How is Your Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality can vary for many different reasons depending on your climate and geographical location. If you are concerned about your indoor air quality there are a few things you can do to improve the situation.
A dirty ventilation system is most likely the main reason causing bad indoor air quality. A ventilation system is also known as an HVAC system (which stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and helps air circulate through the home or business. The HVAC is responsible for moving all the air throughout your building whether it’s for heating or cooling purposes. As all of the air constantly moves through a structure it collects pollutants that can build up over time. If your HVAC system has been running for a while with little to no attention placed on it could be circulating one or more of the following: Dust, Pollen, Odors, Dirt or other contaminants.
Make sure to pay attention to your HVAC system and if you start to notice worse air quality, then it should be a priority to get it inspected and cleaned. SERVPRO of Edmonds inspects HVAC and Duct systems on a regular basis and has seen it all! Sometimes it is not necessary to clean the HVAC system, if that is the case SERVPRO or HVAC professionals will make alternative recommendations to improve the air quality. If it is necessary to clean then our SERVPRO of Edmonds team can handle it and you will notice an immediate increase in energy efficiency, elimination of odors and reduce potential microbial growth. Not only is it important to keep your HVAC clean and to keep air quality good, but it also has a great return on investment for both health and saving money by making the HVAC system last longer. If you want to schedule an HVAC inspection or have any more questions, please do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Edmonds at (425)-775-5723.
Safe Campfire Practices to Prevent Wildfires
Here at SERVPRO of Edmonds we hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful summer full of traditional outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest. A campfire can be one of the most memorable parts of camping, and also provides necessary warmth to hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts in the cold. Don’t forget your responsibility to maintain and extinguish flames fully in order to prevent wildfires. Unfortunately Washington State has been the victim of many forest fires and we must do the best we can to preserve our land, homes and businesses.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to maintaining your campfire;
Never cut whole trees or branches, dead or alive. Live materials won’t burn and dead standing trees — called “snags” — are often homes for birds and other wildlife.
Once you have a strong fire going, add larger pieces of dry wood to keep it burning steadily and at a manageable size.
Don’t burn dangerous things like aerosol cans, pressurized containers, glass or aluminum cans. They could explode, shatter or create harmful fumes .
Never leave your campfire unattended and always supervise children and pets.
To extinguish your campfire allow the wood to burn completely to ash if possible.
Pour lots of water on the fire to drown all visible embers.
If you do not have water, stir dirt or sand into the embers with a shovel to bury the fire.
With your shovel, scrape any remaining sticks and logs to remove any embers. Make sure that no embers are exposed or still smoldering.
Continue adding water, dirt or sand and stir with a shovel until all material is cool; if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave!
For more information on emergency preparedness and safety practices contact SERVPRO of Edmonds at 425-775-5723.
The 3 Most Common Causes of Fire in Commercial Buildings
Fires within commercial buildings can cause a devastating amount of damage. Thankfully a large amount of fire damage can be avoided with a good, up to date fire system. The most effective fire systems include detection, control and extinguishing. A key part of fire systems are fire alarms and sprinklers, which demand constant maintenance to not only ensure the buildings safety, but also your inventory and save human lives. Being able to identify the most common causes of commercial fires should be the first step in prevention. Makes sure you consider an ERP – Emergency Ready Profile for your commercial property. SERVPRO of Edmonds offers this as a cost-free assessment to help you develop your emergency plans. Call us at 425-775-5723.
Here are the 3 most common reasons why fires occur in commercial building.
- Kitchen: Approximately 25%-30% of all commercial fires occur because of cooking and human error in the kitchen. Due to the kitchen being a high-risk zone, this area requires extra caution while using and more prevention. Sprinklers and Fire Alarms should be central in the kitchen and a fire extinguisher should be easy to access while in the kitchen.
- Arson: Roughly 10% of all non-residential fires occur on purpose. These fires are the most destructive because they are usually planned after working hours where nobody is around to pull the fire alarm. Some of the most common areas to start an Arson Fire are bathrooms, trash cans, dumpsters and garages. To try and prevent these fires from occurring we suggest making sure trash cans are emptied at the end of the day, keep dumpsters away from the building, keep trees and shrubs trimmed, putting motion cameras or lights in unused or dark areas and installing smoke/fire curtains near doorways. Due to the nature of Arson fires, these are the hardest type of fires to prevent. These few steps are a great way to prepare and minimize damage to important parts of the office.
- Human Error: These also account for about 10% of commercial building fires and can be very hard to prevent. Human error could include forgetting to blow out a candle, leaving heating equipment near walls or flammable objects or as simple as overloading an outlet. The best way to prevent these is to make sure everybody in your office knows the risk of what can happen and urge them to be cautious when dealing with anything that could possibly be harmful.
I hope that these tips help your building and the employees within the building stay safe. The number 1 way of preventing a fire is proper preparation and preparedness. If you believe your Commercial Building is at risk for any type of emergency, then ask SERVPRO of Edmonds to create an Emergency Ready Plan to help you get prepared.
Western Washington Wildfire Risk
Western Washington unfortunately faces elevated wildfire risk in 2019
The Pacific Northwest has suffered its fair share of fires over the past several years, many of which SERVPRO came to the rescue of. In Washington State last year (2018), there were 1,744 fires that affected nearly 439,000 acres, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. Of those, 1,457 were human-caused, accounting for nearly 280,000 of the acres that burned.
Many of us ask; what causes these fires? The answer is surprising: People! Keep in mind safety when smoking, lighting fireworks and campfires especially in dry areas. The majority of wildfires are caused by burn piles that get out of hand- pay attention to what laws your county has in place about burning. Our dying forests and diseased trees are the perfect breeding ground for fire and have intensified the wildfire season. Our rapidly dying forests are largely due to disease and pests, which take advantage of trees stressed by a lack of water.
Western Washington, including the Puget Sound, will have a higher risk of fires; much of the risk in Eastern Washington remains average. March 2019 produced 51 fires alone, many of them in Cowlitz and Lewis counties.
The DNR is asking the state Legislature for $55 million for wildfire response and forest health management which would nearly double the amount of full-time firefighters.
Here are some interesting facts about wildfires to keep in mind;
- 90% of all wildfires are started by humans
- “Crown fires” are spread by wind moving quickly across the tops of trees
- Weather conditions can directly contribute to the occurrence of wildfires through lightning strikes or indirectly by an extended dry spell or drought
- An average of 1.2 million acres of US woodland burn every year
- A large wildfire — or conflagration — is capable of modifying the local weather conditions
Summertime Natural Disasters
While Edmonds, WA doesn’t experience many ‘natural disasters’ it is important to know what kinds of disasters could be coming, especially in Summertime which is peak season for wildfires and hurricanes nationwide. The National Disaster Education Coalition states every person, no matter where they live, should learn what disasters could impact their area (natural and man-made), make an emergency disaster plan, create a list of emergency contacts, make sure they are properly insured and have a pre-made disaster kit.
Summertime Natural Disasters: Wildfires
In 2018 Washington State declared a state of emergency on July 31st because of the spread of wildfires. Washington experienced an all-time record of wildfires in 2018, with smoke clouding much of the state and producing 1,850 fires.
Summertime Natural Disasters: Hurricanes
2018 produced 15 named storms, 8 which were hurricanes and two which were classified as major; Florence and Michael. Hurricanes develop because of six major factors which include ocean water temperatures, distance from equator, lapse rate, low vertical wind shear, high relative humidity and sometimes a ‘tropical wave’.
The national hurricane center encourages residents to invest in emergency supplies before a disaster hits to save you money as products are still readily available and not as in high of demand.
For all emergencies it is important to remember the following;
- The safest rooms in your home
- Know the escape routes out of your home, city, county and state
- Appoint a person to be single point of contact that everyone can call in the event of an emergency. This person should not live in the same state as you.
- Know what you are going to do with your pets in the event of a disaster
- Post emergency numbers near home phones and teach your children how to call 911
- CPR and first aid
- Preparing now will save you money, heartache and stress should the unthinkable happen.
Safe Barbecuing Tips From SERVPRO of Edmonds
Happy Fourth of July from SERVPRO of Edmonds!
On the 4th of July, all across America we celebrate the day that we declared our independence from Britain. Our SERVPRO of Edmonds team even participates in the Edmonds Fourth of July Parade with a giant green float! Makes sure to watch for us and wave if you are attending the parade. To celebrate, many of us shoot fireworks into the night sky, celebrate with family and barbeque. To a lot of people, it is a very casual day, but it is also a very dangerous one as well. Barbequing can become very dangerous if you are careless and leave your barbeque unattended. In attempt to keep everybody safe, we have put together some helpful tips on making sure your barbeque doesn’t ruin your 4th of July.
- Make sure your grill is 10 feet away from your home. This distance includes porches and garages as well
- Check for gas leaks. To check rub water and soap along the connections and hoses, turn on the gas and look for bubbles. If you see bubbles start to appear then you have found a gas leak and you must repair it before doing any barbequing.
- Keep a spray bottle near the grill. If you start to see flames get out of control give it a spray to instantly calm down the fire before it gets out of hands
- Keep decorations away from the grill. Decorations are mostly made of artificial fibers that catch fire very easily.
- Never turn on the gas while the lid is closed. This will cause gas to buildup and could get someone seriously injured when it come in contact with a spark.
- Never overload your grill with fatty meats. This could cause too much fat to drip down and get the flames out of control and cause something around the grill to catch fire
- Never leave a grill unattended. Fire double in size every minute and it could be too late if you don’t notice a fire in time.
We hope these tips help you prepare for a big day of celebrating this great nation. From all of us at SERVPRO of Edmonds we wish you a happy and safe Independence Day.
Tips To Reduce Moisture Problems Leading To Mold
Tips To Reduce Mold:
A moisture problem in your space can quickly turn into a mold cleanup problem. Mold grows best in damp conditions, and as it is airborne, it spreads easily. Spores grow and bloom into colonies, and those colonies can permanently alter the aesthetics of a space, in addition to releasing dangerous bacteria into the air. These tips will help you reduce the damage done by mold growth.
Turn Off Your Air Conditioning System
Mold spores are ever present in the air around you. Generally, that isn’t a problem, but it becomes one when those spores find a suitable place to grow and flourish. Mold spores move through the air easily, and an air conditioning system that moves the air through your property will spread the spores around until they land in the best environment for growth. Turning off your HVAC system will help to keep the spores stationary until they can be properly removed from the space.
Turn Off Your Water
Whether your moisture problem is from a leaky connection, a busted pipe, or flood conditions, turning off your water can only help to dry out your space. Moving water is always in danger of being deposited in the wrong place, and damp conditions are ideal for mold growth. Keep the problem isolated as long as possible by turning off your water at the main connection to avoid spreading the spores throughout the property, making mold cleanup easier.
Call a Professional
Mold spores cannot be completely removed from a space, because they’re airborne. However, a qualified professional can mitigate that mold growth to keep it at a normal level. They’ll use specialized equipment like dehumidifiers to remove the growth conditions and air filtration devices to remove the excess spores from the air.
Your moisture problem doesn’t have to lead to a black mold infestation; mold cleanup requires just a few special steps to isolate and mitigate the issue. Visit http://www.SERVPROedmonds.com for more information on mold.
Do You Have Mold In Your Crawlspace?
Do you have problems with moisture in your crawlspace? Has a water leak caused mold, mildew or wood rot?
Crawl spaces are prone to mold growth due to the high levels of moisture and humidity in these areas. Some of the most common causes of increased levels of humidity in the crawl space include water leaks, damaged insulation, and inadequate ventilation. To get rid of a mold problem in the crawl space, you have to control the moisture and humidity levels. Review our tips for how to prevent mold issues;
- Check for water leaks in the foundation walls and crawl space ceiling — make sure there are no cracks that allow water to leak inside the crawl space. While checking for cracks, be sure to also inspect the HVAC ducts and plumbing components for leaks.
- Ensure that the gutters and downspouts direct water away from your home’s foundation. Water that flows toward your house could enter your crawl space and basement.
- Make sure your crawl space is properly ventilated — for every 150 square feet of crawl space area, there should be 1 square foot of ventilation. However, consult a professional to determine if you should keep the crawl space vents closed and, if so, find other ways to control the humidity in the crawl space.
- Use plastic sheeting covers to insulate/encapsulate the crawl space floor and foundation walls. Vapor barriers like plastic sheeting covers trap the moisture that is evaporating from the soil and walls.
- If your crawl space is already insulated, inspect the insulation once or twice a year. Make sure the insulation is not missing or sagging, which indicates that there could be a water problem.
- Make sure dryer vents always discharge to the outside and not into the crawl space, attic or other area of the house. If they don’t, this can lead to a major increase in humidity.If you have a mold problem in your home or business, consider the following facts:
- Call SERVPRO of Edmonds. Our trained and certified mold remediation technicians can diagnose your crawlspace moisture problem and get your crawlspace dried out in no time. Our technicians will remove any wet insulation in your crawlspace, treat the mold and mildew with an anti-microbial solution, dry the wet floor joists or subfloor, and remove and reset the vapor barrier so that you have no more problems of moisture damaging your home environment.
- Significant mold growth can occur in 48-72 hours.
- Mold may present a greater risk to children, the elderly, and anyone with respiratory problems.
- A strong, musty odor may indicate hidden mold behind drywall or under carpeting.
- What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of Edmonds for mold remediation services.
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
Common Moisture Problems that Spread Mold
Many people don’t realize that the potential for mold growth becomes exponentially higher with the appearance of a moisture problem. If untreated water damage goes neglected for weeks on end, suddenly your commercial property in Edmonds, Washington, is going to be hit with musty, foul odors and visible signs of black mold. How do you prevent this from happening? Here are some common moisture problems that can cause the spread of mold — tell-tale signs that indicate you should call remediation specialists for help with mold cleanup.
1. Faulty plumbing or broken pipes. If you notice water pressure changes or hear dripping in the walls, it’s definitely time to check the plumbing. Any leaks from faucets, under sinks or in the walls due to cracked or broken pipes create ideal areas for mold to develop. These places remain damp or soaked through over time, and mold thrives on moisture, so investigating any potential issues is crucial.
2. Flood damage in basements or lower levels. Though many things have to be addressed after a flood disaster, it’s paramount that the flooded areas be handled by a qualified restoration team within days of the event. Otherwise, lingering moisture under carpets or behind drywall can lead to a buildup of black mold growth over time, creating an even bigger disaster in your building.
3. Consistent high humidity. Bathrooms and kitchens are common areas of high humidity, making them prime locations for mold to take up residence. Lower humidity levels by using dehumidifiers or exhaust fans. If distinct mold is already visible in tiled corners or on the ceiling, look into mold remediation to help stop the spread.
Once you know the common areas for excess water to hide in, the chances of preventing black mold growth become increasingly high. However, if a moisture problem has already wreaked havoc in your building, seek out professional mold remediation experts to handle the job of any mold cleanup properly.
For more on mold spreading visit us at http://www.SERVPROedmonds.com.
Tips For Preventing Excess Moisture & Mold Growth In Your Bathroom
6 Tips For Presenting Mold Growth In your Bathroom:
Bathrooms present plenty of damp spaces for mold to grow and resolving lingering moisture is the first step for preventing mold. Check out these following tips to prevent mold growth in your bathroom;
- Monitor humidity levels. Just like for basements, the more humid a space is, the more mold-friendly it becomes. Humidity levels over 45% indicate excessive indoor humidity.
- Repairing leaks. Considering the significant volume of water being used daily, bathroom fixtures and piping can easily develop leaks. Those leaks will result in moist areas that welcome mold growth. It is important to promptly turn to a professional who can repair the leaks and mitigate damage. Additionally, it is always wise to schedule seasonal plumbing checks. You want to make sure that pipes are in good shape and no hidden leaking is taking place.
- Improving ventilation. Moisture can linger if the ventilation system is not allowing air to circulate. Circulation can speed up drying times for residual water in showers, bathtubs, sinks and any other “splash zones.” It is ideal to have an HVAC specialist assess the ventilation efficiency of your property’s bathroom. Ensure the bathroom exhaust fan is working properly.
- Replace moldy caulking. If you notice mold growing on the caulking or sealant of bathtubs and showers, our experts encourage completely stripping the moldy layer and having a professional re-caulk the area. This will ensure that the mold growing in the area will be completely removed, thus eliminating the likelihood of leftover spores starting a new growth.
- Avoid moisture-absorbing furnishings. Furnishing and decorating bathrooms with moisture-absorbing materials can impact the overall level of moisture. It’s best to avoid wallpaper and turn to a specialist for sealing wood countertops.
- Bonus Tip. Residents should use exhaust fans when they take showers or baths. This will allow for condensation and lingering moisture to be removed. Additionally, it’s best if bathtubs and showers are kept as bare as possible. Mold can grow and hide in damp sponges, brushes and soap bottles.
If you have any questions about mold growth in your bathroom call the professionals at SERVPRO of Edmonds 425-775-5723 or visit out website at www.SERVPROedmonds.com .