Christmas Trees and Mold
4 Ways To Reduce Christmas Tree Mold Levels
Live Christmas trees may bring more than the fresh pine scent of the holiday season into homes. With most trees cut in advance of the holidays and stored in a moist environment for fresh keeping, this makes them a likely mold source.
Here are a few tips to help you cut the Christmas mold level in your home, without giving up the fresh tree:
Limit The Time You Leave Your Tree Up
The longer the tree is inside of your home, the higher the mold level may be. If those in your household are prone to mold allergies, but don’t want to give up the fresh Christmas tree, consider putting the tree up Christmas Eve and taking it down on New Year’s Day. Try to keep a live tree in your home between 4-7 days at maximum.
Wash Your Tree
Before bringing the freshly cut tree inside of your home, wash it first using the garden hose. Set the nozzle to a hard-spray level to get into all of those little nooks and crannies of the trunk. Then, wipe the trunk thoroughly with a solution of warm water and bleach (1 part bleach to 20 parts water). Let it dry in the sun before bringing it inside of your home.
Use an Air Purifier
Run an air purifier in the same room as the fresh tree. Cleaner air is key during the holidays, and helps to reduce your mold exposure and lessen the effects of your tree allergies.
The best way to avoid the mold infestation is to buy an artificial tree. Unless you store your artificial tree inside of a sealed plastic bag, it will still need a good shaking outside when it’s brought out of storage each year to relieve it of dust. Also, store all of your Christmas ornaments and decorations in plastic containers (instead of cardboard ones) to keep the dust off of them.
If you see signs of mold, call SERVPRO!
Don't Let a Sprinkler Leak Get You Down
What is low head drainage?
This is when the sprinkler continues to siphon water once the system has been turned off. This typically occurs at one of the lowest points in your yard as water drains down to that water spout. According to experts at Sprinkler Warehouse, "If a sprinkler head is located in the lowest part of the system, water will flow out of that head until an equilibrium has been reached or all of the water has emptied out of the zone's pipes."
When this happens, puddles start to form and or water flows across walkways and driveways. This can be prevented by a few adjustments being made to your system or the installation of a drain check valve.
How does a broken pipe occur?
A broken pipe can occur in the main line or lateral line of an irrigation system. In the main line, there is continuous pressure, so if there is a break or leak in this pipe, then water is continuing to run. Unfortunately, this can cause erosion or a wet spot. Attention needs to be made to this problem immediately so that the water line can be completely turned off for repair.
A lateral line reaches different zones in your yard and are under pressure when the system is running. It can be hard to detect a leak because it's only visible when the system is on and you have to notice which zone actually has the leak. Regardless of its location, it too can cause erosion or holes in your lawn. If you notice a leak in your irrigation system, it can be fixed and should be addressed fairly quickly.
Use this information to keep an eye out for any leaks or problems that could arise this Spring.
Minimize Damage by Preparing Your Building
Weather in Pennsylvania can change in an instant, and it only takes a small shift in a storm’s track to bring torrential downpours that could lead to devastating flooding. If you’re a business owner, a flood can represent a serious threat to your company’s operations. While there’s not a lot you can do to stop major floods from hurricanes and other natural disasters, here are some steps you can take to lessen the impact of storm and flood damage.
Build Barriers to Slow Water Incursion
Water is a powerful force, and it’s virtually impossible to keep it at bay, but you can throw barriers in its path to slow it down. You can start this process long before the onset of flooding by building a levee, berm or flood control wall if local building codes permit. Have a professional assess your lower floors to see if you should apply sealants to walls or relocate utility boxes. When the rain starts falling, you can also place sandbags in strategic areas around the structure:
Across doorways, right up against the door
In front of garage doors
Around showers and floor drains to prevent incursion by backed up “black water”
When building sandbag walls, make certain you don’t completely surround your building, and use a plastic tarp as a base for extra waterproofing.
Clean Storm Drains and Gutters
In many cases, flood damage happens during normal storms because the building owner didn’t keep up on maintenance. Gutters, storm drains and other devices are designed to channel water away from the building, which is why it’s important to clean them regularly to ensure they’re free from debris that could cause a backup.
Minimize Losses by Being Prepared
Why risk significant disruptions to your operations when you could cut down on storm damage by taking some preparatory steps? Should you experience flooding despite your efforts, be sure to contact an experienced remediation company immediately to get you back up and running as soon as possible.
Water Leaks Can Cause Mold
A leaky faucet in your home can be very annoying, but it has the potential to be much more than an annoyance. The moisture caused by leaks can make your home into the perfect environment for Spring mold growth. Mold spores are known to cause allergic reactions and exacerbate respiratory problems. Mold can grow rapidly if you fail to notice a leak shortly after it starts, especially in humid climates. Knowing the risks that mold presents and quickly fixing your water leaks can help to protect your home from mold growth and protect your health as well.
About Mold Growth
Spring mold growth will begin in areas of your home that are wet. The mold spores will land on moist surfaces and then start to germinate. The materials on which mold can grow include:
• Painted surfaces
How Mold Can Affect Your Health
Most types of mold are harmless but can cause problems for individuals with allergies. They can cause symptoms such as coughing, a runny nose or breathing problems. A few types of mold are indeed very toxic, whether or not you have allergies.
Indications of Mold Growth Due to Water Leaks
If you see black and white spots in the area of the leak, this is a sign that you have mold. Kitchens and basements are some of the areas in your home where there is a high risk of mold growth as these areas are prone to leaks. It is therefore important that you properly maintain your plumbing fixtures.
Preventing Mold Growth after Fixing Leaks
If you discover a water leak, have it fixed as soon as possible to minimize the potential for Spring mold growth. After the leak has been fixed, use a mild detergent to wash the area and then allow it to dry completely. After it has dried, thoroughly wipe the area with bleach to kill any spores present. Boric acid also effective at killing mold spores and can be used as a substitute for bleach. Be sure to keep kids and pets out of the area while handling chemicals.
Get Professional Assistance
If there is a part of your home that is prone to water leaks, contact a plumber. If there are hidden problems that are causing leaks to recur, you may not be able to find them yourself. A licensed plumber who is experienced at finding and fixing leaks will be better able to find and fix the issues. Your plumber will also be able to advise you on how to maintain your plumbing to prevent water leaks and mold growth in the future.
Microscopic mold spores exist almost everywhere, outdoors and indoors, making it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
Old Building Smell? Let SERVPRO Freshen The Air
Older Buildings Are Smelly
Many of the older buildings in the Pittsburgh area have a distinct smell. People may say that they smell musty or of old material. One way to freshen up the place is to have some deodorization done by SERVPRO.
We use state of the art equipment to clean the air within your building. Depending on the odor we have a few techniques that we'll use.
- Thermal Fogging technique which helps penetrate deeply into building materials.
- An ozone machine is used to help add a fresh smell to odors that seem to linger such as smoke.
- Old fashioned deep cleaning of walls shouldn't be overlooked.
- Carpet cleaning using hot water extraction to remove deep and hard to remove soils.
- Adding to any of the above methods is that of HVAC cleaning. Getting the air ducts clean will definitely freshen any building no matter the age.
Restoring Your Commercial Property After a Water Damage Event
Your Pittsburgh Region Disaster Recovery Team Is Here to Help!
Water damage events at commercial properties present their own unique challenges, and can be very stressful. Our staff understands the importance of getting your commercial property up and running as fast as possible.
When we arrive at your property we bring 10 years of experience with commercial property damage with us. We have the necessary resources to handle any job, large or small. Our trained professionals work quickly to assess the situation, isolate the damaged area, and start work immediately. Time is always of the essence to minimize damage, and to resume operations as soon as possible. Your local SERVPRO has access to large loss teams specifically trained and ready to go in event of a large loss.
If your commercial property experiences a water damage event call us so we can put our experience and resources to work for you.
Importance of Mold Testing
When a home suffers a water damage event, a mold infestation can quickly arise and spread throughout a home in 48-72 hours. Because mold can produce allergens and irritants, you will want a professional that has training and experience to properly resolve the mold infestation.
In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling may be unnecessary. However at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East we find it important to do the mold testing before and after the remediation process. We work with Tricor Inspection to complete the mold testing or sampling process.
We do surface sampling to make sure the affected area has been cleaned and remediated properly. We also have the mold tested to see what kind of mold was growing. We do this because there are more dangerous strains of mold than others.
If you would like a free mold home inspection today, call us at (412) 672-5400.
Are you Prepared?
Is your business prepared in case a disaster or emergency situation should occur? Disasters and resulting business interruptions can devastate companies; in fact, as many as 50% of businesses that experience a disaster never reopen. With the proper planning and proactive restoration, you can be better prepared to survive a disaster should one occur.
The need and benefit of having a detailed emergency action plan is crucial. A well-developed plan can help mitigate the effects of disasters and help you return to business quickly, saving time, unnecessary frustration and money. Those few minutes and hours immediately following a loss can be significant in determining the amount of time the property will be non-functional. Fast response can mean the difference between restoration and cleaning versus costly replacement resulting from prolonged exposure and secondary damage.
Developing a solid working contingency plan and networking with reputable vendors to assist you in your time of need are essential in your recovery efforts. Having a reliable company to respond immediately and begin emergency procedures is a critical part of any contingency plan. As part of a Franchise System, SERVPRO has access to over 10,000 quality teammates with thousands of pieces of commercial equipment and service vehicles that can typically respond to a crisis within hours.
SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East can provide you a free emergency preparedness plan to help minimize interruption, overall costs and tenant inconvenience. Listed below are some of the items that are found in the Emergency Response Profile:
- Immediate Response Checklist - An organized and prioritized list of persons who need to be contacted when an emergency occurs, including insurance contacts and emergency service providers.
- Building and Grounds Information - Building statistics and key support companies (i.e. security, engineering and elevator).
- Content Information – Inventories of contents and locations of valuable documents, articles and other important items. This also includes machinery and office equipment inventory lists and information as well as vital documents and records.
As a free service to you, we will catalog all of this important information into a customized Emergency Response Profile for your property or properties. Call us today at 412-672-5400 for a straight, no-nonsense discussion on how to get your facility back up and running following an adverse situation.
What to Do Before Help Arrives
SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is always here to help and we want to make sure that everyone stays educated so that way we can find ways to avoid home disasters.
Here are some recent home fire facts to keep in mind when replacing smoke detectors and keeping our homes as safe as possible.
- Having a working smoke alarm can cut the risk of home fire deaths in half.
- It's important to know the difference between hardwired and battery powered smoke detectors. Hardwired alarms operate 90% of the time and battery powered ones only work 84% of the time. Which is a pretty decent difference when it comes to a home fire.
- According to a National Fire Prevention Week survey only 1/3 of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
It is important to have a plan in motion. If you need help developing a fire escape plan SERVPRO would gladly help you along. Or you can visit www.nfpa.org for more information.
Understanding Industry Terms
SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is always "Here to Help". We know that sometimes some of our jargon can be confusing so we usually try to break it down as easy as we can out in the field, but we know that our customers like to stay informed. Here are some common terms used in the field with their definition so you can understand better what is happening in your home or business.
Anti-Microbials: A substance, mechanism, or condition that inhibits the growth or existence of an organism.
Fire Damage Recovery: The process of restoring and recovering property and belongings after a fire. The objectives include minimizing existing damage, damage mitigation, structure stabilization, soot & odor removal and reconstruction.
Fungi: The unicellular or multicellular eukaryotic organisms embracing a large group of microflora including molds, mildews, yeasts, mushrooms, rusts and smuts.
HVAC: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
HEPA Filter: High efficiency particulate air filter, a specialized filter capable of removing 99.7% of particles.
Masking Agents: Designed to prevent or remove heightened awareness to odors by providing a fragrance, which is stronger and more pleasant to smell while the source of the odor is being eliminated.
Smoke Damage Removal: Neutralizing or removing smoke odors that linger after fires.
Smoke Particles: Smoke is composed of gases, aerosols, and airborne solids. Dry wood, natural fibers and paper all produce small non-smearing material. Plastic, foam, and rubber (polymers) produce large easily smeared residues.