Recent Mold Remediation Posts
Training is Key
It is these training classes that truly develop the awesome employees we have today.
We here at SERVPRO of Benicia/Martinez/SE Vallejo want all of our employees inside and out to have knowledge about what we restore and treat, how we do it, and why we do it. That is why training is key to our success here. In this photo, you see the owner of SERVPRO Benicia/Martinez/SE Vallejo, Rick Botsford, leading a training class on mold. You can also see that the class is not only made up of production staff, we also have office and sales staff participating as well. This class was to educate staff members on what causes mold, what it is made up of, what types there are, how toxic it can be, and of course, how to prevent and treat it. If you find mold in your home call us right away. Our highly knowledgeable staff will help you get the treatment you need. You will not regret it!
SERVPRO of Benicia/Vallejo/SE Vallejo
Mold on the Loose
Notice all the gray spores, that is mold.
A lot of times, we may think we do not have mold in our home because we can not see it. Don't let it fool you, be proactive in finding mold, hidden mold is most common. The smell of mold is very unpleasant. Some compare it to rotten wood or wet socks. Mold has a moist like smell to it. Take the time every so often to check behind appliances, cabinets, in closets, behind furniture, and bathrooms. It is important to be on the look out for mold as it can cause harm due to the toxins it can put in the air. But just because you can't see it, does not mean that you don't have any. This photo shows mold behind a cabinet from a customer's kitchen. We went in to do water restoration and low and behold, there was mold. The owner had no idea that it was even there. Mold comes in all colors , shapes, and sizes. If you discover mold, let us take care of it immediately.
Welcome to the SERVPRO Benicia/ Martinez/SE Vallejo blog! In this blog we will be going over a piece of equipment used by SERVPRO when treating mold.
The Air Scrubber also known as a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum or Negative Air Machine. An air scrubber is a portable filtration system that removes fine airborne particles that come from mold spores. An air scrubber can remove other airborne particles such as dust, pollen, particles in smoke, gasses, and/or chemicals from the air within a given area. Air scrubbers effectively reduce Allergy Symptoms, Chest Tightness, Coughs, Nausea, Sinus Problems, Dizziness, Eye/Nose/Throat Irritation, Fatigue, and Headaches.
These machines draw air in from the surrounding environment and pass it through a series of filters to remove contaminants. HEPA filters are best at removing particulate matter but they do not remove odors. For example, they can remove cigarette smoke particles but not the related gases and smells.
The air scrubbers need 1 of 3 filters:
- HEPA filter (Can remove up to 99.7% of particulates in diameter)
- Primary Filters (used to protect the HEPA filter)
- Charcoal filters (Fire loss jobs)
SERVPRO uses air scrubbers not only when treating mold but also sewage damage, category 3 water loss such as floods, fire damage, or sometimes even if the owner has respiratory problems due to poor air conditions inside their home or business.
Moisture control is the key to mold control. When water leaks or spills occur indoors - act promptly. Any initial water infiltration should be stopped and cleaned promptly. A prompt response (within 24-48 hours) and thorough clean- up, drying, and/or removal of water-damaged materials will prevent or limit mold growth.
Mold prevention tips include:
- Repairing plumbing leaks and leaks in the building structure as soon as possible.
- Looking for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture incursion problem(s) as soon as possible.
- Preventing moisture from condensing by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in the air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in the air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
- Keeping HVAC drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
- Performing regularly scheduled building/ HVAC inspections and maintenance, including filter changes.
- Maintaining indoor relative humidity below 70% (25 - 60%, if possible).
- Venting moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
- Venting kitchens (cooking areas) and bathrooms according to local code requirements.
- Cleaning and drying wet or damp spots as soon as possible, but no more than 48 hours after discovery.
- Providing adequate drainage around buildings and sloping the ground away from building foundations. Follow all local building codes.
- Pinpointing areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventive action to ensure that they do not reoccur.
Questions That May Assist in Determining Whether a Mold Problem Currently Exists
- Are building materials or furnishings visibly moisture damaged?
- Have building materials been wet more than 48 hours?
- Are there existing moisture problems in the building?
- Are building occupants reporting musty or moldy odors?
- Are building occupants reporting health problems that they think are related to mold in the indoor environment?
- Has the building been recently remodeled or has the building use changed?
- Has routine maintenance been delayed or the maintenance plan been altered?
Always consider consulting a health professional to address any employee health concerns.
Causes and growing conditions of Mold
Mold is found everywhere and can grow on almost any substance when moisture is present. They reproduce by spores, which are carried by air currents. When spores land on a moist surface suitable for life, they begin to grow. Mold is normally found indoors at levels which do not affect most healthy individuals.
Because common building materials are capable of sustaining mold growth and mold spores are ubiquitous, mold growth in an indoor environment is typically related to water or moisture and may be caused by incomplete drying of flooring materials (such as concrete). Flooding, leaky roofs, building-maintenance or indoor-plumbing problems can lead to interior mold growth. Water vapor commonly condenses on surfaces cooler than the moisture-laden air, enabling mold to flourish. This moisture vapor passes through walls and ceilings, typically condensing during the winter in climates with a long heating season. Floors over crawl spaces and basements, without vapor barriers or with dirt floors, are mold-prone. The "doormat test" detects moisture from concrete slabs without a sub-slab vapor barrier. Some materials, such as polished concrete, do not support mold growth.
Significant mold growth requires moisture and food sources and a substrate capable of sustaining growth. Common building materials, such as plywood, drywall, furring strips, carpets, and carpet padding provide food for mold. In carpet, invisible dust and cellulose are food sources. After water damage to a building, mold grows in walls and then becomes dormant until subsequent high humidity; suitable conditions reactivate mold. Mycotoxin levels are higher in buildings which have had a water incident.
Molds are part of the natural environment. Molds are fungi that can be found anywhere - inside or outside - throughout the year.
Outdoors, molds play an important role in nature by breaking down organic matter such as toppled trees, fallen leaves, and dead animals. We would not have food and medicines, like cheese and penicillin, without mold.
Indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Problems arise when mold starts eating away at materials, affecting the look, smell, and possibly, with the respect to wood-framed buildings, affecting the structural integrity of the buildings.
Molds can grow on virtually any substance, as long as moisture or water, oxygen, and an organic source are present. Molds reproduce by creating tiny spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores continually float through the indoor and outdoor air.
Molds are usually not a problem unless mold spores land on a damp spot and begin growing. They digest whatever they land on in order to survive. There are molds that grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods and insulation, while other molds feast on the everyday dust and dirt that gather in the moist regions of a building.
When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth often will occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains uncorrected. While it is impossible to eliminate all molds and mold spores, controlling moisture can control indoor mold growth.
If you experience mold growth in your home or office SERVPRO is here to help.
SERVPRO of Benicia/Maritnez/Se Vallejo (925)372-7234
If you already have a mold problem - ACT QUICKLY. Mold damages what it grows on. The longer it grows, the more damage it can cause.
Who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself. However:
- If there has been a lot of water damage, and/or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, consult an experienced and certified mold remediation contractor.
- If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations of the EPA, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists (ACGIH), or other guidelines from professional or government organizations.
- If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), consult with a specialist before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold - it could spread mold throughout the building.
- If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water.
- If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup.
Benicia/Martinez/Vallejo Residents: Follow These Mold Safety Tips If You Suspect Mold
Be careful! Without proper training, you could be spreading mold throughout your home.
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of Benicia/Martinez/Se Vallejo 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.
About Our Mold Remediation Services
SERVPRO of Benicia/Martinez/Southeast Vallejo specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 925-372-7234