5 Common Types of Household Mold
Mold damage in Charlotte, NC
Whether you can see them or not, there are mold spores somewhere in your Charlotte,NC, home. Whether they are able to flourish depends on how much excess moisture is available for mold growth. When they do, leaking pipes and areas of high humidity or dampness (like showers or laundry rooms) are the usual culprits. Sometimes mold growth occurs where there's been previous water damage that hasn't been repaired properly.
Let's look at some of the most common types:
Trichoderma is a very common mold, usually found in damp carpeting, wallpaper or air conditioning filters. Usually, this mold needs a relatively high amount of moisture to thrive. Some strains are known to produce strong mycotoxins.
Commonly found in floorboards, wooden cabinets, carpets and old fabrics, this mold can grow in both warm and cool areas. Sometimes found around windows or shower stalls, it is mostly green, brown or black in color. It starts to show up as small dots that will grow into a large patch of mold if not taken care of.
3. Stachybotrys Chartarum
Also known as black mold or toxic mold because of its heavy production of mycotoxins, stachybotrys chartarum is easily identified by its distinctively musty odor. It can appear to be slimy and greenish-black in color. Black mold is mostly found in parts of the house that are continually damp, like ducts for air conditioning, but can also be found in walls, carpets, and other areas.
Alternaria is a very common mold that can be found outdoors as well as indoors. It's mostly found in areas like showers and sinks, and can thrive in areas around the outside of the house where there's not much light. If not eradicated, it can easily spread from room to room.
Aureobasidium is a quick-growing mold that can appear pinkish or cream-colored at first and then later turn a dark brown or even black. It is slimy in appearance and is sometimes mistaken for stachybotrys chartarum, or black mold. It is a very common mold that's often found in caulk around windows, in wallpaper, and on wooden furniture.
This overview should help you identify any mold that might be growing in your home. You may be able to eliminate some mold growth on your own, but some cases are more dangerous and will require a mold remediation service to take care of the situation. In any event, it's important to see to the problem right away so that it doesn't spread.
Helpful Sump Pump Maintenance Tips for Homeowners
You can check if your sump pump is free of obstructions by pouring a few gallons into the basin.
As a homeowner in Charlotte, NC it might seem like the maintenance for your home never ends. Cleaning out the gutters and checking the roof for damage or leaks should already be part of your seasonal checklist, but have you thought to check your basement? More specifically, if heavy rains are in the forecast or spring is coming around the corner, it’s time to inspect your sump pump.
What Is It?
This device is used to remove any water that’s gathered in a sump basin, which is usually found in the basement. In the event of a basement flood, this pump is necessary to ensure that water is sent away from the house and into a place, such as a storm drain or dry well, where it will no longer be a concern.
How To Perform Pump Care
For your benefit and ease, you should be putting time aside every couple of months to confirm that your sump pump is working correctly. If you are unsure on how to go about conducting pump maintenance, look to the following tips:
• Occasionally flood the sump basin by pouring water into it to ensure the pump does what it’s supposed to do and drains the water quickly. Have it serviced if it doesn’t.
• Be sure that the pump is standing upright. Sometimes vibrations occur while the pump is running that can make it topple over or tilt to one side.
• Check the power cord to be sure it’s connected. It’s not uncommon for a breaker to trip in damp areas. If needed, reset the outlet.
The below can be limited to once a year:
• Clean out the sump.
• Check the manual (or online) to see if the pump bearings need grease or oil.
• Remove the pump from sump and clean and inspect it.
Learn Now, Protect Later
Though the preservation of your home is constant, the ease of knowing that you are capable of fixing your own sump pump is worthwhile. You can save time, money, and potential water damage to the rest of your home. Visit http://www.SERVPROwestmecklenburgcounty.com for more information on storm damage.
Demystifying Fire Extinguisher Use
Purchasing a fire extinguisher in Charlotte, NC or anywhere else in the country, should be easy to do at most home-improvement or hardware stores. Knowing how to use one, even in an emergency, is also simple enough to do with some easy-to-remember tips.
The PASS Acronym
Before attempting to contain the fire yourself, sound an alarm to alert others, and if appropriate, call the fire department. Keeping yourself and others safe is the first priority. Identify an evacuation path in case the fire becomes too large to address with a portable fire extinguisher. The four steps to follow are identifiable with the acronym PASS.
1. Pull the pin. This breaks the tamper-proof seal and prepares the unit for discharge.
2. Aim low. Point the hose and nozzle at the base of the fire.
3. Squeeze the handle to discharge the extinguishing agent.
4. Sweep the base of the fire from side to side, repeating as necessary until the fire is out.
If the fire appears to be progressing, abandon your efforts, and get yourself and others to safety without delay. If the extinguisher runs out before the fire abates, evacuate immediately. Even if the fire appears to be out, back away carefully in case it flares again.
There are a few other safety considerations, depending on the type of extinguisher. If the unit uses CO2, do not touch the discharge horn; its extremely cold temperature can damage skin. A kitchen fire caused by overheated oils or fats can require a Class K extinguisher and cannot be put out with water. Learn extinguisher types.
If a fire can be addressed with a portable fire extinguisher, remembering the handy acronym PASS and the steps it represents can resolve the emergency in short order. If fire damage results from a blaze of any size, restoration and remediation services can go a long way in setting things right again. Visit http://www.SERVPROwestmecklenburgcounty.com for more information on fire damage.
2 Ways To Ensure Mold Containment During Cleanup
With storms blowing through in places like Charlotte, NC mold growth in a commercial building can quickly become a problem that brings business to a standstill. After the damage has been identified and assessed, quick mold cleanup and proper removal is essential to avoid any type of mold contamination spreading through other parts of the building. The following are two approaches that can be taken to avoid the spreading of mold spores.
1. Proper Air Filtration
To make certain that mold cleanup goes without a hitch, the air filtration system in the commercial building should be utilized to stop cross contamination. Mold spores are transferred through airflow, which can cause the spreading of mold growth through cross contamination. All HVAC systems, including heating and air, may need to have their airflow systems blocked to maintain the containment of the affected mold area. Understanding this and putting a stop to the transferring of air throughout a building is important to avoid mold contamination.
2. Negative Air Pressure
Mold contamination specialists may also utilize further methods to avoid cross contamination of mold spores. Different approaches, such as the use of negative air pressure or physical barriers, may be employed to help in the cleanup process. Negative air pressure prevents contaminated air from leaving the room while allowing for outside air to flow into the isolated area. This introduction of fresh, uncontaminated air can help prevent further growth from occurring in the affected area while also ensuring the contaminated air does not leave the area.
Dealing with mold cleanup in a commercial building in Charlotte, NC can be a daunting and overwhelming task. Understanding the process and methods to avoid cross contamination can be crucial in helping to avoid unnecessary damage. Properly utilizing the airflow system in a commercial building and potentially manipulating air pressure is exactly what is needed to ensure mold containment during cleanup.
Visit http://www.SERVPROwestmecklenburgcounty.com for more information on mold.
Broken Water Pipes Can Quickly Damage Wood
Give SERVPRO a call if you experience water damage.
If your home is like most others, it is probably filled with different types of beautifully stained hardwoods and softwoods typically used to create cabinets, floors, and furniture. Wood is also often used in most houses as part of the structural support beams, subfloors, and wall foundations. When a pipe bursts inside your home in Charlotte, NC water can begin attacking the fibers of any wood it touches within minutes as the liquid is absorbed. The result can be swelling wood that may weaken the very structure of the building.
When it comes to building materials, water can be one of lumber’s worst enemies. When wood encounters water, the liquid can enter the strands in the wooden fibers and swell to three times their original size. The distorting fibers can then cause walls to weaken, floors to buckle, and subflooring to bulge. Minutes after a broken water pipe or damaged supply line floods your home, the standing water can also do the following:
• Seep into subflooring and basements
• Soak into insulation within walls
• Leak under cabinets and furniture
To alleviate the damage standing water can do, make the necessary water pipe repair as soon as possible. Once the flow of water is contained, the cleanup process can begin.
Special water removal and restoration teams can generally clean and sanitize the flooded area within 24 hours. The professionals can also begin drying out the swelling wood with fans and dehumidifiers. As moisture leaves the drying wood, the professionals can assess your home’s structure and identify which pieces of wood have lost their integrity and need to be replaced.
Keeping your home safe from further harm and rebuilding what has been damaged can be a top priority after a flood hits. By having a knowledgeable professional remove and replace the swelling wood, you can keep your home’s structure sound and ensure your peace of mind. Visit http://www.SERVPROwestmecklenburgcounty.com for more information on water damage.
Restoring Your Important Documents After a Flood
You may not realize how many documents you rely upon until your business in Charlotte, NC floods. Suddenly, you are faced with the possibility of losing valuable information unless you can get the wet documents restored. Water restoration specialists can assist with this process. They disinfect, dry and digitize your important papers.
The first step of the document recovery process is disinfection. Gamma irradiation technology can be used to sterilize your important papers without exposing them to extreme temperatures. This technology is effective on many types of documents:
• Paper documents
Once contaminants have been removed from your wet documents, they are ready to be dried.
Organizations that restore documents on a regular basis, such as the Library of Congress, often use freeze-drying methods to do so. Freeze-drying arrests the decomposition process so that the paper maintains its integrity. This document drying method also inhibits mold growth and makes the documents possible to transport if necessary. If retaining the original document is important, freeze-drying is a must.
A flooding emergency is a good opportunity to convert paper files to digital copies. Not only does digitizing your important documents, pictures, and files help modernize your business, it also gives you a backup of the important information that keeps your business running. It saves storage space and provides convenient access at your fingertips. Restoration experts recommend digitizing your data so that, if a flood does occur, you haven’t lost anything that cannot be replaced.
If your itemized flood damage list includes wet documents, you probably want to recover those documents. They may have important information that is crucial to running your business in Charlotte, NC or they may contain customer contact details that you cannot afford to lose. Through the process of disinfecting, drying and digitizing, you can restore your documents and preserve the information contained within.
Visit http://www.SERVPROwestmecklenburgcounty.com for more information on commercial water damage.
Staying in Business During a Power Outage
A power outage can disrupt operations at your business in Charlotte, NC if not handled correctly. The outage may be unavoidable, but a backup business plan can allow operations to continue to run smoothly in the event of a blackout. Consider the following suggestions to keep your business running during an interruption of service.
1. Consider getting a generator ahead of time. A generator running on fuel allows electrical devices to continue to run during a power outage. A portable generator contains outlets into which devices may be plugged. Construction sites frequently use this type of generator. A commercial generator is larger, installed by electricians, and designed to automatically take over in the event of an outage. Consider the needs of your business and choose accordingly.
2. Install a UPS on each computer. An uninterrupted power supply, or UPS, is a device that can be plugged into each computer, allowing the computer to run on its own battery during an interruption of power. When the outage first occurs, the UPS will allow the user to save work and shut down the computer before any data is lost.
3. Choose a predetermined work location for use during the blackout. This is called your recovery center, and it is a place where your team can work during the outage. Any place with free Wi-Fi access, such as a local coffee shop, is a good location to work. Another option is to have your employees work from home using their own internet connections and electricity.
A power outage need not completely stop your business from running. Taking these steps ahead of time will allow you to stay in business. If the outage is the result of a natural disaster, such as a storm that causes additional damage, a restoration company can come onsite and assist in cleanup efforts and aid in the business recovery. Visit http://www.SERVPROwestmecklenburgcounty.com for more information on storm damage.
3 Ways Security Fencing Keeps Your Property Secure After a Fire
Give SERVPRO a call if you experience commercial fire damage.
After your business in Charlotte, NC suffers from fire damage, one of the first things you should do is make sure your commercial residence is protected with a security fence. There are several reasons why installing temporary fencing is an important first step.
1. It Aids the Insurance Process
One of the first steps after a fire is to file a claim with your insurance company. After that is done, an adjuster will typically need to take stock of the remaining property. A fence can help make sure no further destruction or vandalism occurs before the insurance adjuster arrives. This is often crucial to collecting on a claim because insurance may not cover damage that occurred after the fire took place.
2. It Provides Extra Safety
Trespassing may be illegal, and it may be obvious you’re not open for business, but that may not keep passersby off your property while you wait for cleanup and restoration to occur, especially if you still have important documents or goods still waiting to be picked up. Along with shutters that protect your building from intruders, a security fence typically makes it harder for unwelcome visitors to stop by, helping to ensure no accidents from falling materials or slipping on soggy flooring occur, which could otherwise put you at legal, and therefore financial, risk.
3. It Helps Make Cleanup Easier
Once the insurance claim has been settled, the clean-up process can begin. Depending on the extent of the damage done by the fire, this could be a lengthy process. Temporary fencing should continue to keep your commercial residence safe while the restoration is performed.
Experiencing a fire in your Charlotte, NC business can be overwhelming, but installing a security fence can give you peace of mind knowing that your commercial residence is secure as the process of repair and rebuilding is started and completed. Visit http://www.SERVPROwestmecklenburgcounty.com for more information on commercial fire damage.
The Key to Treating Bathroom Mold
Give SERVPRO a call if you notice mold growing in your home.
Mold remediation specialists advise not attempting to remove mold on your own for good reason. Proper mold remediation requires special protective equipment such as face masks to prevent health issues or contamination that could lead to mold spread elsewhere. Read on for an idea of the types of protective equipment Charlotte, NC mold remediation specialists use.
You may think of mold as harmless, but mold remediation specialists and environmental hygienists take it very seriously. With that in mind, they often wear:
• Face masks. And not just any face masks; these face masks should cover both the nose and mouth to allow for safe breathing. They’re more than just a protective covering; the proper sort of face mask is actually a respirator. For mold safety, the minimum safe rating for a respirator approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health is an N-95 particulate respirator.
• Eye protection. Some respirators cover your entire face from temple to chin, but for those that only cover the nose and mouth it’s advisable to wear some form of eye protection. Sunglasses or eyeglasses aren’t enough when they have open sides and tops. Goggles that seal against the face are best.
• Gloves. Your hands are the easiest way to pass contaminants on as you transfer them from one thing you touch to another – and sometimes that “thing” you touch may be your eyes, nose, or mouth. Proper protection includes gloves to keep mold particles from clinging to skin.
• Disposable or washable clothing. Many mold specialists wear protective suits over their clothing, usually of a material that can be disposed of or washed harshly to sanitize effectively. Using old clothing that can be discarded afterward is also an option, particularly if that clothing covers skin adequately. Long pants and long sleeves are recommended. Visit http://www.SERVPROwestmecklenburgcounty.com for more information on mold.
What Type of Smoke Detector Is Safest for Your Home?
Give SERVPRO a call if you experience fire damage.
The majority of home fire deaths occur in houses with no smoke alarms or with dead or malfunctioning batteries in the smoke alarm. Smoke detectors should be placed on each level of your Charlotte, NC house and outside bedrooms.
1. What Different Types of Smoke Detector Are Available?
There are three types of smoke detector: ionized, photoelectric and combination. Ionized systems work due to a small current being maintained between electrodes with americium-241. Smoke entering the space between the electrodes interrupts the current and triggers the alarm.
Photoelectric alarms have an emitted light beam in a chamber. If smoke enters the chamber, it scatters the light, which hits a sensor that sets off the alarm.
A combination detector has both photoelectric and ionizing sensors. The International Association of Fire Fighters recommends using photoelectric detectors.
2. What About Smart Smoke Detectors?
Smart smoke detectors are connected to the internet. Apps connect you with your smoke alarm through your phone, allowing you to shut off false alarms. You will also get notified when the battery is low so you can change it before the irritating chirping starts up. Some models include carbon monoxide detectors as well.
Smart batteries are another option. These look like 9V but are connected to the internet. If the alarm sounds, these batteries will notify you through a phone app, as well as sending a low-battery alert. Smart batteries can last five years.
3. What Other Devices May Facilitate Fire Safety?
Heat detectors are an older type of fire safety device. If a pre-set high temperature is reached, an alarm will activate. These are useful in areas where smoke detectors are unsuitable.
Listeners are devices that “listen” for the frequency of your smoke detector’s alarm. These are appropriate for big homes because their range can cover an entire floor of your house.
It is imperative that your Charlotte, NC home have an appropriate smoke alarm on each floor. These small, relatively inexpensive devices may save lives. Visit http://www.SERVPROwestmecklenburgcounty.com for more information on fire damage.