What To Do If You See Signs Of Mold In Your Home
Maintenance on our belongings is part of life if we want to keep things in good working order, and our homes are - of course - no different. Today we’re going to talk about mold and what to do if you see signs of mold in your home, as this is one of the most difficult maintenance issues to handle. It can be a serious issue and impossible to completely eradicate once it gets established, so engaging the help of a professional mold remediation expert can be one of the most important steps you take in the event that mold has started a colony in any of your living spaces.
Mold spores are microscopic and they are everywhere. They float in the air, so they are able to enter your home through windows and doors or HVAC systems, and in damp conditions, mold growth can start in as little as 48 hours. Mold often produces a strong musty odor, so that odor will alert you to areas in your home that have developed a problem. Keeping the humidity level in your home below 45 percent can be a big help in blocking the growth of toxic mold in your house, as well.
The scientific name for the mold that is often called black mold is Stachybotrys chartarum. It can produce both health effects. However, many other types of mold can produce those same health effects, so it’s best to treat any mold with caution. Do not touch or disturb any mold found, and be sure to stay out of affected areas.
Here are some steps to take that will help you both identify signs of mold in your home and prevent an infestation:
Leaks always need to be cleaned up and dried as soon as possible to prevent water damage and mold growth so you will want to be vigilant here. Keep an eye open for stains on ceilings and walls - telltale signs of leaks that are happening behind the scenes. Keep rain gutters clean and in good repair, and make sure water is properly diverted from the foundations and low-lying areas of your house.
Mold grows where it’s wet and can take over in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Even leaving wet items lying around the house, such as beach towels and swimsuits, can create a problem, so make sure those who live in your home keep wet items off of the flooring. If there are large spills these will need to be sponged up and dried completely, as well. If you see that tell-tale black dust where wet items were left, you can use a bleach/water mixture to get rid of it. Carpeting and textiles will probably need a professional touch, however.
If you experience that musty smell whenever you go indoors, you may have a mold situation developing. Make sure your home is properly ventilated, and ensure that any appliances that produce moisture are vented to the outdoors. Using a dehumidifier is always helpful, as well; today’s energy-efficient homes can actually hold moisture indoors, so monitoring and managing the humidity levels in your home will help you keep the atmosphere healthy.
Mold is likely to grow on houseplants, and you will know it is happening if you see white or black dust on their leaves. Keep your indoor vegetation clean and dry by wiping down leaves periodically. Your local plant nursery will carry products that can help you here.
Whenever you repair or renovate your home, using mold-resistant products such as drywall or sheetrock can help you prevent mold infestations in the future.
Many types of mold can cause adverse reactions, so you should contact us here at SERVPRO of North Nashville right away no matter what type of mold you find in your home. You can actually experience many types of mold in the same house or structure, some of which are toxic. The help of a professional mold remediation company will be vital in this situation. Keep in mind that we handle water damage, fire damage, and clean up projects of all sizes, and we can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, as well. This franchise is individually owned and operated.
Checking Storm Damage To Your Roof
Winter storms often cause roof damage from ice, snow, and heavy rains. Now that Spring is just around the corner and it’s getting warmer, you may want to make an inspection of your home or business to see if you incurred any damage during the winter months. The roofing of any building is most likely to have been affected, so make sure it’s on your list.
Inspect For Leaks
Inspect your attic interior for leaks or water damage - this is a great way to know if there is an issue above on the roof. Water stains appearing on your ceiling or walls will tell you that you likely need repairs or a roof replacement.
Look For Signs Of Storm Damage
Look for signs of storm damage from the ground. Check for missing shingles or missing pieces of metal fascia, including any metal pieces displaced from around your chimney. You will want to carefully assess the condition of exhaust pipes, valleys, outer edges or angles where the roof meets the walls, as well. Any gaps or missing pieces can allow water to drip down or soak into places that will create more problems. Loose shingles will be affected in high winds, so those will need to be re-attached or replaced as soon as you identify them.
Hire A General Contractor
Fallen trees or large branches will be immediately apparent, of course. If that has occurred, stay out of your home until a professional can determine whether any structural damage occurred. You may need to hire a general contractor or roofer with a general contractor’s license if your home suffered structural damage; this may actually be something that is required by your insurance company. If the damage is really extensive, it may be necessary to obtain a permit, and a professional will know.
If you need a professional consultation or repair work for your roof following stormy weather, don’t hesitate to contact us here at SERVPRO of North Nashville. We work with all major insurance companies and provide a full range of roofing services, and we have all the skills and equipment necessary to restore your roof to its full operational condition. We can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, as well. This franchise is independently owned and operated.
Odor Removal After Fire Damage
A fire will affect everything in your home or business due to the heat, soot, and smoke. You’ll need the assistance of professionals who have the expertise and equipment that is needed to get your work or personal space back to normal as soon as possible. You won’t want to enter your home or business until all the smoke is cleared from your premises, since it won’t be healthy to breathe the accompanying fumes from burned materials; hiring a professional fire and smoke damage restoration contractor right away will ensure that your property is completely free from the after-effects of the fire as soon as possible. This type of company can also remove those unpleasant lingering odors, and that is important for both home and business owners, too.
Remove All Sources Of The Odor
The first and most important step in smoke odor removal is to remove all sources of the odor. This will include removing items that have been burned, such as cabinets, furniture, drywall, and anything that is non-salvageable. The items can then be either discarded or restored, depending on their condition.
Professional technicians will clean the salvageable items with the appropriate products. They pressure wash, scrub, and disinfect exterior surfaces like walls, windows, and decks, while interior walls and hard surfaces can be cleaned with mild soap and then rinsed thoroughly. Professionals will also clean inside cabinets, drawers, and closets, and wash household items, too. Carpets, furniture, and upholstery are usually cleaned off-site. All these steps should be taken right away so that the odors don’t penetrate any materials deeply - this makes them much harder to get rid of later.
Smoke, soot, and odors from a fire will penetrate the duct system and any dust or other particles existing inside the system. Cleaning the ducts early in the odor removal process is therefore essential to prevent the HVAC system from re-contaminating areas that have been cleaned. Professionals should be tasked with cleaning the ductwork, as it involves specialized equipment and procedures that are only available to them.
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries; our SERVPRO professionals study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration, fire restoration, mold remediation, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and other cleaning and restoration courses to ensure that our clients receive the highest quality results possible.
Here at SERVPRO of North Nashville, we are experts in handling the after-effects of a fire or flooding event, and we can help with mold remediation, too. Ask us about getting your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned! This franchise is independently owned and operated.
Creating An Emergency Ready Profile For Your Business
An Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) will help you plan for emergencies ahead of time; emergency preparedness is an important part of protecting your business investment. Your emergency strategy should be carefully devised to guide you if it becomes necessary to take decisive action during a disaster. SERVPRO has developed SERVPRO Ready Plan information, which will give you the security of emergency preparedness; your plan information can be downloaded into our Ready Plan app to instantly share with us so that the damage can be intercepted right when it occurs.
Here are some things to consider while developing your ERP:
Talk with your workforce and formulate as many disaster scenarios as possible. One of the worst calamities in the US occurred in the 2010 Nashville flood here in Tennessee, when the city experienced 14 inches of rain within 36 hours, for example; it was completely unexpected. Studying such events can help you effectively project other possible disasters in your effort to plan ahead wisely.
It is necessary to create an ERP that will protect everyone in the building. The Department of Homeland Security refers to this as “Protective Actions for Life Safety,” and includes:
- Fire Drills. Rehearsals for action during a fire.
- Sheltering. Sheltering staff during a natural disaster.
- Sheltering in Place. Sheltering staff during a man-made emergency.
- Lockdown. Eluding an active shooter.
Stabilizing an incident means preventing further damage or injury on the scene. This can be accomplished by training your employees in various rescue procedures including:
- First Aid and CPR
- Proper use of fire extinguishers
People will often panic during a disaster or dangerous event without any guidance, and that can lead to more damage and injuries. Adding an evacuation team to your ERP will help to alleviate situations of this kind and can include:
- Assigning point persons to guide evacuees out of the building.
- Appointing helpers to assist persons with disabilities.
- Training for the evacuation team to redirect employees to an alternate exit if an exit is blocked or too dangerous to use safely.
SERVPRO of North Nashville provides professional emergency cleaning and restoration services if you experience fire damage, water damage, mold infestations, biohazard situations, and more. We can help you devise an effective Emergency Readiness Plan for your North Nashville business, and we can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, too - ask us how! This franchise is independently owned and operated.
Biohazard Cleaning For Your Nashville Business
Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences for you and your workforce, and a failure to properly remove such substances can contribute to ongoing unhealthy and dangerous environments. The SERVPRO of North Nashville team is trained and certified to safely remove such biohazards and dispose of them properly following OSHA and current health regulations.
We are equipped with the necessary safety equipment and cleaning products that will help return any unhealthy environments into safe and clean spaces, and we can be onsite right away if you have experienced a situation that you believe involves biohazard materials. To help you maintain a safe environment, you can refer to our Biohazard Emergency Tips - Until Help Arrives Guide and follow these tips to protect yourself, your workforce, and your property until we arrive onsite.
The decontamination of your business due to serious accidents, sewage backups, chemical spills, or other biohazards can be both dangerous and traumatic, and our specialized training and experience is a vital part of our ability to resolve circumstances like these.
SERVPRO of North Nashville provides cleanup and recovery services for many biohazard situations, including:
- Suicide/death accidents
- Homicide cleanups
- Blood cleanup
- Accident cleanup
- Hoarding scenes
- Animal waste/remains
- Chemical spills
- Tear gas cleanup
- Meth lab cleanup
- Sewage backups
- Crime scene residues
The word “biohazard” is a broad term covering many situations that involve dangerous materials. You won’t be able to determine the severity and precise agent of a biohazard yourself without testing by biohazard professionals, so it is important to treat every biohazard risk with great care.
The SERVPRO of North Nashville team of qualified and highly trained professionals is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week; our highly trained technicians are standing by to help you in the event of water damage, fire damage, a biohazard event, or even mold management and remediation. We will always treat your property and the people involved with the greatest empathy and respect in the face of trying circumstances. We can get your business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, too; ask us how!
Can Hardwood Floors Be Restored After Water Damage?
Any time water saturates hardwood, that wood will absorb the water through its pores and this causes warping and discoloration. If your hardwood floors have undergone a flood of some kind, you may be wondering if they can be restored. The answer is yes, and here are the steps to follow to do just that:
Remove Water. Soak up all standing water as quickly as possible. The first 24 hours are critical and if you can remove the water and dry your floors completely, you may be able to avoid serious and irreversible damage.
Refinish. You will need to refinish the wood, beginning with sanding. This repair can bring your floors back to pre-flood condition and will save you all the time and money involved in having your damaged flooring removed and new flooring installed.
- The first thing you can do yourself is to find the source of water and take the necessary steps to stop the flow if this is related to a pipe or appliance on your premises.
- If you have carpeting on top of your hardwood floor, remove the carpet and the padding immediately, as well as any other soaked items that may be in contact with your wood surfaces.
- You can use a shop-vac to extract as much water as you can; if you don’t have one on your premises they are readily available for rent at any hardware store. You should rely on the professionals if the amount of water is really extensive, however.
- Prevent mold and preserve your hardwood floors by using a non-sudsy disinfectant, and then vacuum again to remove standing water.
- Run your heater, air conditioner, or dehumidifier constantly to keep the air dry in the affected areas. This will help to prevent unpleasant odors and may provide a deterrent to mold, too.
Professional Help. Contact a professional water damage restoration service if you have experienced extensive water damage. They are experts in this area and will have the personnel and equipment necessary to get your water damage managed both quickly and properly. Remember that your restoration professionals can help you with carpet-cleaning after a water damage event, too. If your area has suffered a weather disaster, these companies will probably have a waitlist, so be sure to reach out as soon as you can in this situation.
The team here at SERVPRO of North Nashville has the skills and equipment necessary to get your floors back to pre-damage condition, and we are always here to help with repairs and renovations to any area of your property if they have been affected by water damage. We also handle fire damage, and we are mold remediation experts, too. We can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned. Ask us how!
Steps To Take After Storm Damage To Your Home
It’s the time of year we will be experiencing stormy weather here in Middle Tennessee, and any smart homeowner knows it’s best to be prepared. This isn’t just what you do before the storm comes, however - it is also having everything in place for the necessary repairs and cleanup projects just in case. Issues such as power losses, debris, and standing water can create challenges even after the storm has moved on and the safety of your home and loved ones can be affected.
Below you will find some steps to take after storm damage to your home:
There may be a lot of debris, such as fallen branches or fences that have come down, that you will need to manage. Make sure to never operate machinery used in these areas while you are on your own, and wear protective eye- and head-gear while you are operating such machinery (such as chainsaws and chippers, for example). Take note of anyone who may be in the vicinity and be aware of your surroundings while you are operating such machinery and tools. If you have even the slightest uncertainty about clearing storm damage, wait for professional assistance.
If you have experienced flooding and if there is standing water in your home, keep people clear of this area. If it can be done safely, electricity in that part of the home should be shut off, but be sure to NEVER walk through standing water when electricity is engaged. It will be vital to get standing water removed as soon as possible to avoid contamination and mold. Professional cleanup companies can be onsite right away to handle damage after storms.
If you have tree damage to your home or property, always make sure there are no power lines down nearby before you start any cleanup. If there are, wait until utility crews can remove them before beginning your cleanup.
The overall structure of your home should be professionally assessed if you have experienced storm damage. These professionals will check power sources, whether the home is leaning if wiring is exposed, and other unsafe conditions.
If your property has sustained substantial damage, don’t clean up anything before your insurance company does an inspection. The damages may not be covered, otherwise; if you’re not sure, employ a professional who can do an inspection and give you an estimate for any repairs.
Cleaning up after a major weather event can be challenging. Here at SERVPRO of North Nashville we can take care of these kinds of projects for both your home or business right away and get you back to normal. We handle storm, fire, and water damage, and mold remediation/prevention as well. We can also get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, too. We are available 24/7, so ask us how!
Safety Tips For Using Your Space Heater
While space heaters provide wonderful warmth during the colder months, they also can be safety hazards if they aren’t properly set up and monitored. Our SERVPRO team is always concerned with your safety, and today we are sharing safety tips for you to follow when you are using a space heater:
Carefully place your space heater at least 3 feet away from flammable objects. If any objects come in contact with the space heater’s electric heating face or a hot surface, this is a fire risk. Never wrap anything over your space heater and keep it away from rugs, furniture, bedding, clothing, window treatments, or other flammable materials. Your space heater should also always sit on a level surface so that it doesn’t accidentally tip over or fall.
Plug your space heater directly into an outlet instead of using an extension cord; there is a much higher chance of your space heater overheating or otherwise malfunctioning if it is plugged into an extension cord or an outlet strip. You can minimize these dangers by plugging your space heater directly into an outlet that has the power capacity necessary to fire it up and keep it running.
When you’re not using your space heater, turn it off. You will save energy by doing so, as well as ensuring that there will not be an accidental fire.
You should clean your space heater and wipe it down regularly to ensure that no dangerous overheating can occur. You should also carefully monitor your space heater to make sure you know that it is functioning properly. If anything seems out of order, turn it off and unplug it right away until a professional can inspect it.
Space heaters should never be run in places that are humid or wet, due to the dangerous situation that water and electricity will create.
Here at SERVPRO of North Nashville, we care about your safety and are fire damage restoration experts. If you have experienced any disastrous event, such as a fire, flood or storm, call us right away so that we can help you get back to normal as soon as possible.
HVAC Maintenance In The Winter Months
The colder months are almost here and now would be a good time to plan for the maintenance of your HVAC system. Having a routine in place will be a good way to ensure that your system is in good working order when you need it most.
You may want to hire a professional to come to inspect your HVAC system ahead of the colder months; if any maintenance is needed, they can take care of it on the spot. A professional will inspect and clean all of your unit’s wiring and mechanisms and will be able to determine if you have any outstanding issues that need to be addressed. They can also recommend routine maintenance that you can do during the winter months to keep everything in good shape.
Some simple, regular maintenance chores that you can do to prolong your system’s life and increase its efficiency between those professional inspections and maintenance visits are:
- Get a high-efficiency, pleated air filter for your system
- Keep your heating units and AC free of pollen, leaves, and grass
- Keep two feet of space clear around your outdoor AC and heating units
- Inspect refrigerant lines every month
- Replace the humidifier filter and turn the water back on in the Fall
- Inspecting the heat exchanger, heating elements, heat pump, burner, and the ignition system
- Change the filters on heating equipment
- Clean drain lines and pans
- Check thermostat and controls for proper measurement and regulations
- Inspect fan motors, blowers, vents, and ductwork
- Lubricate moving parts
- Replace worn-out belts and pulleys
- Inspect electrical components and connections as well as replacing batteries
- Check for gas leaks and flue gas passageways
Inspecting, preparing, and maintaining your HVAC throughout the winter will ensure that your interior environment is as comfortable as possible and will also ensure that you are far less likely to experience equipment failures when you least expect them.
The team at SERVPRO of North Nashville has all the experience, skill, and equipment necessary to keep your HVAC working perfectly during even the coldest weather. We are also experienced in large cleanup projects you may need to recover from fire damage or water damage, and we are mold remediation experts, too.
First Steps To Take After A Fire In Your Business
You have worked hard to get your business to where it is today, overcoming all challenges and moving forward despite the ups and downs of the market. A fire in your business can do a lot of damage to that business. Here at SERVPRO, we are here to help you recover from a disastrous event such as a fire, as well as flooding, accidents, and other unforeseen situations. To help you today, we are sharing the first steps you will need to take after a fire:
- Insurance Agent. You will need to contact your insurance agent before any fire damage is repaired or clean-up is begun. Be prepared with information on what is covered, what needs to be repaired or replaced, and how to find reputable companies that can take care of repairs to your property for you during this time.
- Important documents. Retrieve all important documents and take note of any that may have been affected by the fire. SERVPRO is trained and equipped to restore documents that have been damaged by fire or water, so let us know right away if we can help.
- Soot. Limit movement about your building to prevent soot particles from becoming embedded in the upholstery of furniture, carpeting, curtains, and other materials. Place towels or tarps on your rugs, upholstered furniture, and foot traffic areas to help alleviate this kind of damage.
- Appliances and Equipment. All appliances and equipment will need to be aired out to ensure that no damage is sustained from lingering soot or smoke. You can prop open doors and windows to help clear out rooms. Check wiring for ceiling fans before turning them on; the wiring could have been damaged during the fire.
- Walls and Surfaces. Don’t want to wash any walls or painted surfaces, or clean carpets, etc. without contacting a fire damage specialist. Walls and other surfaces need to be properly cleaned by a professional before any repair is done.
Here at SERVPRO of North Nashville, we are ready to help you in the event of fire damage to your home or business, and we have all the skills, tools, and experience necessary to get you back to work right away. Our SERVPRO of North Nashville team is also experienced in the areas of water damage and mold prevention and remediation. Let us know how we can help!