Common Warning Signs of Mold
This blog post will go over some of the common warning signs of mold so that you can call SERVPRO of Gainesville to come help you with your mold problems (and the associated water damage, if applicable) as soon as you have a suspicion.
Condensation on windows. High levels of condensation on windows could indicate that your home has a high level of humidity. Mold growth thrives in high humidity, so it is likely that mold could be growing somewhere in your home if the humidity level is already this noticeably high.
Odor. An odd, musty smell often accompanies mold. This smell is similar to that of damp clothes that have been left overnight in a dryer after the cycle completed. If you persistently notice this smell in your home, you may want to have your home checked for mold growth.
Water problems. Water damage is the leading cause of mold growth in buildings, as water creates ripe conditions for mold growth. Whether you had just a leak or full fledge flooding, you should have your home checked for mold growth. Regularly check leaky pipes or areas outside your home that tend to pool standing water for signs of outdoor mold growth.
Discolored walls or wallpaper. Mold can grow between your walls and wallpaper. If you notice that your wallpaper is beginning to display odd colors (particularly orange, pink, or purple) you may want to have your home assessed for mold growth.
If you suspect that your home may have any mold growth, call SERVPRO of Gainesville. We can check your property for early signs of possible mold growth after water damage as well!
Certified Restoration Companies Do the Job Right
One of the key characteristics of business owners and executives is self-reliance. Small business owners want to handle problems alone. Larger businesses have in-house maintenance crews to handle repairs and cleanups. This need to be self-reliant is ill-advised when dealing with a pipe burst cleanup. This is especially true when:
- You are a small business owner.
- You manage a larger privately-held or publicly-held company.
- You expect your commercial insurer to pay for the cleanup.
Water Damage Cleanup Is Not for Amateurs
The problem with a broken pipe is not the water. In the case of a sewer line break, it’s not the sewage. It’s the mold that will establish a foothold in your building if given the opportunity. An out-of-control mold problem can:
- Financially ruin a small business owner.
- Harm employees and stockholders of larger companies.
- Eliminate any possibility of insurance coverage.
IICRC-Certified Restoration Companies Eliminate the Risk of Mold
The most important task in a pipe burst cleanup is to remove the moisture. This doesn’t mean just mopping the puddles. This doesn’t mean just drying the easy-to-reach areas. It means eliminating all moisture from the entire damaged area. Most people do not have the skills and equipment to accomplish this task. Properly certified and equipped technicians do.
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration provides both training and certification services. Insurers depend on IICRC-certified technicians to:
- Evaluate situations that call for restoration.
- Recommend courses of action.
- Follow those courses of action in restorations.
Certification is especially important when looking for a sewer cleanup company. With a sewer break, sanitization of the affected area is an important task. Properly certified technicians have the skills, equipment and experience to restore a healthy environment.
Fortunately, it is easy to find IICRC restoration specialists in the Gainesville, Hall County area. If you need a pipe burst cleanup and restoration, SERVPRO of Gainesville is only a phone call away.
Smoke Alarm Maintenance
Nowadays, most homes have a smoke detector installed. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, 96% percent of homes have a smoke detector. Despite this statistic, the organization also reported that from 2009 to 2013, only smoke alarms only sounded in 53% of house fires reported to fire departments.
The truth is, homeowners and tenants need to do more than simply have smoke alarms installed—they need to maintain them on a regular basis. If you fall into the category of people who have never checked on their fire alarm—don’t fret. We’re going to cover the simple steps you can take to ensure your home is alerted during a fire.
Test Your Alarms Once a Month
Smoke detectors don’t last forever. In fact, you should have yours replaced every 10 years, which is the average lifespan. Even if it’s still within its life expectancy, you shouldn’t assume that it’s going to work when you need it.
That’s why experts advise that you test each of your alarms once a month.To test yours, look for a button the alarm (it’s often red, but yours may vary). Press and hold this button until it chirps. If the alarm doesn’t sound, that means it either needs to be replaced or have its batteries changed.
Replace Your Batteries Annually
Just as your alarms don’t last forever, neither do their batteries. Some smoke detectors will intermittently chirp when their batteries are low, but you still shouldn’t rely on this feature. Each year, replace the batteries in all of your alarms so you can rest assured they will function when needed. It might even be helpful to remember by timing it with a special holiday, such as New Years’ Day!
Responding to Fire Damages
While smoke detectors are crucial to help you and your family to a fire in a timely manner, they don’t prevent fires from actually happening. At SERVPRO of Gainesville, we have seen how devastating fires can be, and we know what it takes to clean them up. If you live in the Hall County area and need fire damage cleanup services, know that we’re available 24/7 by calling (770) 536-1010!
Three common questions about fire remediation
We've cleaned and restored homes and businesses in the Gainesville area for more than a decade. Over that time, we’ve helped hundreds of homes and business recover from fire damage. For many customers, this is a one-off experience they have never had to navigate. If this describes you, here are the answers to 3 of our most commonly asked questions.
- How long will the restoration process take? It’s hard to say exactly how long the fire damage restoration process will take. If the damage is relatively minor, it could take a few days; if the damage is more extensive, it could take months to make the necessary repairs. We understand how stressful this process can be, so we work quickly and provide updates along the way.
- What will happen to my belongings? When possible, our goal is to restore your damaged possessions. At our Lenoir office, we have an on-site textile cleaning facility, and we have access to several propriety cleaning products that can clean most items. If an item is beyond saving, we always discuss this with you before disposing of anything.
- Can you get rid of the smoke smell? The lingering odor after a fire is notoriously difficult to get rid of. Fortunately, yes, we do have a variety of products and processes we can use to remove the smell from your home. Our goal is to actually eliminate the odor as opposed to masking it or using other deceptive techniques.
At SERVPRO of Gainesville, GA, we aim to make any fire damage “Like it never even happened.” If your home or business has a fire, know that our team serves the Gainesville and Hall County communities 24/7!
Flooding is one of the most common widespread weather-related disasters in the United States. Whether your home or business is near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river, or even in the desert, there is always the potential for flood damage. With this being such a prevalent occurrence across the country, it is good to know the following safety tips:
Stay Away from floodwaters
If you approach a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
Driving on a Flooded Road
Turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and water is rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
Keep Children Out of the Water
They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
Always be prepared and ready. Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated quickly and properly, and the cleanup is often an overwhelming task. SERVPRO of Jonesboro is prepared to handle any size disaster. The sooner work begins; the sooner your home or business can return “Like it never even happened.” Call SERVPRO of Gainesville, GA at (770) 536-1010.
When Water Damage Strikes
The first 24 hours following a water loss are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage. Within four hours of receiving a loss notification, SERVPRO of Gainesville will be on site to help ensure a water damage is handled by completing the following steps.
SERVPRO professionals will inspect affected areas to determine the extent of water damage and will review the inspection with you to answer any questions before beginning the work.
Our SERVPRO professionals will take steps to help protect your home or business, as well as personal property and other contents, from further damage by extracting the excess water and preparing the area for drying. They will explain the needed emergency services to you step-by-step.
To help ensure your home or business and belongings are dried to appropriate industry standards, one of our SERVPRO professionals will monitor the drying process. The updates will be consistently communicated with you. We will certify to you and your insurance carrier that your structure is dry to preloss conditions to prevent secondary damage to your home or place of business.
10 Tips to Prevent Kitchen Fires
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are not only the leading cause of home structure fires, the majority of kitchen fire injuries occur when victims try to fight the fire themselves.
- Stay in the kitchen, don't leave food cooking on the stove unattended.
- Watch your clothing, Long flowing sleeves,large-fitting shirts and even aprons can catch fire.
- Be aware of items around the stovetop, move flammable items away from your stovetop.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in or near your kitchen.
- Change the batteries in your smoke detector, you need to make sure your smoke detector is operable.
- Never throw hot grease in the garbage can, it can cause something in the garbage can to catch on fire.
- Extinguish candles, be sure to extinguish candle flames as soon as you are done in the kitchen.
- Be prepared to put out a fire, the best thing to do if you have a stovetop fire is to put a proper fitting lid over the pan or pot to smother the fire.
- Have an escape plan, include a meeting place once everyone is out of the home.
- Stop, Drop, and Roll, if in the event that you do catch on fire- Stop where you are, Drop to the ground, and Roll.
SERVPRO of Gainesville are here to help you in case you experience fire damage in your home. 770-536-1010.
Spring Cleaning Should Include Your Air Ducts
As spring allergy season approaches, you may hear companies make bold promises to improve your health by reducing allergens in your home. Such boasts may appeal especially to the nearly 25 million American adults and children with asthma and the approximately 50 million who have allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, because the symptoms of both can be triggered by dust mites, mold, and other allergens often found in air ducts and elsewhere in the home. Allergies, according to the CDC, are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.
But should you believe the hype? Will air duct cleaning help you breathe more easily?
Common Allergy Triggers
1. Your Overactive Immune System
Many things can trigger an allergic reaction. It happens when your body's defenses attack something that's usually harmless, such as pollen, animal dander, or food. The reaction can range from mild and annoying to sudden and life-threatening. In the US, about 30% of all adults and 40% of children have allergies.
It comes from plants such as grasses, trees, and weeds and can trigger hay fever or seasonal allergies. You might sneeze and have a runny or stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes. Treat these with over-the-counter products, prescription drugs, and allergy shots. To help prevent symptoms, stay inside on windy days when pollen counts are high, close windows, and run the air conditioning.
- Animal Dander
You love your pet, but if you're allergic, you react to proteins in his saliva or in his skin's oil glands. It might take 2 years for that to start. Luckily, you may still be able to live with him. Make your bedroom a pet-free zone, opt for bare floors and washable rugs instead of carpets, and bathe him regularly. A HEPA filter and allergy shots may help, too.
- Dust Mites
These tiny bugs live in bedding, mattresses, upholstery, carpets, and curtains. They feed on dead skin cells from people and pets, as well as on pollen, bacteria, and fungi. They thrive in high humidity. To cut down on problems, use hypoallergenic pillows, cover mattresses, pillows, and box springs, and wash sheets weekly in hot water. Keep the house free of dust-collecting items such as stuffed animals, curtains, and carpet.
- Insect Stings
These could cause swelling and redness that may last a week or more. You might feel sick to your stomach and tired and have a low fever. In rare cases, insect bites trigger a reaction that can be life-threatening, called anaphylaxis. If you're severely allergic, you'll need medicine called epinephrine right away. Your doctor may recommend allergy shots to prevent reactions.
It needs moisture to grow. You can find it in damp places such as basements or bathrooms, as well as in grass or mulch. Get air moving in moist areas of your home.
Milk, shellfish, eggs, and nuts are among the most common foods that cause allergies. Others include wheat, soy, and fish. Within minutes of eating something you're allergic to, you could have trouble breathing and get hives, vomiting, diarrhea, and swelling around your mouth. If your reaction is severe, you will need emergency medical help. So call 911, and use your epinephrine pen if you were prescribed one.
Found in some disposable gloves, condoms, and medical devices, latex can trigger a reaction ranging from itchy, red skin to anaphylaxis with trouble breathing. Symptoms can include a rash or hives, eye irritation, runny or itchy nose, sneezing, and wheezing. If you’re allergic, wear a medical alert bracelet and carry an epinephrine kit if you were prescribed one.
Penicillin, aspirin, and other drugs can cause hives, itchy eyes, stuffiness, and swelling in your face, mouth, and throat. If you're allergic to a drug, it's best to not take it. Your doctor can talk to you about other medicine options or treatments that may allow you to take a medicine if it's necessary.
A protein in their droppings can be a trigger. Roaches can be tough to get rid of, especially in a warm climate or if you live in an apartment building where they can move back and forth between neighbors. Treat them with bug killer and keep a clean kitchen. Repair cracks and holes in floors, walls, and windows to keep them out of your home.
Physicians in the allergy and immunology fields often talk with their patients about their heating systems as he investigates the possible environmental triggers of their allergies. If patients live is a household that has forced air, this needs to be part of the conversation.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems push air through ducts that run throughout your house in walls, ceilings, and floors. Mark Zarzeczny, who sits on the board of directors of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), calls ducts the "lungs of the home."
How can you tell whether your air ducts need attention? Visual clues, like signs of mold and excessive dust around the air vents, can point to a need for cleaning. But when there’s no evidence in plain view, ask yourself the following questions:
- If your house is more than 10 years old, have your ducts ever been cleaned?
- Does your house constantly collect dust no matter how much you clean it?
- Do you notice allergy symptoms when you turn on your heating/cooling system?
- Do you have asthma that’s not well controlled even though you’re taking your medicine?
Answering YES to any of these questions should encourage you to consider cleaning your ducts.
Time, Cost, and What to Avoid
The typical job on a 2,000-square-foot home will take about 3 to 5 hours and should be done every 3 to 5 years or if the signs described above return. Expect to pay at least $500 to $600.
“Anybody who offers to do a job for less than a few hundred dollars is not going to deliver to you what you need to have done,” says Zarzeczny, who chairs NADCA’s anti-fraud task force. “You don’t want a company that advertises at prices like $79.95 because they’re either going to be in and out in half an hour or they’re going to upsell you and walk out with $4,000.”
In fact, a rushed, inadequate job can do more harm than good. According the EPA, “an inadequate vacuum collection system can release more dust, dirt, and other contaminants than if you had left the ducts alone.”
Some Quick Tips to Help You Breathe Better Inside
- Outside Air
Most home heating and cooling systems simply recirculate the air that’s already in the house, including all the dust, dirt, and pollen. When the weather’s nice and pollen counts are low, open windows and doors to freshen things up. This is especially important if there are fumes from painting, cooking, kerosene heaters, or hobbies like woodworking.
- Simple Cleaning Products
Some cleaners have harsh chemicals that can cause breathing problems or trigger an allergy or asthma attack. Read labels carefully and stay away from ones that have volatile organic compounds (VOCs), fragrances, or flammable ingredients. You can make your own cleaners with plain soap and water, vinegar, or baking soda.
These can be more than nice to look at, especially if your home is energy-efficient or not well-ventilated. In addition to getting rid of carbon dioxide and boosting oxygen levels, some can even help clear the air of chemical vapors. Of these, the easiest to grow and keep healthy include English ivy, ficus trees, peace lilies, and certain types of palms.
- Your HVAC
A dirty filter on your heating and air conditioning unit can keep air from flowing the way it should and lead to mold growth if it gets damp. Change it at least every 3 months and make sure it fits well. If you have asthma or allergies -- or you have pets or a large family -- you might want to check it once a month. It’s also a good idea for a professional to inspect the unit once a year.
If there’s mold in your house, the tiny spores can float into your nose and even your lungs. That can lead to allergy symptoms, like coughing or sneezing, or other breathing issues. The fungus loves damp areas, so keep bathrooms dry. Turn on a fan or open a window to help move air after you shower and hang up wet towels and washcloths. If you see mold in the tub or other areas, you may need to clean more often to help keep it at bay.
- Air Fresheners
Even pleasant smells can cause problems. Some air fresheners have VOCs in them that may bother your nose and throat. Other aerosol sprays, including some health and beauty products, have VOCs, too.
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
If you keep them too long, mold can grow on them. Check stored fruits and vegetables often, and toss anything that has mold or slime on it. To keep them fresh longer, don’t wash them before you store them -- do that just before you eat them. If you’re not sure if something is fresh, throw it away.
These bugs can cause problems even after they’re dead. When they die, their bodies break down into small bits, and those can get into the air. The same can happen with their poop. Those bits can get into sheets, pillows, and other fabrics, and may trigger asthma attacks or allergic reactions. If you know you have a roach problem, use roach baits instead of sprays.
These can happen with sinks, toilets, showers, dishwashers, or refrigerators -- even your roof. Pooled water can lead to issues with mold and cockroaches, so any leak needs to be taken care of quickly. Call a plumber if you can’t find where it’s coming from or don’t know how to fix it.
The only thing cockroaches like more than water is food. When dinner’s over, put anything that’s left in airtight containers. And if you throw food away, make sure it’s into a trash can that has a lid on it.
Dander and other allergens that Fido and Fluffy bring in from outside can cause trouble for your lungs. As hard as it might be, it’s a good idea to keep them out of bedrooms and off beds. If that’s not an option, bathe them regularly and vacuum the areas where they spend time.
- Forgotten Areas
Cabinet tops and vent hoods are a couple of places people sometimes forget to clean, along with behind toilets and under bathroom sinks. Wipe them down every so often with warm, soapy water. Give your pets’ dishes a daily wash, too, and check around for other areas that might collect grease, food, grime, or water.
- Linens and Rugs
Wash sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and area rugs once a week in 130-degree F water to help get rid of dust, mold, mites, and other things that can affect your breathing. And get rid of throw pillows that don’t have zip-off covers. They collect dust mites and pet dander and can be hard to clean.
Fabrics can trap dust, pollen, and other allergens. The next time you give the living room a new look, consider leather or vinyl furniture instead of cloth. If you have issues with allergies or asthma, you also might want to hang blinds instead of curtains, and dust them regularly.
Hard surfaces, like wood, don’t collect things that affect your breathing the way carpet can. If you need some soft areas, use throw rugs you can clean in a washing machine or sink. If you can’t take up your carpet, vacuum it weekly with a cleaner that has a HEPA or small-particle filter. When it needs to be professionally cleaned, be sure to use a certified “asthma & allergy friendly” service.
While we hope you never experience a disaster in your home, we do know we are ready to help you restore it in the event of one. Just give us a call any time 24/7 we are always here to help.
SERVPRO of Gainesville
Phone: (770) 536-1010
Three Common Causes of Commercial Disasters
Each year, dozens of Gainesville are business have some kind of disaster. Over the years, our team has helped hundreds of them clean and restore their properties, so we’ve seen first-hand how stressful and costly these incidents can be. Although we’re here when we’re needed, we don’t enjoy seeing our customers upset. So if you have a local business, make a note of some of the most common types of commercial disasters we’ve seen in our community.
- Breakroom fires. Commercial fires are relatively common. but in many cases, they originate in the breakroom. Generally, these incidents occur because small appliances malfunction or are misused, so it’s not a bad idea to review safety policies with your staff. You can mitigate any potential damages by having a fire extinguisher and a smoke alarm installed in the room.
- Mold infestations. Mold is unsightly, can cause health effects, and can damage your building’s structure and your belongings. While minor mold growth can be dealt with relatively easily, we’ve seen many situations where businesses have had larger infestations. Because mold needs moisture to grow, problems can generally be prevented by keeping indoor humidity in check and immediately taking care of water damage incidents.
- Sewage backups. Sewage is one of the last things you want to find in your business. Not only is it gross, but it’s also highly unsanitary and can pose health threats to you and your staff. In some cases, these types of incidents are out of your control, but if you have regular maintenance and review what can and cannot be flushed, you can lower your risk.
When you’re running a business, you have to prepare for all kinds of potential problems. The above are some of the most common, but there are plenty of other scenarios where you might need professional cleanup services. If you do have commercial damages, know that SERVPRO of Gainesville is available 24/7 to make any disaster look “Like it never even happened.”
Commercial Property Damage
Any damage that can affect a residential property can also affect your commercial building. Below are types of damage that can affect your business.
Types of Damage:
Water: This damage can be caused by a flood, burst of pipes, rain, or a number of other things. In any case, this can then result in contaminated water affecting surfaces and furniture. This type of damage can cause mold growth and items to be eroded. Electricity and water damage are volatile when combined.
Storm: Damage caused by strong winds, hail, and heavy rain which can remove roof tiles, break windows, and more. Storm damages can be very devastating and can cause your business to be put on hold.
Mold: Mold spreads quickly around properties as air-borne spores, and remediation is very important to prevent it from getting out of hand. This is highly unhygienic as well as being unappealing to look at. Even that small leak under your office’s bathroom sink can eventually cause mold growth.
Mold grows in any moist environment.
Fire: This type of damage can come from a gas stove, faulty outlet, lightning strikes, or a cigarette that isn’t properly put out. This can then cause severe destruction to your property which requires cleaning and restoration services.
If you have any questions or in need of services please don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Gainesville, GA at (770) 536-1010.