The Facts About Black Mold
Black mold is nothing to take lightly.
Mold: It's always around you, but you probably don't think much about it until you see it in your Baton Rouge, LA, house. You may not worry much about it until you notice it growing and spreading rapidly. Black mold is one of the most common forms, and it's important to clean it up as soon as possible.
This type of mold is no stranger to residences. It will thrive when areas of the home have moisture or high levels of humidity. It will feed on areas of the home such as carpet, drywall and sub-flooring.
How and Where it Grows
Black mold loves wet and cool areas. Mold spores are always in the air, but they will only grow and spread under ideal circumstances. You will notice it in areas such as basements, behind washers and dishwashers, underneath sinks and refrigerators, and on shower walls. Typical ways it appears include:
Broken pipes under sinks and inside walls
Slow leaks in appliances
Water coming into the home and causing flooding
It's important to address mold issues quickly. If you spot this fungus growing in your house, contact a professional mold cleanup time right away. The pros have the right tools and equipment to clean up the mold. The team will also sanitize the affected areas.
Keeping it Out
As a homeowner, you can't eliminate the presence of mold from your house. However, there are steps you can take to minimize its growth and effects. You should regularly check your HVAC and plumbing systems for leaks. Also, inspect your roof and foundation for damage at least once a year. Mold remediation specialists do an excellent job of cleaning mold from your property, but if you clean up water immediately after you see it, you reduce the chances of ever seeing mold.
Black mold is nothing to take lightly. You can put your mind at rest, however, by getting the right help and keeping up with home maintenance.
When Is Your Basement Flood Covered by Insurance?
A basement flood that results from sudden and accidental discharge of water may be covered by your homeowners or dwelling policy.
Basements are a very useful addition to a home, but because of their location, they can also be prone to a basement flood. If you have a basement, it is a good idea to be familiar with your insurance coverage, so that you know whether your damage will be covered if your basement floods.
Types of Damage Usually Covered by Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners or dwelling policies typically cover water damage that results from a sudden and accidental discharge of water. These are examples of sudden and accidental water discharges:
Ruptured water heater
Overflow from a bathtub or toilet
A sudden leak from a washing machine
If you have a washing machine in your basement and the supply line suddenly bursts, that is the type of damage that would usually be covered by homeowners or dwelling insurance.
Types of Damage Usually Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners and dwelling insurance typically does not cover basement flood damage that is not the result of a sudden and accidental event, such as damage that occurs due to poor maintenance. For example, if you fail to maintain your washing machine and it develops a chronic leak that causes damage to your basement, that would not be a sudden discharge of water and probably would not be covered. Additionally, homeowners and dwelling policies typically do not cover water damage from backup from an outside sewer or drain or a basement that is flooded by rising waters, saturated ground or storms. If you need coverage for flood damage from weather-related events, you may wish to purchase a separate flood policy.
A basement flood that results from sudden and accidental discharge of water may be covered by your homeowners or dwelling policy, while water damage from poor maintenance and weather-related flooding typically will not be. Water that is left standing can cause additional damage and mold, so if you have water in your basement, it may be wise to contact a water remediation specialist in Baton Rouge, LA, to dry out your basement.
What To Know About Crawlspace Water
Start by contacting a restoration professional who can identify the source of the water.
If you have a wet crawl space in your Baton Rouge, LA, home, you may be wondering how the water got there and what to do about it. Here are a few things you may wish to know.
1. How Water Gets in the Crawlspace
Water can get into a crawlspace a number of ways. There may be storm flooding, landscaping sloped in such a way that water flows toward the house, a leaking water line, a downspout issue, or even subterranean water. Any of these issues can lead to water pooling in the crawlspace and causing issues.
2. How this Can Affect Your Home
One of the main problems caused by a continuously wet crawl space is the possibility of mold problems. When flood water or other moisture problems are left unattended it creates the humidity that mold spores need to grow. Add this to dark conditions and plenty of organic material frequently available under a home, and mold has exactly the type of environment it needs to grow. Fortunately, a restoration service can help with this problem as well as the water damage.
3. How This Problem Can Be Fixed
One of the first steps when dealing with crawlspace water is to contact a local water damage restoration service. These professionals can help identify the source of the water problem, remove the water, address any related issues such as mold, and dry the area. They may also be able to help you take mitigation steps around your home to avoid any future water issues.
It’s important to take care of a wet crawl space as quickly as possible to help avoid potential mold problems. Start by contacting a restoration professional who can identify the source of the water. Once the water source is identified it can be fixed and the area dried. If you have any questions a professional should be able to help.
Keep your home protected against floods
Water damage from floods can cause major problems. Stay educated with current information.
Keep Your Home Secure Against Flood Damage
Flooding of your Baton Rouge, LA., home can cause major problems. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your home from heavy rains.
Maintain Existing Flood Prevention Structures
Many homes have common flood prevention features, such as gutters and sump pumps, already installed. It is important to maintain this equipment. The following are some routine maintenance activities that will help keep your home secure against water damage:
- Clean and inspect gutters (fall and spring)
- Clean storm drains (at least once a year)
- Test sump pump and clean screen (every season)
- Inspect roof (every year)
When completing the above tasks, be sure to check for damage such as loose gutters or missing shingles. The suggested frequency for each task will vary depending on your specific situation. For example, if you have trees near your home, you will likely need to clean your gutters more often. If you suspect that you will be unable to do any of these jobs, you may wish to hire a professional contractor for some or all of your home's routine maintenance tasks.
Consider Home Improvement Projects
In addition to maintaining whatever flood-proofing systems your home already has, you may decide to do some home improvement projects to further protect your home from flooding. The following are some common improvements that you can make to keep your house safe in heavy rains:
- Install any of the above items (gutters, storm drain, sump pump) that you do not already have
- Grade your lawn so that it slopes away from house
- Upgrade seals around windows and doors
Employ Temporary Solutions
Even well-prepared homes may need additional protection during very heavy rains. If a severe storm is headed your way, you may want to install sandbags or other flood protection devices such as inflatable dams.
The above suggestions will help protect your home from flooding. However, even the most well-prepared homes can suffer storm damage. You may need to enlist the help of experienced restoration professionals to get your home back to normal quickly and safely.
Commercial Large Loss
Call SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge if your business suffers from water damage, fire damage or needs mold remediation.
Whether your business suffers from water damage, fire damage or needs mold remediation SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge understands that disaster relief is no easy job. It takes a team of dedicated individuals willing to go the extra mile at a moments notice.
Our commercial division is a segment of our team dedicated to large loss recovery. Many times when these types of losses occur we know we will be on the job for weeks or even months and so our chain of command needs to be prepared and ready to dedicate themselves solely to the job for the duration.
This is what sets us apart from the competition, we have cultivated a workplace atmosphere and energy that inspires our team to always give their best effort. We are consistently training and learning from our experiences and passing this knowledge onto our new team members and to other recovery teams that we may work with when a large-loss is on the line.
In a large-loss nothing is more important than the client and the job at hand, we are here to lead the way to recovery.
Stop Cooking Fires Before They Happen
Fire damage this winter can ruin your holiday.
SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge is here to educate the community on ways to prevent fire damage.
The NFPA reports that fires involving cooking equipment account for about 45% of home fires. The outcome of these fires results in $1.1 billion in property damage and 430 civilian deaths every year. And as we know, fires in the winter months are scarily common.
To prevent your building from becoming part of those statistics, remind your tenants to:
- Never leave cooking equipment unattended - This might sound obvious, but I'm sure all of us can remember a time when we put something in the oven or were cooking on the stove and got distracted in another room. It's no surprise that leaving equipment unattended in the kitchen is the number one cause of residential fires.
Remind tenants to turn off the oven or stove top if they have to leave the kitchen. Even if they plan on being in the room while their food is cooking, it's always a good idea to set a timer.
- Clean cooking equipment regularly - Grease and food particle build up in or on the surface of cooking equipment can catch fire. Ask tenants to keep cooking areas safe and clean by wiping down any scraps and grease.
- Keep flammable material away from heat sources - This includes loose fitting clothing, plastic and paper packaging, potholders, towels, etc.
- Check cooking appliances before going to sleep - Remind your tenants to check that cooking appliances are shut off before they retire for the night or leaving the building.
- Never smoke inside - Smoking inside is a great way to set off fire alarms and light the building on fire (not to mention that it disturbs other tenants and the chemicals can cling to walls and other surfaces). Kindly remind tenants that there is absolutely no smoking inside the building. Period.
Hoilday's with clean air quality
Dirty air ducts can result in poor air quality.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner you are probably expecting family to visit your home or business. Wouldn't it be great if your duct work was clean and devoid of airborne particulates like mold spores, dead skin cells and dust mites? Well, SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge is here to help. We use state of the art duct cleaning equipment to insure that your air quality is breathable for even the youngest or oldest of your family to breath.
You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:
-There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems:Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.
-Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects)-Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers. Give SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge a call today and we can get you scheduled!
Preparing your home or business for a Winter Storm
Water damage and fire damage from winter storms can be a disaster if you ignore the signs.
Part of SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge's community involvement is to educate the public on tips to prevent water damage and fire damage during this winter season. The following are best practices to insure that you do not risk damage to your property:
Weatherproof your home.
- Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply will be less likely to freeze.
- Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Insulate walls and attic.
- Install storm or thermal-pane windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
- Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on your home or other structure during a storm.
Have your chimney or flue inspected each year.
If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected each year. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector or find one online.
Install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector.
- If you’ll be using a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. Test them monthly and replace batteries twice a year.
- Keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside.
- Each winter season have your furnace system and vent checked by a qualified technician to ensure they are functioning properly.
How to Protect Pipes From Freezing
A busted pipe can cause significant water damage.
SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge understands the water damage that can occur when you have a busted pipe. This winter, make sure that you take the necessary steps to prevent this.
Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations:
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
- Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
- Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
- Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
Winter holiday fire facts
Fire damage can ruin your holiday.
SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge wants your holiday experience to be safe. Please learn and follow these tips:
Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in more than two of every five (44%) home Christmas tree fires.
Two of every five (39%) home Christmas tree fires started in the living room. Five percent were chimney or flue fires. One-fifth (21%) of the decoration fires started in the kitchen.Fifteen percent started in the living room, family room or den.
Almost three of every five (57%) December home decoration fires were started by candles, compared to one-third (32%) in January to November.
- See more statistics on winter holiday fires.
Here are some Tips for Holiday Entertaining
- Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
- Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
- Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
- Ask smokers to smoke outside. Remind smokers to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.
- Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding.