Common Places to Find Mold in a Commercial Building
Regular housekeeping and maintenance in your Tacoma building may include an everyday checklist of tasks - keeping bathrooms stocked, ensuring that garbage is disposed of properly, and keeping things tidy and presentable. But something that can sometimes go unnoticed are the nooks and crannies of your building where mold is common. While some spring into action and hire professionals to fix and prevent future damage after an obvious event, such as a natural disaster or a plumbing mishap, it is also important to be proactive by checking areas that aren’t as obvious for mold growth in your building.
- Walls and Ceilings
Walls can harbor mold, both on the surface and internally. Items pressed up against walls, leaks from the ceiling, and even the absorbent nature of materials used for masonry, such as bricks, can be the perfect foundation for mold to thrive and multiply.
- HVAC and Air Ducts
The wrong temperature circulating through the closed, dark spaces in HVAC systems and air ducts can create lots of condensation. This can fuel mold growth.
- Roof and Ceiling
Water damage from a leaky roof can stain your ceiling. However, it can also cause mold to form in the damaged areas, both visible and hidden.
- Equipment and Office Supplies
High humidity plus damp, enclosed spaces are some of the most likely places to find mold. Paper products are absorbent and therefore can hang on to moisture from spills, drips, condensation, or even just the moisture in the air. Factor in the areas where these supplies are typically kept (cabinets, drawers, storage tubs), and one can see how mold would favor these types of environments.
Hidden, covered surfaces, or damp, neglected rooms without adequate air circulation can be another place where mold can be found. Carpet can absorb not only moisture but other substances that encourage mold growth, such as dirt and other organic matter that are tracked in from everyday foot traffic.
Take preventative measures to prevent mold, especially if your business is in a place that has high humidity. Don’t forget to regularly check specific areas before they become a more challenging chore to tackle.
Avoid These Three Causes of Sewage Backup
If you are a homeowner in Tacoma, WA, whose house has suffered damage from a backed-up sewer, one of the biggest impact areas will likely be your basement. A flooded basement can be inconvenient and expensive to deal with, so putting in measures to prevent such an occurrence is highly advisable. Here are three possible causes of sewage backup to keep in mind.
- Sewage Overflow
Sewage systems are designed to have a maximum water-holding capacity. Thus, when there is a heavy downpour and the amount of water coming in exceeds the capacity of a sewer, there is a high likelihood of flooding even though the system may be in perfect working condition.
- Old Sewage Systems
The average age of many public sewage systems in the U.S. is 30 years. As a result, many of them are more susceptible to damage now than in the past. This means that if your home in Tacoma, WA, is connected to a public system, there is a bigger risk of suffering a flooded basement. Similarly, if you live in an older home, your plumbing may be nearing the end of its life span. Replacing old pipes and valves before they deteriorate can prevent a backup of sewage.
- Blocked Pipes and Drains
When foreign materials get into drains and pipes, it can result in water backing up and, ultimately, flooding. Pipes can get clogged when solid substances are thrown into sinks, flushed down toilets or washed into drains from the outside. To keep your pipes and drains clear, be sure to get rid of oil and grease properly. You should also take care not to use toilets and sinks to dispose of items that do not easily degrade.
A flooded basement can cause a lot of anxiety and discomfort to a homeowner. If you find yourself surrounded by unwanted water, consider consulting a reputable water damage restoration company to help.
What Is a Board-Up Service and Do I Need One?
Call SERVPRO of Tacoma @ (253) 896-3000
When your home has sustained fire damage in Tacoma, WA, your first priority, after ensuring you and your family's safety, is to properly secure your home. One of the first things that will be recommended by a fire damage restoration company is an emergency board-up service. This service is an important part of your home restoration for several reasons.
Most likely, your insurance company will require that your home is properly sealed between the occurrence of the damage and when the repairs are done. If more damage occurs between the time the fire happens and when repairs begins, you will be responsible for the costs, not your insurance. Insurance covers original damage and if more damage is done, you'd be paying yourself.
If your home isn't properly secured by a board-up service, anyone who enters your home and gets injured could press charges.
Further damage from weather, animals, or humans makes an already difficult situation worse. Securing your home prevents most additional damage.
- Property Loss
An open home unfortunately could represent an open invitation to unwanted visitors. While may think that a fire-damaged home would not be desirable, anything from appliances to pipes to your HVAC system can be stolen for profit, leaving you to foot the bill.
When you trust a certified company to do the board-up service for you, you can be confident that it will be done correctly. DIY may sound simple and cost effective, but you can cause more damage by improperly placing boards or your efforts simply aren't effective because you're not using the right materials.
Securing your home with a board-up service after a fire is not only recommended by most insurance companies, but you can have peace of mind knowing that your home will be protected until the restoration is complete.
How to Protect Your Home From Winter Storms
Call SERVPRO of Tacoma for any of your storm damage needs! (253) 896-3000
These Simple Steps Can Help Protect Your Home From Damage
It's no secret that a winter storm can be detrimental to your home, but taking just a few simple measures can help protect you and your home from damage.
Have Supplies on Hand
When a winter storm hits, it's not always safe to leave your home to go buy the things you need. That's why it's best to keep an eye on the forecast and make sure you have all the supplies you require before a storm occurs.
You will need:
- Drinking water
- Snow shovel
- Flashlights and batteries
- Generator or firewood
- Warm clothing and blankets
- Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks, such as extra space around doors, allow warm air to escape from the structure. Air leaks make it harder to heat your home, which will increase energy costs. Seals should be applied to doors, windows, and other areas to keep the warm air in and the cold air out.
Keep Trees Trimmed
The weight of snow and ice combined with freezing temperatures can cause tree branches to fall. Trimming branches that could potentially fall onto your house or vehicles can help prevent roof damage, car damage, and injury. It is a good idea to cut off any loose, dying, or hazardous branches before a storm, regardless of location.
Having blockage in your gutters can cause ice dams. Ice dams can block water from normally exiting your gutter and can push it beneath the roof, which can cause leaks and damage.
If your home incurs any damage, it is best to call an emergency restoration service immediately. You may hesitate to call if a blizzard is still ongoing, but not addressing the damage leaves your home vulnerable to additional damage.
A winter storm can be dangerous and cause damage to your home, but you can keep yourself and your house safer by having supplies on hand, sealing air leaks, trimming tree branches, cleaning gutters and reacting quickly.
Mold Remediation at SERVPRO of Tacoma
While we are leading remediation professionals capable of removing active mold colonies, this doesn’t address the complexities of each structure where this service is necessary. From single-family homes in King County to massive venues like the Point Defiancé Zoo, we have skilled professionals to manage:
- Moisture Damage
- Mold Growth
- Harsh Malodors
- Structural Damages
The SERVPRO team can overcome Tacoma mold damage where discovered, and we mobilize quickly to ensure that the situation does not worsen. Our microbial remediation responders arrive fast to set up containment barriers and begin mitigation actions to protect the property from more significant mold infestation concerns.
Is Mold Likely in King County?
The position of King County in the Pacific Northwest, along with expected rainfall and weather events, leaves the environment heavily saturated and humid. Improper ventilation combined with poor air quality can contribute to the development of microbial growths in a residence. With the frequency of mold damage claims and the activity of our remediation team, mold is a more significant threat to Tacoma homes than its residents might realize.
Damage Inspections and Assessment
While it is possible to identify or begin to suspect mold growth in your home without professional services, the inspection and assessment of your property are one of the initial remediation services our SERVPRO team provides. We must learn the extent of the damage, affected hosting materials, and present hazards. This information aids our crew in developing the best remediation approach to help remove active colonies.
We are accredited through firms like the IICRC and the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI) to manage microbial threats. Because of the multi-faceted restoration and cleanup necessary, including air duct cleaning and controlled demolition, a full-service roster of professionals ready to help like our SERVPRO team is vital to successful mold abatement.
Removing Mold Damage
The heart of the remediation process is mold removal. While we do not make broad claims to eliminate all spores from a residence, we can provide the needed work to remove active colonies and moist conditions. The remediation process often gets split into three groups:
- Surface Cleaning – Without penetrating the outermost layer, we can use potent sporicidal products to eliminate mold and make other surfaces uninhabitable.
- Abrasive Removal - Involves blasting or sanding to impact the space just beyond the surface layer to remove mold growth.
- Controlled Demolition – When other methods are not efficient, our licensed professionals can remove heavily damaged building materials and discard them.
Reducing and Removing Musty Smells
Malodors are a common element of the mold growth damage a property faces. Often, musty smells indicate active colonies, helping homeowners realize a problem that must get addressed. These odors linger even after remediation nears completion, requiring more direct and focused deodorization with tools like thermal foggers and hydroxyl machines.
Where Mold Damage Repairs Are Needed
Mold can be destructive to hosting elements the colony uses as a food source. Our licensed professionals begin the reconstruction side of mold remediation in the early efforts like a controlled demolition and constructing temporary containment barriers to prevent the migration of spores. Additionally, our roster of contractors must also help with:
- Plumbing Repairs
- Material Replacement
- Mold Prevention
Tacoma mold damage is often underappreciated and not as recognizable as water or fire damage concerns. Microbial threats should be treated with the same urgency and thorough cleaning as these other emergencies as they pose similar threats to the structure. Our SERVPRO of Tacoma team is ready to help when you need it at (253) 896-3000.
How To Stay Safe During a Flood
Storms can create unexpected circumstances in Tacoma, WA. One minute your home may be fine, but the next you have rising waters in your basement. Because the situation can change so quickly, you need to know how to stay safe during a storm-caused flood. Keep these flood safety tips in mind whenever bad weather approaches.
Stay Out of the Water
Did you know that as little as six inches of moving water can cause you to lose your balance? Because it doesn't take high waters, you need to be careful whenever you walk through any type of flood. If you must walk through a flood, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Use a walking stick
- Hold on to something sturdy
- Walk quickly and cautiously
While the waters may not be moving in your house, they can still pose a safety risk. However, as a homeowner, you cannot always avoid the flooded parts of your space. You also want to avoid standing water outside of your house even if you're in your car.
Avoid Electrical Equipment
Water conducts electricity, so you want to avoid electrical equipment whenever you are in standing water. If you know there is electricity running through your basement flood, you should turn off the power to your home before anyone enters the lower levels for the best flood safety. Even if you are damp and not currently in water, you should avoid electricity.
Call for Help
Storm-caused flooding can trap you in the upper levels of your home. If you need emergency help during a storm, you should call someone as soon as you can. After the danger has passed, you may need help restoring your home. Getting in touch with storm restoration services can make your cleanup process much easier.
The heavy rains of a storm may cause flooding in Tacoma, WA. Knowing the best flood safety techniques can keep you and your home in one piece during a disaster.
Top 3 Places Mold Can Hide in Your Home
You may think that your Graham, WA, home is free of mold growth. However, mold can hide in many places, almost completely out of sight, and spread across drywall, flooring and even interior walls. Knowing where mold likes to hide can be the first step in targeting and wiping out this unwelcome invader before it takes a permanent hold on your home.
- Under Sink Cabinets
Hiding exposed plumbing with wooden cabinets can be a clever and attractive décor choice. However, if those pipes develop a slow leak that goes undetected for weeks, you may not notice it until the mold spreads enough to cause an unpleasant odor. It is wise to check your kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets at least once a month to prevent leaks and the mold that often comes with them.
- Under Rugs and Other Flooring
After a flood, high humidity may cause mold to grow under carpet padding and underneath laminate floors. This can occur even if you had the floors cleaned and dried. Calling in a professional flood cleanup and mold remediation company may help you deal with this issue more effectively, as its technicians can find the source of the mold, remove the damaged flooring and eradicate it there as well as on wood moldings.
- Inside Drywall
After a flood, mold growth can occur out of sight, behind interior walls. Not only can this affect the drywall, it might also spread to any insulation housed there. Over time, the insulation may begin to rot as the mold consumes both it and the drywall. If any room in your home suffered water damage from flooding, you may want to have your interior walls checked for moldy drywall or have your insulation replaced.
Mold growth can hide in your Tacoma, WA, home almost anywhere it finds a food source. Knowing its favorite hiding places can help you stop mold before it starts and prevent the costly damage it can cause.
Tips for Making a Fire Claim
A fire in your home Tacoma home can leave you with a million thoughts running through your mind. The fire restoration process is fairly straightforward, but you want to make sure to do everything in the right order so that you get the most money you can when you file your insurance claim. Here are some tips for how to handle the process well.
- Make Your Calls
One of the first things you should do is make the right calls. The company that carries your fire insurance needs to know about the damage to your home, as quickly as possible. It is also advisable to call fire remediation specialists. The sooner they can arrive on the scene, the better, particularly if you need emergency cleanup to prevent secondary damage. They can also help you itemize costs, which may be helpful when filing your claim.
- Secure Your Home
The insurance adjuster will likely check to make sure you have taken the correct measures to protect your home from further damage. The more damage your house sustains, the more it costs to fix it. If you do not board up windows and doors, or if you leave holes in your roof or skylights open, the insurance company may not cover part of the damages as this looks like neglect of the property.
- Leave Damage Alone
It may seem counterintuitive to delay the beginning of the fire restoration process until professional help arrives, but that's exactly what you need to do. Any smoke cleaning you do may cause more damage. If it doesn't, it can still hurt your chances of getting a full settlement, because the insurance company is not going to pay for damage the adjuster doesn't see. No damage remediation should begin until the entire area has been photographed and documented.
A large part of filing a claim is knowing how to prove the damage. By following these three tips, you can increase the likelihood of getting a settlement with your insurance company that covers most, if not all, of the fire restoration services you require.
How To Save Books and Documents From Water Damage
When your home has been hit by flooding or other water damage, your family documents, treasured diaries, and other important books and papers can be a risk. The moisture and humidity can cause some damage. What can you do to prevent further damage? How should you handle document restoration?
Identify the Extent of the Damage
The first step is to identify the type of damage your papers, documents, and books have suffered. For the best treatment results, you need to identify how much water you'll be dealing with:
- High Moisture Content: High humidity or a light sprinkling of water through an open window could cause pages to curl or become discolored. Without attention, mold could develop in affected areas.
- Absorbed Water: A leaky window near a bookshelf or a stream of water from an upstairs room into a lower study could expose books and documents to damage within the very fibers of the papers.
- Submerged Items: Flooding is a cause of serious damages. Water gets between all the pages and works its way through entire storage boxes or file cabinets. In some cases, writing becomes so blurred that documents are no longer readable.
Contact a Professional
As soon as you can safely do so, contact a professional to dry and restore important documents and treasured papers. SERVPRO provides document restoration within their own facilities. By handling document drying internally, costs can be kept lower, and quality can be monitored directly.
Inventory Affected Books and Documents
While you wait for drying and restoration professionals to arrive, resist the urge to move papers around. When documents are wet, they are at their most fragile state. In some cases, those papers may have been exposed to toxic materials. Instead of moving books and documents, make a list of the documents that have been affected (to the best of your ability without moving them.) It's helpful to know if there are birth certificates, family histories, or financial records in the stack.
Document restoration is a delicate process, but SERVPRO professionals in Tacoma, WA, have the training and tools necessary to do the job well. The best time to contact them is before further damages are done.
The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
Staying safe from Carbon Monoxide is so important. Carbon Monoxide is a clear odorless gas that can result badly if inhaled. Knowing what to do if you suspect it, how to prevent it and knowing symptoms of monoxide poisoning can really help. If you suspect a leak IMMEDIATELY move to fresh air. Here is a list of symptoms caused by poisoning:
- A dull headache
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Loss of conscious ness
Below are some tips to you keep you and your family safe from Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
- Never use gas range or oven to heat a home
- Never leave a running vehicle in an enclosed or even partially closed area.
- Never use any gas-powered engine inside your home, basement, or garage.
- When using a generator, use a battery powered detector in your home
Us at SERVPRO of Tacoma like to help keep our customers a little safer and informed. If you have any more questions or concerns. Visit https://www.cdc.gov/co/default.htm