Preventing Moisture and Mold in the Home
While the current weather outside does not reflect it, warmer weather is on the way. It won’t be long, and we will be complaining that it is too hot and be running for the thermostat to crank the AC unit on and try to find a comfortable temperature.
This can create a perfect environment for mold growth in your home if there becomes enough moisture in the area. There are four requirements for mold growth:
- Mold spores
- Temperatures of 70° or more
- Food source - Not a steak and potatoes kind of food, but the mold spores generally feed on wood, drywall, and insulation.
To help in the prevention of mold growth there are some steps you can take:
- Maintain the moisture level- anything above 50% is favorable for mold growth and anything below 30% can have negative effects on your health. You want to keep it between 30-50%.
- Fix any leaks as soon as you find them
- Clean up any water spills as soon as you notice it. It doesn’t take a large amount to create a huge, moldy mess.
- If your AC unit is inside, make sure you empty the drip pan regularly to prevent any overflow and avoid a damp environment.
Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors
Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador Logo
Did you know that here at SERVPRO of Carthage/ Joplin, we are registered as Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors through the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)?
If you have not taken the time to wander around the website, you should make it a point to do so at some time! It is full of helpful information, and even learning resources for children in order to help them better understand weather, and what they should do in case of a bad weather event.
Storm season is upon us and we know weather is unpredictable and if you have children, this information could be very beneficial in helping them understand the importance of being prepared in the unfortunate yet inevitable event of a dangerous storm.
If you would like information for yourself or educational resources for your children, you should really take time to check their website out.
To get to the educational portion of the website just go to noaa.gov and select Education from the list on the left. From there you will see different tabs and options to choose from depending on the grade level. There are also links to other educational websites or articles that will help you to better understand weather, what it does, how it does it and the ways you can help to keep those you love safe by knowing what you are looking at.
Fogging to Kill Germs
A crew member is in full PPE while setting things up to fog the back of an ambulance.
If you have turned on a television set, picked up a smart phone, or read a newspaper lately, you know most everyone is being extremely careful to avoid picking up germs from others due to the coronavirus pandemic.
If you have a large space or even a smaller space with a lot of different nooks and crannies, then there may be concerns on how well you are able to really sanitize the area. For some areas it could take hours or days to wipe things down to sanitize them and even still there may be germs left behind.
Have you ever heard of fogging? If you fog an area to combat germs, it allows the chemicals to disperse throughout and will reach content or areas that may have been out of reach or overlooked.
We wanted to do something to help our community during all of this and our crews have suited up and began fogging approximately 13 ambulances to help them in killing off the germs that may have been hiding.
If you would like more information on fogging and the benefits of it, please reach out. If you would like more information on COVID-19 and what you can do to help flatten the curve, please visit the website for CDC.
We hope you stay safe and many blessings come your way.
Check Your Smoke Detectors
Smoke rising to a smoke detector
A lot of people check their smoke detectors monthly, some only check the batteries when the time changes and some know theirs works simply because it goes off nearly every time they cook. I will not tell you which category I am in, but I do know mine works.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends you have a smoke detector in each bedroom, outside any sleeping quarters and on every level of the house, basement included. It may seem excessive to some, but the notice you have, the more time you have to get yourself and your family to safety.
You should make it a habit to check the smoke detectors every single month and change the batteries when you change your clocks twice a year.
Do not forget that smoke detectors are only good for 10 years and should be replaced accordingly.
If you do not change the batteries in your smoke detector twice a year, be mindful of any random beeps or chirps. When the battery is dying it will make a sound every couple of minutes or so. Please do not ignore this as it is reminding you to replace the battery and this could ultimately save your life and the lives of the ones you love.
Keep Your House Dry During the Rainy Season
Spring Storms graphic from weather.gov - NOAA
The birds are singing, flowers are blooming, the days are getting longer, and the temperatures are climbing. The allergens are also in full blown attack mode too, but that is a whole different topic. You know what this means? Spring is here.
Tomorrow is April 1, and I am sure you have heard the adage April showers bring May flowers, haven’t you? Well, it is that time of year again and we have already seen a fair amount of wet weather with plenty more to come.
The wet, rainy and stormy season is upon us and there are precautions we can take to help keep the inside of our homes dry as well as keeping our families safe:
- Make sure you trim the trees and branches
- Make sure landscape or yard ornaments are secure
- Make sure your gutters are cleaned
- Make sure the roof does not have any leaks or holes, if you find holes, repair them before it gets any worse and causes any more damage.
- Make sure you have a safe place to go, whether is be a basement, cellar or a room/closet in the home that does not have any windows
- Stock an emergency kit- make sure to include water, a flashlight, extra batteries, personal hygiene items, jackets and a first aid kit. If you visit https://www.weather.gov/owlie/emergencysupplieskit you can see a full list of great ideas to make sure you include in your kit.
While I am hopeful that the storms do not cause a lot of problems for any of us, if you need help with cleaning up water from an unexpected leak or a flooded basement, do not hesitate to call someone who knows the importance of a job well done. Call SERVPRO of Carthage/ Joplin at 417-623-1388.
Due to the fact that we do have national backing, in the event of water damage in your clinic or office space, even your home, we have the ability to utilize the SERVPRO document restoration team to assist in recovering damaged documents, such as:
- paper documents
- books and magazines
- manuscripts and files
- photographs, films, negatives, and microfiche
- blueprints and maps
Through freeze-drying, the restoration team is able to restore many things most people would think were a total loss. Freeze-drying is a water removing process done by freezing the material, reducing the pressure, and then adding heat which allows the frozen water to sublimate. This allows the documents to dry and removes the moisture while keeping the documents in their original condition and prevents any further damage.
They are also able to sterilize the above documents using a process called gamma irradiation to kill bacteria through breaking down the bacterial DNA should the documents come in contact with any potentially harmful bacteria.
Once those documents have been saved, the SERVPRO document restoration team could even save your documents digitally so you would have back-up access to your records at the palm of your hand.
Also, you would not have to worry about confidentiality because this work is managed by HIPPA Master-certified technicians and is under constant surveillance.
If your clinic, office, or business of any other sort could benefit from these services, call us. We can help.
Radar screenshot from previous storm event
It is nearing springtime and that means a lot of rain showers, storms that bring heavy rain, high winds, hail and unfortunately, tornadoes. We live in the Midwest, this is inevitable.
Some tips that may prove to be beneficial:
**I am yelling these first three in hopes they really stand out.
- KNOW YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE! Make sure you know ahead of time what would be considered a covered loss. If you do not think you have adequate coverage, make appropriate changes. Knowing in advance, and being prepared, is better than finding out too late.
- UPDATE YOUR HOME INVENTORY! A lot of people do not think that far ahead and when tragedy strikes, they have no clue where to begin when putting things down on paper for their insurance claim. There are quite a few apps that will help to keep things logged and in order, some are free and some cost money, but in the end, it will help a lot during a time that is already emotionally and physically exhausting. If you would rather not go through and log everything in the house, then take your video camera and record video of all of the items, making sure to get serial numbers and even in the cupboards and closets. Save it in numerous places, so if one copy is destroyed or damaged you will have a back-up. EVERYTHING HELPS!
- CHECK YOUR SUMP PUMP! During this time of year, a lot of water jobs we do is because a sump pump has failed. If you have a basement, you more than likely have a sump pump that is used to rid a sump basin of excess water. If the sump pump fails, you will have a flooded basement, and sometimes mold growth. It is a giant mess and a big headache for homeowners that could have been prevented in most cases.
- Trim the trees away from your home. This will help lower the chances of having limbs and branches landing on your roof during high winds. While it may not stop it all of the time, every effort helps.
- Make sure your yard is level and not sloping towards your house. If it is sloping towards the house then the likeliness of water running towards the house during heavy rain is much greater.
- Clean your gutters. If your gutters are cleaned out then it allows the water to flow from the roof and will hopefully prevent the water from standing on the roof which can lead to leaks and a mold issue.
- Have a plan and know it. Practice it so when it is most important, it comes natural to your entire family. Where will you go in the event of severe weather? Where will you meet after it is over if you are not already home together? Who will be your contact to let them know you are safe? If you have this plan in place, there will be less panic and chaos if everyone knows what they are supposed to do.
While we hope you all stay safe and dry, if you are affected by the spring storms, know we are only a phone call away.
Emergency Ready Profile- Are You Prepared?
Last month we responded to a local casino for a water loss that had occurred. It was not a small loss by any means and affected numerous floors of their hotel. On day one our team had to take the stairs up to the 12th floor and back down repeatedly because the elevators were also down as a result of the water loss.
Our crew was in there and doing all they could to get the rooms dried out so they could open them back up for customers, but as anyone knows, things do not always go according to plan.
The guys are still in the hotel because during the mitigation process they found mold growing behind some of the baseboards in the rooms. If you ever question how quickly mold can grow after a water loss, please don't risk it. It is dangerous for your health and can make you pretty sick if you are around certain types for too long.
I said all of that to ask this: Do you have a plan in place for your office or business? Would your employees know what steps to take should something like this occur on their shift? Do they know how to shut off the water should a leak happen? Do they know what to do if they see mold growing or come across a bio-hazard scene? These and many other questions are not usually thought of until it is too late and in the moment your team is scrambling to come up with a plan and panicking while trying to figure out who to call first.
WE CAN HELP WITH THAT!
We can get your business set up with an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) that will lay out step-by-step instructions/directions for all employees so they are all on the same page and aware of how to handle any emergency situation such as a busted pipe, or even an unexpected but necessary bio-hazard cleaning. It only takes a little of your time in the beginning to save a whole lot of time when it is most important.
If you would like to see about getting an ERP for your business, please call us and we will come to you!
"Confidence comes from being prepared."
- John Wooden
I don't know about you, but having my house clean is important because a clean house makes me happy. I am also a realist and know that sometimes I let little things slide because I get busy with life. Spring is quickly approaching and I have my deep clean day written down in my planner so I will make it a priority to scrub my house from top to bottom.
Aside from the usual scrubbing of walls, ceilings, fixtures and upholstery, there are a couple of things that I didn't think about doing during this time, but it will certainly help in making sure it is done annually if I make a point to do it all at once.
I was looking for different tips and tricks to help make my cleaning go a little smoother and saw a few things that I never even thought to do during my heavy cleaning.
Make a schedule. I am a distracted cleaner, so I have multiple tasks going at one time. However, I read a lot of people can stay on task by setting a daily (if you're splitting it between numerous days) or hourly (if you want to get it all done in one day) schedule and STICK TO IT! This helps cut down on the number of tasks you have going and you are able to focus on one thing at a time.
The medicine cabinet is not something most people clean regularly and if you're anything like the majority, you have old, unused, expired medicines in there. Remember to clear that out and dispose of the medications safely and legally.
It is also recommended to change or wash the shower curtain (I do mine monthly) or change the liner when you are doing your spring cleaning.
It is also a great time to start thinking about what clothes you no longer need or wear and clear out some closet space.
Please make sure to be mindful and cautious as to what cleaning agents you should use and don't do anything to bring harm to yourself, your family or your pets. Not everything mixes well together and some combinations can create fumes that will make you sick.
Now is a great time to start making a checklist on what you want to tackle!
Cleaning Contents After A Fire
Boxed items being stored in our warehouse.
When you go through something devastating, such as a home fire, there are many emotions that you generally process. We strive to make that process a bit easier with the mentality in place that we will work to restore all that we can instead of having to completely replace all of it. We know there are some things that cannot be replaced such as family heirlooms and those special sentimental pieces.
Our fire team will go in and help you make a list of the contents of the home and make a report of items in your home; they take a room by room inventory, including pictures, to help better understand what can be restored and this can also be beneficial in most insurance claims.
Once we have the list, the team can pack up the items that are to be restored and move it all back to the warehouse where the items are then cleaned to the condition it was before the fire using a few different types of cleaning methods, determined by the item itself. Not all things are made the same and some things require special care and attention than others during the cleaning process.
When the items have been cleaned, they are boxed up and can be stored in our dry, temperature-regulated warehouse until the customer is ready to have the items moved to their home.