Tips To Control Mold
If you suspect that your Huntsville home or business has a mold problem, SERVPRO can inspect, assess and remediate your property.
As we discussed in our previous blog post, mold is often a problem after a water damage. Many homeowners try to handle water damage cleanup themselves and unseen damage leaves moisture that later causes mold to grow.
If you had a water damage recently and you now smell a musty odor or have visible mold, here are some tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help control mold problems:
- The source of mold is moisture; therefore fix all leaks in pipes and in any damp area around tubs and sinks.
- Rebuild, or retrofit, with water-resistant building materials such as tile, stone, deep-sealed concrete, galvanized or stainless steel hardware, indoor/outdoor carpeting, waterproof wallboard and water-resistant glues.
- Prevent seepage of water from outdoors into your house. It is important to have rainwater from gutters or roof drains away from the structure. Ground around the house should slope away to keep basements and crawl spaces dry.
- Cover dirt in crawl spaces with plastic to prevent moisture from coming up from the ground. Ventilate the area as much as possible.
- Clean fabrics such as curtains and upholstery often to keep them dry, because soil promotes mold growth.
- Consider having ductwork cleaned and inspected professionally or replaced if you suspect mold exists on the inside surface of the duct or if duct insulation has been wet.
- Reduce the moisture in the air with dehumidifiers, fans and open windows or air conditioners.
- Do not use fans or vacuum cleaners if mold already exists, especially in hot weather. A fan or vacuum cleaner will spread the mold spores.
- In moisture-prone areas, choose carpets of man-made fibers.
- Reduce potential for condensation on cold surfaces by insulating.
- Routinely check potential problem spots.
For more information, visit www.fema.gov/removing-mold-your-home.
Flood Damage Can Lead To Mold Problems
Mold can be a growing problem in the aftermath of floods.
When the Huntsville area is hit with heavy rains, it sometimes results in flood damage to homes and businesses. Basements are a common problem for homeowners. Flood waters also enter a home or business through a garage or other entry door.
SERVPRO usually fields lots of calls in our office after flooding. Homeowners are anxious to get back in their homes. Some call us for help. Some call for advice. And, unfortunately, many don't call us and simply try to clean up the water damage themselves.
Those people often end up calling us later when they discover mold growing. Mold grows best in damp areas where humidity is high. Moisture in basements, walls, carpets and wood provide an environment for mold to flourish.
If your home or business suffered flood or water damage recently, please take the time to inspect the area carefully. If you see mold or suspect mold may be present, give SERVPRO a call.
Furnace Puffbacks Leave a Sooty Mess
One of our technicians carefully cleans soot from a customer's ceiling.
A puffback is a messy furnace malfunction that occurs when an oil burner backfires, sending soot throughout the interior of a home. It can happen all at once, covering the interior in grimy soot, or it can leak soot more gradually.
Initially, many people mistake soot for dust and simply wipe it away. However, once cleaned, this “dust” often reappears and can sometimes be accompanied by a strong, oily odor. There are several steps you can take to prevent damage to their home. Remind them to:
- Have the oil-burning furnace professionally checked and cleaned annually.
- Keep an eye out for traces of soot around their home.
- Install a carbon monoxide monitor. Puffbacks (and the soot they create) will increase the carbon monoxide levels in their home. A carbon monoxide monitor can help to detect the puffback in its early stages.
If soot begins accumulating on objects or walls within their home, they should turn off the heating system immediately. Contact a heating professional to service the heater and restore it to proper working order.
Fortunately, if your home or business does experience a puffback, SERVPRO of South Madison County has the knowledge and experience to complete a thorough cleaning and removal of any soot and odors. We have cleaned soot from puffbacks in many homes in Huntsville and Madison County in the 20 years we have been in business.
Safety and Cleanup Steps after Fire Damage
A grease fire caused fire and smoke damage to several rooms of this home in Huntsville.
How do you clean up after fire damage?
First, consider your safety. Only stay in your fire damaged home if you know it’s safe. Remember that electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most common ways people get injured after a fire.
If putting the fire out has left lots of water on your property, avoid lifting wet materials. They could be much heavier than you think. When fire has damaged your property, some of the first steps you should take are:
What To Do After Fire Damage
• Limit movement in your home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
• Keep everyone’s hands clean so you don’t further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
• Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas.
• If your electricity is off, empty your freezer and refrigerator and prop the doors open.
• Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
• Wash your houseplants on both sides of leaves.
• Change your HVAC filter.
• Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
What NOT To Do After Fire Damage
• Don't try to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo your carpet or upholstery without contacting a professional. You may do more damage.
• Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat, or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
• Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat, or water.
• Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
• Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
Remember, we’re here to help. We are fire restoration contractors. Many people in the Huntsville/Madison County region have used our professional fire restoration services. So call SERVPRO of South Madison County anytime, 24/7 at 256-533-5335.
Stopping Mold Growth
The simplest way to stop mold growth is to reduce moisture.
Mold growth is not as noticeable as fire or water damage. It can be just as dangerous to residents and destroy as much property if left unchecked and untreated. Stopping the advancement of mold growth, however, is simpler to accomplish for the most part.
To understand how SERVPRO stops mold damage in Huntsville homes and businesses, it helps to know how mold gets started in the first place. Individual mold spores are smaller than a mustard seed, but function in the same manner. A mass containing thousands of them is much smaller than a dandelion, but when it is disturbed, reacts the same way; it breaks apart and spreads the spores (seeds) as far as an air current takes them.
In most cases, these spores touchdown and remain inert, a threat to no one or anything. To expand, they need moisture. The expanding spores extend hyphae across surfaces, seeking a food source so they can grow. When they find one, the spores form a new mass, and the cycle repeats itself, spreading across walls, ceilings, under carpets, and into HVAC ductwork. Most of this takes place between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, but a few species of mold can grow at high or lower temperatures. To stop growth and render the spores inert, we perform the following tasks: reduce the moisture available, remove the food source and either raise or lower the temperature.
The simplest way to stop growth is to reduce moisture. Our technicians examine the area around it for standing water and measure the humidity level. We use pumps and extractors to remove visible water and draw unseen water from floors and carpets and set-up dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the air.
Removing the food source requires a certain amount of demolition that starts with removing drywall and ceiling tiles. It is simply not cost-effective to try to clean and restore them. If we find mold under a carpet, the same is true.
Changing the temperature is the most difficult factor to manage. Trying to raise or lower the temperature of an affected area can take a long time since it is usually unsafe to engage the HVAC with an active mold growth in the home. In smaller areas, we use heaters to raise the temperature effectively, but even then, we do so as part of reducing the moisture levels.
As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of South Madison County is close by and ready to help with your mold-damaged property. Contact us today at (256) 533-5335 if you need our help or suspect there may be a problem and want to schedule an inspection.
Tips to Prevent Bathroom Mold
Mold spores thrive on moisture.
Ahhhh a hot, steamy shower feels good to achy muscles, washing away your cares for a while. And while you’re relaxing the humidity level in your bathroom is rising, which can create an ideal environment for moldand mildew.
Preventing Mold with a Bathroom Exhaust Fan.
Many people think that the exhaust fan in the bathroom is there to remove away unpleasant odors. While they can help with that, these fans actually serve a much larger purpose. Bathroom exhaust fans draw the moisture-laden air that fills the room after a steamy shower or hot bath out of the bath room, bringing the room’s humidity down to a healthier level. This is a vital step in preventing mold growth and averting mold damage.
Your bathroom is an ideal location for mold because it thrives in a humid environment. One way to ensure that the exhaust fan comes on each time you enter the bath is to have an electrician hard wire the fan to the light switch. But for more efficient way of controlling humidity, invest in a humidity sensor.
Most people turn the fan on when they enter their bathroom to shower and turn it off when they leave. Unfortunately, this does not always give the exhaust fan enough time to evacuate the steam and humidity. Ideally, the fan needs to run until the moisture level in the bathroom is back to normal. You could just leave the fan running and come back later to turn it off, but you run the risk of forgetting it. This wastes energy and can shorten the lifespan of the exhaust fan. Instead, consider installing a humidity sensor. The sensor will automatically cut the fan off when the correct humidity level is restored. It is an easy way to prevent mold damage.
Dealing With Mold
If you find that you have a mold issue in your bathroom, do not attempt to handle it yourself. Disturbing the mold may facilitate its spread and contaminate other areas of your home or business that can be prevented. Spreading and cross contaminating your home or business could end up costing more money in the long run. Instead, turn to the professionals at SERVPRO of South Madison County. Our technicians have the training, specialized equipment, and protective gear to address mold damage. They can inspect the area, identify the source of moisture, contain the mold, remove it, properly cleanse your belongings and restore your home or business to a healthy environment.
Commercial Cleaning Services
SERVPRO of South Madison County wants every inch of your facility to sparkle and shine.
SERVPRO of South Madison County offers specialty cleaning services ranging from cleaning office upholstery to making storefront windows crystal clear. We have the specialized training and products to get your commercial or residential property clean, safe, and healthy again.
A Clean Business Keeps Customers Coming Back
Your business represents you. A clean and attractive business keeps customers coming and leaves a positive impression. SERVPRO of South Madison County wants every inch of your facility to sparkle and shine.
Our commercial specialty cleaning services include:
• Air Ducts and HVAC
If your HVAC has been operating for some time without attention, it could be circulating dust, pollen, odors, dirt, debris, and other contaminants.
• Biohazard and Sewage
SERVPRO of South Madison County is trained to safely remove biohazards and dispose of them properly in accordance with OSHA and health regulations.
• Trauma and Crime Scene
Many times, crime and accident scenes have blood and other biohazard contaminants that pose a serious health risk. SERVPRO of South Madison County will respond immediately and has the specialized training, protective equipment, and experience to safely clean trauma and crime scenes.
• Carpet and Upholstery
Even the highest-quality carpet and upholstery can show soiling over time. Protect your investment by calling us to clean and maintain your carpet and upholstery.
• Drapes and Blinds
We carefully inspect and test fabrics to determine which of SERVPRO’s five cleaning methods is best suited to your fabrics.
• Ceilings, Walls, and Hard Floors
Ceilings and walls are exposed to dirt and dust, pet dander, cooking oils and grease, cigarette smoke, and other contaminants. Your heating and air conditioning system can distribute these contaminants throughout your property.
• Odor Removal and Deodorization
SERVPRO teaches IICRC technical classes in the proper removal of odors. Masking and other short cuts don't work when your odor problem is serious or persistent.
Often simple acts of vandalism, like breaking a window, can cause significant water and mold damage if not addressed in a timely manner.
We’re Here Whenever You Need Us
The team at SERVPRO of South Madison County also has specialized training and experience in water damage restoration services, fire damage restoration services, mold remediation, commercial services, and natural disaster cleanup.
Call SERVPRO of South Madison County at 256-533-5335 anytime.
We've served clients in Huntsville, Madison, New Hope, Gurley, Owens Crossroads and beyond.
Businesses Can Be Prepared
Download the SERVPRO ERP App Today
The Best Way to Reduce Business Interruption Following a Disaster is to Plan For it NOW.
As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according to the latest industry research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind.
By developing a SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.
Are You Ready?
Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time for planning for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can plan for it. Now is the time to ask yourself, “Are you ready for whatever could happen?”
The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile is a start up approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information. By working with SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile, your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. SERVPRO® is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.
Visit https://ready.SERVPRO.com/ to get started.
Repairing Your Home After a Fire
Most people who suffer fire damage want their lives and their homes to return to normal as soon as possible. Here's how.
Has your home recently been damaged by fire? If so, you’re probably eager to get started cleaning up and restoring your home and belongings. Most people who suffer fire damage want their lives and their homes to return to normal as soon as possible. But many don’t know the costs. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to repair smoke and fire damage is $8,571.
Fire damage can make areas of your home unusable until the fire damage has been repaired. More extensive fire damage may make your entire home unsafe. You may have to live elsewhere until cleanup and repair work gets done. No matter how minor or significant the fire damage restoration work is, you want to know how long it will take. The timeline depends on the restorative process and whether you take the opportunity to do remodeling at the same time.
Starting Fire Damage Repair Work
It can be difficult to determine how and where to get started with fire damage repair work. The first step in the repair process is to remove water from the home if firefighters used water during the extinguishing process. Water extraction can be completed by the professionals from SERVPRO of South Madison County quickly and affordably. We arrive in our green vehicles stocked with equipment and supplies to surmount any cleaning and restoration need you have.
Call SERVPRO of South Madison County at (256) 533-5335 Anytime
SERVPRO of South Madison County can also suggest to you and your adjuster what items and materials are salvageable. Keep in mind that smoke damage can also be a problem. Some items, such as carpeting and your HVAC system may need to be professionally cleaned to remove the smoke odor from your home.
Get Professional Help
Repairing your home after you have suffered fire damage is not something that you want to attempt on your own. A fire damage restoration project requires a considerable amount of time and energy to complete. But SERVPRO South Madison County can help you restore your property in minimal time with minimal costs. Our IICRC cleanup and restoration certified technicians have the skills and assets to do a quality job. We are a locally owned and operated fire damage repair franchise.
How clean is the air in your office?
Indoor air quality in commercial buildings is a factor in good health.
Indoor air quality is a major concern for businesses, building managers, tenants, and employees. Clean air impacts the health, comfort, well being, and productivity of building occupants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says most Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors and many spend most of their working hours in an office environment.
More Pollution Inside Than Outside
Studies conducted by the EPA and others show that indoor environments sometimes can have levels of pollutants that are higher than levels found outside. Pollutants in commercial buildings and other indoor environments can increase the risk of illness. The EPA and independent scientific panels have consistently ranked indoor air pollution as an important environmental health problem. While most buildings do not have severe indoor air quality problems, even well-run buildings can sometimes experience episodes of poor indoor air quality.
Interested in discussing cleaning needs for your property? Call SERVPRO Of South Madison County at (256) 533-5335
How To Improve The Air Inside Your Commercial Building
Some simple steps can have a big impact on the quality of the air inside your commercial building:
• Don’t block air vents or grills
• Comply with the office and building smoking policy
• Water and maintain office plants properly
• Dispose of garbage promptly and properly
• Store food properly
• Avoid bringing products into the building that could release harmful or bothersome odors or contaminants
• Notify your building or facility manager immediately if you suspect an indoor air quality problem
Interested in discussing cleaning needs for your property? Call SERVPRO Of South Madison County at (256) 533-5335