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FINDING THE RIGHT HEAT/HUMIDITY BALANCE IN YOUR FACILITY

7/30/2018 (Permalink)

Indoor comfort during the winter months is not simply a matter of supplying heat to your commercial facility. It also requires maintaining an indoor humidity level that keeps occupants comfortable while also striking a balance between too much and too little humidity. Here are some factors to keep in mind while working to establish the indoor humidity level that will work best for your needs.

What is Humidity?

Humidity is the amount of moisture or water vapor contained in the air. Relative humidity, which is an important component of indoor comfort, is the percentage of moisture in the air relative to the amount of moisture it would take to completely saturate the air. Overall humidity levels tend to be higher in the summer and lower in the winter. This means that it is often necessary to remove humidity from your indoor environment during the summer months and add humidity during the winter heating season.

Effects of Humidity

Humidity levels too low: When indoor humidity levels are too low, occupants of your facility can experience several types of physical discomforts. Low humidity causes moisture to leave the skin, creating a cooling effect similar to that you experience when you perspire. In the winter, this makes individuals feel cooler than they should based on the temperature of the room. Low humidity can also produce dry, itchy skin; irritated eyes, noses, and throats; and respiratory problems. When indoor humidity is low, there is a greater chance of static electricity being produced, making those startling electric shocks more common.

Humidity levels too high: If your facility's humidity levels are too high, even in winter, it can produce overall feelings of sluggishness and illness. The additional moisture in the air creates a perfect environment for the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria. Many types of insects also thrive in a high-humidity area. High humidity can also damage electronics, papers, books, paneling, and furniture.

Controlling Humidity

An indoor relative humidity level of 35 to 50 percent is a good baseline range to strive for inside your commercial facility. Adjustments within this range, or even the need to maintain humidity levels outside of it, will depend largely on the comfort level of the individuals occupying the facility. If you need to increase or decrease humidity inside the building, there are two common and effective options.

Increasing indoor humidity: Humidifiers allow you to add humidity to your indoor environment, either in a small area or throughout the facility. Room-level humidifiers are designed to work in a single room or similar area, while whole-building humidifiers function at a larger scale to add humidity everywhere in the building. They work by adding moisture to the air, usually in the form of water vapor. Room-level humidifiers spray this vapor directly into the air. They have a tank that must be refilled with water regularly. Whole-building humidifiers are installed within your HVAC system's airflow. The airflow from your heating or cooling system is diverted into the humidifier. Moisture is added via water vapor.

The moistened air then leaves the humidifier and continues on its regular path through your HVAC system and into your facility. These types of humidifiers are usually connected directly to your building's water supply.

Decreasing indoor humidity: Dehumidifiers are devices designed to remove moisture from your indoor air, reducing humidity levels. As with humidifiers, you can find dehumidification equipment that works at either the room level or at the whole-building level. Moisture is removed from the air moving through these devices and the drier air is sent along its normal route to the inside of your building.

IS IT REALLY NECESSARY TO CLEAN A COMMERCIAL BUILDING'S AIR DUCTS?

7/30/2018 (Permalink)

With everything that's involved in the maintenance of a commercial building, cleaning an air duct system that's not showing any obvious problems can seem like an unnecessary expenditure of time and money. While air duct cleaning isn't a job you need to do every year, it's not something you can afford to ignore entirely.

Why Air Ducts Need Cleaning

Poor indoor air quality, inefficient air filtration, and duct leaks can all result in dust entering the duct system. This dust can accumulate to the point that it starts to break off and re-enter your air. When this happens, you may notice your workspaces become dusty faster.

High humidity in the building or water leaking into the ducts provides the moisture needed for mold to develop. Mold in the ducts releases tiny spores that will end up circulating through your whole building. In addition to aggravating allergies and asthma, exposure to mold spores increases risk of upper respiratory infection.

Pest infestations are another reason to have your ducts cleaned. It's not uncommon for mice, squirrels, bees, and other pests to find their way into a duct system. Once inside, they leave behind nesting material, hair, and dead insects. Particles of these are then blown out into your rooms.

If the air quality in your building is high and you use high-efficiency HVAC air filters, your ducts could stay clean for years. Even in the ideal situation, though, there's always a chance of unexpected issues. At least once every three or four years, have your duct system professionally inspected to check if it's due for a cleaning.

How Air Duct Cleaning Benefits You

Keeping your building's ducts clean protects the heating and cooling system, and the health of the building occupants.

Improved indoor air quality — When your ducts are clean, you'll have less dust, mold spores, pollen, and pest debris floating in your air. While air duct cleaning hasn't been proven to improve any health condition, cleaner air can help those with allergies and asthma.

Greater HVAC system efficiency — Debris in the ducts impairs airflow through your system, so the fan motor has to work harder to distribute conditioned air to your rooms. With the ducts clean, the air will flow freely and the motor will consume less energy moving it. Clean ducts deposit less dust on your air conditioner's evaporator coil. Even a millimeter of dust on the coil reduces its efficiency, so clean ducts really pay off in summer.

Longer HVAC component lifespan — Dust and debris blowing through your ducts can find its way into your system's fan motor and other components and cause excess wear. Keeping the ducts clean prevents this wear, helping the components last longer.

Professional Duct Cleaning Makes the Difference

Duct cleaning isn't a job to leave up to a regular building maintenance crew armed with a few vacuums. Attempting to clean the ducts without the right tools can worsen your indoor air quality because the debris dislodged will end up floating away into your rooms. You're also likely to miss a lot of the debris.

A professional will bring in equipment specially designed to thoroughly clean the ducts without contaminating your air. A powerful truck-mounted vacuum with an attached hose is commonly used for smaller buildings. For large buildings, portable equipment is often a better choice because it allows the crew to more effectively access all parts of the building's extensive duct system.

What To Do If Your House Floods.

7/30/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage What To Do If Your House Floods. The most pervasive natural catastrophe on US soil is flooding.

Torrential thunderstorms, overflowing riverbanks, and Category 2 hurricanes all possess the incredible power to unleash massive amounts of floodwaters into homes. Natural disasters are not the only cause of house floods. Burst plumbing pipes, faulty appliances, and foundation leaks are also responsible for devastating home flooding.

When your house floods, here’s what to do:

1.-Re-enter with caution

2.-Document the damage

3.-Contact your insurance company

4.-Evaluate affected items

5.-Pump out floodwaters

6.-Manage mold

3.-Protect the property

7.-Be alert to fraud.

1.-Re-Enter With Caution

Take extra precautions when stepping foot inside your home after floodwaters subside. The surge of floodwater can cause holes in the floors, warped walls and a cracked foundation. Visually inspect the home prior to entering.

Be alert to lingering odors of gas. The home’s electricity should also be shut off before you step inside. Water and electricity are a lethal combination. As a safety measure, enlist the services of a licensed electrician to inspect the home before walking in.

  1. Document The Damage

As a homeowner, you’re likely to be motivated to start repairs as quickly as possible. Hold off on the impulse and instead take ample photographs and digital videos of the damage caused by the flood. Your homeowner’s insurance company requires proof of the flood damage in order to provide proper reimbursement. Insurance coverage could decrease if you start repairs before documenting the loss.

  1. Contact Your Insurance Company

Flood insurance has a major impact on whether homeowners recover or become financially ruined. Homeowner’s insurance rarely covers flood damage. Rather, as homeowners with properties located in flood zones know, flood insurance must be purchased separately through the National Flood Insurance Program. Call your insurance representative immediately after the flood. Work with your insurance adjuster to pinpoint the cause of the flood and any degree of coverage.

  1. Evaluate Affected Items

Floodwaters are polluted with waterborne bacteria, sewage, and harmful pathogens—all of which can cause disease. As a result, food, medicine, and cosmetics that have come into contact or have even been in close proximity with floodwaters should be discarded.

Mattresses that have been soaked by floodwaters should also be tossed out. Floodwaters can contaminate toys and stuffed animals, which also should be thrown away.

  1. Pump Out Floodwaters

Once your insurance representative has approved the cleanup, you can use a sump pump to gradually remove the water. A wet vacuum and even buckets will also help remove excess water. Water is heavy, so use extra caution when lifting water.

Slowly remove the water in stages. Removing the floodwaters in haste is likely to cause the walls or floors to collapse. Wooden floors, too, should be dried gradually to prevent the wood from cracking or splitting.

SERVPRO of McAllen  will be able to help with this process and finish the job properly.

  1. Manage Mold

Mold flourishes on moisture rich surfaces within 24 to 48 hours. Spores can latch onto wet carpeting, bedding, rugs, and upholstered furniture. Mold colonies can be controlled with a disinfecting solution applied to the surfaces. Ammonia and bleach should never be mixed, as the solution will produce lethal fumes.

  1. Protect The Property

Floodwaters can shatter glass and damage the building’s structures. Homeowners should make every effort to prevent further damage to the home. Board up broken windows and doors to stop the elements, like rain, snow and wind, from causing more ruin. The process will also deter wild animals, snakes and even criminal intruders from entering your home.

  1. Be Alert To Fraud

Fraudulent calls from imposters threaten flood victims with voided insurance policies if additional payments are not made. FEMA’s Director of the National Flood Insurance Program, Roy E. Wright, confirms that these calls are fraudulent and should not be given any consideration.

Those recouping from a flood are advised to only accept calls from FEMA representatives, local officials, insurance companies and the adjusters assigned to your property.

Emergency Water Damage Restoration

When floodwaters permeate your home, you may seek professional help to return your property to its pre-damaged condition. SERVPRO of McAllen  is a local water damage restoration company with the experience, equipment and dedication to restore your home when floodwaters strike. Our team stands by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to emergency calls.

How To Prevent Water Damage From Appliances And Plumbing Fixtures

7/30/2018 (Permalink)

Many cases of water damage in homes and buildings are caused by inclement weather such as rain, floods, and even humidity.  When wet weather conditions are imminent, homeowners will take actions to prevent seepage and indoor flooding.  While it is important to protect your home from rain and flooding, you cannot forget about the other common causes of water damage that can happen at any time.  The plumbing system is one potential source of water damage as fixtures like sinks and toilets may overflow or leak.  The pipes may spring a leak as well or burst due to ice or general wear and tear.  There are also several large appliances that could leak and cause water damage including water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers.

Fortunately, it is easier to prevent water damage from plumbing fixtures and appliances than from severe weather or flooding.  If you check your plumbing fixtures, pipes, and appliances regularly for signs of damage or leaks, you can prevent widespread water damage that will result in expensive restoration services.  The following tips will help you prevent this type of water damage.

Plumbing Fixtures

A lot of water passes through your shower, bathtub, sinks, and toilets on a daily basis.  If any of these fixtures are leaking or damaged, you could end up with major water damage in your home.  You must inspect the plumbing fixtures in your home regularly so you can find damage or signs of leaks before they lead to widespread water damage or structural issues.  Turn on each faucet in your home, including your sinks and bathtub, and look for leaks coming from the faucet or handles.  You should check under all sinks as well to make sure there is no water leaking from the bottom.  When you check the toilet, look for water leakage around the base and connecting pipes when you flush.  If you notice any leaks or damage to your fixtures, call a plumber to help fix or replace them.

Pipes

There are pipes all throughout your home, some of which are in hidden or inaccessible areas.  If a pipe bursts or starts leaking, it can cause hundreds of gallons of water to spill into your home within a day.  It is very important to check your pipes for damage, loose connections, and wear and tear that could lead to a burst.  During the winter, it is also important to check for frozen pipes because frozen water within the pipes will expand and cause a burst.  Make sure you check the pipes around the appliances and plumbing fixtures as well.  If you notice swelling or discoloration of your walls, this could mean that a pipe behind the wall is leaking.

Appliances

Just like with your plumbing fixtures, you should be checking your appliances regularly for leaks.  Refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters are vulnerable to major leaks that can cause damage to the surrounding area.  When you check your washing machine and dishwasher, make sure you inspect the hoses.  It is a good idea to replace these hoses every 3 years to avoid damage from wear and tear.  The high-pressure metal-mesh hoses are the best option for replacements because they are extremely durable.

Water Shut Off Valve

All homeowners should know where the emergency water shut off valve is and how to use it to shut off the water.  If one of your appliances or plumbing fixtures suddenly breaks and causes a major leak, shutting off the water is your best option to prevent major damage.  It is also a good idea to shut off the water in your home if you will be away for a week or longer.

While your plumbing fixtures, pipes, and appliances can cause very serious water damage in your home, you can prevent it from happening with routine checks.  If you notice damage to your fixtures or appliances, repair the damage if you can, or call a plumber for assistance.  You can take some preventative measures yourself such as replacing broken parts or caulking your bathtub.  If you have sustained water damage in your home because of a leaking fixture or appliance, call SERVPRO of McAllen

Lightning Safety Awareness

5/18/2018 (Permalink)

This blog is to raise awareness about the dangers of lightning and what individuals can do to stay safe.

The dangers of lightning are often not taken seriously. Just behind tornadoes and flooding in number of lives claimed annually, lightning is the #3 storm-related hazard, causing 51 deaths each year nationwide. Shockingly, there are an estimated 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in the US each year, with an addition 500+ injuries reported annually. But since lightning doesn’t tend to cause mass destruction all at once like a tornado would, and only 0.002% of lightning strikes actually hit people directly, its danger is often unappreciated. But that doesn’t mean that lightning safety should not be taken seriously.

According to the NWS, if you can hear thunder, then you are close enough to be struck by lightning since lightning can, and occasionally does, strike away from the storm. The safest place to be during a lightning storm is indoors. There are no safe spots outdoors. Your best bet when outdoors if you can’t get inside is to get into a vehicle and close the windows.

If a person is struck by lightning, call 911 and get medical care immediately. Cardiac arrest and irregularities, burns, and nerve damage are common in cases where people are struck by lightning. However, with proper treatment, including CPR if necessary, most victims survive a lightning strike, although they may be left with serious and lasting effects. You are in no added danger when helping a lightning victim, and you may safely do so immediately. Lightning victims do not carry a charge.

How Powerful is Lightning?

A typical lightning flash is about 300 million Volts and about 30,000 Amps. In comparison, household current is 120 Volts and 15 Amps. There is enough energy in a typical flash of lightning to light a 100-watt incandescent light bulb for about three months or the equivalent compact fluorescent bulb for about a year.

How Hot is Lightning?

Technically, lightning is the movement of electrical charges and doesn’t have a temperature; however, resistance to the movement of these electrical charges causes the materials that the lightning is passing through to heat up.

If an object is a good conductor of electricity, it won’t heat up as much as a poor conductor. Air is a very poor conductor of electricity and gets extremely hot when lightning passes through it. In fact, lightning can heat the air it passes through to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5 times hotter than the surface of the sun).

When lightning strikes a tree, the heat vaporizes any water in its path possibly causing the tree to explode or a strip of bark to be blown off.

Myths & Facts

Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.

Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit nearly 100 times a year.

Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning.

Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm.

Myth: Rubber tires on a car protect you from lightning by insulating you from the ground.

Fact: Most cars are safe from lightning, but it is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, NOT the rubber tires. Remember, convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open-shelled outdoor recreational vehicles and cars with fiberglass shells offer no protection from lightning. When lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Don’t lean on doors during a thunderstorm.

Myth: A lightning victim is electrified. If you touch them, you’ll be electrocuted.

Fact: The human body does not store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid. This is the most chilling of lightning Myths. Imagine if someone died because people were afraid to give CPR!

Myth: If outside in a thunderstorm, you should seek shelter under a tree to stay dry.

Fact: Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties. Better to get wet than fried!

Myth: If you are in a house, you are 100% safe from lightning.

Fact: A house is a safe place to be during a thunderstorm as long as you avoid anything that conducts electricity. This means staying off corded phones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, computers, plumbing, metal doors and windows. Windows are hazardous for two reasons: wind generated during a thunderstorm can blow objects into the window, breaking it and causing glass to shatter and second, in older homes, in rare instances, lightning can come in cracks in the sides of windows.

Myth: If thunderstorms threaten while you are outside playing a game, it is okay to finish it before seeking shelter.

Fact: Many lightning casualties occur because people do not seek shelter soon enough. No game is worth death or life-long injuries. Seek proper shelter immediately if you hear thunder. Adults are responsible for the safety of children.

Myth: Structures with metal, or metal on the body (jewelry, cell phones,Mp3 players, watches, etc), attract lightning.

Fact: Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt will strike. The presence of metal makes absolutely no difference on where lightning strikes. Mountains are made of stone but get struck by lightning many times a year. When lightning threatens, take proper protective action immediately by seeking a safe shelter – don’t waste time removing metal. While metal does not attract lightning, it does conduct it so stay away from metal fences, railing, bleachers, etc.

Myth: If trapped outside and lightning is about to strike, I should lie flat on the ground.

Fact: Lying flat increases your chance of being affected by potentially deadly ground current. If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, you keep moving toward a safe shelter.

What is Heat Lightning?

The term “heat lightning” is commonly used to describe lightning from a distant thunderstorm just too far away to see the actual cloud-to-ground flash or to hear the accompanying thunder.

While many people incorrectly think that heat lightning is a specific type of lightning, it is simply the light produced by a distant thunderstorm.

Often, mountains, hills, trees or just the curvature of the earth prevent the observer from seeing the actual lightning flash. Instead, the faint flash seen by the observer is light being reflected off higher-level clouds. Also, the sound of thunder can only be heard for about 10 miles from a flash.

Conclusion

Although lightning storms don’t tend to spark the same panic as tornado warnings, it’s still a storm hazard that needs to be taken seriously and should be a part of your storm safety preparation. Take this Lightning Safety Awareness Week as an opportunity to learn about the threat of Lightning and how you can prepare yourself and your home when a storm comes through.

Flood Safety & Severe Weather Preparedness

5/10/2018 (Permalink)

Being in an industry that often deals with property damage as a result of severe weather and flooding, we wanted to take a moment to write about the topic and share some ways that you can prepare for severe weather. And while severe weather can occur any day of the year, we often see a spike in thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding in the Spring.

Lightning

Lightning is unpredictable and dangerous.

While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, it is still one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States.

Outdoors

*Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors.

*At the first sign of lightning or thunder, seek shelter.

*Do not resume outdoor activities for at least 30 minutes after last observed lightning or thunder.

*Avoid the following areas: water, high ground, large open areas, isolated trees, and all metal objects or electrical wires.

If Someone is Struck by Lightning

*Have someone dial 9-1-1 immediately.

*People struck by lightning carry NO electrical charge and can be safely attended to immediately.

*Give first aid. If breathing has stopped, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR. If the person has a pulse and is breathing, look and care for other possible injuries.

*Stay with the victim until medical professionals arrive.

Thunderstorms

During a Thunderstorm

*If a thunderstorm is coming postpone or cancel outdoor activity.

*Do NOT go near tall trees or any other tall objects.

*Seek shelter inside a building or in a hardtop vehicle, but don’t touch any of the metal inside.

*Do NOT use the telephone. Stay away from other electronic devices, bare metal, and water.

*Do NOT go near downed power lines.

*Keep your eye on the sky and listen to weather reports on the radio or TV.

*If caught out in the middle of a large body of water, return to shore as soon as possible. Get off the water immediately.

*When caught in the middle of an open field: If walking with others stay a minimum of 10 feet apart, keep low and move quickly to seek shelter. If there is no shelter lay in a ditch or get to the lowest place around.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes are violent rotating cylinders of air that can reach speeds in excess of 300 mph, be more than a mile wide, and cover up to around 50 miles during their short path of destruction. Tornadoes can cause millions of dollars worth of damage and rip buildings off their foundations leaving only debris in their wake. They can appear suddenly and with little warning.

Tornado Watch: Conditions are right to have a tornado. Maintain a close look out for changes in the sky and stay tuned to local weather stations.

Tornado Warning: This means there is an actual tornado reported or radar indicates one could develop within a few minutes. Seek shelter quickly.

During a Tornado:

*Basements, inner rooms of a house, and storm sellars provide the best protection.

*Stay away from exterior walls, windows, and doors. Stay in the center of the room.

*If you are in your car do NOT try and outrun the tornado because it can switch direction and can cover lots of ground quickly.

*Get out of vehicle and go into a strong building if possible. If not, lie flat in a ditch or low area and cover your head.

*Do NOT go under overpasses, wind speeds actually increase under them and can suck you out!

*If you live in a mobile home, get out IMMEDIATELY. Take shelter in a building with a strong foundation.

*Listen to radio or watch TV so you can be alerted about your current situation.

Flooding

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States. Floods can develop over the course of a few weeks or happen at a moments notice.

Flood Watches: Conditions to have a flood in your area are favorable.

Flood Warnings: A flood is occurring or is very likely to occur very soon.

During a Flood

*Get to higher ground.

*Evacuate your house if flooding is possible.

*Know your town and make sure you know alternate escape routes in case one is blocked.

*Take pets with you if you evacuate. However, many shelters usually do NOT allow pets inside due to sanitary conditions so plan accordingly.

*Do NOT try and drive through water. As little as 2 feet can cause most cars to float, and as little as a few inches of moving water can wash most cars away with the current.

*Do NOT try to cross moving water on foot. As little as a few inches can knock you off your feet.

*Watch TV or listen to the radio to find out what actions to take next.

Preparing for A Flood

*According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. In the past several years, about 60 percent of all declared disasters involved flooding.

*Develop a family emergency plan and put together a disaster preparedness kit

*Safeguard your possessions

*Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:

*A copy of your insurance policies with your agent’s contact information

*A household inventory that includes written and visual documentation of all household items and valuables.

*Copies of all other important documents

Prepare your house

*If you have a sump pump, make sure it is working and has a battery operated backup system.

*Clean debris from gutters and downspouts

*Raise electrical components at least 12 inches from your home’s projected flood elevation

Get Prepared

People often think, “It will never happen to me.” And hopefully you are right. But the fact of the matter is that tornadoes, lightning, and floods are not too uncommon, especially during this time of year. You should always expect the unexpected.

Dealing With Mold in Crawlspace

5/7/2018 (Permalink)

Removing mold of any kind in any part of your home is not only expensive, it is a delicate process. But it surely won’t go away by itself. In fact, it will only grow worse with time, worsening the conditioning of your home.

While this is certainly a big problem to face, crawlspaces are often one of the most common places for mold of all types to develop. Due to the fact that moisture can accumulate in this small, unventilated area, it won’t take long before mold spores start feeding on your home’s building materials.

So mold remediation can be expensive if it’s not covered by insurance, but as long as it hasn’t infested the entire area, there are ways you can attack the problem. Here you will learn all of the following about mold in the crawlspace:

1.-Preventing Mold in the Crawlspace

2.-Identifying Mold in the Crawlspace

3.-How to Remove Mold in the Crawlspace

Preventing Mold in Crawlspace

Mold is able to grow almost anywhere in the home as long as there is a moisture and organic food source (AKA your building materials). But due to the lack of air circulation, high humidity levels allow the mold to prosper in the crawlspace.

So the best ways to keep mold out of the crawlspace is to limit the moisture. To limit the moisture in the crawlspace, check out the following:

1.-Ensure that there are no cracks in the foundation walls

2.-Ensure that gutters and downspouts are clear and guide water away from the foundation

3.- Make sure that there is adequate ventilation in the crawlspace. If not, consider installing open vents to make the area “breathable.”

4.-If the crawlspace is vented, insulate against the sub floor above. Make sure to use fasteners    or else it will just fall out over time. The vapor barrier part of the insulation should also be facing the sub floor.

5.-If there is insulation already installed, make sure that it is dry and not sagging. If it contains water damage, it will need to be replaced.

6.-Ensure that there is plastic sheeting that covers the bottom of the crawlspace, lining the foundation walls. Check the walls to make sure that there is no water standing between the plastic sheeting and foundation walls.

7.-Inspect the air ducts and plumbing work for leaks.

8.- Make sure that the dryer vent leads air outside and not to the crawlspace.

Stay Safe While Preventing Mold

These tips and tricks should guarantee to keep mold out of the crawlspace when followed correctly, but remember that your health and safety always come first.

If you haven’t been in the crawlspace of a home before, or don’t have any experience with mold, it’s best to call SERVPRO of McAllen to perform the inspection.

Identifying Mold in Crawlspace

1.-While mold really only needs moisture and an organic substance to grow, all of the conditions mentioned to grow create the perfect breeding grounds for the fungus to prosper:

2.-Moisture – caused by plumbing leaks, burst pipes, and humidity

3.-Warmth – this is why mold prospers in the spring and summer time

4.-Food – any type of organic material, such as drywall and insulation will promote mold growth

5.-Darkness – Mold loves to grow undisturbed in darker areas – but keep in mind that it cannot grow in UV light.

6.-Time – Mold growth can start in as little as 24 hours after water damage

How to remove mold from the crawlspace:

1.- Inspecting the Damage. Make sure to put on protective clothing, especially a face mask, before crawling under the property. Look closely at what you are dealing with; depending on how far it has spread, it can be a long or short cleanup process.

2.- Preparing for Mold Remediation. Before even thinking about tackling mold, make sure that there is proper ventilation so you won’t be inhaling mold spores of any kind. You will also want set up some flood lights as well as a plastic barrier.

3.- Applying the Mold-Removing Chemicals. There are a number of chemicals that can remove mold.

4.- Blasting Mold. For larger cases of mold, you will want to use a surface blaster. Homes that are usually vacant for long periods of time or are poorly ventilated will likely have this problem. When using a surface blaster, you will be removing the mold from a number of surfaces using high-pressure particles.

Removing Mold Professionally

Despite the cheapest way to remove mold, doing it yourself is not always the best idea. Mold remediation can be an extremely dangerous job.

To make matters worse, letting mold grow into an infestation will only result in extra time and money spent in remediation.

So often times it is best to work with a professional mold remediation specialist, such as SERVPRO of McAllen. Their specialists have years of experience in removing mold with professional products. They will locate all affected areas, assess the damage, contain the area, and effectively restore them to their original conditions.

SERVPRO of McAllen can also mitigate the property from water damage, which is often the case with many mold remediation projects. As soon as you notice the damage, be sure to give us a call right away.

Principles of Mold Remediation

5/1/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Principles of Mold Remediation Mold in a Mechanical room

Mold becomes a problem inside a home or business when there’s excessive humidity or moisture for an extended period of time. The problem can originate from sudden water damage, like a burst pipe or large spill that goes untreated, or from a chronic condition, such as a leaking roof or plumbing. Even high humidity or warm, moist air condensing on cool surfaces can trigger mold problems. It’s always best to have the mold evaluated and removed by a certified professional, as is SERVPRO of Mcallen.

Mold can grow almost anywhere in a home or business if conditions permit. If there is visible growth on painted wall surfaces, property owners should be concerned about what may be growing on the wall’s opposite side. The environment inside the walls of a house often differs drastically from the outside and could create a perfect haven for mold. If the wall remains wet for a prolonged period, it’s almost guaranteed that the mold growth on the back side will be worse than on the front. At that point, containing the work space and removing moldy materials, followed by cleaning of salvageable framing, are the best options.

Certified professionals have the training and experience to:

1.-Identify moisture sources

2.-Evaluate mold growth (visible or suspected)

3.-Contain damage to the smallest area possible

4.-Physically remove contamination

5.-Dry materials to ensure that mold will not return

Perform or recommend procedures for returning property to a preloss condition

The IICRC outlines five major principles of mold remediation.

Make sure safety and health precautions are taken by cleanup professionals and occupants. Mold-contaminated buildings can be associated with a number of health problems. Anyone involved in the mold remediation process must be protected from exposure through a combination of practices and controls.

A post-cleanup assessment by an independent environmental expert. An effective mold remediation cannot be developed without first determining the extent of the contamination to be removed. To ensure that remediation work is being properly performed, it is highly recommended that appropriate documentation of the remediation process be kept by project management

Control of mold before it spreads further. Eliminating mold at the source of contamination is essential. Once mold spores spread through the air, it will be much more difficult to capture.

Oversee the proper physical removal of the mold. The mold must be physically removed from the structure. Attempts to isolate mold or remove signs of mold on the surface are not adequate. Note that bleach alone cannot kill mold.

Ensure that moisture is controlled to limit future contamination or recontamination. Mold growth is virtually inevitable if moisture is not controlled. Moisture problems must be identified, located and corrected or controlled as soon as possible.

Application of these principles may involve multiple disciplines and professionals from a wide range of restoration and indoor environmental fields.

Kitchen Safety: How to Put Out a Grease Fire

4/23/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Kitchen Safety: How to Put Out a Grease Fire Grease Fire

Cooking doesn't normally present a lot of danger. You might nick your finger while chopping vegetables or manage to burn a pan of roasting potatoes, but in terms of actual danger to ourselves or our homes, not so much. Except for grease fires.  Do you know what to do if your cooking oil catches fire?

A grease fire happens when your cooking oil becomes too hot. When heating, oils first start to boil, then they'll start smoking, and then they'll catch on fire. Most vegetable oils have a smoking point around 450°F, while animal fats like lard or goose fat will start smoking around 375°F.

The very best safety is prevention. Whenever you're heating oil for pan-frying or deep-fat frying, stay in the kitchen. Use a heavy pot with a lid and clip a thermometer to the side so you know the temperature of the oil.

Keep an eye on the oil as it's heating. If you see wisps of smoke or smell something acrid, immediately turn down the heat or remove the pot from the burner completely. The oil won't immediately catch fire once it starts smoking, but smoke is a danger sign that it's well on its way to getting there.

If the worst happens and your oil does catch on fire, do the following:

  • Turn the Heat Off - Don't try to move the pot. You might accidentally splash yourself or your kitchen with burning oil. And that would be bad.
  • Cover the Pot with a Metal Lid - Fire cannot exist in the absence of oxygen. With the lid on (and the heat off), the fire should quickly consume all the oxygen and put itself out. Use a metal lid since glass will shatter.
  • Pour on Baking Soda - Baking soda will extinguish grease fires, but only if they're small. It takes a lot of baking soda to do the job.
  • Spray the Pot with a Class B Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher - This is your last resort, as fire extinguishers will contaminate your kitchen. Still, it's better than the alternative if the fire is getting out of control.
  • Get Out and Call 911 - If the fire does break out of control, don't try to be a hero. Get out and find a phone to call 911.

Whatever you do, DO NOT do the following:

  • Do Not Use Water - Pouring water can cause the oil to splash and spread the fire. The vaporizing water can also carry grease particles in it, also spreading the fire.
  • Do Not Move the Pot or Carry It Outside - Throwing the pot outside might seem logical in the frenzy of the moment. But trying to move the pot might splash burning oil on you, your home, and anything outside.
  • Do Not Throw Any Other Baking Product On the Fire - Flour might look like baking soda, but it won't react the same. Only baking soda can help put out a grease fire.

Phew, now that we're clear on all of that, hopefully you'll never be in a situation where you have to actually use this advice.  But, if you do happen to go through such an event, feel free to call on the cleaning experts at SERVPRO of Mcallen.  Our highly trained and certified technicians will clean and deodorize your structure to preloss condition.  We will work diligently to make your fire event “Like it never even happened.”

Be safe, fellow cooks!

The Different Categories of Water

3/7/2018 (Permalink)

What is the Category of Water?

According to IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration (IICRC S500), there are three categories of water that cause damage in buildings. They are summarized as follows:

Category 1 Water (Clean Water)

Water that originated directly from a sanitary source and when exposed to it, either through the skin, inhaled or ingested, does not cause a great deal of harm to humans. Examples of Category 1 Water: broken water supply lines, melting ice or snow, falling rain water, and tub or sink overflows (no contaminates). Category 1 water may become progressively contaminated as it mixes with soils on or within floor coverings or building assemblies (walls, decking, subflooring). Time and temperature, which promote the growth and amplification of microorganisms in water can cause Category 1 water to degrade

Category 2 Water (Gray Water)

Defined as water with bacteria present, but no solid waste, carrying microorganisms and nutrients for microorganisms. Category 2 water does have the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if consumed or exposed to humans. Examples of Category 2 water: discharge from dishwashers or washing machines, toilet bowl overflows (urine, no feces), seepage due to hydrostatic pressure, and sump pump failures.

Category 3 Water (Black Water)

Contains pathogenic agents and is grossly unsanitary which includes raw sewage and other contaminated water sources, such as flooding from sea water, ground surface water and rising water from rivers or streams. Category 3 water is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed by humans.

It is important to understand that when you experience water damage, the longer you wait to begin dealing with the concern, the worse it can get. You should not allow the water to sit because the risk of bio-hazard increases. In short, in 2 to 3 days, category 1 water can turn into category 2 water and eventually category 3 water as other bacteria and pathogens begin to proliferate.

Dealing with the Damage

You must act immediately. Your first step is to call  SERVPRO of McAllen to assess the class of water and level of destruction. In the meantime, you should begin all possible mitigation efforts.

According to the IICRC:

Whether insured or not, it is important for property owners to document damage with photographs or video, and immediately begin loss mitigation procedures themselves; or hire a qualified contractor to do this on their behalf. It is totally inappropriate to put off mitigation while waiting for an insurance claims representative to arrive on the scene to evaluate the loss. By that time, in all probability sufficient time will have passed to grow and amplify microorganisms, which may not be covered by insurance. Loss mitigation is defined by insurance policies as “reasonable and prudent measures designed to preserve, protect and secure property from further damage,” including microbial growth and amplification.