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Cleaning and Maintenance Tips for your HVAC System
Proper HVAC maintenance is essential.
Dirty coils and clogged filters in your HVAC system could be costing you an extra $1,000 or more each season. We know you don’t want to spend that much extra money on your energy bills, so let’s talk about properly cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system.
Whether the seasonal changes are dramatic or mild, these systems require regular care, and it is vital to prepare your energy equipment for both colder and warmer weather in order to avoid breakdowns and those high costs. Today, we are going to share some tips with you for both cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system as well as some energy-saving tips:
- Change Filters. Your air conditioning filters will need to be changed once a month. This enables your unit to run efficiently, causing less wear and tear.
- Inspections. Take a close look at your ductwork to make sure it is not leaking.
- Weather Stripping. Replace weather stripping around exterior doors and windows and install this wherever it is lacking. Cracked and worn weather stripping allows cool air to escape, and when you keep this from happening, you could save up to 15 percent of your energy costs every month.
- Insulation. Make sure your home is properly insulated, using insulation with an R factor between 30 and 49 for the best savings.
- Temperature Regulation. Keep the temperature in your home cool at night and warm during the day while everyone is gone. You can use a programmable thermostat to regulate your temperatures for optimal comfort and efficiency. Keep doors and windows closed when the air conditioning is on, and use ceiling fans to circulate cool air.
Mold, mildew, pollutants, and toxins (such as formaldehyde, pesticides, and cigarette smoke) can become issues if your HVAC system isn’t kept clean, causing health problems. When cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system proves to be too big of a job for just you, you can call our team here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties. We have the experience and equipment necessary to take care of a job like this easily and quickly.
First Steps in Recovering From Water Damage
Flooding often can’t be predicted, so educating yourself on the areas most susceptible to flood damage will help you be prepared to handle such an event and will be helpful in the necessary recovery. Some areas of your home or business are going to be more likely to experience water damage than others, such as rooms that have sinks, as in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas, while low-lying areas like basements and cellars are also at risk. Keeping an eye on these spaces in your home or business will alert you to a developing issue and allow you to take the necessary steps to avoid further damage.
Here are some first steps you can take in recovering from water damage:
Basements and cellars, bathrooms and kitchens, workshops and garages, roofing and attics - all of these spaces either involve water or can be seriously affected by it. Pipes can become a real problem when they get clogged, leak, or wear out, and a roof that needs attention can allow damp conditions to develop, resulting in water damage.
- When damages from water become an issue, turn off all water sources immediately and soak up standing water using mops, or towels, blankets, and rags, being sure to remove them as they become saturated. Employ a shop vac if you have one, and get fans started to dry the affected areas as soon as possible.
- Remove and prop up all wet upholstery and cushions so that they can dry, and protect carpeting by placing wooden blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.
- During the summer, turn your air conditioning on for additional drying.
Be safe! A few cautions:
- Hang furs and leather goods and don’t leave wet fabrics lying on wet surfaces.
- Remove books and magazines from wet carpets or floors; the colored inks will leave marks.
- Refrain from using household appliances and ceiling fixtures.
- Avoid rooms with sagging ceilings.
- Wet materials are often extremely heavy; avoid moving anything that is difficult.
When you experience a water damage event, keep us in mind. Our team here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties has the experience and expertise that you will need in this kind of situation. We are also experts when it comes to fire damage and mold remediation.
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.
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.
The Difference Between Mold Removal and Mold Remediation
Mold spores exist naturally almost everywhere. They can be found both indoors and out, and since they are microscopic, they cannot be detected by the naked eye until an entire colony has formed. Removing all mold from a home or business is actually impossible to do, so mold remediation is the focus when it comes to mold.
Some professional restoration businesses choose to advertise mold removal, and even go so far as to guarantee total removal of all mold, but this is not really possible. A qualified restoration company understands the science behind mold and its growth. The SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties team has the training and expertise in remediation of the mold in your home or business; mold remediation means that the focus will be on getting mold back to its normal and natural level.
Every situation where mold damage is found is going to be totally different and therefore will require a specific solution, but in general, the mold remediation process remains the same.
If you believe that you have an unnatural mold situation, call our team at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties to schedule an inspection and mold damage assessment. We will take steps to contain the mold and filtrate the air of the area affected, and all mold and materials will be removed, and we’ll ensure that the contents and belongings of the area will be cleaned thoroughly. We will then undertake the restoration of your property and make sure you are mold-damage free.
Here are some things home and business owners need to be aware of when it comes to mold:
- Mold spores float along in the air and can enter a home or business through windows, doors, or HVAC systems. They can even hitch a ride on your pet!
- Mold is microscopic; don’t expect to always see it with your naked eye.
- Mold growth can happen in as little as 48 hours. The spores thrive on moisture, so even a higher-than-normal humidity level indoors can encourage the growth of mold colonies.
- Mold produces a strong musty odor.
- Mold produces irritants and can be hazardous to your health.
Call us here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties at (419) 443 1790 to discuss mold remediation for your home or business. If you are in the Greater East Seneca area, such as in Port Clinton, Sandusky, or Huron, give us a call for any fire damage or water damage restoration needs!