Drying Wall Cavities and Cabinets Damaged by Water
Drying Wall Cavities and Cabinets Damaged by Water
After major water damage situations, such as those that result from storms, flooding, or burst pipes in a home, it may be necessary to dry wall cavities and other small spaces as part of the total restoration effort. When placing air movers and dehumidifiers close to the wall surface is proving ineffective, restoration professionals must drill holes into the surface to help speed evaporation.
Trapped moisture within a wall cavity can lead to the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria, not to mention compromise structural integrity. This is known as secondary damage. Microbial growth will occur on the paper surface of gypsum wallboard if allowed to remain wet for extended periods of time. In most cases, this form of damage requires the removal of the affected material.
Wet walls can present a challenge to water damage restoration professionals. Walls are usually covered with a variety of finished surfaces, making choosing the appropriate drying technique difficult.
For walls with a single layer of wallboard and flat paint, the only drying tool needed is an air mover blowing warm, dry air along the wall surface.
For walls that are covered with vinyl wallpaper, high-gloss enamel paint, or walls with multiple layers of wallboard, it is necessary to drill holes into the wall to allow air to flow into the cavity (the space between the wall studs). Airflow in the cavity will increase the rate of evaporation, which speeds drying. You can enhance drying and evaporation efforts further by feeding air movers blowing into the wall with a dehumidifier, or warming wall surfaces with direct heat.
In order to reduce the need for extensive repairs, it is usually best to remove the baseboards and drill into the wall at the floor level. Before removing the base, use a pencil to score a light line at the top of the base. Remove the baseboard and drill holes beneath the faint pencil line. Repairs will be easier, and after the base is replaced or reset, the holes will usually be covered by the baseboards.
When drywall is installed over concrete block, it is generally dry-able if there is no insulation in the airspace between the gypsum and the block.
For walls with extensive moisture damage, it may be necessary to completely remove all wet wallboard and all wet insulation. Be sure to evaluate the needs of the situation carefully before going this route, as it is the most destructive and expensive to repair.
Typically, gypsum wallboard that has not sustained primary damage will restore quite well. All of the gypsum's strength is restored through the drying process, and sometimes even enhanced. Minimal swelling can sometimes occur, causing tape joints and fastener heads to become visible. If this should happen, and repairs cannot be made, the wallboard must be replaced.
Cabinets / Vanities
When drying cabinets and vanities, it is essential that restoration professionals take extra care to minimize damage while still thoroughly drying the structure. Unlike drywall, which can be easily patched and painted, holes drilled into cabinets cause permanent damage that ruins the entire cabinet (and greatly upsets the homeowner).
The best place to drill holes for drying cabinets and vanities is through the toe-kick, the cosmetic cover on the very bottom portion of the cabinet. The toe-kick is usually removable and/or replaceable.
If there is no access to the toe-kick, holes can be drilled through the shelving in the bottom of the cabinets, through the wall immediately behind the cabinets, or through the back wall of the cabinet itself. These holes are either located out of sight or can be easily repaired.
When drilling holes for your wall drying system, always use an adjustable drill stop to minimize penetrating plumbing or electrical lines hidden behind the wall.
Be sure to follow the EPA's Lead RRP procedures when drilling into drywall in buildings built before 1978. Older buildings may have lead paint, and it is essential for the protection of you, your crew, and building occupants that safe lead abatement procedures are followed.
Call SERVPRO at 800-455-9453 when you have Fire or Water Damage.
Electronics are delicate items, as there are many factors that cause them to stop working properly. Since many irreplaceable items are stored electronically, it’s important to be prepared for the worst scenario. In the event of a fire, here is what you need to know about smoke damage and your electronics.
How Smoke Causes Damage
- When electronics are covered in smoke, they become prone to extreme overheating, which leads to eventual failure. When smoke reaches the inside components of electronics, a black film develops causing insulation on the heat-producing parts. The magnetic charge of smoke causes the circuits to short.
- Soot is pushed by smoke, causing contact everywhere in its path. Smoke travels to cooler temperatures and continues until its energy runs out. The main cause of damage is the acidity in soot. Acidity destroys metals, which causes discoloration and disintegration inside of your electronics.
Restoration for Electronics
- After a fire, damaged electronics are a safety hazard. To prevent exposure, do not turn on any of the items before consulting with a professional. The smoke’s corroding acids will immediately cause failure to the device.
- If you choose to clean the items without turning them on, wipe off the residue with a cloth. Taking immediate action will improve the likelihood of your devices surviving.
- When recovering a computer, the most important part is the hard drive. Every bit of information is located on this, so removing these files as quickly as possible is crucial.
- Replacing the computer’s battery is the next step in the recovery process. If it’s not replaced, the combustion of batteries can be dangerous.
- To prevent your computer’s data being damaged from fire or smoke, consider investing in a backup program that stores the information somewhere else. Examples of this would be either and external hard drive or cloud based storage. These two items are essential for keeping those special documents safe. Most external hard drives can be found for under $100, and there are many excellent cloud based storage programs that are free.
- It is important to make sure your files are backed up weekly, you can never be too prepared.
Common Household Molds
COMMON HOUSEHOLD MOLDS
COMMON HOUSEHOLD MOLDS
Mold can be found nearly everywhere. This hardy organism survives both indoors and outdoors alike. Despite many of the positive things mold can provide (the original antibiotic - penicillin, a variety of delicious foods like cheese, and acts as a natural decomposition agent of organic matter), mold causes problems for many of us. All molds are not the same, and some varieties are more harmful than others. Most of us have some experience with mold, but do you know which types are common household molds? Below is a short introduction to the different species of molds and where you can commonly find them.
INTRODUCTION TO COMMON HOUSEHOLD MOLDS
Indoors, it is often found in carpets, textiles, house dust, and potentially damp areas like window frames and showers. It can also be found in plant soil.
Usually found in warmer climates in areas of water damage or extreme dampness. Aspergillus species are also commonly found in house dust. Also found in building materials and in fall leaves and other decomposing matter like compost piles.
The most commonly identified outdoor fungus, but it can easily enter into the house through the HVAC and other airflow entryways. Cladosporium also has an indoor species that grows on textiles, wood and other porous, damp areas.
Species may be found growing on wallpaper, wallpaper glue, and decaying fabrics in water-damaged buildings or homes. It is also found in carpet and in interior fiberglass duct insulation. Some species can produce mycotoxins.
Pronounced (stack-ee-BOT-ris), Stachybotrys requires excessive moisture to thrive (usually running water) and is a slimy black mold. Fortunately, of all common household molds, stachybotrys is found least often in homes.
Have a Mold Problem? Call Today 800-455-9453
If you have a mold problem in your home or business, your primary focus should be safety:
- Significant mold growth can occur in 48-72 hours.
- A strong, musty odor may indicate hidden mold behind drywall or under carpeting.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact a SERVPRO Franchise Professional for mold remediation services.
What NOT to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
The Water You DON'T See
With this cold weather causing plenty of pipes to break, it’s the water you don't see that can cause the most damage. A large portion of the time if you have a water loss you will walk into your kitchen and step into a puddle, although this is not always the case water can just affect behind your walls or between floors so make the right choice. A mop and common household cleaning products may not be enough for the unseen water intrusions. While the surface may seem dry, the water you do not see can contain bacteria, or cause mold, rot and other unseen damage. Take the right steps at the time of loss to help prevent mold from growing instead of trying to save some money. When the warm humid weather comes your bill will most likely be the same as a water loss.
DID YOU KNOW...The insurance industry estimates that approximately 90 percent of household damages stem from water-related occurrences. The most commonly reported cause is leaky or broken pipes and plumbing fixtures.
AVOID WATER DAMAGE FROM APPLIANCES
Home appliances are considered a leading cause of preventable water damage. By implementing a simple inspection and maintenance program, homeowners can reduce their risk significantly:
- Dishwasher - Periodically check around the base of the dishwasher, as well as the water supply line under the sink.
- Refrigerator - For refrigerators with ice makers, periodically check the hose connection attached to the water supply.
- Washing Machine - Hoses should be inspected regularly for wetness around hose ends, as well as for signs of bulging, cracking or fraying. Hoses should be replaced every three to five years.
- Water Heater - While the service life of the standard water heater is 10 to 15 years, water heaters should be inspected routinely for signs of leaks or tank rust. Water heaters should be located next to a floor drain or placed inside a drain pan piped to the floor drain.
So before risking the value of your home or further damage by attempting to clean and dry it yourself, or if you want to be sure that a past event is not creating problems today, call SERVPRO of Easton today at 610-559-9380.
Fast Facts about Fire
This week is Fire Prevention Week!! We want to share some fast facts about fire with you so you can be ready for whatever happens.
- Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
- One-quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
- Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 365,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,560 deaths, 11,075 civilian injuries, and $7 billion in direct damage.
- On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
- Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
- Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Most fatal fires kill one or two people..
- During 2010--2014, roughly, one of every 338 households reported a home fire per year.
- According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
- Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, less than half ever practiced it.
- One-third of survey respondents who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. Only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!
- Three out of five home fire deaths in 2010-2014 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
- In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 94% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated 80% of the time.
- When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
- An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended.
When disaster strikes, call
SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall! 800-455-9453
We'll make it LIKE IT NEVER EVEN HAPPENED.
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Biohazard & Crime Scene Clean Up
Do you ever stop to wonder who has to clean up the scene after a chemical spill or a death/suicide accident?
If not, you are probably like most and lucky enough to not have needed to consider this type of work. However, if you fall into the other category, you know very well that a hazardous scene must be left to the professionals to clean.
Blood borne pathogens, disease, risk of infection and chemical burns are a just a few items to consider when dealing with a biohazard clean-up. Luckily, our team at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall is highly trained and well prepared to protect both themselves and you from any potential harm.
Our team also fully understands that these situations are often extremely difficult and sensitive times in a person's life and therefore demonstrate compassion and empathy while completing the work in a timely fashion.
For more information on biohazard clean-up's, please check out the Biohazard Cleaning Section of our website.
What To Do After a Home Fire
Recovering from a fire is not easy by any means. It is an emotionally draining process that turns your life upside down. The hardest part comes at the beginning, when you feel helpless and are completely unsure as to how to proceed. With that in mind, our goal, at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall, is to present to you the fundamental steps you need to take immediately after the fire is extinguished.
Deal With Insurance
You should already be on the phone with your insurance agent before the firefighters even get done putting out the fire. Mind you, this is just the beginning. After a few days, you’ll need to get a copy of the official “fire report” from your local fire department. The insurance agency will likely send an adjustor out to survey the damage and help you get in touch with a restoration agency, such as the professionals at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall.
If you are renting, then you’ll obviously need to contact the owner of the home. If you own the house but don’t have insurance, on the other hand, then you’ll want to speak with the Internal Revenue Service. You might be eligible for something known as casualty loss.
Settle in Somewhere
Most likely, your home is currently in an unlivable state, meaning you’re going to have to find somewhere else to stay. Your best bet is to stay with friends or family. However, if that’s not an option, check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers temporary living expenses. Otherwise, contact the American Red Cross.
Before you leave, try to rummage through your home for some essential items like the following: Identification Cards, Medications, Eye Glasses / Hearing Aids, Wallets, Credit Cards / Checkbooks, Money. **Only do this AFTER you get permission from the firefighters to reenter your home.**
Turn Off Utilities
Make certain you get all of your primary utilities turned off. Why waste money for services when you are not even living in your home? Plus, restoration cannot be performed on your home if there’s still electricity and such running through it. The risks of electrocution would be far too high.
Contact a Restoration Company
This is perhaps the most important step. You’ll need to contact a professional, full-service restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall. Our company is trained specifically to deal with post-tragedy damage. Below is a list of some of the things you can expect us to do:
- The company will start by removing all the water from your home. During a fire, a lot of water from the firefighters hoses usually collects all over the place. Plus, fires sometimes cause pipes to burst, thus leading to even more severe flooding. The point is that restoration cannot begin until the water is first removed.
- The company will then start with water restoration. Carpets, walls, ducts must be dried. Mold must be removed. Just this step itself can take a few days.
- Next is the actual fire restoration. First and foremost, the company will inspect the structural foundation of your home and fix any major problems. Obviously, if a ceiling is about to crash, then it must be attended to before any other restoration efforts can be completed.
- Once the structural foundation is secure, the specialists will start cleaning up soot/smoke damage, deodorizing everything (carpets, walls, furniture, etc.) and basically returning the home back to normal. If anything is so damaged that it cannot be repaired, it’ll be removed and thrown away. It’s your responsibility to let your insurance company know what items you lost.
- Last, but not least, the company will clean up the remaining mess (dust, debris, etc.) and rearrange everything back into place.
Move Back In
Finally, you get to move back into your home and resume life. Unfortunately, it can take quite a bit of time before you even get to this final step. We’re talking about several weeks. The truth is that restoring a home from a fire takes a lot of time, a lot of resources and a lot of money.
Just remember to keep in close contact with your insurance company through the whole process. If all goes well, you’ll get your home back in one piece, and you’ll get your lost possessions replaced.
When you have fire, water and mold restoration service needs, give the experienced professionals at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall a call.
Mold Detection and Remediation
SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall is an expert at mold detection, remediation and removal.
The SERVPRO mold remediation team is trained and certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. This means we know mold, and know how to effectively eradicate it so it ceases to be an issue.
The professionals at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall are also your neighbors, and are familiar with the climate around your home.
If you think you have mold, give us a call and we will come take a look. And if you do have a mold problem, we will solve it.
WHERE DOES MOLD COME FROM?
Mold can creep up from a variety of sources. Often, mold is a by-product of a flood or other water damage. Improper or incomplete drying is usually the culprit. That is why the experts at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall take extra care of thoroughly drying a job to ensure that mold does not creep up later. But you need not always have “water damage” – for example, over the years, a simple thing like a pipe condensation can cause mold, or a leaking roof, trapped moisture, a damp basement, or a hundred other reasons.
The key is to find it and remove it. Then, make sure it doesn’t come back. The trained professionals at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall will handle all phases of mold detection and removal, so you can be assured of your family’s health and well-being.
If you suspect you have mold, give the experts of SERVPRO a call today!
Preventing Lingering Pet Odor
Having pets is a part of life. Having pet odor doesn't have to be. If you love having pets, but can't stand the lingering odors they create, then there are a few things you can do to help eliminate those unwanted odors.
Your carpet can be a big source of lingering odors. Dirt, pet dander, urine, and fecal matter can remain deep inside carpet fibers. Carpet powder only helps deodorize and clean the surface but does little to get in deep. Using a carpet cleaner is more effective but only if you know how to use it correctly. The experts at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall know how to deep clean your carpet to get rid of any unwanted odors. Their equipment and expert knowledge on carpet cleaning will get the job done right the first time and provide lasting results.
Odors can also linger within the air duct system of your home too. Cleaning the air ducts is a task that should only be left to the experts. SERVPRO has the right equipment to clean out your air ducts and eliminate those lingering odors. You'll notice the difference the first time you use your HVAC.
Pet odors can also linger within the walls and baseboards of your home. Pet urine can be absorbed by the wooden baseboards or absorbed into the gypsum material of your drywall. Priming and painting may not be enough. SERVPRO has the necessary chemicals to clean and deodorize your walls and baseboards.
Choosing SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall to help with your home's deodorization is the smart choice. Having a pet doesn't mean you have to live with lingering odors. The expert knowledge and equipment of SERVPRO can eliminate all of your home's odors and make it seem like you never had pets at all.
May is Electrical Safety Month
Home Electrical Safety
Many electrocutions and home fires can be prevented simply by understanding basic electrical safety principles and adhering to safe practices. ESFI has developed a number of resources to help educate homeowners, consumers, older adults, and children.
Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, electrical safety should be a top priority in your home. Awareness of electrical hazards is the key to reducing the staggering number of electrically-related home fires, injuries and deaths that occur every year.
The following information and resources from ESFI will help you gain a better understanding of how to use electricity and electrical products safely:
Prevent Electrical Overloads - Overloaded electrical circuits are a major cause of residential fires. Help lower your risk of electrical fires by not overloading your electrical system.
Extension Cord Safety - Roughly 3,300 home fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring 270 more. Extension cords can overhead and cause fires when used improperly, so keep these important tips in mind to protect your home and workplace.
Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors - Working smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a home fire, but there is more you need to do to ensure your family is prepared to safely escape from a fire emergency.
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Electrical Safety - Review ESFI recommendations and safety tips before you decide to tackle electrical projects in your home.
Virtual Home - Take a tour of ESFI's interactive virtual home for a visual introduction to your home electrical system and safety tips for using common electrical devices.
Electrical Safety Videos - ESFI's video library contains a wide variety of safety videos that demonstrate critical home electrical safety concepts and tips. Many videos are also available in Spanish.
Home Safety Checklists - Use these easy checklists to help you identify and correct electrical and fire hazards in your home before a serious incident occurs.
· Call our office: 800-455-9453
· Visit us: 860 N Kiowa Street, Allentown, PA 18109
· Visit our website: www.SERVPROEBW.com