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Schools and Commercial Buildings Mold Remediation Guide

12/19/2018 (Permalink)

Concern about indoor exposure to mold has been increasing as the public becomes aware that exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions. This document presents guidelines for the remediation/cleanup of mold and moisture problems in schools and commercial buildings; these guidelines include measures designed to protect the health of building occupants and remediators. It has been designed primarily for:

    • Building managers
    • Custodians
    • Others who are responsible for commercial building and school maintenance

It should serve as a reference for potential mold and moisture remediators. Using this document, individuals with little or no experience with mold remediation should be able to make a reasonable judgment as to whether the situation can be handled in-house. It will help those in charge of maintenance to evaluate an in-house remediation plan or a remediation plan submitted by an outside contractor1. Contractors and other professionals who respond to mold and moisture situations in commercial buildings and schools may also want to refer to these guidelines.

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.

Molds reproduce by making spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on.

Many types of molds exist. All molds have the potential to cause health effects. Molds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to mold. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants. Potential health concerns are an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remediate/clean up any existing indoor mold growth.

Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent moisture problems in buildings. Moisture problems can have many causes, including uncontrolled humidity. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices during the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Some of these changes have resulted in buildings that are tightly sealed, but may lack adequate ventilation, potentially leading to moisture buildup. Building materials, such as drywall, may not allow moisture to escape easily. Moisture problems may include:

    • Roof leaks
    • Landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under the building
    • Unvented combustion appliances
    • Delayed maintenance or insufficient maintenance are also associated with moisture problems in schools and large buildings

Moisture problems in portable classrooms and other temporary structures have frequently been associated with mold problems. 

When mold growth occurs in buildings, adverse health problems may be reported by some building occupants, particularly those with allergies or respiratory problems. Remediators should avoid exposing themselves and others to mold-laden dusts as they conduct their cleanup activities. Caution should be used to prevent mold and mold spores from being dispersed throughout the air where they can be inhaled by building occupants.

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How To Prevent Grease Fires

12/19/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of East Coral Springs Suggestions Concerning Grease Fires

Most often, grease fires happen when a pan is left on the stove unattended and for too long. Another way a grease fire can occur is when extra grease on the stove top or drip pan catches fire accidentally. Keeping these fires from happening is not hard if you stay in the kitchen while you are cooking, and take a few safety measures. A small mistake, however, can lead to the need for fire damage restoration from professionals such as SERVPRO. If the unthinkable does happen, our trained staff can help you to restore your home back to normal quickly.

Steps to Prevent Grease Fires: 
Always have a Class B Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher close at hand, under the sink base cabinet, or in another reachable place. A small investment may save you a lot of money and also mitigate dangers caused by fires. As mentioned above, stay in the kitchen at all times when you are heating oil for pan-frying or deep-fat frying to prevent a grease fire. Leaving cooking unattended in your Idaho Falls home is the biggest reason for fires in the kitchen. Before you turn the heat on, also make sure that the burner on the stove top is cool. Clean any excess oil or grease spills from the drip pan around the burner, too. 

Before you start, check out the heat ratings of the cooking oil. These indicate the maximum temperature the oil can be cooked at before it catches fire. For most vegetable oils, for example, this temperature is around 450 degrees Fahrenheit, while for animal oils this temperature is around 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Attach a thermometer to the side of the pot to keep track of the temperature of the oil. When it is close to its burning point, it will let off smoke and ruin the taste of your food. Turn off the heat if this happens, and carefully remove the pan from the burner to let it cool off. 

Be careful when you are putting food into oil that is already hot. Use long utensils like tongs which let you gently insert the food without dropping it and splashing oil on yourself. Use a cover or lid to stop hot oil from splattering. Remove the lid carefully if you do have to stir the food, and put it back when you’ve finished. Also, as soon as any food or oil spills happen, clean them up. 

If the grease does catch fire, do not ever try to move the pot or pan. Use a metal lid to cover the pan and shut off the supply of oxygen to the fire. A small fire contained inside the pan can be extinguished by putting baking soda on the fire until it burns out, but if you do not feel safe controlling it by yourself, exit the house immediately and call 911 for help. If your home does sustain fire damage, remember to give our technicians at SERVPRO a call right afterward. Remember, do not ever use water to put a grease fire out! This can cause the grease to splash and spread the fire further. 

Accidents do still happen. If you experience a grease fire in your home and need fire damage repair, contact SERVPRO of East Coral Springs right away once the fire is out. We can be reached at any time by dialing (954) 725-6400.

Mold and Your Home

12/19/2018 (Permalink)

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.

  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call SERVPRO of East Coral Springs – 954-725-6400.

SERVPRO'S Tips To Find Air Leaks In Your Home

12/19/2018 (Permalink)

Have you noticed a cool draft in your home recently? If you feel air drafts moving throughout your house, especially near your doors or windows, it may be time to learn how to find air leaks in your home. Believe it or not, air leaks could be costing you tons of money on energy bills. The air you pay to warm up or cool down spaces within your home is wasted – if it slips easily through the cracks. Drafts are most commonly located by windows and doors, but they become an even bigger problem in attics and basements. Leaks and cracks cause your HVAC to work overtime, raising your electric bill. Don't waste your money just to be stuck inside a drafty home. You can fix many air leaks yourself. Read these tips below on how to spot and stop the air leaks in your home.

  1. Detect air leaks. If you see any gaps or cracks in your caulking or weather stripping, they could be sources of an air leak. Also, if you can rattle your doors or windows, there's likely enough space for air to make its way inside. Look and feel for any cracks, gaps or drafts in all the following areas:
    • Exterior corners
    • Foundation seals
    • Door and window frames
    • Weather stripping around doors
    • Electrical and gas service entrances
    • Basement
    • Baseboards
    • Air conditioners
    • Vents and fans
    • Attic
    • Attic hatches
    • Any area where pipes or wires run into the house
  2. Test your theory. Try holding a lit incense stick near windows, door frames and suspected air leaks. If the smoke rushes out or gets blown back into the room, you've confirmed there's an air leak in that area.
  3. Caulk small gaps. If you find any openings less than 1/4 of an inch wide, use caulk to seal the air leaks. If you need to caulk around pipes that get hot, be sure to use high-temperature caulk.
  4. Use foam sealant on gaps that are 1/4 of an inch to 3 inches wide, like the areas around plumbing pipes and vents.
  5. Weatherstrip doors and windows to seal air leaks. While you're weatherstripping, check your door hinges to ensure they're tightly screwed, as well. If they're loose, they could add more air to your home.

Be sure to follow these tips on how to find air leaks in your home so you can stay!

Commercial Duct Cleaning

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

Why Clean Air Ducts?

Answer: Because they get dirty!

In addition to normal accumulations of dust and dirt found in all homes with air ducts, there are several other factors that can increase the need for regular HVAC system cleaning:

  • pets
  • occupants with allergies or asthma
  • cigarette or cigar smoke
  • water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system
  • home renovation or remodeling projects

Some occupants are more sensitive to these contaminants than others. Allergy and asthma sufferers, as well as young children and the elderly tend to be more susceptible to the types of poor indoor air quality that air duct cleaning can help address.

Top Benefits of HVAC Cleaning

NADCA’s rule of thumb for consumers is that “if your air ducts look dirty, they probably are,” and that dirty HVAC systems should be inspected by a reputable, certified HVAC professional. Below are some other reasons homeowners choose to have their air ducts cleaned.

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is one concern that homeowners have when they decide to investigate air duct cleaning. Your heating and cooling system are the lungs of your home. The system takes air in and breathes air out.

Through normal occupation in a home, we generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the duct work.

While dirty ducts don’t necessarily mean unhealthy air in your home, school or workplace, they may be contributing to larger health issues or harboring contaminants that could cause serious problems for people with respiratory health conditions, autoimmune disorders or some environmental allergies.

Energy Savings

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system can still get dirty through normal use.

When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.

Call SERVPRO of East Coral Springs at 954-725-6400 for a free estimate.

Major Storm Water Damages

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

When a major storm passes close to the house, the home may suffer water damage that is difficult to repair.

There are many things a family can do to begin repairing any destruction, but a certified professional will likely be needed to get rid of any serious health or structural threats. Contaminated storm surges or floods can carry pathogens and become a breeding ground for mold. If allowed to fester, these mold spores can spread throughout the building and become even more difficult to remove. In many cases,  governmental agencies could condemn the structure if the microbial threat is too great.

The main reason a home is sensitive to water damage is because moisture is difficult to detect once the floods recede. Standing liquids can encourage microbial growth within 24 hours and can saturate all kinds of textiles and seep through drywall. Moisture may collect behind the walls, where mold and bacteria may multiply out of sight.

Professional restoration services can quickly identify what items in the home are compromised by water damage. Normally, anything that is porous may need to be discarded if it has come in contact with contaminated fluids. These items, like mattresses, box springs, pillows and particle board, trap more moisture than other materials and foster the growth of microbes.

A family can prepare for professional cleaning by getting rid of these items before the technicians arrive, but be sure to properly record and itemize the items for insurance purposes prior to disposing. Once professionals arrive at the building, they will be able to track down any pockets of excess moisture and remove them. 

It’s important for a family to hire professionals that are certified through a reputable organization. Technicians trained in this area know how to find compromised areas and do what it takes to restore them.

Flood damage in your home or business? Call SERVPRO of East Coral Springs (954) 725-6400.

Hidden Hazards! What You Need To Know.

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

Insulation can become wet in a variety of ways. A pipe could burst, a seam could have been improperly welded, or there could be a puncture somewhere on your roofing system, among a wide variety of other possibilities. However, just fixing the cause of the leak is not enough; the wet insulation must be removed. The following three points explain the ramifications of not tearing out wet insulation.

1. Structural Stability

As mentioned above, wet insulation can negatively impact your entire building. The trapped moisture can begin to degrade your roofing system starting with the deck and working it’s way out. Rotting can occur and lead to collapses throughout the structure. There is also the overall weight burden to consider. As the insulation collects moisture, it gets increasingly heavier. The pressure can be catastrophic to the building and lead to complete system collapse.

2. Energy Efficiency Compromised

The presence of wet insulation in your roof will generally negate the energy efficiency benefits of your roofing system. This is due to the fact that the moisture is acting as a conductor of energy rather than repelling it as it is designed. Your building will now require more heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, resulting in higher utility bills. Moisture can cause your insulation to lose as much as 40% of it’s thermal residence capabilities.

3. Indoor Air Quality

It is highly likely that your building is being occupied for a good portion of the day and/or night depending on what industry you are in. As a result, air quality is incredibly important. If your insulation in your roof is wet, mold and bacteria can grow. Not a good sign for healthy air or happy occupants. The longer you leave the wet insulation untreated, the greater the potential danger to your occupants.

Call SERVPRO of East Coral Springs at 954-725-6400 for more information.

Mold Remediation

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

Molds are a natural part of the environment. They can be found anywhere there is water and moisture, so the key to controlling them in and around your home or business is moisture control. If mold is found in your home or business, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem immediately. It is also important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer resources for proper and safe mold cleanup. Click here for more information on mold cleanup information for you and your family.

If you feel you have mold or you're not sure if you have mold problems, please call SERVPRO of East Coral Springs 954-725-6400 and talk with one of our IICRC Certified Technicians.

Common Signs of Water Damage

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

Water intrusion can have devastating effects on your home’s structural integrity. It can even lead to indoor air quality problems because mold thrives where water is present. But how can you tell if you need professional water damage restoration? At SERVPRO of East Coral Springs, we’ve seen it all, and we can help you identify water damage in your home and clean it up.

6 Common Signs of Water Damage

Here are six common signs of water damage that need to be addressed:

1. Water spots in under-sink cabinets

It’s easy to disregard a bit of water under the bathroom or kitchen sink because you can simply mop it up with a towel and move on. However, this is a warning sign that you have water damage and potential mold growth around the sink area—and if the leak is bad enough, it could warp the floorboards under the sink. Even if there’s no water present, water spots clearly indicate that pipes under the sink have a slow leak.

2. Ceiling and wall stains

Water stains on the upper story ceiling are a clear indication that the roof is leaking. As water enters the attic, it slowly drips down to the ceiling on the upper floor. On its way, the water saturates insulation and renders it useless. It can also cause rafters to rot and warp, compromising structural integrity.

Ceiling and wall stains on lower floors could indicate that an appliance directly above them is leaking. Check behind the washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator, and toilets for leaky spigots that could be dripping water and causing damage.

3. Mold growth

Mold needs water to grow, so it’s common to find mold in consistently damp locations—and finding mold is never a good thing, since it means your air quality is suffering. In fact, sensitive individuals may experience unpleasant symptoms such as aggravated allergy symptoms, cold-like issues, and more.

4. Squishy bathroom tiles

Water damage is not always visible. In fact, it’s more common for damage to occur behind the floor, ceiling, and walls where you can’t see it. Since the bathroom is the most humid room in your home, it’s a common place for water damage and mold growth. Press on several bathroom tiles and see if they give under the pressure. If so, the wall behind the tile is most likely rotting and mold is almost certainly present.

5. Soft ceiling

A leaky appliance spigot can cause more than just ceiling and wall stains. If the ceiling is low enough, reach up and push on it with your fingers. A soft ceiling may have been experiencing water damage from a slow leak for many weeks or months. Fixing the leak isn’t enough, unfortunately—the drywall will also need to be replaced to ensure structural integrity and indoor air quality.

6. Standing water

Many things can cause water to pool in unlikely places, including a broken pipe or flooding. If you find standing water, it’s important to seek water damage remediation as quickly as possible. Ignoring the problem could lead to greater damage to your home’s structural integrity and air quality.

Get Water Damage Restoration Today 

SERVPRO uses advanced tools to detect water damage beyond these obvious signs. Hygrometers, moisture detectors, infrared cameras, and other equipment make it easy to identify hidden water leading up to the water removal process. If you suspect you have water damage, Call SERVPRO of East Coral Springs 954-725-6400.

Fire Demolition Services

12/17/2018 (Permalink)

Demolition Services Following A Fire

If your home has suffered fire damage, it could be a total loss in specific areas. While you might still want to go through these portions of your home with a professional to determine all of your options, there are circumstances in which certain conditions make conventional restoration efforts impossible. The only solution in these cases is a rebuild of the affected areas.

Our SERVPRO staff has seen significant fire damage like this to Coral Springs homes, and have experience with preparing your home for new construction. While our niche is not rebuilding your damaged home, we can help to both preserve areas that are restorable as well as provide demolition services to make these irreparable portions of your house ready for the work of a residential construction contractor.

The process is most often a controlled demolition, meaning that skill and patience are paramount. Limiting total destruction of structural components wherever possible allows for new construction efforts to ultimately cost you less and to be done more quickly. Our SERVPRO professionals have the proper tools to limit the spread of the damage and to focus their entire efforts on just the portions of your home that require reconstruction. The finished product from this process leaves clean surfaces that are ready for new materials, whether this is walls of your home, your flooring, or even your roof.

The demolition process can be performed simultaneously with the restoration efforts to less critically damaged areas of your house. Choosing one restoration company prevents having to seek the services of multiple businesses, and helps to build a report between our technicians and homeowners to ensure that work happens to your exact specifications.

Demolition is unavoidable in the wake of some fires, but having the right professionals overseeing the process can mitigate your financial losses and hasten the construction to rebuild the worst of the damages. If you are dealing with the aftermath of a devastating fire, call SERVPRO of East Coral Springs today at (954) 725-6400.