Different Causes of Commercial Water Damage
Water Damage at Barnes & Noble
Work Place Water Damage is Restored by SERVPRO
When business owners visualize water damage, they often picture a massive storm wiping out power lines, flooding offices, and shutting down businesses for days at a time. It is true that commercial water damage is often the result of floods and water that stems from weather events and storms.
However, many entrepreneurs and business space renters forget that storms and severe weather aren't the only causes of floods and water damage. Here are some of the typical causes of water damage to commercial buildings.
1. Malfunctioning sprinkler systems
Some older office and retail buildings still have outdated sprinkler systems that work in conjunction with fire protection systems. While such sprinklers can come in handy during a fire emergency, they can also cause commercial flood damage if they are faulty or in need of replacement. This could easily damage inventory and business assets.
2. Damaged appliances and equipment
This cause of commercial flood damage is more common in restaurants and catering facilities, as well as any business that has appliances and equipment that make use of water. If the appliance fails and sends water across your building, especially during late hours when no one is around, you may come back to work and face a water emergency.
3. Broken pipes and plumbing
Just like in a residence, if the plumbing system in your workplace fails water damage could be the result.
4. Backed up sewer lines
This is another cause of commercial water damage that often catches business owners by surprise. Should the sewer line to your building back up or become damaged, realize the potential dangers of contaminated Black Water which can cause health effects and ruin products and office furnishings.
If your business has suffered commercial water damage, SERVPRO of Virginia Beach will get you back up and running again. Give us a call at 757-431-1400.
Water Loss in a Commercial Building Leaves Not a Moment to Spare
Commercial Water Loss
When a water event occurs in your property, damage to the structure and contents can occur. The type of water that affects a building includes:
Category 1 water originates from a sanitary water source and does not pose substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure. In most cases drying procedures are recommended.
Category 2 water contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted by people. For this category, environmental interpretation is critical as drying for some materials is acceptable while removal of others must occur
Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents. In most cases removal is necessary and environmental remediation is necessary.
When a water event occurs a water extraction contractor is generally hired to remove the water. However, the ability of the contractor to identify the water category, deal with the issues of health and safety properly as well as remove or dry out the affected building materials and contents can vary greatly.
Assessment for water damage independently of the water removal contractor ensures that the project is dealt with relative to the category of water, health and safety concerns are identified and controlled and their work product is validated.
8 Bad "Facts" ABout Mold Everyone Thinks Are True
8 Bad “Facts” About Mold That Everyone Thinks Are True
With all the misinformation about mold out there it is easy to over react. Here are four “facts” that are over reactions to mold.
Bad “Fact” 1: All Mold Is Bad
Nope! Have you ever eaten blue cheese or take penicillin? Mold is used in the making this kind of cheese and medicine.
Bad “Fact” 2: All Mold Causes Health Problems
In reality, the effect of mold on people varies greatly. Molds produce allergens, and while some people will be allergic to the allergens produced by mold not everyone will react to mold, and the effects can be varied depending on ones’ sensitivity to mold
People who are highly sensitive to mold may develop allergic reactions and show symptoms such as difficulty breathing, bloody noses, itchy and watery eyes, etc. People with already compromised immune symptoms are also at risk for reacting to mold, and some studies have suggested that serious health effects can arise from repeated exposure to mold, so it is not something to play around with.
Bad “Fact” 3: There Should be No Mold Inside
In reality mold is all around us and is very natural. There are mold spores in the air you are breathing and there is really no way around this unless you decide to live inside a plastic, environmentally controlled bubble. The problem is not that there is mold indoors the problem is with the concentration of mold indoors. Mold should not be growing in your walls or on surfaces as that can be a problem and contribute to allergic reactions.
We will always live with mold, the question is how much mold should we live with? The answer to that is still being worked out. As mold affects people differently you should talk to your doctor if you think you are suffering from exposure to mold and you take steps to reduce your exposure to mold..
Bad “Fact” 4: Bleach Kills Mold
This is kind of a half truth. Bleach may kill certain kinds of mold on non-porous surfaces, however, it is not clear that bleach can kill all kinds of mold nor kill mold on porous surfaces such as wood. Research is continuing to be done on the effectiveness of bleach as a mold cleanup agent. It should be noted that using bleach to “kill” mold poses its own health risks and is not a recommended solution by EPA or OSHA. Bleach is also very corrosive and can cause further damage if not used correctly.
Bad “Fact” 5: Killing Mold is Enough, I Don’t Need to Remove it
Killing mold is not enough. Putting aside the conflicting reports on what kills mold, simply killing mold does not remove the health effects as the allergens are still present even in dead mold. To properly protect against health effects, removal of the affected areas is often necessary. Care must be taken when removing the affected areas so that the allergens and mold is not spread throughout the house. That is why professional mold remediation services are often necessary to properly fix a mold problem.
Bad “Fact” 6: Mold is Natural, You Shouldn’t Worry About it
While mold may be natural, consistent exposure to mold can have negative affects on ones health. If mold is growing in your home or place of business it needs to be addressed as it will deteriorate your building and can cause health problems.
Bad “Fact” 7: If You Only See a Little Mold it is Probably Nothing to Worry About
If mold is to the point where it is visibly growing on surfaces in your home you have a problem. Mold is like an iceberg, you generally only see the tip of it while the majority is below the surface. If you see a little bit of mold you most likely have more growing under the surface out of site.
Bad “Fact” 8: Cleaning up Mold isn’t Hard. You Should Do it Yourself
This is another half truth. While you may be able to clean up certain kinds of mold in small quantities most people are not equipped to do proper mold remediation. Simply wiping down the evidence is not good enough. To properly “cleanup” a mold problem you must identify the cause, isolate the area to keep the mold from spreading, and clean and or remove the affected surfaces. Unless you know how to setup a containment unit, have a couple of commercial sized HEPA air filtration units, protective gear, HEPA vacuums, specialized cleaning agents, and can do a wet extraction to keep mold spores from spreading. Call SERVPRO of Virginia Beach if you think you may have any mold. 757-431-1400.
4 Facts About Hurricanes You Need To Know
Hurricane season is June through November. So, here we are. Hurricane season. And though Georgia rarely gets a direct hit by a hurricane, living near the coast in the south, most people are all too familiar with the hurricane season and the tropical storms that come with it. But what about hurricane damage to your home? If you haven’t had hurricane damage before, here are 4 facts about hurricane damage you need to know before the storm hits.
1. Primary Causes of Hurricane Damage
The primary cause of hurricane damage to homes is damage from high wind and flooding from the torrential rains.
2. What the Wind Does
The wind can cause damage to siding and it can break windows and blow in garage doors. Broken and downed trees are another result of hurricane damage.
3. What the Water Does
Torrential rains can often cause flooding from overwhelmed gutters and downspouts, broken windows and damaged roofs, and saturated soil around and near your home.
4. What a Storm Damage Expert Will Do
A storm damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Virginia Beach will help you deal with hurricane damage quickly. With 24-hour emergency response and the tools and equipment to deal with the damage to trees, siding and flooding, they’re you’re one-stop-shop for hurricane damage.
Please give us a call at 757-431-1400.
Basic Mold Facts
What are molds?
Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.
What are some of the common indoor molds?
Where are molds found?
Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. Mold growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions. Outdoors they can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors they can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or showers.
How can people decrease mold exposure?
Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Inside homes, mold growth can be slowed by controlling humidity levels and ventilating showers and cooking areas. If there is mold growth in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix the water problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions for use (see product label).
If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:
- Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
- Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
- Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of affected area.
- If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.
- Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 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 the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
- Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
- Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
- Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.
What areas have high mold exposures?
- Antique shops
- Construction areas
- Flower shops
- Summer cottages
I found mold growing in my home, how do I test the mold?
Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a residence, and CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds. Current evidence indicates that allergies are the type of diseases most often associated with molds. Since the susceptibility of individuals can vary greatly either because of the amount or type of mold, sampling and culturing are not reliable in determining your health risk. If you are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, you should arrange for its removal.
A qualified environmental lab took samples of the mold in my home and gave me the results. Can CDC interpret these results?
Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable, or normal quantity of mold have not been established. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the building’s characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.
Storm Facts, Tips and Safety
Severe Thunderstorm Facts
Thunderstorms are defined as storms that produce thunder and lightning. Severe thunderstorms may also produce:
- High winds
- Sleet or snow
It’s important to note that thunderstorms do not always produce moisture. A storm in which you see lightning and hear thunder but never feel a drop of water is known as a “dry” thunderstorm. Thunderstorms that produce hail and tornadoes are known as “supercell” storms. Storms occur either in clusters or lines; therefore, they may present as a single thunderstorm or as multiple thunderstorms hitting one after the other.
Thunderstorms are caused when moisture from the lower or mid-level part of the atmosphere mixes with warm, unstable air from the ground. Moisture and air then push upwards into the higher atmosphere to form clouds that produce thunder and lightning, as well as potential precipitation. Spring, summer and fall are most conducive to thunderstorms because the sun heats the ground and moisture is more perceptible in the air, especially in humid climates.
Thunderstorms must also be lifted to begin their formation. Some sources of lift include:
- More heat on the ground than in the air
- Changes in atmospheric conditions near mountains
- Weather front changes caused by clashing cold and hot air
- Drylines, or when moist and dry air clash
- Land or sea breezes
Any of these situations can immediately create a thunderstorm without warning, even in the middle of a clear blue day. In many cases, these storms will also be accompanied by lightning. Most will not come with hail or tornadoes, unless they occur in tornado-prone states such as Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri.
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Severe thunderstorms are responsible for a significant number of injuries, fatalities and property damage claims across the United States every year. According to statistics reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2013:
- Lightning accounted for 23 fatalities, 145 injuries and $23.9 million in property damage.
- Tornadoes caused 55 fatalities, 756 injuries and $3,642.2 million in property damage.
- High winds resulted in 17 deaths, 121 injuries and $626.8 million in property damage.
- Hail led to 4 injuries and $1,234.5 million in property damage.
- Flash flooding ended in 60 deaths, 25 injuries and $956.9 million in property damage.
It’s estimated that at least 867,000 people are affected by thunderstorms every year, with lightning accounting for at least 300 injuries and roughly 60 fatalities. Moreover, at least 16 million thunderstorms occur worldwide every year — and at least 2,000 storms are causing damages and injuries around the world at any given time.
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Preparing for Severe Thunderstorm Conditions
Severe thunderstorms can cause significant physical harm as well as damage to your home and land; therefore, it’s imperative to take measures to protect yourself. Some homeowners might invest in lightning rods to better defend their homes against a surge. There are also whole-house surge protectors so you don’t have a power outage during a severe thunderstorm. There are many other types of defenses you can put in place to protect your home against severe thunderstorms. For example, here’s how to prepare for hail, winds, tornadoes and floods.
If you have a car, it’s imperative that you park it in your garage before a severe thunderstorm. Otherwise you could be looking at dents, cracks in the windshield and potentially broken glass on the driver or passenger’s side. While hail is not the most common precipitation to accompany a severe thunderstorm, it can happen. You could also:
- Install wind shutters (i.e. hurricane shutters), designed to defend against high winds and hail.
- Purchase & install pressure or high impact windows.
- Secure doors with heavy-duty bolts at the top and bottom of the door frame.
Hail can cause damage to many parts of the home, but it most commonly hits the roof the hardest. A damaged shingle, in particular, can allow water to get through to the roof deck and cause harm to your ceiling and support beams. This will eventually lead to more leaks in your roof, stains on the ceiling and walls, and potential flooding.
The cost to repair a roof following such damages will be expensive, but holding off could lead to even more costly repairs down the road. It’s best to perform repairs as quickly as possible. The two types of repairs you might be faced with include:
- Asphalt: Hail damage will appear as a dark spot or bruise because the granules will be missing. Look for holes, cracks or absent shingles. Repair immediately.
- Other shingles: Wood, metal, tile and other shingles will be hit hard by hail as well. Cracked, missing or broken shingles will allow leaking, so you’ll need a roofer in immediately to fix the problem.
Winds can reach at least 300 miles per hour during a severe thunderstorm, which can rip siding off your home and exacerbate the pelting of your exterior with hail and debris as well. Wind damage repairs can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of the injury. While you can’t prepare for flying debris from other houses, you can minimize damage by curtailing debris in your own yard. To prevent wind damage, you can:
- Trim back tree branches to prevent fallen limbs.
- Secure window shutters to defend against debris.
- Tie down anything that could fly away and hit the siding or the roof.
If your siding is looking worse for wear, have a siding professional come out to repair it. It could make the difference in whether you’re left with an intact home exterior after a storm or not.
Tornado damage occurs following high winds from blowing debris. While you can’t do a lot to prepare your home for a tornado, it helps to trim tree branches back from your roof and windows. You can also reinforce your roof to better handle high winds:
- Shake roof: Add more nails.
- Slate roof: Seal down with cement.
- Tile roof: Place a steel strap over the tiles.
- Asphalt roof: Nothing can be done, but inspect after.
You can also invest in a storm cellar, which is built underground and allows great defense against high winds during a tornado. A storm shelter is built close to the home so you have easy access during a tornado and don’t have to run far for safety. A storm cellar door is built at an angle so that debris blows over the door. This allows for debris to roll over the door rather than trap it, so you can get in and out easily. The confines of a storm cellar for a family is around 8 by 12 feet with an arched roof. It’s made of cement blocks and rebar to ensure maximum defenses.
Flooding can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damages to your home. To prepare your home for potential flooding, ensure that the ground is sloped away from your foundation. This will defend your home against water buildup. Also, regularly maintain any storm drains, gutters and downspouts. Other tips include:
- Cleaning gutters regularly
- Check and clean storm drains on a bimonthly basis
- Clean the storm drain cover
- Check window wells and sump pumps
- Construct barriers to stop flood water from getting into your home.
- Raise your heating system to a higher floor level to avoid flood water.
- Seal cracks in the basement walls.
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Warnings, Alerts & Where to Go
You will see severe thunderstorm warnings and alerts appear throughout the span of the storm, whether it’s on the radio, TV or your smartphone. You can find warnings:
- In emergency notifications on smartphones
- On weather apps as alerts in real time
- On the radio from the National Weather Association
- On TV at the bottom as a grey moving bar with affected counties, times
When you see a severe thunderstorm warning in effect for your area, you need to stay indoors until at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder. Stay away from windows and doors, in case they happen to blow open or break in high wind conditions. Stay out of water in case of lightning. If you’re driving when you get the alert, head home if you’re close or get off the road immediately.
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Storm Recovery and Damage Repair
After a severe thunderstorm hits your home, you could be looking at a few hundred dollars worth of simple repairs — broken windows, landscape upkeep and debris removal, for example — or you could be looking at thousands of dollars in repairs due to hail damage and flooding. Survey the extent of the damage and determine whether it will cause additional long-term issues; immediately fix anything that will. Here are some common post-storm damages and how to address them:
Broken tree branches, high winds, flying debris and hail can cause roof damage that will need to be addressed following a severe thunderstorm. Some signs of roof damage after a storm include:
- Split seams
- Missing, bruised or dented shingles
- Cracked or broken tiles
- Granules in the gutters
- Dents on the vents and gutters or roof flashing
It’s imperative that you have a roofing contractor fix your roof following a severe thunderstorm. Otherwise, these damages could lead to expensive interior problems like attic flooding, ceiling stains, and mold. In worst-case scenarios — those in which your roof is old and cannot handle the high winds or hail storms — your roof may cave in on itself. This is uncommon, but you do run the risk of having to replace your roof if it’s reaching the 15-20 year mark around the time of a severe thunderstorm.
Weather associated with severe thunderstorms can also significantly impact the exterior and siding of your home, causing:
- Cracks that run parallel to the siding
- Chips or breaks in siding
- Breaks or holes that are punched into the siding by hail and debris
- Dings and dents, most commonly found in aluminum siding
- Paint damage such as chips, cracks and color changes or small black marks
If your siding shows cracks, chips, or dings and dents, have it repaired immediately to prevent pests, insects or climate conditions from further impacting your home. Breaks and holes, in particular, negate the siding’s ability to defend your home entirely. Such damage will require siding to be replaced by a contractor — in parts or in whole — which could cost thousands of dollars. Paint damage is the least of concerns because it’s a cosmetic injury rather than a functional one.
Windows and Doors
Windows and doors bear the brunt of severe thunderstorms’ debris and high winds, making them highly susceptible to damages. Some damages you’ll see after a storm might include:
- Cracked or splitting doors and frames
- Broken glass or shattered windows
- Debris embedded in a door or window
- Paint chipped or cracking around a door or window
Contractors recommend taking the following steps to protect your windows and doors against severe thunderstorms.:
- Window film: This keeps window glass from shattering.
- Plywood boards: Install over windows before a storm.
- Storm shutters: Shutters defend against high winds and debris.
- High impact glass: Impact glass breaks into two pieces rather than shattering when hit by debris.
While you can trim your trees back before a storm, there’s still a chance that high winds, flying debris and hail will cause them to bend, twist and break during a severe thunderstorm. There are six different ways a tree can be damaged during a storm:
- Blow-over: A tree is pushed over by high winds.
- Stem failure: Stems break under high winds because of old wounds and pest damage.
- Crown twist: Tree crowns will twist and split under high winds because of poor maintenance, or because they’re lopsided.
- Root failure: Poor anchorage to the ground will cause the root to pull up or snap, and the tree will fall or lean over.
- Branch failure: Branches will break off from the tree because they’re poorly attached in the first place.
- Lightning: Lightning will hit the tree and cause small explosions down the line of the tree, causing it to break and fall.
There’s not much a homeowner can do to prep a tree for potential damage except provide good care and maintenance. Trim trees on a regular basis and try to keep branches away from your home and power lines.
If your home is flooded following a severe thunderstorm, there are various steps you can take to recover your home. It’s going to be a long process, involve a lot of tearing up, remodeling and time, but your home will go back to its original state eventually. Some recommendations from the CDC include:
- Wear safety gear.
- Get rid of anything that can’t be cleaned (bedding, fabric flooring, upholstery, toys, linens)
- Throw away drywall and insulation that’s wet.
- Deep clean and scrub hard surfaces with hot water and dish detergent.
- Use fans, A/C units and dehumidifiers to speed the drying process.
- Wash all clothing touched by flood water with hot water and laundry detergent.
Be aware of electrical power lines, natural gas lines, frayed wires and any other hazards from flooding that could injure you. You should check with the gas company or the fire department before returning to your home to avoid injury. Do not return to your home during the day to avoid any accidents from being unable to see. You shouldn’t be allowed to return until the police or fire department say it’s okay. You should also not wade in standing water or around downed power lines, just in case.
If you need help with the big part of the recovery job — pulling up carpet, taking down drywall, removing appliances, so forth — you can call in a disaster recovery contractor to help you. These professionals are licensed and experienced in handling situations like flood recovery and know where to start. They can also look out for disaster-specific issues like mold, foundation issues and the like.
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Top States for Thunderstorms
Some states are more prone to severe thunderstorms than others, which means homeowners in such states need to be better prepared. According to a report on WeatherBug, in 2013 the top states for severe thunderstorms between March 1 and June 17 included:
- Texas: 922 events*
- Oklahoma: 725 events
- Kansas: 652 events
- Missouri: 515 events
- Illinois: 456 events
- Nebraska: 405 events
- Iowa: 403 events
- New York: 252 events
- Mississippi: 233 events
- Virginia: 232 events
- Louisiana: 223 events
*Note: events are defined as severe thunderstorms
The most active states — Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri — received 300 severe thunderstorm alerts per week.
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Thunderstorm Safety Tips and Prevention
To keep your home and family safe before and during a thunderstorm, it’s imperative that you take precautionary measures — especially if you live in an area prone to storms.
To prepare for a thunderstorm, the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) recommends:
- Putting together an emergency kit and family plan
- Removing debris and branches
- Securing outdoor objects that could blow away or damage the home
- Staying inside your home
- Closing all exterior windows and doors
- Unplugging all electronic equipment before the storm.
While there isn’t much you can do to prevent a severe thunderstorm, you can keep the damages to a minimum by securing as much in your home as possible and reinforcing the defenses around your home exterior. Tie down your roofing or seal it with mortar, call in siding professionals and clean up all the debris around your house.
There are storm damage professionals who can come in following a natural disaster and help with the recovery. While they don’t fix everything, they can help you start the process. If you want to read more about what they do, read this FAQ from the National Storm Damage Center.
How to Keep Your Insurance Down
Standard homeowner policies cover your home and what’s in it. You should be covered for storm damages and major natural disasters, including severe thunderstorms; however, flooding is not generally covered. Storm-resistance improvements that will lower your premiums include:
- Impact-resistant shingles
- High impact glass
- Storm shutters
Always file a claim following a severe thunderstorm if your home is extensively damaged.
Severe Weather Facts & Myths
Myth: Highway and interstate overpasses are safe shelters against a tornado.
Fact: Overpasses can concentrate the tornado winds, causing them to be significantly stronger. This places the people under them in an even more dangerous situation. In recent years, several people seeking shelter beneath overpasses have been killed or severely injured. Being above ground level during a tornado is dangerous.
Myth: The low pressure with a tornado causes buildings to explode. Opening the windows will equalize the pressure, saving the building.
Fact: Opening the windows in an attempt to equalize pressure will have no effect. It is the violent winds and debris that cause most structural damage. It is more important for you to move to a safe area away from windows and exterior walls. With a tornado, every second counts, so use your time wisely and take cover.
Myth: Thunderstorms and tornadoes always move from west to east.
Fact: More often than not, thunderstorms move from west to east. Conditions in the atmosphere dictate how and where storms will move, and it can be in any direction. Tornadoes have been known to act erratic, and can change directions and speed very quickly. Never try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle.
Myth: It’s not raining here, and skies above me are clear, therefore I am safe from lightning.
Fact: Lightning can strike many miles away from the thunderstorm. If storms are in your area, but skies happen to be clear above you, that certainly does not imply you are safe from lightning. Though these “Bolts from the Blue” are infrequent, lightning strikes 10 to 15 miles away from the storm are not out of the question.
Myth: Since I am inside my house and out of the storm, I am completely safe from lightning.
Fact: Just because you have taken shelter inside, you are not automatically safe. While inside waiting out a storm, avoid using the telephone or electrical appliances and do not take showers or baths. Also stay away from doors and windows. Telephone lines, cords, plumbing, even metal window and door frames are all lightning conductors and pose a threat
Myth: Large and heavy vehicles, such as SUVs and pickups, are safe to drive through flood waters.
Fact: It is a common belief that the larger the vehicle, the deeper the water it can drive through. Many people do not realize that two feet of water can float most vehicles, including SUVs and pickups. If the water is moving rapidly, vehicles can be swept away.
Myth: Flash floods only occur along flowing streams.
Fact: Flash floods can and do occur in dry creek or river beds as well as urban areas where no streams are present.
Mold Found in Local Virginia Beach, VA Home
Mold beneath wall
Mold on wall
This mold was found after this local family called us for a pipe burst that happened behind their wall. Our technicians saw this after doing demolition and wanted to get this tested before resuming to make sure this was mitigated properly. After confirming with the industrial hygienists that this was indeed mold we performed the proper mitigation. Such as wearing the correct PPE, setting air scrubbers, sanitizing, and also doing tear out as needed to ensure that it was gone.
Please be sure to call SERVPRO of Virginia Beach for any mitigation needs you may have. 757-431-1400
10 Facts About Black Mold
Here Are 10 Facts About Stachybotrys Mold That You Need to Know
1. The “Toxic Black Mold” People Are Most Concerned About Is Called Stachybotrys Chartarum or Stachybotrys Atra.
For the purposes of this article I have interchanged the names Stachybotrys, Black Mold and Stachy to mean the same thing.
In fact, this particular mold gained wide scale recognition as one of the most harmful fungi, especially in the United States. Back in 1993-1994, there was a serious outbreak of pulmonary hemorrhage affecting infants in Cleveland Ohio.
Research revealed that Stachybotrys Chartarum growing inside the home of the sick infants.
Since that time there have been a number of other cases involving “Toxic Black Mold” across the nation, resulting in lawsuits and problems for building owners on how to address this issue.
However, there is much debate regarding the specifics on this topic with regard to medical claims… yet the common consensus is that people get sick when they ingest or breathe the harmful mycotoxins from this fungus.
It should also be stressed that several other non-related mold types, including Aspergillus can be dangerous as well. Some of these other molds are black, as well as green, blue, pink, brown, white and yellow.
Anytime you see a moisture issue and resulting mold in your home or building, the situation must be addressed in short order. Call in a professional for best results.
2. According To The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black Mold, And All Other Mold Is Not Toxic…
The term “Toxic Mold” is apparently incorrect. Instead, it is the mycotoxins released from this fungus that are considered toxic. I have included a link at the bottom of this article for more clarification on this.
3. Black Mold May Or May Not Produce Toxins.
According to another article written in Mold-Help.org blog, there are a variety of conditions that will determine whether a mold will produce toxins. Although this mold has the ability to produce health compromising toxins, they do not always release the poisons.
It depends on a number of factors, such as the surface it is grows on, the temperature, the food source and humidity.
4. Stachybotrys Is A Wet, Sticky Mold.
Stachy spores are clumped together in a sticky coating so they do not usually travel well in air currents like many other mold types. However, if they dry out or become disturbed, they can be disbursed.
Dry mold is not really dead; it lies dormant and can still be dangerous. In the dry state it can take on the appearance of soot.
Due to its sticky make up, Stachy is best collected and tested by taking physical swab or tape surface samples. They can then be sent to a microbial lab for analysis.
Inspectors may suspect that a home has Stachybotrys, (based on visible observation) yet still choose to conduct air samples to determine if any other kinds of mold are present.
Knowing that these spores do not travel well in the air, you should be especially concerned if the only one tiny Stachybotrys clump is revealed in a lab report. This is a clear indication that thousands more are likely to be present.
5. Excessive Prolonged Moisture Leads To Stachybotrys growth.
This fungus needs to be exposed to moisture for long periods of time (1-2 weeks) before it begins to colonize.
Other mold types commonly found in a home, such as Aspergillus, Penecillium and Cladosporium, can grow within 24-48 hours.
Indoors, it grows best on organic cellular materials like insulation paper backing, drywall, ceiling tiles, cardboard, wallpaper or any other paper based materials.
A quick case study: During one of my inspections, a large concentration of Stachybotrys Chartarum was found behind a mattress leaning along a bedroom wall. According to the strata president, this was caused by high humidity over a three-month stretch.
Normally one would expect to see this fungus growing because of a long-standing flood or leak rather than high humidity.
To save money, the homeowners were air-drying all of their laundry in one bedroom, while keeping the windows and door closed. It was like a humid rain forest.
The takeaway from this… high humidity over time can cause this fungus to grow. Keep the windows open (about an inch or two) for cross ventilation and always use the dryer rather than hanging moist clothing in a closed room.
6. Poisonous Toxins Released By Stachy, And Other Molds Are Called Mycotoxins.
These poisons (mycotoxins) are what make people ill when they are ingested or inhaled. Another reason this mold has been called Toxic Black Mold is due to the fact that it produces more mycotoxins than most other types of indoor mold.
7. Toxic Black Mold Is Not Always Visible.
This mold is not easily seen for a number of reasons. It needs to be sitting in moisture for at least 8 days to begin growing. Visible leaks are usually dealt with right away, so it wouldn’t have the time to colonize.
A small leak that develops over time can start the process when the leak is not visible. Problems begin without us knowing, as many leaks are concealed behind walls, and under carpets, floorboards above the ceiling in and areas that have been saturated for long periods of time.
At this point is it too late… People begin to experience health effects, or eventually see the signs once it has established a presence. By this time, the subsequent damage can be vast and expensive.
8. This Black Mold Has A Very Distinctive Odour.
Some would describe it as a potent, damp, stale, musty or rotting earthy wood smell. If this strong type of odour is present, yet different from other rooms in the home, then the area should be investigated for mold infestation. Consider this a priority.
9. Over Time, Stachy Will Usually Dominate Other Molds.
Through testing and analysis we know that this mold grows best when exposed to moisture for at least a week, or more. When its food source is low in nitrogen and high in cellulose, (organic materials) Stachy is happy… us and other molds, not so much.
Although different mold colonies will likely grow beforehand, once the Stachy takes form, it will dominate the environment completely.
10. Dry Mold Will Grow Again When Exposed To Moisture.
It’s true… Stachybotrys and several other mold types can sit dormant for thousands of years until it gets wet, allowing new growth to take form.
For this reason, I strongly recommend calling in a professional remediation contractor to discard all contaminated items, and or building materials.
Call SERVPRO of Virginia Beach for any mold remediation needs you may have. 757-431-1400
Fun Storm Facts
Are you afraid of storms, or do you embrace them? Whichever side you fall on, we all have some sort of respect for storms. They can cause great damage, paint beautiful pictures across the sky, alter any outdoor plans, and completely turn a day around. Although you’ve probably experienced many thunderstorms in your life, you might not know a whole lot about them. In today’s post, we’re going to share some fun storm facts that you may not have known!
- The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter!
- The typical thunderstorm lasts about 30 minutes.
- About 1,800 thunderstorms are happening around the world at any given moment.
- Lightning kills more people than tornadoes every year.
- A severe storm “watch” means that a serious storm has the potential to develop, but has not developed yet. However, a sever storm “warning” means that a storm has developed and been sighted.
- About 10% of storms are classified as “severe”.
- If you’re ever heard the term the “four horsemen” of thunderstorms, it’s referring to wind/tornadoes, hail, floods, and lightning.
- Thunderstorm clouds grow to heights of above 20,000 feet!
- A “derecho” is a type of severe storm that lasts a long time, covers a great distance, and involves serious wind.
- Wind speeds can be up to 120 mph in thunderstorms, even without a tornado.
- A massive hailstorm in Munich, Germany, in 1984 caused over $1 billion worth of damage.
- In 1933, huge hailstones were reported to have fallen around a city in Massachusetts, containing fresh, frozen ducks inside.