Mold prevention tips
• Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building envelope as soon as possible.
• Watch for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture problem(s) as soon as possible.
• Prevent moisture due to condensation by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
• Keep heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed. • Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
• Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60% relative humidity (RH), ideally 30-50%, if possible.
• Perform regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
• Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours.
• Don’t let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation.
Get back in Business fast.
Flooding and water damage events at Chicagoland commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.
Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges
Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.
About SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Hts.
SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Hts. specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Where does water damage typically come from?
Water can enter the home in a variety of ways, including foundation leaks, burst pipes, appliance valve failures or poor drainage around the home. Burst pipes, valve failures and sewage backups are particularly troublesome, as they can produce several inches of water within hours.
What are the dangers associated with water damage?
When water pools in the home, it will quickly soak through anything it comes in contact with. If it contains contaminants, all organic materials, like textiles and wood, will likely need to be restored. This is because contaminated liquid is the perfect environment for hosting a variety of microbes, including deadly viruses and bacteria. Floods, for example, are typically infested with cholera, hepatitis and other serious diseases.
Mold is also a primary concern when water collects in the home. Mold left unchecked will spread quickly through the home by releasing spores into the air. This means that a mold colony can even reach parts of the house that seem dry. Short term exposure to mold is not typically a major concern, but regular inhalation of mold spores can cause a number of health complications, particularly in the young, old or immune compromised. These complications often include respiratory infections, nausea, agitation, malaise, fatigue, and even deadly neurotoxic complications.
In general, the longer the moisture is allowed to sit in the home, the more problems it will cause. This can result in additional expenses down the road.
How is water damage typically handled by a certified technician?
The first thing professionals will do is remove any compromised materials. This typically includes carpeting, carpet padding, baseboards, insulation, clothing, upholstery, fragile woods like plywood or particle board and gypsum containing materials, like sheetrock walls and ceilings. Once the house is clear of any destroyed items and all standing liquid pumped out, the technicians will work to dry and disinfect the area. This process takes several days, requiring the use of air mover fans, dehumidifiers and, occasionally, heat injection fans.
While the home is drying out, technicians will perform a thorough inspection for mold and other microbes. If the technicians find anything, the microorganisms will be removed and properly treated with disinfectants if needed. When larger mold colonies are present, technicians will build a containment structure around the area and remove the contaminated materials physically.
What kind of training should a water damage restoration company have?
Restoration companies should employ technicians trained by a respected organization like the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). The IICRC offers several courses on restoration, including a structural drying course and a microbial remediation course. This training will prepare technicians for a variety of job situations and keep them safe when working around hazardous fluids.
Dry out Your Home EPA
Dry Out Your Home Excess moisture in the home is an indoor air quality concern for three reasons: • Microorganisms brought into the home during flooding may present a health hazard. These organisms can penetrate deep into soaked, porous materials and later be released into air or water. Coming in contact with air or water that contains these organisms can make you sick. • High humidity and moist materials provide ideal environments for the excessive growth of microorganisms that are always present in the home. This may result in additional health concerns such as allergic reactions. • Long-term increases in humidity in the home can also foster the growth of dust mites. Dust mites are a major cause of allergic reactions and asthma. Be patient. The drying out process could take several weeks, and growth of microorganisms will continue as long as humidity is high. If the house is not dried out properly, a musty odor, signifying growth of microorganisms can remain long after the flood.
Ten Things You Should Know about Mold
- Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
- There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
- If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
- Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
- Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:
- Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
- Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
- Increasing ventilation
- Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
- Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
- Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
- In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
- Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
How do molds affect people?
Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions) and irritants. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash.
Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.
The above does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional, your state or local health department.
Christmas Tree Safety
IF YOUR HOLIDAY IS JUST NOT COMPLETE WITHOUT A LIVE TREE, FOLLOW THESE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS TO KEEP THREATS AT BAY:
- Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire, so look for a tree with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t break easily from its branches. The tree shouldn’t be shedding its needles readily.
- Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.
- Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested in a lab by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety, and throw out any damaged lights.
- Any lights you use outdoors must be labeled suitable for exterior placement, and be sure to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle.
- Keep all your holiday candles away from your Christmas tree, surrounding furniture and décor.
- Bedtime means lights off! Don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree lights off each night.
When your tree begins to drop its needles, it’s time to say goodbye to your evergreen foliage until next year.
Remember to stay safe during the Holiday Season From SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights
Winter Radon Protection from the EPA
Radon levels can soar during the colder months when residents keep windows closed and spend more time indoors. As many as 22,000 people die from lung cancer each year in the United States from exposure to indoor radon.
The EPA Administrator urges Americans to heed January as National Radon Action Month by testing their homes for one of the leading causes of lung cancer in the country, indoor radon gas. Approximately one home in 15 across the nation has unacceptably high radon levels; in some areas of the country, as many as one out of two homes has high levels
- Test your home for radon -- it's easy and inexpensive.
- Fix your home if your radon level is 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher.
- Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be reduced.
Winter Heating Safety From The EPA
Always put generators outside well away from doors, windows, and vents. Carbon monoxide (CO) is deadly, can build up quickly, and linger for hours.
Combustion appliances are those which burn fuels for warmth, cooking, or decorative purposes. Typical fuels are gas, both natural and liquefied petroleum; kerosene; oil; coal; and wood. Examples of the appliances are space heaters, ranges, ovens, furnaces, wood burning stoves, fireplaces, water heaters, and clothes dryers. These appliances are usually safe. However, under certain conditions, these appliances can produce combustion pollutants that can damage your health, or even kill you.
Possible health effects range from headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, and watery eyes to breathing difficulties or even death. Similar effects may also occur because of common medical problems or other indoor air pollutants.
A properly installed, correctly used wood-burning appliance should be smoke free. If you see or smell smoke that means you may have a problem. Never burn household garbage, colored paper or ink, or any type of plastic, foam, or other artificial materials. Burning these can release harmful chemicals.
Norridge Harwood Heights or northwest Chicago Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Norridge/Harwood Heights will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.