoid the devastation and destruction that results from fires. Read the brief outline provided below to learn how you can protect your property:
Install Automatic Fire Sprinklers.
As many authorities know, having an automatic fire sprinkler on your property can reduce the risk of fire by up to 71%. Additionally, sprinklers can decrease your insurance premium. To keep your sprinkler in excellent condition, be sure that it is not blocked by dirt or paint. Also, be sure to inspect regularly your main control valve so that it is not left off. Finally, be sure that you take the precautions necessary to prevent the pipe from freezing.
Conduct Fire Emergency Training.
Each of your employees should undergo fire safety training. The training can help prevent your staff members from being victimized. Here are a few subjects that should be covered in the emergency training:
Keep all combustible chemicals and materials away from heat-generating and electrical equipment.
Inspect your power sources regularly and don't overload your extension cords and outlets.
Teach your employees how to respond when a fire breaks out. Some subjects that should be covered include how to perform an organized evacuation, operate the fire extinguisher, and set the fire alarm.
Other issues that should be involved in the training include:
- Breathing Apparatus Training
- Fire Extinguisher Training
- Confined Space Entry Training
- First Aid Training
- General Staff Emergency Awareness Training
- Evacuation Exercise
Also, be sure that your employee team officials undergo the following fire emergency response training:
- Fire Safety Officer Training
- Fire Safety Adviser Training
- Chief and Deputy Chief Warden Training
- Emergency Control Organization Warden Training
- Spill Response Training
- Lay Flat Hose Training
Call SERVPRO Immediately
Although accessing and utilizing fire prevention measures is crucial and advantageous, there is still a chance that a fire could break out on your commercial property. If this happens, you need to know who to call for fast, efficient restoration services. The company to trust is SERVPRO. We have extensive industry experience and a passion for restoring offices to their original condition.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
As a locally owned and operated business, our SERVPRO team is ready to respond quickly to your fire emergency event. When commercial fire damage occurs, we have the resources and personnel to help. Call us today!
Fire At Your Commercial Property
Why Professionals Should Clean Smoke Damage From A Fire From Your Commercial Property
When the firefighters leave, it may seem like the danger has passed and the home is safe from further destruction, but without professionals to help clean the smoke damage, the building will never return to normal. While the principles behind fire restoration are fairly simple, it requires a lot of experience and manpower to perform adequately, and this means that it shouldn’t be attempted by a homeowner on his or her own.
While fire is always the immediate danger, once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house. Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, will cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem, assuming they are contacted soon enough. There are many companies out there that advertise their ability to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the main oversight agency in this industry. The IICRC requires its registrants to take extensive coursework before earning their certification. This is a symbol of excellence, and those that uphold the standards that have been set can be contacted through the IICRC.
These professionals can clean smoke damage and restore items affected by a fire, but they must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does to the home is discolor most surfaces. Anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes, and within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow. Metals may also tarnish. After a few days pass, the ash will cause walls to discolor permanently, along with clothing and upholstery. Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.
If a professional isn’t hired to clean smoke and fire damage, the costs for restoration will skyrocket after a few weeks. Metals may need to be replaced, carpet will permanently discolor and glass may be severely etched, which will necessitate replacement. It will also become apparent that the odors caused by the disaster may still be present and intense enough to be distracting. Because ash is acidic, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause.
The first thing a trained, certified, professional company will do when on site is to identify all affected materials and the source of any odors. The only way to properly clean smoke and fire damage is to be extremely thorough. Ash residue is easily disturbed and can spread through the building with ease, causing nearly everything to need restoration. The experts will identify what can and cannot be salvaged, and will remove any built-up ash residue that is coating surfaces. Over time, ash builds up in layers, and may eventually form into a lacquer-like consistency. Once this is done, the restorers will locate the source of the odor, and treat it with specialized detergents that are formulated for neutralizing this kind of odor. Once materials are treated, they may be sealed off to prevent any further odor from permeating the air in the future.
This entire process is very detailed, and hiring a professional that can be trusted to do the job right is imperative.