How to Avoid a Moldy Basement. Service Master Restore of Meridian, ID.
There are many types of mold that can be found in a home, whether the problem is caused by faulty construction, water damage, leaky plumbing, or other issues.
But what some people report is, despite no evident water damage or plumbing situations, no heavy rains, to name a few issues, they still get mold in their basements, often on the inside of their exterior block walls.
Nobody wants that. Mold can be dangerous to people who have exposure sensitivities to it.
What can you do to avoid a moldy basement problem? There are several simple steps and procedures…
Know your numbers
It’s important to understand humidity and monitor those moisture levels in your home. A simple hygrometer you can buy online or in a retail store gives you this information, as easy as a thermometer tells you the temperature.
Use a dehumidifier
Basements are known to be humid and damp, even with no evident moisture intrusion issues. A dehumidifier can remove many pints of water from the air each day. You can choose one that you have to dump the water from on a schedule, or have it drain automatically into a floor drain or sump pump. You will be amazed how much water you can remove and keep mold at bay with a dehumidifier.
Use exhaust fans
Simple fans can be installed that move moisture-laden air from the inside to the outside, like you would do with a bathroom exhaust fan. This might be a chore for the pros, so have them take a look at your home and see what options they might offer.
Inspect outside drainage
One issue that is common is moisture building up on the outside of block walls, and this moisture can seep into the interior walls of those blocks, adding too much humidity in the basement. Ensure all ground water flows away from your home and doesn’t puddle up against the walls.
This advice is for common issues. But if the worst happens, such as a broken pipe or water flooding into your home, now you are into a serious issue. Do the right thing and call your water damage restoration company today. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Categories of Mold Contamination. Service Master Restore of Meridian, ID.
When things get damp, humid, musty, smelly… there could be trouble brewing, even if you can’t see the source of the issue.
When your nose senses suspicious odors, especially in areas such as dark, enclosed basements, as one example, thoughts often go to, “Do I have mold?”
It’s a concern everyone should have, because specific types of mold, depending on an individual’s sensitives, can be hazardous to health.
While this topic and potential issues aren’t meant to alarm you, being informed is important and a protection to yourself and to your family. And one way to be informed is to know the various types of mold, at least a few of the common ones found in homes.
This type of mold is common as well, and normally shows up in damp areas, such as a shower, sink, under cabinets, and dark areas that may be humid. This type of mold usually, to those sensitive to it, causes asthma attacks and other allergic reactions.
One common mold found indoors is aspergillus. It isn’t considered a substantial health threat, but it can cause issues with those who are sensitive to molds. Some severe reactions can include inflammation of the lungs, infection of the respiratory system, and other symptomatic reactions to exposure to this mold spore.
This mold grows best on wooden surfaces, such as natural wood furnishings, and also in paint and wallpaper, to name a few. It often exhibits a black/pink color. Over time, this mold can cause severe allergic reactions to sensitive individuals.
The last mold we will cover here is often caused by some type of water damage situation. It can usually be found in drywall, especially when wet from water damage or other moisture intrusion. You usually identify this type of mold by its musty or “old” odor in the home.
Often found in soil, cellulose and plant debris, in both cool and warm areas, on various surfaces such as carpet, wood floors, and fabrics. Exposure can cause breathing challenges and respiratory issues.
These are just a few types of mold common to homes. Do your research and you will find a very long list of potential mold threats; some of them sound extremely risky to be around.
Remember, if you have any questions about water damage, mold contamination, mold spores, musty odors, and potential health threats to your family and home, call your disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Categories of Water Damage. Service Master Restore of Meridian, ID.
Even the smallest amount of water that intrudes into your home can quickly gravitate from a nuisance to a significant issue. And a water intrusion that involves hundreds or thousands of gallons of water may mean you become homeless for a short time, while the repair is performed
Did you know that water losses are given classifications? One water loss isn’t always like the next. There are differences.
Many water damage situations involve a basement, and often a sump pump failure. Others are from leaky pipes or even broken pipes. When this occurs, along with other types of water loss situations, did you know the water type is classified by professional water damage restoration experts as “clean?” That’s right. Even if it looks dirty, because of a lower amount of potentially hazardous contaminants in the water, it is given a “Category 1” classification. However, this type of water loss can quickly escalate into a more dangerous situation, if not removed and affected materials dried out quickly.
Then we have water damage situations that may contain potentially hazardous contaminants and bacteria that could be harmful to your health. An example would be a toilet that overflows, that doesn’t involve raw sewage. This would be a “Category 2” classification. A Category 1 can become a Category 2 if left unattended, because of bacteria and microbial growth occurring over time.
And it gets worse from here. A “Category 3” water damage situation is “black” water and is always considered dangerous to the health of occupants in a home or building. An example would be a raw sewage backup and contamination. Another would be flood waters, since you aren’t sure of the source of the water or where it has been. The contamination involved would dictate wearing personal protective equipment and even respirators. Never risk your health.
For Category 1 and Category 2, there is a chance you could extract and dry the area yourself. Often, it ends up in frustration and even mold growth. But for Category 3, never attempt this on your own. In fact, play it safe. Always call a professional water damage company when you have any type of flooding situation in your home. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Seasonal Mold Removal. Service Master Restore of Meridian, ID.
There are many types of mold, and you never want to put yourself or your family at risk when you see some in your house. When it is in your home, it’s time to call a mold professional. Fast!
But outside the house? That’s a different matter altogether.
One fact people don’t always appreciate is mold is everywhere. It’s a product of nature, and found inside and outside. When you find it inside, the mold spores can become concentrated, and depending on the severity of allergic reactions, can even be dangerous. That’s why mold contamination in a structure must be remediated by a mold professional.
Mold that is outside your home is especially noticeable when it is on your home, such as the wood, vinyl or brick siding, or horizontal areas such as decking. When that happens, don’t panic… this mold is where it should be and isn’t much of a danger, unless you or those in your household are prone to allergen exposure associated with mold spores.
If you don’t have allergen issues, then a regular cleaning of the exterior of your home should be a simple task. You have several options you can utilize to accomplish this.
Clean and scrub
The oldest, tried-and-true method of cleaning the exterior of your home from soil, debris, and mold, involves a bucket, brush, sudsing detergent, ladders, and hoses. Using a pump-up sprayer to wet down the exterior means you can get better contact and soak time, and your scrubbing and “elbow grease” efforts are minimized.
Choose a small section at a time. If your cleaning solution dries out, you must re-apply solution and start over. Wash the section, rinse it thoroughly, and allow to dry and then inspect. It may take a couple of cleanings to get the results you want. Any moldy soils that you wash away, make sure you don’t get them on your clothing and bring them inside.
This is the most effective, time-saving method of cleaning the exterior of your home and removing mold growth.
You can purchase power washing equipment inexpensively, and you can spend hundreds of dollars as well. The inexpensive version will be electric, and the expensive version powered by gasoline. Either way works well; gas powered versions will be more powerful and faster to use.
As with any surface, apply your detergent and allow it to soak. Then power wash the exterior, washing off soil and mold away from you. Always be safe. Any contact you have with mold, be sure to wash off completely and don’t track it into your home.
Use a pro
Your favorite cleaning and restoration company knows how to tackle this type of chore best. Do the smart thing and save some time and even some money. And headaches as well. Call them up. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Sump Pump Misery. Service Master Restore of Meridian, ID.
Your home may be nice and warm — and dry — but if you have a basement and a sump pump, anything can happen if there is a failure of your trusty remover of ground water.
Sump pumps work to keep basements dry in certain geographic locations, and we trust our own pump will continue as a reliable sentinel of protection. Yet, as is the case with any mechanical device, failure will eventually happen.
How long should your sump pump work? It depends on several factors, including how hard it works and the mineral content of the groundwater it is pumping out. Anything can happen. The experts say that a sump pump should last an average of 10 years, so do the math.
How old is your sump pump? It might be a good idea to consult a plumber (or do it yourself) and replace it before it fails.
How they work
Sump pumps work on demand. When the ground is dry, they obviously don’t do anything. But when it begins to rain, or groundwater begins to rise naturally, the float switch rises and the pump starts up, removing water to the outside, usually to a storm drain. When the water level lowers, the float switch follows and turns off the pump.
Sometimes, the float switch can become stuck in the “up” position, which means the pump will run continuously. Most people can hear their pump and if you notice it is running continuously, go look and check the float. If the float is down, and the pump is running, it is time to consider replacement.
Over time you will get to know the normal sound of your pump and anything out of the ordinary will get your attention. Don’t ignore an abnormal sound. A flooded basement is no fun.
The cost of a sump pump can be as low as $50 to several hundred dollars, depending on the model you choose. Larger capacity pumps cost more, obviously.
Installing a sump pump can be straightforward, simple. When you purchase a new pump, such as at your favorite hardware store, ask for instructions. Some of them come with the pump, but the experts who sell you the pump also know what to do.
You can also call a plumber. That shouldn’t be too expensive as a professional will make quick work of the task. And you have the peace of mind that the pump is installed correctly and working as it is designed.
Of course, if your pump ever fails you and your basement floods, you need professional help to clean up the mess. Call your favorite water damage restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Power Cord Safety. Service Master Restore of Meridian, ID.
We all need power. Especially of the electrical variety. Without it, nothing works. Your appliances that run on batteries might work for a little while, but without a charge, they die. Anything that is plugged into an outlet is worthless without that spark of energy we rely on virtually every minute of every day.
And… when your power goes out… you panic!
One aspect of power and electricity that is often ignored or forgotten is what carries it to various devices in your home. That’s right… the power cord plays an integral part of using electricity and should also be a concern when it comes to safety issues.
In addition to the installed power cord, extension cords are frequently used to increase the range or reach of electrical outlets. No matter which type of cord you are using and the length, consider these safety tips to protect your home and family.
Check for damage
Make sure your power cords don’t have any cracks or breaks and aren’t frayed in any way. Replace rather than repair.
A good fit
When you plug a cord into a wall outlet, it should be snug, not loose and falling out of the socket.
The third prong
It may be tempting, but some outlets, such as in older homes, may not have the third hole. It’s an important safety component of modern outlets, as it grounds the electrical current. Never remove the third prong from cords.
Match cords to usage
Choose cords that are of proper weight and length and can carry the electrical load appropriate for the device being powered. Ask your electrician for details, if needed.
Place them carefully
Make sure cords are placed where they won’t be a tripping hazard, and never put them under rugs or other furniture, especially heavy items, which can crimp and break the cords.
If the unthinkable occurs and you do experience a fire of any kind, and related smoke damage, do the right thing. Call your favorite disaster restoration company. It pays to call a pro!
Electricity Exposed! Service Master Restore of Meridian, ID.
Electricity. It’s an amazing force of nature and used by virtually everyone in the world, in some form or other.
For most homeowners, and even those working in commercial buildings, the number of appliances that use electricity is mind-boggling. With that comes the issue of safety. After all, if you have a dozen (or more!) items all humming with power in your home, odds are that eventually there could be an issue with electrical safety.
Don’t let that happen to you. Give these practical, household appliance tips some consideration to keep your family and loved ones safe while enjoying the benefits of anything powered by electricity. Although electricity can become exposed, you don’t want that! Smoke, fire, and other damage can occur.
An “appliance” doesn’t have to be a stove or refrigerator. The term can refer to smaller items, such as space heaters. All appliances that use electricity generate some type of heat and can become unsafe if electrical connections become loose or damaged. That can happen with normal wear and tear and age of the appliance. Even gas appliances, such as an oven or stove, most likely use electricity to ignite the flame, or even keep track of the time of day.
The job of certain types of appliances is to generate heat, and a lot of it, which automatically elevates the safety concern in the home. These can be toasters, toaster ovens, regular ovens and stovetops, space heaters, clothes and hair curling irons, hair dryers and more. The list can be extensive. Make sure, when applicable, there is plenty of space from anything that generates heat and anything that can ignite. Many homes have suffered fire and smoke damage because someone set down a clothes iron on something ignitable or the toaster was too close to the side of the refrigerator and papers attached to it caught on fire.
We all know this, as well: When there is electricity and water, shock hazards can occur, along with possible fire ignition. Analyze each appliance and make sure they aren’t too close to any water source.
Next month, we’ll discuss another appliance safety feature that you might be wondering about… power cords!
And remember, if anything does happen in your home, whether it is a fire and smoke damage situation or flooded basement, do the best thing to bring conditions back to normal. Call your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How (and Where) Is Your Fire Extinguisher? Service Master Restore of Meridian, ID.
Protecting family and loved ones from danger that can occur in the home is a top concern and a priority for all.
Besides ensuring your home has an adequate number of fire alarms and smoke detectors, that they are placed in appropriate locations, and are in proper working order, there’s another factor involved with protecting members of a household.
It’s fire. A house fire is an unthinkable event, yet one that occurs more often than you might think.
Some of the more common house fires start in the kitchen, often from cooking. A small grease fire can quickly grow and become devastating. Others can ignite from faulty wiring or over-loaded or overworked appliances. Still others are accidents, such as from turning over a kerosene-fired heater or a burning candle. There are many others.
When any of those events occur, being ready for action is vital. Calling the fire department is at the top of the list. Battling even the smallest of fires without help on the way can be deadly.
When a fire does occur, it’s natural to grab the fire extinguisher. But… where is it? Why not do a simple test. As you read this, ask those in the home right now if they know where the fire extinguisher is located. You might be surprised by the responses. But don’t get mad at anyone. Being unfamiliar with the location of the fire extinguisher is common.
Then there are various types of fire extinguishers. Which one should you have? That’s a question you should ask of your fire-fighting professionals. Not having the proper extinguisher can be as deadly as not having one at all.
So far, this discussion has been about one fire extinguisher. Yet you should have them placed strategically throughout the home, especially areas prone to fire. This could be several extinguishers of various types for a single dwelling.
Finally, everyone in the household needs to know how to operate the extinguisher. According to FEMA, there are four basic steps, that could be remembered with the acronym PASS:
1.Pull the pin and hold the extinguisher away from you and release the locking mechanism.
2.Aim low and point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
3.Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
4.Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
Of upmost importance is listening to the experts. Contact your local authorities for the absolute best fire prevention advice.
And if the unthinkable happens, and a fire does occur in your home, don’t forget your disaster restoration professionals are ready for action. They can restore your home and belongings. After all, it pays to call a pro!