Preventing Mold in Your Home
This dining room was completely taken over by mold that was allowed to grow without professional intervention.
Residential and commercial buildings alike can be difficult to prevent mold growth in because of the summer humidity levels that come with Ohio’s climate. Mold loves humidity and can easily survive and flourish on even the smallest amount of moisture within the walls or floors during a humid summer day. Because of this, indoor mold is most commonly found in the most damp, humid areas of the house, especially bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Mold can grow uncontrolled as well on ceilings and inside of walls if the building has been recently water damaged.
Mold is a common fungus, of which there are thousands of different species spread throughout the world. The only way to prevent mold growth is to make the building uninhabitable to the fungi life cycle. Here are a few ways to deter mold growth:
- Use mold inhibitors on walls before painting any area, especially potentially damp areas like bathrooms and basements.
- Use dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and fans to keep humidity levels steady and low enough that mold cannot grow, the ideal being between 30 and 65 percent.
- Make sure that the areas under and around houseplants are free from excess water
- Keep rugs from damp rooms such as bathrooms or basements dry and frequently cleaned. Spores can thrive in a damp carpet and cause a severe mold issue.
- Use sanitizing mold prevention products to clean areas after water damage or mildew growth to reduce the risk of future mold issues in your home..
- Contact a mold remediation professional at the first sign of water leakage under appliances or in bathrooms.
Sometimes mold attacks in unseen places after a flood or pipe leak. Once this occurs, removing the water is not enough to eliminate the fungi entirely. Mold can survive for years without water, only to reemerge when exposed to liquid. Seeking the assistance of a remediation expert may help prevent future contamination and water damage. Our experts at SERVPRO of North Richland and Ashland Counties know how to disinfect infected areas and completely kill mold colonies in your residence.
Reducing the Risk of Air Conditioner Fires
There is no better feeling than walking out of the blistering summer heat and into the cool climate of your air conditioned home. However, what many people don’t know is that the same AC unit that makes summer temperatures more bearable can sometimes be a major fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association, air conditioner fires caused 20 deaths and an estimated $82 million in property damage across the nation in 2016. There are several reasons why these potentially catastrophic fires might occur.
With sweltering temperatures outside, you might not think twice about letting your air conditioning unit run all day and night. However, prolonged overuse can cause serious issues and create a risk of your unit catching fire. Continuous use of the AC can lead to parts of its internal machinery breaking down and can shorten the lifespan of your unit as well as making it a fire hazard. Instead of leaving the air conditioner to run all day, consider shutting it off whenever you leave the house and turning it back on when you return. Turning the AC off at night when temperatures are less unbearable is also advisable to keep your unit running well and home safe from fire.
Another potential cause of air conditioner fires is improper maintenance of the unit. Annual checks should be performed on your AC unit to ensure that all of its pieces and parts are in proper working order. Filters should be inspected and cleaned regularly and replaced when needed. It is also important to never use extension cords when plugging in you air conditioner unit, and to make sure that it is securely attached to the window. As well, it is essential to keep the space around your AC free of debris, as any stray materials might get sucked into the unit and catch fire.
When the temperate begins to cimb, many homeowners rush to take their air conditioning unit out of storage and reinstall it immediately. While the heat might be unbearable, it is nothing compared to the tragedy of losing your home and belongings to a house fire that could have been avoided. When setting up your AC, take some time to check that all the equipment is in the same state as it was when you last put it away. If there are any broken panels or loose wires, the unit might not be safe for use. If you stored your air conditioning unit in a garage, shed, or storage unit throughout the fall and winter seasons, the wires could have been tampered with by mice, rats, or other small rodents. One chewed up wire inside your unit is all it takes for a fire to start.
In the case that your air conditioning unit does catch fire, our clean-up and restoration experts at SERVPRO of North Richland & Ashland Counties are here to help. Our employees are experienced, well-trained, and have all the necessary tools to restore your property after a fire “like it never even happened.”
Staying Safe in Thunderstorms and Floods
The aftermath of a severe thunderstorm in North Central Ohio; this house was all but destroyed by a tree that was knocked over during a storm.
April showers might bring May flowers, but North Central Ohio’s indecisive weather can often bring major water damage into your residential or commercial property. As we transition from spring to summer climates, there are a few different weather-related risks that could cause serious damage to your home or business.
Thunderstorms can occur anywhere at any time of the day, however they are most likely to happen in the afternoon during the spring and summer months. These storms are created by cumulonimbus clouds, and can produce extreme winds, lightning, and hail. Lightning can be very dangerous as well; in fact, more people are killed by lightning every year than they are by tornadoes.
When a thunderstorm is predicted in your area, there are some precautions you can take.
- If you can hear the thunder produced by the storm from your residence or business, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning.
- Keep an eye out for storm signs such as quickly darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing winds.
- Postpone any outdoor activities, and avoid driving in storm conditions.
- Find shelter immediately, in the basement of your residence or business if possible, closing all windows and doors securely.
- If you are driving when the storm hits, pull over and take shelter in your car immediately.
- Refrain from bathing, showering, using plumbing, or swimming during storm conditions.
- Ensure that storm drains near your property are kept unobstructed.
- Keep trees around your property trimmed; a severe thunderstorm might cause and straggling branches to break and damage your residence or business.
Spring and early summer is the prime time for flooding. As the seasons change, heavy spring rains can overwhelm rivers and streams and cause flooding. When water rises rapidly along a stream or low-lying area, catastrophic flash flood may occur. It is good to be prepared and have a solid evacuation plan for your family or employees when a flood or flash flood warning is issued.
Some basic flood safety steps include:
- Avoid flood waters at all cost. Just six inches of rapidly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
- If you encounter a flooded road while driving, turn the car around and go another way. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Gather your family or employees, some emergency supplies, and any important belongings and evacuate to higher ground as soon as possible.
- Store your most important items such as photo albums, family heirlooms, and business documents in tightly-sealed plastic containers to ensure that they are well protected from floodwaters. As well consider storing valuables in the attic rather than the basement.
The key when it comes to thunderstorms and floods is to make sure that you have a safety plan in place. Ensure that your family members or employees know to take shelter in the basement during a thunderstorm or to retreat to the highest level of your property during a flood. It is advisable to keep a supply of food, water, flashlights and batteries, and a first aid kit in the case of any emergency.
SERVPRO of North Richland & Ashland Counties is dedicated to taking quality care of restoring your home or business after the inclement weather, so that the health and safety of your family and employees can be your main concern when a flood or thunderstorm hits.
Did you know?
Residues (such as burning plastics or the soot from furnace disorders) form long chains of ionized smoke particles that assemble in corners or at junctions of walls and ceilings which are called smoke webs!
The picture is from a fire damage that our large loss division assisted with out of state. The building had 35,000 square feet that was affected, it took our team a few weeks to completely clean the facility.
Does your business have a plan? Check out these tips:
Protect your people : Your employees are your most important business asset. These tips can help prevent them from being injured in a fire.
- Fire Plans: Make sure your employees know what to do if there's a fire, including calling 911 immediately. Conduct a fire drill at least once a year to keep employees aware of your workplace fire safety protocol.
- Evacuation Plan: In larger buildings, post a fire evacuation plan in several spots around the workplace. Never include elevators in an evacuation plan; always use the stairs.
- First Aid: In case of fire injuries, your employees should be familiar with the location of the first-aid kit, which should be kept where possible hazards can occur most-such as in the kitchen
SERVPRO of North Richland and Ashland Co. offers mold remediation and restoration; we have the training, equipment and expertise to better assist you.
I spoke with our Mold and Biohazard Manager to ask him some questions about how this process works.
It is preferred that you have an Industrial Hygienist protocol done.
What is that?
This is a process where air sampling and affected areas are tested to provide a detailed remediation and restoration protocol for SERVPRO of North Richland and Ashland County to follow. There is also a post-test that will take place once we are finished to confirm clearance.
Every time our team handles a mold job, we are required to wear the appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) which includes items such as coveralls and respirators.
SERVPRO of North Richland and Ashland County will make sure to keep anything deemed salvageable; we go above and beyond to ensure restoration before removal. Unfortunately, in most situations there is a some tear out involved to remove affected areas such as drywall, flooring, and/or furniture.
During the mold remediation process a HEPA vacuum is used, HEPA filters are designed to capture particles as small as mold spores and to insure that they do not get reintroduced. Our mold experts use “negative air” containment, which is created by positioning negative air machines to introduce clean air into the affected area and push contaminated air outside the home.
You want to consider getting your HVAC cleaned as well, the mold spores can collect there and be dispersed throughout the home.
Every mold infestation is different, from the amount of mold to the types of materials affected. Each scenario requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. If you have any questions, give us a call today;
As a partner with the American Red Cross, here is some great information on freezing pipes that they have on their website! Check it out!
Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem
Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.
Pipes that freeze most frequently are:
- Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.
- Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
- Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.
How to Protect Pipes From Freezing
Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations:
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
- Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
- Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
- Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
SERVPRO of North Richland and Ashland County Cleans and Deodorizes Office Buildings
Cleaning done right !
Keep your office fresh and clean with deodorization!
Cleaning is an important part of owning a business. Customers expect and employees expect for a company to ensure the building they shop and work in is clean and odor-free. However, many businesses only schedule cleaning the floors or trash removal on a regular basis. If you want your business to always look and smell its best, it's important that you plan deeper cleaning. SERVPRO of North Richland and Ashland Co. utilizes state-of-the-art deodorization techniques that guarantee a cleaner office.
Deodorization is a deep cleaning process that can eliminate odors in a building. This is a process that doesn't just get rid of the surface grime but makes sure that your building is clean in a way that typical processes can't match.
If you need deodorization services in Mansfield, you need to call SERVPRO of North Richland and Ashland Co. Our employees receive certification in the best cleaning and deodorizing techniques in the industry. Our equipment is designed to get your business clean. This makes for a more professional clean as well as a longer-lasting process.
Of course, SERVPRO brings with it more than just the right equipment for the job. When SERVPRO comes in, you'll know the job will get done correctly the first time, every time. This isn't just a cleaning company - SERVPRO cares about the work that it does.
If you want bad smells removed from your property, make sure that you always work with the professionals to complete major tasks such as this, as using the wrong chemicals or the wrong techniques might end up making your problem worse. SERVPRO is here to make sure the job is done correctly.
Call SERVPRO of North Richland and Ashland Co.
Do you have a plan?
As a member of the Ready Campaign’s National Preparedness Coalition, SERVPRO® is proud to present the following information.
How quickly your company can get back to business after a tornado, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared
for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies. The following are basic measures business owners and managers can take to begin preparing. A commitment to begin planning today will help support your employees, customers, the community, local economy, and even the country. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival.
Develop a Business Continuity Plan.
Your organization’s risk needs will vary depending on the specific industry, size, scope and location. Begin by reviewing your business process flow chart, if one exists, to identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Carefully assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. You should also establish procedures for succession of management.
Review Insurance Coverage.
Inadequate insurance coverage can lead to major financial loss if your business is damaged, destroyed or simply interrupted for a period of time. Insurance policies vary; check with your agent or provider about things such as physical losses, flood coverage and business interruption. Understand what your policy does and does not cover.
Prepare your Emergency Plan.
Your employees and co-workers are your business’ most valuable asset. Communication is central before, during and after a disaster. Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company intranet, in periodic employee e-mails and/or other communication tools.
Practice the Emergency Plan.
Some disasters will require employees to leave the workplace quickly. The ability to evacuate workers, customers and visitors effectively can save lives. If your business operates out of more than one location, establish evacuation procedures for each individual building. If your company is in
a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a small strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock.
Secure Your Facility and Equipment.
Install fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and detectors in appropriate places. Secure all entry and exit points and plan for mail safety. Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not usable. Secure valuable equipment.
Improve Cyber Security.
Protecting your data and information systems may require specialized expertise, but even the smallest business can be better prepared. Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. Don’t open e-mails from unknown sources. Use hard-to-guess passwords. Protect your computer from intruders by using firewalls. Back up your computer data and download security protection updates known as patches regularly.
Information provided by ready.gov
Tips on Cleaning and Organizing Work spaces
Divide Your Workspace Into Zones:
Determine how you want and need to use the space and set up zones for your daily functions. You may require a workspace for your computer, a library area for your research, a storage area for supplies and a filing area for your archives. This will provide a foundation for a more efficient use of space.
Keep Only What You Need at Arm’s Length:
Boxes of pens, stacks of papers and old coffee cups need to go. Rid your desk of visual clutter by paring down the items on top to the essentials only. Supplies, paperwork and personal items should be kept in the zones you’ve established for them.
Sort Your Catch-All Drawer:
Use drawer dividers to give everything a place, like compartments for paperclips and rubber bands. Go through the drawer every six weeks and clear out anything that is out of place or isn’t being used.
Eliminate Digital Clutter:
Digital clutter can be just as stressful as physical clutter. Organize digital files and your e-mail inbox just as you would paper files – with a system of logical and clearly labeled folders. Also, keep the icons on your desktop to a bare minimum, and trade in sticky notes on your monitor of calendar reminders.
Create A Daily Paper System:
Consider creating hanging files or baskets labeled “To Read,” “To Do,” and “To File.” Establish set days for each, so that you don’t get behind or feel the overwhelming need to do everything at once.
Prevent the buildup of dust, dirt, food stains and fingerprints. Wipe down your desk, phone, keyboard, and monitor once a week with disinfecting wipes.
Tips provided by Forbes, The Dangers of a Messy Desk.
What Causes Mold?
Common Source of excessive mold-causing moisture
Flooding from storms coming from outside
Sump pump overflow
Roof leaks from damaged roofs, ice dams or blocked gutters
Rain from storms through window frames, exterior walls, or doors
Leaking pipes, sewer back-ups or overflows
Damp basements due to high water table or badly managed water drainage
Condensation on cold surfaces
Mold needs these 3 main things to thrive and stay alive.
Warm or temperate Temperature
Mold is easier to prevent than it is to clean so keeping a watch on common sources of mold and maintaining a dry, ventilated home and drying homes from water damage within 24 hours of the incidence is the best way to prevent mold from happening in the first place. If you have a mold problem and you would like information about how to get it professionally cleaned, please call us and we will direct you on the companies that we use to test for mold.
SERVPRO of North Richland & Ashland Counties , specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.