How A Water Restoration Technician Assists After Disaster
How A Water Restoration Technician Assists After Disaster
A water restoration technician has an extremely important job when a home is affected by excess moisture or fluid. Certified professionals in the industry can quickly reverse the extensive damage that a flood or sewage backflow can cause, and save as many items as possible in the process. And when dealing with contaminated fluids, especially when it has pooled in the home, only certified professionals should be allowed to manage the cleanup. Attempting to perform cleanup efforts without expert assistance can lead to injury or illness, both of which can be severe.
A certified water restoration technician will usually be on call around the clock, except for those times when an entire community has been affected by a major disaster. As soon as a professional is on site, they will assess the situation and determine what items need immediate rescuing. If fluid has pooled in areas around the home, then pumps will be used to remove it.
The home will be dried using a configuration of heavy duty air movers and dehumidifiers, and while it dries, the firm will move through the building and look for any evidence of mold or pathogen contamination. If pathogens or mold are present, they will be eliminated using special procedures. This will ensure the home is safe to return to, and with concerted drying efforts, the building will as good as new once professionals have completed their work.
Damage From Water Should Be Cleaned By Certified Professionals
Damage From Water Should Be Cleaned By Certified Professionals
The amount of damage water can cause is amazing, and often underestimated by homeowners. Excess moisture is bad enough, but when a home is flooded or hit with a plumbing disaster (like a burst pipe), the situation can quickly get out of hand. There’s a reason why these incidents are among the most expensive problems a homeowner can face. Contaminated water not only creates immediate structural problems, it can leave serious biological threats behind after it has been removed.
Floods, sewage backflows, and other sources of contaminated fluid usually cause the worst damage. Dirty water is filled with all kinds of deadly substances, ranging from chemical residues to animal feces to parasites. Bacteria, viruses and fungi grow explosively in contaminated fluid, and severe health risks, like salmonella and hepatitis, are common in flood waters.
This problem is compounded by the composition of most homes, which are filled with organic materials. Drywall, wood and the matter that is trapped in carpet fibers are just a few examples, and they can give pathogens room to grow. Within 48 hours, mold may begin creeping behind the walls and releasing spores, and any organic materials that have been soaked through by contaminated fluid will usually have to be destroyed.
That’s why restoration firms, in addition to surveying the home for structural problems, will dry the home quickly and apply antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agents to all surfaces that had contact with the water. This ensures the family can return to a safe home, and not one harboring a collection of deadly pathogens.
The 4 most common types of fire
#1 is the kitchen fire
The 4 most common types of fire
Kitchen, electrical, heater and smoking-related fires are the four most common types of fires
Dec 21, 2011
While fires can start at anytime and anywhere, below are descriptions of the four most common types of fires. Acknowledging these types of fires may help you to reduce or even eliminate the risk of starting a fire.
1. The most common type of fire in the U.S. is the kitchen fire. The reason that the kitchen is the source of many fire hazards is because the kitchen is where heat, electricity, water, and grease come together.
The most common type of kitchen fire is the grease fire. A grease fire is extremely dangerous as it can get out of control quickly and spread from the stove throughout the kitchen and into other rooms of the house.
Many grease fires occur because someone leaves a frying pan on the stove unattended. They also occur when someone overheats a pan during attended cooking if the grease catches fire. Grease fires can cause serious injury and extensive property damage.
Other types of kitchen fires include oven fires and appliance fires. Fires can also get started in the kitchen when electricity comes in contact with water.
2. Electrical fires are another common type of fire. Electrical fires are caused by a number of different factors, including faulty appliances, worn or faulty electrical wiring, improper use of electrical outlets and worn out breaker boxes.
Older homes often do not have the proper wiring to handle the amount of electrical appliances in use today. Often old wiring inside walls becomes frayed or worn, causing shorts and sparks that can ignite.
Old breaker boxes are made to shut off electrical current when the circuit becomes overloaded as a fire prevention measure, but often the connections are worn or broken and do not activate the breaker switch.
Lighting is another cause of electrical fires, which can be triggered by improper wiring or the use of bulbs that are higher in wattage than the amount recommended for the lighting appliance.
3. Heater fires are among the most common types of fires in the months of December, January and February. Portable heaters should always have automatic shutoffs that activate when they overheat as a fire precaution.
Coil space heaters are especially hazardous because the coils will ignite anything combustible nearby. Always keep any type of space heater a minimum of three feet from anything combustible. That includes curtains, bedding, clothing and furniture. Always shut space heaters off when you’re not in the room.
Extension cords should not be used with space heaters as they generate too much electricity and can start a fire.
4. Another major type of fire is smoking-related. Fires caused by cigarettes account for 1,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. Many times the smoker is not the person who dies.
Most smoking fires are started by embers igniting on furniture, bedding and trash cans. Smokers should always be sure cigarettes are completely extinguished before emptying ashtrays into the trash.
Never smoke in bed and never smoke when you are tired, inebriated, or drowsy from medication. Do not place ashtrays on flammable surfaces like couches, chairs, or beds where they can tip over and start a fire.
The best way to prevent smoking-related fires is to smoke outside the house and have a can filled with sand to extinguish cigarette butts.
Four Seasons of Safety
4 Seasons of Safety
Four Seasons of Safety
Each season of the year has unique fire and electrical safety dangers that are related to common seasonal activities. The 4 Seasons of Safety program includes tips, lessons and activities that help students learn about basic fire and electricity concepts while also providing critical safety information that helps them learn to identify and prevent the fire and electrical safety hazards. All included activities can be conducted without the need for additional resources or supplies and with little to no advance preparation required.
The program also includes valuable family involvement opportunities. Take-home resources empower students to share the safety information they have learned with their families.
The 4 Seasons of Safety program resources are appropriate for students in grades 3-5 and have been developed to align with the following educational standards:
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
- Science Standard 9
- Health Standard 5
National Science Teachers Association (NASTA) National Science Education Content
- Standard B Physical Science
- Standard F Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Common Core English Language Arts Standards – Reading: Informational Text
Fire Prevention and Electrical Safety Classroom Toolkit: Each section of the toolkit includes two seasonal lessons and safety tips along with information to help you tailor the activities to your grade level.
Classroom Poster: Display this colorful poster in a prominent place in your classroom as a constant reminder of the steps we can take to stay safe all year long.
4 Seasons of Safety Interactive White Board Activities
The 4 Seasons of Safety program includes tips, lessons and activities that help students learn about basic fire and electricity concepts while also providing critical safety information that helps them learn to identify and prevent the fire and electrical safety hazards. All included activities can be conducted without the need for additional resources or supplies and with little to no advance preparation required. Available in ".Notebook" format.
Funding for this program was provided by a 2012 Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grant from the Department of Homeland Security / Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?
People are usually afraid of the fact that mold can grow in their homes. However, this is not an excuse to ignore the topic altogether. We have covered methods before about Mold Prevention and Control Tips; however, what about you already have mold damage in your home? Are there any insurance plans that will protect you from the costs of mold remediation? Well, these questions that homeowners ask leads to the big question. Does homeowners insurance cover mold? Let’s discuss.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?
Homeowners insurance does not usually cover mold damages. Although, there are instances when mold is covered. These instances are generally when the cause of mold is due to an incident that homeowners insurance does cover. For example, if mold has grown due to accidental and sudden pipe burst or if a recent fire has caused mold, your homeowners insurance will likely cover the mold damages. On the contrary, if mold has grown due to improper maintenance practices, such as on-going humidity exposure or a continuous leak, homeowners insurance will not likely cover the damages.
How To File a Homeowners Claim for Mold
The first step in filing a claim is to call your insurance company quickly and informing them of the damages. Once you speak with your insurance company and they provide you with next steps, gather the evidence. You can do this by taking several pictures of the damages. Also, take pictures any mold that becomes visible before anyone comes out and fixes the issue. Keep in mind that mold only needs 24 hours to begin to grow. It would also be a good idea to contact a mold remediation company and have them come out and dry the water before mold starts to grow. However, consult with your insurance company before making this call to be sure that they will cover the costs.
Once your insurance claim goes through and resolves all damages, keep any documentation and images. If mold later grows in that area and the growth is due to the initial incident, then your insurance company will likely have to cover the costs of going back in and fixing the problem.
Mold Prevention Tips
Mold Prevention Tips
Mold can be very costly to repair and the effects it can have on your health can be serious. We have put together a list of mold prevention tips to help keep your home and your family healthy.
Mold Prevention Tips
- When water leaks or intrusions occur, act quickly! Wet or damp material that is dried within 24 – 48 hours of the leak, in most cases, will NOT grow mold.
- Remove wet carpet or furniture that cannot be dried within 24 – 48 hours.
- Do not install carpet in areas of water usage such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.
- Remove wet clothes from the washer promptly.
- Do not leave damp clothes or towels lying around.
- Keep indoor humidity levels below 60%. The ideal level is between 30 – 50%. Relative humidity can be measured by a moisture or humidity meter, a small and inexpensive instrument available at most hardware stores.
- If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes, act fast to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture or water source.
- Use air conditioners or dehumidifiers to keep humidity low.
- Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines free of obstructions.
- Be sure dryers, stoves, heaters and exhaust fans vent to the outside, not into the walls or attic.
- Use a bathroom exhaust fan or open the window when you shower.
- Dry shower walls after a shower.
- When cooking or using the dishwasher, use an exhaust fan or open the window.
- Keep furniture from blocking air returns and vents.
- Dust and vacuum often.
- Remove mold growing in the soil of houseplants.
- Clean and repair gutters regularly.
- Repair any roof leaks as soon as you discover them.
- Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation so that water does not enter or pool around the foundation.
- Insulate cold surfaces such as cold water pipes to prevent condensation.
- Repair any plumbing leaks as soon as you find them.
- Use mold-resistant building materials when available.
- Install a vapor barrier in the crawlspace to prevent moisture from the ground.
- Keep the crawlspace and basement well ventilated.
- Ensure that the attic is properly ventilated and properly insulated.
More Mold Tips
In addition to tips for mold prevention, we have listed a few things you should not do when you have a mold infestation.
- Do not ignore the problem! It will not go away and will actually get worse! If the affected area is small enough, you can remediate the mold yourself. Any area larger than 10 square foot will require a mold remediation expert.
- Do not attempt to clean mold with bleach! Bleach will not penetrate a porous surface and is 97% water. The water component will provide moisture for mold to grow. This is a very ineffective way to treat mold as well as being a very corrosive chemical.
- Do not try to remove mold, even a small area, without proper protection.
- Do not paint or caulk over moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and dry the area before painting to avoid the paint from peeling.
Hopefully, these tips have given you a better understanding of mold and how to prevent it. For even more tips on mold prevention, check out these 25 Mold Facts That Everyone Should Know.
A Hurricane Preparedness List
A Hurricane Preparedness List
A hurricane preparedness checklist will provide reassurance that you will have thought of all the essentials (provided that they are on the list) and will greatly reduce the likelihood that you will forget something during the stressful time immediately before a potential hurricane disaster.
Note: No list is a perfect or complete list because we all have our own unique circumstances, concerns, and existing resources. Besides, it would take a book to complete one… That said perhaps this list will help get you going in the right direction. It is intended to provoke thought, prepping & preparedness for a hurricane.
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: GENERAL SUPPLIES
- Pack a “Bug Out Bag” and/or “72 hour kit”: This bag of contents should be packed with essential supplies, food & water, clothing, and whatever you feel is important to have during an evacuation. There are lots of articles on our site with more specifics…
- Cash: ATMs and credit card machines may not work for a while after the storm.
- Battery-operated radio: Make sure you have extra batteries too, so that you can keep up with news reports and alerts. Hand-crank radios work well, too.
- Secure a two-week supply of prescription medicine: Anyone on prescription medications, should pack a two-week supply of their meds in a sealable plastic bag, clearly labeled.
- Flashlight and lanterns: Make sure you have a couple of flashlights, candles, matches, lanterns and other alternate sources of light.
- Personal hygiene items: It might be hard to get to the store to buy toilet paper, tissues, soap and other sanitary items after the storm.
- Extra keys: Having an extra set of keys in your kit is a good idea in case people get separated or if they’re lost in a flood or the confusion.
- Pet items: Remember food, medicine and water for your pet, too.
- Disinfectant: You never know what mess you’ll have after a storm.
- Checklist: Customize your own hurricane preparedness checklist and print it out for your reference.
- Extra batteries: You’ll need extra batteries for your radio, flashlights, and other items. Get these early before they all sell out.
- Prepare early: Emergency items sell out quickly at the stores, so stock up your kit before hurricane season even starts.
C. Crane Company Emergency Radio
Emergency Solar Charger for Phones and USB devices
Related articles on MSB:
72 hour kits
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: FIRST AID
- Basic First Aid Kit: Keep this on hand for general purpose.
- Antiseptic solution: Keep this on hand to keep infections at bay.
- Allergy medicine: Storms can blow in all kinds of stuff that drive your allergies wild.
- First aid instructions: Know some basic First Aid skills such as how to stop bleeding, the Heimlich, CPR, and other basic aid in case you need it in an emergency.
- Mosquito repellent: If it floods — or even rains a lot — your area could have a serious and potentially dangerous mosquito problem.
- Prescription glasses: If you run out of contact solution or all the nastiness in the air after a storm irritates you, you’ll have back-up glasses.
- Adhesive tape: You can use this to fasten bandages, hold large lacerations together and even splint broken bones.
- Gauze, bandages and band-aids: Even little cuts and scrapes need to be dressed, so have a range of bandages on hand.
- Hand sanitizer: Nothing compares to soap and water, but in a fix, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol will help.
Best First Aid Kit 2017
First Aid Skills
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE
- Plywood: Nailing plywood over windows is still the best option for protecting the inside of your house.
- Sand bags: If you live in a low area, especially, use sand bags to dispel water.
- Bring outside furniture indoors: Move patio furniture and pool toys into the garage.
- Turn off utilities if you leave: Before evacuating, shut off power, propane gas and water, but leave on natural gas unless told to do so by authorities. A licensed professional is the only one who can turn it back on.
- Anchor mobile homes: Pre-1994 construction mobile homes probably aren’t anchored well enough to stand even Category 1 hurricanes.
- Buy impact resistant glass: Well before you hear about any storms, replace older windows with higher resistance ones.
- Lock windows and doors: Lock up your windows and doors for personal safety and to keep the wind from blowing them open.
- Prune trees and shrubs: Loose limbs and plants will fly around easily when the winds pick up.
- Get storm shutters: Place these over glass doors, windows and skylights.
- Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Make sure these will work even if the power is out.
- Buy tarps and rope: Already have these items on hand so that you can start repairs as quickly as possible to prevent more damage.
- Fill bathtub with water: If you’re going to get hit pretty badly, give your family an extra supply of water by filling a sanitized bathtub.
WaterBOB Emergency Drinking Water Storage
Emergency Gas & Water Shutoff Tool
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: FOOD AND WATER
- Food and water should last for 72 hours: Make sure you have enough supplies to last everyone in the house for at least 72 hours. More is better!
- Quality Water Filter: Clean drinking water is a top priority. Get a quality water filter!
- Use good food rotation practices: If you’re keeping an emergency kit stocked with some food supplies, replace food items every six months to ensure freshness and safety.
- Be aware of “boil water” alerts: After a storm, you may have to boil water for a few days due to flooded wells, spilled sewage and other contamination.
- Get out your ice chest: Fill an ice chest with ice or dry ice before and after the storm to keep food cold.
- Canned foods: Canned meat, fish, fruits, soups, milk and vegetables are all smart, easy-to-prepare options.
- Stock up on non-perishable foods: The power will probably go out, so acquire foods that don’t require refrigeration.
- Cooking without electricity: Fill your BBQ grill tank. Do you have a camp stove?
- Use camping gear: If you have basic camping gear like a small grill, you can make simple meals while the power’s out.
- Baby formula, diapers: Don’t forget to store enough baby formula, baby food, diapers, if this applies to your situation.
Big Berkey Countertop Water Filter
Without Electricity: Level-1 Prepping & Preparedness
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: POWER OUTAGES
- Consider a generator: A generator will make your life much easier during and after a storm if the power goes out — but run it outside!
- Keep phone numbers of energy companies handy: Write down or store in your phone the numbers of energy providers so that you can notify them of an outage.
- Use grills and gas cook stoves outside: Gas grills and generators carry a carbon monoxide risk.
- Stay away from downed power lines: Let trained workers clean up the damage.
- Have a realistic understanding of restoration times: It may take longer than you think. Having MORE food and water than 72 hours is a very good idea.
- Drink lots of water: When it’s hot and you don’t have A/C, drink water to stay cool and hydrated.
- Know how to connect a generator: Be sure that you or someone understands how to do this, and the dangers and precautions that must be met if connecting to the homes electrical system.
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: ENTERTAINMENT
- Board games or cards: Get out board games or play cards to keep you distracted during the storm and to play if the power goes out.
- Read: Read a book! If the power is out, today’s modern electronic entertainment will be too…
- Play with your pets: Give your pets extra attention, especially if they seem stressed or scared.
- Play charades: Games like charades or hide and go seek don’t require any power and are fun with the kids.
- Tell stories: Kids love to hear stories.
- Get to know your family better: A perfect time to ‘talk’ together instead of everyone’s head stuck in an electronic device.
Kids and Pets: Level-1 Prepping and Preparedness
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: SPECIAL NEEDS AND CHILDREN
- Minimize stress: Help children cope better by minimizing stressful situations and discussions.
- Limit TV time: Don’t let your kids watch scary footage of the storm on TV.
- Maintain normal routines: Keeping up with a somewhat normal routine helps soothe everyone from babies to adults, provided that you are already prepared.
- Contact home health care service: If you use a home health care service, call them and ask for advice regarding the impending storm.
- Answer children’s questions: Welcome questions from children about what to do, what a hurricane is, and how to prepare for it.
- Get older kids to help: School-aged children will feel more prepared and maybe even excited if they’re allowed to help gather supplies, find the flashlights & batteries, etc..
- Bunk with the neighbors: If you’re elderly, ask to spend the night at the neighbors’ house, or work out some kind of signal for help should you need it and if the phones go out.
- Stay hydrated: People who are sick and the elderly are especially at risk for dehydration.
- Know the risks: Disabled individuals will find it harder to evacuate, so know all the obstacles and risks involved in transporting them or keeping them safe in your home.
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: EVACUATING
- Find a place for pets ahead of time: If you’re unable to take your pets with you, make arrangements ahead of time, and never leave your pet chained up / alone on your property. It’s cruel.
- Get a real map: You may not be able to rely on your GPS, especially if roads are blocked or flooded. Get a real map to help you find your way out.
- Let someone know where you’re going: Contact family or friends before you evacuate and let them know your planned destination. If you lose contact, this will help alleviate questions and concerns.
- Sleeping bag: Get a sleeping bag, blankets and pillows ready if you have to evacuate.
- Keep your gas tank full: Fill it up all the way. Even when you’re on the road try not to let your tank get below half full.
- Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes: There should be standard routes, but listen to the news to learn about any new or updated routes. They will get clogged. Leave early! Consider back roads.
- Plan to stay with friends: Hotels will book up quickly, so plan to stay with friends or family who live inland at least for the first couple of nights.
- Leave early if forecasts look bad for your area: Avoid the worst traffic and road closures. Don’t wait if it looks like your area will be in the hurricane.
- Carefully inspect your home upon return: Before letting children back, watch for danger, hanging electrical wires, loose debris, broken glass, etc..
Road Atlas Map For Each State
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: PAPERWORK
- Emergency contact information: Hard copy of all important phone numbers and other emergency contact information in your preparedness kit. Don’t rely on having a charged cell phone and it’s contact list.
- Prioritize what’s important: You can’t take everything with you, but consider important documents such as deeds, wills, birth certificates, passports, important financial statements, etc..
- Use a USB thumb drive: Download important data onto a flash drive and put it in a waterproof, sealable bag or container.
- Check home insurance: Do this before hurricane season starts, otherwise updated coverage may not take effect until the following year. Also look into flood insurance.
- Write down serial numbers: In case important belongings are stolen or lost in the storm, you might need serial numbers as proof for insurance.
- Video your belongings: Walk through the house and video everything you own. Great proof for insurance claims.
- Proof of residence: A driver’s license or mail should suffice.
- Use a fireproof / waterproof safe: A fireproof safe will keep your belongings protected.
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: STAYING INFORMED
- Know the terminology: Know the difference between tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes so that you can follow the reports better.
- Listen for warnings: Heed the advice especially if ‘they’ are advising to evacuate. Listen for what the weather forecasters and/or emergency management people are saying.
- Stay up to date with a weather radio: Best Weather Radio
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: SAFETY
- Head to a windowless room: Even if your windows are boarded up, stay in a windowless room while the winds are blowing.
- Stay downwind: This area is the opposite side of the house that the wind is hitting.
- Stay inside: Stay indoors for the entire duration of the storm, and do not go outside during the calm of the storm, when the eye passes over.
- Be careful with candles: Only light them if you have to, and set a reminder to blow them out before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Personal Security: Unfortunately the reality is that the bad element takes advantage during disasters. Do what you need to do regarding your own personal security.
How to Prepare for a Power Outage
How to Prepare for a Power Outage
How to Prepare for a Power Outage
Posted on 2017-03-10 12:52:43 by Jennifer
Weather can be unpredictable, and we need to keep ourselves and loved ones safe during a bad storm. Here are some basic things you can do to prepare your home for loss of power any time of year:
Things to do before a power outage
- Be prepared for injuries. You should have an emergency kit at your home that's fully stocked with bandages in various sizes, sterile dressings and gloves, hand sanitizer and antibiotic towelettes, a thermometer, pain medicines, tweezers, and scissors. Make sure you purchase or build your own first aid kit that is large enough for your family.
- Make sure your generator is up and running. Review generator safety tips before using your generator for the first time each year.
- Stock up on bottled water. Water purification systems may not work when the power goes out.
- Purchase a battery operated or hand cranked radio to stay tuned into news and emergency information when power is out.
- Fill up all your vehicles’ tanks in case gas stations lose their power as well. Remember, if you're using a generator they require roughly 12-20 gallons of gas per day. Store all fuel away from the house.
- Have car chargers for cell phones and keep a corded phone as well. Cordless phones require AC power. Keep in mind cell phones may be more reliable than landline phones when local service is disrupted.
- Be prepared for special needs. Tell your utility and local fire department before a storm if someone in your home uses an oxygen concentrator, ventilator, or medical bed, as power may be restored to you sooner. Always keep a one month supply of medication on hand.
Don’t get caught in the dark
- Keep a few emergency automatic power failure night lights plugged in. Place them in dark hallways, bedrooms, common areas, basements, and garages. Emergency lights can last from 6-20 hours depending on the model. These can come in handy the first couple of hours during a power outage, especially when you're trying to make your way around a dark home.
- Have candles and plenty of matches available. Make sure you keep your candles away from anything flammable, such as drapes.
Food Safety: What to do when power remains out for over 4 hours
- Invest in a cooler and ice packs. Keep the cooler in a convenient location inside your home and ice packs in the freezer. When the power goes out, don't open your refrigerator if you don't have to, unless the power outage lasts longer than 4 hours. After 4 hours, get your cooler and ice packs and pack items from your refrigerator into your cooler. Throw away any food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If your freezer is half full, it will hold safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold safely for 48 hours – don't open the freezer if you can avoid it.
- Get the right food before you lose power. Keep at least a 3-day supply of nonperishable foods such as crackers, whole-grain cereals, and canned goods. Don’t forget a manual can opener!
It's important to plan ahead and be prepared, as you never know when a bad storm or power surge will hit. Sudden power outages can be frustrating and troublesome, but being prepared can eliminate some of that stress. For prolonged power outages, it may be wiser to seek shelter with friends, family, or at a hotel. Stay safe!
Commercial Carpet Cleaning- maintaining carpet in a high-traffic areas
What steps should I take to maintain carpet in a high-traffic area on a daily basis, and to deal with spills and stains?
- It's a good idea to keep sand, grit and grass clippings off walkways outside entries to prevent inward tracking of these abrasive soils.
- Purchase a properly sized entry mat, the bigger the better. There must be room for at least two steps to sufficiently wipe soil from feet before encountering the installed carpet. A carpet with a nylon face and vinyl back is best for moisture and oils absorption, combined with the resiliency necessary to collect a quantity of particle soil. The IICRC suggests a rental mat, since that guarantees frequent maintenance. Place entry mats on hard surfaces rather than on carpet where they can trap moisture or cause plasticizer migration.
- Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum daily, especially after major events. The sooner you collect soils from the surface, the easier it is to remove them. For most carpet, you should use an upright vacuum with brush agitation, unless your canister vacuum is particularly well designed. The wider the head, the more efficient.
- Typically, deep cleaning should be accomplished on at least a semi-annual basis, with no more than two entry and high-traffic area "rinse" cleanings between the deep cleaning. This is dependent on traffic and daily maintenance as well. At a minimum, some attention should be given to primary entry areas on a quarterly basis.
- If spots are treated immediately, most will respond with plain warm water and very little mild detergent added.
- Use high-efficiency double-lined poly-fiber collection bags. This reduces periodic maintenance such as dusting of furniture, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) filter exchange.
- Make sure the HVAC system is slightly positively pressurized as well, which means that air is going out when doors are opened, rather than being sucked in. Proper air exchange rates can be calibrated according to ASHRAE regulations for the building with a trained HVAC contractor.
- Ensure proper air filtration through the HVAC System. High-efficiency pleated filters, rather than inexpensive fiberglass filters, are recommended.
Structural drying is a simple concept: Remove excess moisture from wet materials that make up the structure until it reaches a reasonable approximation of a dry standard or goal. Therefore, drying wet buildings involves removing trapped moisture in building materials (e.g. drywall, dimensional lumber, concrete, etc.).
The challenges take place in deciding what the end game, or drying goal, should be so that the affected structural material dries within an acceptable range, in a reasonable time frame and takes into account budgetary restrictions.
Much attention has been lavished on drying the air; however, in the water damage restoration industry, contractors are tasked with drying wet materials that make up the structure. Problems arise when the drying process is too slow, causing water to migrate to previously unaffected materials (secondary damage) or create conditions that are favorable to microbial amplification - the result being mold growth or moisture differences that cause wood to warp or swell. Moisture plays a critical role in the stability of the indoor environment. The IICRC S500 standard is relevant to every structural remediation job because it establishes procedures that make up the industry standard of care that water remediation contractors should follow when drying wet structures.
It is important to understand, especially for water damage restoration contractors, that in a conditioned structure, drastic seasonal variations occur in moisture content of structural materials and hidden spaces or voids are almost always present in structures. This is important because drying goals must take into account the dry standard for structural materials based on moisture content at the time of the water loss and contractors must locate structural voids in order to determine if there are factors (e.g. location, vapor barriers, permeability) which will have an impact on drying. In time I expect our industry will also be measuring water activity in order to establish that a building has actually been returned to a preloss condition and be able to rule out the growth of certain classes of microorganisms. The industry is already seeing an increasing trend towards the use Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) testing to establish cleanliness levels.
The bulk of water in structural materials is usually held in horizontal surfaces (e.g., bottom plates, decking, subfloors and joists). Materials dry at a different rate depending on saturation levels and permeance or porosity. If the materials include dimensional lumber that has absorbed water over time, drying will be slower. Generally, the more porous the material, the more likely it will be that more moisture will have been absorbed. Evaporating moisture from wet structural materials is critical and drying should be accelerated using appropriate principles of restoration. Low vapor pressure, often created by hot dry air movement across the wet structural material surfaces, ensures that efficient drying will expedite the drying process. Care must be taken during the evaporation phase that water vapor molecules do not increase and create high relative humidity situations that create accumulation, or condensation, on structural surfaces.
There is no debating the fact that restorers today have a plethora of tools to dry wet structural materials (e.g., LGR dehumidifiers, thermal energy systems, desiccant dehumidifiers, negative and positive pressure systems, etc.). Given the competition among equipment manufacturers, testing facilities and new research, along with improvements in drying equipment, structural drying is reaching new levels of efficiency. The debate is what tool works best.
As a researcher and consultant, I became involved with the issue of drying structural materials to inhibit conditions that favor mold growth. I am struck by the large number of simple water claims that end up dealing with mold issues. Many mold issues are the result of delay in mitigating the water loss. I don’t understand why it takes so long to get a water remediation contractor out on a loss. There is nothing that would save carriers more claim dollars and homeowners more angst than for a restoration contractor to arrive at a water loss on the day the loss is discovered. Any delay in beginning the drying process increases costs and provides opportunity for microbial amplification.
Since Dr. Michael Berry wrote his book Protecting the Built Environment – Cleaning for Health, our industry has realized that we play an important role in preventing microbial amplification in buildings. Today’s contractor must not make the mistake of believing that processing a water damaged structure is simply extracting standing water and leaving air movers and dehumidifiers in the structure to dry it out. To properly dry structural materials, the contractor must understand how moisture content in structural materials is removed. Today the drying process is accomplished faster utilizing more efficient equipment than we used in the past. The older type conventional refrigerant dehumidifiers are less efficient than today’s LGR dehumidifiers. Contractors should understand that refrigerant dehumidifiers rated using AHAM conditions may not actually remove as much water as they are rated for when drying a wet structure with different conditions than those tested in a controlled test chamber (800F with 60% relative humidity for 24 hours)The key to successful structural drying is control of the drying process, including temperature of wet materials and air, humidity levels and air flow. Updating your education and modernizing your drying equipment are the way to best serve your customer.