Preventing Mold in your HVAC System
One of the best places to start in preventing mold in your home is your HVAC system. If it is not cared for properly mold can buildup and spread throughout your home. The following are some tips to help prevent mold in your HVAC system.
- First and foremost, make sure your HVAC system is sized properly. If it is too small it will run constantly which in turn elevates costs. On the other hand, if it is too big, it will constantly start and stop, which also wastes energy.
- Replace your air filters regularly- It is advised to change them at least once a month. If they become wet and dirty they become inefficient at trapping mold spores and other contaminants.
- Apply an HVAC mold inhibitor- Important: You need to apply an EPA-approved disinfectant that is labeled for us in HVAC systems before applying the inhibitor. A mold inhibitor will help to prevent mold and mildew growth in your HVAC system.
- Check your air intakes- Keep the areas below air intakes clean by removing standing water and anything else that can contaminate your air.
- Eliminate clutter- Keep furniture and other items away from vents as this can block airflow. On humid, still days, run a couple fans to keep the air moving.
- Monitor humidity- Use an indoor humidity monitor, which can be purchased at most hardware stores, and make sure your humidity level falls between 35-50%, which is an ideal level. If you reach 60% relative humidity, you should start looking for the source of the added moisture because if it continues to rise and gets above 70% certain species of mold can begin growing.
Should you want your HVAC system cleaned, SERVPRO of Burlington can help out. Give us a call to set up an appointment.
Protecting your Fire Sprinkler System Pipes
In a previous post I wrote about the different types of fire sprinkler systems so for this one I want to dive deeper into how to protect these pipes from freezing. Typically these type of pipes get pushed to the back of your mind but these are just as important to keep protected also.
- If you lose heating in your building and it cannot be restored immediately it is important to shut off your fire sprinkler system and completely drain it.
- Properly insulate any of these pipes that are located in exterior walls, unheated spaces, or ones that are exposed to extreme cold weather. It is recommended you use heat tracing that is UL-listed.
- Drain any piping that is not required during the winter months, if possible.
- Regularly inspect your fire sprinkler system to make sure they are in good operating condition.
Should you run into an issue where these pipes break and cause water damage don't hesitate to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington. We are available 24/7 and will help return your business to normal.
With another round of snow forecast for this coming weekend, this is the time to talk about our winter weather. Not only can several inches of snow be an inconvenience but so can the winds that come along with it. A severe snowstorm that has strong sustained winds of at least 35 mph and that last for three or more hours is considered a blizzard. Not only can this type of storm cause damage to your home but it can also bring whiteout conditions making it extremely unsafe to travel.
It is recommended to keep an emergency kit stocked for your home and your car as well. For your home kit you should include candles, flashlights, warm blankets, non-perishable food, drinking water, and a backup heat source just to name a few. In case you must travel during a blizzard, although it is not recommended, your kit should include water, jumper cables, road flares, tow rope, and non-perishable snacks. This kit comes in handy should your car break down, you get into an accident, or become stuck in the snow. It is important that you stay with your car unless you see a building nearby.
I hope everyone stays safe and keeps warm this winter!
Common Types of Mold
While not all mold is dangerous some can affect your health. I've gone over how to spot mold in your home and the steps we take to remedy your mold problem. Below I will list the three most common types of mold found in homes and where they are typically located.
- Aspergillus is most commonly found indoors growing on dust and powdery building materials, such as drywall.
- Cladosporium can grow in cool areas as well as warm ones. It is most commonly found on fabrics and wood surfaces.
- Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold, requires very high moisture content in order to grow. Due to it needing moisture it can sometimes be found in air conditioning pipes and ducts. You may also notice this kind of mold in water-damaged buildings.
Should you come across any of these types of mold in your home call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington. We have the advanced techniques and equipment to restore your home back to a safe environment.
Commercial Weather Preparedness
If you own a commercial building or run a business it is important to have a plan in place in case severe weather strikes. Having a plan helps you to protect your building, your employees and any customers, and your equipment. Listed below are some helpful planning tips to keep your business up and running during any kind of severe weather.
- Inspect your building for any kinds of weaknesses, such as cracks near doors and windows or any loose trim that has the potential to blow off and injure someone.
- Clear snow and ice regularly from your entryways, sidewalks, and roofs. You don't want to take the chance of a customer slipping and falling outside.
- Make sure your business's insurance coverage can cover any damages that may occur from severe weather and update if necessary.
- Compile important numbers such as the fire department, insurance company, and electrician just to name a few. This is where an ERP can be helpful as the program contains all that information.
- Review your equipment and systems that keep your business running, such as computers and manufacturing equipment.
Should you run into any damage after the weather has cleared don't hesitate to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington.
Storm Damage Restoration
Along with fire and water damage restoration SERVPRO of Burlington also provides storm damage cleanup and restoration. Once the storm has passed we will respond quickly to assess your needs and get the restoration process started. A quick response helps prevent secondary damage and also helps to reduce restoration costs.
We are a trusted leader in the storm and water damage industry and our technicians have the advanced training and expertise to return your home back to pre-storm condition. Along with advanced training we also have a lot of hands-on experience and advanced equipment to help in the restoration process. Along with helping out locally we can also access the resources and personnel of 1,700 Franchises to handle major storms and disasters. Don't hesitate to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington for all your storm damage needs. We can help make it "Like it never even happened."
Fire Sprinkler Systems
If you own a commercial property it is important to have a fire sprinkler system installed if there is not already one. Most sprinkler systems are designed to only release water from pipes when temperatures rise and will provide an appropriate amount of water to extinguish fires before they continue to grow and spread and cause more damage. These systems also have the ability to reduce how much smoke is produced from a fire. There are four different systems that can be installed and below I will explain the difference between each one.
- Pre-action sprinkler systems don't have water in the pipes until an actual emergency occurs. An electronically operated valve holds the water back and the pipes are filled with pressurized air or nitrogen. These systems are typically used in facilities with truly valuable items.
- Wet pipe sprinkler systems are just like they sound in that the pipes are constantly filled with water, allowing them to react quickly in the event of a fire. These are typically found in high-rise buildings.
- Dry-pipe sprinkler systems are filled with pressurized air and when a fire happens this pressurized air is released and the water is allowed to flow from the control valve outside the protected area.
- Deluge sprinkler systems sometimes use water to put down the flames but will often use dry chemicals or foam. The reason for this is because these systems tend to be used in industrial facilities since they tend to have more highly combustible materials. Due to this the sprinkler system will also have multiple sprinklers because due to the combustible materials a fire could spread a lot quicker.
Not only can the water you see after a water emergency be an issue but so can the water that you can't see. Water can absorb into flooring, drywall, and ceilings, as well as wooden support beams and sheetrock. If these areas aren't also taken care of mold can start to grow and that can not only cause more damage but it can also affect your health. The following are signs of hidden water leaks which can lead to mold.
- Excess water or moisture can create a musty smell when it gets absorbed into building materials.
- If you notice mold on walls or baseboards that is a good sign there is a hidden water leak somewhere.
- If you have visible stains on your walls and they continue to get bigger that is something that needs addressed.
- Check for separation in the wallpaper along the seams or even flaking paint.
- Last but not least stained or buckled ceilings and floors are another good indicator of hidden water damage. If you see this also check the nearby walls for signs of water damage.
Addressing these issues yourself can be pretty extensive and difficult to do. This is why it is smart to call SERVPRO of Burlington. We have the highly trained professionals who will respond to your home quickly with advanced mold remediation techniques and equipment
SERVPRO of Burlington
This time of the year is the perfect time to talk about ice storms because our area is prime for freezing rain and they most often occur during the months of December and January. Annually we have on average 12-15 hours of freezing rain. Something you may not know about ice storms is that urban areas tend to suffer more economic and physical damage than rural areas because of the concentration of utilities and transportation systems.
According to most meteorologists, just one-quarter of an inch of ice accumulation can add about 500 pounds of weight per line span. This can cause falling branches and can also tear down power and telephone lines. If more than a half-inch of ice occurs and damage is widespread, it can take a while to remove trees and repair power lines. This can result in a loss of electricity and heat for several days. This is why it is important to make sure you have an emergency kit filled with flashlights, battery-powered radios, candles, and matches just to name a few items. Stay safe this winter season!
Heating Safety Tips
According to the National Fire Protection Association, half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. The following are some tips from the NFPA to help prevent these kinds of fires.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires or space heaters.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month.