Recent Posts

Mold vs. Mildew Explained

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

Mold. Aspergillus. The finger of the hand points to the black fungus on the white wall. Mildew and mold are distinguishable by color and texture

It's every homeowner's nightmare: Something greenish-grayish-black has sprung up seemingly out of nowhere and is rapidly expanding over your walls, floors, or ceiling. How can you tell if this is mildew growth or mold growth, and either way, how do you stop the mold damage in its tracks?

Mildew vs. Mold

The labels "mildew" and "mold" are often used interchangeably, but while their behaviors and appearances are fairly similar, they are in fact two distinct types of fungi. Technically, mildew is a subcategory of mold, but it is generally treated as its own entity. Some other common household fungi, which are collectively referred to simply as "molds," include:

  • Acremonium
  • Fusarium
  • Mucor
  • Aspergillus
  • Alternaria
  • Cladosporium

How to Spot the Difference
Mildew and mold are distinguishable by color and texture. While mildew tends to be gray or white, mold is more often green or black. Likewise, mildew usually presents a downy or powdery texture and mildew growth is fairly flat against the surface. Mold, on the other hand, is often fuzzy or slimy, and can grow into more three-dimensional formations.

Which Is Worse?
Because mold is such a broad category, it is impossible to make a blanket statement as to whether mold or mildew causes worse mold damage. Both can spread extremely quickly, and the longer it's allowed to grow without professional intervention, the more arduous the remediation process will be. As a general rule of thumb, though, mold is often indicative of a more severe and far-reaching growth than mildew is.
The short answer is that if you spot mold damage in your home, it's not of the utmost importance whether it's technically mildew, because either way, the most important step to take is to call in your local Clear Lake, TX, mold remediation professionals. All the same, it always feels good to have a handle on what's going on inside your own home.

Fire Evacuation Planning for Your Pet: 3 Tips

9/16/2020 (Permalink)

Pomeranian dressed as firefighter The more you work at emergency pet preparation, the safer your animal might be

Tips To Ensure The Safety Of Your Pet

Having a fire evacuation plan in place for your Nassau Bay, TX, home can increase the chances of all your family members escaping a sudden blaze. However, does the plan include your beloved pets? Dogs, cats, and small mammals might perish in a fire emergency if they are not accounted for during an evacuation, but there are a few tips you can use to ensure their safety.

1. Use a Pet Population Window Decal
In the event of a fire, you can alert emergency services to the presence of pets by using a window cling or decal near the entrance of your home. This decal allows you to list the number and type of pets in the home, including dogs, cats and birds. Be sure to update the decal as you acquire new pets or if others pass away.

2. Keep Leashes Near Exits
One aspect of pet safety during a fire is the ability to keep your pets at your side once you evacuate, so having leashes on hand at designated fire exits can ensure your dog or cat does not run off in fear once you leave the house. Use leashes that are simple to slip on and provide one for each pet to reduce confusion during an evacuation and keep harnesses available there for small mammals as well.

3. Practice Evacuation
A fire emergency can be frightening for everyone, but including your pet in evacuation plans can reduce fear and anxiety, from the time fire services arrive to the appearance of a fire damage cleanup service once the fire is out. Work on teaching your pet an alert word so it knows to come to you at the nearest exit. The more you work at emergency pet preparation, the safer your animal might be.
When a fire emergency occurs at your Nassau Bay,TX, home, including your precious pets in a fire safety plan can help ensure their well-being so they can remain at your side for years to come.

Understanding Mitigation vs. Restoration

9/8/2020 (Permalink)

workers with protective equipment cleaning floodwaters in a building Storm mitigation in Dickson, TX

Two Basic Phases Of The Repair Process In Your Building

When your building is damaged by flooding after a storm in Dickson, TX, there are two basic phases of the repair process. A flood cleanup company must first mitigate the mess the storm left behind. Then the parts of your building that were destroyed must be restored.

Mitigation
Before any part of your building can be rebuilt, technicians first have to get debris and ruined materials out of the way. Once they have assessed the damage, there are several steps they take to mitigate it:

  • Pump out excess water
  • Repair or discard all affected items
  • Tear out ruined materials
  • Disinfect remaining surfaces
  • Dry the structure

These steps must happen quickly in order to avoid problems that fall under the category of secondary damage. Mold growth, for example, can occur in as little as one day after disaster strikes. Quick mitigation by a certified flood cleanup company is the key to keeping damage to a minimum.

Restoration
The second phase of the repair process takes more time. After mitigation, the restoration company is likely left with the bare bones of your building. They start by adding new insulation and rebuilding walls. Then they install new ceiling tiles and flooring. To complicate matters, all these features must be matched to the remaining walls, ceilings, and floors so that it looks "Like it never even happened," when the restoration process is finished. Finally, the furniture, equipment, and inventory that was able to be saved must be moved back into the building. One way to speed this part of the process up a little is to find a mitigation company that also specializes in restoration. That way, you have one team that can work seamlessly from beginning to end.
When your building is damaged in a storm, the flood cleanup company may get through mitigation quickly, but restoration will likely take longer. Understanding how the process works can help set reasonable expectations.

Emergency Preparation

9/1/2020 (Permalink)

Emergency Preparation

Storm preparedness and emergency planning are both tools in the property manager's arsenal. These tools can be the difference between maintained business operations or complete shutdown. The four points below can guide you through the steps and the significance of emergency preparation.

1. Preplan for Disaster

As an owner or a manager, you may find that a significant part of property management revolves around employee safety and disaster prevention. Businesses require this type of preparation to help ensure business continuity; therefore, you will likely want to accumulate a list of contacts and operational procedures in case of an emergency.

2. Prepare an Emergency Checklist

Storm preparedness can be as simple as creating an emergency checklist for employees and clients. You can post this checklist around the property and make sure that every employee has a copy, ensuring that everyone will know what to do during an emergency. These lists should include maps to exits and shelter areas along with an action plan.

3. Practice Emergency Procedures Regularly

While the creation of preparation materials and checklists are a good starting point, these tools are nothing without regular practice and guidance. Many municipalities suggest performing monthly emergency walk-throughs and safety meetings. These monthly meetings will allow employees to ask questions and practice the developed safety routines while allowing management to rectify any potential concerns before a legitimate emergency.

4. Consider Restoration Specialists

When you think of the term restoration specialists, you may not immediately think of emergency preparations, but some restoration companies in Clear Lake, TX, provide a form of emergency planning for businesses. These companies may offer property evaluations to help pinpoint safety concerns as well as offer custom plans for your business in the event of an emergency or disaster.

An essential aspect of most business planning is storm preparedness, but it goes beyond the installation of storm shutters and backflow valves. Storm readiness means preparing for emergencies, not only from a business operations perspective but a safety perspective as well. Creating procedures and checklists as well as performing monthly meetings can all benefit your business and employees, ensuring that everyone and everything is prepared in emergent situations.

3 Common Water Issues in Commercial Buildings

9/1/2020 (Permalink)

Managing a business takes a great deal of time, energy and money, but the payoff can be rewarding. Unfortunately, water issues such as leaking pipes can force a business in Houston, TX, to close its doors. Knowing the common water issues that many businesses face can help you prevent water damage to your business.

1. Damaged Pipes

Pipes can become damaged over time, which can result in a break or leak. Both issues can cause long-term damage to your business. If your pipes are leaking, you may notice that your water bill has increased without an increase in purposeful water use. A pipe break is often more sudden and apparent, but it can also cause extensive damage. Maintaining your business’s pipes will help prevent leaking pipes and other damage from occurring.

2. Sewer Backup

If your building has repeatedly had a toilet backup or you notice water isn’t draining appropriately in sinks and other drains, it could be a sign of a sewer backup. Sewer backups can leave your business without functioning restrooms and appliances, and they can also be dangerous to people’s health. Backups can create water damage in a variety of locations in your business and can affect various appliances at once.

3. Foundation Damage

A sturdy, supportive foundation is essential for any building, including businesses. If water has accessed your business’s foundation numerous times, especially in older buildings, the foundation may begin to crack. It’s important to be aware of the state of your building’s foundation, since damaged foundations can make a building unsafe to inhabit. Signs of foundation damage could include visible cracks, sinking floors and doors that won’t easily open or close.

As a business owner, you know the value of having a clean, safe business. Water issues such as leaking pipes can wreak havoc on a business, but knowing what to look for can help you keep your business functioning at its best. If you do experience water issues, qualified professionals can help you fix the issues and prevent future damage.

Clear Lake Home Safety: How Fast Can Storm Damage Be Fixed?

9/1/2020 (Permalink)

How Fast Can Storm Damage Be Fixed?

The greater Houston metropolitan is known for its active theater and cultural district, the NASA complex, a thriving central business district, fine restaurants, and beautiful countryside. However, we are also known for our severe weather events.

Storms damage thousands of area homes each year, and the resulting cleanup and restoration process is often an overwhelming task for homeowners. That is why, from the first call to the insurance company through to the completion of your restoration, your Houston SERVPRO of Clear Lake asks you to partner with us in the process of getting back into your home.

One of the first questions you may ask our highly trained restoration specialists is “How fast can the storm damage be fixed?” The answer to that question depends on the four key factors:

1. Insurance Company and Homeowner Approval of Restoration Plan. Before we can begin working on your home, you and your insurance company need to approve and sign our work contract. This contract will detail the work to be done, a timeframe, and the budget. The sooner we can come to acceptable terms, the more quickly work can begin.

2. Severity and Scope of Damage. If the recommended course of action is an only a thorough cleaning, disinfecting, and dehumidifying of your home and belongings, the water damage was likely minor and can be fixed quickly. However, if best practices and health codes indicate that drywall, insulation and carpets need to be removed and replaced, the process will take considerably longer. Likewise, if only a couple of rooms in your home were damaged, the restoration process will obviously be much quicker than if the entire home was damaged by floodwaters.

3. Availability of Contractors. In the event of a widespread natural disaster where many homes and businesses are damaged, reliable contractors quickly become booked, sometimes for many months to come. That is why it is imperative you contact your locally owned and operated Houston SERVPRO without delay. SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Team mobilizes quickly after a natural disaster to set up local command centers and increase our resources and manpower; no one surpasses our readiness to help our friends, neighbors, and members of the greater Houston area community.

4. Infrastructure Damage. After a devastating natural disaster, the infrastructure of a city— including roads and utilities—can take several weeks to be brought back online, and this can delay the restoration process. In the first few days after a historic weather event, it is sometimes difficult for our technicians and specialists to move around the area. However, you can rest assured that we are doing the best we can start rebuilding our community and your home. Damage to roads may cause a delay in the arrival of building supplies, so we ask that our customers remain patient, while we remain vigilant in getting the project done safely and done right.

Recovering from flood, hurricane, tornado, or other severe weather event does take time, but as members of the community, we understand how important it is to our customers to get back into their homes after disaster strikes. Call on us anytime your home is damaged; we are available 24 hours a day to respond, and will begin storm damage restoration work as quickly as possible.

Got Mold? Don’t Reach for the Bleach

8/15/2020 (Permalink)

Bottles of Clorox Bleach on store shelves. Don't reach for the bleach

At the first sign of mold damage or growth in your Clear Lake, TX, property, a first inclination may be to grab the bleach for instant fungus cleanup. Unfortunately, if you do that, the problem won’t be resolved and might actually spread. Mold has an intricate root system that requires advanced methods to eliminate. Over-the-counter products are unable to penetrate that deep.

5 Reasons It Doesn’t Work

When spending the time to cleanup mold, you want to ensure it is actually cleaned. While your trusted cleaning product is good for many things, below are five reasons it isn’t the right choice for mold.

Most traditional cleaners are 90% water. When using, the small percentage of chlorine evaporates fast. That leaves behind moisture that can be absorbed into porous surfaces and provide fuel for mold to grow.
As it is absorbed into porous materials, it can damage the surface. If used on wood, the fibers are weakened and can lead to rot. On metal, it can quickly lead to corrosion.
Once you spray it on, you may see the fungus growth disappear. In reality, you just bleached its color and didn’t remove the problem.
Bleaching a surface may smell strong, but this liquid quickly loses its power. Thus, it isn’t able to prevent future organic growth.

Professional Cleanup
When faced with fungus cleanup, you want it gone. The best bet is to call mold damage and remediation professionals. Armed with the latest technology to remove mold, as well as find hidden patches, they have the know-how to stop it from spreading and return your business back to normal. They also use industry-standard practices to contain the affected area and prevent future outbreaks.
Instead of leaving fungus cleanup up to chance by reaching for whatever is in the maintenance closet, get help that is Faster to Any Size Disaster to properly eliminate the problem.

How To Protect Your Business From a Toilet Flood

8/15/2020 (Permalink)

Overflowing broken toilet Toilet overrflow in La Marque, TX

Prevent Potential Contamination From A Toilet Flood

You may occasionally deal with toilet overflow in the bathroom of your La Marque, TX, business. This problem may be due to

  • Clogged pipes
  • Clogged vents
  • Blocked sewage lines
  • Failed septic system

A toilet flood is a common occurrence, but by following these steps you can prevent potential contamination and ensure the well-being of your customers and your employees.

Turn Off the Value and Don't Flush
When an automatic flush toilet overflows, it is necessary to stop the emission of water by turning off the water valve as quickly as possible. This step is critical because water will continue to flow with each flush. Turning off the water will prevent extensive flooding.
Manual flush toilets will not flush if you do not press a lever. If the overflow is due to a clog, you can more easily prevent flooding when your toilet flushes manually than when it flushes automatically.

Clean Up
Clean up after a manual or automatic flush toilet flood can vary, depending upon what caused the flood. For example, a simple clog within a manual flush toilet may involve little more than a mop and bucket to wipe up water splashes. However, floods due to a septic tank or sewage line failure, require measures to prevent bacterial and other toxic contamination. A professional cleaning service can extract waste-containing toxic water, disinfect surfaces, purify the air and help prevent the development of mold.

Prevent
When a toilet overflow causes extensive flooding, the damages can be devastating to your business. A toilet flood could require you to close your premises and replace furnishings and equipment, which could lead to financial loss. Scheduling regular inspections of all building plumbing, fixtures, and sewage systems will alert you to any issues before they turn into disasters.
You may not be able to stop a toilet from flooding your La Marque, TX, business, but you can establish a plan to minimize potential damages.

3 Ways Storm Damage Can Affect Your Business

8/5/2020 (Permalink)

Storm water on the floor, technicians wearing protective gear cleaning Storm restoration in Nassau Bay, TX

3 Ways Storm Damage Can Affect Your Business

After a storm in Nassau Bay, TX, there are a few ways your business may be affected. Contacting a local storm damage restoration service can be one way to ensure these problems are fixed before long term damage occurs. Here’s what you may want to know about roof damage, flooding, and mold problems.

1. Roof Damage

It’s important to note that flood damage can also occur to the roof. This can happen when a block in the gutters or drainage system causes water to overflow. This water can back up onto the roof and flood the space. If left unattended it can seep in and cause damage. Other forms of roof damage can come from hail beating on the surface, or strong winds which can know roofing and gutters lose if not properly secured.

2. Flooded Areas

One of the first thoughts, when one hears about a large storm, is to consider the risk for a flood. Flooding can occur if there is a leak or other space, like an open window, which can allow water into the building. Additional risk factors include land sloped in a way that allows water to pool against the building and debris which can be blown into the structure cracking a window or damaging another weakened location.

3. Mold Problems

Another problem, water damage could lead to is mold. Mold grows best in dim moist climates meaning that water damage can create a habitat for the fungi. Water soaks into organic material softening it for the mold spores to consume, and also keep the area humid. Restoration professionals know to look for this problem and in many cases are also trained for mold remediation. Meaning you shouldn’t need to contact a second service if mold does occur.

After a storm Roof damage, flooding, and mold problems may all occur. This is why it’s important to contact a restoration service quickly so that these issues can be found and fixed before long term damages affect your business.

4 Common Water Sources That Enable Mold Growth

7/20/2020 (Permalink)

Ceiling covered with black mold due to humidity Ceiling damaged by mold growth in a Dickson, TX home

Here Are Some Water Sources That Enable Mold Growth

Many homeowners fear the presence of black mold. This mold strain known by the scientific name of Strachybotrys chartarum has an especially infamous reputation. Like other types of mold, it flourishes in indoor areas with a moisture problem. The key to preventing its growth is staying on top of areas in a home where water leaks or high humidity can be an issue. Here are some water sources that enable mold to gain a foothold in a home in Dickson, TX:

1. Floods. Any time water comes into a home from an outside source, it increases the humidity level of a property. Even after the water recedes, the area stays moist, creating a perfect condition for mold growth. Just as importantly, the water may have been contaminated with chemicals and sewage. A mold remediation company can deal with both issues at the same time.

2. Leaky Plumbing. Even a slowly leaking pipe creates enough moisture to encourage black mold growth. If the leaking occurs behind the walls, the problem can take some time to spot. Fortunately, a professional mold cleanup can reach into hard to access areas of a home.

3. Leaky Roof. Minor leaks in the roofing system are not always spotted right away. The water drips into the attic and soaks into the walls and insulation, never making it into the living space below. Still, this enough for mold spores to grow into colonies. To address the problem, the roof should be repaired and the mold killed and scrubbed clean with disinfectants.

4. Bathrooms. An active bathroom tends to have higher than average humidity. If ventilation is poor, this could be enough for mold to grow. Removing the mold growth and improving the ventilation could be enough to prevent a recurrence of the problem.
Whether a home is faced with black mold or another strain of mold, the problem should be addressed quickly. Tackling the moisture problem is a necessary step.