Mold vs mildew
Example of fuzzy mold
Like two siblings who have similar features, mold and mildew have a few matching characteristics: Both are keen on moist, warm areas where they might sprout their homes. They can also each grow on a multitude of surfaces, from food to your shower to a sheet of paper. And, of course, they are both two types of fungi that no homeowner likes to see in his or her home.
But mold and mildew also have striking differences when it comes to size, color and texture.
Mildew is a surface fungi that can easily be identified as a patch of gray or even white fungus that is lying on the surface of a moist area. Mildew is easily treated with a store bought cleaner and a scrubbing brush.
Mold, on the other hand, can be black or green and is often the result of a much larger infestation. This type of fungus can appear almost "fuzzy" — especially when it is found on food — or even slimy in nature.
While toxic mold is not common in homes that are regularly maintained, this form of mold can be dangerous to a person's health. Allergies, asthma, irritated eyes, headaches and even lung issues are the result of toxic mold that is breeding within a home.
The key to treating mold and mildew is to wipe it out of your home immediately. Treating it accordingly will safeguard your home from permanent damage and keep you from doing the tango with nasty fungi in the future.
Basement with a moisture problem that was ignored
Basement mold is often the result of a source of moisture — leaky foundations or condensation from appliances are typical culprits. One of the first steps in the prevention of basement mold is to ensure that your basement is free of any moisture and doesn't support a damp, humid environment where mold can thrive.
If mold in the basement is already a problem in your home, there are many options for the control and removal basement mold. Depending on the extent and severity of the problem, and the type of mold, you may need to explore options for professional mold removal. In particular, cases of severe toxic black mold growth may require professional care.
For nontoxic species of mold and less severe mold growth, there are many DIY solutions for the prevention and control of mold in the basement. After removing any mold-covered debris, such as dry wall, insulation, carpet or sub-flooring, hard surfaces can be treated with commercial products containing ammonia and bleach. Basement mold removal on tile or linoleum can also be performed with vinegar or a borax and water solution.
Mold in the basement is a common problem, but by understanding how to identify problem areas and prevent and control mold growth, you can avoid the potentially costly and unhealthy spread of basement mold.
Call a professional water removal company
Severe hardwood damage from water
This is a summation of the general drying techniques after an area has experienced water damage. It is recommended that, if one has experienced a great amount of water damage, they consult with an IICRC certified professional to have restoration work completed in the property. he IICRC, which is an acronym for the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, has certain guidelines that are followed by mold and water restoration companies. Updated editions are often released that keep industry professionals apprised of the most pragmatic and efficient remediation tools and exercises.
In the 3rd edition, the s500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration, there are references to the appropriate amount of drying equipment to use on a property, relative to the damage experienced. Various algorithms are used to calculate the appropriate amounts, which are delineated in the following classes:
- Class 1 (smallest volume of water, absorption and evaporation): an area or portion of a property that is only minimally affected by water. There is no observable damp carpeting in the area.
- Class 2 (large amount of water, absorption and evaporation): An entire room or large area has been affected by water damage, including damp carpeting.
- Class 3 (greatest amount of water, absorption and evaporation): Large areas are saturated with water; this includes ceilings, walls and any other overhead areas.
- Class 4 (Specialty drying situations): These consist of wet materials with very low porosity (e.g., hardwood, plaster, brick, concrete, light weight concrete and stone). These types of losses may require longer drying times and special methods.
The appropriate drying method would be determined based off of an inspection. According to industry experts, the most common 'class' documented is Class 2. The following levels of drying are associated with each class:
- Class 1: Closed drying system i.e. not requiring outside air, whilst employing a dehumidifier.
- Class 2: Water is first extracted from porous materials and materials which have absorbed water by using a sub-surface extraction tool. Dehumidifiers should be installed in the immediate area. Create a drying chamber and installed air movers into the room. Ensure all wet materials are completely removed and heavily damaged materials (such as heavily water damaged carpeting), is removed and replaced.
- Class 3: Consult with a certified professional since this type of damage is considered 'severe'.
- Class 4: Consult with a certified professional since this type of damage is considered 'severe'. ?
We follow strict guidelines
Do not try this yourself
The IICRC Standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration (IICRC S500) is a procedural standard. It is based on reliable restoration principles, research and practical experience. In addition, there has been extensive consultation and information obtained from numerous sources. These sources include, but are not necessarily limited to, the scientific community, the international, national and regional trade associations serving the professional disaster restoration industry, chemical formulators and equipment manufacturers, cleaning and restoration training schools, restoration service companies, the insurance industry, allied trades persons and others with specialized experience. It is subject to further revision as developments occur in technology, testing and processing procedures. The Fourth Edition of the IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide has been completely updated and rewritten with the best information and knowledge of the time. Additional Chapters and Sections have been added to the S500 that have not been included previously. These areas include: Building and Material Science, by Definition, and the Science of Drying, Limitations Complexities Complications and Conflicts, Structural Restoration, HVAC, Contents Evaluation Restoration and Remediation, and Large or Catastrophic Restoration. Also, note that Carpet Disengagement and Reinstallation has been moved back into the Appendix of the document. The IICRC S500 provides a specific set of practical standards for water damage restoration. It does not attempt to teach comprehensive water damage restoration procedures; rather it provides the foundation for basic principles of proper restoration practices. IICRC S500 does not attempt to include exhaustive performance characteristics or standards for the manufacture or installation of structural components, materials and contents (personal property). The IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide is presented using a two-part format: the standard itself and a supplementary reference guide. The procedural standard is featured in this first section, supported by the reference guide in the second section. The intent is to use the principles outlined in the reference guide as a tool to better understand and apply the standard itself. However, the reference guide is not considered part of this standard."
Fire safety concerns
There are all kinds of cleanup after a fire.
The immediate life-safety concerns about fire are obvious and frightening, but what many don’t realize is that returning to fire damaged buildings is also hazardous. Cleaning after fire is part of recovery, but done wrong this activity may do more harm. If you’re returning to a fire damaged community follow these fire restoration tips to reduce your health risks.
After you have dealt with the initial raw emotions of fire loss, after you have contacted your insurance company and relatives and emergency personnel that are worried about you, it is time to cleanup and rebuild.
Immediate Threats When Cleaning After Fire
These basic measures may save your life when you return to cleanup after a fire.
- Do not reenter a fire stricken area or building unless a professional has verified it is safe to enter. Fires may reappear and you don’t want to be stuck in the danger zone. Do not go around police/fire barricades or ignore evacuation orders.
- Do not approach downed power lines or attempt to work around electrical wires.
- If the structure has been significantly impact and there are any concerns about the structural integrity of the building, do not enter until an expert or structural engineer okays the building.
- Do not enter areas with standing water. There may be hidden dangers in the water.
- Hire a professional fire restoration company.
Time to call a pro
This is a job for a pro
Because of just how quickly a grease fire can spread and because of how intensive a grease fire’s damage can be, it’s almost always ideal to call a professional for help with repairing damage from a grease fire. A grease fire most often leaves a heavy scent of smoke throughout your home. It can also leave soot covering your kitchen, including the ceiling, cabinets and more. No matter what, there’s going to be grease residue and soot everywhere — and grease is notoriously difficult to clean.
A professional has the knowledge and experience to quickly and effectively repair damage from a grease fire, as well as the tools needed to get the job done. Additionally, a professional will know the proper techniques for taking care of grease fire residue on different materials.
Residue can often find its way onto paper, wood, plastic, natural substances and more, and there’s a proven process for cleaning each — but the processes are different. A professional can take care of these different materials in the best way possible for each.
Be Proactive While You Wait
When you’ve experienced a grease fire in your home or in your restaurant, it’s important to be proactive. Here’s a look at what you can and should do immediately:
- Find a Professional: It’s likely you’ll need fire damage restoration professional help. Contact one (or get bids from several) to get them on the schedule as quickly as possible.
- Remove Pets and Children: Smoke and soot can cause health problems in both people and animals. For this reason, until the environment has been cleaned and repaired, children and pets should be taken elsewhere.
- Replace Your Filters: Because of the smoke and soot’s ability to travel throughout your house, it’s important that you change out your furnace’s air filter. Replace the filters on your refrigerator, too — if it’s salvageable.
- Toss Out Food: Discard any food substances that were out when the fire struck — soot and smoke particles have contaminated your food.
- Clean Cabinets: It’s likely your cabinets are covered soot inside and out. Wipe them down, too. While initially cleaning them is important, you may need a professional to sand, reseal and repaint the cabinets to fully remove the odor.
- Check Appliances: Your microwave may need to go. If it was located close to the fire, it will be next to impossible to get the smoke scent out of the plastic. Check the gasket seals on your refrigerator for damage as well. If they are impaired, it may be time to get a new refrigerator. This is another area where professional guidance can be helpful.
Never enter a structure that has been affected by any kind of fire until it has been declared safe to do so by the fire department or other public authority. If you have any doubt about the structure’s soundness, wait until a professional can assess it.
Hidden Damage Caused by Kitchen Grease Fires
You can see soot when it is clinging to your kitchen ceiling and cabinets. But a restaurant kitchen fire or a home kitchen fire can leave damage that’s not as easy to see.
For example, flames from a grease fire can find their way into ductwork and cause damage there that will only get worse if left unaddressed. Smoky odors leftover from a grease fire can also linger if they aren’t dealt with in a professional manner.
Hidden damage is yet another reason why it’s often a good idea to call in the professionals for help cleaning up after a grease fire. If left to take care of the damage on your own, you may get your kitchen and home looking great — but the hidden damage can cause problems down the road and certainly hurt your home’s resale value. A professional will know all the places to look, and they will also know how to repair that damage.
Duct system mold remediation
Signs that you have a mold problem
Why is mold growing In My HVAC System?
Mold grows in dark and moist areas which is why you’ll often see first signs in places like your bathroom, especially if you do not have efficient ventilation. Other common areas for mold include attics, basements, and in cabinets with sinks.
Of course, one of the most common places where mold grows is in your HVAC system. This is because there is a high level of moisture and condensation. These two factors come into play most commonly during the summer months of the year.
When you use the air conditioning during the summer months, water vapor can make its way inside the air ducts. If the area where you live is very humid, the water will stay stuck in your system instead of evaporating like it normally would.
As external particles continue to travel through your air ducts, dust gathers, thus becoming a feeding ground for mold. Mold feeds off organic materials, allowing it multiply at an exponential rate.
if not addressed in a timely matter it will spread throughout you home.
These homeowners ignored the signs and did not have air testing done.
Is Mold Testing Necessary for Your Home?
Mold and its spores are a part of our everyday living and breathing space.
In small amounts, mold spores are generally harmless. However, certain types of molds can compromise good air quality.
The process of mold elimination often will begin with a mold test so that the type of suspect mold can be identified.
By identifying the type and where the mold is located, the appropriate methods can be used for removal.
<h2con-2">How Is Mold Testing Performed?
Believe it or not, the easy part is determining if there is mold in your home. The value in the testing lies in the experience of the tester and how thorough they are.
Anyone claiming to be an inspector can look official and walk into a home with a swab or a tape-lift.
Anyone can wave a mold spore trap around in the air and catch spores like kids catch fireflies.
The real value lies in the results and the documentation that is used in the remediation process
No one wants to be left in the dark with a mold issue. That could be frustrating.
When the inspector comes in to take the tests, they may perform a swab test or a tape-lift test. These are done exactly as they sound.
They may also grab a sample of air in a small plastic cassette that takes in a measured amount of air so that the severity of the mold problem can be measured based on air volume.
Once finished, these samples from your home are sent to a lab so that the lab technicians can see how many different types of spores are present and how much of them are floating around your home.
They will create a report that states how many spores are present per cubic meter. The inspector may also take an outside air sample for comparison.
This helps determine if the fungal reserve in the home is high compared to the outside air. Call in a professional like SERVPRO of Babylon/ Deer Park to help you through this process.
After the storm
Heavy winds ripped half of the roof off
Once you are able to return to your home, focus on documenting by completely inventorying and valuing all damage and costs to repair or replace your property, regardless of your insurance situation. If your rental, home or business was insured for flood damage, there are some differences in how a flood versus a home insurance claim gets adjusted and settled, but many similarities. Wind damage will be covered under your homeowner's policy, while flood damage caused by storm surge should be covered under your flood policy.
Every type of insurance policy contains a deadline for submitting your proof of your loss and claim. NFIP flood policies usually require a complete proof of loss to be submitted within 60 days of the storm but UP and others asked FEMA to extend the deadline date.
Check your home and wind policies for special deductibles or coverages related to Hurricane, wind, hail and all damage. You'll find lots of information in your local library, tips, videos and tools. We're rooting for your recovery and are here to help.
- Take photos of the damage before any clean-up or repairs are done.
- Keep a diary of conversations with insurance, repair, government and other professionals.
- Focus on drying/cleaning out, avoiding further damage, while getting all damage inspected, measured and estimated by qualified, reputable and independent experts.
- Flood insurance policies have different rules than home insurance policies.
- Start working on a detailed and itemized "proof of loss" form but don't rush and leave things out.
- Give your home and/or flood insurer a chance to do the right thing.
Different kinds of water damage
Hot water pipe break, buckled flooring throughout this home.
Water damage can originate by different sources such as a broken dishwasher hose, a washing machine overflow, a dishwasher leakage, broken/leaking pipes, flood waters and clogged toilets. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 13.7% of all water used in the home today can be attributed to plumbing leaks. On average that is approximately 10,000 gallons of water per year wasted by leaks for each US home. A tiny, 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can release up to 250 gallons of water a day. According to our sources, in August 2000, broken water pipes ranked second to hurricanes in terms of both the number of homes damaged and the amount of claims (on average $50,000 per insurance claim) costs in the US.[ Experts suggest that homeowners inspect and replace worn pipe fittings and hose connections to all household appliances that use water at least once a year. This includes washing machines, dishwashers, kitchen sinks and bathroom lavatories, refrigerator ice makers, water softeners and humidifiers. A few US companies offer whole-house leak protection systems utilizing flow-based technologies. A number of insurance companies offer policy holders reduced rates for installing a whole-house leak protection system.
As far as insurance coverage is concerned, most damage caused by bad weather is considered flood damage and normally is not covered under homeowners insurance. Coverage for bad weather would usually require flood insurance