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Get the Facts on Mold

3/23/2020 (Permalink)

Aspergillus Niger is green and pink mold Aspergillus, mold found in food and heating and cooling systems

Get the Facts on Mold

Mold is not as complicated as quantum physics, but it is still an area that harbors a number of misconceptions. As with just about anything, it is important to get the facts right. Mold is a fungus. A number of different mold types can be found in a home, including the following strains:

  • Aspergillus, an allergenic mold found in food and heating and cooling systems
  • Cladosporium, a mold that looks black or green
  • Stachybotrys atra, also known as black mold

Mold damage can occur from any of these three common types of mold. All mold is non-toxic to humans, but some molds can cause rashes, watery eyes and sneezing in some individuals. Mold thrives on moisture and grows on paper, tiles, wood, drywall, carpeting, wallpaper, and other surfaces.

Mold Is for Experts

There is much more to learn about mold, but most people are content to leave mold remediation to the professionals. Technicians have been trained in the nuances of mold growth and are capable of testing to detect the presence of mold in a home in Spring Valley, TX. Experts can also develop a plan to contain mold, limit mold damage and address the conditions that allowed mold to grow in the first place. With the use of physical barriers, HEPA vacuums, and anti-fungal and antimicrobial cleaning agents a mold remediation company has the tools to clear up a mold problem.

Mold Is Seldom Good

Mold has been around for millions of years and is present just about everywhere, but it is a serious situation when mold colonies grow in a home. While mildew growth is often unsightly, it can be handled with a basic cleaner and a good brush, but mold growth requires a more systematic approach. The effects of mold damage can be extensive and can even cause harm to paintings, photographs, and rare books. The fact is that mold can be a serious matter in the home.

Proactive Cleaning for Your Commercial Space

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

a graphic that says preventative measures SERVPRO of Town & Country can provide proactive cleaning on a commercial scale.

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need 

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. 

Specialized Training 

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your business in Town & Country, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis. 

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include: 

  • Kitchen/Food Areas 
  • Bathrooms 
  • Schools/Classrooms 
  • Offices 
  • Retail Spaces 
  • Water Fountains 
  • Shelving/Racks 
  • Sales Counters 
  • Carpets and Rugs 
  • Stair Handrails 
  • Elevator Cars 
  • Playground Equipment 
  • Fitness Equipment 

Specialized Products 

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities. 

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning 

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts at SERVPRO of Town & Country today!

Mold Damage After Flooding

3/5/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth on white surface Water damage can lead to mold growth in as little as 24-48 hours

Water damage can lead to mold growth in as little as 24-48 hours. Since mold spores multiply in moist conditions, you will need to get the area dry as quickly as possible. Mold can form on any organic material, even in places you cannot see. Once formed, you may notice a musky smell in the vicinity of the water damage. If you have experienced flooding in Houston, TX, there are a few things you can do to restore damaged items and keep mold from forming in the first place.

Where Mold Might Form

When standing water is left to sit, bacteria and mold can begin to grow and multiply. Your best protection is to remove the water, disinfect, and dry any items that came into contact with the floodwater. Mold forms easily on pulpy surfaces and may infect many different types of items:

  • Building materials like carpets and drywall
  • Paper products such as photos, documents, and cardboard
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Insulation
  • Underneath flooring or behind walls

Mold spores are always in the air around us, so once wetness sets in, mold growth is likely to occur over a short time.

How To Keep Mold From Forming

The best way to keep mold from forming is to dry the area. If you have standing water, a professional can use an extraction machine to remove it. Specialized fans can be used to circulate the air and dry the area faster than it would dry on its own. If the water came from a contaminated source or picked up pollutants along the way, the area will need to be disinfected with the appropriate products. Some materials may need to removed and replaced and others may need to be taken in for specialized cleaning or restoration.
If you have mold growth, your best course of action is to hire a professional remediation company to fix the problem. They can identify and clean mold in unseen places and restore your building to its preflood condition.

3 Tips for Smoke Detectors in Your Home

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

A smoke alarm, the words REPLACE IT on the bottom of the picture Some smoke alarms have 10 years batteries

Here's What You May Want to Know

When installing a smoke alarm in your Bunker Hill Village, TX, home, it’s important to follow the recommendations of many professionals, including fire damage restoration services, to ensure the alarm functions properly in the event of an emergency. Here’s what you may want to know.

1. Regular Maintenance

It’s important to maintain your smoke detectors for fire safety. Most professionals recommend checking the batteries in all alarms located in your home at least once a year. Many people choose to do this at daylight savings to keep the maintenance routine consistent. .Keeping your units free of dust can help prevent malfunctioning. It’s also recommended to test the unit according to the manufacturer's directions to ensure functionality. In most cases, there is a test button you can press to hear the alarm sound. If your alarm is malfunctioning it should be replaced entirely.

2. Alarm Placement

The exact placement of a smoke alarm in your home can also be important. It’s recommended that at least one alarm be placed on each floor of the building. Place an alarm in high-risk areas such as a workshop or kitchen. It’s also recommended to place one alarm inside each bedroom, and one alarm outside the bedrooms as well. You may be able to place a single alarm outside multiple bedrooms if they share a hall or living area.

3. Operation Life

A smoke detector does have an operation life. Many professionals recommend fully replacing any unit over ten years old to ensure proper functionality during the event of an emergency. Older units have a higher risk of malfunctioning which could be costly to your home and family.
When installing a smoke alarm in your home it’s important to regularly maintain the unit, place the alarm inside and outside each bedroom, as well as in the kitchen area, and fully replace old units. Doing so can help keep your home and family safe.

What Is Secondary Water Damage?

2/17/2020 (Permalink)

Severe black mold damage in a home Severe black mold damage in Hillshire Village, TX

If you have experienced water damage in Hilshire Village, TX, it is important that you clean the water up quickly so that black mold does not have a chance to form. There are two types of water damage. Primary water damage is what occurs immediately when an area floods. Secondary damage occurs after primary damage and is the result of damage happening over time. This is when structural damage tends to happen.

Causes of Secondary Water Damage

Secondary damage can be caused by anything from a flood to a leak hidden inside a wall. There are several key indicators of this type of water:

  • The presence of black mold
  • Other contaminants present in the water
  • Areas where water was not completely extracted and dried
  • Water that has been left to sit

To ensure it is done right the first time, water must be extracted and the area must be dried and cleaned within a short time. When cleaned and dried properly, secondary damage is not likely to occur.

How To Find It

Secondary water damage can also occur when areas remain moist due to high humidity. It may not always be obvious and can happen over days or weeks, causing extensive damage that is expensive to repair. Water can enter into small cracks in porous materials and begin to swell. The moisture can cause floors, walls, or other areas to warp or crack. Mold can begin forming in as little as 24-48 hours. A professional company may use a moisture meter to help locate hidden damp areas and use special procedures to dry them before secondary water damage has a chance to set in.
Keep your home free of black mold by drying wet or moist areas as quickly as possible. If you have experienced water damage, a professional remediation company can help you dry, disinfect, and restore your home quickly.

Avoid Water Damage During Construction

1/27/2020 (Permalink)

Water pipe break Water pipe break in Spring Valley, TX

There is nothing quite like erecting a new building to house your Spring Valley, TX, business. Ushering in a new era comes with a lot of planning and work. While it can be easy to get wrapped up in the design, it's important to consider what can happen during construction. Items stored in a flooded area or a broken pipe can bring unwanted moisture that may have long-lasting repercussions. Ensuring a water pipe repair is done quickly and other small steps can help ensure a smooth project.

The Main Culprits

If you’ve done your research, you have confidence in the contractor you are using to be on top of preventing damage. It’s still important to stick to the plan and inspect the site frequently to ensure things are being done right. While hopefully the unexpected doesn’t happen, below are ways that water can become a problem.

If pipe connections or drain fittings aren’t properly installed, calling a professional for a water pipe repair may become something you need to do more than you want. A proper test of the system should be done before letting it run on its own.
Mother Nature often does not cooperate. If areas are exposed to the elements, it could mean dealing with water damage. This is especially true for elevator shafts, mechanical opening, unsecured doors, and unfinished roofs.
While most construction materials are designed to withstand the elements for extended periods of time, others may not be. Regardless of the material, proper storage is key to reducing downtime, losses and ongoing issues.

Dealing with Damage

If water does become a problem, addressing it quickly is vital. A water remediation expert will have the know-how and tools to ensure your new building doesn’t have any lingering problems. From preventing mold to ensure areas are secure from water coming in when it shouldn’t, a professional can help get your construction back on track.
Smooth construction is always preferred, but that doesn’t always happen. Staying on top of the things, such as completing a water pipe repair or keeping materials in a dry place, will help keep things worry-free.

The Hows and Whys of Document Restoration

1/22/2020 (Permalink)

Wet documents When documents are affected by water damage, always call in a team of professionals that are Here to Help

The Hows and Whys of Document Restoration

A big storm, a building fire or a flood can do a number on just about everything a business owns. Knowing how to deal with water removal, mold abatement, smoke odors, and other issues is a must for a professional disaster mitigation franchise. The process of document restoration is one area that requires expertise, training, and the right equipment. With the proper procedures the following materials can be salvaged in many situations:

  • Photographs and films
  • Paper documents
  • Maps and blueprints
  • Books and magazines
  • Parchment

Successful restoration involves state-of-the-art technology and experienced technicians. A fast response to damaged documents increases the chance of success.

Why Document Restoration Is Needed

Any major upheaval to a business in Houston, TX, could result in damaged documents. A flood could bring in dirty water that coats papers and photographs with contaminated bacteria and chemicals. A fire could result in soot damage to materials. To prevent these important, historic or valuable materials from being lost forever, a meticulous restoration process can save them. With advanced document drying and cleaning techniques, these materials can still be retained in the company archives and be accessible to employees. SERVPRO technicians know how important it is to recover these valuable documents.

How Restoration Is Accomplished

HIPPA master-certified technicians use the latest technology to restore documents. Vacuum freeze-drying methods and gamma irradiation technology are two options to dry, clean and sterilize paper and parchment. Technicians use many of the same methods employed by the Library of Congress and the National Archive and Records Administration. SERVPRO provides full-service document restoration. These measures, in addition to drying, include cleaning and disinfecting, re-jacketing, digitizing and deodorizing. The digital process uses a computerized inventory system that converts paper and photos to digital, thereby increasing storage, ease of access and durability of materials. When documents are affected by water damage, always call in a team of professionals that are Here to Help.

What Do You Need To Know About Mold Standards?

1/6/2020 (Permalink)

Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification SERVPRO is certified with the IICRC for water, fire, and mold damage

What Do You Need To Know About Mold Standards?

If you are a business owner or property manager in Hilshire Village, TX, being familiar with mold standards is part of the job description. This information will help guide you through mold cleanup as well as ensure the job is being completed to current standards. One important resource is the ANSI/IICRC S520 publication, known as the Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation. While it probably is not critical that you know this document, available in both hard copy and electronic format, inside and out, any mold mitigation franchise you deal with should be knowledgeable about its contents.

Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification

The IICRC is a mouthful, but it is a recognized leader in mold standards and the best methods for cleaning up a variety of commercial and residential situations. Among other tasks, it provides information on the following items:

  • Certification standards for cleaning companies
  • The effects of disinfectants on cleaning different materials
  • The importance of standards in the cleaning industry

The organization publishes a variety of publications on cleaning standards, how to make sure mold clean companies are current on techniques and equipment and the best methods to restore various materials such as carpeting, tile flooring, and clothing. Publications can be ordered at www:IICRC. org/store or by calling 360-693-5675.

American National Standards Institute

ANSI and the IICRC work together to provide guidance and clarification on such issues as how to clean black mold and the concepts and procedures for restoration, cleaning and inspection of properties with mold damage and other issues. Mold standards for cleaning and restoration have been established through a rigorous process that involves government agencies and cleaning companies throughout the U.S. As a property owner when you hire a mold cleaning company it is important that the company knows and understands advances in the industry. This will make sure your building is cleaned safely and effectively.

How To Keep Your Furry Friends Safe in the Event of a Fire

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

Dog sitting on a door mat with written text Home Your pets needs to be a part of your emergency fire plan.

House fires are the most common disaster that emergency responders respond to, according to the United States Fire Administration, but they are also the most preventable. While many homeowners in Houston, TX, have a fire emergency plan in place, many do not have one that includes their pets. Thousands of animals are left without homes each year due to the lack of pet preparation. If you want to keep your furry friend safe and in your care even if a fire breaks out, keep these pet safety tips in mind when drafting your family emergency plan:

• Include your pets in your plan! Pets get left behind because their owners panic and aren’t sure what to do with them in an urgent situation. By being prepared, you can act swiftly and effectively when it comes to keeping your loved one safe.
• Practice makes perfect. When performing a fire drill, take your pet with you as if you were dealing with a real emergency.
• Keep in mind: Though your pet is your family too, do not delay leaving if a fire becomes too dangerous, even if you haven’t found your pet yet, as this could put you in danger.


Prevent House Fires


The first item on your fire emergency plan should be “Prevent House Fires.” You won’t have to worry about evacuating if there isn’t any fire to escape from. You can help keep your home, family and furry friends safe by doing the following:

• Put Out Flames: Pets, like children, are naturally curious and will likely investigate the source of an open flame should there be one. When you’re not around to keep an eye on your pet, extinguish all flames.
• Go Flameless: If you cannot remember to blow out the candles when you leave or if your pet is always curious, buy flameless candles.
• Remove Stove Knobs: Larger dogs can reach stove knobs and yours may accidentally turn one on with its nose when sniffing around. Remove knobs when you’re not around.

Your pets needs to be a part of your emergency fire plan. If they're not already, use the above tips and make them one.

For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROtowncountry.com.

Understanding Fire Damage Restoration

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

Firefighters fighting a fire Fire damage is one of the most devastating and inconvenient losses a home or business owner can suffer.

Understanding Fire Damage Restoration

Fire damage is one of the most devastating and inconvenient losses a home or business owner can suffer. Whether it's home or commercial fire damage, the best way to deal with such a tragedy is to act quickly to start fire restoration. Fire restoration should occur as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more damage will set in, and the less likely you will be to restore your property to its original glory.

How Damage Occurs

Initially, there will be soot damage that stains hard smooth surfaces such as alabaster, marble and plastics. It left un-removed, the soot damage will eventually cause deep staining which could permanently mar your furniture and appliances. If left unattended, deep staining will become permanent and change the appearance of your walls, floors and appliances forever. If you act too late or not at all, or if the fire in the home was very extensive, corrosion will set in.

Ideally, a commercial fire restoration company should be onsite initiating fire cleanup as soon as the fire is put out.

How the Fire Cleanup Process Works

If for any reason you are unable to hire a fire damage restoration team, there are a few steps you can take to get the fire damage restoration process underway yourself.

The first thing you'll need to do is don the proper attire. You'll need protective clothing included but not limited to a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a pair of gloves. Use a surgical mask or bandana to cover your nose and mouth from smoke damage.

After you've appropriately dressed, open all the doors and windows. It's important to have as much ventilation as possible to prevent further smoke damage, soot damage and other airborne chemicals. If you have ceiling or stand-alone fans, use them. This will also provide minor relief from smoke smell. However, you'll ultimately need to use a lot of disinfectants, sprays and deodorizers to control the smoke smell and reduce the smell of home or commercial fire damage. Even then, the results will be far from perfect. Some smoke damage smells will remain.

Now, it's time to clean everything. Every surface after a fire in home or fire in business needs to be cleaned. This includes light fixtures, carpets, exterior and any individual items that require fire cleanup from the effects of commercial fire damage after fire in business.

For textiles such as carpets and clothing, fire cleanup requires having them professionally dry cleaned or washed at home with a gentle alkaline detergent as an initial step towards fire damage restoration. Vacuum carpets after a fire in business with a high-powered vacuum cleaner to remove soot damage and smoke smell. Exterior surfaces like stone, stucco, brick and siding should be cleaned with a pressure washer and light detergent.

The Professional Cleaning Process

As stated earlier, trying to restore your home yourself should only be done in a worst case scenario where you can't get a professional company soon enough. If you wish to make your home or business inhabitable again, you will inevitably need to hire a commercial fire restoration company to address the fire damage.

Once you do, they will begin their process by surveying the damage caused by the fire in home or fire in business. They will examine all the damage left by the fire and provide you an estimate of how much it will cost to repair it. They will then go to work ventilating, removing odors and cleaning.

If they do not have the equipment necessary to give something the cleaning it needs, they will haul it off to a facility where it can be cleaned by professionals who specialize in fire damage.

Also, you won't have to worry about masking odors any longer once you get a professional company involved. They use state-of-the art ozone technology that is only available to professionals.

Doing fire damage restoration after a fire in your home or commercial fire damage your living is a very arduous, costly and time-consuming project. It is not a job to attempt to complete by yourself. Get a professional address smoke smell, smoke damage and fire damage. Visit http://www.SERVPROtowncountry.com for more information on fire damage.