Mold In Your Washing Machine
We are soon entering warmer weather, which puts us at higher risk for mold and mold-related issues. One place that we often overlook for mold is in our washing machine. The high moisture content in both the machine and atmosphere contribute to an environment conducive to mold growth and its accompanying mildew smell.
Here is how to ensure your washer and the surrounding area stays free of harmful mold:
You will need the following materials:
• White vinegar
• A natural all-purpose mold killing solution
• A cleaning rag (or sponge)
Begin with the exterior of the machine. Use vinegar or the all-purpose mold killing solution to wipe down the exterior of the machine. This will remove the more visible grime, such as dust and oily fingerprints. (Both organic sources provide floating mold spores with a tantalizing invitation to congregate and colonize.)
Next, clean around the lid and seal. For front-load washers, the rubber door seal will need extra care in order to ensure the removal of mold and mildew. Gently pull back on the rubber stripping and use vinegar or the all-purpose mold killing solution. Even if no mildew or scum is visible, Step 2 is necessary in the prevention of mold growth.
Why More Insurance Agents Choose SERVPRO
SERVPRO blends customer service with accountability! SERVPRO understands your responsibility to provide results to your shareholders and clients. SERVPRO is uniquely qualified to help when disaster strikes, making you their "hero" in their times of need.
We are here to make you look good.
There are many ways to ensure success as an insurance agent. Having a strong office staff, a company who pays claims in an ethical and timely manner, advertising, being involved in your community, and maintaining a positive relationship with your clients. Our Treasure Valley team knows how critical it is that every job goes as smooth as possible, ensuring your clients trust you time and time again when they need help. Our teams are trained to reduce the lost time and mitigate the damages as quickly as possible. Whether it’s fire, water, mold or any other cleanup; we are here to help, 24 hours a day.
Our team members are available for direct cellular calls 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. You earn your client’s loyalty by providing timely solutions. You provide help in a time of need. Instead of offering a call center solution, our team members are available to take the call on their business line! We will personally call your client back, offer a listening ear, and take away some of the fear they are experiencing.
Having a relationship with SERVPRO of Norwalk Wilton and our team of highly trained professionals has many benefits. We will ensure help arrives quickly (following our 1-4-8 time commitment), and our production team will help your clients regain control of their lives by treating them with respect, courteousness and working hard to get the job done the right way the first time. There are no unwelcome surprises with SERVPRO. Calling direct reduces wait times. The faster SERPVRO of Norwalk Wilton's team can arrive onsite to perform the cleanup, the better the results.
That’s the SERVPRO difference.
We are an IICRC Certified Firm
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies.
IICRC Certified Firms must
• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.
The IICRC Develops the Standards for The Restoration Industry
The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.
Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.
Prevent Legionnaire’s Disease in Commercial Settings
From the CDC:
Water System Maintenance
The key to preventing Legionnaires’ disease is to prevent Legionella colonization (growth) in water systems. Guidelines for reducing the risk of Legionella growth and spread are available for those who maintain and manage building water systems, including systems for potable (water for drinking and showering), non-potable, and recreational water from ASHRAE®. ASHRAE is a not-for-profit organization that develops standards and guidelines for industries that design, manufacture, and maintain building systems.
• ASHRAE Standard 188: Legionellosis: Risk management for building water systems (ANSI approved)
• Frequently Asked Questions: ASHRAE Standard 188
Get the answers to frequently asked questions about ASHRAE Standard 188, which outlines a minimum legionellosis risk management program for buildings.
• ASHRAE Guideline 12-2000: Minimizing the risk of legionellosis associated with building water systems
CDC developed a toolkit to help building owners and managers better understand ASHRAE Standard 188 and how to develop a water management program to reduce the risk of Legionella growing and spreading in their building(s). The first step is determining if your building or certain devices in your building need a water management program. Use this quick yes/no worksheet to find out.
Dangers of Asbestos in a Business
Although asbestos is for the most part no longer used in construction and manufacturing, many buildings today still retain traces or even large quantities of asbestos. Particularly in older buildings, testing for and identifying this asbestos is an important job, but one that is unfortunately neglected by many business owners. Failing to test for asbestos when making renovations or restorations to a building can cause long-term negative health effects for restoration professionals, customers, and even yourself, creating a legal and financial disaster large enough to ruin most businesses. There are specific Federal regulations mandated by the EPA regarding renovating buildings, and asbestos abatement. SERVPRO provides certified asbestos testing to ensure the safety of our technicians and your customers alike.
Asbestos testing for a business is not only advisable for practical reasons, but also for legal ones. Failing to test for asbestos can lead to steep fines and regulatory penalties, regardless of whether or not the substance is present. OSHA has explicit guidelines in place regarding demolition or renovations of commercial structures, especially schools, and other municipal buildings. Furthermore, if a customer or employee gets sick as a result of untested asbestos, you may be at risk of a costly and difficult lawsuit. Federal and state authorities alike take this process seriously, which is why it is always recommended to hire a certified company like SERVPRO to complete the task.
In addition to laws on the subject, testing for asbestos should be a major consideration for your health. Asbestos can cause many negative health effects, some of which can shorten your lifespan or lead to long-term illness. Asbestos is a known carcinogen.The longer you are exposed to it, the more likely many of these side effects are to manifest, meaning that valued employees and regular customers may also be at risk. Just as the removal of mold growth can help to avoid a medical emergency in your business, so too can asbestos testing prevent a host of serious medical issues.
Your local SERVPRO is certified in asbestos testing and guarantees a fast and efficient process for your business. Call us today for our services or a quote.
Be Smart About Garage Storage
With spring coming in the coming months, most of us try to accomplish new goals, get a new fresh start. Getting healthy, organizing our homes, bettering our lives' always seem to be at the top of the list. One space to start cleaning and organizing is the garage! That extra storage area that easily becomes a catchall for excess items. We have compiled a list of items that should not be stored in your garage. Get them out and reclaim your space.
Paint - Because the garage is prone to extreme temperature changes, paint should not be stored in the garage. Recycle paint or donate it.
Electronics- If you are putting electronics out in the garage, you must not be using them. Donate these items because they can’t withstand the temperature fluctuations and will easily break.
Propane and Hazardous Chemicals- Proper ventilation is key for storage of propane and hazardous chemicals. For safety reasons, these items need to be stored outside.
Food- Keeping food in the garage is an open invitation to rodents and insects. Although shopping in bulk can save money, storing extra food in the garage will cause problems. The moisture and humidity will spoil the food. Find room in the house for food storage.
Cardboard boxes- Insects, mice and other rodents love cardboard. Invest in waterproof plastic bins to store your items.
Mold After A Disaster
Picture this: Your home or business is affected by a storm, whether the roof suffered a structural issue, or you had flooding from excess water coming in. You fix the hole in the roof and dry the water yourself, and life continues as normal. A couple months down the road, you find mold where the storm had previously had damaged your building.
Make sure this doesn’t happen.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has some great info about how to prevent mold after a storm hits your home or business.
After natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, excess moisture and standing water contribute to the growth of mold in homes and other buildings. When returning to a home that has been flooded, be aware that mold may be present and may be a health risk for your family.
Clean up and dry out the building quickly (within 24 to 48 hours - SERVPRO of Norwalk Wilton can help with this). Open doors and windows. Use fans to dry out the building. Position fans to blow air out doors or windows.
Remove all porous items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and that cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried. These items can remain a source of mold growth and should be removed from the home. Porous, noncleanable items include carpeting and carpet padding, upholstery, wallpaper, drywall, floor and ceiling tiles, insulation material, some clothing, leather, paper, wood, and food. Removal and cleaning are important because even dead mold may cause allergic reactions in some people.
To prevent mold growth, clean wet items and surfaces with detergent and water.
Protect Your Investment by Inspecting Your Crawlspace
Over time crawlspaces need maintenance.
Crawl Spaces in Fairfield County
Many homes in southwest Connecticut are built on crawlspaces. Snow load, water runoff, and rising water tables need to be dealt with to maintain your property.
If maintained properly, crawlspaces have advantages over other types of construction.
• It gets the house above the ground, an important point in damp areas.
• It is less expensive than a basement, and comparable to the price of a slab foundation.
• Duct work, plumbing, and electrical can run in the crawl space, which makes them easier to service, and move if necessary.
Items to inspect for are:
• Standing water on top of vapor barrier.
• Condensation or leaks on water pipes or ductwork.
• Muddy soil.
• Staining on walls from water or efflorescence.
• Sagging or missing insulation.
• Plumbing leaks.
• Musty/moldy or foul odors.
• Deteriorated vapor barrier.
If mold is found anywhere in your crawlspace, call SERVPRO of Norwalk Wilton to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Strange (but common) Places to Find Mold
Mold can grow in many places.
When we think of mold problems we equate it to damp basements and black gross mold growing on drywall; but mold is insidious and can grow in places where you least expect it. Mold is fast growing, can pop up within 24 hours of being exposed to moisture, and spreads quickly.
Here are some common places where mold forms that you might not be aware of:
• Under Your Refrigerator
The spaces behind and under your fridge rarely see the light of day, which make them a perfect breeding ground for mold. Clean all water lines and drip pans and ensure they are not leaking; even a small leak can lead to a huge mold problem. Take the extra time to check and clean behind and underneath your refrigerator.
Your chimney can easily become a breeding ground for mold. Brick crevices collect water, dirt, and other organic debris. Rusted chimney caps and faulty flashing let in rain and snow, encouraging mold to grow. Replace rusted caps and fix flashing. Call a licensed mold removal specialist to remove the mold in your chimneys. To prevent mold, get your chimney cleaned by a professional chimney sweep at least once a year.
• Front-Loading Washing Machines
Front-loading washing machines are great, but can be a hotspot for mold growth. The gasket around the door on front-loading washing machines often stays wet because the door is usually closed when not in use. Add some lint to the moisture and mold happily munches and multiplies. Wipe the gasket and glass dry before you shut the door. If you spot mold, run a hot water wash with some chlorine bleach (no clothes), which will kill the fungi. Even if you have a top-load washer make sure to regularly check behind and underneath your washer and dryer to make sure there are no leaks or source of moisture. Clean out vents and lint traps to prevent mold havens, as well as fire hazards.
• Window Sashes and Seals
Condensation from windows provides the moisture mold loves, and the dirt and dust that collect provide the perfect place for the mold to settle. After heavy rains open windows and wipe moisture from the bottoms of sashes and windowsills. Replace any broken seals and if you notice any water has leaked into the wood and walls call a professional to see if the problem has caused mold.
• Air Conditioners
Air conditioning units trap dust and pollen (a good meal for mold) and grab moisture from the air. If you don’t run your AC unit at least every 24 hours in warm weather humidity in your house climbs, giving mold the opportunity to grow in AC ducts, drain pans, and on coils. Drip pans and drainage hoses on window units can leak causing mold to grow into the windowsill and dry wall. If mold grows in your central air conditioning unit you’ll have to hire a mold remediation pro to clean out the system.
If you suspect you may have mold contact the experts at SERVPRO of Norwalk Wilton.
What is Ice Damming?
An ice dam is an ice build-up on the eaves of sloped roofs of heated buildings that results from melting snow under a snow pack reaching the eave and freezing there. Freezing at the eave impedes the drainage of meltwater, which adds to the ice dam and causes backup of the meltwater in a manner, which may cause water leakage into the roof and consequent damage to the building and its contents if the water leaks through the roof.
Ice dams are a common sight in the Northeast. We've handled several claims this past month stemming from ice damming. What we've found is the flatter the pitch of the roof, the easier it is for an ice dam to get a grip. Gutters at the eaves can also trap snow and ice. If snow and ice build up high enough in the gutter, it can provide a foundation for an ice dam.
Stay tuned for our next blog, where we’ll tell you how to prevent these dangerous ice dams.