10 Tips to Prevent Mold
The following 10 tips are EPA approved and can help you prevent any mold contamination before the spores even think to settle and spread through your home!
1] As soon as a liquid is spilled, no matter the surface, make sure to clean up immediately. Mold most likely will not grow within the first 24-48 hours if moisture is removed.
2] Surround pipes and other cold surfaces with insulation.
3] When looking for a home or to build one, make sure the ground slopes away from the base house to avoid moisture collecting at the foundation.
4] Make sure air conditioning drains are kept clean and flowing properly.
5] Keep humidity levels in homes below 60%, preferably between 30% and 50%.
6] Store appliances like stoves and dryers outside where they get plenty of airflow, and vent moisture from collecting inside.
7] Be watching for moisture collection. This includes on appliances, windows or any furniture piece.
8] Periodically open doors and windows to increase airflow through your home.
9] When showering or bathing be sure to open a window or turn a bathroom fan on.
10] Clean and repair roof gutters as often as possible.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today –847-983-4468
The third most common causes of household fires are candles. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) did a study between 2009 and 2013 where they tracked the number of fires reported each day. On average, 25 candle fires were reported each day during that time. Over the duration of the study, researchers noticed that annually, approximately 86 people die in fires and 827 people are injured each year.
The most common months for candle fires are January and December as they hold the winter holidays. Winter holidays are the most common time for candle fires with December at 12% and January at 10%. Fires during those months peak around Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Years Day. The reasoning for that is because these holidays are most commonly associated with using candles as part of religious practices or decorations. 20% of these fires started in the living room, family room, or den, while 8% were started in the dining room and 12% started in the kitchen.
Approximately 58% of fires started when flammable materials, such as furniture, mattresses/bedding, curtains, or decorations, were too close to the candle. 18% started when candles were left unattended or abandon. In 11% of the cases, fires started when people fell asleep attributing to 30% of candle fire related deaths. While only around 13% of candle users burn candles in the bedroom, about 36% of fires began in the bedroom.
Now to the fun part, how to prevent candle fires! The obvious, blow the candle you are burning out when you leave the room or go to bed. Also, avoid using candles in the bedroom or other areas where people sleep. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from materials that could burn. Flameless candles are also a safe alternative to burning candles because they look and smell the same.
While burning candles, use sturdy holders that won’t tip easily on uncluttered surfaces. When lighting candles, be sure to keep your hair and loose clothing out of the way. Blow the candle out before it gets too close to the bottom of the holder or container. In other words, don’t burn the candle all the way down. NEVER use a candle if there is an oxygen tank in use in the home. Finally, do not use candles in the event of a power outage, keep plenty of batteries on hand and use flashlights.
If a candle catches fire, not only will you have to deal with the fire burning but the thought of adding water to the mix from extinguishing that fire.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
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Clothes dryer fire safety
Facts about home clothes dryer fires
- 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.
- Failure to clean the dryer (34 percent) is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires.
- More home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January.
Clothes dryer do’s
- Have your clothes dryer installed by a professional.
- Make sure the correct electrical plug and outlet are used and that the dryer is connected properly.
- Read manufacturers' instructions and warnings in use and care manuals that come with new dryers.
- Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. In addition, clean the lint filter with a nylon brush at least every six months or more often if it becomes clogged.
- Clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months.
- Have your dryer cleaned regularly by a professional, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry.
- Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged or restricted.
- Put a covering on outside wall dampers to keep out rain, snow and dirt.
- Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is on.
- Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.
- Have gas-powered dryers inspected every year by a professional to ensure that the gas line and connection are together and free of leaks.
- Check regularly to make sure nests of small animals and insects are not blocking the outside vent.
- Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that can burn.
- If you will be away from home for an extended time, unplug or disconnect the dryer.
Clothes dryer don’t's
- Don’t use a clothes dryer without a lint filter or with a lint filter that is loose, damaged or clogged.
- Don’t overload the dryer.
- Don’t use a wire screen or cloth to cover the wall damper. They can collect lint and clog the dryer vent.
- Don’t dry anything containing foam, rubber or plastic. An example of an item not to place in a dryer is a bathroom rug with a rubber backing.
- Don’t dry any item for which manufacturers' instructions state “dry away from heat.”
- Don’t dry glass fiber materials (unless manufacturers' instructions allow).
- Don’t dry items that have come into contact with anything flammable like alcohol, cooking oils or gasoline. Dry them outdoors or in a well-ventilated room, away from heat.
- Don’t leave a clothes dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
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An Office Building Occupants Guide to Indoor Air Quality
What You Can Do to Improve the Indoor Air in Your Office:
- Do not block air vents or grilles.
- Comply with the office and building smoking policy.
- Water and maintain office plants properly.
- Dispose of garbage promptly and properly.
- Store food properly.
- Avoid bringing products into the building that could release harmful or bothersome odors or contaminants.
- Notify your building or facility manager immediately if you suspect an indoor air quality problem.
If You Manage an Office:
- Maintain a good working relationship with building management on indoor environmental issues.
- Place office furniture and equipment with air circulation, temperature control, and pollutant removal functions of the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system in mind.
- Coordinate with building management in instances when responsibility for design, operation and maintenance of the ventilation system is shared.
- Establish an effective smoking policy that protects nonsmokers from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Avoid procedures and products that can cause indoor air quality problems.
- Integrate indoor air quality concerns into your purchasing decisions.
- Work with the building manager to ensure use of only necessary and appropriate pest control practices, and nonchemical methods where possible.
- Work with building management and the contractor before you remodel or renovate to identify ways of keeping building occupant exposure to pollutants to a minimum and to ensure that the air distribution system is not disrupted.
- Encourage building management to develop a preventive indoor air quality management program following guidance issued by EPA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
About SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles
SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Drain Clog Prevention Tips
Having to call your plumber every time a drain in your home gets clogged can become time consuming, frustrating, not to mention very expensive. Your drains may work right now, but clogs can happen at any time. Though plumbing codes, normal plumbing maintenance, and good drain pipe materials can keep the rate of clog formation to a minimum, most people do not have the advantage or the ability to decide what plumbing materials are to be used. No one thinks about plumbing maintenance until there is a clogged drain. Clogged drains can create severe water damage to a home’s structure (such as the wiring) and can be a potential health risk. Problems caused by a clogged drain can be avoided by taking necessary steps of drain maintenance to prevent clogs from occurring. Remember, prevention is not only easy to do, but can save you a lot of money in the long run!
1: When cleaning up after dinner, run hot water through the drain to prevent grease buildup and hard water deposits. Once every few days, to really prevent buildup in your pipes, first put in a half cup of baking soda, followed by a half cup of vinegar, and then wash it through with boiling hot water.
2: Check your bathtub stoppers every three months for hair and buildup of biofilm (a mixture of bacteria, food particles, soap residue, and body oils that hardens as layers begin to build up and lead to a clogged drain) and see if the stopper needs to be replaced due to wear and tear. Once a week, fill the bathtub half way to three-fourths full (while the stopper is in the drain) and then pull out the stopper. The weight and volume of the water will fill the pipe and will flush the drain line.
3: Have your home plumbing system regularly inspected for maintenance. As a preventative measure, once every six months, or once a year, hire a plumber or plumbing technician to snake your home’s drain lines for any buildups that can lead to a clog. For major connections, such as your septic tank or your main pipe to the sewer system, have periodic inspections. Small roots that penetrate a drain pipe can be cleaned up before it turns into a big problem. If regular inspections are not performed by a plumber, the roots can become entrenched in the drain pipe and will have to be replaced altogether.
4: Special clog prevention for kitchen sinks include: remove all kitchen waste from sink; do not pour coffee grinds down the sink; do not pour grease down the sink; and catch all food from falling down the sink.
5: Most plumbers will tell you to avoid using chemical-based cleaners as clog prevention on a regular basis as they can corrode metal pipes over time. A natural cleaner is an enzyme/bacteria based cleaner. Once poured down a drain, it creates colonies of good bacteria that destroy bad bacteria that cause clogs in your drains. Use natural-based cleaners at night, just before every one goes to sleep – large amounts of water used after the cleaner can get rid of the good bacteria before it has had time to work.
Need Emergency Service? Call SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles 24/7 – (847) 983-4468
After a heavy rain, flood or burst pipe, you may find yourself wondering how to remove water from your basement. This is a tricky one. You need to get the water out quickly, but there are health and structural issues that need serious consideration. Plus, do you have the equipment to handle the job?
With a lot on the line, we recommend contacting a professional water damage restoration service when you've got water in your basement. Experts, like the ones you'll find at SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles, know how to clean up a flooded basement with the right safety measures and equipment to do the job properly. In this post, we'll explain some of the dangers of a DIY cleanup attempt along with tips on what to do with a flooded basement while you wait on the pros to arrive.
Immediate Steps After a Basement Flood
- Turn off the power. When your basement fills with water, the first thing to do is safely turn off energy sources around the area. This includes electricity and gas. If you can't do this without going through standing water, stay safe by leaving it to a professional.
- Wear boots and gloves. It is wise to assume that floodwater can be tainted with sewage or other pollutants. You should keep clear of the area, but if you have to go near the basement for something, cover up. Use waterproof boots and gloves to protect your skin from unpleasant or dangerous stuff in the water.
- Call your insurance company. Homeowners' policies typically don't cover natural floods, so check with your insurance provider to see what your coverage is. If you live in an area where flooding from natural disasters is common, you should consider adding flood insurance to your policy. Remember – it's never good to find out after the fact that you don't have adequate insurance.
Dangers of a Flooded Basement
There are a number of dangers associated with DIY basement water removal. The average homeowner can easily get in over their head in trying to figure out how to remove water from a basement. Experts will know what to do with a flooded basement to mitigate damage as much as possible and help keep you safe. Watch out for these hazards, which your cleanup crew will know how to handle properly:
- Graywater or blackwater.This is ground water or rain that swells up and seeps into basements. It's full of ground pollutants, biological agents, bacteria and other hazards to your health. Unclean graywater or blackwater can cause serious illness and must be cleaned up carefully.
- Electric shock.Submerged appliances or outlets in your basement pose a risk of severe electric shock or even death. Never wade into water where there might be live electricity.
- Structural rot.Drywall, insulation and beams weaken more and more as they remain underwater, putting the very structure of your home at risk. Only professionals have the right equipment to fully dry out your basement and prevent potentially catastrophic damage from occurring.
- Buckling walls.Walls can buckle when pressure in the surrounding soil builds up due to oversaturation and improper drainage. An expert will be able to spot the warning signs.
If you experience flooding in your basement, don't let a DIY job put your health and the well-being of your home at risk.
For help restoring your home after a water loss, call SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles at 847-983-4468. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”
“Mold Removal” vs. Remediation
Since microscopic mold spores exist naturally almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors, removing all mold from a home or business is impossible. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold. This is a fallacy.
A qualified restoration company understands the science behind mold and mold growth. The professionals at SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles have the training and expertise to remediate the mold in your home or business. Mold remediation focuses on getting mold levels back to normal, natural levels.
Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same.
- Step 1: Emergency Contact 847-983-4468
- Step 2: Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
- Step 3: Mold Containment
- Step 4: Air Filtration
- Step 5: Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
- Step 6: Cleaning Contents and Belongings
- Step 7: Restoration
Signs of Mold? Call Today 847-983-4468
Mold Prevention Tips
Concerns regarding indoor exposure to mold has increased as the public has become more aware that exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms. The EPA has come up with the following tips for mold prevention in your commercial property.
- Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building envelope as soon as possible.
- Watch for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture problem(s) as soon as possible.
- Prevent moisture due to condensation by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
- Keep heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, flowing properly and unobstructed.
- Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
- Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60% relative humidity (RH), ideally 30-50%, if possible.
- Perform regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
- Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours.
- Don't let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today –847-983-4468
About Our Mold Remediation Services
SERVPRO of Morton Grove/East Niles specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
Sudden Power Outage
Even small storms can cause damage. The CDC offers these tips to help you prepare for and cope with sudden loss of power:
- To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, use generators, pressure washers, grills, and similar items outdoors only. Generators should be used at least 20 feet away from your home.
- Identify and throw away food that may not be safe to eat.
- Check with local authorities to be sure your water is safe.
- In hot weather, stay cool and drink plenty of fluids to prevent heat-related illness.
- In cold weather, wear layers of clothing, which help to keep in body heat.
- Avoid downed power lines, if a power line falls on a car, you should stay inside the vehicle.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 847-983-4468
After natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, be aware that your house may be contaminated with mold or sewage, which can cause health risks for your family.
When You First Reenter Your Home
- If you have standing water in your home and can turn off the main power from a dry location, then go ahead and turn off the power, even if it delays cleaning. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it off. NEVER turn power on or off yourself or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
- Have an electrician check the house’s electrical system before turning the power on again.
- If the house has been closed up for several days, enter briefly to open doors and windows to let the house air out for awhile (at least 30 minutes) before you stay for any length of time.
- If your home has been flooded and has been closed up for several days, presume your home has been contaminated with mold.
- If your home has been flooded, it also may be contaminated with sewage.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today –847-983-4468