What Homeowners Need to Know About Mold
Mold growth might seem scary, but our guide will make sure homeowners are prepared!
Many homeowners know only one thing about mold: get rid of it. But with stories and false information floating around on the Internet, there are many misconceptions that often exacerbate problems or create unnecessary fear. In the following sections, you will find general information that every homeowner should know when it comes to dealing with mold.
What is Mold?
Mold is a variety of fungus that grows and spreads from spores. These spores are so small and light that they can be picked up and travel by air. In fact, mold spores travel so easily that they are found virtually everywhere—indoors and outdoors. (Yes, mold is always present in your home.) When the spores find a suitable home, they grow and spread, often consuming the surfaces they land on. This is when mold really becomes a problem.
How Do I Know if I Have Mold?
It’s difficult to take care of mold if you don’t know that you actually have a problem. While you don’t necessarily have to be an expert to identify any growth, knowing some of the telltale signs might help you notice a problem before it’s out of control.
You can see it. This isn’t always the case, but the most obvious sign you have mold growth is if you can see it. You might expect to see greenish/blackish patches or slimy areas, but sometimes mold will appear like specks of dirt or soot. Regardless of appearance, it should be addressed immediately.
You smell it. The second-most obvious sign (and the one you’ll most likely encounter) is a musty odor. Even if you don’t necessarily see any, musty smells are almost always accompanied by mold growth, so be sure to thoroughly inspect your home if you notice the odor!
You’ve had a leak/water damage. Moisture is an essential ingredient for mold growth, so excess moisture in your home is a good indication that you probably have a problem. If you suffer any water damage, be sure to regularly inspect your home for signs of growth. In ideal conditions (generally in a lab), mold growth can start within 48 to 72 hours; in many cases, it will be present after a couple of weeks or more.
Mold is Growing in My Home. Help!
If you suspect that mold really is growing in your home, then it’s time to take action. Because mold can cause negative health effects and damage the surfaces it grows on, it’s best to respond immediately to minimize effects. Depending on whether or not you can confirm the growth, you can take a few different actions.
You can visually confirm mold growth. If you can actually see mold growth, then you already know you have a problem. Instead of spending money on testing, you can go ahead and call a mold remediation company. They will address moisture issues, treat the growth, and advise you on ways to prevent future growth.
You cannot confirm you have mold growth. When you cannot visually confirm you have a mold issue, it’s best to call in a professional mold inspector. An inspector will collect samples and provide a report that compiles their findings. If they confirm you have mold growth but think it is small enough to handle yourself, they may offer advice. If it is large enough, they will refer you to a mold remediation company.
NOTE: Do not use take-home testing kits. They are largely unreliable and will likely confirm you have spores (remember, spores are everywhere) but not actual growth. If you want to test for actual mold growth, call a reliable mold inspector.
How do I Prevent Mold Growth?
Whether you just had mold growth remediated or you have never had an issue to begin with, you probably want to know what you can do to prevent it from happening in the future. Here are a few steps to keep your homes mold-resistant:
Control your home’s humidity. As we’ve already said, moisture is a key ingredient in mold growth, so it makes sense that you want to keep your home’s humidity low. According to the EPA, you should keep levels below 60% (though 30-50% is ideal), which you can monitor with a moisture meter.
The simplest way to lower humidity is to constantly run fans and/or your HVAC system to let the air circulate. Leaving doors between rooms open will also help with circulation.
Dry wet areas immediately. If you have water damage or condensation builds on susceptible surfaces, you should attempt to dry them immediately. This will reduce or eliminate the moisture mold needs and prevent it from growing. Depending on the extent of the water damage, you might have better results with a professional water damage restoration company who has the capabilities to locate and dry hidden moisture.
Clean and dust regularly. Sometimes mold can appear to grow on inorganic substances like glass and aluminum. Since it cannot feed on those structures, it eats dust, which is organic. If you clean and dust on a regular basis, you can deprive mold of the food it needs to grow.
Don’t Let Mold Stress You Out
Despite the many horror stories people like to share online, mold is a natural occurrence that lives around us all the time. As long as you address any issues quickly and appropriately, you can prevent or eliminate mold growth before it becomes a major problem.
If you are still uncertain or need professional help, contact a mold inspector or a mold remediation company. Either one will get you started on the process and help you make it “Like it never even happened.”
What to Do When Your Pipes Burst
When your pipes burst, you'll need to react quickly. If you do, you can minimize water damage.
This time of year, we get many calls from panicked customers whose pipes have frozen and burst inside their homes. While there are some preventative measures you can take before that ever happens, not everyone is lucky. So what do you do when your pipes burst? We list the steps below.
- Shut off your water immediately. Don’t let the damage be worse than it needs to be. By shutting off water to your home, you’ll be able to minimize damage until repairs and restoration services can be performed. If you live in an apartment and cannot turn off the valve yourself, call your property manager right away.
- Call a plumber. You might have stopped the water, but your pipes are still damaged. Unfortunately, due to high demand during this time of year, it can be difficult to get a plumber on short notice. You may be put on a waiting list.
- Call a water damage restoration company. Now that the problem is fixed, what do you do about all the damage? While you should begin clearing out water, you’ll want a restoration company to speed up the process and make sure you won’t have additional problems, such as mold.
It’s always stressful when your house is flooded with water, but by equipping yourself with the knowledge to react, you’ll feel in control and be able to minimize damage.
Things to Know about Restoring Your Fire Damaged Home in Kings Creek
Don't let devastating fire damage keep you out of your home for long. Contact SERVPRO for remediation and restoration efforts.
Professional SERVPRO Technicians Arrive With a Plan to Quickly Remediate Fire Damage at Your Home
Many things can destroy, or nearly so, a home in Kings Creek. Fire can be one of the most destructive causes of property damage, especially in winter. While some cause slight damage, perhaps to a curtain, others can reduce a home to barely anything except charred timbers and streams of wafting smoke.
Property owners should know about the process of restoring their fire damaged homes in Kings Creek. While a fire can cause extensive damage, we at SERVPRO know that we can restore your home to preloss condition. We have restored many homes and businesses in the past after fire, flood and other disasters created a disaster for property owners.
No restoration company can restore the charred portions of your home or belongings. However, we can remove these so that restoration work begins more quickly and in safe conditions. Charred wood, such as the wooden beams that create the support network in your home, cannot safely hold the weight they should hold. They also pose risks such as exposed nails, slivers and splinters, and spread soot through the slightest contact.
Carpeting holds both soot from the fire and water from firefighters' hoses. Both can render a carpet more expensive to restore than to replace. The possibility of odor-causing soot particles remaining after a large fire makes it a very poor choice to keep. Replacing the floor covering ensures that no problems exist while renewing the carpet's guarantee.
Another flooring may become saturated during the fire department's visit, making it crucial for us to remove the moisture left behind. Water coming out of the hoses creates a very hot steam when it comes in contact with burning materials. This steam penetrates easily into drywall, paneling, and other semi-porous materials. These need to be inspected for damage also and replaced wherever damage occurred.
Cleaning after a fire includes windows, walls, all hard surfaces, and much more. Elimination of the visible soot cuts down on the amount of perceptible odor remaining in the home. When fire damage is not as extensive, deodorizing can help save otherwise undamaged carpets. While the carpeting might have remained dry, soot still penetrates deeply, leaving an ongoing source of odor in your home. Our Odor Control Technician (OCT) knows how to handle smelly odors so they no longer offend your family.
SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties knows that fire damage comes from a very traumatizing event. We can help you restore your normal life and your home. Call us at our local number, (828) 396-1070, at any hour, and on any day of the year.
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5 Tips for Preparing for a Winter Storm
Don't let a winter storm take you by surprise! Think ahead, and be prepared.
Winter is quickly approaching, which brings on the potential of snow and ice like we saw just recently. Especially in Alexander and Caldwell Counties, where towns are less equipped to handle snow and ice than their northern counterparts, it’s important that you are as prepared as possible in case disaster strikes. To help you get a head start, here are 5 tips you need to prepare for winter storms:
- Always keep plenty of food stocked. As you probably know, it’s dangerous to travel on icy roads, especially since most vehicles in the South are not equipped to handle them. Avoid the need to leave by making sure you are fully stocked on food.
- Remove any troublesome trees. Trees often fall during ice storms because of the stress from the extra weight. Be sure to cut down or otherwise handle any trees that may become a problem during an approaching winter storm.
- Make sure your car’s tank is full. Although you should avoid driving icy roads, sometimes you don’t have much choice. In case you get stuck in traffic or on the side of the road, you’ll be glad when you can keep your car warm until help arrives.
- Know how to shut off water valves. When temperatures drop really low, pipes are at risk of bursting. The sooner you can shut off your water valve, the less damage you will likely sustain. It’s important that every household member knows how to do so. If your pipes do burst, call us immediately to help mitigate any water damage.
- Stock up on plenty of blankets. Because ice and snow can eventually overwhelm powerlines, you should prepare for time without power. Unless you have a working fireplace, you’ll find that a blanket will be your best friend.
Since winter storms can come without warning, it’s best to prepare as far in advance as possible. Buy a good emergency kit, review safety plans, and ensure your home is in excellent condition. You can’t control weather conditions, but you can be ready.
Saving A Digital Disaster From Water Damage To Your Bethlehem Office
Our SERVPRO technicians have the tools and manpower to take care of your office space and restore it "Like it never even happened."
Our SERVPRO Team Can Save your Bethlehem Office From Water Damage
Office buildings in Bethlehem are not impervious to water emergencies such as service line ruptures. Given the higher volume of electronic equipment and physical/digital files kept on the premises, even a smaller scale incident is one that restoration and water removal specialists should handle. As you know, the worse a problem gets, the more the business is going to be impacted as a whole.
Water damages to your Bethlehem office can spell all manner of trouble for your business as a whole. First and foremost, you have to consider the equipment that you have within this space, whether it is in the room that is currently experiencing the brunt of the water damages or not. Not just the electronics themselves are essential, but all of the software that you have installed on each system is in jeopardy. Company-specific programs need to be reinstalled, and saved data for use in these programs is lost forever if a growing water problem is allowed to breach their shell.
These damages do not even account for the files that you have stored in some regions of the office building. Since it is slowly becoming more customary to make these files into a digital format, what happens when the server supporting your office cloud space or the large external hard drive to store sensitive client files becomes irreparably damaged when water that could have been removed from SERVPRO professionals reaches it?
We at SERVPRO can appreciate that your business is important. Keeping your doors open and your staff able to work is critical to success. That is why our team works quickly to remove the immediate threats to your productivity while simultaneously employing our water restoration techniques to bring your affected area back to its prior conditions. When contacted quickly, there is a high probability that your business does not need to close its doors at all.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
While your business cannot afford a lengthy stoppage in production, it is unlikely to experience one if you put the right restoration team on the job. Call us at SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties; we can be reached anytime at (828) 396-1070.
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What To Expect During Mold Damage Restoration In Your Bethlehem Home?
Mold is one of the most significant problems that a homeowner faces after water damage.
What To Expect During Mold Damage Restoration
Mold is one of the most significant problems that a homeowner faces after water damage. If the moisture is not promptly and efficiently removed from the property after flooding, mold damage is almost inevitable. Apart from jeopardizing the structural integrity of your Bethlehem property, the mold may also pose a health risk.
It is essential to act fast and take steps to control mold damage in your Bethlehem home as soon as possible. Mold remediation is a complex process that should be carried out by professionals. Thankfully, here at SERVPRO, we have a team of mold remediation experts that can help you tackle this problem. We use a state-of-the-art, multi-step process to contain and eliminate mold as safely and efficiently as possible. Here are the steps involved in a typical mold remediation process.
1. Containing The damage
The first step toward restoring mold damage is to contain the mold and prevent it from spreading to the unaffected areas. Installing containment barriers, establishing a negative air pressure in the containment area and sealing HVAC vents are some of the crucial steps during this phase of the process.
2. Removing The Mold Contamination
SERVPRO professionals have expertise in removing mold contamination safely and efficiently. We use vacuum pumps equipped with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to remove mold from non-porous surfaces. If the mold has contaminated porous material such as carpet, drywall, and insulation, our technicians eliminate the mold by removing the source of contamination itself.
3. Cleaning And Eliminating Settled Spores
The settled spores are removed by HEPA vacuum. The HEPA filtration system can remove microscopic mold spores with an efficiency of up to 99.97% to prevent secondary growth. The cleaning of settled spores takes time and is usually performed in multiple stages to ensure complete elimination.
Drying is perhaps one of the most critical steps to prevent further mold growth. Once the cleaning process is complete, and spores have been eliminated, drying can begin. SERVPRO experts use state-of-the-art air movers and dehumidifiers to get rid of the moisture from the mold.
Mold remediation is a delicate process that requires a lot of skill and expertise. Make sure that you are seeking professional help as soon as you spot damage to limit the extent of damage and prevent it from spreading.
Call SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties at (828) 396-1070 to schedule an inspection today. Our experts can help you devise a plan to combat mold damage and restore your home to preloss conditions in no time.
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Be Mindful of Leaking Windows After Flood Damage in Bethlehem
SERVPRO suggest regularly inspecting your windows for damage after a storm to prevent mold growth or other damage to your home.
Checking Your Windows Regularly Can Prevent Flood Damage
Winter storms and inclement weather carry with them a real risk of flood damage to your home. Floods might cause damage ranging from minor leaks to major structural problems. One area of your house that requires extra care is your windows. Window leaks let water into your home, and if the damage goes unchecked, the wood around your windows is at risk. There is also a potential for mold growth when water pools in dark areas with a suitable fungal food source such as wood or drywall. SERVPRO recommends all Bethlehem homeowners check their windows regularly for signs of damage.
The best way to prevent potential window leaks after flood damage in Bethlehem is regular checks. We suggest that every time the weather is rainy or there is snow or hail, you check your windows afterward for signs of water. You do not need to wait until a significant flood or storm; in fact, it is better if you do not wait, because by then it is too late to take action.
The location of a leak gives you a clue as to its source. Visible water on the window frame or the area where the jamb meets the sash suggests the problem is with the window itself. However, leaks in the area surrounding the frame such as the walls or ceiling may point to a problem elsewhere in the house.
There are some steps you can take to protect windows, such as caulking around them or installing a weather strip. However, if you suspect the problem is with the actual structure around the window, it is a good idea to call in a window specialist to take a look.
If a leaking window causes pooling water or even mold growth in your home, give SERVPRO a call straight away. Our IICRC-certified technicians are waiting to offer assistance. We have all the equipment necessary to extract water from your home and remediate any mold growth situation. We dry the area thoroughly to reduce the risk of mold growth.
For help with leaking windows in Adako, Bethlehem, Bailey Camp, Ellendale and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties at (828) 396-1070 today.
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Quick Action Saves Water Threatened Inventory at Bethlehem Store
SERVPRO's IICRC certified technicians remove water from wood flooring then use a variety of techniques to restore them "Like it never even happened."
SERVPRO's Thorough Drying and Restoration Process
Unique products and a quirky approach to selling make a repurposed historic house the perfect place to display home furnishings and décor in Bethlehem. Interesting and eclectic surroundings come with the unpredictability of an aging building. When water damage develops from leaks in old pipes, we have the experience and strategies to save your room stagings from a soaking.
Creating an inviting atmosphere in the various rooms used for display, the 100 plus-year-old radiators in your retail space also create havoc as their rusted valves begin to leak. The water at first was unnoticeable, drops at a time, but then rugs and carpeting nearby became sodden. The designer furnishings are next, but we have other and much more constructive ideas.
Even before we arrive, you can help avoid water damage in your Bethlehem retail space by lifting furniture up and place blocks or foil covered towels under the legs. This keeps water from wicking up the wood or rusting metal fittings. Roll up area rugs for evaluation and potential specialty cleaning, and also to prevent dyes from staining other flooring. SERVPRO crews assess the scene upon arrival, and a plan for drying and restoring the antique wooden floors and the modern carpeting takes shape.
The water source to the radiators must be shut down and arrangements for repairs made. Once that is secured, SERVPRO technicians begin water extraction. Care is taken when using vacuum extractors on the wall to wall carpet to minimize stretching and prevent tearing at seams. Delamination, where the backing pulls away from the fiber layer, is a risk reduced when IICRC trained workers complete the task. The padding, if left in place, must be dried through the carpeting as well, which requires weighted wand techniques to force all moisture out. Air movers and dehumidifiers speed the process by moving moist air away from the areas affected, allowing the drier air to absorb water vapor given up by the carpeting.
Wood flooring is resilient if treated fast. After standing water is removed, SERVPRO technicians use a variety of techniques to resolve the remaining moisture issues. Drying the subfloor is critical, as the top layer wicks up any dampness, resulting in cupping -- where the planks rise on the edges, leaving a valley. Surface dampness left unresolved can cause crowning, where the center of the boards swells up. Buckling happens when the floorboards curve up from the subfloor after prolonged water exposure.
Drying mats lie directly on the floor and pull up moisture. We may pull up a few sections to aim air movers at both the main and the subfloor. Small holes drilled or, in severe cases, finishes removed, allow the wood to release trapped moisture, helped by dry air provided with dehumidifiers and air movers. Throughout the process, SERVPRO workers measure and monitor the progress of moisture reduction.
SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties has the highly qualified technicians and powerful drying equipment to reduce moisture to normal levels in floors and other surfaces. Call (828) 396-1070 to help with water damage due to any source.
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Neutralizing Smoke Odors in Your Bethlehem Home After a Fire
If your space heater causes a fire, big or small, call SERVPRO to repair your home and remove the odor left behind.
Cleaning, Repairing and Deodorizing Your Home After Fire Damage
With the cold weather coming in Bethlehem, space heaters are coming back out. They are a popular choice due to their portability and small size, making them easy to reposition. When carefully used, these appliances can be one of your most valued pieces of equipment all winter long. If not used safely, however, these little heaters can pose a fire risk in your home.
If your Bethlehem home has suffered from fire damage due to a space heater, you want to repair the damage as soon as possible, even if it was small. At SERVPRO, our technicians are expertly trained and experienced to handle fire damage of any size, including cleaning up any soot and smoke residues the fire leaves behind.
Removing the smoke odor of a fire-damaged home presents a challenge. Our technicians are more successful at removing them because we understand how odor molecules permeate a structure and how to use various methods of odor removal. We also understand that customers perceive odors in different ways. Our task is to neutralize the odors that you consider unpleasant.
As SERVPRO techs attempt to deodorize, we deal with two kinds of odors – ones real, and ones imagined. The real odor is the sensation of smell caused by a real substance. Odor molecules interact with olfactory nerve cells in your nose. These nerves send messages to your brain which are interpreted by the olfactory lobe. Psychological or imaginary odors are what people believe they are smelling.
Deodorization requires a combination of techniques for it to be successful. Doing so results in all the odors being neutralized in the end. The first step is to get rid of the source causing the odor, and then we clean up the residues. After cleaning, ventilation or air scrubbing to get rid of odor molecules from the air indoors is next.
SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties has the experience you need to not only clean and repair your home after fire damage, but remove the odors from smoke as well. Residents in the areas of Bethlehem, Sawmills, or Lenoir should not hesitate to call us at (828) 396-1070 after a fire.
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Water Removal Linked to Clogged Downspouts in Stony Point
When debris and leaves get logged into your gutters and downspouts, water can pool around your foundation and cause damage. Call SERVPRO for help.
SERVPRO Technicians Check Many Points at Which Water can Enter Your Home and Cause Damage
Your Stony Point drainage system that begins with a well-shingled roof, properly canted gutters, and adequately maintained downspouts impacts the foundation of your home if any portion of the configuration fails. Heavy rains due to severe storm patterns need to drain away from your home. If water collects inside instead, you may need professionals to remove the water.
Seasonally torrential rains gush from your gutters and pound a depression around your house, resulting in an urgent water removal need in Stony Point. During the autumn, falling leaves join any storm debris clogging your downspouts and causing your gutters to pull away from your roof edge. This disrupts the carefully constructed pipeline that should allow water to flow down the gutters, into the drains, and finally deposited on a downslope away from your foundation. Inches of water build up in your utility room or crawl space because of the clogs, and our trained technicians and specialized equipment are ready to evacuate the moisture to avoid water and secondary damage.
Over the period of a few days, North Carolina can experience several waves of soaking storms. The ground around your home becomes supersaturated as the water fails to drain away, permitting the water to build up. SERVPRO water removal teams arrive with submersible pumps and high-efficiency water extractors to pull water out of your structure. Failing to remove this accumulation is a mistake as the ground cannot absorb more, and any insulation becomes waterlogged and prone to mold growth. Vapor barriers might need repair or reinstallation if they deteriorated.
Any plumbing or HVAC venting near the water incursion risks compromise if the level is not reduced or eliminated. Once we remove the water, SERVPRO workers inspect the ductwork and any other mechanical systems to ensure continued operation is appropriate. If a breach is identified, we add cleaning and sealing the venting to the water removal plan. If even small amounts of moisture remain, structural materials and fixtures risk continual deterioration.
Post-water removal, SERVPRO technicians will review the gutter and downspout issues and recommend repairs that avoid future water accumulation crises. Throughout the process, we work with your insurer to limit your out of pocket expenses.
SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties offers local residents the equipment and skilled crews to eliminate water retention problems. One call to (828) 396-1070 sets all of our services in motion on your behalf.
For more information about the City of Stony Point, North Carolina visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stony_Point,_North_Carolina