How Air Filtration and Carpet Cleaning Help Prevent Mold Growth
HEPA filters are rated to remove 99.9% of particles
How Air Filtration Can Help Prevent Mold Growth
Mold spores are invisible and nearly everywhere, so it may seem impossible to limit their presence in your home. While it is important to make sure your home is inhospitable to mold growth by keeping it dry, reducing the number of spores present can also decrease the chances of a mold infestation occurring. Air filtration and other techniques can help with this task.
A HEPA air purifier is a good choice for filtering out mold spores. HEPA filters trap at least 99.97% of airborne particulates that are at least 0.3 microns in size. The following are three exceptional HEPA air purifiers on the market today:
- Blueair 450E
- Oransi Max
- Austin Air Healthmate
Make sure to use the air purifier according to the manufacturer’s instructions to get the best performance.
The devices listed above are all standalone machines; however, you can also install HEPA filters in your HVAC unit and window unit air conditioners. Doing so can increase the efficacy of air purifying machines by decreasing the number of spores that come in from outdoors. Remember to change the filters regularly so that they perform optimally.
In addition to air filtration, keeping your carpet clean can also reduce the number of spores present in your home. The spores can travel in on people’s shoes and work their way into carpet fibers. Placing a rug at the entryway will trap some of the spores before they travel further, but it is still important to keep the rug and the rest of the carpeting clean. There are a variety of carpet cleaners available to rent or buy. Alternatively, you can have your carpets professionally cleaned. If you are looking to avoid chemical-based cleaning, consider a steam cleaner.
Even homes with excellent air filtration systems can experience mold growth. If you need help addressing the damage, a certified restoration service can help you get your home back to normal quickly and safely.
Will Filing a Claim Increase Your Insurance Rates?
An insurance claim can save you a lot of money if you get into a car accident, or if a natural disaster causes damage to your home
Filing an insurance claim can raise your rates. You thus should limit the number of claims you file each year. However, you should not hesitate to file a claim if your car or home suffers severe damage.
What Are Insurance Claims?
Insurance is designed to protect you financially if you suffer a loss or emergency. You pay your insurance provider at regular intervals. In exchange, the insurer promises to pay disaster-related expenses. There are several different types of insurance, including:
- Car insurance
- Home insurance
- Life insurance
Whenever you suffer a loss, you can file a claim with your insurance company. The insurer will then accept or reject your claim. If the insurance claim is accepted, you will receive a check from your provider. You can use this money to pay for things such as car repairs or water damage restoration services.
When Do Insurance Rates Increase?
However, once you get your money from the insurer, the process is not over. The insurance provider will look more closely at the cause of the damage to your car or home. If the insurer concludes that the damage was your fault, you may have to pay higher premiums in the future.
There are other factors at play, as well. If you have filed a lot of previous claims, your rates could soon increase. Insurers also look at mitigating circumstances such as your credit score and the number of natural disasters in Smith Village, OK.
The best thing to do is to read your policy and figure out if your rates will increase when you file a claim. Ideally, you should do this before your next accident or home flood. In general, experts suggest paying for minor repairs yourself and using your insurance for catastrophic incidents.
An insurance claim can save you a lot of money if you get into a car accident, or if a natural disaster causes damage to your home. However, filing too many claims can cause your rates to increase. You should thus limit your claims to the most severe losses.
First Responders and Floodwaters
First responders are trained to rescue and protect others from floodwaters
If you know anyone who's a first responder in Oklahoma City, OK, you have first-hand understanding of the major risks they take in disaster response and recovery. Lives are often at stake — including their own.
One critical responsibility is flood response. Apart from the ever present danger of drowning, rushing water can be deadly for other reasons. Both raging floodwaters and quiet standing waters harbor seen and unseen threats that are hazardous to human health and safety. Here's a rundown on why our civic heroes warn everyone to stay clear of flooded areas.
Reasons To Avoid Floodwaters
These are items, contaminants, rodents and animal remains regularly found in floodwaters:
- Sewage and livestock waste
- Hazardous household, industrial and medical waste products
- Coal ash waste that possibly contains cancer-causing compounds
- Other contaminants that can infect open wounds or cause illness
- Injury-causing debris, to include glass, lumber, vehicles and metal fragments
- Rodents, snakes and other animals (alive and dead) that pose threats to humans
Possible Health Consequences
Exposure to, or ingestion of floodwaters can potentially cause:
- Wounds and open wound infections
- Skin rashes, sometimes severe
- A variety of stomach and gastrointestinal illnesses
- Blood infection
First responders are trained to rescue and protect others from floodwaters. However, they must also protect themselves if they are to continue to serve our community. In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control recommendations, every first responder receives immunizations that lessen their personal health risks. Within the continental United States, these include vaccines for tetanus and Hepatitis B (if involved in direct patient care.)
Exacting preparation is key to effective disaster response. Much like a first responder, every homeowner should hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Keep a detailed flood plan at the ready, to include contacts for local water damage experts who can provide professional restoration services should your home ever be affected by interior damage from floodwaters.
3 Facts About Secondary Damage
The biggest concern that most people have after a flood is the mold growth
Secondary Damage After Water Damage
After a flood, the direct contact with the water causes the initial damage. Unfortunately, when your business floods, this will not be your only concern. Secondary damage is a complex concept. It involves any damage that occurs after the initial problem. For instance, once the water is gone, it does not mean that there will not be further trouble.
1. Mold, Bacteria, and Fungi Growth
The biggest concern that most people have after a flood is the mold growth. This is especially a concern when it comes to black mold. A strong cleanup is the best defense against mold. Make sure you do not have any water trapped or moisture left in the air. Time is of the essence when it comes to mold. Not only do you need to make sure that the main flow of water is gone but the moisture should no longer linger in the air.
2. Structural Decay
The high humidity in the air can cause structural decay to start taking place. This is why it is important for you to remove every sign of water from your business after it floods. Make sure to use cool air to dry out the building. This can help rid the air of moisture that causes decay and black mold. Structural damage is difficult to come back from. In fact, there are cases that are irreversible.
3. Wood Warping
After a flood, you may notice the wood floor warping. Additionally, you may notice the curving of a stairwell or the exterior and interior doors warping. These are symptoms of secondary damage. When this happens, you can end up with a security risk to your business.
Fortunately, black mold, structural decay, and wood warping are preventable. Professionals trained to handle commercial flood damage will know how to prevent any future problems from arising. Once you have an expert in your corner, your Oklahoma City business can return to normal.
Removing Smoke Odor From Your Home
A more intense method of odor removal is ozone treatment
Three Common Home Deodorization Methods
Smoke smell can be a very persistent nuisance in your Oklahoma City, OK, home. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to address the odor, whether it is caused by a fire or cigarette smoke. The following are three common home deodorization methods.
1. Air Purification
In many cases, a simple air purifier will eliminate lingering smoke odor. Unlike air fresheners and candles, air filters trap the smoke particles rather than covering up the smell. Air purifiers are often purchased as standalone devices; however, HEPA and activated carbon filters can be purchased for many HVAC systems and help with whole-home odor elimination. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and change the filters regularly.
2. Ozone Treatment
A more intense method of odor removal is ozone treatment. Ozone machines release ozone particles, which have three oxygen molecules. Due to the chemical structure of ozone, the particles combine with smoke odor particles, creating a new particle that does not smell like smoke. Additionally, ozone itself has a smell that is often described as “clean.” The ability to neutralize unpleasant odors and introduce a pleasant fragrance into the home makes ozone a particularly effective method of dealing with smoke odor. However, ozone can be dangerous if not handled properly, so it is important to hire professional help if you choose this method of home deodorization.
3. Thermal Fogging
Another odor-eliminating technique best left to professionals is known as thermal fogging. With this technique, a fog of deodorizer is sprayed over the affected area. Additionally, the area is heated up, causing porous materials to expand. This allows the deodorizer to penetrate cracks, crevices, and other areas unreachable by different methods.
If your home has a lingering odor from cigarette smoke, a house fire, or fireplace, a professional restoration service can help you with home deodorization. Instead of simply covering up the odor, they can eliminate it so that it does not return.
Containment and Other Key Steps of the Mold Cleanup Process
Mold containment in an Oklahoma City, OK building
Strategies Mold Experts Should Use When Restoring a Property
Containment is an important part of the mold cleanup process. If you do not properly contain the fungus, mold spores can quickly spread throughout your Oklahoma City, OK, building.
Unfortunately, containment is easier said than done. You may need advanced procedures and technology to prevent cross-contamination. That is why you should not attempt mold remediation on your own. Instead, you should rely on mold restoration and cleanup professionals. They will know how to safely and effectively keep the mold in one location. Ideally, you should look for experts who follow the below steps.
1. Assessment and Inspection
Once you contact the remediation professionals, they should show up at your property for a mold damage assessment. They will use different technologies to detect hidden mold growth.
Experts should similarly utilize the latest techniques to limit the mold contamination. For instance, negative air chambers can isolate the affected area. The mold cleanup professionals may even have HEPA vacuums and air scrubbers that prevent the spores from spreading through the air. The pros may also use more traditional techniques such as putting up physical barriers and turning off HVAC systems.
Depending on the extent of the contamination, some mold-infested items may have to be thrown away or removed from your property. This may include porous assets such as carpet or drywall.
The cleanup professionals will then turn their attention to materials that can be restored, such as curtains and furniture. They will sanitize these items and use fogging equipment to eliminate odors.
Finally, the experts will restore your building to the way it was before the infestation. This may only entail small repairs such as installing new carpet or drywall. It could also involve reconstructing entire sections of the property.
Mold cleanup experts should utilize these strategies as they restore your property. Most importantly, they should inspect and contain the damage so the spores do not spread throughout the building. This should speed up the remediation process.
What Should You Do if Your Fire Sprinkler Activates?
Each sprinkler head activates independently, so it’s only sensitive to heat immediately around it
What Should You Do if Your Fire Sprinkler Activates?
Modern fire sprinklers in Valley Brook, OK, rarely encounter problems. Around 1 in 16 million have an accidental discharge every year – a number so low, it’s considered statistically insignificant. When they do have an accident, almost every incident can be tied to human intervention, including
- Strikes by objects
- Heat-producing items or activities relocated to the area
Regardless of whether it’s an accident, they’re designed to cover an area with a fan of water – and keep doing so until manually turned off. While there’s no question the damage is worth the safety, it does leave a mess and can cause wide-scale flooding, which requires professional assistance.
Why Would A Sprinkler Head Accidentally Activate?
If a human didn’t cause it, the next most likely trigger is a heat excursion. Fire sprinklers are always on, but the valve is held closed by a small device that’s sensitive to heat. Each sprinkler head activates independently, so it’s only sensitive to heat immediately around it.
A poorly designed sprinkler system may fail to consider the amount of heat sunlight can cause. Large objects or heat sources moved around can change local conditions. Anything that can cause a large enough heat spike beyond the design limits can potentially activate a sprinkler. If it isn’t shut off immediately, flooding may result.
Will You Need Professional Restoration?
This depends on the degree of water damage. If a fire sprinkler activates over a concrete or other impermeable floor and the flooding doesn’t spread, you may be able to have your employees clean up the mess.
However, if the water has spread behind walls or been absorbed into construction materials, you’re going to need a local water damage restoration company to inspect the impacted areas. You should choose one that’s on the insurance company master list of preferred vendors. They’re required to offer a reasonable price and have proven their knowledge and skills over the course of years.
Water can cause considerable damage behind walls and in the subflooring, if it's permeable. In many cases, your insurance company will cover the damage. Plus, if it’s the result of a design flaw, the fire sprinkler company may also be liable.
Commercial Storm - Preventing Frozen Pipes
Insulate pipes in areas that cannot be heated
Freezing temperatures may lead to a burst pipe, which can cause serious problems for your Smith Village, OK, business. Fortunately, a little preventive maintenance can help protect your property during the winter months.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Knowing which pipes are most likely to freeze will help you when taking steps to prevent it from happening. The following situations are some of the riskiest when temperatures drop:
- Exposed pipes under sinks
- Pipes in garages, attics and other unheated areas
- Pipes in exterior walls
Anywhere plumbing lacks adequate insulation and is exposed to freezing temperatures can lead to a frozen pipe. If possible, increase the temperature in the area. For example, opening the cabinet doors under the kitchen sink allows heat to reach those pipes. Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and night. Even if the building will be empty for a few days, leave the thermostat set to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Insulate pipes in areas that cannot be heated. If you are unable to acquire pipe insulation, newspaper will work as a temporary substitute. Additionally, leaving just a bit of water running through vulnerable pipes can help prevent freezing.
Cleaning Up Water Damage
If your business does experience a burst pipe, the first thing to do is make sure all electricity near the standing water is turned off. Call an electrician if you cannot do this safely. Next, dry out the area as thoroughly as possible. Standing water can lead to mold growth in as few as 24 hours. Some things, like carpets, may have to be fully removed. Use pumps and a wet/dry vacuum to dry out other items. Fans, dehumidifiers, and open windows can help speed the drying process.
Depending on the extent of the water damage, you may need to enlist the help of an experienced restoration service when cleaning up a burst pipe. They can dry out the property, prevent mold growth, and get you back to business.
The Importance of Cleaning Smoke Odor After a Fire
The main concern after a commercial fire is often the building's structural damage from heat and flames. However, it's also important to consider potential secondary damage to electronics, furniture and personal items, as well as the long-lasting odor of soot and smoke. That's why smoke cleaning may be needed after a commercial fire, even after a fairly small one. When a fire happens in Oklahoma City, OK, there is a lot to think about, so calling in the experts for cleanup is a good way to ensure that nothing is overlooked.
Special Equipment Fights Smoke Odor
After a fire, the smell of smoke in the in the walls, furniture, ceiling and equipment can be pervasive. A quick cleaning won't do the trick. Industrial equipment is needed to repair the smoke damage. Remediation specialists use the following machines to eliminate indoor odors and prevent the growth of mold and mildew:
- Air filtration devices
- Thermal foggers
- Ozone machines
- Powerful fans
A thorough smoke cleaning requires specialized knowledge. A smoke mitigation technician will make sure the job is done correctly and help to guarantee that no residual odor remains in the building. The fire damage experts can take care of all of the damage associated with an unexpected fire, whether it is a bad odor caused by excess interior moisture or water damage due to firefighting efforts.
Advance Knowledge Combats Damage
A host of calamities can visit a place of business. These situations might include a large storm that results in flooding, or a lightning strike to an electrical supply that causes a fire. Sometimes equipment fails, or the pipes burst, and raw sewage is let loose into the building. Whenever this happens it's good to know that experts are on hand in Oklahoma City, OK, to help out. The professionals can clean it up "Like it never even happened." whether it is smoke cleaning or some other service.
Keep Your Crawl Space Safe from Water Damage
Crawl space damaged by flooding in Smith Village, OK
While every part of your Smith Village, OK, house is vulnerable to a home flood, some locations are hit harder than others, such as the crawl space. This location can be difficult to reach and clean, yet the problem can escalate and degrade the house's quality if left untreated. Learn more about crawl spaces, how they are affected by water damage, and how to resolve these issues.
The Purpose of a Crawl Space
A crawl space is a space between the ground and the first floor of the house. Houses that do not have basements have this location instead. It provides a few benefits to your households, such as reducing costs from moving dirt to stabilize a slope, venting outside air, and providing a space where you can install sewer piping and HVAC appliances. However, you can only perform inspections and installations by crawling around the area, hence the name.
Attributes such as outside air access and the tight, enclosed place also make it a troublesome area during a home flood. Flooding from leaking pipes or storm damage can result in the following complications:
- Mold and mildew
- Odors and insect infestations
- Structural damage
- Degraded insulation
- Increased energy bills
The unique structure that gives a crawl space its advantages also creates some issues during a flood. Prioritize this location when you inspect the building for damage.
Resolving These Issues
If you find water in your crawl space, you will need to contact a restoration company as soon as you can. These professionals have the experience and the equipment necessary to handle the problem efficiently. Due to the limited access to space, they will use pumps to remove the water, followed by the strategic placement of fans and dehumidifiers to dry the area. Afterward, they sanitize the area to make it safe.
A crawl space hit by a home flood can result in mold, foundational damage, and other devastating consequences for your home. Protect this area and hire a professional restoration company to stop the situation from getting worse.