Scheduling Regular Mold Inspections for Your Business
We’ve all seen ugly mold patches in corners and smelled musty odor in the bathroom. We’ve also heard that mold can sometimes be harmful, and we know that it thrives in humid environments, spreading very quickly and easily. But do you know that mold colonies needs less than 48 hours to begin growing? Or that dead mold spores are just as harmful as live ones, and that modern-day building practices actually promote mold growth?
Mold is a fungi that reproduces by making tiny spores which can survive extremely harsh weather conditions and spread easily over large areas. Mold spores exist everywhere in the outdoor environment and can get indoors through open doors, windows, air ducts, vents, etc. or even attached to clothes, shoes, and bags. Once the mold spores get into your business, they will wait for the right conditions to start developing.
The purpose of mold colonies in our ecosystem is to decompose dead organic material, and so it thrives in warm, humid conditions where organic “food” such as wood, paper, leather, fabric and upholstery, grout, paint, drywall, insulation materials, carpet, etc. is available in abundance. As soon as there is any source of moisture – like flooding, leaky roofs, pipe leaks, condensation, storm damage, or steam from cooking, the mold spores will begin reproducing and spreading all over your business.
Mold will begin growing within 24 to 48 hours when the right conditions are present. However, it can often remain hidden until the spores have already affected large areas of your property and caused considerable structural damage. This is because mold usually starts growing in very inconspicuous areas of the house – inside walls, behind leaky appliances, within insulation, throughout the HVAC system, in crawl spaces, and in other damp, dark places that humans don’t normally see. Scheduling regular mold inspections for your business will help you identify these areas right away, along with practices that could be encouraging the growth of a mold colony in your business spaces. A few of the most important precautions you can take:
- Ensuring good air circulation – keeping windows open, running bathroom fans, keeping air ducts clean and in good condition – can help reduce the risk of mold growth
- Keeping indoor humidity levels below 45 percent can inhibit mold growth
- Keeping your property in good repair (roofs and foundations, plumbing system, HVAC system) can prevent excessive moisture from entering your home and causing mold growth
- Inspecting your property at regular intervals, especially after a damp weather season, can help detect mold growth in its early stages and prevent it from spreading any further
- Adding mold-inhibitors to paints before the application can reduce the potential for mold growth
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we are mold remediation experts as well as fire damage, water damage, and storm damage remediation professionals.
Checking for Winter Water Damages in Your Apartment Complex
During the winter months, homes of all types are more susceptible to water damage caused by icy conditions. Keeping an eye on potential problems that can be caused by wintry weather will go a long way in preventing water damages to your apartment complex.
Here are some examples of areas you will want to take note of:
If ice builds up in the gutters of your complex, as it melts it can create water damage issues in the ceilings, walls, and floors of affected units. If you notice ice dams forming in these gutters, or you have long icicles forming on the edge of your roof, it's time for some investigating.
The roof of a home or building that has a lot of ice buildup is one that is not properly insulated. If this is a condition that you are seeing in your complex, you will want to take steps to increase insulation there. The weight of snow and ice can cause buckling, which will allow water to stand there longer than is normal - this then can lead to rotting of the roofing materials, followed by leaks and drips.
Water damage can happen quickly, as in the event of a flood, or it can occur over a period of time as in the case of a slow leak from ice dams. No matter what happens, once you discover that water has infiltrated your apartment complex, you will need to get the water cleaned up. Standing water in parking areas and walkways can be damaging to all types of surfaces, as well as dangerous for your residents as they enter and exit your property.
Enlisting the services of a professional to ensure that any influx of water and its aftermath gets cleaned up as well will be a great proactive step to take, keeping your property safe from winter water damages. Such companies are skilled in finding water that has seeped into areas not easily visible, such as walls and crawlspaces. They will find the source of the water and have the damage cleaned up in a professional and timely manner. If you clean up the mess yourself, you can leave behind small amounts of moisture that could allow the establishment of a mold colony, and that can spell disaster for the owner of an apartment complex.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we are experts in mold prevention and mold remediation. Call us for help with winter water damage this season. We are also professionals at water damage, fire damage, and storm damage remediation.
Tips for Stormproofing Your Basement to Prevent Storm Damage
Winter brings with it lots and lots of water, whether in the form of rain, snow, or ice and sleet. Flooding and storm damage can be a common occurrence in many areas of the country this time of year, and your home or business can suffer, with building structures being affected negatively. In these times, contacting a professional water restoration company will be a great help, since such companies are experts in water damage cleanup and repair.
While flooding can’t be predicted most of the time, being aware of the areas of your home or business that are most prone to flooding during or after a storm will help you be prepared to handle, and even to prevent, storm damage. The low-lying areas of homes and businesses are most at risk, so taking extra precautions to stormproof your basement and cellar areas will save you a lot of time and money over time.
Basements and cellars will need to be regularly inspected during wet weather since they have a number of easy entry points for water. If there is heavy rainfall during inclement weather, or if the building is near a body of water such as a lake or river, flooding is a real danger. Keep an eye open for cracks in the foundation, ceiling, and walls of these areas.
Ensure that the doors and windows of the basement or cellar area are well-sealed against wet and stormy conditions. Entryways are also a potential problem area; make sure they are free of standing water and debris so that people don’t get hurt. Extra precautions here will also go a long way towards the prevention of any mold colonies being established.
Take steps to make sure that water is drained away from the foundations of your buildings. Standing water in these areas can create weaknesses in walls and foundational elements, eventually allowing water to leak into your basement area.
Our team of professionals here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties is experienced in all the repairs and cleanup needs that can come from storm damage, flood waters, water damage, and fire damage. Mold remediation is one of our specialties.
Top Water Damage Causes to Look for This Winter
Flooding is inconvenient, and a hazard, too. It can ruin your possessions and even affect the structure of your home or business. Contacting a professional water restoration company can greatly minimize any damages; such a company is able to complete all the necessary repairs in a timely and efficient manner.
While flooding often can’t be predicted, educating yourself on the most common areas to flood will help you be prepared to handle such an event, and even to prevent it! Some areas of your home or business are going to be more apt to experience water damage than others, such as rooms that have sinks, as in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas; low-lying areas like basements and cellars are also at risk.
Here is a list of some of the top water damage causes to look for:
- Bathrooms. The bathroom is the most likely area in your home to experience water damages. Sinks, toilets, showers and tubs...all involve H20, and they are all contained in one small area and connected to pipes, pipes that can be a source of problems if they become clogged, leak, freeze, or wear out. Human error can create an issue as well; we’ve all heard stories about the bath that overflowed or the toilet that sprung a serious leak due to foreign objects ending up there.
- Basements/Cellars. Basements and cellars are the lowest part of a house or building and so have a number of easy entry points for water. If there is heavy rainfall during inclement weather, or if the building is near a body of water such as a lake or river, they are going to be in danger. Make sure all weather stripping is in place and in good condition during regular inspections.
- Oftentimes the pipes for the bath and kitchen areas run through the basement, and sump pumps and drains are often found there. In addition, many homes have their water heating unit and laundry facilities in their basement or cellar. Keep an eye open for cracks in the foundation, ceiling, and walls of these areas.
- Attics/Roofs. A damaged roof, either from weather or fire, is susceptible to water damage and flooding the areas underneath. A small leak can turn into a big problem fast! Regular visits to your attic area will let you know if there has been any damage that will allow a leak to begin.
Our team of professionals here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties are experienced in repairs and cleanup from damages caused by water, fire, and mold. Call us today for all your cleanup projects both large and small
Winter Mold Prevention Tips
Even during the colder winter months, your home maintenance routine should include preventive measures when it comes to mold.
The kitchen, bath, and laundry spaces have a higher moisture level than most of the other rooms in your house, of course, and surfaces and flooring can become moldy quickly if not kept dry, even during the colder months. Once mold has established a hold on an area, it can come back even more quickly every time the humidity rises and can become a serious problem when the temperatures begin to rise later in the year, which make regular mold inspections a necessity.
Here are some tips to preventing mold growth in the first place:
- Paint your kitchen, bath, and laundry areas with mold resistant paint. Products of this type are readily accessible at your local hardware or home goods store.
- When doing any type of repair or renovation, check with a professional to find any available products that contain mold-resistant ingredients.
- Avoid standing water in any area of the home, both inside and out. During floor cleaning, use less water than you might otherwise, and always dry off countertops after cleaning, paying special attention to cracks and crevasses.
- In all windows in your home, ensure that weather stripping is in good repair in advance of bad weather.
- Keep an eye on older refrigerators for leaks from hoses and pipes leading to walls. Move them away from the wall periodically and clean behind and underneath them. Take a good look to make sure it’s in great shape while you’re back there. Use a flashlight if necessary to check for any water damage or mold growth.
- Ensure your kitchen, bath, and laundry areas are well-ventilated; you can always use a dehumidifier to help keep those spaces dry during wet weather to further prevent water damage and mold growth.
Keeping mold out of your kitchen and other living spaces will contribute to an overall cleaner space for the preparation of food and for entertaining and socializing during celebrations and parties. The kitchen is always the gathering place of any home, and the bathrooms are extremely important to keep fresh and clean for guests.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we have the experience, knowledge, and expertise necessary to help you with any mold damage or preventive practices. We provide mold inspection and mold remediation services. We are also available for cleanup after fire damage and water damage, and we serve the greater East Seneca areas.
Winter Cleaning Tips to Keep You Safe from Fire Damage
A fireplace is a wonderful thing to have where people gather for warmth and companionship. A lit fireplace provides a wonderful ambiance to any room, and even more fantastic to have during really severe cold weather, such as blizzards and ice storms. The mantel is a great place to display pictures of family and friends or decorations for celebrations like Valentine’s Day or birthdays.
But a fireplace can also be dangerous if not cared for properly. Animals can build nests in your chimney during the warmer months without you ever knowing, and we can all just imagine what can happen when the first fire of the season is lit in a case like that!
Here are some precautions to think about; being prepared can greatly reduce the chance of a chimney fire in your home fireplace.
- First, do an inspection. (If you have a steep roof, then this isn’t a DIY project, and you need to enlist the help of a professional, for obvious safety reasons.) There are certified chimney sweeps throughout the country and they can easily be enlisted to help with your winter chimney cleaning project. During the inspection, you are looking for creosote buildup. It may not seem like a big deal, but it ignites at only 451 degrees and expands from there, possibly increasing temperatures to over 2,000 degrees. At that temperature, it can engulf your entire chimney and potentially destroy your home or cause some serious fire damage.
- If you are in the habit of burning green wood, make sure you have your chimney cleaned or inspected every 50 burns or so. To know whether your wood is green or not, look for moisture bubbling out from the cut ends of the log. Wet, green wood doesn’t burn cleanly and will send particles up your chimney, which in turn builds up as creosote and soot. Choose hardwoods such as oak or birch, which burn hotter and cleaner.
- A professional cleaning would include an inspection for soot build-up and for cracks or obstructions that could cause issues. Older chimneys can sometimes have gaps in the clay liner where mortar has fallen out, which causes water damage and can make your chimney unstable. If you do find yourself in need of a chimney sweep, look for someone who is insured and properly certified in your area. They will ensure that you are safe from fire damage due to an unkempt fireplace and chimney
The SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties team has years of experience dealing with fire damage, and we’re here to handle any damages in your home or business, should the worst ever happen. We also take care of water damage restoration, and keep in mind that we are also mold prevention and remediation specialists able to offer mold inspection and mold remediation services, as well.
New Years Cleaning Resolutions for Your Business
It’s that time of year again. The time of year where everyone is thinking about what they can do to make the new year even better than the last one. Business owners are planning ways to do better business and how to succeed in bigger ways, and you’re no exception.
One of the challenges any business owner faces is that of keeping their place of work clean and tidy, presenting a great image to the rest of the world. Perhaps in your case, your processes haven’t been the best, or everyone has just gotten busy with other things. It’s understandable; there is so much that must be attended to when running a business, even if it’s a small, local organization.
Here are some tips for New Years cleaning resolutions you can make with your staff to help keep everything looking good:
- Delegate. Put together committees made up of the people who work for you and delegate specific areas of your grounds to keep up. You may be in a position to add a pay incentive for a job well done, or perhaps staff members can go home a bit early on Friday. Incentives are always a good idea!
- Organize. Have a cleaning schedule posted in a noticeable spot so that everyone knows what needs to be kept up. If you are having professional cleaners come in, make that schedule available so that your staff can do a bit of prepping before they come in, such as remove fragile personal items from desktops, or put up breakable items in the kitchen or break room.
- Tidy. If your workspaces are neat and tidy, they will be much easier to keep clean. Encourage everyone to pick up after themselves and to limit the amount of clutter they keep at their desks and workspaces. Clutter is also a safety hazard and could save you money spent on injuries.
- Sanitize. Keeping work areas clean and sanitized on a regular basis, like perhaps every Friday evening before going home, will go a long way towards preventing seasonal illnesses.
The SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca team is ready to help you with all cleaning needs for your business. Call us today for a consultation! We are experts at fire damage restoration and water damage restoration, and we offer mold inspection and mold remediation services, as well!
Preparing Your Business for Winter Storms
Preparing properly for an oncoming winter storm is essential as a business owner. You have invested lots of time, money, and effort into your business and property, and you will want to safeguard it against damages that can come from winter storms.
- Pipes and water mains. Make sure that all of your pipes and water mains are thoroughly protected against freezing. Do an assessment of the condition of all your water-bearing pipes and fittings and replace anything that is not functioning properly before winter storms hit your area. Be sure to replace any pipes or fitting that are showing cracks or other signs of age.
- Heating. Make sure that all of your heating systems are in good running order. If they need maintenance, you will need to see to this to help prevent possible fire damage. You can call on our team of experts to help you in this area.
- Windows. If you haven’t already, install a new set of storm windows. These should be fitted with a plastic lining on the inside. These windows will help to provide an extra layer of insulation that will work to keep the cold outside air from entering your home during a storm.
- Insulation. You will also need to make sure your business is properly insulated. It's a good idea to caulk your doors and windows and make sure the weather stripping is in good shape.
- Winter storms can be extremely unpredictable. Pipes, fixtures, and sewage systems that lasted through a previous storm may not make it through the next one. If you have any doubts about the ability of your home to survive severe storm damage, call an expert for help with assessments and repairs.
SERVPRO of East Huron & Seneca Counties is here to help you to get your business ready for the colder months ahead. Call for an appointment and visit from our service team today. We are water damage and fire damage experts, and we provide mold inspection and mold remediation services, as well!
Keeping Your Hotel Mold-Free
Mold is unsightly and unhealthy, and it can cost your hotel business. Today, we are sharing some steps you can take to mold-proof your motel or hotel business so your guests can truly enjoy their stay with you.
- IDENTIFY PROBLEM AREAS. Do an audit of your business premises to identify the problem areas. Are the windows in some rooms frequently damp? Are there any persistent leaks in ceilings or hallways? Preventing mold from taking hold and spreading can be as simple as ripping up carpet or using mold-resistant cleaning and renovation products, or just cleaning out rain gutters. If you are in need of mold inspection services, SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties is available to assist you in your mold inspection and mold remediation needs!
- KEEP THINGS DRY. Mold growth can’t occur without moisture, so take care of wet areas immediately. Seepage after heavy rainfalls or melting snow and ice, or even carpet spills or minor flooding due to broken pipes, etc. need to be fully dried within 24 to 48 hours. Make sure any bedding and furniture that may have been affected are either completely dried or removed from the area to prevent the need of mold remediation services.
- VENTILATION. Make sure all your staff members are educated as to good practices in mold prevention. All areas need to be properly ventilated, from the kitchen to the on-site laundry, if you have one. Your housekeeping staff needs to be trained to keep a lookout for leaking AC units in guest areas, and everyone should know what to look for in break areas, bathrooms, and other areas where they work daily. Dehumidifiers might be appropriate to use, especially in more humid regions or during very wet seasons in your area to prevent water damage and mold growth.
- KEEP A WEATHER EYE OUT. Regular inspection of exterior doors, windows, and roofing can expose any leaks or improper fits right away. Even the smallest leaks can, over time, cause a mold issue that can be difficult to eradicate.
- GREEN STUFF. Do you use live plants in your decorating scheme? We know they are beautiful and useful, too; they help to purify the air of indoor spaces, which is always helpful. However, they can also accumulate mold on their leaves and in their pots. Make sure that part of their regular care involves checking for mold. Natural food stores carry products that can be added to water for your plants to keep excess moisture down while being safe for the environment.
- RESISTING MOLD. When it comes time to repair or renovate, keep in mind that there are many mold-resistant products on the market today, such as drywall or Sheetrock. Many paints now include mold-inhibitors, which are a great asset in the battle. Some cleaning products can be a benefit, as well in preventing mold growth.
Here at SERVPRO of East Huron & Seneca Counties, we are experts when it comes to water damage, fire damage, and mold remediation, and are here for all of your emergency service needs. We are also available for any mold inspection needs that you have in the Seneca areas.
Keeping Your Pipes from Freezing this Winter
The colder months are almost upon us, and when temperatures plummet, the risk of pipes freezing and bursting becomes very real, and with it, water damage. Burst pipes are actually one of the most common property damages owners will experience during frigid weather, and can create thousands of dollars in water damages, and water damages can, in turn, lead to other issues, such as mold growth which require mold inspection and mold remediation services, as well. The pipes in basements, attics, and garages are most at risk since these spaces are generally unheated, but even those located under your cabinets or in exterior walls can freeze. Today, we will share some simple tips you can use to keep your home or business dry:
- Insulation. Insulating your pipes can be fairly inexpensive, costing perhaps as little as fifty cents per linear foot when doing it yourself with products from your local hardware store. This investment could save you both time and frustration as well as money, saving your real estate and personal property from loss and damages.
- Doors. Keep garage doors closed, especially if your garage hosts a water supply, while in the kitchen and bathroom you will want to keep the cabinet doors open; this allows warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Faucets. Let cold water drip from your faucets if they are connected to exposed pipes. A trickle of water will help prevent those pipes from freezing by keeping it moving.
- Thermostat. Set, and keep, your thermostat at the same temperature both day and night. A cold snap is not the time to turn the heat down to save money. If you are leaving home for an extended period of time during the holidays, leave the heat on using a temperature of nothing less than 55 degrees.
- Insulation, again. Insulation added to attics, basements, and crawl spaces will help maintain higher temperatures in those spaces of your home or business. Sealing cracks and openings around all windows, doors, and sill plates will also be beneficial.
The SERVPRO of East Huron & Seneca Counties team cares about you and your home or business. We are here to help with all weather-related issues and concerns. Visit our website today to contact us or for more information about keeping your spaces safe and damage free. We are also available for mold inspection and mold remediation services as well as water damage and fire damage restoration!