fire damage professional fixing a fire in house florida

Why do you need a professional fire restoration?

A fire damaged house or property can house hazardous chemicals and post-event residues. A fire restoration process refers to cleaning such residues and restoring the fire damage structure to its prime condition. The restoration process also entails foreseeing future hazards like mold and mildew and ensuring that any chemical fire suppressants or water used is removed completely.

It is always ideal to understand the Dos and Don’ts of fire damage smoke cleanup. This post will highlight key pointers that will underline why you need to seek the assistance of a professional fire restoration company irrespective of the size of the blaze and the extent of the damage.

Why fire restoration is not a DIY

Home or business owners tend to take up the task of fire damage cleanup. Most of these people are unaware of the consequences or health hazards related to such tasks.

The chemical composition of in-house fire extinguishers can trigger conditions like sinuses, eye and skin irritations. Even if you resort to professional gears like a mask and resistant clothing, the household chemicals or detergents might be ineffective in removing the chemicals in question.

The post-fire soot and ash can be impossible to remove using your household vacuum, even if you might have some initial success, sooner or later, you will find that these substances can easily cling on to different surfaces or can get airborne easily and might be impossible to remove using the normal cleaning methods or strategies.

The normal fire cleanup procedure won’t help you to capture invisible airborne particles or the chemical residues post-fire. Exposing yourself to these health hazards for a longer duration can lead to conditions like asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

The professional checklist

A fire restoration process engages in the following tasks to ensure that your house is sound, safe and restored back to its original condition if not a better one.

• They use the industry-grade vacuums to remove even the last traces of chemical, smoke, soot, and ash.
• They use odor eliminators to ensure that any potential odor of smoke, chemicals and burnt substances like plastic, wood are contained.
• Removing excessive moisture content in the air after performing a humidity check and using standard dehumidifiers.
• Performs inspection to identify and safely remove the salvageable or the items damaged beyond the scope of repair.
• Replacing the removed items like drywall, studs, subflooring, and window panes to kick off the process of restoring the property structure.
• Fire restoration specialists will also take necessary steps to ensure that the area under construction or renovation is sectioned off using plastic sheets or other protective gear.

All these aspects point out the importance of resorting to a fire damage specialist when it comes to restoring your house or commercial space. Consider the hazards of performing a fire cleanup even after a small fire. You should be aware that even a small fire extinguished using a fire extinguisher leaves the probability of extinguisher chemical lingering in the air. Such odors usually go undetected.

Microscopic view of mildew

3 ways mildew can be harmful for you

It is usually hard to distinguish mildew from the mold. Given the fact that both are fungus variant, have a peculiar odor and can trigger some health concerns both in humans and livestock, you might need a specialist to identify them apart.

What is mildew?

It is always ideal to know what mildew is prior to trying to learn more about the related health concerns and preventions. Mildew is a mold variant that usually grows on flat and moist surfaces. Unlike mold, mildew prefers to grow on flat surfaces and the damages caused are usually more on the aesthetic aspects of your home.

Mildew is also considered as a mold at its earliest stage by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
This post features some of the health concerns caused by mildew.

The immediate concerns

Since mildew is considered as a mold at its earlier stages, it does not bring along critical health concerns as similar to mold. However, inhaling the mildew spores lingering with your apartment or house can easily trigger some immediate concerns like runny nose, watery eyes, wheezing, sneezing and throat irritation.
Long term exposure to mildew can lead to chronic respiratory conditions and headaches.

Adverse affect on the quality of life

The microbial volatile organic substances associated with the mildew spores can induce a musty odor. This odor can become seriously pungent if left untreated and in small areas without proper ventilation. In addition to the strong fumes, the appearance of mildew over the walls, ceiling or carpets can seriously affect the aesthetics of your residential or commercial structure.

Mild mildew infestations can be treated using water and vinegar, however, it is best to leave the entire task to specialists when you are handling a full-blown colony.

Difficult to contain

The ability of mildew to spread with little or no provocation is something that adds to the headache of house owners. Residential properties, especially apartment can second the mildew transmission via ventilation and connected HVAC systems. In such cases, removing mildew from your apartment alone wouldn’t do the job, if the whole building is contaminated.

Treating mildew and mold can be a task that requires some professional insight, especially when it is so hard to identify the source of the infestation. This is where contacting a mold removal and restoration expert can turn out to be an ideal solution. It is important to perform periodical checks to ensure that your property is not showing any signs of mold or mildew growth. Early detection can be the key to efficient removal, which in turn can help you save both money and time. Diagnosing a mildew growth within the attic or any other space within your household indicates a moisture problem.

Keeping all the surfaces dry, using a dehumidifier and changing the HVAC filters regularly can be an ideal means to tackle or prevent mildew growth. Keep an eye out for mildew while keeping your house clean and ventilated for the best results.

water damaged floor in a house in delray beach

3 Things You Need to Know About Water Damage

Homeowners, especially living in the coastal areas vulnerable to hurricanes know the havoc water damage can inflict. It is needless to say that it is easier to prevent water damage than performing a water damage cleanup.

Unlike fire damage, water damage can be difficult to diagnose and they can continue sweeping through the walls, basements causing slow but potential damage. This makes identifying and attending to water damage at the earliest critical. The point also stresses on the importance of maintaining your house and performing a periodic inspection to figure out any pertinent abnormalities.

Containing water damage to the core can be a challenging task and resorting to a water damage specialist can be an ideal solution. This post features some important things that you should know as a homeowner regarding water damage.

Understand the water type

It is always ideal to know what you are dealing with. Your house can be invaded by these water types:

• Rainwater
• Freshwater and
• Sewage water

What most homeowners do not know is the fact that the water damage cleanup process should be tailored based on the water type in question. Among these water types, the rainwater can be the easiest one to handle. However, fresh and sewage water can pose several health risks as they are bound to be contaminated.

When dealing with contaminated water, it is imperative to have the necessary tools and skills to alleviate any associated concerns. This is where professional assistance can make a world of difference.

The unseen risks

DIY water damage cleanup might look effective from the outset. However, most homeowners are unaware of the danger that can be lurking in the shadows, i.e. moisture.

Abnormal moisture levels can be a major headache as it can trigger both health concerns and property damage. The mold and mildew can start forming in crawlspaces, attics or beside floorboards. This might take some time and effort to identify. This is why it is recommended to always keep an eye out for the signs of mold growth, especially after a water damage cleanup.

Cleaning up mold also requires professional supervision as the process varies with the type of mold you are dealing with. A professional can perform an inspection to ensure that no dangerous mold type of pertinent substance is invading your house.

Basement

Basement or attics are some of the most vulnerable places for water damage. As these are the rarely visited areas within your house, any minor water leaks can go unnoticed. Additionally, any roof leaks or malfunctioning gutters can eventually channel water through to the basement.

If not inspected regularly in case of water leaks, the condition can even affect the foundation of your house apart from giving way to mold growth.

Water damage restoration might sound like an easy task, however, the closer you get the deeper the whole process and scope becomes. Foresee these factors to ensure that you have taken all the necessary measures to prevent or contain water damage to your house. Be extra vigilant if you live in areas vulnerable to hurricane or flood.

Mold in ceiling of a house in west palm beach

Dangers of Attempting to Remove Mold Without Using IICRC Best Practices

Most individuals underestimate the process of Mold remediation. There are several aspects to mold remediation that requires in-depth knowledge, planning, and execution.

Mold infested structures, systems or contents can trigger different safety and health problems. Have you heard of the IICRC best practice for mold remediation?

IICRC or Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration is a non-profit organization that stands for the inspection cleaning and restoration industries. The goal of IICRC is to set up a global benchmark and standard when it comes to cleaning restoration and inspection and installation industries.

IICRC’s five major principles for mold remediation are as follows:

Ensure that the individuals involved in the process of mold removal or remediation have taken up all the possible health measures against related potential health concerns. Anyone involved in mold remediation should turn to a combination of regulations and practices to protect themselves from exposure.

It is mandatory that the project manager assesses the situation, documents and executes the whole mold remediation process in a timely and efficient manner. The process of assessing the extent of contamination is crucial for effective mold remediation. It is recommended to resort to an environmental expert to get this done.

Give high priority to prevent scenarios or conditions that seconds the spreading of molds. IICRC recognizes and reminds the hardship involved in eliminating mold contamination once it is allowed to spread.

IICRC stresses on removing the mold contaminated systems or materials as a whole from the infected structure as opposed to isolation or removals in a subset of infected areas.

Ensure necessary steps are taken to identify, locate and rectify any moisture level fluctuations. The moisture level is a critical factor that can directly drive mold growth. Understanding and regulating moisture levels is critical to prevent recontamination.

Failing to adhere to the standards set by IICRC can lead to the following consequences:

• Breathing difficulties
• Swollen eyes and itching
• Runny eyes and nose
• Coughing and chest tightness
• Throat irritations and headache

While these are some common and minor health concerns related to mold infection, they can give way to other major health concerns.

It has been proven that prolonged exposure to mold can trigger asthma in humans. Age plays a crucial role in the severity of the concern. As per the experts, infants are vulnerable to develop fungal mold easily compared to adults.

Fungal mold or penicillium develops each time the infant is exposed to mold and eventually, it can even lead to lung damage.

It is highly recommended to consider an IICRC specialist when it comes to mold remediation or removal. Identifying the signs of mold formation within your property or house can also play a crucial role. Keep in mind that a small act of precaution can give you long term protection. Foresee the possibility of mold growth when during the rainy or flood season and act wisely to keep your family safe.

Removing asbestos in a house in Florida

Asbestos Poisoning: How Serious can it be?

Asbestos is a deadly substance known to cause thousands of deaths worldwide. Naturally occurring fibrous silicate materials are collectively known as asbestosis. It was widely used for construction purposes until the late 1980s.
Asbestos in its naturally occurring state can be harmless until it is damaged. When damaged or during deterioration, it can start producing powdered asbestosis fiber that can trigger health concerns if inhaled.

Risk of asbestos

Asbestos can trigger the following health concerns:

Asbestosis: a chronic lung disease triggered by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. The condition at its latter stage leads to lung tissue scarring, chronic cough and shortness of breath. The individual diagnosed with this condition might not exhibit the symptoms until many years of consistent exposure.

Mesothelioma: a rare cancer type caused by Asbestos. The condition affects the protective membrane called mesothelium that covers the majority of the internal organs. The mesothelium of the lungs is more vulnerable to this condition. The condition is incurable if not diagnosed at an early stage.

Lung cancer: people that are diagnosed with asbestosis are vulnerable to lung cancer. The condition might take years to develop.

Factors that drive health concerns:

The fact that asbestos can trigger serious health concerns without any warning or signs/symptoms is something that makes it deadly. The following factors contribute to the risk of a health concern trigger from inhaling asbestos fiber particles:

• The density of airborne particles
• Frequency and duration of exposure
• Time elapsed after the first exposure
• Size of the particles inhaled

Defining the fine line between normal and abnormal levels

As per the EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services, there are no safe levels when it comes to asbestos exposure.

Any scenario where the asbestos within the structure of your house is disturbed can start triggering the risk of exposure. For instance, mice or rodents can dig through the walls insulated with asbestos. They are more likely to dig a hole through to your kitchen in search for food. This can turn out to be critical as they can spread the asbestos powder in a place where you store food.

A simple task of drilling a hole in your wall to hang a picture can turn out to be a mistake too. The only safe means to avoid health concerns from asbestos might be to live in a house that does not have any.
How to do an inspection for asbestos in your house.

Identifying whether your house contains any materials made of asbestosis can be a hard task. If your house was built before the 1980s, it is more likely to contain asbestos. Some of the common areas where asbestos can be involved are:

• Textured paint
• Flue pipes
• Cement pipe columns
• Hot water pipe insulation
• Cement and brick claddings

Removing asbestos is also a task that needs to be considered seriously and done efficiently. It is ideal to engage with a qualified professional to perform an asbestos inspection and get it removed from your house.

Wall of a house in florida infsted with black mold

5 Things That Causes Mold in Homes

Mold can be one of the biggest nuisances for homeowners. Once diagnosed, removing mold can be a difficult task and the possibility of mold reappearance will be always on the cards if you do not keep certain things under check.

Mold growth is supported by a mixture of the following factors:

• Moisture
• Warmth
• Food source (wood, drywall etc)

Poor ventilation is one of the major reasons for mold growth. You might have observed the areas like bathroom, basements and crawl spaces are more vulnerable to mold growth. This is due to poor ventilation and when you do an inspection for mold growth, these areas should be the priority.

Make sure that venting systems in these areas are functioning properly. Check for clogging due to dust or any other particles. Cracking open a window in your bathroom after the shower will help you to alleviate the concern of moisture formation.

Investing in an air purifier is another strategy to capture mold spores and to inhibit mold growth.

Humidity

Keep an eye out for the weather, especially when it’s humid for a few days. You can also observe that mold growth is common during the rainy season. Living by the coast or near a large water body can directly impact mold growth. These conditions can second mold growth and make it a recurring concern.

Drying clothes indoors can raise the humidity levels in your house and keep it prolonged for a long time. The HVAC system in your house can also raise humidity while it heats and cools the air artificially.

Water leaks

Water leaks can feed mold growth. Keep an eye out for water stains on flooring and ceiling to identify water leaks, in fact, these signs can even give away the age of the water leak.

Overlooking a water leak can turn out to be bigger concern as it produces mold spores that can eventually spread and flourish in other areas within your house.

On some occasions, water leaks can be hard to identify, especially in areas like basements and other crawl spaces. The only option to keep this under check is to do regular inspections.

Flooding

Hurricanes and flood-prone areas are vulnerable to mold growth. When your house is flooded, everything will be wet for days and it will take weeks until everything is dry again. Since mold requires 24 hours to thrive on damp surfaces, the risk for mold growth is huge.

Mold growth due to flooding can be serious as it can produce toxic mold types like Stachybotrys chartarum which requires the surface to be wet for several days to thrive.

Damp basement

A damp basement can be a haven for mold to grow. The lack of ventilation and appropriate humidity level makes them the perfect place. Additionally, a water leak in any area within the house can end up in the basement.

Removing mold from your house as soon as possible is very important as prolonged exposure to mold can cause health concerns like asthma and other respiratory issues. If you feel that the situation is beyond control, consider hiring a mold removal specialist.

Kitchen fire in a house in Florida

Residential Fire: 5 Preventive Tips

How can I prevent a house fire? A question that can haunt most of the homeowners. Basic home fire safety requires careful planning and efficient implementation.

As per the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the U.S. Fire department has responded to an average of 355,400 home structure fires per year between 2012 and 2016.

Losing your house to a fire is scary enough, think about an injury to your family members due to a residential fire. There are several fire preventive tips that you can consider to avoid such any potential havoc that can be caused via fire.

This post highlights some tips to prevent house fire. You can use this as a home fire safety checklist to ensure the safety of your home and family.

Kitchen mishaps

Did you know that kitchen mishaps are the most common cause of home fires and related injuries? Always act smart and cautious around your kitchen. Keep an eye out for the following aspects to alleviate any possibility of a fire breakout.

·        Do not keep flammable substances near stove or oven

·        Do not leave hot cooking surface unattended

·        Do not leave the kitchen while cooking, in case of emergencies; ensure that you turn the stove before leaving the kitchen

·        Do not place cookbook or towels near the stove

·        Ensure that no curtains or rug are hanging over the stove

Heating equipments

As per NFPA, heating equipment mishaps are the second most leading cause of fire fatalities. While using heaters during the night make sure that you keep them away from other objects.

It is safe to ensure that an area of 3 foot around the clear of any objects or obstacles. Trying to dry clothes or obstructing the heater with substances like paper or clothes is dangerous.  

Electrical cords

Electrical equipment and system inspection should be performed at least once a year. Watch those electrical outlets in the bathroom and attics closely.

Keep an eye out for frayed wires, and repair them immediately. Avoid bypassing the electrical codes through furniture or under the carpets as these codes can generate heat.

Stick with quality electrical equipments ranging from extension cords and surge protector. Even if the initial cost might be on the high end, it will be worth it in the long run.

Store wisely

Did you know that most of the cosmetic products that you use are flammable? That shaving cream and hair spray can go up in flames in minutes. Store such products wisely; for instance, do not keep them close to an electrical hair straightener or dryer.

Try and store materials like gasoline and paint away from the house, possibly an outdoor garage or store room. It is ideal store them in their original containers and to ensure that they are sealed tight.

Be equipment ready

Inspect your smoke alarms at least once every two months. Ensure that the batteries are replaced and they are operational.

Installing fire sprinkler system is the best way to deal with house fires. An alternative or add-on to this strategy would be to have a fire extinguisher stored in your home.  

Preventing a house fire might demand initial effort and time, however, it will save crucial amount of time and money in the future. What have you done to prevent fire hazards in your home? Let us know.

Water damaged wall in a house florida

How to Tell Water Damage is Old?

Water damage is a nightmare for any property owner. Property related water damage concerns should be addressed at the earliest.

 

A water damage spot can be caused by prolonged condensation or leaks. You often see water spots on the ceiling, if the scenario is left unchecked, it can easily deteriorate the ceiling, which can lead to sags and collapses. This makes it important to foresee and take precautionary steps to repair water damage early.

 

The ability to tell the age of water damage can play a crucial role on many occasions, especially when you are planning to purchase a house. This blog features some tips and tricks that will help you to identify the age of water damage.

 

Touch and tell

You can usually touch and tell the age of the water spot. If the spot seems to be wet, you can assume that the water damage or leak is fairly new or at least a week old.

 

On the flip side, if spot feels mushy to touch, it indicates that the spot or the leak has been around for months. This usually happens when the ceiling or the drywall encounter a leak and is saturated with water over time.

 

Color

Color can be another major giveaway of the age of water damage. If the water damage spot is characterized by a single dark spot with a colorless perimeter, you can presume that the area has been going through a cycle of leaks and dryness.

 

The number of rings on this occasion can be a good indicator of the age, more the number of rings, more would be age.

 

Spot size

Look for the size of the spot while taking into consideration the affected material in question. While considering the material in question, you cannot assume that larger size or more the number of rings, the older will be the damage. This is because the how each material displays water damage signs vary with respect to the density or other physical aspects o the material. 

 

For instance, a material like a tile does not let water pass through easily, therefore even a small spot on the tile might indicate a longstanding buildup of water.

 

Signs of mold

Mold can be the next best indicator for calculating the age of water damage. Look for signs of mold growth. Moisture creates a favorable atmosphere for mold growth. Materials like drywall and carpeting are vulnerable to mold growth.

 

If you observe mold growth, you can assume that the water spot is at least two to three days old. Also, consider the climatic condition while using this sign to calculate the age of water damage. For instance, mold growth can be slow in cold and freezing conditions as opposed to hot and humid areas.

 

Decay

Any decay to the structure is another indicator of repeated water damage or exposure to flooding. Here as well, you need to consider the temperature and humidity of the location while calculating the age of the water damage.

 

Perform an inspection while keeping these factors in mind to identify the age of water damage in your house or property under consideration.

Mold infested roof in house florida

5 Common Types of Molds Found in Homes

Mold infested property, systems or structures can trigger subject deterioration in addition to harming your health. Most people believe that only older homes are vulnerable to mold infestation and this is a misconception.

Identifying whether your house is infested with mold is ideal, but the knowledge of different types of house molds can help you to take the next action, which can be crucial.

This will help you to save valuable time and effort as you can take precautionary steps to contain or prevent further mold growth prior to reviewing the situation and deciding on whether to hire a mold removal specialist.

This post features five mold types that are commonly observed within households along with the consequences of exposure and some steps to prevent any related hazards.

Alternaria

With a high growth rate in temperatures between 20-25 degree Celsius, Alternaria is a rapid growth mold which matures in just five days. The ability of this mold type to thrive in windy and dry conditions gives way to airborne spread.

The mold growth that you see in your sink or shower can be alternaria. They can grow both indoors and outdoors, usually in damp areas. This mold type can cause asthma and allergic reactions.

Aspergillus fumigates

Aspergillus fumigatus is the most common and dangerous mold type belonging to the Aspergillus mold family. They appear with cotton texture and can be in a combination of blue-green or grey color.

Aspergillus fumigatusis an indoor mold type that usually does not trigger any potential health hazards to humans. However, prolonged exposure can trigger health concerns like respiratory infections and lung inflammation.

Aureobasidium

This mold type commonly affects wooden furniture, walls, and surfaces. This mold variant is identified as pink and black spots that you may observe around windows or painted walls. As they are commonly observed in households, people usually develop allergies, which if left untreated are escalated to other severe reactions.

Chaetomium

Is your house suffering from water damage? If yes, you might come across Chaetomium. Keep an eye out for grayish-green colored mold formation on any substance that contains cellulose. This mold type feeds freely and quickly on materials containing cellulose such as paper, drywall, and fabrics.

This mold type is the common trigger for the musty and old odor within your house.

Cladosporium

Cladosporium is commonly found in carpets and wooden floorboards. The fact that this mold type can thrive in both cool and warm conditions make it more dangerous.

This mold type develops as colonies that trigger airborne spores contributing to its wide and quick spread. Allergies and asthma are the main health concerns that Cladosporium can trigger.

There are more than 1000 different types of molds out there. For an individual without much experience about mold and the related hazards, it is impossible to identify each mold type. If left unchecked, mold can easily become a major hazard within your house. Foresee all these factors and consider performing early water damage and mold checkups for your property at least once a year.

water flowing from pipe to sink

Tips to Recover from a Pipe Burst

Burst pipes are one of the worst nightmares of a homeowner. A burst pipe might not flood or damage a whole area within your household. However, if left unsupervised, it can cause lead to structural issues in addition to health concerns for the residents.

On the flip side, a serious pipe burst can spill gallons of water to flood your house endangering your valuable belongings or properties. We always recommend homeowners to think ahead when it comes to residential water system maintenance or checkups.

Unlike a mold growth scenario, the pipe burst can turn out to be an emergency situation in no time. Recovery from a pipe burst depends on how smart and efficiently you plan the whole process.

Safety first

The chaos of a pipe burst can compel you to take immediate actions to save your valuable possessions within your house. Restrain yourself from caving into all these impulse thoughts and think safety first.

A water leak near an electrical appliance or an outlet can second electrical conduction. Even the floor mat and walls can turn out to be an electrical conductor.

Ensure that you turn off the main water supply first and then the electricity to your house prior to rushing in to inspect or rescue.

Move your furniture

Bulky or upholstered furniture, especially couches can absorb water and remain waterlogged for longer durations. While carpets can be easily dried out, this furniture can continue causing issues.

Move all your upholstered furniture out prior to drying your carpets or flooring. If the weather is favorable, you can leave them outdoors to air dry.

Standing water check

Pipe burst often leads to standing water puddles. Attend to the situation quickly and get rid of water collected using a bucket and dry towel.

If the puddle forms over carpet insulated flooring, it is ideal not to try and lift the carpet as it can cause permanent damage.

Dehumidify

The next step is to dehumidify and ventilate the indoor area. If the weather permits, open windows and doors to let in the fresh air.

Using a dehumidifier is always recommended over using a household heater and a heater or dryer as a combination of moisture and warm conditions can trigger mold growth.

Seek professional help

On some occasions, you might not be able to contain a pipe burst completely. This is where you have to resort to the idea of calling a plumber.

Once the leak has been contained, you might need to seek the help of a certified water damage restoration service. This step is highly recommended if the whole situation leaves you with soggy carpets, drywall, and insulation.

When seeking professional assistance, it is ideal to choose a company that offers the following additional services:

• Drying, dehumidification & water extraction
• Mold remediation
• Carpet, rug & upholstery cleaning

Recovering from a pipe burst can be slow and painful. We recommend you to consider these tips to act smart and quick. Invest some time and effort to residential water damage prevention tips to reduce the risk of encountering pipe burst related emergency situations.