3 Factors That Might Have Caused Your Home’s Mold Growth
Mold growth can get out of control if left untreated, but with a few simple steps, you can prevent mold growth altogether!
Our first instinct when we see mold is to do whatever we can to get rid of it. While it’s impossible to actually remove mold spores from your home, it is possible to stop active growth and take steps to prevent it from growing in the future. But what caused it begin growing in the first place? There are a few possibilities.
- Untreated Water Damage. One of the main ingredients mold needs to grow is water, so when water is left untreated, it tends to activate the mold spores. That’s why it is highly recommended that water damage is mitigated quickly after it occurs!
- High Humidity. As we stated, mold needs water to grow, so it stands to reason that high humidity would lead to such growth. We highly recommend that you keep your home’s humidity levels between 30 – 50%, which can be accomplished by using a dehumidifier.
- Lack of Air Circulation. This actually ties in with humidity, but we think it’s a common enough problem that we should mention it separately. When air has adequate movement, it actually helps speed up the evaporation of moisture; this is actually the main goal of some of our water mitigation equipment. Conversely, when doors are closed and stifle air flow, it actually retains the moisture and leads to longer periods of humidity. So make sure your doors are open and fans are running!
Mold can be a major nuisance (and even damaging), but as homeowners, we can often prevent mold growth by ourselves. But if you’re still concerned or have questions, call SERVPRO of Burke County today at (828) 874-0966!
Water Damage Q&A: When is Water Damage Dry?
Employee Eric Hershberger shows off one of our moisture readers, which indicates the relative moisture level of an object.
Imagine heavy rains have recently flooded your basement and now it’s submerged in about 5 inches of water. Once your local cleanup and restoration company has sucked up all of the standing water, they then have to set equipment to speed up the drying process and remove moisture from the affected areas. But it’s been two days and they say they still aren’t done drying, so they leave with the equipment behind and promise to check again tomorrow.
How Do You Know When the Water Damage is Dry?
It might seem like the technicians aren’t doing anything after initially setting the equipment, but the drying process can be relatively long and require little to no action from the technicians during that time. Their role during this process is to check on the moisture levels every 24 hours and make any necessary adjustments to the equipment.
So how do they know when they’re done drying? They use moisture readers to check the relative level of humidity of both the affected area and several samples from unaffected areas. Based on the levels picked up in the unaffected areas, the technicians have a drying goal to achieve in the affected area. Once they’ve achieved their drying goal, they are able to remove the equipment and cleanup.
If you’re currently recovering from a water loss, feel free to ask the technicians on the job what their drying goal is and where they currently are in the process. If you choose us to do the work, our technicians are more than happy to walk you through the process and provide daily updates as they check moisture levels!
Things to Dispose of After a Fire
Don't assume that because your food hasn't been destroyed by the fire that it's safe to consume!
Fires already take away from you, but just because something survived doesn’t mean that it’s still safe to use or consume. In fact, we don’t often talk about what to do after a fire, but there’s a lot of safety issues that arise. If you or somebody you know has a house fire, it’s highly advisable that you dispose of the following items:
Food (including packaged food). Most—if not all—of your food will need to be thrown out if they’ve been exposed to a fire. Smoke and chemicals will contaminate exposed food. Even when food is packaged, the fire’s heat can activate bacteria growth or change the consumable’s flavor. Also, refrigerator and freezer contents will need to be evaluated to ensure that smoke was not able to infiltrate; if you smell smoke when opening these containers, dispose of everything inside.
Medicine. In the same vein as food, medicine will likely be destroyed, altered, or ineffective by high heat, especially since most are stored in plastic containers. It’s much safer to buy new medicine than to risk consuming what you already have. If you are in an immediate need for more, call your doctor.
Cosmetics. Like the others, cosmetics can be altered or rendered ineffective by high heat. It’s best to consider throwing them out, especially if they look warped or have a different consistency.
As with anything, use your best judgment when deciding what to keep or toss. If it looks questionable or you’re just uncertain, you’re likely safer to just throw it out. If you have fire damage in Morganton or anywhere in Burke County, call SERVPRO of Burke County to be your cleanup and restoration professional!
Why Water Mitigation is Important
Air movers and dehumidifiers are essential for any water mitigation work!
We rarely expect it, but it happens to most people at some point in their lives—their home or business suffers water damage. If you’re lucky, the damage is minor and can be easily cleaned up; if you’re less fortunate, it can be a stressful and expensive process. Regardless, no amount of water damage should be ignored or insufficiently handled. In case you’re not convinced, we have a few reasons why you should perform water mitigation services immediately after a water damage.
Nobody wants mold on their property, but if you don’t clean up water damage, it’s exactly what you’re going to get. Mold is a fungus that breaks down organic material and is spread by spores. One of the key ingredients for its growth, though, is water.
Oftentimes when mold is present, it’s because of unaddressed water damage or high humidity (which could also be a result of water damage). Earlier this year, we had to gut two homes because they had been infested with mold as a result of severe unattended water damage (both homeowners had been out of state during the time of their respective disasters).
Many homes are built with porous materials, which means that water is likely to seep into spaces that you can’t see. When water damage is not treated, the water can be absorbed by structural materials and begin to weaken or rot. This can ultimately lead to extensive repair work.
Mitigation work addresses this moisture and draws it out before it can cause substantial damage. The process is aimed at restoration rather than replacement, so it’s also much cheaper than getting repair work.
Water damage is assessed and divided into categories based on contamination levels. These categories help water restoration experts determine the steps needed to complete the job. Ranging from categories 1 - 3, the higher the category, the more contaminated and dangerous the water is.
When anything other than Category 1 water damage is present, there is a strong possibility of bacterial growth. This growth can create hazardous environments for the elderly or those with respiratory or immune system complications; in some cases, it can be very toxic.
Water mitigation in many cases will include antimicrobial and other cleansing measures to eliminate much of the present bacteria.
Water Mitigation Protects You & Your Property
Water damage is a serious issue that can lead to more expensive problems. Unless you’re familiar with the mitigation process, we highly recommend that you call your local water restoration company. If you need professional services, call SERVPRO of Burke County at (828) 874-0966 today!
3 Types of Storm Damage
Several months ago, a tornado ripped through the area and caused substantial wind damage!
Since spring has arrived, thunderstorm season has kicked into gear. While these types of storms are generally mild, especially in North Carolina, they have the potential to cause significant damage to your property. So you can prepare for the event of a thunderstorm, we’ve identified 3 kinds of damage you should look out for.
- Fire Damage. It might not be common to be struck by lightning, but these electric bolts are incredibly hot. Your home, grass, and even surrounding trees are susceptible to igniting if they are struck by lightning. If a lightning bolt strikes near your powerline, it could lead to a massive power surge that will potentially damage your connected devices (unless you have a surge protector). In some cases, this surge can start electrical fires.
- Flooding. Heavy rain can cause serious problems for property owners who don’t have a sound structure. Leaks and flooding can damage property and create financial stress. On top of that, standing water and high humidity can create an optimal environment for mold growth!
- Wind Damage. Thunderstorms can bring heavy winds, which can knock trees and other debris into your home. In the event that your home or building is damaged by debris, you’re at risk for other damage, particularly water.
We often take thunderstorms for granted other than the occasional power outage or heavy rains, but these natural phenomena can cause serious damage to your property. If your property is struck by disaster, call SERVPRO of Burke County immediately!
4 Common Sources of Water Damage
When a burst pipe damaged soaked large parts of this hospital, our team set up equipment to dry it out!
We get calls to mitigate water damage nearly every single day. In many cases, the damage is minor and we’re able to complete our work very quickly; in other cases, the damage is significant and can cause structural and/or mold damage. While it’s difficult to prevent damage from ever happening, you can lower the risk by being aware of common sources of water damage!
Burst Pipes. During the winter months, when temperatures drop below freezing, water in your pipes will freeze and expand. When they thaw, your pipes are likely to burst and flood the inside of your property. To prevent frozen pipes from bursting, apply a heating pad or blow dryer to the frozen areas.
Water Heater. Water heaters—naturally—store a lot of water. Over time, these appliances will wear down and can leak or burst. The best way to prevent this kind of water damage is to have regular maintenance and inspection.
Appliance Incidents. In general, we use a lot of different appliances each day that have the potential to cause water damage. In fact, we often get calls about damage caused by dishwashers, ice makers, washing machines, and more! Each appliance is different, but it’s best to regularly inspect them to ensure there aren’t any cracks or leaks.
Structural Leaks. We expect our homes to protect us from the elements, but weaknesses in the structure can lead to water damage. Routinely inspect the structure of your home and identify places where water can (or possibly already is) enter your space.
Water damage can happen to anyone at any time, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t actively try to prevent it. If you are vigilant and conduct regular inspections of the four sources mentioned above, you’ll lower the odds of future water damage. But if your home ever is affected, you can call SERVPRO of Burke County to make it “Like it never even happened.”
The Truth About Black Mold
"Black mold" might sound scary, but it's no more dangerous than any other mold!
Toxic, black mold.
If there’s one thing that scares people, it’s the fear that they have black mold growing on their property. After all, numerous TV ads and internet articles will have you believe that simply touching or breathing in the spores will poison you or lead to birth defects. But the truth is that black mold is actually nothing like the monster it’s portrayed to be.
First, black mold is no more dangerous than any other type of mold. There are thousands of types of mold and many of them just happen to be black. You might be allergic to some types of mold and not others, but there is no need to be any more concerned with black mold than you would with white, green, or any other color of mold. In fact, some species of mold are different colors simply based on the environment and conditions.
Second, mold is not toxic. Some can certainly produce byproducts called “mycotoxins” that they naturally release as they grow, but no species of mold is actually toxic or poisonous (this is all backed by the CDC and other experts). Even the species that can produce mycotoxins should be treated with no more alarm than any other type of mold.
So why are people scared of black mold? Unfortunately, it’s a result of media hype and the spread of false information. If you see or hear anyone advertising the dangers of “toxic, black mold,” they’re likely trying to sell something or have fallen victim to a scare campaign.
If you discover black mold in your home or building, remain calm and call SERVPRO of Burke County to take care of it quickly and efficiently.
3 Ways an ERP Can Benefit Your Business
An Emergency Ready Plan will make sure you and your employees are ready to respond so your business can reopen as soon as possible.
According to FEMA, around 40 - 60% of small businesses never reopen their doors after facing a disaster. Even knowing that, most small businesses haven’t put in the time to create an emergency response plan so that they can minimize the impact of a disaster. SERVPRO will create a free Emergency Ready Profile for any business that wants one, but do you know how it can benefit your business?
- You’ll know where to find the utility shutoffs. Depending on the size and nature of a disaster, it might be imperative that somebody immediately shuts off the gas, water, and/or electricity. Even if you personally know where the shutoffs are located, if you aren’t around at the time of a disaster, the role would fall on an available employee. SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile marks all of the shutoff locations (and shows pictures), so your team can quickly do what’s needed.
- You’ll have an immediate plan of action. The longer your business is inactive, the less likely you’ll recover. With our Emergency Ready Profile, you’ll not only have a guide for you and your employees, but you’ll also have instant access to your local SERVPRO professionals. The faster we’re there to clean up the damage, the quicker you’re able to reopen your doors.
- You’ll have an incredible asset at no cost. In most cases, you would have to dedicate precious time and resources to create a quality emergency readiness plan, which is often a reason they’re never made. But SERVPRO’s franchises have the tools and skills to assemble an Emergency Ready Profile in a short amount of time. The only thing they need from you is a few minutes to go over some basic questions to get them started. If you’re wondering what the catch is, it’s just that if you ever do have a disaster, SERVPRO hopes you’ll call them for help!
If you’ve never thought about creating an emergency plan for your business, it’s time to start considering it. Because disaster rarely offers a warning, you don’t want to be caught off-guard when it strikes. Call SERVPRO of Burke County today and get your own personalized Emergency Ready Profile.
3 Things to Do if Your Home Suffers from Water Damage
If water damages your home, SERVPRO of Burke County will bring in its team of experts to dry affected areas and mitigate damage.
No matter who you are or how cautious you are, water damage can disrupt your life and set your home up for further damage. Because disaster often happens when you least expect it, most homeowners are unprepared to respond quickly and appropriately to water damage. While most cases will require a professional disaster restoration company to come to the rescue, there are some things a homeowner can do to reduce the scope of the damage.
- Shut off the water. If your water damage stems from burst pipes, leaks, or similar problems, shut off your home’s water valve immediately. This will prevent further damage and let you focus on mitigation. You will want to call a plumber if there is any damage to your plumbing system.
- Remove excess water immediately. A disaster restoration company will make sure to dry everything, but the longer your possessions sit in water, the more likely problems such as mold will occur. While you wait for help, start removing water and drying damp objects. (Remember not to use a vacuum to suck up water; this will damage it and potentially lead to more problems.)
- Keep humidity low. If you opt not to use a disaster restoration company for any reason, then it’s important that you keep your humidity relatively low. Because mold thrives in humid environments, it’s vital that you keep it low enough to prevent it from growing. Dehumidifiers are a great tool for this, but allowing air to circulate is also important. If you’re uncertain how to proceed (or if mold starts growing), it’s strongly advised that you call a disaster restoration company immediately.
It can be stressful when your home suffers from water damage, but you’re not as helpless as you might think. If you act quickly and call the appropriate professionals, your home and belongings can be saved from devastating damage.
What to Do if Your Home Catches Fire
In most cases, you only have about 2 minutes to escape from a burning home. If you know what to do, you have a better chance of escaping!
If you’re reading this, chances are that you aren’t currently inside a burning structure (though if you are, evacuate the building immediately). Instead, you’ve either stumbled across this page by accident or you’re trying to prepare yourself and/or your family for a future potential disaster. Regardless of your reason, you should be aware of what you should do if your home catches fire.
- Alert others. Assuming the fire is too large and aggressive to put it out yourself, you’ll want to let everyone else know they need to escape. The most direct method is to shout “Fire” several times to make sure you get everyone’s attention.
- Evacuate immediately. Don’t wait for help to arrive; leave your home and your belongings behind. If there are others who need assistance—and it is safe to do so—help them. If your exits are blocked by fire or smoke, use a secondary exit.
- Stay low to the ground. If you see smoke, stay low to the ground because gasses and smoke rise to the ceiling. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire-related deaths.
- If you or your clothes catch fire, STOP, DROP, and ROLL. You’ve probably heard this since childhood, but if you find yourself on fire, you should stop moving, drop down with your hands over your face, and roll back and forth until the fire is extinguished. If you attempt to run, the flames will spread faster.
- If you’re trapped, stay in the room. If you don’t have an escape route, keep the doors closed and place a wet towel under the door. Call 911 and follow their instructions.
- Go to your meeting place and call 911. If you can escape, go to your pre-established meeting spot outside of the home (if you don’t have one, be sure to choose one and discuss it with your family). If nobody else in your family has done so, call 911 immediately. Do not re-enter the home under any circumstances unless your local fire department has given you the OK to do so.
In reality, you only have approximately 2 minutes to escape from a burning home. Knowing ahead of time what to do and expect is the best way to prepare. In addition to discussing this information with your family, you should also host fire drills with these 2-minute limitations. Don’t wait until it’s too late to find out you aren't prepared!
If you want to prepare for the actions you’ll need to take after a fire, we wrote a thorough guide just for that!