Houston Home Health: Getting Rid of Mold and Mildew in Your Home
Mold Fact: Most, if not all, of the mold found indoors comes from outdoor sources
When you step inside your home after a long day, is the first thing you smell mildew or mold? If so, it is time to take action. The health of your family and the structure of your home is at serious risk if mold cleanup is not done promptly. With our warm and humid climate, mold spores multiply exponentially, in a very short period. While small outbreaks in bathrooms can be treated effectively with proper cleansing, when there is mold present in the drywall, professional mold removal service in Memorial and surrounding areas is required.
Bathrooms are particularly at risk for mold growth. The first signs are typically found in and around the shower and bathtub. Look for dark green or black discoloration on the caulking. At the first sign, cleanse thoroughly with a bleach-based cleaner to kill the spores before they spread. Mold spores travel through the air, so it is typical to have mold in more than one location. Examine other areas including around the base of the toilet, the ceiling, and sniff the air for any signs of a mildew odor in the linen closet. Clean hard surfaces with a bleach-based cleanser as mentioned above, and wash fabrics according to manufacturer instructions. To keep mold from coming back, increase air circulation by opening a window or using the exhaust fan during and after showers and baths.
Laundry rooms, kitchens, garages, basements, attics, and mudrooms are all at risk for developing mold, especially after water damage in Memorial. Keep an eye out for discolorations in the drywall in these areas. If an outbreak of mold on drywall has grown beyond the size of a saucer, it is time to call the professionals. Chances are that the mold is in more areas than you are aware of. Air quality needs to be tested, and the mold damage remediated as quickly as possible to prevent serious health conditions from developing.
While our climate contributes significantly to mold growth, it is imperative that you track down the cause of the mold. Is there a leaky pipe behind the wall or under a sink? Is the roof leaking into the insulation causing mold to develop in an area you cannot see? Has water been seeping through the foundation after a heavy rain? These are all possibilities, and your SERVPRO of Houston and Memorial can help track down the cause, and then remediate the damage properly.
It is ideal to keep your home’s humidity levels at 50% or below, year round and this can be difficult with our climate. However, portable and whole-home humidifiers can make a substantial difference. SERVPRO of Town and Country stands at the ready for mold cleanup, after damage caused by a storm, fire, or water damage to make sure your home is safe for you, your family, and friends. We are available 24 hours a day; please don’t hesitate to call us. The quicker we are on the scene, the quicker you can return to normal life.
Memorial Home Health: 11 Storm Damage Cleanup Tips
Storm Tip: You can also request checklists and other disaster preparedness tools from SERVPRO or at ready.gov.
11 Storm Damage Cleanup Tips
Here in the Houston area, we have our share of severe weather. Tornadoes, flash floods, and hurricanes cause significant storm damage in Memorial and surrounding areas. While good preparation in advance of a storm is always your first level of defense, in some cases, Mother Nature will take its toll and damage your property. Use these 11 tips for cleaning up after a storm.
1. Get Appropriate Protective Clothing. Prior to entering your home, it is imperative that you don protective boots, clothing, gloves, eye protection, and a mask. Flood waters carry sewage, bacteria and chemical compounds that may be dangerous.
2. Document the Damage. To aid in insurance and FEMA claims, it is essential that you document the damage as soon as it is safe to do so. Take photos and videos of the exterior of your home from all angles, including the roof, patio, and landscaped areas. Also, take photos of each interior room and each item that has been touched by the water.
3. Water Extraction. While you may be able to pump water from your home with a sump pump, be very careful. Flood waters in our area carry harmful and potentially dangerous bacteria, rodents, insects, and snakes. It is highly recommended to have the water extraction handled by a locally owned and professional disaster response team.
4. Open Windows. Circulating fresh air is an important step for cleaning up after flood damage and preventing mold growth. While it may be tempting to switch on household fans, prior to using the electrical appliances, the electricity needs to be inspected.
5. Remove Personal Items. Furniture, clothing, and other items in the house can be removed to speed the drying. Prior to throwing away damaged items, photograph them, and have them evaluated to see if they can be cleaned and restored. This is a key part of our storm damage cleanup service in Memorial; we can save many items that appear to be destroyed.
6. Remove Carpeting, Wet Drywall, and Insulation. If the flood waters contain sewage, which many floods do, the carpet in the home will have to be removed. Removing saturated carpet and its padding is not an easy task, be careful. Drywall and insulation that has been saturated by flood waters will have to be removed from the home in order to prevent mold infestations in the future.
7. Scrub Every Surface. To rid your home of bacteria, you must scrub every surface with a powerful disinfectant, preferably with bleach. Wear proper protective clothing and mask for this process. Your local SERVPRO of Houston is available 24x7 and stands at the ready to inspect, extract water, disinfect, dehumidify, and restore your home quickly.
8. Trees On The House. If any trees are touching power lines, do not disturb them. For limbs that are on the house, it is best to seek professional assistance, as further damage to the structure may occur with improper removal.
9. Clean Yard and Patio Areas. Remove the debris from the yard, again be sure to wear proper protective clothing. Be mindful that snakes, rodents, insects, and other animals may be hiding in bushes and under decks.
10. Clean Out Window Wells. If your window wells filled with water, they will need to be cleaned out thoroughly. Replace any damaged window well covers promptly as the next storm could cause further damage.
11. Board Up Broken Windows. If the storm broke any windows, cover from the exterior with plywood, until the flood damage restoration begins in your Memorial home.
If this list of tips is overwhelming, it should be. Cleaning up and restoring after a storm or water damage in the Houston area requires hard work, proper tools, and specialized training.
How Long Before a Leaky Roof Leads to Mold?
Mold damage on ceiling in Hillshire Village,TX
Mold may begin to form within 24 to 48 hours after water damage. A roof leak poses a particular risk because it may not be detected within this window of time. These leaks can cause mold to grow on insulation or behind cavity walls in a commercial structure in Hilshire Village,TX. Here are a few ways to prevent black mold or other types of fungus from forming in the hours and days after a roof or ceiling leak.
When You Discover a Leak
As soon as a leak becomes apparent, a building owner should take immediate action to mitigate damage. This may include:
- Contacting a roofer for tarping services
- Using containers to collect dripping water
- Scheduling a consultation with a restoration service
These steps can limit the amount of damage and risk of mold after a roof leak. Closely monitor the condition of a roof and ceilings, particularly after adverse weather.
After the Leak Is Fixed
After roofers address the source of a leak, it is important to immediately pursue mitigation. Black mold and other types of fungus flourish in environments that are:
- Provide nutriment
- Remain undisturbed
Restoration professionals can promote drying anywhere in a building. These experts can also recommend which materials should be torn out and replaced.
Ways to Prevent Damage
While it may not be possible to avoid a leaking roof, there are several preventative steps that building owners can take. It can be helpful to:
- Schedule regular roof inspections
- Ensure building materials remain dry
- Maintain low interior humidity levels
- Seal a building envelope
Mold cannot grow without moisture. Spores require a damp environment to become a problem.
A leaky roof can lead to mold growth in as little as one to three days. A building owner should hire water damage mitigation specialists in Hilshire Village,TX, who are also skilled in black mold prevention and remediation.
4 Tips for Commercial Property Hurricane Preparedness
Practice often drills in your Houston,TX business
Steps To Keep Your Commercial Property Safe
Hurricane season tends to run from June through the end of November. This long season could leave property management officials feeling constantly worried about potential storms – unless those professionals have prepared to control and reduce hurricane damage with an effective scheme of preparedness. Use the following steps to keep your commercial properties safe.
1. Discuss Potential Hazards With Insurance Professionals
The right insurance coverage can mean peace of mind when storms roll through Houston,TX. Discuss the options with the insurance representative to be sure you have the protection you need. While you're speaking with the agent, you may get important tips and advice regarding hurricane preparedness, specific to your type of buildings and the surrounding environment.
2. Gather Necessary Emergency Supplies
If you or your employees are on your property during an emergency, there are several supplies you'll want on hand.
- Non-perishable foods
- First aid kits
- Emergency lighting, such as flashlights
3. Post Evacuation Routes and Important Phone Numbers
Panic can lead to a lot hurricane damage, so an important part of your hurricane preparedness plan is keeping emotions in check. If the residents and staff of your properties are familiar with the safest routes out of the building and out of the neighborhood when advised, they are less likely to panic while following that route. Take this property management one step further by scheduling routine drills.
4. Keep Emergency Numbers Convenient
Keep emergency contact numbers near the posted evacuation plan. Some of the numbers to include on this list are FEMA, the American Red cross, the hurricane helpline, and professionals who are responsible for overseeing your properties. Learn more about this step by contacting emergency recovery companies in Houston,TX.
Enjoy Peace of Mind
Keep your properties and clients safe from as much hurricane damage possible by putting these four tips into place as soon as possible. Prevention does go a long way toward reducing losses. If you're prepared, you'll be ready to activate your emergency plan as soon as storm warnings are posted.
Are Your Fire Sprinklers Operational?
Have a professional test yearly your fire sprinkler system
Fire sprinklers can suppress or extinguish a fire, regardless of whether a building is occupied or vacant. Schedule the following fire sprinkler checks, tests, and inspections to make sure that the fire suppression system in a building is operational.
Weekly, Monthly, and Quarterly Checks
Property owners should regularly inspect sprinkler system components. NFPA Standard 25 recommends:
- Inspecting gauges on a weekly or monthly basis
- Checking alarm and signal devices, control valves, and hydraulic nameplates every three months
- Testing mechanical devices several times a year
These inspections are necessary, but are not sufficient to ensure that a system is functional. Annual testing is also necessary.
A professional service should test a fire sprinkler system on a yearly basis. This procedure goes beyond regular checks performed throughout the year, and involves:
- Full testing and tagging
- Physical checks on the complete system
- Inspecting bracing, pipes, and fittings
- Checking information signage and backup sprinklers
The combination of annual testing and regular inspections throughout the year can help to ensure that a fire suppression system will work properly in the event of an emergency.
Every Five Years Or More
More comprehensive inspections, testing, and equipment replacement should take place every five years. Testing of specific types of sprinkler systems can be scheduled at longer intervals. Here are several long-range maintenance requirements:
- Check sprinkler piping every five years
- Replace sprinklers exposed to high temperatures every five years
- Replace gauges every five years
- Test or replace dry sprinklers every 10 years
- Test fast-response sprinklers after 20 years and then every 10 years
- Test standard response sprinklers after 50 years and then every 10 years
Property owners should retain records of recent fire sprinkler inspections and tests. If a fire stars and fire sprinkler cleanup is necessary, contact damage mitigation and restoration experts in Spring Valley,TX. A sprinkler system should also be re-inspected following a fire.
The What and How of Secondary Water Damage
Houston,TX water damage due to supply line from refrigerator broke
Most homeowners, when their homes become the victim of a natural disaster, broken pipe or backed up septic tank, assume that once the water is gone so too is the danger. This is far from the case. If a water peril has not been sufficiently cleaned and dried out by a professional Houston,TX, water damage restoration team, the home in which the peril occurs may fall victim to secondary damage, such as black mold.
The What of Secondary Water Damage
Secondary water damage is often much costlier and damaging that primary water damage, which includes wet drywall, carpet and anything else that acme into direct contact with the initial water source. Some examples of secondary water damage include the following:
- Cracked and sagging plaster or sheetrock
- Buckling hardwood floors
- Peeling vinyl
- Damaged finish to fixed structures
- Colonization of mold
Each of the above issues can be costly and severely affect the integrity of a home. For these reasons and more, water damage should always be treated immediately and, if possible, by a trained professional.
The How of Secondary Water Damage
Secondary damage such as block mold typically occurs when a homeowner fails to act quickly to remediate a water peril. Below are a few common causes of secondary water damage:
- High humidity that results as cleanup procedures or efforts that are inadequate to the home's size and rate of evaporation
- A water incident that was not cleaned up in a timely fashion, that was left undiscovered for a lengthy period of time or that was not effectively cleaned by a professional
- Damage that was missed during the initial assessment and therefore not cleaned
In short, secondary water damage occurs as the result of inadequate and/or untimely cleanup efforts. You can prevent secondary issues such as black mold from arising and retain the health and integrity of your home by contacting your local water damage restoration team as soon as possible after discovering the incident. Your swift response can save you time, money and headache.
Preparing Your Business for High Winds
Prepare your Spring Valley,TX building with emergency items
Preparing Your Business for High Winds
If you're a business owner in Spring Valley,TX, you know how important it is to be prepared for high winds and the possibility of hurricane damage. Taking the proper precautions could save you thousands of dollars in repair costs and lost work time. Consulting with a good storm restoration company and following the steps below should go a long way towards keeping everything safe and secure.
1. Building Preparation
If possible, make some modifications in advance. Have the roof of your building inspected to make sure that it can withstand the effects of a severe storm, and have shutters installed. Make sure all utilities such as gas tanks or water heaters are secured and raised up above floor level to minimize any possible water damage. Filing cabinets and bookcases should be anchored to wall studs, and other equipment should be secured with Velcro or straps. Inspect the outside of the building for trees that might fall over. This advance work should go a long way towards preventing hurricane damage.
In the time leading up to a hurricane's landfall, take steps to further secure the building by boarding up any otherwise unprotected windows and doors with plywood. Place sandbags around any areas that might be susceptible to flooding. Remove any valuables to a safe location, and turn off all utilities.
2. Secure Important Info and Documents
In a secure place, maintain a list that includes all contacts relevant to your business, including lawyers, suppliers, employees and banks. Important documents, like insurance papers, tax documents and contracts, should be backed up and readily available in an offsite location. Documents that are going to remain in the building should be kept in waterproof containers.
3. Be Prepared for Disaster
Keep an inventory of emergency preparedness items on hand in case you or your employees are not able to leave the building. This includes items such as:
- Pillows and blankets
- First aid kits
- Battery-operated TVs or radios
- Tool kits
It's always a good idea to plan well in advance of a severe storm. With good preparation, you'll have a much better chance of keeping safe and avoiding major hurricane damage.
Content Cleaning: The Basics
Cleaning fire damage content in Hilshire Village,TX
If you are facing fire damage or wonder what it would entail if you ever had to face it, you may be researching what content cleaning is. Maybe you did not even know that smoke-damaged content could be salvaged. As it turns out, many items can be saved - even your clothes can usually be renovated through dry-cleaning. Here are three services that many fire damage restoration specialists offer to help you reclaim your most prized possessions in Hilshire Village,TX.
1. Ultrasonic Technology
Ultrasonic cleaning uses a combination of either water or a cleaning solvent and ultrasound technology to clean contents. This is typically the solution used for non-porous items after being exposed to a fire. The end result depends on how soiled the object was to begin with.
2. Content Storage
A fantastic company will offer you options for storing your home’s contents after a fire strikes. They may even offer to assist you with your move-out and pack-out needs or aid you in inventorying your valuables. A good team of technicians will want to help you through this stressful and emotional time.
Many services use this to restore clothing items soiled by light residue left over from a fire. If the clothes are more heavily soiled, wet cleaning may be used instead. Finding a company dedicated to restoring your items rather than replacing them is key.
The services mentioned above are just a few examples of the types of help available from remediation companies; some offer document restoration, electronics repair or even immersion processes. Now that you know what options are out there, it is time to do some digging. Contact your local Hilshire Village,TX, fire damage service to see if they offer dry-cleaning or other solutions to help you. There are enough offerings available that you can find a way back to normalcy in a fairly short period of time.
Understanding Fire Damage Restoration
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.
Working with insurance in storm damage
Regular life is stressful enough, but if you are surprised with flooding or other water damage in your home, everyone in the household will be stressed. Whether Houston flood damage leaves carpeting soaked and soggy or you have come back to a disaster after evacuation, severe weather and damaged pipes will cause significant worry about how to start putting back together your daily life.
However, you can prepare for these unknowns by knowing what to expect and create a plan in case of emergency. To assist you, SERVPRO Town & Country has put together this mini-guide to help you understand the flood insurance claim process.
The first thing you will want to do is call your insurance provider. Although the U.S. government funds the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), local home and rental insurance companies are the exclusive sellers of Flood Damage Insurance. While you will be working directly with an insurance agent, SERVPRO can also serve as a liaison, helping you to navigate through the claims process.
After your initial call to your insurance company, contact your Town & Country SERVPRO. We are available every day, all day, to handle your emergencies. Even if you are not able to reach your insurance agent immediately, SERVPRO will take your call and begin to work with you on first response remediation solutions. Have questions about what to do first or what items can be restored? SERVPRO is here to answer those questions and more. Our compassionate team understands your distress and will guide you through the storm damage restoration process.
Now you can begin your water damage restoration. We pride ourselves on having the fastest response time to storm damage in your area. We will arrive at your home prepared to conduct an inspection and moisture readings, create a scope of the damage and provide an estimate for you and your insurance provider. Our team will arrive prepared and ready to start immediately. Using our dedicated SERVPRO Claims Information Center (CIC) we can store and access your information easily and quickly.
Our SERVPRO team members are the premier flood and water damage restoration experts in Town & Country and surrounding neighborhoods. We are also the preferred remediation team for home insurance providers, and the most trusted helper for Houston storm disasters. Storm damage restoration and navigating flood insurance claims can feel stressful, but we are here to assist you with every stage of the recovery process.
For emergencies and other situations, call 713-461-2700 anytime to reach your area flood damage experts, SERVPRO The Woodlands and Conroe. We help residential and commercial property owners when natural disasters, water damage, sewer backups, floods, mold infestations, fires and other events happen.