The 3 Classes of Water Damage
Water damage in this fire department came from a burst pipe over an office restroom, which makes it Category 1 water damage.
To most homeowners, water damage is all the same and should be addressed immediately. While there should be an immediate response, did you know there are three water categories that are ranked based on their contamination levels? In fact, each category requires a different treatment and restoration method because of health risks. Below we examine the different types of water damage categories!
Category 1 Water Damage: Clean Water
Category 1 water damage is the safest and easiest damage to mitigate. This is clean water that has escaped from its containment. Some examples include water that flowed or dripped from a burst water pipe, a damaged water supply line to the fridge, or even an under-the-sink pinhole leak. Even though there can be substantial damage, it is fairly easy to clean up once the source has been repaired. However, if Category 1 water is left unattended for too long, it can downgrade to gray water.
Category 2 Water Damage: Gray Water
Category 2 water damage has a significant degree of contamination and can cause sickness or discomfort. Gray water can come from sources such as washing machine or dishwasher discharge, toilet overflows (that contains urine), and aquarium leaks. Water damage in this category must undergo cleaning processes and other steps may need to be taken.
Category 3 Water Damage: Black Water
Category 3 water damage is highly unsanitary and/or hosts pathogenic agents. This is most commonly caused by water that intrudes from the outside (such as from flooding) or occurs from toilet discharge that originates from the sewer or septic system. This kind of water damage requires full PPE gear and professional, multi-step cleaning. If individuals with compromised immune systems inhabit the home or building, it’s strongly advised that they evacuate until it’s been judged safe to occupy.
Cleaning and Mitigating Your Water Damage
If you have water damage in the Newton or Conover, NC areas, know that we at SERVPRO of Catawba County East have the tools and experience to clean your home or building. Regardless of the water damage category, our team is capable of making it “Like it never even happened.” You can call us any time at (828) 465-6504!
How to Prevent Mold in Your Commercial Business
Our team is well-equipped to take care of mold growth in any commercial environment.
Mold growth is an issue that most people don’t ever want to deal with, but it’s actually a very common problem. In fact, mold spores are found virtually everywhere, but they do not pose a concern unless they are activated and begin growing. So if you want to prevent mold from growing in your company’s building, there are a few steps you can take.
- Take care of water damage immediately. Of the 3 ingredients that mold needs to grow, moisture is the one that’s usually missing. So when your building suffers from water damage, it gives mold spores plenty of fodder to begin growing. If you call a disaster restoration company immediately after you notice the damage, you can possibly prevent growth from starting.
- Keep indoor humidity at low levels. As we mentioned, moisture is an essential ingredient in mold growth, and it’s often the one that’s lacking. But what about the moisture in the air? Believe it or not, high levels of humidity can activate mold spores and initiate growth. It’s highly recommended that you use a dehumidifier in your building if the humidity level is high. We personally recommended that you keep humidity levels between 40-45%.
- Maintain cooler temperatures. Warm air is better at holding moisture than cool air. It’s for this reason that it’s suggested to keep the indoor temperature at cooler levels. Just be sure it’s not too cold for your employees!
Mold can be a pain once it’s started growing, but by taking a few simple precautions, you can prevent it all together! If you do have mold growth and want to remediate it, you can call SERVPRO of Catawba County East at 828-465-6504!
3 Things You Should Never Do After a Water Damage
When water damaged this fire department, we had to use a specialized extraction machine to get the water out--not a vacuum.
Many homeowners have water damage at least some point in their lives, but it’s not a problem that most are prepared for. In fact, many homeowners make crucial mistakes during what is already a stressful time in their life. That’s why we’re outlining 3 things you should never do if you have a water damage.
- Do not use a household vacuum to remove water. While it’s important to begin removing water as quickly as possible, it’s much more important to do so safely. Using a standard vacuum to suck up water can cause damage to the vacuum and/or you. Instead, use buckets or mops until professional help arrives.
- Do not use electrical appliances while standing on wet floors. Water and electricity are never a good mix. You could become seriously injured or worse if an appliance were to spark while you were on wet flooring.
- Do not leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpet or floors. The ink or dyes in colored objects tend to bleed when they become wet. This can cause additional damage by staining your floors—or at the very least, it will ruin your colored items.
It’s helpful to know what steps you should take during crises, but it’s just as important to know what not to do. If you have a water damage, while you’re waiting for professional help to arrive, be sure to keep these tips in mind!
4 Things to Remember When Extinguishing a Fire
When using a fire extinguisher, aim at the base of the flame!
Kitchen fires are the leading cause of home fires each year, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. While these types of fires can typically be prevented if precautions are taken, they are still a common problem. But what do you do when there’s fire in your kitchen? Believe it or not, water isn’t necessarily the answer.
- Do not swat at the fire. While it might work for birthday candles, it’s a bad idea to fan a fire. When you do, you actually risk spreading the flames and exacerbating the problem.
- If you have a grease fire, DO NOT attempt to put it out with water. Water and grease just don’t mix—literally. If you attempt to pour water on a grease fire, it will likely cause the grease to splatter and spread the fire. Instead, use a lot of baking soda or salt (NOT flour, which can explode).
- If you have an oven fire, do not open the oven door. Fires need oxygen to continue burning. So if there’s a fire in your oven, keep the door closed and turn it off. The lack of oxygen should eventually cause it to suffocate, but if it does not seem to improve, call the fire department.
- Aim a fire extinguisher at the base of the flame. Fire extinguishers are good tools to have during a kitchen fire, but if you don’t use it properly, it isn’t of much use. Instead of aiming it at the actual flames, aim it at the base of the flame to actually extinguish it.
If you’ve never had a kitchen fire before, you’re apt to make some critical mistakes. But by following the advice above, you have a much better chance of extinguishing the fire (or at the very least, you won’t make it worse). If the fire gets out of control or you’re unsure what to do, call your local fire department immediately! And remember that SERVPRO of Catawba County East is here to make it “Like it never even happened.”
What’s the Difference: Tornado Watch vs. Tornado Warning
A tornado damaged parts of our area last year, destroying trees and homes. Be vigilant and react to official notices!
It was almost a year ago that a tornado ripped through parts of our community and caused devastating damage. And as in most cases, there isn’t much of a warning when they start to form. However, official weather and news stations will use the terms “tornado watch” and “tornado warning,” which might not seem very different to most people. However, these two terms have distinct meanings that should invoke two different responses!
A tornado watch is an alert that indicates the conditions are right for a tornado to form. However, it does not necessarily mean that a tornado will; just that it’s very possible. When you see this alert, you should begin any necessary preparations. You will want to monitor the local news or other reliable sources for real-time updates.
On the other hand, a tornado warning means that a tornado has actually been spotted or a weather radar has picked one up. Take immediate action when you get this alert because real danger is imminent. If you’re not sure what to do when a tornado is nearby, consult Ready.gov!
Monitor News or Radio Stations
Tornadoes can be unpredictable, which is why it’s always important to keep an eye on your local news or radio stations. As long as you are familiar with the phrases they use, you’ll be able to act accordingly when they issue alerts. They just might help you save your life!
Mold Q & A: Is Mold in My Home?
Mold spores are virtually everywhere, but in the case of the above photo, stagnant, humid area led to active growth!
The idea that mold might be in your home elicits fear in most homeowners. While the fear has been overhyped in recent years, there is some validity to these concerns as mold growth can cause structural damage and some health effects. But the question is whether or not you have mold in your home to begin with.
Is Mold in My Home?
The truth is one that nobody wants to hear: yes, mold is almost certainly in your home.
But the truth is that there is mold in almost every home and building around the world. However, they’re microscopic and spore counts generally low, so most people are none the wiser. In fact, that means it’s virtually impossible to “remove” mold from your home as opposed to performing mold remediation to stop and clean up active mold growth.
The only time that mold becomes an issue is when these dormant mold spores meet the right conditions and activate. That’s what leads to elevated spore counts and the unseemly growth you find in homes. Fortunately, mold growth can be prevented by controlling your home’s humidity levels and immediately drying water damage.
If you discover mold growth is occurring in your home, call SERVPRO of Catawba County East at 828-465-6504!
Mold Q & A: How Do I Prevent Mold Growth?
Water from a burst pipe sat in this home for weeks, which led to excessive mold growth. It's important to address water damage immediately!
Mold is generally unwelcome in homes and buildings, but that doesn’t stop it from growing once it’s in the right conditions. Fortunately, while mold spores are found virtually everywhere, it’s only when they activate that they become a problem. If you want to prevent mold growth in your home, you can do so with a few simple actions.
How Do I Prevent Mold Growth?
As we mentioned, mold spores are virtually everywhere, but they don’t grow and become a problem until certain conditions are present. So the only way to prevent mold growth is to ensure those conditions are not met. In general, mold needs 3 ingredients to begin growing: moisture, organic material, and warm temperatures.
- Moisture. When a home has water damage or high humidity levels, it presents a golden opportunity for mold to being growing and become an issue. It’s highly recommended that water damage is immediately addressed by a professional water mitigation company to ensure that moisture levels are acceptable and to treat hidden moisture, such as behind walls.
- Organic Material. Mold is a type of fungus that breaks down organic material for food. In fact, without this food, it will starve and die, which is why it does not grow on inorganic materials. If you do see mold growing on inorganic materials, it’s likely breaking consuming dust or other organic material on the object’s surface.
- Warm Temperatures. Theoretically, mold spores can grow in cool areas if it’s constantly fed moisture. But cool air does not hold moisture as well as warm air, which is why you are less likely to find growth in cool places, especially if there’s no other source of moisture.
In short, if you can prevent excess moisture in your home, you can mitigate the possibility of mold growth in your home!
Why You Should Shut Your Water Off When You Leave for Vacation
After a pipe burst in this unattended home, the homeowners returned from vacation to find extreme mold growth!
When you leave for vacation, there’s a lot of things you’re worrying about: making sure everything’s packed, lining up a petsitter, etc. While those things are certainly important, not too many people think about disasters occurring while they are away. Yet we frequently receive calls from customers who come home to find their property flooded or mold-ridden. That’s why we are going to explain the importance of shutting your water off before you leave for vacation.
“There’s Water Everywhere!”
We’ve recently received a couple of calls from customers who have come home to find multiple rooms soaked in water after an extended vacation. The pipes (in both cases) had burst and flooded the home. This damage would have been minimal or nonexistent had their water been shut off. However, these customers were lucky in that they had arrived before mold had begun to grow and cause even more damage.
Entire Homes Consumed by Mold
Earlier this year, we had two customers call around the same time regarding mold growth in their home. Both had been gone for over a month, and neither had shut their water off before they left. Unfortunately, we had a freeze spell at the beginning of the year that led to a surge of frozen pipes that had burst. Both of these customers had burst pipes.
In one of the homes, over 200 gallons of water was pumped into the home before the city shut off their water. But in both of the homes—because they were left unattended for so long—mold had grown so out of control that both houses had to be thoroughly cleaned and gutted. Many of their possessions were too far gone to be salvaged.
Add it to Your Checklist
When you’re going through the house one more time before you leave, be sure to check on the water valve; it should be one of the last things you check off. This quick action could save you a lot of time, money, and stress. But if you do come home to a water-damaged home, know that we’re here to make it “Like it never even happened.”
5 More Things to Do Before a Storm Arrives
Gutters are your first line of defense against heavy rains! Make sure yours is clean so it can function properly!
In a previous post, we listed 5 things you should do before a storm arrives. The truth is, there’s a lot more you can do to prevent disaster, which is why we’re adding 5 more things to our checklist! If you’re ready to prepare for an impending storm, this checklist is for you!
- Ensure that outdoor furniture is safely secure. It’s not very fun when your furniture is no longer in your yard but is instead sprawled out all over your neighbor’s. It’s even less fun when it damages their property.
- Bring in flags, potted plants, and other potential projectiles. If you can’t secure outside objects, bring them inside to keep them from blowing away and either breaking or damaging something else.
- Clean out your gutters. Water damages can be very expensive, which is why it’s important to make sure that your gutters are clean so water can be steered away from your home. They are your first line of defense in preventing flooding and other issues!
- Fill your bathtubs with clean water. Water is essential not just for survival, but for hygiene and many other tasks. If you don’t have any running water, you’ll really appreciate it when you have plenty in reserve!
- Review your evacuation plan with your family. It may seem unlikely that you’ll have to evacuate during a thunderstorm, but the odds aren’t zero! Make sure you review your evacuation plan if things seem serious. And if you don’t have one, now is the time to put one together!
At SERVPRO of Catawba County East, we stress the importance of safety and preparation. Regardless of the storm’s reported intensity, it’s best to always prepare for the worst. Because when you do face disaster, it’s often when you’re least expecting it.
4 Ways a Fire Can Cause Damage
Fires can cause all kinds of damage, but structural damage is the most common. This damage affects a building's stability!
It’s no secret that fires can cause tremendous damage to your property; in some cases, homes can be completely destroyed. But even when your home isn’t fully consumed, fires still cause a lot of damage, often in ways we don’t consider. Whether or not you’ve ever experienced a disaster, check out these 4 ways that your home can be damaged by a fire.
- HVAC Contamination. It’s probably not the first thing we’d think of after a home fire, but your HVAC system will need to be thoroughly cleaned. Smoke will have traveled through your system and left behind soot and chemical residue that will only be sent back through your home until it’s cleaned.
- The odor that lingers after a home fire can be nauseating after extended breathing, but what’s worse is that it’s hard to get rid of. Since smoke will have traveled and permeated walls and furniture throughout your home, particles will be engrained and difficult to remove.
- Electrical Damage. Even when a fire isn’t the result of an electrical malfunction, the heat and destructive power will likely damage or destroy electrical devices or components. After returning to a fire-damaged home, do not use electricity unless your local fire department has cleared your home.
- Structural Damage. Your home is built to last for decades, but fires can damage the materials that hold it together. Sometimes this is a result of smoke permeating porous materials and spaces, but other times it’s the result of intense heat and disintegration.
Even though your home might be standing, it will have suffered various damage regardless. Above all else, after a fire, make sure your home is thoroughly inspected and is cleared as safe by the local fire department. Cleanup is certainly a process, but if you call SERVPRO of Catawba County East, we’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”