How do molds affect people?
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould pdf icon[PDF – 2.65 MB]external icon Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.
There is no blood test for mold. Some physicians can do allergy testing for possible allergies to mold, but no clinically proven tests can pinpoint when or where a particular mold exposure took place.
Who is most at risk for health problems associated with exposure to mold?
People with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. Individuals with chronic respiratory disease (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma) may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immunosuppression are at increased risk for infection from molds. If you or your family members have these conditions, a qualified medical clinician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.
How do you keep mold out of buildings and homes?
Inspect buildings for evidence of water damage and visible mold as part of routine building maintenance. Correct conditions causing mold growth (e.g., water leaks, condensation, infiltration, or flooding) to prevent mold growth by contacting SERVPRO of Boise/Meridian.
Inside your home, you can control mold growth by:
- Controlling humidity levels;
- Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes;
- Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding;
- Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.
- Keep humidity levels as low as you can—between 30% and 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
- Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms for basements that may have a lot of moisture.
How to recover from mold growth.
Moisture and high humidity can attract mold spores into your Treasure Valley home, where they can grow across a variety of surfaces. While mold commonly grows on building surfaces like drywall and carpeting, it can also affect your belongings such as clothing and furniture. Mold cleaning can be difficult; however, before you throw items away, you may want to learn about which could be saved by different types of professional cleaning processes used by SERVPRO of Boise/Meridian and which cannot.
1. Throw Away Porous Items
Most porous surfaces can absorb water and encourage further mold growth. As such, some items like mattresses, thick rugs and stuffed toys that already show signs of mold damage are usually not salvageable. If your child has a favorite stuffed toy that you want to attempt to save, ask our SERVPRO remediation technicians if they have any mold cleaning processes that may help. You may want to remember, however, that porous items affected by black mold are usually considered unsalvageable because this type of fungus is particularly hard to eradicate.
2. Freeze Documents and Books
If you have important documents and books that developed mold, place them in sealable plastic bags and store them in your freezer. Freezing these items can inhibit further mold growth and protect them until they can be inspected by our SERVPRO expert mold remediation and restoration technicians This can salvage items like original birth certificates, wedding albums, and baby books.
3. Set Aside Moldy Clothing
If you have favorite items of clothing that have been affected by mold, ask our remediation technicians about what type of options you have for salvaging them. Wet, dry and immersion cleaning may all be possible, especially for leather jackets and shoes. SERVPRO of Boise/Meridian uses an Esporta Machine, which cleans soft contents by removing tough odors, dirt, and molds in a way that even commercial-grade units cannot.
Mold can have a devastating effect on your home’s contents. However, professional mold cleaning processes may be able to salvage your treasured possessions, even if you believe they are beyond repair.
Let us try to help you with this problem, call SERVPRO of Boise at 208-375-0300.
Commercial Fire Damage Restoration
When a fire strikes your commercial property, it's quite likely that you feel yourself start to panic. This immediate reaction makes sense given all of the economic turmoil and property destruction that a fire can cause. However, knowing which steps to take in the face of a Treasure Valley commercial fire can help prevent you from becoming anxious, losing money, and undergoing extensive property damages. To handle a treasure valley commercial fire successfully and speedily, implement the following four tips:
1. Contact A Fire Remediation Expert.
Once the fire department has doused all of the flames, be sure to call a fire remediation expert. This individual will be able to equip you with a thorough assessment indicating the extent of the damages. Don't ever attempt to handle any of the cleanups, drying, or restoration processes on your own. Doing so could put you in peril of injury and illness.
2. Assemble Your Records.
In addition to contacting a fire remediation expert, make sure that you assemble your business's essential records. You'll want to have this information with you when you start working with your insurance company. To guarantee that you can have all of your files ready in a safe place, make a point to buy a fireproof safe where they can be stored.
3. Call The Insurance Company Immediately.
Be sure that you call your insurance company once the fire is put out. This step is important because your insurance agent will work with you to file a claim and determine how much coverage you'll attain for the commercial damages.
4. Get Permission To Reenter The Building.
Always ask the fire department or another local authority whether you can reenter your building. In some cases, Treasure valley fires can weaken the structural integrity of the commercial property and make it subject to collapse. This is why you need to assure that reentry is safe for you and your employees.
Call SERVPRO For Fast, Friendly Fire Remediation Services
If your business caught on fire, don't worry. Instead, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Boise and let us start cleaning up immediately. Acting right now is the key to limiting damages and expediting the restoration process. Choosing our team of industry specialists is the secret to attaining the sophisticated services you deserve. All of our IICRC-certified technicians will work with diligence and determination to get your commercial property back in pristine condition, so call us now at (208) 375-0300 to attain your free estimate.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Boise is strategically located to respond quickly to your commercial fire emergency event. When commercial fire damage occurs we have the resources and personnel to help. Call us today! (208) 375-0300
Secure Flood Insurance Before the Potential for Spring Flooding Occurs
BOISE, ID – It takes only a few inches of water to cause thousands of dollars in property damage. As spring temperatures begin to rise, so does the potential for area flooding. The Idaho Department of Insurance (DOI) urges consumers to protect their homes and families by securing flood insurance long before the area snow-pack begins to melt and seasonal rains occur.
Consumers should be aware that only flood insurance covers flood damage, while most standard homeowner’s policies do not. Also, flood policies typically mandate a 30-day waiting period before coverage becomes effective. DOI Director Dean Cameron says flooding does not have to be a “catastrophic event” to cause severe financial issues.
“Many consumers remain unprotected, but you don’t have to live in a flood zone or high-risk area to suffer major flood damage,” said Cameron. “Don’t get caught off guard. Meet with a licensed agent to discuss and review your coverage now.”
What to know about floods and flood insurance coverage:
- The time to prepare is now; where it can rain, it can flood.
- Flood insurance is affordable and anyone can purchase it.
- FEMA statistics estimate more than 20 percent of flood claims result from properties considered outside high-risk areas.
- Only about 12 percent of U.S. homeowners have flood insurance.
- Flood damage costs exceed $8 billion annually nationwide.
American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign
It’s time to spring forward! As people TURN their clocks forward one hour, the American Red Cross reminds everyone to TEST their smoke alarms.
This weekend is also a good time for everyone to take these lifesaving steps to help prepare households for home fires, the nation’s most frequent disaster:
- Check smoke alarms and replace batteries if needed. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Test smoke alarms once a month. Change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it. Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms, and sleeping areas.
- Create and practice your home fire escape plan. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late. This weekend, create a home fire escape plan with your household and practice it until everyone can escape in less than two minutes. Escape plans should include at least two ways to escape from every room and a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone knows where to meet.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN SAVING LIVES
Each year, the Red Cross responds to more than 62,000 disasters—the vast majority of which are home fires. Every day, seven people die in home fires, and most tragedies occur in homes without working smoke alarms. That’s why the Red Cross launched the Home Fire Campaign with community partners in 2014 to reduce needless deaths and injuries.
So far, the Home Fire Campaign has reached more than 1.7 million people and is credited with saving more than 500 lives across the country. The campaign’s volunteers and partners have also:
- Installed more than 1.5 million free smoke alarms
- Reached more than 1.3 million children through youth preparedness programs
- Made more than 660,000 households safer from the threat of home fires
People can visit redcross.org/homefires for free resources and to learn more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire, or contact their local Red Cross to find out about smoke alarm installation events in their community.
10 Things You Should be Doing to Prevent Mold
Regardless if you’re a new homeowner or if you’ve been in the same home for forty years, it’s absolutely vital to make sure you take the proper precautions to fight off and prevent mold and mildew in your home or office. Mold is basically tiny fungi that grow in branch-like filaments called hyphae. While some mold and mildew can be scrubbed away with the right cleaning products, other types of mold can do severe damage to the structure of your home and it can be very expensive to repair. Not only is mold horrible for your home, but it’s also very dangerous. Mold can cause a number of health problems, especially for those with allergies or immune disorders.
Mold can bring on coughing, nasal congestion, throat irritation, upper respiratory tract infections, and other cold-like symptoms. For those with compromised immune systems, the effects of mold can be much more serious. Unfortunately, certain kinds of toxic mold are undetectable by the naked eye. That’s why it’s so important to follow these guidelines to make sure that you’re protecting yourself and your home from the potential risks of mold and mildew.
1. Be Aware of Air Flow
When trying to prevent mold, take note of the arrangement of furniture and other items in your home. You want to make sure you have a proper airflow throughout the house. When moisture gets trapped, you’re increasing your chances of mold. Always be aware of odd smells or odors in the home that may represent mold or mildew. Any kind of musty smells will most likely be a sign of mold growth.
2. Know Your Moisture Levels
Most people don’t really know how much moisture they have floating around their home, but it’s important to keep an eye on these levels, especially in basements. Basements should always be below 50% humidity to prevent mold. If you’re worried about how much humidity is in your home, you can purchase a hygrometer. A lot of the new thermometers for central air and heat in more modern homes will include a humidity level setting on the monitor.
3. Check All Storage
When moving into a new home, it’s easy to toss unwanted cardboard boxes and bins into the garage and then forget they were ever there. If it’s been a while since you’ve explored through the storage in your garage, basement or attic, you may want to give it a good check. Cardboard boxes in low ventilated areas are a breeding ground for mold. You also want to stay away from keeping your items in cardboard boxes or on wooden shelves.
4. Keep Moisture Rich Areas Clean
To prevent mold it’s important to consistently clean areas of the house that are exposed to moisture often, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Routinely remove all of the items on your counter-tops and use anti-mold or mildew cleaning products. If water gets trapped in areas for longer than 48-hours, then mold can become apparent.
5. Utilize Exhaust Fans
When showering or cooking, remember to always use your exhaust fans. Some people will only turn exhaust fans on after showering, but this is a big mold prevention no-no. Always be sure to have the fan on during a hot shower, as well as for some time after a shower to make sure that all of the humidity has dissipated.
6. Be Aware of Leaks
It’s important to have your house checked randomly throughout the year for leaks. A leaky pipe that goes unnoticed can create havoc in a household. Something that might be simple to fix one day, can turn into a nightmare if it goes undetected. Have a mold remediation company occasionally check your home for potential leaks to save yourself money in the long run.
7. Remove Carpet in Basements
While some carpets may feel cozy and look great in a basement, they can turn into a fuzzy hotel for fungus. Basements are infamous for holding in moisture and carpets can make these matters much worse. If you’re looking to upgrade your home in the near future, tearing out carpets in the basement not only saves you from potential mold, but it can also increase your property value.
8. Keep Roof and Gutters Clean
With heavy rain, moisture can clog up your gutters and cause cracks in your roof. It can build up near corners or crevasses in doorways. Keeping your roof and your gutters clean throughout the year can help you to prevent mold in these areas.
9. Use Mold Prevention Based Paints
If you happen to be renovating or moving into a new home, it’s the perfect time to find quality mold inhibiting paints and primers. Ask an expert at your local home improvement store which kind of paints are best for fighting off mold and mildew.
10. Change Out Air Filters
Everyone should always be aware of the air quality in their home. As mentioned above, many of the airborne illnesses that come from mold are very difficult to detect. Changing out air filters or purchasing air purifiers can add an extra layer of protection in your home.
Having the above ten steps on your checklist will help you to prevent mold in your home. If you do suspect there is mold in your home, call the experts to inspect and remove it for you.
SERVPRO® professionals are trained in adhering to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. SERVPRO® franchise professionals offer cleaning services including the removal of biohazard contaminants. They have the specialized training and products to get your property back to business. About Coronavirus The CDC is responding to an outbreak of a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has spread to 60 locations internationally (as of this publication), including cases in the United States. The virus known as “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
It is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person or through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Scope of Cleanup Protocol SERVPRO professionals can perform a proactive cleanup that involves facility or structure cleaning and disinfection where the customer states that there is no active known threat of COVID-19 contamination or exposure. The customer will be required to acknowledge that cleaning and disinfecting will only apply to the current state of the structure and contents. The structure would not be protected from future COVID-19 contamination if an infected person was to enter and occupy the building. Cleanup Scope of Work and Planning The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and tables at a minimum.
These same surfaces are mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces as well, including: • Kitchen/Food Areas • Bathrooms • Schools/Classrooms • Offices • Retail Spaces • Water Fountains • Shelving and Racks • Sales Counters • Carpets and rugs • Stair Handrails • Elevator Cars • Playground Equipment • Fitness Equipment
Cleanup and Disinfecting Procedures Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of waste. The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar type organisms to COVID-19. SERVPROXIDE™, SERVPRO’s proprietary disinfectant, is a hospital-grade disinfectant that has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 on hard, non-porous surfaces. In addition, SERVPROXIDE™ currently has dozens of EPA-approved claims including Feline coronavirus, Canine coronavirus, Staphylococcus (MRSA), E. coli, Salmonella, Rotavirus, Swine flu (H1N1) and more. Porous surfaces that are not water-sensitive, such as carpet and other fabric material, cannot be disinfected but can be sanitized using SERVPROXIDE™.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html ii https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html iii https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-preventspread.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fguidance-preventspread.html iv https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html
The Esporta Wash System is the disaster restoration industry’s only wet-wash machine designed exclusively to recover “soft contents” damaged in fire and water disasters. Soft contents include items such as footwear, linens, outerwear, leathers, bedding, outdoor items, athletic equipment, survival gear, sleeping bags, life jackets, stuffed toys, and almost all of your personal clothing.
The patented system breaks down unwanted organic materials and kills bacteria, viruses, and mold spores on contact. The system also removes organic and inorganic contaminants without degrading or damaging the materials. It is five times more effective than traditional front-loading washing machines.
If you have favorite items of clothing that have been affected by mold, ask our SERVPRO of Boise/Meridian remediation technicians about what type of options you have for salvaging them!
Keep calm and wash your hands...it's a funny meme right now, but did you know that there is so much more than just that involved?
SERVPRO has always been a cleaning company first and foremost, even though most folks think of us for water damage and restoration. We are currently on the frontlines across the country and here in the Treasure Valley assisting in responses and performing precautionary cleanings. If you hear of anyone needing disinfectant services we are here to help. Please contact us for a free consultation to assist in any preparations your company or facility may be considering.
Who Is Responsible For Apartment Complex Water Damage?
Unfortunately, water damage is a common issue both homeowners and renters can face. The aftermath can be devastating making the property unlivable and permanent damage may occur to personal belongings. When water damage occurs in an apartment, who is responsible for the damage cost? The property owner or renter?
Water damage can be unpredictable and it is important to understand your renter rights and understand who is responsible for what in such an event. In general, a landlord is responsible for maintaining the property ensuring that the apartment is livable and functioning up to code. The landlord may refuse repairs, or fail to address them quick enough – causing further damage such as mold. In the United States, basic principles in tenant rights are in place and outline the party liable for damages. Depending on the state, rent details can vary so check with your local housing authority.
Review Your Lease
It’s important to know what your lease states regarding property damage. Most properties have property insurance and will list what type of damage is covered and what is not. The lease may specify actions that may be in place depending on the severity of the water damage. If the damage is severe and the apartment is unlivable is the tenant still required to pay the rent? Can the landlord evict the tenant or can the tenant cancel their lease without penalty? In general, if the damage is minor, the tenant will not be able to cancel the lease agreement. If the terms regarding property damage are not listed in the lease, speak to your landlord about who is responsible in the event when water damage strikes.
Accidents happen which is why it is essential to have renters insurance. Most places require you have it before allowing you to move into an apartment. Depending on the plan you select, coverage can vary from damages to the building, personal content and may even cover the cost of lodging while repairs are being completed.
The landlord is responsible for maintaining a functional apartment and ensuring that it is livable. The upkeep of basic plumbing such as sinks, toilets, and tubs fall on the shoulders of the landlord. Failure to maintain or repair these functions may lead to property damage and the landlord is liable due to negligence.
Damage to Property and Personal Belongings
Water damages caused to the building itself such as flooring, walls, and utilities should be covered under the landlord’s property insurance. Personal property damages fall to the responsibility of the party at fault for damages, which can be the tenant. For example, if the tenant leaves a faucet on and falls asleep causing water damage.
How We Can Help
Water damage requires a rapid response in order to minimize loss to both the property itself and belongings inside. SERVPRO technicians are experts at water damage cleanup in apartments and buildings of all sizes no matter the severity of the damage. Our team of experts will assess the damage and develop an appropriate plan to restore and recover your property and contents. Contact us by calling 208-375-0300 to learn more about our water damage clean-up services.