Recent Mold Remediation Posts
How to prevent mold
The key to preventing and stopping indoor mold growth is to control excessive moisture and condensation. Keeping susceptible areas in the home clean and dry is critical. In general, mold will not grow indoors without water, dampness or excessive moisture.
Three main factors contribute to condensation of water on building surfaces:
- Relative Humidity: Condensation occurs when the air is saturated with water and it cannot hold any more moisture. For example, steam generated from bathroom showers or from cooking can fill up the air with moisture, which will then condense into drops of water on cooler surfaces, such as mirrors and windows. Where possible, localized sources of humidity, such as clothes dryers, should be directly vented to the outdoors. To lower indoor humidity during warm, humid weather, air conditioners and/or dehumidifiers should be used. In chronically damp areas such as basements or crawlspaces, it is often recommended that dehumidifiers be used to maintain humidity levels below 60 percent.
- Temperature: Warm air holds more moisture than cold air. Condensation occurs when warm humid air comes into contact with a cold surface and the moisture condenses into water. This can often be seen on single-pane windows, where water condenses and then runs down, causing the wood frames and sills to rot and the wall under the windows to blister. Condensation can occur on exterior walls, particularly north-facing walls, if they are not properly insulated. Other chronically cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, should be covered with insulation to help prevent condensation.
- Poor Ventilation: Indoor humidity can build up if there is not enough ventilation and exchange of indoor and outdoor air. Where there is little or no air movement, such as behind dressers and cabinets, surfaces can remain cooler than surrounding areas, which can lead to increased condensation and mold growth. It is recommended that the area be ventilated and the occupants use exhaust fans (vented to the outdoors) to remove moisture from high-humidity areas, particularly in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry areas. Furniture should be moved slightly away from walls so that air can freely pass behind it. Air should be allowed to circulate between rooms and regularly ventilate to remove humid air. Fans should be used as needed.
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are dedicated to responding immediately when you contact them. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces cost. We use advanced equipment to detect the source of water feeding the mold. Next, we isolate the affected area using a negative air pressure chamber.
Take caution when selecting a restoration company
There isn’t much time from the ordinary to the unhealthy. Intrusion of water into your home or business can result in mold growth. It creeps up and catches you by surprise! Water intrusions can result from storm damage plumbing or equipment failures, long standing leaks, and poor humidity control. When water damages are not remediated efficiently and in a timely manner the resulting damage is often increased risk of mold growth.
Any mold professional should be able to explain your mold removal project in plain English. If a contractor is unable to explain the basic processes and steps of mold remediation and mold removal in layman’s terms, be very wary! If someone tries to complicate and confuse you, walk away and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
If you think you may have a mold problem, call your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals to restore your property to preloss condition.
As temperatures drop around Alachua and surrounding areas do we get a break from mold?
A sample of a mold score inside a customer's home.
Finally, Floridians are getting a break from all the heat and lower humidity as temperatures drop, but will we get a break from the presence of mold growing in our homes? The answer is no, keeping our homes safe from mold is a year round job. Mold exists all around us as spores float through the outside air at all times, so it would be almost impossible, unless you lived in a bubble to keep mold spores out of your home. The first step in finding out if you have mold growing in your home or air quality issues from mold is to have a state licensed mold assessor come out and test your home. They not only test your home, but also test the outside air, and this is how they determine if you have an air quality issue in your home by seeing if your home has more spores floating about than the air outside where we know mold exists. After remediation is completed, the mold assessor will again perform testing to show that your spore counts in your home are within normal levels. Did you know that in the state of Florida the same company cannot test for mold and perform your remediation? This would be like you taking a test in school and being able to grade it yourself. In fact, many remediation companies never tell the home or business owner about the process of testing. Instead they base their remediation efforts on visual inspection and the customer has no idea whether there is still mold lurking somewhere you cannot see or if there is an air quality issue due to a high number spores floating throughout your home. Unless you’ve had an issue with mold, the process can seem daunting if you suspect you have mold. Get informed and give SERVPRO of Alachua County West with any and all questions you may have and we will steer you in the right direction.
Got Mold? We can fix that!
Here you will see the air tight Containment a Before picture (you can even see mold spores flying around), and an After photo once it was all clean
For about 10 years mold has been in the news. People have been talking about the effects of mold on their health and whether it can damage their building. But what are the risks?
The available science on molds and their potential health effects remains under study, but considerable progress has been made. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization and Health Canada all agree that living or working in a building with mold damage results in increased risk of respiratory disease. For health outcomes, there are no available exposure assessment methods that can provide useful information for individuals. This is primarily due to the fact that each person’s response to mold exposure is unique.
How does mold get in?
Mold and fungal spores occur naturally outdoors, where fungi are the earth’s most important recyclers. Indoors, mold needs moisture to grow; it becomes a problem only where there is water damage, elevated and prolonged humidity, or dampness.
So when you're turning your A/C up trying to save some money, you might be creating too much humidity and end up spending even more money in mold remediation.
How does Mold Remediation work?
Florida mold laws and regulations are vague, but the recommendation is to hire a Certified Mold Assessor to test the air quality and take swabs to find out if or what kind of mold is present.
Once the results are finished and you find out that mold remediation is needed then you'll need SERVPRO. We are the experts on mold remediation and will suit up in our protective Tyvek suits, create a sealed containment of the affected areas to prevent spreading and get to work!
After the work is completed and the final cleaning has been done, your Certified Mold Assessor will come back to take a final testing. This ensures that your air quality is back within normal limits.
SERVPRO of Alachua County West is proud to say we have a 99.9% passing rate. We work hard to keep our community safe and guarantee you will be satisfied with the result!
OH NO! Not Mold?!!?
This home had mold remediation throughout the entire house.
The word mold is scary enough, but then... you see it. Does it immediately send chills up your spine? Are you worried about what you can't see? Worried about what type it is? Can it make you sick? There are so many questions and it can be scary.
SERVPRO is professionally trained in mold remediation. We suggest mold testing before and after the remediation process to ensure the air quality is within normal limits. We are proud to say we have over a 99% passing rate.
Now, have you ever thought about how you can prevent mold in the first place?? Well, below is some tips to help.
1. Identify problem areas in your home and correct themyou can't mold-proof your home, but you can make it mold resistant. Check your home regularly. Look for condensation or other wet areas. You may have to end up pulling wet carpet or even repair gutters. Better to pay a little now than a lot later.
2. Dry wet areas immediatelymold cannot grow without moisture. Anything that gets wet should be dried within 24-48 hours.
3. Prevent moisture with proper ventilation check your ventilation systems. Are they working properly? Places like the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room are the high moisture areas.
4. Equip your home with mold-resistant productsif you're building a new home, or renovating, there are mold resistant products like drywall, Sheetrock, or even mold inhibitors for paint.
5. Monitor humidity indoorsthe EPA recommended indoor humidity is between 30 and 60 percent. You can measure the moisture by purchasing a moisture reader form the hardware store. Signs of high humidity is condensation. Be sure to pay attention to window seals, walls and pipes.
6. Direct water away from your home if the ground around your home isn't sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement.
SERVPRO is available to answer your questions. Give us a call and ask away!
Today is National “Don’t Go to Work Unless it’s Fun Day,” and guess where we are?
Our lead technician and hero Travis, all suited up to battle the enemy... mold
April 3rd is National Don’t Go to Work Unless it’s Fun Day, and we here at SERVPRO of Alachua County West are hard at work doing mold remediation. You may be wondering to yourself, “What can be so fun about mold remediation?” Well, as with anything in life, the fun spectrum depends upon the individual who is having it, and we are always having fun helping our friends and neighbors making it “Like it never even happened.” To see how fun mold remediation can be, let’s go through some of the steps of mold remediation.
- First of all it starts with a mold report and protocol that is produced by a mold assessor who has done investigative work and testing. The mold report is full of fun photos of damage and cool color graphs about the mold in your home and the protocol is full of interesting information about the job at hand and the type of mold you are working with as well as how you are going to attack and annihilate it.
- Second, you get to follow that protocol and set up containment and decontamination in the area that you are working which is going to keep the enemy from being spread throughout the home in unaffected areas. It’s kind of like a cool fort protecting the innocent from the evil enemy.
- Next you are going to don fancy white suites and respirators kind of like a scientist working in an alien environment and set up equipment to scrub the air and keep humidity levels within check.
- The most important part comes next, you will be going in and removing the enemy parasite from within and then encapsulating and trapping any possible remnant of them, making the home safe yet again for its inhabitants.
- Lastly, we get to put on our tool belts and rebuild what we have conquered making it “Like it never even happened. Who doesn’t have fun with tools?
All in all I guess you could say we have a fun day doing mold remediation because we get to be heroes saving the day. After all, what is more fun that being a hero? So when you are choosing a mold remediation company choose not only the company that does it correctly, choose the heroes at SERVPRO of Alachua County West.
Celebrate Mold Remediation on National Create a Vacuum day by having SERVPRO clean your ducts.
SERVPRO of Alachua County West Creating a Vacuum.
No home or business owner likes to hear they have a mold problem. Mold spores naturally exist in the outside air and in Florida the concentration is higher than many other states due to our climate. As you come in and out of your home or business, or if you open windows for fresh air, mold spores come in as well. They can even make their way in on your clothing and skin. Along with moisture and food (dust it its #1 source of food), this mold can grow and flourish. This also gets sucked up into your HVAC system and ductwork. Your ductwork is a place that not only mold, but dust and other contaminates can accumulate and thrive which is apparent in the following duct cleaning facts:
Fact: Legionnaire’s Disease was spawned in air conditioning ducts. It Killed 29 people in 1976. (American Lung Association)
Fact: In the summer of 1988 at least seven people died in Los Angeles area from Legionnaire’s disease. (Modesto Bee 9/22/88)
Fact: One out of six people who suffer from allergies do so because of the direct relationship of the fungi and bacteria in the air duct systems. (Total Health & Better Health Magazine)
Fact: Indoor air is found to be 70%more polluted than that of outdoor air. (EPA Environmental Protection Agency).
Fact: More people spend 60 to 90% of their time indoors. (American Lung Association)
Fact: Most commercial fiberglass filters are only 7% efficient in stopping dirt, dust, pollen, etc. passing through it. (ASHRAE- American Society of Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Engineers, INC.)
Fact: Dirty ventilation systems and contaminated ductwork combined are a 50.9% contributor to sick building syndrome. (Healthy Buildings International)
Fact: IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) litigation increases every year: and recent IAQ lawsuits command hefty settlements. Businesses are faced with even more stringent responsibilities in providing employees with a safe work environment.
Fact: It is estimated that poor air quality directly results, on a annual basis, one billion in medical costs and 60$ billion in employee sick leave and lost production.
This ductwork also sends spores throughout your home in rooms that may not yet be affected. If you have a mold problem, make sure that one step in your remediation is to have your ducts cleaned. More importantly, have them cleaned correctly by a certified mold remediation company, such as SERVPRO of Alachua County West. We are here for all of you needs… even on days other than National Create a Vacuum Day.
As the seasons change, and the snowbirds prepare for flight, how do you protect your seasonal home from mold?
Suspected mold on a vent cover in a previously thought to be unaffected room on a mold remediation job discovered during duct cleaning.
Here at SERVPRO of Alachua County West, we receive many calls annually from homeowners that leave their house for an extended period of time and come back to find mold covering areas and contents of their home. With Florida’s sub-tropic climate it stays warm and humid most of the year. This can cause a mold problem within homes that are closed up, and if you are leaving your home, it’s important to prepare in advance to thwart any mold growth.
Prepare your home interior by making sure everything is clean and dry!
- Clean each appliance thoroughly. Clean enamel exteriors with sudsy water, rinse, and dry. Apply a coating of appliance or car wax to enamel exteriors to protect scratches from rust. Use an approved cleaner on stainless steel surfaces. Leave appliances unplugged while you are gone, to protect from electrical-current surges during storms.
- Unopened cans and jars of food can be left on shelves. Flour, sugars, and salt should be stored in tightly sealed containers. Dispose of cereals, crackers, and pastas to avoid household pests. Do not store food in a garage or shed.
- Clean cabinet interiors and exteriors.
- Fresh and perishable foods should be eaten or discarded. Give away or discard opened bottles and jars of salad dressings, condiments, and other perishable items. Replacing these items will cost less than paying to keep your refrigerator operating during the 2–3 months you are gone.
- Clean the refrigerator interior. Use a solution of one tablespoon of baking soda in one quart of water, in order to neutralize food soils and prevent odors. Dry thoroughly. Remove and clean the defrost pan at the bottom of your refrigerator. The refrigerator and freezer doors should be left ajar. Make sure the doors cannot accidentally close.
- If you choose to leave the refrigerator plugged in, dispose of all perishable foods. Leave a plastic bag with ice cubes in the freezer. On your return, if the bag contains a solid block of ice, you will know that your power was off long enough for the ice to melt and refreeze. To avoid potential foodborne illness, discard contents of refrigerator and freezer.
- For the dishwasher, remove any food particles from the filter (if present). Run the dishwasher through a short cycle. After a few minutes into the cycle, turn off the dishwasher and open its door. Clean around the door gasket and under the bottom of the door to remove any residual soil that might attract mold in these areas. Then, let the dishwasher complete the cycle. Leave the door closed, but unlatch it to release the pressure on the door seal.
- Clean the garbage disposal by grinding a batch of ice cubes through the disposal. Then rinse a solution of baking soda and water through the disposal. Leave the drain stopper in place to prevent water in the P-trap beneath the disposal from evaporating during your absence from home.
- Clean oven, broiler, and the drip trays under the burners.
- To remove spatters in the microwave, heat a cup of water for two minutes on the high setting. (Do this while the microwave is cool.) Afterwards, the condensation on the walls will loosen the spatters. Wash the inside of the microwave with sudsy water, and then rinse and dry. If possible, leave the microwave unplugged.
- Clean portable appliances thoroughly. Be sure to open the trap door under the toaster to clean it and remove the crumbs.
- Turn off the water supply to the clothes washer to eliminate pressure damage to the hoses. If needed, clean the washer’s lint filter.
- Clean the dryer’s lint filter, and use a leaf blower to blow out the dryer’s vent exhaust tubing.
- Turn off the water heater if you plan to be gone for a month or more. For shorter absences, turn the water heater’s thermostat to its lowest setting.
- Make sure all laundry is clean and dry.
- Cover toilet and tank top with a plastic wrap.
- Put stoppers in drains.
Outdoor Moisture can be an issue if you do not have proper seals on your doors and windows, and if you have a fireplace, close the damper. Excess Moisture can also be caused by evaporation from drains and toilets. If you have plants put them outside to be watered by a neighbor, because this can also cause excess moisture.
Not running air conditioning is also another way that people try to save money while they are gone. This is a mistake most commonly made by people who leave their homes for extended periods of time. Operate your air conditioner for two hours a day when your house is closed and sealed to reduce potential development of mildew. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to operate the air conditioning for a two-hour period in the cool, early morning hours. If you do not have a timer, set the thermostat between 80ºF and 85ºF. If using a humidistat, follow local recommendations and also consider having it professionally calibrated. If set too low or if improperly calibrated, the humidistat will cause the air conditioner to operate inefficiently and result in high electric bills.
There are many more ways you can ready your home for being vacant for extended periods of time, and maintenance is key. It is also handy to have SERVPRO of Alachua County West’s number handy in case of emergency.
As a homeowner, know your enemy... mold!
This homeowner did not realize the mold hiding behind his cabinets until he tried to do a kitchen model.
What is mold? Mold is a fungus which reproduces by releasing tiny, microscopic spores into the air. Mold is a naturally occurring organism in the air outdoors which means that there will always be some amount of mold spores in the air indoors as well. Mold must have ideal temperatures, and moisture in order to take hold of a material and grow. These are two reasons that Floridian homes are more susceptible to mold due to its sub-tropic climate. Mold must also have one more thing to grow, and that is food made up of organic materials. The most common source of food for mold is dust. Dust in itself is made up of 70% to 80% human skin – a great food source for mold.
Now that you know the general details of what mold is, what do you do if you suspect mold in your home? Other than the obvious of seeing actual mold growth, the presence of mold is often detected by a musty odor. The spores that it emits to grow are microscopic, but can be detected by odor. If you see mold or what looks like mold, it is best to leave it alone. Once mold has grown on a porous surface such as dry wall or grout those materials need to be removed because they are embedded in the material. If you try to clean mold, it feels as if it is in danger and with sporulate and send thousands of spores you can’t see into the air to seek out moisture and food throughout your home.
The best way to deal with a mold issue is get have a mold assessor come out and test your home, this will tell you is you have a mold problem, what’s affected, and what type of mold/molds you may have. Once your assessor has tested and found you have a mold problem he will write a protocol for remediation that your chosen Certified Mold Remediation Company will follow during remediation, followed by post testing to make sure your home is at safe mold levels after remediation.
This process can be overwhelming for many homeowners and this is what sets SERVPRO of Alachua County West above its competitors. We are here every step of the way, educating and supporting our community whether or not they choose us for their remediation. Not sure what to do when you suspect mold? Call us and we’ll set you on the right path to a clean and healthy home.
Where to begin when you suspect you have mold.
Call us today with any questions of your suspect mold problems!
Now that the storms seem to have passed from our exciting storm season, most Floridians have picked up the pieces and begun the rebuilding process or have mostly completed it. One of the lasting affects of storm damage can happen well after the storm... mold. In many cases mold is visible, but many times mold hides where we can't see it, detected only by an odor or sometimes health issues. When you suspect mold what is the first step you should take as a home or business owner? The first step should be contacting a mold assessor. Many people do not know that in the state of Florida the same company cannot test or assess your mold problem as well as remediate it. This is meant to protect the consumer against sub-par testing and remediation by untrustworthy restoration companies. Once testing has been completed by your mold assessor, they will construct a protocol for your mold remediator to follow. Once work is completed your mold assessor will perform post remediation testing to show remediation was successful. Many remediation companies do not inform potential customers of mold assessment and testing, opting for a general protocol in remediation with no standards or post testing to show mold spores at a normal levels when the work has been completed. Here at SERVPRO of Alachua County West, we prefer to hold ourselves to the highest standards and inform our potential customers of the best way possible to handle their possible mold remediation and encourage mold assessment for the best experience and results possible.
What happens after the storm?
Mold found after dry wall removal in storm damaged home.
Unfortunately, for many, it's not the storm, but the aftermath of the storm that affects your home and its belongings. As the winds die and the rains subside, what is left of your home can be devastating. Finding help and awaiting answers from your insurance can be a daunting task that takes days, weeks, and sometimes months. Meanwhile, beyond your initial water and wind damage a new danger creeps into your home... Mold! No need to fear! Your "SERVPRO of Alachua County West Heroes" are here! Not only can we remediate your mold issues, we can explain the procedure of mold assessment and offer you sound advice on how to begin handling your mold issue. For example, did you know that in the State of Florida you cannot perform mold testing or assessment as well as remediate the same home? This is meant to protect you, the customer from conflicts of interest. Here at SERVPRO of Alachua County West, our customers best interests are ours as well, we pride ourselves on providing the best services possible.
Were you gone for the summer?
Mold Remediation in a Gainesville, FL Home. Technician is in full Mold protective gear.
Gainesville is often called a "College Town" thanks to our wonderful university, University of Florida, and our college that was voted #1 in the nation, Santa Fe. When summer approaches, we experience a massive decline in population; a decline of about 3.2%. The Spring semester ends and students head home to visit with friends and families. When they leave their apartment, home, townhome, or condo, they assume that upon their return everything will be just as they left it. That, unfortunately, is not always the case.
With the return of college students and summer vacationers alike, we have had a massive influx in mold remediation jobs. People return to their homes to either find their walls, floors and belongings covered in mold. Most have no idea what caused it or what to do next! That's where we come in.
Primary causes of Mold growth include but are certainly not limited to: water intrusion, the improper dryout of water damage, flooding, high humidity levels, and a broken or turned off air conditioning unit. In the case of a home that is left empty for the summer, finding mold upon returning is very common. In general, the cause is a turned off air conditioning unit. NEVER turn off your air conditioner. Florida has an extremely high humidity level. A high humidity level is the perfect condition for mold growth. An air conditioner set at 78 degrees Farenheit, at the very highest, will keep the cost of your electrical bill low all while circulating the air in your home and preventing mold growth. The second most common cause behind mold growth is an unknown water intrusion. If you plan to leave your home empty over the summer, have a friend or neighbor whom you trust periodically stop by to monitor the condition of your home. For example, we experienced plenty of heavy rainfall this summer, as Florida normally does. What if you have any unknown leak in your roof? Water damage will occur. Unfortunately if no one is in the home to catch this, the water damage will only get worse. The wet walls, flooring, etc are breeding grounds for mold. While you are away enjoying your summer, mold is infesting your home. But sometimes, you don't even have to have an uninhabited home for this to occur! If water damage occurs in your home, whether it be from indoor or outdoor sources, handle it properly. Water damage that is not dryed properly will result in mold. Water mitigation might not be the cheapest process, but mold remediation can certainly be more expensive. The longer water damage lingers without being handled properly, the more damage that is created.
There are many common misconceptions when it comes to mold.
What you need to know is that mold is everywhere. There are many different classifications of mold. Some are more hazardous to your health than others. The worst of them, black mold, is not always black. Some mold that is black in color is not actually black mold. The mold that is in your home is not always visible to the naked eye. Lastly, mildew is mold. Mildew is simply a nicer and less "scary" way of saying mold. Fact of the matter is, what you view as "just mildew" is just as hazardous and harmful to your health as mold.
Do not down play the seriousness of mold growth. If you believe that mold has infested your home, call a mold assessor and request a testing. In the state of Florida, it is illegal for one to be both a mold assessor and a mold remediator on a job site. SERVPRO only handles mold remediation. Once you have received your mold assessment and it is confirmed that you have a hazardous amount of mold in your home, call SERVPRO. Thanks to our knowledge, experience, training and national certifications, we will come in and properly perform mold remediation.
SERVPRO of Alachua County West in the Gainesville Sun
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