Archived Why SERVPRO Blog Posts
How To Stay Safe During a Flood
Let us help when you experience storm damage.
Flood Safety Tips
Storms can create unexpected circumstances in Sumner, WA. One minute your home may be fine, but the next you have rising waters in your basement. Because the situation can change so quickly, you need to know how to stay safe during a storm-caused flood. Keep these flood safety tips in mind whenever bad weather approaches.
Stay Out of the Water
Did you know that as little as six inches of moving water can cause you to lose your balance? Because it doesn't take high waters, you need to be careful whenever you have to walk through any type of flood. If you must walk through a flood, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Use a walking stick.
- Hold on to something sturdy.
- Walk quickly and cautiously.
While the waters may not be moving in your house, they can still pose a health and safety risk. However, as a homeowner, you cannot always avoid the flooded parts of your space. You also want to avoid standing water outside of your house even if you're in your car.
Avoid Electrical Equipment
Water conducts electricity, so you want to avoid electrical equipment whenever you are in standing water. If you know there is electricity running through your basement flood, you should turn off the power to your home before anyone enters the lower levels for the best flood safety. Even if you are damp and not currently in water, you should avoid the electricity.
Call for Help
Storm-caused flooding can trap you in the upper levels of your home. If you need emergency help during a storm, you should call someone as soon as you can. After the danger has passed, you may need help restoring your home. Getting in touch with storm restoration services can make your cleanup process much easier.
The heavy rains of a storm may cause flooding in Sumner, WA. Knowing the best flood safety techniques can keep you and your home in one piece during a disaster.
5 Common Types of Household Mold
5 Common Types of Household Mold
It's not uncommon to discover mold growing in your Puyallup, WA, home. Mold growth can occur under several different circumstances, depending on the type of fungi in question. Before you begin your mold remediation process, you should identify which species is the culprit.
More commonly referred to as the infamous black mold, Stachybotrys is perhaps the most common type of residential mold. Much like the name implies, it has a dark green or black color and may feel slimy to the touch. It's very common in places that come into frequent contact with water, or in areas that have recently suffered some form of water damage.
This species of mold is often confused for black mold, as it thrives under the same damp or high humidity conditions, has a very similar appearance and is just about as common as its cousin. Instead of feeling slimy, Alternaria has an almost velvety texture due to the wispy dark green or brown hairs that sprout on its surface.
Once again, this type of mold growth is quite common in water damaged structures. When it first appears, it boasts a white or gray color before slowly fading to dark brown or black over time. You're more likely to smell this species before you see it, due to its musty odor.
You should check for this type of fungus behind your wallpaper or on painted wooden surfaces. This mold appears pink or brown in color when it's young and slowly fades to black over time, much like chaetomium.
This versatile species of mold can thrive in both warm and cold environments. You're most likely to find it growing in your carpeting, upholstery and other types of fabrics. It boasts a soft, suede-like texture and green coloring.
You could potentially find several different mold species growing in your home, so it's important that you know which common varieties to look for. Contact mold remediation experts like SERVPRO of Puyallup/Sumner for assistance if you do discover mold growth in your home.
How to Prevent Black Mold in Your HVAC System
Walls in the basement were damaged by water and mold
Black Mold Is Very Dangerous But Easily Preventable
By now, everyone has heard of black mold. In case you haven't, it is a dangerous form of toxic mold that grows in a variety of environments. It is named for its color and can cause a lot of effects, but there are ways to prevent it.
Keep Your Filters Clean
If you use replaceable filters, replace them every 30 to 60 days, depending on your business. If you have washable filters, make sure you wash them regularly with an approved mold preventative cleaner. Not only will this save you money in the long run, but it also prevents other issues.
Look for Wet Spots
Wet spots can appear in several ways. Some of these ways are:
- Brown spots
- Sweating ducts
- Grey areas
- Black spots
When you see wet spots, it is extremely important to dry them as soon as possible because black mold grows very quickly.
Have Your Ducts Professionally Cleaned
You should have your air ducts professionally inspected and cleaned at least twice per year. This should happen in the spring and fall and can prevent mold or mildew build-up. It isn't difficult to find mold cleaning companies in Enumclaw, WA.
Keep an Eye on Humidity
Assuming you have clean ducts, you can use a hygrometer to measure the amount of humidity in, on or near your ductwork. These instruments are not expensive and can be placed almost anywhere you need them. You can also use a portable meter to measure humidity in whatever area you need to.
Fix Water Damage Immediately
In the event of a flood or leak, fix the damage immediately. It takes just 24 to 48 hours for mold to start to grow. Damaged ductwork and drywall need to be removed and replaced before mold has a chance to form.
Black mold is very dangerous but easily preventable. With a little bit of work, you can stop a major problem before it starts.
How Insurers Benefit from the SERVPRO Franchise Model
Our team prides ourselves in being "Faster to any size disaster," and provides a 24-hour emergency service 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
How the SERVPRO Franchise Model Benefits Insurers
When a claim is filed that requires remediation and restoration services in Sumner, WA, it means that work needs to get started fast. Since it is vital the work is done right, choosing a SERVPRO franchise ensures that happens. This innovative business model was developed to maximize every part of the restoration process. Below are four reasons to choose this franchise.
1. Locally Owned
With more than 1,900 locations throughout the United States and Canada, help is right around the corner. No matter the disaster, you can be confident that you will have 24/7 access to a person to get the claim rolling and a team of professionals within two hours of nearly any zip code.
2. Corporate Backed
Along with have a local team right around the corner, you also get the peace of mind that the team is backed by a corporate team ready to serve. From experts in insurance to large loss emergency services, corporate backing means ongoing support and expertise to handle any size of a disaster.
3. Ongoing Training
As a franchise, it must adhere to the strict standards set by corporate. That means that all local technicians have been IICRC certified and receive ongoing training. Each new franchise must participate in a 15-day training program at the corporate training facility. After that, every technician must complete regular training to maintain certifications and stay up to date on the latest in the industry.
4. Preferred Vendor
As an insurance provider, you want the claim to go as smoothly as possible. When you chose a local franchise backed by a corporate team, it means you are getting the services of an established company. With more than 50 years of experience in the industry, SERVPRO has become a preferred vendor for many companies.
A SERVPRO franchise is much more than a reliable, local team of professionals. When choosing it is a provider, you get the backing of a corporate support team and a brand name trusted for decades.
How To Save Books and Documents From Water Damage
Document restoration is a delicate process, but SERVPRO professionals, have the training and tools necessary to do the job well.
How To Prevent Water Damage To Books And Documents
When your home has been hit by flooding or other water damage, your family documents, treasured diaries, and other important books and papers are at serious risk. The moisture and humidity are certain to do serious harm. What can you do to prevent further damage? How should you handle document restoration?
Identify the Extent of the Damage
The first step is to identify the type of damage your papers, documents, and books have suffered. For the best treatment results, you need to identify how much water you'll be dealing with:
- High Moisture Content: High humidity or a light sprinkling of water through an open window could cause pages to curl or become discolored. Without attention, mold could develop in affected areas.
- Absorbed Water: A leaky window near a bookshelf or a stream of water from an upstairs room into a lower study could expose books and documents to damage within the very fibers of the papers.
- Submerged Items: Flooding is a cause of serious damages. Water gets between all the pages and works its way through entire storage boxes or file cabinets. In some cases, writing becomes so blurred that documents are no longer readable.
Contact a Professional
As soon as you can safely do so, contact a professional to dry and restore important documents and treasured papers. SERVPRO provides document restoration within their own facilities. By handling document drying internally, costs can be kept lower, and quality can be monitored directly.
Inventory Affected Books and Documents
While you wait for drying and restoration professionals to arrive, resist the urge to move papers around. When documents are wet, they are at their most fragile state. In some cases, those papers may have been exposed to toxic materials. Instead of moving books and documents, make a list of the documents that have been affected (to the best of your ability without moving them.) It's helpful to know if there are birth certificates, family histories, or financial records in the stack.
Document restoration is a delicate process, but SERVPRO professionals in Auburn, WA, have the training and tools necessary to do the job well. The best time to contact them is before further damages are done.
Using Bread To Understand Mold
All mold needs an organic food source, and most molds have favorites.
Understanding Mold Through The Use of Bread
You have many responsibilities for maintaining your home in Graham, WA, and staying mold-free is an important one. Reviewing your experience with bread mold is a great way to understand the impact of mold in your home. Why does mold grow on bread?
1. Mold spores are everywhere.
Most people store their bread in a plastic bag, yet mold will still grow thanks to the fact that spores are lightweight and travel through the air. The little bit of exposure your bread gets from opening the bag is enough to allow spore-containing air to enter. This is similar to the way mold spores get in your home: traveling on the air and entering through doors, windows and vents.
2. Mold grows in a moist environment.
You don’t see croutons covered in mold and that’s because there is not enough moisture. People love bread when it is soft and moist, and that moisture is exactly what fungus growth needs to thrive. That’s why controlling relative humidity and repairing water leaks are both important jobs to prevent mold growth in the home.
3. Mold needs a food source.
All mold needs an organic food source, and most molds have favorites. When it comes to bread mold, there are certain varieties that tend to colonize on bread. This is also true for homes, since most building materials are made from cellulose-based materials, and the molds that prefer that food source tend to colonize there.
Can’t You Just Change the Temperature?
While most molds prefer a warmer temperature, many varieties can handle a cooler environment, which is why you find fridge mold. You can prevent mold by freezing bread, but you can’t freeze your home.
With the lessons learned from bread mold, you can see that moisture control is the key to preventing household mold problems. If you already have mold, it’s important to get help fast since mold multiplies rapidly. Expert mold remediators are knowledgeable and use a variety of techniques to help prevent the further spread of mold during the clean-up process.
Tips for Grilling Safely
One way to help prevent a barbeque fire before you even begin to cook is by placing your grill in a safe location.
Grilling Safety Recommendations
If you enjoy grilling at your Sumner, WA, home then you may already know some of the important safety steps for avoiding a grill fire. If you’re new to grilling, then some of these tips recommended by many fire damage professionals may help.
1. Before You Grill
One way to help prevent a barbeque fire before you even begin to cook, is by placing your grill in a safe location. It’s recommended to have a debris free area away from the house, awnings or overhanging trees. It’s also recommended to clean your grill before use, and on propane units to check all the connections to ensure there are no leaks.
2. While You Grill
There are also steps to help avoid a grill fire while you cook. Never leave your grill unattended, and keep children and pets away from the unit while it is on. Keep an eye out for any embers or sparks that may occur during the cooking process to ensure they don’t land anywhere where they can catch. If you smell gas while using a propane unit turn the grill off immediately. If the smell persists call the fire department.
3. After You Grill
You can help prevent fire and smoke damage by following safety steps after you finish cooking. Ensure that your grill is properly turned off after use, or if using a charcoal grill that all the coals or embers are completely cool before they are removed from the grill. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper cleaning.
With the right safety steps in place you can prevent a grill fire at your home. Keep your grilling area clear of debris, make sure the grill is placed away from any area where sparks could catch while you cook, and always make sure any embers are put out when the grilling is complete. If you do experience a fire, a restoration professional may be able to help.
Tips for Making a Fire Claim
If your home has fire damage and you need restoration service, SERVPRO is here! we are always ready for your needs.
How to File A Fire Claim
A fire in your home in Puyallup, WA, can leave you with a million things to do running through your mind. The fire restoration process is fairly straightforward, but you want to make sure to do everything in the right order so that you get the most money you can when you file your insurance claim. Here are some tips for how to handle the process well.
1. Make Your Calls
One of the first things you should do is make some calls. Obviously, the company that carries your fire insurance needs to know about the damage to your home. It is also advisable to call fire remediation specialists. The sooner they can arrive on the scene, the better, particularly if you need emergency cleanup to prevent secondary damage. They can also help you itemize costs, which may be helpful when filing your claim.
2. Secure Your Home
The insurance adjuster will likely check to make sure you have taken the correct measures to protect your home from further damage. After all, the more damage your house sustains, the more it costs to fix it. If you do not board up windows and doors, or if you leave holes in your roof or skylights open, the insurance company may not cover part of the damages as this looks like neglect of the property.
3. Leave Damage Alone
It may seem counterintuitive to delay the beginning of the fire restoration process until professional help arrives, but that's exactly what you need to do. Any smoke cleaning you do may cause more damage. If it doesn't, it can still hurt your chances of getting a full settlement, because the insurance company is not going to pay for damage the adjuster doesn't see. No damage remediation should begin until the entire area has been photographed and documented.
A large part of filing a claim is knowing how to prove the damage. By following these three tips, you can increase the likelihood of getting a settlement with your insurance company that covers most, if not all, of the fire restoration services you require.
Top 3 Places Mold Can Hide in Your Home
The mold in this image was caused by moisture from a leaking pipe that went unnoticed for a period of time.
Top 3 Mold-Hiding Spots In Your Home
You may think that your Graham, WA, home is free of mold growth. However, mold can hide in many places, almost completely out of sight, and spread across drywall, flooring and even interior walls. Knowing where mold likes to hide can be the first step in targeting and wiping out this unwelcome invader before it takes a permanent hold on your home.
1. Under Sink Cabinets
Hiding exposed plumbing with wooden cabinets can be a clever and attractive décor choice. However, if those pipes develop a slow leak that goes undetected for weeks, you may not notice it until the mold spreads enough to cause an unpleasant odor. It is wise to check your kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets at least once a month to prevent leaks and the mold that often comes with them.
2. Under Rugs and Other Flooring
After a flood, high humidity may cause mold to grow under carpet padding and underneath laminate floors. This can occur even if you had the floors cleaned and dried. Calling in a professional flood cleanup and mold remediation company may help you deal with this issue more effectively, as its technicians can find the source of the mold, remove the damaged flooring and eradicate it there as well as on wood moldings.
3. Inside Drywall
After a flood, mold growth can occur out of sight, behind interior walls. Not only can this affect the drywall, it might also spread to any insulation housed there. Over time, the insulation may begin to rot as the mold consumes both it and the drywall. If any room in your home suffered water damage from flooding, you may want to have your interior walls checked for moldy drywall or have your insulation replaced.
Mold growth can hide in your Graham, WA, home almost anywhere it finds a food source. Knowing its favorite hiding places can help you stop mold before it starts and prevent the costly damage it can cause.
Which Surfaces Support Mold Growth?
SERVPRO has professional cleaning techniques to clean any type of mold.
What Kind Of Surfaces Encourage Mold Growth?
Mold requires two things in order to thrive: moisture and organic materials. If both of these elements are present, you run the risk of mold growth or mildew growth. Take a moment to consider which materials and items are most likely to develop mold damage in each part of your home if exposed to excessive moisture or humidity.
- Mold can develop on walls and may be cleaned from non-porous surfaces. Porous surfaces with mold, such as drywall, must be removed and replaced.
- Mold may grow behind walls or wallpaper.
- Insulation exposed to water during a leak can be an ideal environment for mold and should be removed and replaced.
- A moldy ceiling indicates either a condensation or humidity problem or a leaky roof.
- Moldy floors may result from a combination of dirt and moisture.
- Any furniture made out of organic materials, such as wood, is prone to develop mold if exposed to moisture and warm temperatures.
- Upholstered furniture can absorb moisture between the layers, causing mold to grow.
- Placing furniture against walls may cause condensation to build up and lead to mold damage.
Other Organic Materials:
- Mold easily develops on moist and nutrient-rich food.
- Mold is also likely to develop on damp or wet clothing.
- Mold may develop on books or papers stored in a humid environment.
- Mildew is a parasitic fungus that only affects plants.
As you can see, mold may develop in any part of your home. If you encounter moldy items, you should contact a cleaning, testing, and restoration service in Sumner, WA. In the case of either mildew growth or mold growth, you must address the source of the problem, which usually involves excess moisture. If you do not resolve the underlying problem, you may have to repeat the process of cleaning or replacing building materials, furniture, or other items with mold damage.
5 Places Mold Can Hide in Your Home
Mold caused by leaking pipes
Five Hidden Places You May Find Mold
Sometimes mold growth is easy to spot, but other times, mold can hide in your Sumner, WA, home. Water or moisture sources that are out of sight, such as a leaking pipe or roof, can cause mold to grow. Here are five hiding places you may find mold.
1. Behind the Walls
Mold can grow unseen in areas such as:
Leaky pipes or poor insulation can cause moisture to collect behind walls, providing an environment for mold growth and leading to moldy drywall or paneling.
2. On the Back of Ceiling Tiles
Porous ceiling tiles can absorb water and dirt, providing the right conditions for mold to grow. Roof leaks or condensation from HVAC ducts can produce moisture. If you see water stains on your ceiling tiles, the chances are that there's mold damage present.
3. On or Behind the Furniture
Poorly insulated walls and high humidity can cause mold on wood furniture or nearby walls. The tight space between the wall and furniture can cause condensation to accumulate, and the wood provides organic material for mold.
4. In the Air Ducts
Moisture can accumulate in air ducts when the air conditioner is set to a low temperature. Warm room air meets the cold air in the ducts, forming condensation on or around the duct. An oversized air conditioning unit can also cause moisture by cooling the space too quickly before dehumidifying the air. A mold remediation specialist is equipped to inspect, clean, and repair moldy air ducts.
5. Around the Pipes
Leaky pipes are not always detected until damage begins. A dripping pipe under a sink or in a dark, undisturbed area of your house can cause moldy drywall or mold on wood areas around the line.
If you suspect mold growth in your Sumner, WA, home, check these areas to see if mold has found a hiding place there.
4 Benefits of Choosing an IICRC Certified Company
You can trust these individuals to perform a job correctly and efficiently.
Why Trust A Certified Company?
Looking for a disaster mitigation company in Puyallup, WA, with an IICRC certification, provides many benefits. Even the simplest mitigation certificate denotes these professionals as a high-quality company that uses the most advanced technology and techniques to perform its duties. Here are some reasons you should place your trust in a certified company.
1. Technicians Have Standardized Training
Since IICRC certified technicians must have standardized credentials, it means you can trust these individuals to perform a job correctly and efficiently. Everyone on a companies team will be a qualified individual. This means that you avoid having any unqualified people working on your commercial building. It also means that there is less chance that something will go wrong or someone will get hurt while working at your site.
2. Technicians Have Current Information
In some industries, getting certified is as simple as taking a course. That means that even if your skills become dated over time, you don't need to worry about refreshing them with any other courses. This can be dangerous in the remediation industry. Therefore, these certifications require continuing education credits to keep technicians and businesses certified, which means that you can expect current information to be applied to your job.
3. Certified Businesses Must Have Insurance
As a business owner, you know that insurance is an important part of operating. If something happens, insurance will protect the remediation team, customer, and property. The good news is that every IICRC certified business must have insurance to maintain its status.
4. Certified Businesses Have a Standardized Complaint Handling System
As a customer, you want assurance that all of your problems will be handled satisfactorily. Fortunately, all certified businesses share the same complaint handling system.
The certifications provided by this organization carry weight because they ensure that customers are getting a trained team of technicians with current certifications. Additionally, there are special protocols in place in certified businesses that keep customers safe.
How To Determine Whether You Are Dealing With Mold or Mildew
Mildew is frequently white, yellow, or gray and darkens with time
What Type Of Fungus Am I Dealing With?
Whether you are dealing with mold damage or mildew growth in your South Hill, WA, home, it is important to understand the fungus you are dealing with. This way you can address the problem effectively and safely.
Mold and mildew are both types of fungi. However, they have a few key differences. The following are three characteristics that the fungi do not share:
While mildew is often described as powdery or fluffy, mold frequently looks slimy or fuzzy. Although it’s possible for mold and mildew to be the same color, mildew is generally lighter, especially in the early stages. Mildew is frequently white, yellow, or gray and darkens with time. Mold is often black or green, although it comes in many other colors as well. Additionally, mold is generally more invasive and harder to remove than mildew. While DIY approaches are generally adequate for mildew removal, professional remediation is often required for large mold infestations. Permanent mold damage is also a concern, whereas mildew generally does not cause lasting damage.
Despite their differences, there is a key characteristic that mildew and mold growth do share. Both need moisture in order to thrive. Cleaning up water damage and spills as soon as possible is important in the prevention of both types of fungi. Additionally, try to keep the indoor humidity below 50%. It may be necessary to run a dehumidifier in particularly wet areas, such as bathrooms, basements, and kitchens.
Additionally, both mold and mildew growth is easier to deal with if caught early. Inspect your home regularly, paying close attention to damp areas and any spaces that have had fungal growth before.
Although simple mildew growth can generally be handled by the homeowner, severe mold damage will likely necessitate professional help. An experienced restoration service can help you get your home back to normal quickly and safely.
What To Expect During Mold Remediation
Mold containment in Orting, WA
You Can Expect The Following To Take Place During The Process
Black mold, as well as other types of fungus, is a common problem in many buildings, particularly if you have experienced water damage or high humidity. If you suspect there is a growth in your Orting, WA, building, then you should contact a professional company to have it taken care of as soon as possible. You can expect the following to take place during the process.
The first thing that the mold remediation company must do is to perform an inspection. This is necessary to locate each instance of growth as well as to determine the extent of the damage. Once this has been completed, they can take steps to remove it from the building.
Before mold cleanup can begin, the area must be contained. Mold spores are not visible to the naked eye and can be easily spread if precautions are not taken. The area that is being cleaned should be blocked off from the rest of the building, and protective suits should be worn over clothing.
3. Cleanup and Removal
Once the area has been contained, the professionals can begin removing the black mold. Antifungal treatments may be used to prevent it from returning. If any furniture or other belongings have been affected, these will be cleaned and deodorized as well.
In some cases, the mold growth may appear inside of walls and underneath floors and carpets. If this happens, some building materials may need to be torn out and replaced. Walls may need to be repainted as well.
Because black mold can be difficult to remove, it is important that you have the growth addressed as quickly as possible. If you notice discoloration on your walls or a musty odor in the building, do not hesitate to contact a professional. A cleanup and restoration service can safely return your building to its previous state and make any necessary repairs.
4 Steps To Take Right Away Upon Mold Discovery
Mold caused by leaking pipes in Graham, WA
Four Actions To Deal With Mold
Once you discover mold in your home in Graham, WA, it is important to take quick action. Mold can begin to grow in as little as 48-72 after moisture from a leak or flood is introduced to the indoor environment. Once it gains a foothold, mold can spread throughout a home by way of the HVAC system and other avenues. Black mold often forms unsightly colonies that can wear down structures, cause unpleasant odors, and look downright scary. Here are four actions that will help you deal with mold.
1. Call for Professional Help. An experienced mold remediation company is trained to treat a mold problem in your home. They will arrive at your home in a matter of hours and begin to work on mold cleanup by containing and removing black mold and all types of harmful fungi.
2. Deal With Water Leaks. A moisture problem is often what allows mold to grow in alarming colonies in the first place. If you know of an area of your home that is extra damp due to a leak or other issue, you should address it as soon as possible. More moisture generally means more mold.
3. Consider Safety. Breathing in mold and mold spores is not healthy for humans or pets, whether it is black mold or other types of mold. Upon finding mold in your home, keep people away from the affected area, and let the professionals treat the problem.
4. Contain the Spread. Mold spores are microscopic and can spread throughout your home with the help of fans, air currents, and the heating and cooling system. You can help contain the spread by not disturbing areas of mold growth.
A fast response to mold in your home has many benefits. It will limit the level of mold damage and it will help technicians defeat a mold outbreak in record time, allowing you to get back to enjoying your home.