New Construction Projects are prime places for mold growth at times in the PNW
SERVPRO of Kitsap County offers a variety of services and one of them is mold remediation. Living in the PNW, we all know that there is a higher amount of moisture in our environment than in many other places, which can cause mold to grow more often and more quickly than in drier parts of the country. We are aiming to help aid new construction projects with mold that has begun to grow on the new structure mid-project. Protecting you and your home is a priority for us.
A common misconception in construction is that leaving the bones of the structure exposed to the elements is okay. This is false. Leaving any new lumber, studs, beams, or any other building materials exposed to the weather actually begins the process of creating an environment perfect for mold growth and contamination of building materials. Of course some materials will become damp and be exposed during the construction process, but the key is to be vigilant and inspect building materials as they are used. This will help prevent other materials, such as drywall and insulation, from becoming contaminated.
One of the services that SERVPRO of Kitsap County offers is mold remediation: killing the mold spores to prevent further mold growth. In some cases this service is used to clean and eliminate any containments or living bacteria that could cause issues both for the building itself & the people occupying the structure. Our franchise supports both homeowners and builders to ensure both safety and health factors play a big part in the construction process. When you see mold on your work-in-progress we can treat it accordingly to eliminate it completely.
SERVPRO prides itself in using a 100% organic disinfectant that kills 99.99% of germs versus other companies who may try to just get the job done easily by using disinfectants with high ammonia levels, bleach, or other harsh chemicals to eliminate germs. The products we use are made from food-grade plant extracts and essential oils, our anti-microbial disinfectant has NO toxicity warnings on its label. That is because it poses NO health risk toward humans or animals and is safe to use.
The first thing we do when we arrive to an area in need of mold remediation is enclose the job site. To increase the productivity of our products there needs to be no chance of any interruptions including weather, new moisture, and other elemental factors. Sealing the job site ensures our product will cover all affected areas and will work properly.
If you have a building structure that is showing signs of mold growth, give SERVPRO of Kitsap County a call today. We can help disinfect and eliminate the headache of mold in your new construction project.
Lunch & Learns
Lunch is our treat! Our marketing team at SERVPRO of Kitsap County will hold an event for business owners, agents, brokers, office managers and/or insurance agents. This Lunch and Learn event will give you an opportunity to learn more about our company, including how we can be of service to you and your company when you need it the most. Additionally we will review what services we offer for your customers and clients. Our scheduling is very flexible for those who are interested: we schedule based on your availability and even travel to any location that is most convenient to you in Kitsap County!
During lunch we will do a 15-20 minute presentation focused on a predetermined topic of your choice. You can choose any of the following topics:
Topic 1: General Overview of SERVPRO of Kitsap County including our services, training, certifications, & equipment we use to get the job done.
Topic 2: SERVPRO of Kitsap County Emergency Readiness Profile. Our no-cost service that helps restore operations to your business building faster after you’ve experienced a disaster
Topic 3: Commercial & Industrial Large Loss: Capabilities, Response, and Preparing your Commercial Clients for Whatever Happens (Emergency Ready Profile for disasters that affect multiple businesses, for example a mall or shopping center)
Topic 4: Water Damage. This covers water damage timelines, categories of water damage, flood damage, mold damage, indicators of water damage, and how water damage affects your client's properties.
Topic 5: Fire, Smoke, & Soot Damage. This covers types of smoke, how it affects your client’s properties, statistics of fire/smoke damage, fire safety tips, and what to do until help arrives.
If you’re interested, contact our office at 360-373-1290 and ask for our Marketing Department. Or, you can e-mail us with your interest and questions at smm@SERVPROkitsapcounty.com
We hope to hear from you soon!
Storm: Flash floods: what they do & how to prevent the damage they bring
With the increased heavy rains we have had recently it’s always good to remember that any storm system can cause flash flooding at any time. Flash floods occur in many parts of the world and are caused by abnormally heavy rainfall from a storms such as thunderstorms, hurricanes, tropical storms, and melt water. Flash floods can come in a quick sweep and pass just as fast, or stay for quite a while if there is nowhere for the water to properly drain. None the less flash flooding almost always causes damage not only man-made structures, but also erodes parts of the ground, hillsides, and roads.
Things to remember and look out for when dealing with a flash flood
- Flash floods are a rapid surge of water in low lying geographic areas. This surge of water has the ability to destroy objects and geographic landmarks in its path. The objects and landmarks that are not destroyed can be adversely affected due to the destructive nature of this amount of water. With continuous exposure of flood water the current can slowly deteriorate the integrity of the structure.
- Flood waters linger due to the inability to properly drain. The most common cause of structure flooding is poor drainage. When a structure is exposed to flood waters for prolonged periods of time the ‘flood-proof’ barriers in place run the risk of failing due to erosion and pressure of the water itself.
- If any of the flood water is greater than 3 feet the pressure from the water can cause failure points in the foundation. When the structural integrity is not addressed in a timely manner it can cause a collapse of the building itself.
- As we know, flood water starts as rainwater, but due to the increased volume and speed of the waters, it picks up everything along the way. The collection of various materials causes it to become contaminated. The materials flood waters pick up include harmful components such as industrial waste, toxins, pesticides, sewage, animal wastes, oils and chemicals, and non-chemical materials. Damage from these harmful components can be reduced by using floor protection measures, such as a sealant.
Preemptive Flood Water Suggestions & Tips
The best solution to prevent flooding is to ensure that all drainage systems surrounding your building have been set up and are working correctly. Issues in your drainage system can result in damage to your property. Try to always ensure that your drainage procedures are up to date, free of anything that can clog the system, free of anything that can compromise the integrity of the system, and perform regular inspections to make sure your drainage system is ready for anything at any time.
Having appropriate elevation will aid in limiting the damage of flooding at your property location. Safety against flooding is enhanced by raising the elevation of the building above base flood elevations. Remember to keep this in mind when doing new construction, and when you have the opportunity to raise the foundation heights of buildings.
Underground Flood Proofing
Roof issues can lead to costly damage to your home and wallet.
The roofs that we take shelter under signify a protective layer from the environment and outside forces as well as an indicator of our personal safe place.
Even though a roof represents one of the largest investments in our home, most homeowners do not maintain it as attentively as they would other belongings or parts of the home. When keeping up the necessary work your roof needs is laid to the sidelines, it can create damage inside the home, not just the exterior.
Roof maintenance needs to be recognized as a priority. On an annual basis for every homeowner and especially for those of us that live in climate with very clear definitions of all of the seasons.
- In winter, your roof is exposed to the cold not only for the temperature, but the winds, rain and potentially snow. Which creates a situation of it to contract.
- Humidity and higher temperatures during the summer can have the opposite effect making the roof components swell, creating further strain on its integrity.
- When there is a constant back and forth of dry spells to alternating rainy spurts, this can speed up and shorten the lifespan of the roof.
When a roof begins to fail there can be very obvious leaks from the ceiling or in the attic space. What can be scarier, is the leak that is undiscovered. Which usually is a result of a piercing; possibly from a tree branch, a weakness in a seam, or parts of the shingles that have been worn down because of the elements. Causing moisture or even straight water itself to find its way into the spaces between the ceiling and walls and start affecting the structure of your building.
By the time the issue is found, extensive damage may have already occurred. This can also create an environment for mold to grow and spread, which can now affect anyone’s health who inhabits the building.
We hope that every home owner realizes not only the investment that a roof is, but that it also comes with needed maintenance to protect themselves, their belongings and entire home as a whole.
Tips on maintaining your roof:
- Make sure that any trellises, gutters and other additions to your roof are not rotting and are suitably attached.
- Get an annual inspection from a licensed, experienced roofer. If you get overwhelmed by google, call our office today for a few local companies that we like to work with.
- Confirm with said roofer that all seams, especially those around chimneys and where a flat roof meets the pitched roof or a wall, are sealed properly to help prevent water intrusion.
- Ensure that any roof cleaning is performed by a professional with extensive experience and proper equipment and products.
- Get a stamp of approval that there is sufficient airflow in and out of the attic, proper ventilation is key to prevent moisture getting trapped in your attic space.
- And don’t forget that you shouldn’t wait around to repair or replace the roof when needed, it is one part of your home that is worth staying on top of.
In the end, a smaller investment is worth it to make sure that you are guaranteeing a well maintained roof. The little bits of extra work can go a long way toward helping prevent a loss down the road. If you suspect that you may have a moisture issue or water intrusion into your building from your roof, give our SERVPRO of Kitsap County team a call to help get your loss back to normal “Like it never even happened.”
Bio hazard Cleaning: Death and Crime Scene
This is a sensitive topic, but also one with which a lot of people need help. When a loved one or friend passes away it is very hard. Not only are those left behind grieving but now they are left with a task of sorting through their loved one’s home. When the loved one passes in their home this adds another level of difficulty with the added traumatic need of cleaning up their home. We have specific technicians on our SERVPRO of Kitsap County team that are trained to handle these types of situations, and all of the necessary measures that are needed to properly clean up the affected areas.
We know it can be overwhelming at a time such as this. Rest assured that in this devastating time we are here to help. If you, or someone you know, are in need of our bio hazard professional clean up services contact our SERVPRO of Kitsap County office a call at (360) 373-1290.
Working with us from start to finish – help us be able to best help you.
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling a million different things at once. You may need an expert to guide you through this current disaster. SERVPRO of Kitsap County staff members have the specific training and experience to help you through this tough time no matter what kind of emergency has occurred. We specialize in water damage restoration, fire, smoke, and soot cleanup, mold mitigation, and bio hazard cleanup as well as post-disaster contents cleaning. Our crew is available to help you any time, any day.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your emergency and the damage associated to it. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information (name, phone numbers, email address, billing address)
- The street address of the damaged home or business
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- When did the damage occur?
- What caused the damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity & water available (on-site)?
- How much of the structure is affected and if contents have been affected
About SERVPRO of Kitsap County
Our trained professionals dedicate our focus and work in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a mold, fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage mitigation and remediation. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to get your structure and property back to normal “Like it never even happened.”
Caring For Your Home: Protecting You Against Water Damage From Leaking Hoses
Protecting you and your home is our top priority. Today we will address being aware of and maintaining the hoses around the exterior of your home.
One way to protect your home from water damage is to check your hoses and faucets for leaks. This may sound like a simple task, but it’s surprising how many homeowners forget to do this. Unfortunately, forgetting this simple task can lead to thousands of dollars in water damage. By simply inspecting their hoses and faucets, these situations would have never occurred.
The issue with leaking hoses and faucets is more than meets the eye: not only do you spend extra money on excess water usage, but you also create an environment ripe for structural damage to your home. Typically faucets, and in turn hoses, can be found near the foundation of one’s home. When a water line is permeable, you’re not just losing water into the yard, but you’re also losing the stability of your foundation due to the corrosive properties of water. Even if water is draining properly in to the soil it can then trickle alongside the base of your home just below the landscaping and find its way into any cracks or openings that exist.
As water percolates into the dirt surrounding a home’s foundation it causes more of an issue than most people think. The excess water creates additional moisture inside your home (especially in basements) which can lead to interior issues such as mildew and mold growth. This is where proper ventilation comes into play; good airflow can help battle excess moisture, and save even more money, potential headaches, and stress for you in the long run.
In an area that constantly fluctuates between freezing and thawing temperatures it is common to see slow leaks quickly escalate to bigger ones. This is caused by the expanding of any residual water during freezing temperatures which then stretches existing holes into bigger problems.
To maintain and help prevent leaks in your hoses and faucets inspect them when in use; look for drips or wet areas where there are no puddles nearby to make sure there aren’t any leaks in your hose or spout. If you do find issues it is inexpensive to replace either item. Look to see that the connections to the building structure are air-tight and sealed. Remember to turn the water off firmly at the source when you’re finished. Additionally in the winter, be sure to turn the water off from inside your home and keep the hose indoors or away from direct weather to help prevent breakage and cracking due to freezing and inclement weather. You can also aim to place an anti-freezing cap over your exterior faucets to help prevent your pipes from freezing.
There’s not much work to prevent water damage from a leaking hose, but in the instance of someone being forgetful, or not considering this as a priority, it’s easy for water to trickle into your home and cause damage of any amount. If there is water damage, remember that the team at SERVPRO of Kitsap County are just a click or a call away. We are always around no matter what day and no matter what time to help you and your home get back to normal – “Like it never even happened.”
Mold inspection before buying a home: likely places to find mold
Home buying is a roller coaster; from new emotions and experiences to all the hoops you need to jump through. You spend countless hours viewing homes, finding neighborhoods you love and features you hate, and trying to work with lenders. Another hoop to jump through is a home inspection to ensure there are no issues with the home you want to buy. Home inspectors are trained to spot issues inside and outside the home that could cause potential issues in the future, including mold growth.
When a home inspector finds mold in a pending purchase it becomes a not so pleasant hiccup that can cause a lot of issues and can cost a bit of money if not treated appropriately. Mold loves a variety of different environments, and depending on the environment you can find different types of mold. These environments can be found in many different locations including:
- Crawl spaces & attics.
- Bathrooms where there could be an issue of improper ventilation.
- Basement where groundwater finds its way into the foundation.
- Underneath or behind refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines.
- Around any windows that could be failing or already leaking.
- Underneath, around, and behind sinks.
- Under carpeting that has unusual staining spots on the top layer of flooring.
There are many other places mold can start to spore, but a good indicator is any location that has high moisture or has had water damage in the past. Bathrooms and attics commonly have poor ventilation creating condensation; basements and crawlspaces collect ground water and fluids from broken pipes; refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers commonly have supply lines that aren’t not connected correctly, become kinked, or clogged causing leaks; window seals deteriorate with time which can cause condensation on the inside and leaks from the outside; sinks are connected to a variety of pipes and connections that can deteriorate with age, clog, and break; carpeting tends to hide evidence of water damage. When these issues go unnoticed they all have the potential to create the perfect environment for mold growth, and the common denominator here is moisture.
When mold is in your home it can cause unfriendly odors, damage to walls and floors, and even create certain health issues for you and your family. The initial move to make in removing mold to recognize the most common areas for mold to grow.
Household mold primarily thrives in damp, humid areas such as basements, showers, and around heating and cooling appliances. Mold in homes can also occur in carpets, ventilation ducts, and crawlspaces. The best way to guard against mold in your house is to ensure there are no active leaks or areas where moisture is collecting regularly, and that your home has proper ventilation.
If you see mold in your home currently, or are even in the process of dealing with a home inspection today, give our staff at SERVPRO of Kitsap County a call to come out and handle that inconvenience for you. We are always ready to help make that house into a home. So remember: when in need, think orange & green!
Stack Effect/ Chimney Effect
With the colder months upon us and the fact that it’s going to proceed to get colder something that every home owner should be aware of is a stack effect, or as it is also known chimney effect. In this article we will cover what stack effect is, causes and reactions, and also provide suggestions on how to combat it to improve your home’s ventilation.
Textbook definition states that the chimney effect is the movement of air in and out of buildings, chimenys, or flue-gas stacks, resulting from air buoyancy. Buoyancy occurs due to a difference in indoor-to-outdoor air density resulting from temperature and moisture differences. The result is either a positive or negative resistance force. The greater the thermal difference and the height of the structure, the greater the buoyancy force, and thus the stack effect occurs. The stack effect helps drive natural ventilation, air infiltration, and fire upwards into a flu or chimney like containment. In other words, warm air rises & cold air sinks, and when you’re trying to heat your home in the winter this can cause higher heating bills and colder homes. The same holds true in summer, except it’s cold air escaping through poorly sealed windows, doors, and vents.
Reactions on buildings:
Like wind, the stack effect can move large volumes of air through a building envelope. In the winter, the warm air in a heated building is lighter (less dense) than the cold air outside of the building; that warm bubble of air wants to rise up and out. Which creates the flow of air leaving the top of the building, drawing cold air into cracks at the bottom through windows, doors, and vents. In summer, the reverse happens when hot air outside of an air-conditioned house can push cooler indoor air down from the ceiling and out of cracks in the basement. This potentially can lead to moisture problems on the top floor.
Stack effect can also cause moisture damage.
Moisture rides on air currents, so in any part of a building that experiences a large flow of air between inside and out, moisture will condense on cold surfaces. You can sometimes see the results on brick buildings—as moist air accumulates in the brick, it can cause staining, efflorescence, and spalling from freeze-thaw cycles. These problems aren’t confined to brick, anytime there is pressure pushing moist inside air, or pulling moist outside air, into the wall cavity you can get condensation which in turn can lead to mold and rot.
The differences in temperature and pressure aren’t as great during the summer as they are during the winter.
Unlike most other pressures, the stack effect acts every hour of every cold day, and the pressures created by the stack effect are substantial. Which goes hand in hand with the fact that “leaky” buildings go through great amounts of energy. Air leaks can add to condensation, compromising the quality of the indoor air.
Chimney effect is self-perpetuating
Air entering the building causes the lower levels to be cold, in response they turn up the thermostat. When the people upstairs get all that heated air, they open the windows to cool down. This escalates the flow of air leaving the building, which increases the flow of air coming up from the bottom floors. So the people downstairs plug in space heaters, you end up with a continuous cycle of sucking air up from the bottom, heating it, and blowing it out the top.
A Voice of Assistance:
In a house, stack effect pressures aren’t as high as in taller buildings, but they still cause uncomfortable drafts, moisture movement, and energy loss. As in all buildings, positive or negative pressure is highest at the top and at the bottom, so make sure the ceiling plane is tight. That means sealing all holes for can lights, connections between floors through dropped soffits and tray ceilings, and other pathways for air movement. At the bottom of the building, the biggest leaks are in the rim joist assembly because so many components are fastened together there. If all parts of the air barrier system aren’t correctly detailed, you’ll have fairly significant air leakage at the rim joist.
With this information, we hope that you correctly, and in the most reasonable and energy efficient way this winter, make sure there’s a good cycle of ventilation that isn’t allowing too much warm air to escape your home. This will help ensure everyone is kept warm, dry, and comfortable.
For further information, we reference research proven from http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/stack-effect-when-buildings-act-chimneys
Winter Season Prep Tips
Winter is when the colder temperatures really set in. We all know there are a few things that need to be done to help you stay warm, safe and dry as much as possible. For those who haven’t completed your winter proofing “to do” list here are a few suggestions to ensure your home is ready for this season and everything that comes along with it.
Arborist are handier than you think. Many winter tree catastrophes are preventable. Get a certified arborist to walk around your yard with you to look for rotting trees, and damaged or dangling limbs that may come down in the next storm. No one wants to call a restoration company because a tree limb has fallen and punctured their roof.
Stock up on wood for your fireplace. Some homes use heaters, and some use a good old fashioned fireplace. If you fall under this category we suggest stocking up on some logs, and maybe getting a little bit more than you think you’ll need, just in case. Ask friends and neighbors for suggestions on good sources in your community. Any hardwood, such as oak, maple, beech or elm, will work fine for firewood. You want firewood that has been seasoned for at least one year to prevent build up of creosote, which is a cause of chimney fires . Make sure your wood is stored in the driest place possible.
Skip the rake. Instead of raking your leaves, just leave them where they fall and run them over with a mulching lawn mower. You'll be amazed at how one of these powerful machines can turn a pile of leaves into a million little pieces that decompose faster than whole leaves. As an added bonus, they add valuable organic matter to your lawn and garden. Similarly, leave grass clippings on the lawn to enrich your lawn with essential nutrients and to promote aeration.
Maybe not squeaky, but decently clean gutters are helpful. So many water-in-the-basement problems are because of clogged gutters, causing the water to pool in unwanted areas of your landscaping and around your home exterior. It is important to keep gutters clear in order to properly drain rain water away from your home. If you can’t get on a ladder yourself look into hiring someone, possibly waiting until all the leaves have fallen and doing it all at once (unless, of course, they're already overflowing when it begins to rain).
Frozen Pipes are no joke. No one wants to experience a pipe burst from the lines freezing over. Try leaving an outside water spout slightly running. This keeps a minimal drip going so the water doesn’t freeze inside. In case a pipe does freeze and hasn’t burst, search for either a dripping or ice-covered pipe, and proceed to listen for a hollow sound. You can use a hair dryer or pick up heat tape from your local hardware store.
Heat more efficiently. There are quite a few things you can do to make your house more energy-efficient. Some things are simple, like checking the caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows, and replacing or repairing them if needed. Other things are a bit more extensive, such as adding insulation in your walls, replacing broken or cracked windows, and installing storm doors. All of these will help keep heat in; no one needs to have the heat going and a draft sucking out a good portion of it.
Hire a chimney sweep. If you haven’t had your chimneys cleaned in a while, it’s most likely time. Chimneys should be cleaned, or inspected, on an annual basis. Even if they appear to be in tip top shape, there’s a possibility of internal water damage to the bricks that you can't see. Chimney sweeps can also help you determine if there is a creosote build up inside your chimney and will help clean it out. Between cleanings and inspections be sure to burn creosote logs regularly to help minimize creosote build-up. Maintaining your chimney will not only help prevent water damage, but also will help prevent chimney fires.
Got a furnace and/or boiler? Inspection is suggested. Instead of frantically calling around for service when your boiler blows on a dead-cold winter night, set up with a reputable heating company for yearly inspections and maintenance. Many oil and propane suppliers are happy to bring you on board with an annual service contract. During inspections these companies look for outdated or broken pieces of equipment, ensure your system is functioning to the best of its ability, and give you the option to repair or replace anything that’s broken or outdated. It’s worth it in the end.
Need a generator? If a big storm is forecasted or upon you, the chances of finding a generator last minute are slim to none. So think long and hard now about whether it’s time to finally get one. Generators do require some thought because they are very loud and require a location that is very well ventilated. Most generators are run by gas, which means carbon monoxide is emitted while it’s being used. Because of these factors, remember to consider your neighbors when deciding where it will be placed.
Winter storms are the third largest cause of catastrophic losses, behind hurricanes and tornadoes. We hope these tips help you get your home winter ready. If you, a family member, or friend are in need of some winter damage help give our experienced SERVPRO of Kitsap County crew a call to help make your disaster “Like it never even happened.”