Why Is Water Damage Cleanup Essential For My Property?
When it comes to water damage cleanup, speed is essential.
If not addressed right away, water damage could cause structural damage to property.
Clearly, water damage can impact more than the walls and the floor of your home or business. If furniture or other personal items are damaged, they’ll need to be addressed right away.
Remember that allowing water to settle in an area can be a cause of mold and mildew. Ultimately, this can be harmful to the health of inhabitants or co-workers if left to the wayside.
If the water damage is important enough, there could be an insurance claim to make as well. Understanding this process can prove essential to minimizing the financial impact of water damage claim.
Fundamentally, it is key to stay vigilant to water damage in your home and business. Although sometimes a water damage can be hard to detect, it could be silently compromising the structural integrity of your space.
Ultimately, the health and safety of everyone involved is the most important piece. By prioritizing water damage cleanup, you make sure that this is taken care of.
Different Types of Water Damage Require Specific Care
There are many different ways to address water damage cleanup. In each situation, there are specific steps that should be taken to contain the problem and restore the area impacted. Let's have a look at the main water damage that we observe.
One common cause of water damage in a property is a bursting or leaking pipe. Although there are many reasons that a pipe could be damaged or broken, quickly changing temperatures, poor maintenance, and poor installation are a common culprit.
If you notice stains on ceilings, walls, or floors, that should be checked the soonest.
Building Maintenance & Condition
Alternatively, your property could have a damaged roof or siding, or a poor drainage. This can lead to water damage leaking through broken shingles or improperly maintained areas. To address this, consistently check your roof and sidings for any signs of damage.
Otherwise, window damage or a bad installation can lead directly to water damage. If not installed or sealed properly, water could seep into the home or building. Therefore, ensure that windows are sealed and caulking is regularly reapplied, as necessary, to maintain a proper seal.
Sometimes water damage can be caused by natural circumstances like storms, continuous heavy rains, and floods can cause damage to your property. So, securing your home ahead of the storm season could save your property.
A toilet overflow is a serious water damage that occurs when a blockage prevents water and waste from flushing down the drain. When water and waster overflow the toilet bowl, this type of water damage can have severe consequences.
In each of these cases, mold or mildew can begin to grow and settle, even invisibly behind walls as well as pathogens for the most involved cases. Therefore, a traditional surface cleanup may not be the appropriate response to the different circumstances we mentioned.
Depending on the nature of the water damage that can be more involved, and its category, you may need to consider a professional water damage cleanup process rather than a DIY process.
There are typically three category of water damage that are more or less severe. The IICRC further separates water intrusion into four classes.
It is important to note that one category of water damage can be amplified into a more serious category if not remediated quickly. In other words, a wet, warm and enclosed area is the perfect environment for organic pathogens.
Typically, spores quickly multiply and become mold that can move an easy cleanable Category 1 spill into a hazardous and expensive Category 3 situation.
What Are The Water Damages Categories?
Let's take the view of the IICRC:
Based on the classification and category of the water damage, professional teams can engage the appropriate steps to respond to the mitigation and clean up requirements. Each class and category will require different equipment and skill sets. Therefore, traditional cleaning services and procedures may simply not be enough.
In some cases, you will need to mitigate the water loss before starting the cleaning process. Depending on the severity, damaged materials must be removed, as well as personal belongings.
Some cases may require a thorough disinfection, air quality control, and deodorization. Soaking materials offer an ideal environment for microbes, fungi, and pathogens to thrive. Depending on the water damage class, dehumidifiers and drying equipment may be required.
How To Best Deal With A Water Damage Cleanup?
Water damage should always be taken seriously and immediately. Due to the impact caused to structures and belongings, it is important to have a water mitigation and clean up immediately after an event.
Address Water Damage Cleanup Immediately
We’ve established that water damage can impact any property, at almost any time. So, are you ready to take care of the problem yourself?
Maybe so, and maybe not.
However, when it comes to water damage cleanup, it is often best left to the professionals. When water damage gets serious, the approach must be serious as well.
Well, there are a few reasons. First of all, our team is able to save precious time. Time equals less cost in damages, a healthier space, and less downtime. If water damage is near electrical wiring, it can take you out of harm’s way, too.
If personal property is affected by the water damage, a professional team is prepared to help you salvage your items and belongings. Any items that are salvageable would be taken care of by a team of professionals.
When it comes down to it, water damage cleanup can simply be overwhelming. When trying to take care of your personal belongings, insurance claims, and more, it can just pile up. A professional cleanup team can take some of that weight off of your shoulders.
Importantly, a homeowner or property owner should keep themselves safe. When talking of mold and mildew, these can lead to long-term health problems if not dealt with properly. Do things right the first time through, while minimizing risk!
Residential water damage and commercial water damage cleanup are approached with a similar mindset; safety is the priority.
Realistically, there is no time to waste if water damage is present in a property. The sooner it is cleaned, dried, and repaired, the less damage to space.
If time is not your ally, cleaning and disinfecting a room from COVID-19 is all about being thorough.
And, that means making sure you are aware of which areas you have cleaned, and which areas of the room are yet to be cleaned.
What is the best way to ensure this?
Have a starting point in a room to eliminate infected areas from COVID-19
It is always easier to break a larger area into smaller cleaning zones.
Then, issue a plan to determine where you start and how you move forward.
Rather than cleaning object-by-object in a random fashion, a structured approach helps to be thorough and not miss a spot.
In practice, it is always easier to clean and disinfect a room if it is clear of any loose objects.
If you are cleaning or disinfecting your office or home from COVID-19, try to put all smaller objects in a box.
This way, you can easily proceed with the cleaning and sanitization process of the greater structure of the room, whether that be:
With the smaller objects out of the picture, surfaces can be disinfected completely.
In addition, having a room that is empty of loose items can make cleaning the room more efficient, as you can easily take a top-down approach and loose objects do not complicate your progression so you can focus completely on the target surfaces that you need to clean and disinfect.
Once you have progressed in the surface cleaning and disinfection, you can take care of the loose small objects.
Take the same precautions to deal with the loose objects. Wipe them off and disinfect them with appropriate products ensuring compliance with manufacturers’ recommendations for electronics.
Once the room has been sanitized from COVID-19 from top to bottom, and all the loose items cleaned and disinfected separately, you can put everything back in place.
Remember to dispose of your personal protective equipment appropriately.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Common Touchpoints in a Room From COVID-19
If you deal with an area of your office or home with high traffic, it is essential to clean and disinfect frequently.
Although you may not want to get involved in a thorough deep cleaning and disinfection, you may need to focus on touchpoints.
These common touchpoints can include:
However, it is essential that the surfaces that are the most commonly exposed to human interaction are cleaned and disinfected with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants or laundry detergents for linens and clothing.
Remember, each type of disinfectant and cleaning product may have a different application process and contact time to activate.
The virus that causes COVID-19 can be found on a variety of surfaces and can live for different amounts of time on different surfaces.
Therefore, carefully read the safety data sheet for the different cleaning and disinfection products.
For DIY COVID-19 Cleaning & Disinfection Remember to Wear Your Personal Protective Equipment
There are a few basic principles that apply to disinfect a room across different mediums.
If you suspect that an area of your office or home has been exposed to COVID-19, the most important rule is to make sure to wear disposable gloves, a mask, and possibly safety glasses before cleaning a given surface.
If disposable gloves are not available, designate one pair of gloves that you will use for cleaning and disinfecting.
Do not use them for anything else. Reserve them exclusively for cleaning and disinfection purposes.
If you wear reusable gloves or masks, clean them immediately after usage and wash your hands.
These designated gloves should not be used for any other purposes.
For a complete list of directions on cleaning and disinfecting unique surfaces from COVID-19, see the CDC's Detailed Disinfection Guidance page.
The most important aspect of any cleaning and disinfection project is preparation and planning.
Thorough preparation and planning will help you in the execution of your COVID-19 cleaning and disinfection project.
The preparation and planning aspect should encompass the cleaning area, cleaning product selection and disinfectants, and equipment to be used throughout the process.
A thorough preparation not only ensures that the cleaning and disinfecting job are completed appropriately, but it is also the best approach to ensure your personal safety.
As we are preparing to re-open businesses in the next coming weeks, do you have a cleaning and disinfection protocol in place?
If a surface has been exposed to droplets, the COVID-19 virus can survive for some time on that surface. Depending on the type of surface, COVID-19’s lifespan varies.
If you need to learn more about how to sanitize surfaces from COVID-19, read on.
What Surfaces Need Your Attention?
The answer is straightforward. All surfaces need your attention.
Do you want to take precautionary or curative mitigation steps at your workplace or home? If you are not looking for specialty cleaning and disinfection services, here is a checklist of places. Some of those places would include the following:
The list may not be exhaustive, and you can add relevant items specific to your family and business.
Once you have identified your target surfaces, you can prepare your cleaning and disinfection strategy and plan.
Make Sure To Clean & Disinfect All Surfaces Frequently
The best way to sanitize surfaces from COVID-19 is to clean by wiping them to remove germs. Then, disinfect them by using the chemical method to lower the risk of spread.
Try to clean and disinfect daily. Also, you should never shake any object to minimize the dispersion of the virus in the air.
If you use disposable fabrics to clean surfaces, securely bag the disposal rags and place them in your trash.
If you use reusable rags, do not forget to wash them immediately after your cleaning operation. Use the warmest program of your washing machine (60 degrees.)
If it seems overwhelming to clean and disinfect, try to address the busiest areas with high traffic. Or, address highly touched surfaces, and make them your priority.
Once the cleaning operation is completed, you can move to the disinfection process.
For the disinfection process, you will use chemicals.
To address potentially infected surfaces, there are different products available that are EPA registered.
Try to prefer disinfectants with a wide killing spectrum. We highly recommend visiting the EPA website for more relevant information.
Also, always make sure to reference the instructions of cleaning and disinfectant product manufacturers even if they are EPA-registered.
Sanitize Your Electronics
For electronics, follow the manufacturer’s instructions or check the labels on your devices. If you have questions, visit their websites for all cleaning and disinfection related matters.
Some manufacturers have prepared online documentation, while some have not.
Can’t find any manufacturer’s guidance or none is available online? You may consider the use of a little volume of alcohol-based wipes or spray containing at least 70% alcohol.
Always make sure to dry the surfaces of your electronic devices thoroughly. This is to avoid the pooling of liquids that may compromise the integrity of the device.
Involve People In Your Process
Don’t hesitate to involve your coworkers or family members in the process, making them part of your COVID-19 response plan.
A cleaning and sanitizing process is a team effort and teamwork.
In the battle against COVID-19, remember that consistency in your methods is key. Proper sanitizing and methods will reduce the odds of seeing a family member or coworker fall sick.
Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Before you sanitize surfaces from COVID-19, for your own protection, make sure to wear a pair of disposable gloves. In addition, try to wear a mask and safety glasses.
Make sure that your personal protective equipment is dedicated to your COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting process. You should not use your PPE for anything else.
After the cleaning and disinfection process, securely dispose of the gloves and masks. Never reuse disposable gloves and masks. Then, wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.
If your masks and gloves are reusable, then make sure to wash them immediately with hot water. Then, wash your hands with soap and hot water immediately for at least 20 seconds.
For any reason, the integrity of your PPE could be compromised by a tear or anything else. If your gloves are compromised, for instance, make sure to wash your hands.
Remember What Grandma Used To Say!
If you plan to sanitize surfaces from COVID-19, the best approach is thorough preparation and execution. Remember that during this pandemic, the implementation of careful and strict hygiene rules can save lives.
In your effort, make sure to engage with your coworkers or family members, clarify and align them on expectations.
Also, always make sure to read instructions for cleaning and disinfection products from the manufacturer. The same goes for surfaces and electronics.
Finally, for your own safety, wear a PPE and always wash your hands frequently.
Have you established a strategy and a cleaning and disinfection plan? If you need help, get in touch.
The health effects of mold on young children can vary greatly.
Realistically, it is easy to assume that you have a cold or flu. Yet, the true source of your symptoms could be mold. Especially in children, it is important that the true source of the symptoms is addressed as soon as possible.
If your children are experiencing new symptoms for no apparent reason, or if you are aware of any mold in your home, it’s time to take action. What exactly are these health effects, and what can be done? Read on to learn more.
Pinpointing the Health Effects of Mold - What Symptoms Do Children Experience?
Health effects of mold ultimately depend on the type of mold and can differ from individual to individual. As mold grows in your home, it produces lightweight, tiny spores that are present in the air.
These spores, when inhaled by an individual, can spur an allergic reaction resulting in these symptoms. Children, in particular, are extremely susceptible to mold-based reactions.
That’s why, at County Action Restoration, we recommend regular mold tests in your home. These tests can give you peace of mind and allow you to tackle any mold present that is hidden from view.
What are some of the reactions that your children could experience?
Health Effects of Mold in Children - Neurological Symptoms
Ultimately, different types of mold can result in different reactions. However, black mold mycotoxins present the greatest health risk to your home, especially when it comes to severe symptoms.
When inhaling these spores, children could experience neurological symptoms such as:
Hence, it is important that the mold is addressed as soon as possible. Children experiencing these symptoms point to a more dangerous type of mold present in your home. Connect with a mold restoration team to address these problems early!
Health Effects of Mold in Children - Respiratory Symptoms
Children can experience a number of respiratory symptoms as a result of mold growth in the home. As the mold spores decrease air quality and cause varying allergic reactions, these symptoms can be persisting and either mild or serious.
Some of the most common respiratory symptoms from mold found in children include:
Fundamentally, it is important to address these symptoms as soon as possible. As they can be long-lasting, the earlier the better when it comes to taking care of mold in the home.
Children are susceptible and often more sensitive to these mold spores in the home. If they don’t usually experience allergies, and have these symptoms, it may be time for a mold test.
Health Effects of Mold in Children - Skin & Eye-centered Symptoms
Children can experience intense health effects of mold around their skin and eyes. Because their skin and eyes are often more sensitive, these symptoms can be especially present for our younger ones.
Some of the skin and eye-focused symptoms that children may experience from mold include:
Because of these symptoms, it is imperative to rid your home of mold as soon as possible. If any of these symptoms are present, it is time to take action.
Responding to the Health Effects of Mold on Children - What Moves to Make?
When it comes to the health effects of mold, it is not to be taken lightly. Hence, it is best to reach out to a team of professional and certified mold removal technicians.
First of all, these certified technicians can conduct tests in your home to identify the presence of mold in your home. If found, they can begin the process of mold removal and mold remediation.
Although it may seem easy to ‘get rid of mold’, it is a much more daunting task than it may seem. With a team of professionals, it is possible to ensure that all effects areas are removed and taken care of.
If not done carefully, it is possible to leave spots of mold behind. Or, in the removal process, mold can get dispersed to different areas of the home.
In order to protect your children in the best way possible, reach out to our team at County Action Restoration.
The peace of mind is worth it. Don’t let these symptoms affect your children when preemptive or early action could change lives.
However, there’s no need to fear; mold is actually much more common than most people think. Although there can be mold anywhere in your home, crawl space mold is one of the most common.
According to a Washington State University Energy Program Report, the humid air in crawl spaces significantly increases mold and moisture problems.
The spores of different types of mold often settle in these dark, moist areas, and can grow exponentially if not addressed.
Before you go diving in your crawl space on the hunt for crawl space mold, take a few moments to read about the types, potential dangers, and possible solutions regarding crawl space mold.
Why should crawl space mold be a concern for me or my family?
Crawl space mold can be extremely variable in terms of what kind of mold is growing in the area, which ultimately impacts the potential dangers.
Hence, the crawl space mold should be addressed as soon as possible. Some of the potential causes of crawl space mold include:
If any of these issues arise, and they do in Chester County, there is a chance that you have crawl space mold. If not addressed, this crawl space mold can travel through the air via vents or cracks.
Especially if asthma or allergies are present, many types of crawl space mold spores can lead to increased respiratory difficulties for you or members of your family.
Crawl space mold can range in type, including:
Furthermore, excess moisture or crawl space mold can lead to a decrease in the structural integrity of your home.
Plus, moisture and crawl space mold, if not taken care of, can compromise the integrity of wood structures or lead to cracks in structures.
In many cases, it is recommended to reach out to a team of professionals to conduct a mold inspection and testing to ensure that your home is free of crawl space mold.
If crawl space mold is found, it is strongly recommended to have a professional team take care of the mold damage and removal.
Now that you are aware of the potential dangers of crawl space mold, let’s discuss what you can do to make sure that your home and family are safe from these dangers.
Does crawl space mold have any preventative action that I can take?
Crawl space mold can often be difficult to address due to the naturally dark, humid, and moist nature of crawl spaces.
However, there are measures that can be taken to hedge your bets against the crawl space mold invading your home, including:
As mentioned, these measures can lessen the likelihood of crawl space mold entering your home.
Does crawl space mold have any preventative action that I can take?
As soon as crawl space mold is discovered, you should reach out to a mold specialist ASAP.
Ultimately, mold removal can be a lengthy and complex process for individuals with no prior experience in mold removal, especially with crawl space mold.
If attempted without a professional, the crawl space mold could be inadvertently spread to other areas, not entirely eliminated, or cause health problems for the individual attempting removal.
By reaching out to a mold specialist, it is more likely that:
If these steps are taken, your home will be safe from crawl space mold and back on the track towards health and peace of mind for you and your family!
And What If I Have A Crawl Space?
If you smell an earthy musty odor, it’s not a good sign. If you cannot see mold develop on surfaces in your crawl space, connect with specialists to test and investigate.
Remember, if crawl space mold is spotted in your home, reach out to mold remediation experts to take care of the problem as soon as you can.
Especially if you have experienced some form of water damage, have old or brand new piping that hasn’t been tested, or have had recent remediation, the possibility of mold in your home is real, and you may not even be aware.
If you’re interested in protecting the health of those in your home, read on to discover three ways to tell if you have mold.
Experiencing allergy-like symptoms out of the blue?
Maybe you thought, “Here it is again! Another cold!”...but, it could be much more than a common cold.
One of the tell-tale signs of mold would be some form of allergic reactions. These vary depending on the type of mold, but the most common include:
In extreme cases, toxic mold could be present in your home or space. This mold could lead to symptoms such as memory loss, dizziness, and headaches.
These mycotoxins, toxins from toxic molds, can take a real toll on individuals and must be addressed immediately.
In addition, the CDC has reported that recent studies suggest a potential link between early mold exposure to the development of asthma in children. This is not an issue to be taken lightly.
In practice, one way to test whether or not these symptoms are the result of mold would be to try to recognize how your symptoms change when you are outside or inside.
If only experiencing the symptoms indoors, it could certainly point to mold as the culprit.
Certain sights and smells can point back to mold
It’s true; sometimes, it’s as easy as following your nose. When left untreated, mold can begin to have a really distinct odor. However, depending on the type of mold, the odor could vary.
Really, it is anything from ‘musty’ to ‘downright vile’.
Apart from smells, mold can be visible as well. This might seem obvious, but many people are liable to overlook small amounts of mold growth in their homes as ‘dirt’ or ‘dust’.
Ultimately, the appearance of mold can vary greatly. Mold can take many different forms, whether it be:
Even these small amounts of mold, whether noticed through sight or smell, must be treated immediately.
Allowing small amounts of mold to grow can lead to greater complications later, requiring more extensive treatment methods.
Extra moisture can lead to mold - find the source!
The last of three ways to tell if you have mold damage would be to look for signs of potential water damage, leaks, or other complications.
If you have experienced any of these problems in the past, chances are there are some remnants of mold growth.
The potential impact of water damage lasts long before the water has been taken care of.
Without proper treatment of the water damage by a certified team, mold is likely to develop in these areas.
Some signs of water damage, and potential mold growth, include:
Importantly, if the water damage was hidden behind walls or under the floors, the mold is likely there, too.
That’s why it is vital to have a team of certified professionals to take care of any mold damage ‘under the hood’.
Take Mold Issues Seriously
The next time you start to experience some new symptoms, see or smell something distasteful in your home or space, or observe or suspect water damage, keep in mind that mold may be developing.
If there are suspicions of mold in your home, the best way to confirm is talk to a specialist or ask for mold inspection & testing.
Mold can enter your home through open doorways, vents, windows, HVAC systems and carriers like shoes and clothes. Mold is not always visible, or perceptible through odors, but if you can smell a musty odor, there are great chances that there’s mold at your workplace or home.
In the case of suspicions, mold testing is the best way to determine the type of mold contamination and its severity.
So, if you smell a musty odor in your home or workspace, read on.
Why That Musty Smell?
Mold is microbial contamination growing in buildings and houses across the country. One of the easiest ways to determine if a building has a microbial contamination problem is by odor.
This odor, released by microbial growth, represented by those musty or earthy odors, are referred to as Microbiological Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOC.).
The musty odor is triggered during mold growth and indicates the presence of an uncontrolled moisture source.
Usually, when you can distinctively smell that musty odor, it means that the microbial activity has already happened.
The bad thing about MVOC?
They pass naturally through building material, such as concrete, drywall, and flooring.
Hence, if you can smell that musty odor it indicates that you may have a water damage problem that triggered a mold problem.
As your mold problem may not be visible, it is recommended to promptly investigate and address the root cause.
If mold testing will inform you of the type of mold and its severity, a thorough inspection will identify the area of concern.
Why Should I Worry About Mold?
Prolonged exposure to mold and damp environments may cause a variety of health issues, especially for people with conditions like asthma, or are more sensitive to upper respiratory tract infections, or are more vulnerable, like children.
Among the long list of symptoms, mold can cause:
Mold can cause structural damage to your property since it penetrates materials and plays a major role in the decomposition of organic materials.
When mold spores land on organic materials, they absorb their nutrients by breaking them down into a digestible food source.
How to Prevent Mold & Musty Smells?
Mold grows if specific conditions are reached in the environment. These conditions are:
Identifying the moisture source is the first step to prevent mold and musty odors. If sources are not obvious, a thorough mold inspection will help determine what’s hidden behind the carpet and the walls.
Not only will the inspection report help determine the root cause, but it also indicates the remediation steps that you may need to consider going forward.
What to Do in Case of Confirmed Mold Issues?
A new toilet etiquette? Pre-moistened or “wet” wipes have long been used for babies and potty-training toddlers but have recently become widely marketed and popular for adults looking for a more, ahem, thorough cleaning.
While this “one-two” process of using wipes and toilet paper is solving one problem it is creating another, potentially significant one for your plumbing system as well as municipal sewer treatment utilities.
No Marketing Material Concerning Potential Sewer Back-up Issues?
Industry giants are marketing the use of “flushable” wipes with the goal of encouraging the open display of wet wipes on toilet tanks as a way of encouraging ever more widespread use of what, for most consumers, is a somewhat embarrassing product.
In fact, sales of wet wipes for adult use is a booming business and this is creating massive problems for homeowners and municipal utilities.
Plumbers and sewer treatment utilities will tell you that wipes are not the only product found in clogged pipes:
All cause serious problems for your home as well as community and municipal plumbing systems.
In fact, there are only three things that should be flushed down your toilet known as the three “Ps”; pee, poop and (toilet) paper.
Are You Creating The Conditions For A Sewer Back-Up at Home?
So-called “flushable” items may go down the toilet just fine. But the problem may happen in your sewer pipes “down line”. The reason is that tree roots are able to penetrate many sewer pipes at the joints.
Once inside, roots spread out and create a net that catches the materials going through the pipe. For standard toilet paper this isn’t much of an issue as it dissolves in just a few minutes.
Some of the new super- thick toilet paper requires as much as 24 hours to dissolve.
But many items such as wipes, paper towels and the like may not dissolve for weeks, months or even longer.
Clogs like this can cause sewage to back up into your home and most homeowners are not insured for this kind of damage.
You should definitely talk to your insurance agent about adding sump-pump failure and sewer back-up coverage to your policy if you don’t have it. It is typically quite affordable and is coverage you do not want to be without!
And even if you dodge the bullet of a sewer back- up you could easily spend hundreds of dollars to have your plumber remove the blockage.
Sewer utilities are spending hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to service or replace pumps that get clogged by these items and then overheat and burn up.
Some are installing screens and/or heavy duty grinders to chew up wipes and other “flushables” before
they hit the pump.
Many crews are diverted from regular and necessary maintenance work performing “de-ragging” maintenance to clear pumps of these items. Needless to say, all of these actions are expensive and those costs are borne by the taxpayers in the form of increased taxes and fees.
Many communities and waste water agencies are now conducting campaigns to educate citizens about what should, and shouldn’t, go down their toilets.
What to Do in Case of Sewer Back-Up?
In the event of a sewer & sceptic back-up, or toilet overflow, contact certified specialists able to deal with any water damage category including black water flooding.