Paint Peel on Water Damage Wall in a residential property west palm beach

The 3 Categories of Water Damage and Considerations

Flooding in your property can cause serious damage. Irrespective of how well you are prepared, flooding or water damage can produce unforeseen scenarios and threats.

Minor property water damage incidents can be restored via the DIY checklist. However, sever water damage cleanup or restoration requires professional supervision and industrial grade tools & machinery.

Identifying the water damage category is the first step to water damage restoration. Water damage restoration professionals customize their restoration process based on this information for an effective and timely recovery.

This post features the three categories of water damage and the respective considerations.

Clean water or Category 1

Category 1 water damage is water damage from broken pipes, overflowing sink, or rainwater. Health risks associated with category 1 water damage is low, provided, you respond to the situation in less than 48 hours.

On most occasions, overlooking the fact that water damage can cause major headaches if left unattended escalates the situation.

Category 1 water damage if left untreated for more than 48 hours gets exposed to different contaminants which can turn it into category 2 water damage.

Greywater or Category 2

Some common sources of greywater are equipment discharges, chemical wastes like detergent, laundry, and soap. Category 2 water damage can pose mild to severe contamination risks. Greywater can promote microbial growth and the severity of the condition usually escalates with time. Both direct and indirect exposure to greywater damage can affect your personal health and property.

Blackwater or Category 3

Waters from sewers or water containing grease, oil, urine, etc are ideal examples of black water. Presumably, this water type hoards bacteria, viruses, and other toxic allergens, which makes it contagious.

The vulnerability of getting an infection or illness post direct or indirect exposure to black water is more than 90%. It is mandatory to exercise special caution when dealing with black water.

Paint Peel on Water Damage Wall in a residential property west palm beach
Considerations

Health and safety of occupants: When facing water damage, the priority is to consider the health and safety of the occupants.

Irrespective of the type of water damage you are dealing with, if the situation seems going out of control, moving your family away from the site should be your first step.

Contain the damage: If it is possible, try to locate the source of the water damage and contain it. For instance, if the culprit is a broken pipe or a leak in the ceiling, you could use waterproof tape to contain the damage temporarily and prevent further damage.

If the situation seems serious, it is ideal to contact a water damage restoration professional to how severe the damage is, especially if the area in question is near drywalls and crawlspaces.

Move your belongings: relocating your belongings like the furniture, bed, and clothing to a dry place is another important aspect to consider. Most of these belongings when wet or when subjected to high moisture content can become a haven for mold growth.

Dealing with water damage can be a tricky task. The key is to take action within the first 48 hours and to keep the microbial growth under constant check. This is where water restoration specialists can play a crucial role.

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What to Expect from a Professional Mold Removal Service

If not handled properly, mold growth in houses and offices can be a recurring problem. Incidents of mold growth disrupting the lives of people have increased in the past two years.

With the rise in indoor fungal and bacterial contaminations, the task of finding a professional mold removal services has become a challenge.

Once you observe those obvious signs of mold growth in your house or office and feel that things are getting out of hand, you need to hire a mold remediation specialist.

The checklist below will provide you a snapshot of how a professional mold removal service operates.

Assessment Checklist

Since mold growth is usually visible, your remediator will start with a visual assessment to understand the extent of mold contamination.

The specialist can also use high powered light sources coupled with fiber-optic borescopes to survey hidden areas like cavities.

Additional industry-level tools/equipment will be used for the assessment; which will be discussed later in this post.

A mold removal specialist can also interview the occupants of the building to understand the following:

  • The extent of mold contamination
  • Events of water incursion in the past, if any and the pertinent details like how, where, type and how long
  • Whether infected areas have been covered in the past with paints, sealants or other coatings
  • The history of the building (this information will come in handy for the documentation process, which will be discussed later.)

detailed picture of mold inside drywall
Mold equipment

Mold assessment and removal equipment used by mold cleanup services. Following factors will influence usage of equipment in this list.

  • Geo location
  • Structure type, age, materials involved
  • Mold contamination level

Assessment/inspection equipment: Your mold remediation specialist should use some or all the below listed equipment to analyze and document the status of the structure, infected area and systems during remediation.
A professional mold removal company uses the same assessment tools and equipment at the same geo-location to ensure the following:

  • Consistent data collection
  • Accurate project forecasting
  • Accurate budgeting and post-cleanup evaluations

Moisture sensors: Moisture sensors are used to determine the moisture levels in multiple materials. The device has multiple pins that penetrate the material to provide moisture level readings audibly or visually. These sensors help remediators to identify things that are beyond repair.

Moisture meters: Mold specialist uses moisture meters to review the moisture levels of materials with known or acceptable moisture content.

The result from the moisture meters are compared with the acceptable moisture content in materials and used to set target drying goals.

Thermo-hygrometer: professional mold specialists will use the same thermo-hygrometer to read determine the temperature and relative humidity in the contaminated area.

Environmental conditions are documented before, during and after remediation. If fluctuations in readings indicate conditions that support microbial growth, remediators take preventive measures.

IR Thermometers & Thermal imaging devices: IR Thermometer and imaging devices are used to detect moisture level fluctuations on material surfaces.

IR and thermal devices cannot provide moisture readings within the material. These tools list the materials eligible for a moisture meter check.

Supplemental systems: heating systems, air conditioning equipment and power generators can fall under supplemental systems.

Remediators use these systems when gas, fuel oil and electrical systems need to be disconnected as part of remediation efforts.

Any supplemental mechanical system used should adhere to the local laws and regulations set by the federal, country or the state.

Removal materials/equipment: a professional mold remediation service will strategize the remediation process using the following removal equipment.

6-mil polyethylene sheets/ bags: uncontaminated or occupied areas in the building are separated from the contaminated area using 6-mil polyethylene sheets.

Materials beyond repair are securely sealed using 6-mil polyethylene bags and discarded in composing landfill rather than recycling landfill.

Antimicrobial coatings and sealants: Water-based coatings and sealants with a standard permeability rating of minimum 1.0 perms as per ASTM D-1653 should be used.

Low odor, low volatile organic compound-driven and the ones that don’t create a vapor barrier are usually preferred.

Chemicals: A mold removal specialist will only use chemicals or antimicrobials in conjunction with proper cleaning standards.

The source removal of mold contamination is always the priority. Indiscriminate use of antimicrobials, coatings, and sealants can trigger health concerns like asthma, headache, and itchy eyes.

Mold inside piping system in a house in Jupiter

Safety work practice checklist

A professional mold remediation service adopts the best workplace safety precautions. Some of these restrictions or precautions are:

  • Enforce wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and a daily inspection before use
  • Electrical safety practices like using Lock Out, Tag Out (LOTO)
  • No edible consumables or smoking in contaminated area
  • Proper containment of PPE before moving from one area to another
  • Enforcing the use of multiple gloves to address the concern of personal injury
  • Adhering to buddy system while working in isolated or high heat workspaces
  • Daily standup meetings to track progress, layout deadlines and review safety concerns

Project documentation & record keeping

How many of you have thought about checking whether your mold removal specialist keeps a record of the recent remediation work? If yes, do you know how detailed their documentation is? Are the same person involved in the future remediation work if mold reoccurs?

A perfect mold project document and recordkeeping are critical for successful execution and completion of the remediation project. This documentation becomes inevitable in cases of mold reoccurrence.

Perfect project documentation will have the following:

  • The complete list of readings and observation for all materials and areas involved
  • Documentation of important communication
  • Pictures of previous conditions
  • Strategies used to decontaminate for e.g. use of specific chemicals, sealants etc.
  • A detailed work/activity log that lists the technicians involved in specific activities, how long, the outcome and any potential risk identified but not resolved during the project

Identifying a professional mold removal specialist is a tricky task. Review this checklist and ensure that the specialist that you hire has experience with all the pointers listed above. This can be your starting point.

Mold in residential property ceiling west palm beach

Mold Can Affect More Than Your Carpets & Drywalls

Mold infestation is a collective non-scientific name that pins different types of fungi. These unpleasant fungi types can be found both indoors and outdoors.

Mold growth has been increasingly becoming a major headache for both residential and commercial property owners, especially in Florida.

Research by Hindawi 2016, on economic costs of certain health issues caused by exposure to indoor dampness and mold in the U.S estimated the following annual costs:

  • Allergic Rhinitis: $3.7 billion
  • Acute Bronchitis $1.9 billion
  • Asthma Morbidity $15.1 billion
  • Asthma Mortality $1.7 billion

These statistics make a point, it’s just not your carpets or drywalls that are affected by mold, but these fungi types hoard some serious concerns.

Mold infestation on clothes

Mold can easily find its way to clothes and take its time to inflict some damage. Some mold types can go unnoticed and create the following health concerns:

  • Rashes
  • Watery and itchy eyes
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

The possibility of mold infestation on clothes is usually overlooked and turns out to be a mistake in the long run.

Health hazards

Mold on carpets and drywalls are often just the beginning. Usually, mold takes it time and starts affecting your health. The irony is that most symptoms are hard to link to mold growth and hence the core problem remains at large.

Allergy and asthma: respiratory issues are the most common aftereffects of mold infestation. Black mold spores can trigger respiratory concerns like shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing.

These conditions, if unchecked, with time can develop to chronic asthma and other serious respiratory issues.

Memory loss and concentration: Mold also has the potential to thwart the smooth functioning of the brain. Mold spores can make you feel sluggish and create a foggy feeling.

Weakened immune system: being sick all of a sudden and on a consistent basis can be linked to inhalation of mold spores. Such situations lead to a weakened immune system, which can make you vulnerable to any other health concerns.

Mold infected drywall in Office in Jupiter Florida

Structural damage

Mold growth can impact the residential or property structure. Mold growth in areas like behind the drywalls and ceilings usually go unnoticed.

More often property owners fail to notice the different signs of mold growth. Such situations can escalate in a couple of years and have a bigger impact on the structure of the property.

Properties made of organic or cellulose dominated materials like wood, drywall, etc can feed mold and deteriorate over time. This leads to situations like collapsing walls and roofs.

This is why we recommend inspecting your property for water and mold damage inspections at least twice every year.

Mold growth is easy to prevent, it’s just that you need to invest some time and effort to ensure that everything is under control. If you find any signs of mold infestation at your house, make it a point to contact a certified mold remediation specialist as soon as possible. It is also wise to ensure that your mold remediation specialist abides by IICRC’s best practices for mold remediation.

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Fire Safety & Shopping Centers: Things to Consider

Shopping centers are responsible for fire protection; however, there are certain boundaries and handing over the responsibilities that every shop owner or tenant must be aware about. For instance, if you enter the confines of an individual shop in a shopping mall, the fire protection is the responsibility of the shopowner.

As a shop owner, you can expect such scenarios and policies penciled down on your lease agreement, ensure to double-check the pertinent conditions before you put pen on paper. This post will feature some common things to be considered while ensuring fire protection in shopping centers.

Fire extinguisher maintenance

Fire extinguishers can vary from size to type. For instance, you have water, foam, powder and Co2 fire extinguishers. You need to talk to a specialist when choosing the right one for your retail shop as your selection should be based on the type of store, the storage commodity and more.

Service fire extinguishers on a regular basis and consider it mandatory to have them serviced annually to ensure that they are in compliance.

Fire alarm maintenance

Even though the shopping centers will have centrally controlled fire alarm systems, you are responsible for the ones that are within the confines of your shop.

Service and test these fire alarms as per your council’s requirements and ensure that you have the respective logbooks updated.

Fire signage

A fire and evacuation diagram can turn out to be a lifesaver. This together with other fire safety signage can be critical when the unexpected happens. Position the signage ideally to map out the escape routes for your customers, who might not have any idea about the compound layout in case of emergencies.

An ideal means to ensure that everything looks good is by checking whether you can see a fire exit sign wherever you are within your shop.

Emergency lighting

Emergency lighting is another important fire safety measure that should meet the compliance. A fire breakout can easily sabotage the lighting circuits. As precautionary measures, the fire safety officers tend to disconnect the electric supply to any property under fire. Foresee such scenarios and ensure that you have proper and efficient lighting within your property which can guide yourself and the emergency service team.

Fire training

Fire training should be mandatory for staff in your outlet. Train yourself or at least one staff within your establishment about evacuation procedures and setups within the shop. Electing a fire warden can help you to alleviate stress and chaos in case of any emergencies.

Moreover, consider engaging in some fire mock drills to ensure that everything goes as planned in case of emergencies. You might be surprised to learn that most people are unaware of how to use a fire extinguisher in case of emergencies. Even with clear instructions marked on the product itself, the stress and the chaos that the situation creates can make it difficult for your function normally. This is where mock drills can come in handy.

Ensuring fire safety within your shop can be challenging and requires careful planning and thought processes. For practical assistance, consult with fire protection, inspection, and maintenance service.

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What does home insurance usually cover?

Most people underestimate home insurance, while some consider it a luxury, others overlook it completely. In the real world, home insurance is never a luxury but a necessity.

The fact that there are several home insurance providers and different respective schemes can be a bit intimidating. Often, a homeowner with limited experience finds it difficult to differentiate the right plan from a dodgy insurance scheme for their home. This facilitates the thought process and the actions from a homeowner’s perspective to overlook home insurance as such.

This post features the standard 3 essential home insurance coverage types and some additional related pointers worth understanding and acting on.

Actual cash value

The actual cash value is the cost of replacing any damaged or stolen property minus the depreciation of the respective property at the time of loss.

Literally transformed, it is the actual value for which the property can be sold at that time and condition and it’s always less compared to the cost of replacing it.

Replacement cost

Replacement cost is a preferred insurance scheme that covers the actual cash value of your home and without considering any deprecation.

This scheme essentially lets you reconstruct or renovate your home or damaged property to the actual value.

Guaranteed/or extended replacement cost/value

This coverage scheme factors in the inflation-buffer and pays the policyholders to rebuild or repair their home, even if the costs exceed the policy limit.

The fact that this scheme offers compensation that exceeds your policy limit makes it popular and usually, insurance providers set a cap limit which is 20 to 25% higher than the actual policy limit.

Whats usually covered

Homeowner insurance in the United States usually covers the following:

  • Damage to your house and any adjacent properties like the garage or other buildings
  • Loss of personal possessions and belongings example: furniture due to incidents like theft
  • Coverage incurred as extra living expenses for incidents where you are forced to move out of your house temporarily due to incidents like flood or storm damage

What can you include in your coverage schemes?

You may decide to include coverage for the following with your homeowner’s insurance scheme:

  • Property damage or third party physical injury caused due to negligence
  • Accidents in your name, in and away from your home
  • Personal properties in storage
  • A limited coverage for possessions like gold, jewelry and antique collections

What are the key takeaways to consider when home insurance policies?

Homeowners’ insurance policies usually cover damage/loss of the possessions and both the interior and exterior damages to the property.

The three basic levels of home insurance coverage to look at are actual cash value, replacement cost and extended replacement cost/value.

The rates of the policy chosen are calculated based on the following factors:

  • Your historical claims related to home, possession damages/loss
  • The condition of the house

Trying to resort to a professional insurance provider should be your priority. In cases of a loss or damage to your property, presenting your claim professionally is crucial to ensure that your insurance provider is not underpaying you. This is where dealing with professionals like Titan Restoration Construction can be a remarkable decision.

IMPACTS OF COMMERCIAL PROPERTY FIRE

Impacts of Commercial Property Fire

Fire damage is a common and dangerous disaster irrespective of whether it is a commercial or residential property. Considering all the elements, fire in a commercial property like an office space can have a bigger impact than most, especially when taking into account the lives and career of the employees in addition to the trading, which often comes to a standstill.

There are several critical impacts of fire on commercial property, which, if foreseen and acted for, can make a big difference when it comes to the smooth and productive functioning of your business.

Business incapacitation

The most observed effect of fire to a business is the damage and destruction of the property itself. As most businesses are self-contained, the business as usual or the operational procedures ceases. This drains the potential of the business to be productive and reliable.

Moreover, the downtime is always exponential to the revenue loss. For every day, the business remains offline, the average revenue takes a fall, which in turn starts affecting the employees and other stakeholders. Any business that suffers such loss might take weeks or months to recover.

Data loss

Most large businesses have a centralized data storage structure to store all their data. However, small or medium businesses are usually vulnerable to data loss, when considering a potential fire threat. The data loss might be in the form of both digitally stored data and physical file formats.

Even a minor data loss like a small portion of a big project, it will still require the concerned stakeholders to perform research, spent time and carry out several collaborations to put all the pieces back in place.

Loss of inventory

Depending on the type and size of the business, they might house some onsite inventory goods or products. A fire can inflict mass damage and destruction to these goods. These goods or products might be in the form of something that needs to be delivered or used within the business. Even though you have insurance coverage, you might end up paying an additional amount for replacing these products.

Impact on staff

The effect of office fires on employees is often overlooked when considering how devastating it can be for the business physical structure, products, and overall revenue. Employees risk lost wages and involuntary unpaid leaves.

Suffering any injury during a fire makes things further complicated and worse for them as they have to deal with some away time and hefty medical bills.

Furthermore, the severity of fir damage impact can force the business to make some drastic changes to the business structure after a considerable amount of time like making people redundant. This is usually done when the business finds it difficult to make up for the loss suffered due to fire.

Once affected by a fire, opening the doors and restoring the business as usual procedures is the priority of any business. This is where a fire damage cleanup professional with some additional services like insurance documentation assistance can play a crucial role.