Understanding Mold and Indoor Air Quality in West Palm Beach
October is Healthy Lung Month and this week is National Respiratory Care Week, and according to the American Lung Association, clean air is essential for healthy lungs. In West Palm Beach, the humid climate could mean more irritants could be present in the home. Dampness can show up in visible moisture, like leaks or as high humidity. Dampness creates the environment for mold to grow. Excessive moisture also promotes the growth of dust mites, cockroaches, bacteria and viruses, which the American Lung Association suggests could potentially impact health.
Anyone—with or without allergies—may experience irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, and throat from exposure to damp indoor air conditions. In addition to not helping our respiratory health, excessive moisture also leads to damage to surfaces such as woodwork or drywall that may become covered with dirt and dust. Molds produce organic compounds called mycotoxins that can potentially affect both inside and outside building structures. Thus it's important for all people living in an indoor environment - whether you're allergic or not –to maintain good ventilation.
Here are a few ways you can improve indoor quality:
- Change AC filter and other air filters
- Control humidity in home
- Repair any leaks in roof or home
- Seal any cracks and gaps around your doors and windowsills
What to Do If You Suspect Mold or Air Quality Issues
Seeking certified professionals in Indoor Air Quality testing and mold remediation can help return your home to more optimal levels. If you do smell something musty or spot signs of mildew or mold damage, call SERVPRO of West Palm Beach.
Mold Damage Restoration and Mold Remediation
SERVPRO of West Palm Beach provides free mold inspections that help you measure humidity levels and potential sources of mold. Our IICRC-certified mold remediators work alongside third-party Certified Mold Assessors and Industrial Hygienists to provide a comprehensive view of conditions in your home. Through pre and post-remediation testing, we enable homeowners to fully understand the scope of mold damage in their West Palm Beach home. Our meticulous monitoring during mold remediation simplifies the mitigation and restoration process. Call 561-795-5410 to schedule a free mold consultation and inspection.
Mold Removal Versus Mold Remediation: What's the Difference?
When it comes to mold and moisture, attention to detail matters. When you discover signs of mold in your West Palm Beach home, it means that moisture has found a way in. Mold and mildew are common in homes that are going through renovations, experienced storm damage or have another source of water inside the walls. If left untreated, they can spread rapidly and cause structural damage over time. Thankfully, with the right remediation services, you can tackle the problem head-on before it gets out of hand. But what’s the difference between mold removal and mold remediation?
What is Mold Remediation?
Mold remediation is the process of removing what mold has already grown on your property and preventing its return. This includes removing the contaminated materials, cleaning the area, and taking steps to prevent future growth. For a homeowner to conduct mold remediation: A source of water or moisture must be found. If the source is a leaky pipe, you should repair it. If there is a leak in your roof, you should fix it. Areas that are too damp should be dried out. Materials that are too damp should be dried out or removed. The source of moisture, whether it is a leak or a high humidity level, should be resolved. All of this must be done without bringing more mold spores into your home. Due to mold being ubiquitous it is inaccurate and impossible to say that mold with be completely removed from a hot and humid climate environment such as ours found in West Palm Beach.
What To Do When You Think You Have Mold
If you think you have mold anywhere in your house, especially in your bedroom, it is important to address the situation quickly. If left untreated, mold can cause health problems, damage to your belongings, and spread throughout your home. Before you begin tackling the problem, keep in mind that there are many types of mold, and not all of them are bad. In fact, there are many that are beneficial to our daily health. However, black mold (also known as Stachybotrys) is different. It is actually a toxic mold that can cause serious health problems: Allergic reactions, respiratory distress, and skin infections. If you have mold in your home, it is essential to identify the type, the cause, and the extent of the damage. This will help you know how to address the problem.
When Should You Perform Mold Remediation?
It iis important to consistently monitor your home during rainy season. f you discover mold in your home, you should take immediate steps to prevent its spread. If the mold is limited to a few small spots, you can clean it up yourself. And if the mold growth is only in the walls, you may be able to get away with cleaning it yourself. However, you should call in a remediator if: The mold is found in multiple areas of the house The mold is covering walls, and/or growing on a water source The mold is black mold The mold has caused structural damage.
Why Certified Remediators Are Essential
When you call in a remediator, you are choosing to use the most effective way to get rid of the mold. Remediation is the process of removing the mold, cleaning the source of the mold, and eliminating the humidity that contributed to the problem in the first place. Mold remediation is a specialized field that requires professional training and experience. Not only do remediation specialists have the equipment necessary for safe and efficient work, but they are also knowledgeable about local laws and regulations.
When Should You Perform Mold Remediation?
The only true way to understand what growth and colonies are present is to have a licensed Mold Assessor perform an official assesment. they will take samples and run them in a lab to understand what mold is there and how much. Remediators need this to perform the most precise and through work. Quick action is needed to prevent mold damage to furniture, home, and to prevent irritants in the air from impacting those inside the home.
Hiring The Right Remediators
The best way to get rid of mold is to hire a restoration company like SERVPRO of West Palm Beach. Mold remediation is done by specially trained professionals who use the right equipment and know how to get rid of the mold permanently. When you are hiring a mold remediation company, make sure that they are IICRC certified and licensed to protect your home. Call SERVPRO of West Palm Beach for a free mold inspection. Our team is IICRC certified so that you know you can trust our expertise and performance.
Preparing For Palm Beach’s Next Hurricane’s Aftermath
The aftermath of a hurricane can be an extensive and taxing time for homeowners. This is the reality many are living currently in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Many have a long road of recovery that includes phases of cleanup and assessments prior to restoration and rebuilding. While efforts are already underway on the West Coast of Florida, places like our coastal communities in Palm Beach have a focus on reviewing what hurricane preparation and recovery planning should look like. Here are some details to keep in mind when developing to employ a more effective disaster management strategy.
- Fully survey the exterior of your home for safety hazards prior to attempting to go inside
- Contact the insurance agency and begin the claims process as soon as possible
- Have the tools and safety gear on reserve to help sift through storm damage:
- Including but not limited to headgear, lanterns, gloves, N95 mask, rubber shoes
- Respond to water damage as soon as possible
- Unattended standing water and wet structures lead to secondary mold damage. Prioritize extraction and drying efforts as soon as possible.
- Dispose of unsalvageable items and clean, sanitize, and locate storage options for those that are salvageable.
- Hire certified and capable emergency storm damage restoration team
- SERVPRO of West Palm Beach has IICRC-certified technicians to collaborate with your insurance and provide you with the services you need.
- Remaining Patient Through the Process
- Lean on friends, family, and fellow community members during this time for both practical and mental health support.
- Utilize disaster assistance and nonprofit organizations
- Identify FEMA, American Red Cross, and local organizations and their process to access financial and personal assistance.
The sooner we can safely and properly assess storm damage, the quicker the restoration process can begin. Create and consistently revisit your emergency preparedness plan. Make sure everyone in your house is aware of it. Add a vetted restoration company number, such as SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, to assist with the storm damage cleanup and restoration. Access our free hurricane preparedness guide to help prevent some potential damage hurricanes could cause.
Caring for Pets in a West Palm Beach Hurricane
With hurricane season midway through we all are watching forecasts with the hope that West Palm Beach will be spared from any storm’s impact. When preparing for a disaster, pets can often be left with inadequate care or no plan at all. Here are some considerations for your animal friends that can assist with natural disasters and other emergencies.
- Find a safe location for them to stay
Coastal cities such as our home of West Palm Beach can be threatened by storm surge, flood waters and hurricane winds. If a neighborhood could experience storm damage effects, it is important to find a safe place for your pets to stay. For a list of boarding facilities, hotels and pet motels in the area that could take in your pet in an emergency, visit the Palm Beach County website.
- Arranging a caregiver in the case of travel and boarding limitations
If evacuation becomes necessary prior to a storm event, it is wise to choose to board eligible pets in a local boarding facility or shelter. However, if you find that there is limited availability for boarding or evacuating your pet, identifying a person who may have a safe location for them to stay could be a good solution. Do you have someone in your network or just outside of the West Palm Beach area that may be able to care for animals if your home has experienced storm damage or fire damage?
- Create an animal emergency supply kit
It is a good idea to assemble an emergency kit that is specific to the humans in your household and a separate one for any pets. This is because it can be easy to underestimate the essentials, medical items, and comforts that would be needed to help your pet through an emergency evacuation or to get through a short-term stay at a boarding facility. A well-rounded pet preparedness kit could include medications, food, drinking water, a can opener, a first aid kit, photos of your pet (in the event they are lost), feeding and medication schedules, and a copy of your veterinarian’s contact information.
Storm damage affects not only the home and residents but also domesticated and wild animals in an area. Taking inventory of what you can control will provide your family with more confidence and capability to respond during times of disaster. If you do experience storm damage or water damage this hurricane season, be sure to call the experts at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach to help. Check out the SERVPRO of West Palm Beach blog for more pet preparedness tools.
West Palm Beach Hurricane Watch and Preparations
September is National Preparedness Month, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As we move through the second half of the 2022 hurricane season. It is important to not only have a kit, but also to know your resources, and to have both communications and evacuation plans.
Family and community disaster planning experts are encouraging us throughout this month to limit the impacts that an emergency event could have on community homes. Always expect the unexpected. Check your kit, review your plan, and talk to your friends and family. Do this every few weeks or so, to stay prepared for a hurricane or tropical storm in West Palm Beach. As experts in emergency management agree on a few guidelines:
- Make a Plan
- Create a communications and evacuation plan for your family. Be sure to remember to factor in plan for pets.
- Review insurance policy and eb sure you are knowledgeable of how to document and report storm damage.
- Build an Emergency Kit
- Create and replenish emergency kits with supplies and comforts that could assist in the aftermath of a storm as well as in the case of an evacuation.
- Get Involved
- Research local shelters and organizations that have efforts supporting storm response. Consider donating time or resources and becoming familiar with their offerings in the event you need them.
- Create a list of vetted vendors who can respond to storm damage, water damage, and mold damage that we often see after a storm.
- Stay Informed with Reliable Sources
- Know your flood and evacuation zones.
- Sign up for weather event alerts through AlertPBC.
- Check the National Hurricane Center website for forecasts and updates on active storms.
Remaining proactive by staying informed from the Palm Beach County will enable your family to make the best decisions. If you feel your home has existing water or storm damage, seek guidance from from a certified restoration company like SERVPRO of West Palm Beach. We provide free inspections and offer 24/7 emergency response services to West Palm Beach Rseidents and those in surrounding areas.
For help preparing for a hurricane, reference the SERVPRO of West Palm Beach free and comprehensive hurricane preparedness guide.
What to do if my Palm Beach Home Smells Musty?
What to Do if Your Palm Beach Home Smells Musty?
When you live in an area with subtropical humid summers and almost no rain between June and October, musty odors are almost inevitable. If your home smells musty, take action to eliminate the problem before it worsens. Mold spores thrive in humid conditions that lack air circulation. Common sources of musty odors include leaky windows or walls, un-vented crawl spaces, overheated plumbing (for example if a hot water pipe bursts), or even dirt flooring or damp earth near the house. You can tackle most mildew problems yourself by identifying their source and taking corrective measures. If the smell is intense or you notice visual evidence of mold, call IICRC-certified mold remediators at SERVPRO for further inspection. Read on to learn more about these filth-Fighting strategies and techniques:
Fix water leaks
Water leaks from pipes, showers, faucets, and toilets are the most common source of musty odors in a home. Sewer gas can also cause odors, so if you smell sewage or a rotting egg smell, call a plumber. You can usually fix a water leak yourself. Watch for signs such as water stains or a soggy area around a pipe. If you find a leak, shut off the water, repair the leak, and dry out the area. If you can’t find the leak, call a plumber.
Repair leaky roof
Mould often grows in the roof space, especially if there’s a gap or crack in the membrane. Roof maintenance is not usually a priority for homeowners, but it can be one of the best investments you make to reduce the number of musty odors in your home. If you find a roof leak, call a roofer for repair.
Determine if there is condensation buildup in the home
Condensation occurs when warm air comes into contact with cold surfaces, especially windows. If you have windows that face south or west, they’re more likely to develop condensation on the inside. To prevent and control condensation, consider installing low-e windows, adding insulation, changing your thermostat settings, and adding exhaust fans to your kitchen and bathrooms to exhaust moist air.
Improve your home ventilation
If you have a dirt or sand floor, use a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in the air, or a floor-drying machine to help dry out the soil and reduce the amount of moisture in the air. You can also install a whole-house ventilation system to dry out your home and remove musty odors.
Call SERVPRO to remediate any water damage and help dry out your belongings and home.
If you discover an extensive water leak or flood, such as a burst pipe or broken water heater, call a water damage professional immediately. Rushing to extract water and other liquid messes without special training and equipment is dangerous and can make the problem worse. A professional will know how to quickly and safely clean up the mess and help you avoid health hazards. When a water damage event occurs, you need a team you can trust to respond quickly. SERVPRO of West Palm Beach is ready to dispatch a crew in minutes to help restore your property. Our technicians are highly trained in water damage restoration, mold remediation, and all other aspects of disaster recovery, and they are ready to help you with your Palm Beach water damage or mold damage restoration needs.
Do I Need to Test for Mold in my Wellington Home?
In South Florida, mold spores tend to be ubiquitous in the air. Mold forms large colonies, temperatures of 40F moisture, and organic matter are required. Any area of a home that has been exposed or is prone to moisture is also likely to have some form of mold growth. It is common for homeowners to ask "how do I know if I have to get rid of mold in my home?" The answer lies in industry best practices and guidance from a mold remediation company. SERVPRO of West Palm Beach provides mold damage restoration for Wellington and the surrounding areas. Our IICRC-certified remediators help determine if you need a mold remediation service. We utilize training and guidance from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other industry leaders.
Do I need to sample mold in my home?
If mold is visible, you may not need to provide extensive sampling, but it is recommended by mold remediation companies and insurance agency best practices. Since no EPA or other federal limits have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to check a building's compliance with federal mold standards. Surface sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated. Air quality testing helps determine pre and post-test contaminants present in the air. Sampling for mold should be conducted by certified mold assessors who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols and sampling methods. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations.
Below are some scenarios mold testing would be utilized:
- Real estate transactions
- An environment where someone believes they smell mold but don't see it
- Someone specifically wants to understand air quality and therefore obtain an Indoor Air Quality test
- Allergies or sensitivities seem to be agitated for an unknown reason
SERVPRO of West Palm Beach inspects your home for mold and provides a remediation plan that works for your needs. We arrange for a third-party mold assessment company to assist with pre and post-testing so that you can trust the benchmarks. We coordinate with adjustors and insurance agents to ensure a hassle-free and streamlined process. Call 561-795-5410 to schedule a mold inspection today.
Preventing Server Room Fires in West Palm Beach Businesses
Server rooms pose a major fire hazard to different operations. Server rooms are essential to the everyday functions of telecommunications, computers, and data storage. Proper attention, inventory, and continuous maintenance are needed to ensure fire safety. Review your fire prevention protocol with any contractors and maintenance teams. Select an IICRC-certified restoration company like SERVPRO of West Palm, prior to needing commercial fire restoration services.
Fire Detection and Crisis Management
Consistent testing and monitoring of fire alarms are necessary to limit the spread of fire and prevent extensive fire damage. Always make sure that server data is backed up if the server room experiences fire damage.
Overheating Equipment and Server Rooms
Heat emissions from a server room can create an environment in which the chance of ignition is higher. Prevent overheating by consistently checking to see if cooling systems are performing optimally. This is not only one of the best practices for preserving devices and computer equipment but also a way to prevent overheating. Proper ventilation can be integral to the efforts of cooling. Keeping the room at a cool temperature external to mitigating overheating inside of the equipment.
Enlisting the help of an electrician to see where any wiring issues could be powerful for proper planning and emergency prevention.
Following Manufacturer Recommendations
Make sure you follow the recommended practices for server room wiring, maintenance, and life span of the equipment. Keep the server room free from unnecessary clutter and fire hazards. Monitor and take inventory of power cables and power leads.
Protecting Electrical Components
Protect electrical components from damage by making sure you have all of the necessary tools to safely remove and replace electrical components.
Have an emergency restoration team map the areas and document the specifics of equipment, fire extinguishing, and suppression systems, and the physical parameters. SERVPRO of West Palm provides inventory and documenting services as well as emergency preparedness planning with the Emergency Ready Profile tool. The ERP details what a business operation of any size should do after a fire. Call 561-795-5410 for fire restoration services and to inquire about how we can supplement your business' disaster recovery plan.
Saving Belongings After West Palm Beach Fire
After a house fire, you'll have to deal with the aftermath and the logistics of living with limited space. What can you salvage after a house fire, and how do you get rid of what remains? Navigating the process of fire damage restoration starts with the understanding and identification of what items are salvageable, what is not and how to restore these contents.
Can Items Be Saved After A House Fire
A house fire leaves much behind in its wake. Some of it is easily salvaged and can be used again, while other items will have to be thrown away due to fire, water, or smoke damage. A house fire can damage or destroy a lot of different things in your home, including furniture, appliances, clothing, books, electronics, and other personal items. It can also damage your home's structure and its foundation, which can make it unsafe to live in. What determines the salvageability of items includes the severity of the fire and the material in which the fire is comprised of.
Determining What Items Are Salvageable
With so many things affected by a fire, it can be hard to know what is salvageable and what isn't. While SERVPRO of West Palm Beach is a fire damage restoration company that practices the restore vs replace method, we understand that not all items can be saved. The best way to determine what items are salvageable is to consider what they are made of and their function, along with the kind of damaged they have sustained.
Items that can be salvaged include:
- Non-porous hard items like glass, metal, or ceramic are typically strong enough to avoid the secondary damages of soot and smoke. These items are easily cleaned and saved.
- Washable items like clothing, bedding, towels and furniture with removable covers can also be saved, though the cleaning process for these fire damaged items are more extensive than a simple cleaning by hand.
- Items like electronics that have the ability to be taken apart or art pieces, can be cleaned by specialty fire damage restoration companies with expert care and precision.
- Hardwood and various types of flooring that are not heavily filled with soot can also be cleaned and restored if seen fit.
When considering the item’s material, noting the amount of damage is required as well. Just because an item can be cleaned and restored, does not mean it has maintained its value or is able to still provide its proper function as it did pre-damage.
Items that are unlikely to be salvaged include:
- Any items that have been burnt, like plastic or metal.
- Any perishable items like food, medicine or cosmetics.
- Any large pieces of furniture that may not have
During the content restoration process, the damage restoration process in your home may also be taking place. This includes thoroughly cleaning the areas where there is water damage, removing debris from your property, and repairing areas that have been damaged done by an experienced fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO of West Palm Beach.
A house fire can damage or destroy a lot of different things in your home, including furniture, appliances, clothing, books, electronics, and other personal items. Turning to the experts like SERVPRO of West Palm Beach after a fire will help determine what items you can salvage and ensure that your most valuable and precious contents are restored.
Summer Fire Hazards For Wellington Residents
In South Florida's Summer, many of us want to enjoy outdoor activities. Whether golfing or grilling this summer, we want Wellington to prevent fire damage from occurring in their home. Below are a few tips to practice fire safety this summer.
Golf Cart Safety
Golf cart charging batteries pose a huge fire risk for golf clubs, homeowners, and golfing communities. This is due to the hydrogen that emits from the batteries, particularly in older golf cart batteries. Hydrogen is a light gas that can set off an explosion when it meets an open flame or static electricity. This is less common when golf carts are charged outside. However, more and more homeowners are charging their golf carts in an unventilated space such as a home’s garage. To prevent golf carts fires here are some tips:
- Make sure your carbon monoxide detector is operational – it can also detect hydrogen leaks.
- Open the garage door if you determine your detector has been triggered.
- Periodically fill golf cart batteries with distilled water to prevent hydrogen leaks.
It wouldn’t be summer without at least one cookout. While backyard barbecues are a great way to gather loved ones, they require fire prevention. Never use a grill under an awning or up next to a building structure. Here are some fire preventions grilling tips:
*Only use a grill outdoors.
* Maintain at least ten feet away from your home.
* A safe zone around the grill is three feet. Keep pets and children outside of that zone.
* Open the gas grill before lighting.
*Don’t walk away from the grill zone when they are lit.
* Clean grill after each use. Be sure to place coals from grill in a metal can with a lid once they cool.
Bonfires and Fire Pits
A bonfire or fire pit is just the thing to enjoy outdoor activities like making smores. Have multiple people watching the fire. Unlike fire pits, bonfires do not have a small containment. This makes preparation for a bonfire setting the more important. Backyard bonfires can also lead to forest fires.
- Clear fire hazards and brush from the area. Trim trees, avoid placing near wooden fences or decks.
- Use a metal screen to prevent sparks from blowing into nearby areas.
- Always determine if there is a burn ban in effect by checking the local guidance.
- If camping, keeping the campfire 25 feet away from tents.
Tiki Torches and Citronella Candles
Within our tropical climate, we are no stranger to mosquitoes and bug bites. While citronella candles and tiki torches are appealing to repel bugs, they are also serious fire hazards. If you choose to use these products this summer follow this guidance.
- Place candle on non-flammable area such as concrete
- Double check that the flame is extinguished when finished.
- Never refill torches if they are still hot.
- Have an extinguisher near at all times.
Have a fire evacuation plan
It is important for even the safest of residents, to always have a fire evacuation plan. If your home suffers fire damage, smoke damage or soot damage be sure to call a certified specialist from SERVPRO of West Palm Beach.