Water Damage Diagnosis - Microbial Growth Identification
Three previous blogs were devoted to different elements of water damage diagnosis. Information collection, moisture meters, and infrared camera technology were discussed, including the importance of each in the diagnostic process.
One of the most critical initial determinations in any water loss is microbial growth or the likelihood of it. If mold is present it poses potential health hazards not only to building occupants but also to remediation technicians. The presence of mold also changes the scope of work and the strategies to be undertaken in the water mitigation process.
Mold spores, which are everywhere in the environment, have 3 requirements vital to their development. They are moisture, food and time. When responding to water damage the first two items already exist since water is moisture and structures and contents are food. We do not always know how much time has elapsed since the water began infiltrating but the more time which has passed the more time mold spores have been given to become active and multiply.
The presence of mold is most easily identified by sight and/or smell. Most mold spores are between 3 and 100 microns in size and thus not visible to the naked eye. However, when mold begins to multiply, hundreds of thousands to millions of spores become grouped together to form a colony, which eventually becomes visible. Mold colonies will also begin to release toxins, which protect the colonies from other molds, and these toxins produce an odor commonly described as musty.
It is also important to understand which materials and areas provide the most ideal environments for mold growth. Mold tends to grow the fastest in these areas so knowing where to check for the first (earliest) growth is very important. Since mold thrives in damp stagnant spaces as well as in more porous materials (carpet, pad, drywall, etc), removing baseboards, removing toe skins from cabinet toe kicks, and lifting the carpet to examine the backing and pad are all common areas for initial visible growth. These areas are easy trapping points for moisture because water easily soaks in (porous) and they lack airflow (stagnant).
In summary, mold can create health hazards to occupants and technicians. It also dictates different strategies for mitigation so it’s initial identification is very important. Knowing where to look, what to look for, where to most likely uncover it, and what it looks and smells like, are all very important informational tools to keep in your water mitigation toolbox!
Barry Rutherford, Owner
IICRC WRT, ASD, AMRT
SERVPRO of Pleasanton/Dublin
Different Types of Damage Caused by Storms
Different Types of Damage
HAIL: Loss of granule layers on the shingle will cause the organic base center of the shingle to be exposed to the sun's U.V. rays. This will cause deterioration of the shingle and reduce the life of the shingle by as much as 40%, which will eventually result in leaks.
HIGH WINDS: Winds over 50 mph will lift the shingle, causing the seal to break, never to reseal itself. The shingle will eventually blow off to expose your roof. This will eventually result in leaks.
IMPROPER VENTILIATION: Improper ventilation in your attic will cause the shingles to scorch and bubble up, causing a serious problem. This is more common on older homes. Have your roof inspected for proper ventilation if you feel this might be a problem for you.
It is possible that you will have roof damage and not even know. Although you may have no apparent leaks leaving stains on your ceilings, your roof may be leaking in your attic. In some cases, a leak may be detected by a mildew smell caused by wet insulation in your attic. Such leaks may not show up visibly for some time. It is best to have your roof inspected just for peace of mind.
Why You Should Clean Your Gutters
SERVPRO of Pleasanton/Dublin recommend cleaning your storm and roof gutters often. We know it can take a bit of work especially if they’re filled with random debris and objects that have been blown into it. As a result, you might be wondering what the advantage is for all the hard work involved in gutter cleaning.
Foundation Damage: The foundation is the most important part of any home as it serves as the base on which it is built. Should the foundation be damaged or compromised, your entire home is at risk. When your drainage system isn’t working correctly, water can flow in places where it is not intended to, such as down the siding of your home and could potentially cause sustained damage to your foundation.
Helps Your Roof Last Longer: A roof can last well over three decades if cared for properly, but water damage from a clogged gutter will drastically reduce its lifespan every time it rains. By cleaning your storm and roof gutter drains, you prevent this risk from happening.
Protect Your Garden: If you’ve invested a lot of time in improving your garden through landscaping and new plants, then you risk ruining that work by not keeping your storm and roof gutters clean. This is because the water can potentially run down the siding of your home or overflow out the pipes instead of through the drainage system, eventually flooding your backyard and causing major water damage to your garden.
Prevent Leaks in Your Roof: When you have a clogged storm drain, water will back up and sit on your roof with nowhere else to go but into your home. It will be forced into your roof shingles and eventually leak into your home’s structure. With a cleaned drainage system, the water won’t affect your home and will simply drain out the pipes through the gutter.
Prevent Mold Growth: Water can breed mold-related issues and it can start to grow on your roof and all around your drainage system if you leave this issue for too long. Proper cleaning of your stormwater drain will mean that you don’t need to worry about mold damage on your property and also save you the hefty bill of cleaning mold-related damage.
As long as you take proper care of your storm and roof gutter drains, you won’t experience any of these issues. Roof drain gutter cleaning can be a time-consuming task, but there are a couple of simple ways to ensure that your gutter drains are kept in perfect condition.
Fire Damage Cleanup
Fire Damage Cleanup
Repairing after fire damage can be difficult and time consuming. Smoke permeates any porous surface, including walls, ceiling tiles, and insulation. Soot and ash cover the damaged area, and there may be extensive water damage as well. Before you attempt to repair fire damage yourself, follow these tips:
Assess the Damage
Never enter a fire damaged building until the fire marshal has inspected the building and determined that it is safe to enter. Contact your insurance agent and your landlord if you rent the property. They will tell you to stay out of the building until they arrive to document the damage. If a few square feet are affected and the damage is minor, you may be able to clean it yourself using household cleaning products. If the damage is more extensive, you should hire a professional fire damage cleanup service. They will prevent further damage to your home and possessions, and fully restore and repair your property. A fire damage repair team will also tell you which possessions can be restored and which must be replaced.
Prevent Further Damage
In many cases, water damage is more widespread than the actual burned area. Open windows and doors, and set up fans to ventilate the area as quickly as possible. Remove wet carpets, rugs, and other textiles to a dry area to prevent mold and mildew growth. Follow these tips to minimize the damage.
Place foil, plastic or wooden casters under furniture legs to avoid staining the carpet. Remove any brass or copper items and clean them immediately with a specialized cleaner to avoid smoke etching. Do not attempt to clean fire damaged carpets or other textiles with a regular vacuum. The rotating brush will grind soot further into the fibers, damaging them beyond repair.
It is important to begin fire damage restoration as soon as possible to prevent any further damage. The service technicians at SERVPRO of Pleasanton/Dublin are available, 24hrs a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. You can relax, knowing that your home and possessions will be cleaned, deodorized, and repaired by reliable, knowledgeable professionals.
Tips For The Rainy Season
Storm Cleanup Tips
One of the great things about California is the beautiful weather. Despite all those nice sunny days, are storms which are still a concern. When stormy season rips through the state, they can do significant damage. For HOAs and condo boards, knowing where to start the cleanup process isn’t always easy. Here are a few simple tips to help you tackle the storm cleanup process in your community.
Deal with Water Damage
Flooding is a huge concern during major storms. If a home or condominium floods, the resulting water damage can be devastating. Even a minor flood can facilitate the growth of mold and mildew, so it is important to dry up any water as quickly as possible. Once the water has receded, set up industrial fans to eliminate water fast. Unfortunately, carpet, drywall and other materials that absorb moisture may need to be replaced to prevent mold.
Clean Up Debris
When runaway trash cans, lawn furniture, toys, fallen branches and other debris find their way to the streets, they become hazards. They can cause accidents or damage to vehicles, and the mess can be dangerous. Set out to clean up debris as soon as possible following a major storm.
Look for Landscaping Damage
Trees with seriously damaged trunks need to be removed right away. Injured trees are less stable, and they become serious risks. While the tree may not have fallen during the most recent storm, a future gust of wind could cause it to fall on someone’s home or vehicle. If you aren’t sure whether a tree is damaged enough to need removed, consult with a professional.
Storms during the rainy season can take a serious toll on your community. Working with SERVPRO helps ensure that your community will be able to recover and be back to normal again as quickly as possible.
Tenting Drying Method
Water damage can occur for many reasons, with varying degrees of severity. In the event that a large structure is only minimally impacted, as opposed to an entire room or building, a method called "tenting" can be used to dry the structure.
By using this technique, we are able to isolate the affected area separately from the rest; this allows us to narrow down our focus only onto the area that needs to be dried out expediting the process.
Tenting also enables us to efficiently dry materials within the building without having to remove them, which makes it easier to return the structure to preloss conditions. His also means saving you and your business a lot of money by saving materials that would have otherwise had to of been replaced.
Should you encounter a water loss in your commercial building, please call SERVPRO of Pleasanton/Dublin, and let us put our expertise to work for you!
Before and after picture
Fire Cleanup is one of the most labor-intensive services that SERVPRO offers!
When you and your family go through a devastating loss due to a fire, the last thing you want to deal with is cleaning up the destruction left in its wake.
As you put your life back together and start to rebuild, SERVPRO will be there every step of the way, helping you and your family get through this devastating time.
SERVPRO of Pleasanton/Dublin will be on the site within the hour to safely secure your home by boarding up entry ways and windows affected by the fire. Board up will keep unwanted guest from entering your home and preventing any damage caused by outside elements.
You can rest assured that you are in good hands. We will work with you and your insurance company throughout the process in order to reduce stress. We will work with you to take inventory of items lost in the fire to ensure we get you and your family back to pre-fire loss conditions.
Secondary and Long Term Water Damage
Secondary damage is the less obvious damage that you may not notice right away. Typically secondary water is the result of long term damage not being taken care of in a timely fashion. Long term secondary damage typically results in swollen wood materials such as doors, floor boards, baseboards and door casing as well as inexplicable cracking in the walls, and more. However, secondary water can also be the result of large amounts of water that begin evaporating quickly. This type of secondary damage usually results in high humidity that can cause the room to reach its dew point and can cause the moisture to penetrate porous materials such as fabrics, furniture, etc.
LONG TERM DAMAGE
Long term damage is extremely harmful to the structure of the home. It can cause dry or wet rot that will result in walls and floors becoming weak. Long term damage can also cause toxic mold to grow on the inside of your home – often known as “black mold”. To read more about mold, please visit our Mold Remediation and More About Mold pages.
Air Scrubbers and What They Do For You
If you think you are protected from air pollution inside the comfort of your home, you are sadly mistaken. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor environments are around 2-5 times as polluted as the air outdoors and occasionally even up to 100 times as polluted.
As the temperatures drop we start spending more time indoors, the quality of our indoor air becomes more and more important to our health and well-being.
While there is little you can do to affect the quality of the air outdoors, there is a lot you can do to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) at home. If you have a forced air system in your home, there are many different modifications you can make to your existing HVAC system to improve the quality of air you breathe inside your home.
When researching ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ), you may have come across information on Air Scrubber Technology. But what exactly is it, how much does it cost, and will it work?
If you’re curious about Air Scrubbers for your home, you’ve come to the right place.
What is an Air Scrubber?
While sometimes referred to as “Negative Air Machines,” Air Scrubbers are actually a different technology and application.
Air Scrubbers are used by mold remediation specialists, renovation companies, and other job sites to help improve the surrounding air quality. They were even used in the Pentagon after 9/11 to clean and purify the air. In these instances, they act as a portable air purifier without any attached ductwork. Air Scrubbers, however, can also be used as a permanent fixture inside of existing ductwork.
Air Freshners vs Air Scrubbers
Instead of using Febreze and other “air fresheners,” which add chemicals to the air that only mask the odor, SERVPRO of Pleasanton/Dublins air scrubbers get to the root of the problem by reducing airborne toxins in your home naturally. Whenever you turn on your air conditioner, furnace, or fan, the air scrubbers go to work cleaning the air and surfaces with air scrubbing technology.
While air filters work to capture larger airborne contaminants, such as dust and dirt, Air Scrubbers actively clean the air by releasing “air scrubbers” to reduce the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), contaminants, mold, odors, and pollutants in the air and on surfaces. The end result is that your home is cleaner, leaving a longer lasting fresh impression.
If you are looking to rid your home of odors or have questions regarding SERVPRO of Pleasanton/Dublins cleaning or odor removal service you should call us at 925-426-2302.