Ways to Keep Mold Out of the House
Mold. The very word is enough to make a person cringe.
Yes, mold can be good — it's essential in making brie and penicillin, for example, and necessary for the decomposition of organic matter in nature — but it can also be very, very bad, especially when it grows undetected in your home.
Mold spores spread easily and cannot be completely eradicated.
Mold can grow anywhere: on carpet, clothing, food, paper, and even in places you can't see, such as the backside of drywall, areas inside walls around leaking or condensing pipes, and above ceiling tiles.
Not only is a mold problem difficult and costly to fix, but mold can also produce allergens and irritants (and, rarely, toxins) that may compromise your health.
So what can you do if you're concerned about mold growing in your home?
The best approach is preventing mold before it becomes a problem. The key to mold prevention is simple: moisture control.
Here are ways to curb moisture indoors, and the mold that thrives on it.
1. Identify problem areas in your home and correct them. You can't mold-proof your home, but you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of your home: where are the problem areas? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak? Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters. Or it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. Whatever the case, address the problem now. It might cost some money up front, but it will surely be more costly down the road if mold continues to grow unchecked.
2. Dry wet areas immediately. Mold can't grow without moisture, so tackle wet areas right away. Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you've experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can't be completely dried. Even everyday occurrences need attention: don't leave wet items lying around the house, and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower. Don't leave wet clothes in the washing machine, where mold can spread quickly. Hang them to dry — preferably outside or in areas with good air circulation.
3. Prevent moisture with proper ventilation. It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in your home. Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn't invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture — clothes dryers, stoves — to the outside (not the attic). Use AC units and dehumidifiers (especially in humid climates), but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer. Your energy-efficient home may be holding moisture inside, so open a window when cooking or washing dishes or showering, or run an exhaust fan.
4. Equip your home with mold-resistant products. Building a new home or renovating an old one? Use mold-resistant products like mold-resistant drywall or mold-resistant Sheetrock, and mold inhibitors for paints. Traditional drywall is composed of a gypsum plaster core pressed between plies of paper. Mold-resistant drywall is paperless — the gypsum core is covered in fiberglass, making the surface highly water-resistant. Moisture-resistant drywall is especially valuable in areas prone to wetness, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and kitchens. Not only is traditional drywall more susceptible to mold than the paperless kind, but it is also difficult to rid of mold, and removal and replacement can be expensive. Mold-resistant gypsum board is also available; the core of the drywall is developed in such a way to prevent moisture absorption, and thus prevent mold growth.
5. Monitor humidity indoors. The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. You can measure humidity with a moisture meter purchased from your local hardware store. You'll also be able to detect high humidity by simply paying attention to potential problem areas in your home. Telltale signs of excessive humidity include condensation on windows, pipes, and walls. If you notice condensation, dry the surface immediately and address the source of moisture (for example, turn off a humidifier if water appears on the inside of nearby windows).
6. Direct water away from your home. If the ground around your home isn't sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement.
7. Clean or repair roof gutters. A mold problem might be a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.
8. Improve air flow in your home. According to the EPA, as temperatures drop, the air is able to hold less moisture. Without good air flow in your home, that excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mold at bay.
9. Keep mold off household plants. They're beautiful and help keep your indoor air clean — and mold loves them. The moist soil in indoor plants is a perfect breeding ground for mold, which may then spread to other areas of your house. Instead of getting rid of your plants, try adding a bit of Taheebo tea to the water you give to your houseplants. The oil of this tree, which withstands fungi even in rain forests, helps hinder mold growth in plant soil and can be found at natural food stores.
Finally, educate yourself on your region's climate — be it the cold and wet Northeast, the hot and wet South, the hot and dry Southwest, or the cold and dry West — and how it responds to moisture. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mold prevention. Knowing what works for your climate and your home is an important first step.
Call our team of highly trained professionals at SERVPRO La Jolla for your mold remediation needs. 858.270.5234
Tips on Keeping Your Washing Machine Clean
Step 1: Clean the seal
Your first step in decontaminating your washer is checking the seal around the door.
The seal catches lint, coins, paperclips and all manner of pocket fodder. If you don't clean it out, that junk can mold or, even worse, it can make its way down to the trap. Just swipe your hand around the seal and remove any junk. Then, wipe it down with a damp cloth.
Step 2: Clean the trap
When items don't get caught in the washer door seal they go to a place inside the washer ominously called "the trap." (It's also called a filter.) These items languish and mildew until you either remove them or the washer stops draining water.
My washer had to stop draining water before I even learned that the trap was a thing. My husband deftly took apart the washer and found that our washer trap was full of Legos and about $5 worth of change.
Here is how you can clean your own trap:
- Unplug your washer.
- On the front or back of the washer there should be a little door.
- Place a small bowl by the little door to catch drips.
- Pry open the door using a flathead screwdriver or a coin.
- There will be a black tube inside the door. Gently pull the top end of the hose out and pull off the plastic cap.
- Drain the hose in the bowl.
- Place a towel in front of the door.
- Beside the black hose will be the trap cap, also called the filter cap. Twist it to the left and pull it forward.
- Clean out the trap and replace the trap and hose.
- Close the little door and you're done.
These directions may vary depending on the year and model of your washer. Be sure to check your owner's manual before attempting to clean your washer's trap.
March A Fairweather Friend As Serious Storms Hit East And West Coasts
No matter the adage or that the calendar tells us spring has sprung, March is still roaring like a lion on both sides of the country. On Wednesday, the West Coast braced for potential mudslides and flooding following heavy rain, and much of the East Coast dealt with a major snowstorm.
Southern California was on alert Wednesday as thousands of people evacuated their homes. Heavy rain combined with denuded land and loosened soil from recent wildfires made for a dangerous mix.
A flash flood watch was in effect for the region into Thursday, and forecasters called for several inches of rain from "a large and powerful storm system," with warnings that debris flow was likely.
Officials said a portion of State Route 33 in Ventura County was closed Wednesday because mud and debris flows.
In Los Angeles, the fire department was offering free sandbags and urging residents to remain alert. Officials called for evacuations beginning 6 p.m. local time for burn areas from recent fires.
Ways to Handle Stress in the Workplace
The average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate. Modern workers are interrupted seven times an hour and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day. And four out of 10 people working at large companies are experiencing a major corporate restructuring, and therefore facing uncertainly about their futures. This may be why more than 40% of adults say they lie awake at night plagued by the stressful events of the day.
"People are asking me for answers," says Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of just released Success Under Stress. "Everyone feels overwhelmed and overly busy."
Is there a way to maintain steady focus throughout the day? Is it possible to do everything that needs to get done and still have energy left over after work? How do you keep cool under so many demands? Informed by 10 years of Harvard research and field-tested by more than 6,000 clients and trainees, Melnick offers the following strategies to take your work stress down a peg, before it takes over your life.
Act Rather Than React
"We experience stress when we feel that situations are out of our control," says Melnick. It activates the stress hormone and, if chronic, wears down confidence, concentration and well-being. She advises that you identify the aspects of the situation you can control and aspects you can't. Typically, you're in control of your actions and responses, but not in control of macro forces or someone else's tone, for example. "Be impeccable for your 50%," she advises. And try to let go of the rest.
Take A Deep Breath
If you're feeling overwhelmed or are coming out of a tense meeting and need to clear your head, a few minutes of deep breathing will restore balance, says Melnick. Simply inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale in equal counts through the nose. "It's like getting the calm and focus of a 90-minute yoga class in three minutes or less at your desk," she says.
"Most of us are bombarded during the day," says Melnick. Emails, phone calls, pop ins, instant messages and sudden, urgent deadlines conspire to make today's workers more distracted than ever. While you may not have control over the interrupters, you can control your response. Melnick advises responding in one of three ways: Accept the interruption, cut it off, or diagnosis its importance and make a plan. Many interruptions are recurring and can be anticipated. "You want to have preset criteria for which response you want to make," she says. You can also train those around you by answering email during certain windows, setting up office hours to talk in person or closing the door when you need to focus.
Schedule Your Day For Energy And Focus
Most of us go through the day using a "push, push, push" approach, thinking if we work the full eight to 10 hours, we'll get more done. Instead, productivity goes down, stress levels go up and you have very little energy left over for your family, Melnick says. She advises scheduling breaks throughout the day to walk, stretch at your desk or do a breathing exercise. "Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project has shown that if we have intense concentration for about 90 minutes, followed by a brief period of recovery, we can clear the buildup of stress and rejuvenate ourselves," she says.
Eat Right And Sleep Well
"Eating badly will stress your system," says Melnick, who advises eating a low-sugar, high-protein diet. "And when you're not sleeping well, you're not getting the rejuvenating effects." According to the CDC, an estimated 60 million Americans do not get sufficient sleep, which is a critical recovery period for the body. If racing thoughts keep you from falling asleep or you wake up in the night and can't get back to sleep, Melnick suggests a simple breathing trick that will knock you out fast: Cover your right nostril and breathe through your left for three to five minutes.
What is Mold?
Most people are keen on the idea that there are a few types of fungi that are worth appreciating — mushrooms, anyone? However, if you were to ask most homeowners about the most common type of fungus they would like to never see again, then the resonating answer would most likely be, "Mold!"
Mold is a type of fungus that sprouts form tiny spores that float about in the air. Unfortunately for homeowners, there is not a pilot sitting in the cockpit of these spores. Instead, the spores do the choosing of where they should land. Pair that with the fact that they often choose to make their home in moist places and you are bound to see mold spring up in that area.
Mildew is a common type of mold that sits on the surface of damp walls, doors, shower grouting and more. This type of mold looks like tiny black spots, and it can easily be scrubbed away with a cleaning brush and store-bought mold killer.
Other types of mold can be a bit more damaging to a home, depending on the size of an infestation. You may begin to notice a damp, must odor in a specific area of your home. This means you should check for damp walls, carpet, flooring and any other spaces that may be breeding grounds for mold. The key is to treat a mold problem immediately, before the infestation becomes worse or causes permanent damage.
Fire and Smoke Restoration
In the wake of a fire that has covered homes with smoke and ash, it’s important to begin clean up as soon as possible in order to prevent permanent damage or discoloration from soot residue. The IICRC provides the following tips for fire victims facing clean up:
- Practice safety first. Use a dust mask (like painters use) and gloves as you work.
- Ventilate the home. Place a box fan in an open window to draw the air and dust out.
- Clean from top to bottom. Start with the ceilings, walls and fixtures, and work your way down to the contents of the room, then to the floor.
- Vacuum floors and upholstery. Make sure your vacuum cleaner has a high efficiency filter. Otherwise, you risk blowing soot back into the air.
- Some draperies, clothing and machine-washable items may be laundered. Use a mild alkaline cleaner to neutralize the acid in the soot. Fine clothing should be dry cleaned.
- Most exterior walls (brick, stone, wood, paint, siding) and eaves can be cleaned by spraying with a detergent, agitating soot with a soft-bristled brush, pressure washing from bottom to top, then rinsing from top to bottom.
- If the damage and residue are heavy, it may be best to hire a professional to thoroughly restore your home and belongings.
- Check with your insurance company to see if smoke damage from outdoor sources is covered by your policy.
- If the fire has warped or distorted the structure, consult a licensed general contractor.
Professional restoration technicians know that damage increases and restoration costs escalate the longer neutralization, corrosion control and cleaning is delayed. When homeowners prolong the restoration of their home, they extend the effects brought on by the smoke exposure. The following is a timeline of the effects of fire and smoke on a home.
Commercial Fire Insurance
Most businesses that own property need insurance to protect themselves against damage caused by fire. Fire insurance for businesses is widely available. Many insurers offer this type of coverage.
Need for Coverage
Fire is a major cause of property damage. In 2015, 1,345,000 fires were reported in the United States according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires killed 3,280 people (excluding firefighters) and caused about $14.3 billion in property damage. Most of the fire-related deaths occurred in residential structures, which include one-or-two-family homes, apartment buildings, hotels, and motels.
A fire can devastate a small business. Fires generate flames, smoke, and heat, any of which can damage buildings and their contents. Water, foam and other materials used by firefighters to extinguish a blaze can also damage property. A business that has no fire insurance will have to pay for repairs or reconstruction out of pocket. It may also have to reimburse the fire department for the cost of extinguishing a fire if the local fire department charges for its services.
If a company lacks the funds to pay these costs, it may be forced to cease operations. By purchasing adequate fire insurance, a company can significantly improve its chances of surviving a large fire loss.
Hostile Versus Friendly Fire
In the insurance industry, fires are classified as friendly or hostile. A friendly fire is one that is set on purpose and that remains in the place intended, such as a fireplace or stove. A fire becomes hostile when it escapes from its intended location. For example, flames from a gas burner ignite grease spilled on a restaurant stove. The fire travels up a wall and burns the roof of the building. Property insurance covers damage caused by hostile fires.
Commercial Property Policies
Until the mid-twentieth century, businesses protected themselves against fire damage to buildings and personal property by purchasing a fire insurance policy In the 1960s, insurers began offering commercial multi-peril policies.
ACV Versus Replacement Cost
Many property policies pay losses based on the actual cash value (ACV) of the damaged property. Actual cash value is typically calculated by subtracting a property's accumulated depreciation from its replacement cost.
For example, suppose that your building is insured for its actual cash value. The building will cost $3 million to replace. It is ten years old and has depreciated by $500,000. The building's actual cash value is $2.5 million. If you insure the building based on its ACV, your insurer will not pay more than $2.5 million if the building is completely destroyed.
You will need to come up with an additional $500,000 to rebuild the structure.
Business personal property includes items like machinery, equipment, and office furniture. Such property can be costly to replace. You can protect your business against a large out-of-pocket expense by insuring your personal property on a replacement cost basis.
Replacement cost coverage pays the cost of repairing damaged property or replacing it with similar property. This coverage costs more than coverage based on actual cash value.
Don't Underinsure Your Property!
Like many business owners, you may think your insurance premiums are too high. Perhaps you've considered saving money on property insurance by insuring your property for less than its full value. This is a bad idea!
For one thing, your policy won't cover the entire cost of repairing or replacing property that is destroyed by a fire or other peril.
For example, suppose your property policy includes a coinsurance requirement of 80 percent. Assume that your policy covers losses on a replacement cost basis. If the replacement cost of your building is $2 million, you must insure your building for at least $1.6 million (80 percent of $2 million). If a loss occurs and you have failed to purchase the required amount of insurance, your insurer will not pay the full amount of the loss. You will be stuck paying a portion of it yourself.
You can avoid penalties for underinsurance by taking these steps:
- Insure your property for 100% of its value.
- Hire an experienced appraiser to reassess the value of your property every year or so. The best time to do this is before your policy's renewal date.
- Don't insure your property based on property tax evaluations or estimates provided by your insurance agent or broker.
Property policies contain exclusions and limitations that apply to certain types of property. For example, most policies exclude loss or damage to land, building foundations, and money and securities. Many provide a small amount of coverage for valuable jewelry, and outdoor plants.
Business Income Coverage
When its property has been severely damaged, a company may be forced to reduce its operations or to shut down its business altogether. A full or partial shutdown may cause the business to lose income or incur extra expenses. Income losses and extra expenses are not covered by basic fire insurance. To protect itself, the business can purchase business income insurance.
Many businesses operate in older structures that do not meet current building codes. Building laws vary from state to state and city to city. Generally, existing buildings need not meet current codes unless they are refurbished or rebuilt. If a building is severely damaged by a fire or other peril and is repaired or reconstructed, the structure may be subject to current codes. The required upgrades can be costly. The extra costs imposed by building codes aren't covered under a typical property policy. Coverage for such costs is available under building ordinance coverage.
Here are some tips for maintaining your fire insurance policy.
- Review your policy annually. Make sure it includes all of your buildings and all of your locations. Check the addresses listed in the policy ensure they are accurate.
- If you own multiple buildings, consider insuring them under a single policy with a blanket limit. One policy will be cheaper than several individual policies.
- Draft and maintain a fire prevention plan. Train your workers on the steps they should take if a fire occurs. Your insurer may provide a discount for an active fire prevention program.
Tips for Fire Prevention and Preparedness at the Office
“Putting out a fire” is a common phrase used by businesspeople every day. But what if the fire is more than a metaphor? Do you know what to do to lessen the likelihood of an office fire breaking out — and how to react if one does?
According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), there were more than 98,000 non-residential building fires in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available. Many of them were in small offices and buildings. Estimated property loss from these blazes was $2.6 billion.
A 5-year NFPA analysis found that:
- Most “business and mercantile” fires occurred when the premises were less populated. One-third of the fires (31 percent) occurred between 7:00 pm and 7:00 am, but created two-thirds (67 percent) of the direct property damage. Nineteen percent occurred on weekends and created 31 percent of the damage. A lot of fires also broke out between noon and 2:00 pm.
- Twenty-nine percent of commercial blazes were caused by cooking equipment and resulted in 6 percent of the direct property damage; 22 percent began in the kitchen or cooking area, causing just one percent of direct damage.
- The most damaging fires started in an office. Though only 12 percent of business fires began in this location, they caused the most direct property damage (24 percent).
“Staples’ studies show that a majority of employees don’t feel their employers are prepared for any kind of emergency, including fires,” says Bob Risk, the company’s national sales manager for safety. “The truth is, most are, but they haven’t communicated their fire prevention plan well to employees.”
What do you — and your employees — need to know to lower the odds that your office becomes another statistic? It starts with the four P’s of fire prevention: plan, procure, practice and prevent.
“No matter the size of the office or the number of employees, someone should be designated as the safety officer,” says Ernest Grant, chairman of the board of the NFPA. This person leads the creation and execution of the emergency response plan, which includes:
- Escape Routes and Meeting Places: Determine and mark the fastest and safest paths to safety. Post maps (with “you are here” marks) in breakrooms and near exits — which should be clearly indicated with signs. Put up reminders that elevators cannot be used during most emergencies. Check emergency lighting in stairwells and make sure they aren’t used as storage areas. Create a procedure for evacuating employees and patrons with special needs, especially if the escape route includes stairs. Select a meeting place far enough away from the building to allow full access to the property by firefighters and other emergency personnel.
- Emergency Procedures: Make sure employees know that the safety officer is in charge during emergencies. Identify by name and title (whenever possible) the people responsible for contacting the fire department, accounting for employees at the meeting place and assisting emergency personnel with information on equipment or chemicals housed in the building. Keep an up-to-date list of emergency contact information. Outline who notifies the next of kin of injured parties, and designate one person to notify emergency responders of people still in the office or unaccounted for.
There are a few specific items you need for fire safety, such as fire extinguishers and smoke alarms — but most commercial buildings are required to have these items installed to meet local building codes. Check with your fire marshal to learn the requirements for your municipality. Test alarms and check extinguisher charges each month; replace/recharge immediately when indicated.
Additional emergency supplies include a stocked first aid kit, bottled water and flashlights. “One company we work with supplies every one of their employees with an escape mask,” Risk notes. “That’s important since most people don’t succumb to the fire or the heat, but to smoke inhalation.”
The safety officer also schedules regular fire prevention trainings, refreshers and drills. “When you have a fire or another emergency, it’s an extremely scary, confusing and rushed situation — and many people don’t operate well that way. So it’s almost like you need to be in muscle memory.”
Hold drills and review procedures frequently, and include emergency response information in new employee orientation. Play the alarm to make sure employees know what it sounds like — it can be a beep, a horn and/or an overhead announcement — and what to do when they hear it. Inspect nuisance alarms (like those false alarms from burning popcorn in the microwave) so employees don’t start ignoring the sound. Include real-time shutting down of critical equipment if required by law or regulation in the event of an emergency. Run contests to see how quickly employees can exit their workspace, reminding them that personal items may need to be left behind. Ask the fire department to conduct periodic trainings for all employees on how to use a fire extinguisher.
Grant, who’s also outreach coordinator for the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill, offers these tips for lowering the risk of fire in the first place:
- Follow manufacturers’ recommendations for maximum volt/wattage load for surge protectors, power strips and adapters, and ask your electrician to periodically inspect these items and outlets for potential overload
- Replace frayed power cords; never run them under rugs or carpeting, use cord protectors instead
- Unplug appliances (coffeemakers, microwaves) and other equipment not in use at the end of the day and over the weekend
- Replace appliances that feel warm or hot to touch
- Ask the fire marshal to inspect chemical and equipment storage areas periodically to ensure proper ventilation and stowage
- Store hazardous materials according to manufacturers’ instructions and OSHA regulations. Clearly mark these items to help emergency personnel identify and stabilize them
- Don’t prop fire doors open or block exits with furniture or boxes
- Don’t allow paper and other trash to accumulate outside of garbage or recycling receptacles, and never store this material near hot equipment, electrical outlets or the smoking areas
- Don’t permit employees to burn candles, scented oils, etc., even in their personal work areas
Following the four P’s is the best way to protect your business and your employees. “Having an evacuation plan and practicing a fire drill will ensure that employees know what to do in case of a real fire emergency,” says Bill Mace, who oversees education and outreach for the Seattle Fire Department.
Adds Grant: “This prevents confusion and minimizes the possibility of someone sustaining an injury.”
After all those fire drills in school, too many of us take fire prevention and safety for granted. That’s why it’s crucial for business owners, office managers and safety officers to set the right tone, Risk says. “If you don’t take it seriously, your employees won’t either. I always say, ‘It’s a lot easier to prepare for an emergency than to explain why you didn’t.”
Note: Don’t disregard professional fire prevention and emergency preparedness advice, or delay seeking it, because of what you read here. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional consultation by fire marshals, insurance agents and others; it is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Always consult the fire marshal or your insurer if you have specific questions about any fire safety matter.
International Women's Day 2018
As people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day on Thursday — an annual March 8 observance — countries from Kyrgyzstan to Cambodia will officially honor women’s rights and achievements across the political, economic, social and cultural spheres. The day has been designated as an official United Nations observance since 1975, which was International Women’s Year, and is a national holiday in many parts of the world.
But the day’s origins go much further back than 1975 — and are more radical than what we might expect from a day so widely celebrated.
Centering around the socialist movements of the early 20th century, here’s more on the history of how International Women’s Day (IWD) came to be:
How did International Women’s Day start?
The impetus for establishing an International Women’s Day can be traced back to New York City in February 1908, when thousands of women who were garment workers went on strike and marched through the city to protest against their working conditions. “Like today, these women were in less organized workplaces [than their male counterparts], were in the lower echelons of the garment industry, and were working at low wages and experiencing sexual harassment,” says Eileen Boris, Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara.
In honor of the anniversary of those strikes, which were ongoing for more than a year, a National Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in the U.S. on Feb. 28, 1909, spearheaded by the Socialist Party of America.
Led by German campaigner and socialist Clara Zetkin, the idea to turn the day into an international movement advocating universal suffrage was established at the International Conference of Working Women in 1910. Zetkin was renowned as a passionate orator and advocate for working women’s rights, and her efforts were crucial to the day’s recognition throughout much of Europe in the early 1910s.
Effects of Water Damage
Water damage is a problem that most property owners dread. When it rains heavily or snow melts quickly, the risk of this type of damage increases. Water can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage by damaging wood furniture, upholstery, electronics, household appliances, and plumbing equipment. Water damage also increases the risk of mold growth, which is a very expensive problem to remediate. Hiring a water damage restoration company can make the cleanup process easier to handle, as these companies employ experienced workers who know the best ways to repair or replace damaged items and help with water damage cleanup.
Causes of Water Damage
There are several possible causes of water damage. Leaky dishwashers, clogged toilets, broken pipes, broken dishwasher hoses, overflowing washing machines, leaky roofs, plumbing leaks, and foundation cracks are just some of the possible causes of water damage in homes and businesses. Floods, heavy snow, and heavy rain are other possible causes of this type of damage and can lead to having water in basements. Too much water can lead to minor problems such as water in basement areas, or it can lead to the destruction of homes and businesses. Once a home or business sustains water damage, it is important to start the water damage cleanup immediately. Starting water damage cleanup as soon as possible increases the likelihood of saving water-soaked furniture, carpets, rugs, clothing, and other items.
Categories of Water Damage
Assessing the severity of the damage is important for determining what is needed to start water damage repair and water removal. There are several different categories assigned to water damage. Category 1 refers to clean water, or water that does not pose a threat to humans. Possible causes of this type of damage include broken appliances or sink overflows. Category 2 water is also called gray water. This means that the water is contaminated and may cause sickness of ingested. This type of water contains microorganisms. Broken toilets, broken sump pumps, and seepage may cause category 2 water damage. Category 3 water is known as black water. This type of water is unsanitary, as it contains bacteria and other organisms that cause sickness. The possible sources of black water damage include sewage problems and contamination of standing water.
There are also several classes of water damage. The class of damage is important when assessing water damage repair options. Class 1 is the least harmful form of damage. Materials absorb very little of the water from this type of damage. Water damage repair is the easiest in this type of situation. Class 2 has a fast rate of evaporation, which means that carpets and cushions may be damaged. Water damage repair is more difficult when it involves class 2 damage. Class 3 has the fastest rate of evaporation. In this case, the water may come from broken sprinklers or other overhead sources, soaking the walls and furniture. Class 4 requires special water restoration and water removal procedures. This type of damage may affect hardwood floors, plaster, and concrete.
The water restoration process is an important one. Using the right procedures and materials can help people save cherished belongings and even prevent their homes from being condemned. Water restoration companies specialize in mitigating the effects of water, but the success for water damage restoration depends on the severity of the damage and the amount of water that caused the damage. Water restoration companies may hire outside experts to assess a property and determine a water restoration and water removal plan. These water restoration companies typically use high-tech equipment and well-documented procedures to control water damage. Water in basement areas may only require a short cleanup process, but water in other areas of a property will require extensive remediation.
It is important to hire one of these water damage restoration companies as soon as possible after water damage occurs. Moisture promotes the growth of mold and other organisms, increasing the risk for serious health problems. Mold exposure may aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms, especially in children and people with compromised immune systems. Exposure may also increase the risk for respiratory diseases and other medical problems. Cleaning up immediately can help mitigate the health effects of water damage on everyone in a home or commercial space.
If you need assistance with any water damage that you have, please call our team of experts at SERVPRO La Jolla at any time of the day! We are here to help.