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Mold vs Mildew

5/22/2018 (Permalink)

How to determine which one you have?

Before anyone panics, let’s be clear. We live in the south, in a humid environment. Everyone has mold in their house. Everyone.

Mold and mildew have a few common characteristics. They both like warm areas and spread easily. They live on various surfaces, from food to your shower. And of course, they are both types of fungi.

But they are very different when it comes to size, color and texture.

Primarily mildew is a plant disease but it can thrive on any organic matter, not just living tissue. It can appear on clothing, leather, paper, walls, ceilings, floor and even on your shower wall. It usually grows in a flat pattern in a white, gray or yellowish color. It will turn brown or black over time.

Mold is usually fuzzy and appears in irregular shaped spots. It also can appear in many different colors – blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black, or white. Mold grows on organic matter everywhere but is only visible once the colonies grow.

While most mold is not toxic, prolonged exposure can cause a variety of health issues. Including but not limited to sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, etc.

If you are not sure what you have, you can have it tested. Obviously the best course of action is to ask for professional assistance but you can easily identify which one it is with a little bit of household bleach.

Apply a few drops of bleach to the affected area. Wait about 5 minutes and inspect the spot. If it becomes lighter, you are dealing with mildew. If it remains dark, it is most likely mold.

The best and most efficient way to prevent mold and mildew in your house is to keep all areas dry and moisture free. Keep your air ducts clean and in good condition.

If you discover you have a mold issue call a professional. Do not try to remediate this yourself. Contact SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782 and we can help!

Call SERVPRO for your Commercial Needs

5/22/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial water damage can be caused by things such as rain storms, broken pipes, humidity, faulty appliances or slow leaks. This can lead to mold or bacterial contamination if you do not have it cleaned up properly. A full-service property restoration company like SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast can help your business recover from water damage. We understand that the damage needs to be mitigated quickly to minimize the downtime your business is experiencing, and we have 24-hour emergency response, every single day of the year in Gwinnett County and the surrounding areas. Our team of technicians is IICRC-certified and will identify what is causing the water damage and will work alongside utility companies and commercial plumbers to make sure your building is secure against any secondary water damage or loss. We’ll also get rid of any debris and hazards and start extracting the water from your commercial property. Once we’ve removed all the standing water, our technicians will start the drying process of your structure using equipment and techniques which are state-of-the-art. If there is Category 3, i.e. sewage water, present in your building, our professionals, who deal with hazardous materials, will use antimicrobials to ensure your commercial building is decontaminated and to protect you and your staff against any health risks. Part of the water damage cleanup process includes our technicians using special treatments to avoid mold growing in your building. In cases of long-term moisture where mold is already found, our certified mold remediation specialists will clean and get rid of as much mold growth as is possible. We will also decontaminate your property to stop any more issues and we can work alongside certified environmental hygienists to give testing and clearances so you and your staff can have a peace of mind. Our team has the equipment and the staffing to take care of a commercial water loss of any size. We can help you recover from industrial plumbing failure and major floods to any other loss your commercial building might face If you’ve experienced a commercial water loss, speak with us at SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast by dialing 770-448-5782 for a prompt 24/7 response.

Common Causes of Commercial Water Losses

5/18/2018 (Permalink)

When business owners visualize water damage, they often picture a massive storm wiping out power lines, flooding offices, and shutting down businesses for days at a time. It is true that commercial water damage is often the result of floods and water that stems from weather events and storms.   However, many entrepreneurs and business space renters forget that storms and severe weather aren't the only causes of floods and water damage. Here are some of the typical causes of water damage to commercial buildings.  

1. Malfunctioning sprinkler systems Some older office and retail buildings still have outdated sprinkler systems that work in conjunction with fire protection systems. While such sprinklers can come in handy during a fire emergency, they can also cause commercial flood damage if they are faulty or in need of replacement. This could easily damage inventory and business assets.

2. Damaged appliances and equipment This cause of commercial flood damage is more common in restaurants and catering facilities, as well as any business that has appliances and equipment that make use of water. If the appliance fails and sends water across your building, especially during late hours when no one is around, you may come back to work and face a water emergency.  

3. Broken pipes and plumbing Just like in a residence, if the plumbing system in your workplace fails water damage could be the result.   

4. Backed up sewer lines This is another cause of commercial water damage that often catches business owners by surprise. Should the sewer line to your building back up or become damaged, realize the potential dangers of contaminated Black Water which can cause health effects and ruin products and office furnishings.   

If your business has suffered commercial water damage, SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast will get you back up and running again. Call us anytime 24/7 at 770-448-5782 for fast help.

When Storms Hit

5/18/2018 (Permalink)

When heavy rains and high winds hit hard, property destruction and loss can be devastating to you as a homeowner. Structural damage to the exterior of your home is followed by interior devastation from water and winds. Storm damage is rarely isolated to just a few buildings in an area adding the challenge of finding a restoration company that can respond swiftly to your needs to an already anxiety provoking situation. SERVPRO delivers the help you need swiftly even when a local disaster is widespread as we are able to call upon a network of over 1,650 franchises nationwide to respond if the need is great.   Storm damage can feel overwhelming, but your fear and panic will disappear when our team of professionals responds to your water, wind and flooding repair and restoration needs. Your particular situation is of paramount importance to us, and you need not worry that your repairs and restoration will take a back seat even when many in your area are struggling to recover from the same issues you face. Choosing our company puts in motion a vast support system, but our local ownership means you will receive a personalized approach to your particular situation, efficiently returning your home back to its pre-storm condition just “like it never even happened.”   Placing your trust in SERVPRO for your storm damage needs will reap you benefits that less qualified companies simply cannot deliver. We use state of the art equipment to clean, repair and restore your home and in the process, we also restore your and your family’s peace of mind. Our technicians are highly trained and qualified, current in Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) for any procedure needed to bring your home back to the comfortable and comforting refuge you deserve. We also work closely with your insurance company, ensuring that all the work necessary is approved and compensated according to the terms of your policy. Our high standards and relentless drive to do the job on time while meeting local specifications means you and your family will quickly return to the quiet enjoyment of your house and neighborhood. We are not satisfied until you are happily back in your restored dwelling.   Once you make sure that your family is safe after a major storm, your first call should be to SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast. Dial 770-448-5782 24/7 and begin the road to recovery by scheduling an inspection with our storm damage experts.

After the Fire Trucks Leave

5/17/2018 (Permalink)

After the fire trucks leave, your home likely suffers from fire and smoke damage and extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast has the specialized fire restoration training needed to restore your home to pre-fire condition.

Have Questions About Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782.

Every fire damage event is a little different, and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our process for the “typical” fire damage emergency.

Step 1: Emergency Contact

The restoration process begins when you call SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast, which is a 24 hours emergency service provider. Our representative will ask a series of questions regarding the fire damage event that will help us dispatch our IICRC Certified Fire Technician with the appropriate equipment and resources.

Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment

Our Professionals will carefully inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action.

Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service

Fire damage can often compromise windows, walls, and roofs. To maintain security and to protect against further damage, the technician can board up missing windows and walls.

Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)

The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. They will then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process.

Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces

The technicians use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.

Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing

They will clean all of the restorable items and structures that were damaged by the fire. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to restore your belongings to pre-fire condition. They’re also trained to remove odors using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment.

Step 7: Restoration

Restoration is the final step—getting your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

Like it never even happened.

5/17/2018 (Permalink)

When it comes to fire & water damage, or specialty cleanup needs, it’s the SERVPRO brand that comes to mind. The SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast works endlessly to make sure our customers are happy. We have one objective in the aftermath of disaster: to make their loss “Like it never even happened.”

No matter the job or the size, our SERVPRO teams are ready to handle any size loss. With 1,700+ franchises nationwide, we have access to numerous highly trained personnel and thousands of pieces of equipment. Our SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Teams are strategically placed throughout the country to respond when needed. Our teams have a proven track record for success, assisting with the cleanup of floods, tornadoes, wildfires, and damages caused from frigid temperatures.

Whether it’s a major storm event, or faulty appliance, we will be there with one call. Contact SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782 for any of your mitigation needs.

WHAT TO DO IMMEDIATELY AFTER A HOUSE FIRE

5/10/2018 (Permalink)

  1. Ask whether it is safe to enter the home. Do not enter if the fire authorities deem it unsafe. They may establish a safety zone, but never assume a room is safe, until it has been cleared to enter.
  2. Know who to call.
    1. Contact family members and let them know you are safe and unharmed.
    2. Contact your insurance agent. They will be able to talk you through the necessary steps, including proper documentation and emergency lodging and living expenses (keep all of your receipts!) The insurance company may assist in securing a company to help with clean up options.
    3. You may request a fire mitigation company at this time for contents cleaning, structure cleaning, restoration etc. Contact SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782.
    4. Another call may be to your landlord if applicable, and to your local American Red Cross. Our company is the preferred restoration partner to The American Red Cross.
  3. Secure the property to prevent possible looting. SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County Southeast is available to assist with securing property/ Board Ups.
  4. If water hoses were used to exterminate the fire, drying your home is critical. It is best to call the professionals at SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County Southeast to do water/ fire cleanups. Water can lead to mold damage if not dried properly. Our company is an approved restoration contractor for many major insurance carriers and adheres to the highest standards in the restoration industry.
  5. Seek counseling if needed. Children and adults can feel a traumatic sense of loss and may need help to avoid a lasting sense of sadness and disorientation after a house fire. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. A house fire is a traumatic event and individuals need to be treated with respect and compassion by those close to the process of rebuilding.

WHY MORE INSURANCE AGENTS CHOOSE SERVPRO

5/10/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO blends customer service with accountability! They understand your responsibility to provide results to your shareholders and clients. SERVPRO is uniquely qualified to help when disaster strikes, making you their "hero" in their times of need. 

We are here to make you look good.

There are many ways to ensure success as an insurance agent. Having a strong office staff, a company who pays claims in an ethical and timely manner, advertising, being involved in your community, and maintaining a positive relationship with your clients are just a few. SERVPRO knows how critical it is that every job goes as smooth as possible, ensuring your clients trust you time and time again when they need help. Our teams are trained to reduce the lost time and mitigate the damages as quickly as possible. Whether it’s fire, water, mold or any other cleanup; we are here to help, 24 hours a day. 

Our team members are available for direct cellular calls 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. You earn your client’s loyalty by providing timely solutions. You provide help in a time of need. Instead of offering a call center solution, our team members are available to take the call on their business line! We will personally call your client back, offer a listening ear, and take away some of the fear they are experiencing.

Having a relationship with SERVPRO and our team of highly trained professionals has many benefits. We will ensure help arrives quickly (following our 1-4-8 time commitment), and our production team will help your clients regain control of their lives by treating them with respect, courteousness and working hard to get the job done correctly the first time. There are no unwelcome surprises with SERVPRO. Calling direct reduces wait times. The faster SERPVRO's team can arrive onsite to perform the cleanup, the better the results. 

That’s the SERVPRO difference. Contact us at the SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782. We are always here to help!

What Conditions are Best for Mold Growth

5/10/2018 (Permalink)

What Conditions are Best for Mold Growth?

Keeping mold from growing in your home is an important consideration for a healthy, safe environment to live. The first task in keeping mold at bay is discovering what areas and conditions might encourage mold growth. Molds are pervasive everywhere, and thrive in wet conditions. How does mold grow? Mold grows best when moisture and humidity are present. When mold spores encounter a damp surface most advantageous for fungal growth, they can begin to grow and thrive.

What Does Mold Need to Grow?

Mold spores require three things in order to grow mold:

    • nutrients
    • moisture
    • time (mold growth can start after 24 hours

How Does Mold Grow in a House?

Mold spores are everywhere, and are carried by air currents. If the spores discover a moist, dark environment they will likely settle and proliferate until your home has a major mold issue. They key to preventing mold in your house is to be diligent about maintaining proper moisture levels, keeping up with home maintenance, like roof or plumbing leaks, and quickly and effectively cleaning and drying any water spills, leaks, or flooding.

Moisture Levels in the Home

The EPA suggests maintaining or reducing home humidity levels to 30-60% (ideally 30-50%) to prevent mold growth. Mold also grows optimally in warmer conditions, and flourishes the best between 77 to 86 °F (25 to 30 °C). Condensation on or around windows can be an indication that your home’s moisture levels are too high. Two ways a homeowner can decrease the humidity in the home is by increasing ventilation and buying a dehumidifier.

To increase your home’s ventilation, be sure to use correctly vented exhaust fans while in the kitchen and bathroom, to reduce the moisture in the air. Assure that ventilation throughout your home is adequate to keep up with moisture levels. If your home is still struggling with higher than advisable humidity levels, consider buying a dehumidifier to maintain a healthy home moisture quantity that is unsusceptible or resistant to mold growth. Make sure you purchase a dehumidifier that will cover the square footage necessary for your residence.

Leaks and Home Maintenance

If your home has a leak, there is likely a mold issue. Leaks can occur in pipes, roofs, basements, appliances and windows. Because leaks are usually undetectable behind a wall or in the attic, leaks can have the advantage of time to release water into your home continuously. This constant influx of water can fuel mold growth considerably. To look for leaks, be on the watch for:

  • water stains
  • warping or bowing of walls
  • deterioration of wood
  • bubbling or cracking paint or wallpaper
  • mold symptoms (aka “sick building syndrome”)

Flooding and Other Water Damage

Flooding is a serious risk factor for mold. When excessive amounts of water enter a building and remain for a period of time, mold will begin to develop. Remember, mold can begin to emerge in 24 hours under the right growing conditions. Therefore prompt action is needed in the event of a flood to prevent or reduce mold damage in your home.

Flooding is a serious risk factor for mold.

You may wish to hire a professional like SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782 to restore your home after a flood. This is a very good option if you can afford to hire someone who has the credentials and equipment to deal with flood and water damage in a home, or if your insurance provides you with this option. Be sure to check your home’s insurance policy on flooding and mold damage.

A Few Types of Storm Damage

5/10/2018 (Permalink)

Wind Damage Restoration Hurricane damage sometimes includes severe wind damage. Roof damage in this situation may range from a missing roof, to harsh winds and rains shearing away asphalt tiles. Roof repair of obvious defects usually ensues in the wake of hurricane damage and storm remediation. Correcting roof damage may challenge homeowners after a disaster, since a roof leak may not appear obvious. How can a roof leak and roof damage escape easy detection in this situation? Wind damage may loosen flashing, eventually causing another roof leak weeks after the storm. Even a subtle roof leak of this nature can produce moist, moldy conditions inside the home. Obtaining fast roof repair may prevent long term interior damage. A wind damage home restoration expert may assist clients in receiving comprehensive roof assessments and roof repair services when hurricane damage afflicts an area. Their expertise helps property owners address storm damage and roof damage more effectively.

Flooding And Recovery Flood water frequently poses a risk in coastal areas. Yet heavy rains may cause river flooding miles inland also. If the surrounding terrain cannot absorb ground water, runoff contributes to flood water. Even residents of mountainous areas sometimes sustain varying degrees of flood damage if frozen pipes rupture. Flood pump failures contribute to basement flooding and contaminated ground water in some locations, too. Flooding may disrupt municipal water systems. Experts need to assess ground water and evaluate the condition of pipes following flood damage. By relying upon a trained specialist, you'll usually obtain faster storm remediation. These experts may suggest ways to help mitigate flood water damage in the future, for instance, by requesting backup flood pump installation.

Call SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782 for any of your storm concerns.