Smoky Smells and How To Get Rid of Them
Give SERVPRO a call if you experience fire damage.
Smoke is both nostalgic and insidious. The benign side of smoke invokes warm memories of campfires and delicious barbeque. When the wafted particles from combustion are unwanted, however, the pernicious odor can linger and cling to almost anything. The difficulty of removing such a stench can be daunting, especially when in the home. That’s why home deodorization is best left to the professionals of St Louis, MO.
Taking Steps To Minimize Cigarette Smoke Odor
Stopping smoky smells from ruining the home begins with preemptive mitigation and ends with cleaning, airing, and replacement. Some actions that can be taken to prevent the need for and the successful implementation of home deodorization are as follows:
• If at all possible, don’t smoke cigarettes inside the home
• If you do smoke, keep cigarettes away from items that easily absorb odors (carpet, drapes, or cushions)
• Clean cigarette smoke from washable surfaces using an appropriate detergent for the item being cleaned
• Enlist the help of a professional with an IICRC
Lessening the Number of Activities That Produce Smoke
A great way to keep smoke from turning your home into a delicious rack of ribs or an ashtray is to decrease the number of activities that produce smoke within the house. Cigarette smoke is the leading cause of unwanted smoke odor, but cooking smells and fires also can be major contributors. Try to refrain from burning meals while cooking and don’t utilize the wood burning fireplace.
Addressing the Smoky Smells
Home deodorization is an unfortunate and sometimes inevitable reality when dealing with smoke. Deodorizing sprays and scents serve only to mask the smoke smell. Your best bet is to thoroughly clean the affected area with soap and water and increase the ventilation in the rooms that have been subject to smoke. When all else fails, call in a cleaning service that specializes in the removal of smoke from home items. Many items and rooms can be completely rid of smoky odor with the right treatment over time. Visit http://www.SERVPROnorthweststlouiscounty.com for more information on fire damage.
You’ll Find Mold in These Six Surprising Places
Give SERVPRO a call if you notice mold growing in your home.
You may think you’ve ferreted out all the mold in your St Louis, MO residence, but the odds are you don’t even know all the places to start looking for mold growth in your home. Mold isn’t just a surface issue; did you know if you have mold on your walls, it’s likely you also have mold behind your walls as well? And not just there. Let’s take a look at six places where you might find mold, as long as you know where to look.
1. Behind your walls. Moldy drywall can leave your entire house smelling musty and can let mold spread unchecked and out of sight.
2. Underneath your carpeting. If moisture gets trapped under your carpet, it’s a perfect space for mold to grow – enclosed, dark, with pockets of wetness for it to feed on. It will also feed on organic matter such as carpet glue and carpet fiber.
3. Inside the wood of your floors. Because mold feeds on organic matter, older wood floors can be ripe for this. Mold on wood happens when wood gets old and begins to soften with frequent water absorption.
4. Under sinks. Drips and leaks can slowly accumulate under sinks until you don’t even think to check in this out-of-the-way place when mold growth can be slow – but once it starts, it’s hard to get rid of.
5. Underneath laminate flooring. Laminate flooring has many of the same problems as carpeting, and once moisture is trapped underneath, mold will happily devour the glue on the laminate.
6. Inside your appliances. Refrigerators and air conditioners are the worst culprits when they can often accumulate condensation that feeds mold. Any appliance that attracts condensation can grow mold, though.
Sometimes, you may not be able to identify mold growth in small spaces or have the tools to check for mold underneath flooring. That’s when a mold remediation specialist can come in handy – to help you get your mold problem under control. Visit http://www.SERVPROnorthweststlouiscounty.com for more information on mold.
3 Ways Professionals Eradicate Smoke Damage
When you think of fire damage, you probably see flames consuming a property, tearing the structure down. However, there is also another large issue in these types of disasters: smoke damage. For this reason, smoke cleaning practices can be imperative in dealing with any fire-damaged property in St Louis, MO. Here are three ways professional restoration experts may tackle this issue.
1. They determine the most effective cleaning method. Different materials call for varied ways of cleaning. For light damage, dry cleaning is often best. For heavier damage, wet cleaning may be required. Although wet cleaning is typically the stronger method of cleaning, it can’t be used for all materials. For everything else, spray-and-wipe cleaning and foam cleaning help. Additionally, there is abrasive smoke cleaning, which involves strongly scrubbing, and immersion cleaning, which involves soaking items in solution.
2. They move damaged items. Moving contents to a smoke-free location can help eliminate odor, giving it a chance to air out in a fresh environment. It can also protect the items from further damage that could occur if they are left in a fire-destroyed building. Finally, it clears space so building restoration can happen quicker.
3. They improve air quality. Generally, the main issue with smoke odor damage is the low quality of air after a fire. The smoke lingers, creating an unpleasant smell. One way to combat this is to change the HVAC filter, but professionals often use an air filtration device, ozone machine, or thermal fogger to improve the air. One thing you shouldn’t do is turn on any ceiling fans, because their wiring could be ruined.
The above practices of smoke cleaning can help move the restoration process along, eliminating stress. Damage from fire doesn’t have to be debilitating if the correct steps are taken to restore a building’s contents. By relying on professionals to correctly clean and move objects and improve the air quality, you can be on your way toward recovery. Visit http://www.SERVPROnorthweststlouiscounty.com for more information on commercial fire damage.
Handling a Fire Loss in St. Louis, MO
Burned Kitchen that needed cleaning in St. Louis
A person can experience the after effects of a house fire anywhere at anytime.
It can be unsettlingly and disruptive. Men, women, and children can be displaced because of fire damage and poor air quality. It can be a remarkably confusing time. However, a person only has to follow five easy steps to gain confidence when handling a fire loss in St. Louis, MO.
Step #1: Where to live?
A person must find a safe place to stay directly after a fire. Soot damage, water damage from the fire, smoke damage, and bad air quality can make a house dangerous to enter after a fire has occurred. A person should not eat or drink anything that was involved in a house fire.
Many people decide to stay in a hotel or motel during the fire cleanup, but this can become expensive. St. Louis, MO offers organizations that will provide aid to families affected by fire damage to their home. These organizations include:
- American Red Cross 10195 Corporate Square Dr
- Salvation Army
- St. Louis City Department of Health-314-612-5100
- Various Community Groups
- Local Churches
- City Emergency Services Office
- United Way
In this step, it is also important for a person to remember to take care of him or herself and the family around them. Plenty of rest and a sense of security are critical to establish as soon as possible.
Do not go back into the house until the fire department has said it is safe. The fire department will also make sure the utilities are safe to use. A homeowner should not try to turn the utilities back on after a fire until the fire department says it is okay.
Step #2: Insurance/Mortgage Company
The insurance provider may be beneficial after a fire. A person should ask the insurance company what to do first. The insurance company can guide a homeowner through all of the details in returning the home to regular. The insurance company can also tell an owner whether the cost of a hotel is covered by the insurance policy.
The State of Missouri requires insurance policies to cover fire loss and other natural disasters such as windstorms and hail. Many homeowner's policies in Missouri also include three different types of damage:
- loss of home
- loss of the items inside the house damaged by water from the fire, smoke, or soot
- cost of a temporary place to live while the home is being fixed
The Missouri Department of Insurance advises hiring a Public Adjuster which is a person licensed by the state to help a homeowner with the claim process and to make sure the compensation is proper for the amount of damage.
Another important phone call is to the mortgage company or landlord of the property. It is also important to keep all the receipts for anything associated with the fire because the receipts may be required by the insurance company or for tax returns. The IRS may offer unique benefits for individuals involved in a house fire.
Step #3: Handling the damage
This measure is the hardest step emotionally. A person has to go back to the house and assess all of the damage caused by fire, smoke, and soot. A homeowner should hire a trustworthy company that has experts in restoring items after a fire. These businesses can be found online or in a phone book. The insurance company may even suggest a company or two. Asking for an estimated cost of the restoration should be done as soon as possible. This estimate should be in writing.
The company should take care of numerous items when dealing with the fire cleanup. These elements are as follows:
- Assess the damage to the house. This assessment includes the extent of smoke, fire, and water damage from the fire. Develop a plan of action from this provided information.
- Take immediate measures to secure the home and prevent further damage.
- Remove water and thoroughly dry the house.
- Remove all smoke damage and soot damage from all surfaces inside the home.
- Remove all odors from the house by cleaning and sanitizing all items.
- Restore the home to pre-fire condition which may include repairs, replacements, or total reconstruction.
It is important also to remember the house and items in the house may be a total loss. This term means nothing will be salvaged from the fire.
Step #4: Replacing Documents
Many people who have never experienced a fire, do not realize the extent of the loss. After the first three steps have been taken, it is time to begin to replace all relevant documents. This process may take a while, but a person should not give up too soon. The following is only a partial list of the documents that may need to be replaced:
- Driver's License
- Social Security Cards
- Tax Returns
- Health, Life, Auto, and House Insurance Policies
- Birth Certificates
- Marriage Licenses
- Credit Cards
- Shot Records
- Divorce Papers
- Death Certificates
Many of these documents can be replace at various govenment offices. If there is burnt money, it can possibly be replaced. If the money is only partly burnt, take it to the Department of the Treasury.
Step #5: Returning home
The handling of the after effects of a fire can be scary and emotionally draining. The process can be long and new things that need attention will be remembered daily. The effects can last years, but the healing process can begin as soon as the fire department leaves. An individual can take control of an uncontrollable situation and enjoy the security of the family.
Visit http://www.SERVPROnorthweststlouiscounty.com for more information on fire damage.
3 Reasons Your Ceiling Tiles Are Discolored
Give SERVPRO a call if you notice mold in your home or business.
When ceiling tiles age, they can lose their original color. As dust accumulates or color fades from exposure to UV light, tiles can begin to look different. Fortunately, the change is usually uniform across all tiles, so it isn’t noticeable. A bigger issue is tile discoloration that stands out from the rest of the ceiling. More often than not, it’s a result of water saturating the tile.
You may want to replace the discolored tiles, but before you do, it’s critical to eliminate the source of the problem. Excess water can weaken building materials and cause the growth of tile mold, requiring a water damage mitigation expert in St. Louis, MO to handle the cleanup. Before you try to replace or clean the affected ceiling area, check to see if one of these issues is causing the problem.
1. Your building is leaking.
If the discolored ceiling is on your building’s top floor, you could be looking at a leak in your roof. If the stain is concentrated next to an outside wall, it could be a leak in the outer wall. Bring in your contractor to see if he or she can locate the source of the leak and make repairs. If you find tile mold or excessive moisture in your attic or wall, call in an expert to remove the moldy materials and dry the area out completely.
2. Water is condensing.
Uninsulated air vents can cause condensation that drips down and seeps into ceiling tiles. Likewise, any place where steam rises can create condensation on the ceiling, leading to stains. Look carefully at the location of the discoloration to see if it’s in close proximity to vents, radiators, stovetops or other likely culprits.
3. There’s a plumbing problem.
A pipe or plumbing fixture located over the ceiling may be leaking. An experienced plumber should be able to locate the leak and make repairs. Plumbing leaks can quickly lead to tile mold, but don’t attempt to clean it yourself. A mitigation expert in St. Louis, MO will know how to do the mold cleanup quickly and efficiently so you can get your new ceiling tiles installed in no time. Visit http://www.SERVPROnorthweststlouiscounty.com for more information on mold.
Mitigating Water Damage as a Business Owner
Commercial water damage due to a flooded toilet.
No business owner wants to think about a flood causing damage at work, but unfortunately, this can be a reality for many leaders. Despite your best efforts, water can leak into your building and cause problems with flooring, walls and furniture. Flooded electronics can be another major concern for business executives in St. Louis, MO. If you’re dealing with this, there are some things you can do to mitigate the damage.
Clean, Clean, Clean
If you’re lucky, the flood or water leak in your building didn’t cause widespread damage to your electronics. For example, if water dripped onto a laptop, desktop computer or copier for several hours or even days, you may be able to salvage the equipment. The best way to prevent complete and permanent water damage in this case is to do the following:
• Remove the equipment from any water source
• Allow the equipment to dry completely
• Use a combination of rubbing alcohol, baking soda and water to gently clean off any corrosion
Blow It Out
If you have a flood or any type of water damage in your St. Louis, MO office, you need to act quickly to make sure your electronics aren’t a total loss. Even the humidity from water issues can cause problems. If your electronics didn’t get directly hit by leaking water, there’s a good chance there is still moisture on the circuit boards. One of the best ways to handle this electronic damage is to take an air blower and gently blow inside the electronic device. This can help remove dust and particles the humidity left behind.
Know When To Replace
Completely flooded electronics might be a lost cause. If water submerged your items, you may want to send the electronics to the manufacturer for replacement parts or replace the devices altogether.
It’s important to address flooded electronics as quickly as possible to help minimize the damage. In many cases, you can avoid major issues, and you may be able to use your device again. Visit http://www.SERVPROnorthweststlouiscounty.com for more information on commercial water loss.
How To Recover From a Flood Without Insurance
Give SERVPRO a call if you experience flood damage in your home or business.
If you don't have flood insurance, you may have to pay out of pocket for repairs and restoration following a flood. Most standard homeowners' and renters' insurance policies do not include flood coverage; only approximately 12 percent of homeowners carry flood endorsements. However, if St. Louis, MO has been declared a federal disaster area, you also have the option to apply for FEMA grants.
A variety of federal grants are available if you register for federal disaster assistance:
• Rental payments: If your home is not habitable, you may be eligible for a grant to help you obtain temporary shelter. Renters may be eligible for one month of assistance, and homeowners may be able to obtain initial assistance for three months. This assistance may be extended beyond the initial period depending on the severity of flood damage.
• Home restoration: Apply for grants to restore your residence to safe, sanitary, and functional condition. This funding can either be used toward home repairs or the replacement of personal property that is not covered by flood insurance.
• Replacing property: You may be able to obtain grants to meet dental, funeral, medical, transportation or other serious disaster-related needs that are not covered by insurance or other governmental or nonprofit aid programs.
• Low-interest loans: The Small Business Association provides loans for residential losses not covered by insurance for up to $200,000 for primary residences and $40,000 for personal property, including renters' losses. Interest on these loans can be as low as 1.75 percent annually for a 30-year period.
Other options offered by FEMA in some disaster areas or regions situated on a flood plane include crisis and legal counseling, assistance with filing casualty losses on taxes, extended tax deadlines, and veterans' benefits. If you do not have flood insurance, you should find out whether grants cover some of the expense of a certified storm disaster remediation service.
Visit http://www.SERVPROnorthweststlouiscounty.com for more information on storm damage.
How Do I Get Rid of Mold Odor in My Home?
A musty odor in a basement or bathroom typically comes from breeding fungi that produce a smell caused by mycotoxins. That is probably what you smell when you notice the mildew odor in your home, on your clothes, or inside your automobile. A mycotoxin is a type of yeast produced by the reproduction process of various mold compounds. To get rid of the mold and its odor, you need to understand what it is and how it grows.
Mold is a common fungus, but most people know very little about it. Here are some interesting facts about residential mold:
" Mold is a type of bacteria.
" It is a thread-like organism created by thousands of cells.
" It requires moisture to grow.
" It grows in a variety of colors.
" Mold can be detected by smell, even when not visible.
" Each organism can release spores into the air that float unseen.
" A mold spore can grow on almost any natural surface.
" There are five different types of mycotoxin, so not all musty, mildew smells are the same.
Mold likes to hide between pieces of wood, in damp cracks, and under appliances. Since mildew can easily grow in humid weather, or in moist laundry rooms, it may be very difficult to eliminate. Using boiled lemon peels or a box of baking soda to remove the damp smell can help initially, but removing the yeasty odor is not the same as getting rid of the mold.
Consider calling a mold remediation team in St. Louis, MO when you discover mildew or fungi odors. The experts can answer all your questions about safe and effective mold removal. The professionals can also provide advice about ventilation, disinfectants, and colony elimination to permanently alleviate the odor. Specially designed HEPA air filtration devices can be especially effective in removing musty odor caused by mycotoxin growth once the mold is gone, and the team can help you find one that fills your needs. Visit http://www.SERVPROnorthweststlouiscounty.com for more information on mold.
3 Tips for Preventing Water Damage in Your Home
This is the after picture of a laundry room with water loss.
As a homeowner, preventing damage to your St. Louis, MO property is probably a priority for you. Stopping mishaps before they happen helps you avoid thousands of dollars in repairs and lost belongings, and this can be especially true in the case of water damage. Water in the home can be devastating to furniture, electrical systems and your home's structure, but fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to prevent this type of problem from happening.
1. Inspect Appliance Connections and Hoses Often
Your washer and dishwasher can cause considerable flooding if worn hoses or water lines break. Leaks are usually a sign that a hose or valve is failing, so it is important to address any leak right away. Preventative maintenance can keep your water appliances running at top efficiency, stop leaks or sudden floods in your kitchen or basement and may even save you money on your energy bill.
2. Watch for Warning Signs in Your Plumbing
Drips, leaks and discolored joints may point to a faulty or broken pipe in your bathroom or kitchen. Because malfunctioning pipes can burst without warning, this is not an issue to be ignored. Have a plumber replace worn valves, pipes and joints or perform pipe cleanup maintenance on sections that have become narrow inside due to calcium or lime buildup, as narrow pathways can cause water pressure to build and burst your pipes.
3. Check Basements and Crawlspaces
Clogged gutters and poor drainage can cause water to seep into your basement. If you fail to spot it, it can cause mold growth and damage stored items. A professional mold remediation and restoration company can remove water in your home and inspect your basement and crawlspace for signs of excess moisture and mold.
Water damage in your St. Louis, MO home can be costly and take months to repair. However, preventative maintenance might help you avoid the kind of trouble water in a home can cause and give you peace of mind that you are protecting one of your greatest investments. Visit http://www.SERVPROnorthweststlouiscounty.com for more information on water damage.
How To Prevent Ice Dams
Every winter, if you live in a snowy area, your buildings are prone to hanging icicles and snowy roofs. While this may seem harmless, an ice dam is not. An ice dam is caused when the roof warms, melting the ice. Icicles and snow push the water back. Given the damage ice dams can cause, it is best to know how to prevent this from occurring.
1. Roof Ventilation
When you have appropriate attic ventilation, the cold air will flush out the warmer air. When it comes to proper aeriation, you will need about one square foot of ventilation per 300 square feet. This is at a minimum. Also, keep in mind that the shape of your roof can determine the sort of ventilation you need. One tip to remember is that it’s very difficult to have too much.
2. Attic Insulation
Not only will insulation help keep the heat in your business, but it will keep your roof from warming and causing ice to melt prematurely. With insulation, you should have at least 12 to 14 inches in your attic space. If you have less than eight inches, it is time to add more. In order to avoid too many gaps in your insulation, keep professionals in mind.
3. No Attic Bypasses
Did you know that a lot of the warm air in your home escapes through the attic? If you have unblocked walls, cracks in the fixtures, open plumbing or gaps in the drywall, you could be at risk of warm air escaping. When it rises, it can then leave through the attic and go straight through your roof. The best things you can do about air leaks are try to plug them with calking or rake your insulation. Heat tape or heat chord can also be used to keep an ice dam from forming.
Ice dams can lead to extensive damage in homes throughout the winter. The water can leak back into your business. This can lead to softening roofs, loose shingles and even mold. These tips should help keep your St. Louis, MO business safe from water damage. Visit http://www.SERVPROnorthweststlouiscounty.com for more information on commercial storm damage.