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Answers to Common Questions About Mold

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

Black mold on wall Mold growth in Emporia, KS.

What Does Mold Look Like?

Mold can appear in many colors and could appear as a dark spot on the wall or as black specks around the window. Mold in the crawlspace may look like chalky white growth or could be dark spots behind the sink. Many people in Emporia, KS, recognize black mold, but it could appear in several colors, beginning with the most common.

• Black
• Brown
• White
• Yellow
• Blue
• Green
• Orange
• Red
• Pink

Any sign of mold should prompt you to contact a mold remediation expert, even if the growth spot only looks like hard water stains running below the knobs in the sink.

How can you tell if it's bad mold?

Not all types of mold are dangerous, but black mold and other forms of mold in large amounts could lead to expensive repairs and mold cleanup efforts. The best way to prevent extensive damage and repairs is to treat any appearance of mold as if it were bad mold. The only effective and reliable way to tell what type of mold is in a building is to contact an indoor environmental professional.

Who can safely remove mold?

An IEP uses specialized equipment and testing methods to determine which types of mold are on the property, how widespread growth is, how high levels of contamination are, and where mold growth began. DIY tests tend to be inaccurate and could lead to ineffective mold remediation efforts.

When should you take action?

If you see signs of mold growth, smell a musty odor, find evidence of water leaks, or know of any past flooding, you should take immediate action to prevent further growth and begin mold cleanup. Mold remediation experts in Emporia, KS, can get you started. Any time you suspect the presence of mold in your building, you need to act quickly for the protection of your property and those people who live or work in the building.

Understanding Home Fires and Insurance

7/21/2021 (Permalink)

An Executive holding a piece of paper stating ARE YOU COVERED? Beside, house made out of paper and burning When you have a home fire in Maize, KS insurance coverage for fire and water damage is key to an affordable recovery.

Home Fires And Insurance: What You Need to Know

A home fire at your dwelling in Maize, KS is devastating. There is soot damage, smoke damage and water damage from the firefighters putting out the flames. Many of your personal belongings are lost or in need of proper cleaning. Most residential fires are covered by insurance, but some are not. The cause is crucial to determining coverage. Read below to know what is typically covered and what is not. Each individual policy is different, so be sure to confirm with your agent.

What Causes Are Usually Covered?

For most homeowner’s insurance, almost all fire types are covered under the policy, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Kitchen fires are one of the main causes of residential fires. This type of fire spreads quickly and leads to significant damage.
  • Failing electrical systems or appliances, especially those that are old or poorly maintained, pose a fire risk.
  • The HVAC system, space heater or wood stove may ignite a house fire.
  • Even though smoking rates have decreased over the past few decades, it remains a common reason for residential fires.
  • External causes, such as lightning strikes and wildfires, are rare but can be a fire hazard.

When Is a Home Fire Not Covered?

There are two main causes of house fires not covered by homeowner’s insurance:

  • Arson is never covered if the fire is set by the homeowner or someone acting on the homeowner’s behalf. If investigators find evidence of a fire set by the owner to collect insurance money, no damage is covered and criminal charges may be filed.
  • A vacant home fire is not typically covered if it is unoccupied at the time of the fire. However, this is covered if the homeowner has an added endorsement to the policy.

When you have a home fire in Maize, KS insurance coverage for fire and water damage is key to an affordable recovery. Work with your insurance adjustor and a fire restoration specialist to rebuild, replace and restore your home to pre-fire condition.

The Mold Remediation Process

7/19/2021 (Permalink)

Mold Quarantine Mold containment in Emporia, KS.

The Mold Remediation Process

A persistent musty odor in your home in Emporia, KS, may be a sign of a black mold problem. Once your suspicions are confirmed, mold remediation specialists must work quickly to eradicate the growth and keep it from spreading into other areas of the house.

Protection
The first thing the technicians do when they arrive is don personal protective equipment:

  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Coveralls
  • Boots
  • Ventilator mask

This preventative measure allows them to move freely in the space without concern that they will breathe in the mold spores or spread them to other areas via their clothing.

Containment
The next step in mold cleanup is blocking off the affected area. The last thing you want is mold growth to spread into the rest of your home. Sealing it off isolates the problem.

Removal
Even if you wipe down the surface, the mold may have grown into porous materials. If the black mold growth is large enough to need professional remediation, it has likely damaged walls, flooring or ceiling beyond repair. Material that cannot be salvaged must be torn out and discarded.

Disinfection
Next comes the cleaning process. Mold spores tend to root themselves into surfaces and cracks, so specialists have to use special equipment and cleaning techniques to ensure that the whole problem is gone. Otherwise, it is likely to return, and you'll have to start the whole process over again.

Drying
The last step of mold remediation is drying out the remaining surfaces. Technicians also must test the humidity level to make sure there's not too much moisture in the air. This step eliminates the conditions that probably led to mold growth in the first place.
To get rid of a black mold problem in your home, you probably need professional remediation. Certified specialists understand the precautions they need to take to protect themselves and your home, and they conduct thorough mitigation to keep mold from coming back.

How To Clean Your Chimney and Avoid Chimney Fires

7/14/2021 (Permalink)

Chimney damaged by fire Chimney damaged by fire.

Avoid Thick Black Smoke and Chimney Fire

If you have a chimney in your Salina, KS home, it’s imperative to keep it clean and in good working order if you want to reduce the risk of chimney fire and keep your family safe. Here are a few steps you can follow to clean your chimney and avoid thick black smoke and chimney fires.

1. Determine If You Can Clean It Yourself

Before you can effectively clean your chimney, you need to make sure you have the ability to do the job yourself. One easy way to tell if it’s an appropriate DIY project or if you should hire professionals is by checking to see if you can reach all parts of the chimney either from inside your home or from your roof. Creosote buildup causes fire damage, so you need to be able to remove it from every part of your chimney.

If you can reach the smoke chamber from inside your home and have the tools necessary to clean the flue efficiently, you may be able to clean your chimney yourself. If you have any trouble reaching all areas of the chimney, it’s wise to hire a professional. If the flue isn’t cleaned properly, the risk of a chimney fire goes up.

2. Minimize Mess

Cleaning a fireplace is messy business. To keep your carpets and furniture protected, put a canvas tarp or plastic paint sheet on the floor around your fireplace.

3. Brush the Flue

Use a large chimney brush to thoroughly clean the flue. Simply ram the brush into the flu and pump it up and down several times, working in small sections.

Take Care of Your Chimney

If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning your own chimney, there’s no shame in hiring professionals to do it for you. That way you’ll have greater confidence that your risk of chimney fire is severely reduced. If you’ve already had smoke damage due to burning fires in an unclean chimney, call professional smoke and fire restoration services.

Prevent Flooding Caused by Frozen Pipes

7/14/2021 (Permalink)

Pipe insulation Insulate exterior pipes.

Frigid winter months can bring significant problems to commercial buildings in Hutchinson, KS from ice dams that cause roof leaks to burst pipes. As water freezes, it expands, putting pressure on its container. This container, whether plastic or metal, may not be able to hold it. When the container is a pipe, it may burst, causing standing water and damage to the surrounding area. However, there are steps that can be taken to minimize the risk of a burst pipe.

Why Pipes Burst

Although the most basic explanation for pipes freezing in cold weather, it’s not quite that simple. There are other contributing factors, which can include:

  • They have inadequate or no insulation.
  • They are in cold or exposed areas in or around the building.
  • There is water sitting in the pipes instead of circulating through them.

When Pipes Freeze

Depending on the building and usage, frozen pipes may be a minor inconvenience or a catastrophic event. The consequences of a burst pipe can include:

  • No access to water or use of drainage pipes
  • Irrevocable pipe damage, which requires that the pipes are repaired before they can be used
  • Water damage that may be limited to drips or result in flooding areas of the building

How To Prevent Pipe Bursts

Taking some time during the warmer months can help prevent a frozen pipe during the winter season.

  • Insulate exterior pipes and those located in unheated areas, such as basements or crawl spaces.
  • Let water drip, allowing it to run and prevent pressure from building, which can cause a burst pipe.
  • Check shutoff valves and levers, ensuring they are in good working condition.
  • Keep heat and water on in areas of the building that are not in use.

If a water event does occur, water restoration professionals in Hutchinson, KS restore your premises to their former condition, “Like it never even happened.” allowing you to get on with business as usual.

Cleaning Items Damaged by Water

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

wet floor of a family room Water damage in a Topeka, KS home.

Taking Care Of Items Damaged By Water

If there’s water in your home, your personal belongings will more than likely be affected. Whether it comes from a broken pipe, storm, or flood damage, water tends to go wherever it wants. Knowing how to clean, preserve and protect your property can help make an overwhelming task much more manageable. 

1. Put Safety First

Before handling anything that’s been water-damaged, make sure you wear appropriate gloves and masks. You might even consider waterproof clothing. This kind of water can be contaminated by a host of chemicals, bacteria, and foreign substances, and no matter how valuable they might be, no personal possession is worth the potential cost to your health.


2. Clean Off the Mud

Once the water in your home is gone, clean any mud or silt off your items. You can rinse them with cool, clean water. Only use clean water in order to prevent additional contamination. If your items have already begun to dry, or if you have soiled clothes that require dry cleaning, don’t scrub them. Use a brush or cloth to wipe away as much debris as you can.

3. Get Them Dry

Remove wet items to a dry part of the house and allow them to air-dry. Use fans and open windows to increase air circulation, which can aid the drying process. Some items, like area rugs and wool blankets, can safely dry in direct sunlight, while others need to be indoors. Place waterlogged books, papers and photographs in the freezer to dry them out slowly. A restoration specialist can advise you if you have valuable or collectible papers, books, or photographs.

While water in your home in Topeka, KS, can cause serious damage, many of your personal possessions can be saved and their functionality restored. If you have any questions about the best methods for preserving and restoring a particular item, contact a professional in your area.

Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Mold

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Corner of a wall with mold growth Mold prevention starts with moisture control.

Frequent Questions Asked About Mold Growth

Mold is everywhere in Wichita, KS, but there’s a surprising amount we don’t know about it. Let’s take a look at the top five frequently asked questions about mold growth.

1. What’s the Difference Between Mold and Mildew?

Mold is a thick, fuzzy growth, while mildew is flat and powdery. Mold growths tend to spread across both inorganic and organic matter, even though it requires organic matter to truly feed; the mildew will generally only appear on organic matter. Both can come in multiple colors, though the most recognizable colors are black for both or, for mold, fuzzy green and white.

2. If I Wait Long Enough, Will Mold Just Die?

No, especially if you live in a high-humidity area. Mold is a living organism just like any other, and just like any living organism, it exists to live and reproduce. That means unless you put a stop to it, mold will continue to grow as long as it has a surface to grow on and moisture to feed it.

3. Can I Remove Mold Myself?

For early-stage mold growth, you may be able to remove it by wiping it away carefully and disinfecting the area, but you can never be completely sure you’ve eliminated the mold until you bring in a mold remediation specialist. Even after removing mold growth, you will always have mold spores in the air as part of your natural environment.

4. What Makes Mold Grow So Fast?

Mold grows the fastest where there’s water damage. Water damage tends to saturate the drywall and wood of your home to make these organic substances perfect breeding grounds for mold.

5. How Can I Prevent Mold?

Mold prevention starts with moisture control. If you get rid of the moisture in your home, you’re more likely to prevent mold from growing. Check your pipes, windows, roofs, and appliances. Invest in a dehumidifier if needed.

6 Tips To Reduce Fire Hazards in the Kitchen

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire on flames Kitchen fire safety is important for your family, so use these tips.

Tips To Keep Your Home Safe From Kitchen Fires

The fire department often responds to kitchen fires in Wichita, KS, so it’s wise to take simple precautions to reduce fire hazards in your home. 

1. Organize Your Kitchen With Safety in Mind

Anything that might catch fire should be kept away from your stovetop. Keep a baking sheet or pan lid nearby to cover a pan if there is fire. Turn pot handles so they point to the rear of the stove as this will minimize the chance that someone might knock them over.

2. Stay in the Kitchen While Cooking

Unattended cooking is by far the leading cause of kitchen fires. Stay in the kitchen whenever you are grilling, frying, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off and move your pots and pans off the heat because a grease fire is a danger.

3. Dress Safely While Cooking

Loose clothing can catch fire from a gas flame or electric burner. When cooking, wear short sleeves or rolled sleeves. If you have long hair, tie it back.

4. Remember To Turn Everything Off

Turn ovens or burners off after cooking. Other kitchen fire safety tips are to clean up food spills, grease, or anything that could catch fire. Be careful when lighting the burner on a gas stove or a pilot light. Don’t put too much oil or grease in pots or pans as hot oil or grease might splatter and cause a grease fire.

5. Install a Smoke Alarm Near the Kitchen

Be sure you have a smoke alarm installed near the kitchen, but not in it. You don’t want cooking smoke or steam to trigger the alarm. Change the batteries every six months.

6. Install a Home Sprinkler System

A sprinkler system will provide protection for your home. If you are renovating or building, consider installing a sprinkler in the kitchen, the area of your home with the greatest fire risk.

Kitchen fire safety is important for your family, so use these tips.

3 Ways to Get Rid of Smoke Smells After a Fire

5/24/2021 (Permalink)

Ozone generator Ozone machines are designed specifically with odor control in mind.

Steps For Smoke Cleaning To Reduce The Smoke Odor

 Some people might consider themselves lucky if the biggest issue they have to deal with after a fire is smoke damage. However, this issue can be more serious than you might think. The scent of smoke means there’s still residual soot in the air, which contains carcinogens that can be harmful to breathe. Plus, the smell is just awful. Fortunately, there are several steps regarding smoke cleaning you can take in order to reduce the smoke odor in your home after a fire in Wichita, KS and even make a space odor-free.

1. Air Filtration Devices

You’ve probably seen air filtration devices advertised as great ways to deal with allergens. These same devices are excellent for filtering out the agents that cause smoke odor as well. Placing a few (or several) of these devices in the place that’s experienced the smoke damage can help reduce the scent over time. Just remember to keep the filters changed.

2. Ozone Machines

Ozone machines are designed specifically with odor control in mind. These machines are built to deodorize large areas such as hotel rooms and business offices, so imagine what one could do for your home when you need smoke cleaning. This is a tool commonly used by smoke and fire damage professionals, so you know it’ll get the job done right.

3. Thermal Foggers

Thermal foggers are built to essentially recreate the conditions of fire by adding heat and pressure to a specified area. However, these machines give off a mist of deodorizing fog rather than smoke. These fog particles are absorbed by porous materials in the same way, however, meaning they seep into smoke-damaged belongings to replace the unpleasant odor.

These are three methods of smoke cleaning that are commonly used by the pros and for good reason. They’re effective, simple, and get the job done quickly so you can go back to living a smoke-free life.

SERVPRO of Northwest Wichita has the training, experience and specialized equipment necessary to restore your home and remove any Smoke Odor left after a Fire.  

How To Keep You Commercial Roof in Good Condition

5/18/2021 (Permalink)

Construction engineer wearing safety uniform inspection metal roofing work for roof industrial concept with copy space Roof inspection.

Three Simple Steps To Do To Mitigate Your Roof's Destruction

In 2021, the United States seaboard faced a record 30 named hurricanes, 12 of which made land on the coastlines. Each gale could harm commercial property, creating rising waters and possessing intense winds. These storms can wreak havoc on buildings, particularly causing roof damage. Owners in Derby, KS, should take precautions to safeguard the facility. 

1. Fortify the Roof
Twice a year, a licensed professional should inspect the rooftop for wind damage. A secure structure creates a barrier from water, minimizing potential mold and saturation concerns. Have a roofer or maintenance worker perform a thorough assessment, checking for malformed or harmed shingles and missing flashing. These exposures permit moisture penetration that could lead to mold or water damage. Fix any identified problems.

2. Clear the Gutters
Waterflow away from the building is essential to reducing roof damage. Gutters and a proper drainage system move the excess buildup away to retention ponds and sewage systems; however, leaves and debris can clog them up, preventing the necessary movement. In a severe storm, this hazard allows backups that threaten the roof's integrity. Too much water could weigh down the top, causing a break.

3. Clip Back Those Big Trees
Trim trees often to keep them away from the establishment. If a tree or branch falls, landing on the roofing, a hole is created. Your entire facility is then exposed to nature. Not only would you require a roof rebuild, but you would require the assistance of a water restoration company. As the rain pours inside, it permeates into your materials, allowing fungus and bacteria to grow. Work with yard maintenance to prune foliage monthly to avoid this trouble.
Three tasks can make a difference in your roofing's strength. Avoid expensive roof damage and gain more defense by making minor repairs biannually, cleaning out gutters and trimming large trees.