What To Do When You Smell Mold but Can’t See It
Mold damage on wall in a Lexington,OK business
Mold has a very distinctive fungus smell, meaning that often times its odor makes itself known before the mold itself is found. For a business in Lexington, OK, the mold smell can be worrying. Fortunately, there are a few things that can be done.
Where Mold Grows
Most people associate the musty mildew smell with places like basements or attics. This is in part because environments like these are a good location for mold to settle in. In fact there are some environments mold is more likely to grow in than others.
- Locations with water damage
- Cool damp areas such as a basement or cellar
- Locations where condensation may collect
- Areas with regularly high humidity such as a restroom or pool area
- Areas where there has been recent flooding
- Materials that can soak in water such as wood, paper, plaster, cardboard, or ceiling tiles
Why Mold Smells
As mold grows it releases a secondary metabolite called a mycotoxin. These are the reason for the musty mold smell. Mycotoxins are common to the fungi kingdom and most fungi, including mold, undergo this process.
Ways to Locate Mold
Many mold remediation professionals have a few tools they can use to locate mold when it’s not visible. Mold tests can be used to test air samples or surfaces for potential growth. An infrared camera may also be used to locate cool area where water may have built up. Because mold grows best in cool, damp environments checking these locations may lead to locating the source of the mildew smell. Once the mold has been located it is important to begin the cleaning process as soon as possible.
Finding mold growth based off of a mold smell is possible, especially when you have the right tools and know where to look. Remember, if you have trouble, or don’t feel comfortable looking for the mold yourself, a professional may be able to help.
After a Catastrophic Fire, Identify All of the Damage
Fire damage in an Etowah,OK building
If your business in Etowah, OK, has been affected by a fire, it is important that you identify both fire damage and water damage when getting back on your feet. Determining the losses from both the flames and the fire hose water can save your business time and money when returning to business.
What Did the Fire Affect?
Visible signs of damage can range from soot and charring to smoke stains and discoloration. Make sure to go office by office, room by room and location by location to determine what has been burned as well as what has been otherwise impacted by the blaze. A variety of specific areas will likely require attention:
- Floors, walls and ceilings that have been burned, charred and stained
- Areas that have residual smoke odors, such as carpeting, cubicle walls and office furnishings
- Electrical wires, cables, conduits and plumbing fixtures that could have been destroyed, weakened, melted or suffered other heat-related fire damage
- Office equipment, computers, telephone systems, server rooms and manufacturing equipment that was directly in the line of fire or affected by smoke, ash and soot
- Sensors, tools and small appliances that can require recalibration or cleaning
What Did the Fire Hose Affect?
When extinguishing a fire, first responders use a lot of water to put out the flames and embers. When water is introduced to parts of your business that have never been wet, the effects can slow your recovery if you don't analyze everything promptly.
After the firefighters leave, ponding water and puddles are obvious. However, moisture in cabinets, closets and files can be easily missed. If it is left standing or stagnating in a warm area, water damage and subsequent mold and mildew growth can spread quickly. Additionally, wet ceiling tiles that sag are a danger for employees if they become too heavy and start crashing down. Make sure to also check storage tanks to ensure condensation has not contaminated the contents.
When addressing water and fire damage in Etowah, OK, be sure to find the right commercial building restoration service that can correct all of the damage and get you back in business as quickly as possible.
How Can FEMA Help Storm Damage Victims Recover From the Aftermath?
Flooding in Eason, OK
When a natural disaster or major storm, such as a flood or tornado, sweeps through and damages an area, some of the first people on the ground work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA, as the agency is commonly called, provides many different forms of assistance, including but not limited to the following:
- Housing assistance (rent, home repairs, home replacement, etc.)
- Help with repairing or replacing personal property
- Financial assistance with funeral expenses
- Medical, dental and childcare assistance
- Moving and storage expenses
- Assistance to repair or replace vehicles
In addition to helping repair physical damage, the agency also provides assistance for damages that arise as a result of the physical damage.
Unemployment and Reemployment Services
After a flooding or other natural disaster in Eason, OK, it is not uncommon for individuals to need to relocate and/or take time off work. If an individual is forced to take time off, his or her employer may be forced to let him or her go. FEMA provides unemployment benefits and reemployment services to individuals who are forced to take time off or relocate post disaster.
The agency also offers crisis counseling to individuals and whole communities who have suffered great loss as a result of the disaster. It does this by funding and sometimes hosting community-based outreach programs and educational services.
Disaster Legal Services
Often, the individuals who need disaster assistance are low-income. These individuals generally cannot afford legal services if they need them for their disaster related needs. The federal agency helps these individuals secure legal services when they're needed.
In addition to providing the aforementioned types of assistance, FEMA also partners with other government agencies, as well as non-government agencies, to meet the needs of disaster survivors. If the agency cannot meet your unique needs, you can talk with a representative to see if one of its partner agencies can. You can also talk to your local storm damage restoration team regarding types of assistance available.
What to Expect With Fire Cleanup
Board up window after a fire damage in a Eason,OK home
If you’ve experienced fire or smoke damage in Eason, OK, then you may be wondering where to start with the cleanup process. Here are a few things you can expect to see in your home after a fire and during restoration.
What Steps Cleanup Can Include
Calling your local fire damage professional can be a great first step in the cleanup process. Some things they can take care of include:
- Boarding and tarping the home against further damage
- An inspection and assessment of damage type and necessary repairs
- The removal of flood water and drying if necessary
- Any necessary smoke cleaning and removal of soot damage
- The cleaning of salvageable materials
- The replacement and restoration of unsalvageable materials
- Any necessary sanitation
What Types of Damage Fire Can Cause
Aside from obviously burned materials, a fire can leave unpleasant smoke damage which can be difficult to deal with. Fires may also weaken structural integrity, or cause pipes to burst which cause flooding. With flooding comes additional concerns such as mold, or the sanitation issues that can arise with a broken sewer pipe.
How Your Home May Look Afterward
Your home may have experienced a lot of soot damage and required extensive smoke cleaning, but at the end of the process everything should be repaired to pre-fire conditions. This means you can safely live there again without constantly being reminded there was a fire. In fact, you shouldn’t even be able to tell repairs were necessary at all. Knowing their home can be fully restored can be comforting to homeowners, and may be one of the reasons many choose to contact a professional to make any repairs.
A professional team can clean your home of smoke damage and help restore it back to pre-fire conditions. It may take a little time depending on the damage type, but afterwards your home should be clean, sanitized, and ready for you to live in.
3 Differences Between Mitigation and Restoration
Water mitigation in Etowah,OK
During a storm, your building may suffer some damage. When this happens, it can be good to know the difference between mitigation and restoration before hiring a flood cleanup company.
Mitigation vs. Restoration: What Are They?
Understanding what mitigation and restoration are and how the processes pertain to the cleanup and repair of your building is important. Here are some differences between the two:
- Mitigation comes first. If your building has been harmed during a storm, one of the first things you should do is make sure it will not sustain any further damage. During mitigation, a flood cleanup company can provide services, such as removing water and boarding up windows, to keep water from spreading and increasing the problems with your building.
- Mitigation is usually finished quickly. With mitigation, the company does not usually make any repairs to your building. The job here is simply to prevent any further harm. Because of this, the mitigation process is done as quickly as possible so that restoration can begin, as the restoration company can only start repairing your building after mitigation has finished.
- Restoration can be lengthy. Repairs are done during the restoration process, so it can often take much longer than mitigation. Depending on the extent of damage during the storm, the restoration process can take months to complete.
Mitigation vs. Restoration: Which Do You Need?
If your building has suffered damage during a storm in Etowah,OK, you may be wondering which of these services you need. The answer is that you will likely need both. Having mitigation done before you begin repairs can save a lot of work and trouble in the long run. If you begin repairs without mitigation first, you may end up needing to do more fixes than you would have otherwise.
Mitigation and restoration are services that go well together since they each offer something that the other does not. When you are searching for a flood cleanup company, it may be a good idea to find one that offers both services.
The Difference Between Primary and Secondary Damage
Mold damage behind tiled walls in a Norman, OK home's bathroom
When waters flood your home in Norman, Ok, you may not worry about how the resulting damage was caused. However, understanding the difference between secondary and primary damage can help you make smart decisions about the cleanup process. Black mold, for example, may not grow in your flooded home if you act quickly.
Primary damage is anything that happened at the time of the flooding. This can include the following:
- Broken pipe
- Damaged building materials
- Waterlogged furniture
Many residential water cleanup professionals consider primary damage to be anything done at the time of the flooding before the waters stopped flowing.
Secondary damage, therefore, is anything that happened once the initial flood stopped. Often, this type of destruction takes place when flooding is not noticed for days. Black mold can start to grow if stagnant water is left unattended, for example. Slow reaction times aren't the only thing that could cause your home to continue being damaged after flooding has stopped. A poor cleanup technique can also attribute to this destruction.
For example, if your home is not completely dried out, there may still be a higher-than-normal humidity level. This high humidity can degrade fabrics, warp wood floors or encourage the growth of mold spores.
If you want to avoid problems after water damage, you need to make sure to address the flooding as quickly as possible. This quick reaction time gives the water and high humidity less time to wreak havoc on your home.
As a homeowner, you may not care if your home was damaged during a flood or after. After all, you have to repair all of the issues caused, so who cares how they came about? However, understanding that there is a difference between damage caused during a flood, such as the breakdown of ceiling tiles, and damage caused after, such as the growth of black mold, can help you and your residential cleanup crew make smart, fast choices right after a disaster.
Secondary Water Damage Explained
Supply line in a bathroom burst causing water damage in an office in Etowah, OK
If you've had a burst pipe, toilets backing up, or other flooding problems in your Etowah, OK, business, a call to the plumber is only the beginning of clearing up the mess. Significant damage may occur due to the water and excess moisture. It's important for this to be cleaned up as soon as possible. Failure to do this can lead to secondary damage, which can include hidden structural problems and black mold. These can be extremely expensive to eliminate.
What is Secondary Damage?
In a nutshell, secondary water damage is any damage that's not caused directly by the flooding incident. This damage can manifest in a number of ways, including:
- Vinyl and other types of flooring pulling up from the floor
- Finish damage and buckling of wooden floors
- Mold growth, such as trichoderma and stachybotrys chartarum (black mold)
- Sagging and cracking sheetrock or drywall
This secondary damage occurs when the primary damage is not addressed properly, or the damage isn't found for a long while. Lingering high humidity may also be a culprit; if proper dehumidification techniques aren't used, moisture can remain to cause big problems.
How to Prevent Secondary Damage
If you are able to enter the building, you can take some immediate steps to help contain the damage. Ventilate the area as well as possible with AC in the summer, or by opening windows and turning on the heat during the winter. Remove as much water as possible by mopping and moving saturated rugs outside or to another dry area. Remove any items such as furniture, electronics, and documents as well.
The only way to be certain that you won't have to deal with secondary damage is to call a professional water damage restoration company right away. They will immediately do an inspection to assess the extent of the damage, then use specialized equipment to make sure everything is completely dried and disinfected to prevent any spread of harmful pathogens such as bacteria or black mold. They will also be able to make any necessary structural repairs and get your building back to its former condition. Armed with the information outlined above and the help of a professional restoration service, you can make sure that secondary damage is avoided.
Surviving the Rising Waters: Basic Flood Safety Tips
Rainstorm blew off the chimney cap causing storm damage in a Hall Park, OK home
Floods are intense and dangerous. While waters may look calm, don’t be fooled. A mere 6 inches of water can take down a full-grown man, sweeping him into the often unrelenting currents. If you are ever caught in a flood, you should be aware of basic flood safety, and review the five safety tips below.
The first safety tip is to listen to warnings and evacuate if so ordered. Never assume to know better than the government agencies that are warning you. Also, keep in mind that when areas are evacuated it likely means that emergency services will not be available in those areas for the time being.
2. Turn around. Don’t Drown!
If you are unable or unwilling to evacuate your home, then whatever you do avoid areas that are flooding around you and attempt to stay on dry land. The adage of “Turn around. Don’t drown!” is not to be taken lightly. To remain safe during the flood, it is essential that you avoid rising water for as long as possible.
3. Avoid Bridges
While bridges may appear to be dry and stable, if there is fast-moving water directly underneath them, it is basic flood safety to avoid them because they can be washed away with little warning.
4. Listen to Emergency Broadcasts
If you have a radio or cellular service during the flood, be sure to stay tuned into NOAA Weather Radio, EAS, or a local alert system to stay up-to-date on any further developments in your area. These stations can provide valuable information about rescue developments and any new storm surges.
5. Elevate Yourself
The most important element of surviving a flood is to elevate yourself. Try to remain above the rising water but do not allow yourself to get trapped in a room with no exits, like an attic.
While these flood safety tips cover the basics, you’ll want to check with the Hall Park, OK, emergency management office or other experts in your area to verify any other necessary safety precautions.
The Top 5 Hidden Places Mold May Grow
Mold damage on walls in a Norman, OK home
If you smell a moldy odor but see no signs of mold growth, you may need to hire professionals to look for hidden mold. Avoid searching for mold yourself, as you may risk exposure and spread spores. Here are five common places where mold multiplies out of sight.
1. Behind Walls
If moisture is present, mold can thrive behind walls where air circulation and exposure are limited. Never attempt to cut holes in the walls to check for mold. Hire a specialist to inspect the area and determine whether you are dealing with moldy drywall or other damaged building materials.
2. In the Attic
Roof leaks can cause mold to grow in an attic. Regularly inspect this area for visible mold on wood or other building materials. These leaks can also cause mold to grow behind walls.
3. Under Laminate Flooring
Concrete foundations can crack and be exposed to moisture from soil that can cause mold growth. Laminate flooring may not breathe adequately to prevent mold from forming.
4. Refrigerator Drip Pans
A drip pan under a refrigerator collects condensation. As these components are seldom cleaned and remain moist with low air circulation and the potential for spilled food to collect, drip pans are prime locations for hidden mold. Clean out drip pans and the floor beneath at least once a year.
5. Air Conditioning Units
Condensation may also cause mold to grow in air conditioning coils, ducts, or drain pans. This is particularly the case if the unit has not been used for a long time. To prevent mold from spreading throughout your home, it is best to have the HVAC system professionally cleaned.
If you suspect mold growth is occurring in your residence in Norman, OK, contact a certified hygienist or specialist to schedule testing. If mold is found, retain the services of a residential mold remediation company.
What To Do About Water in Your Crawl Space
A wet crawl space can occur even with the best prevention methods.
There are lots of ways a flood can affect your home. A crawl space is underneath your feet, making it easy to forget about. It’s meant to give you access to wiring, HVAC and plumbing, so a wet crawl space can be dangerous. Here’s how you can repair it and not let it sink your week.
Water from flooding can easily move into crawl spaces below thanks to any cracks in the foundation. A professional service can thoroughly repair cracks and ensure that the foundation remains sound. On your own, you can repair leaks and inspect gutters, drainage and grading to make sure they’re not part of the problem.
Clean Up and Take Care
Once you've established you have a wet crawl space, you should remove debris and replace wet insulation. You may also need to take some of the follow precautions to avoid future floods:
? Install a sump pump.
? Insulate cold water pipes with foam pipe insulation so condensation won’t form, as well as to prevent freezing.
? Apply a vapor barrier over the floor and up the wall; condition your crawl space to avoid heat loss, air problems, mold growth and structural and duct damage.
? If you have mold, a professional is equipped to safely and thoroughly handle those issues.
Unlike a home with a concrete slab foundation, with a crawl space, you don’t have to excavate in order to resolve a pipe leak. Being smaller than a basement makes it far easier to handle when there’s flooding.
However, improper ventilation can lead to moisture moving up into the home, rotting structures and a spurring a growth in mold and fungi. To get air moving, you should consider installing the following:
? An air vent leading from your HVAC system
? An exhaust fan to move the air outside
? A dehumidifier
A wet crawl space can occur even with the best prevention methods. A professional water cleanup and restoration service is best able to handle any mold or structural issues that you cannot resolve on your own. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorman.com/.