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Mold’s 6 Most Common Hidden Locations in Commercial Buildings

7/19/2021 (Permalink)

Drywall removal, mold growth found behind drywall. Mold cleanup and removal in Pflugerville, TX.

Mold's Most Common Hidden Locations

Mold requires water and food to thrive. Food can be as easy as dust particles or skin cells which are found almost everywhere in most commercial buildings. That means the unpredictable element in mold growth is obtaining a water source. Although high humidity can allow for colony reproduction, most often the source of mold’s life-beginning liquid is a result of water damage. Here are six of mold’s most common hidden locations in commercial buildings in Pflugerville, TX.

1. Ductwork often contains moisture during summer’s cooling season. When the duct lining materials collect moisture, mold can quickly form.

2. Carpet has a smorgasbord of food sources for hungry molds. Food crumbs, skin cells, and dirt can easily combine with moisture inside the carpet fibers. When the liquid reaches the pad, the carpet can stay wet for a long time, and that often means a long life for mold.

3. Electrical equipment in basements or closets provides warm air for mold to thrive in. If water from a leaky pipe or humid air appears near electrical equipment, mold growth can appear in as little as 48 hours.

4. Ceiling tiles love to absorb water and feed mold. Since mechanical piping and sprinkler systems are typically suspended above ceiling tiles, when the tubes develop even a very small leak, mold can appear.

5. Paper is a favorite mold meal. Whether documents are stored in a basement or inside a dark closet, if the paper gets wet, mold often follows.

6. Appliance drain pans can hide mold. When appliances collect condensation or defrosting water in the drain pans, mold can quickly develop. If the drip is constant, the colonies can thrive and send out spores to other parts of the building.

Mold can often be hidden in these six secluded spots, but building managers understand when conditions are right the spores can spring up anywhere. For that reason, a good preventative program begins with trained personnel looking for signs of water damage. By identifying the conditions supporting mold growth, the need to call a professional remediation team is often eliminated.

How To Unclog a Drain in 4 Steps

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

plumber repairing drain with plumbers snake (steel spiral that twists through pipes to collect dirt) in residential sink If you have a clogged drain in your home you may have to use a drain snake to release it.

Four Steps To Use A Snake Effectively

Just about everyone has been there. You turn on the faucet to brush your teeth, and the water doesn't drain properly. You step out of the shower to dry off, and there is still water standing. When you have a clogged drain in your home in Cele, TX, you may have to use a drain snake to release it. 

1. Insert the tip of the snake into the drain and thread it slowly. The snake, otherwise known as an auger, works by breaking up a clog or attaching it to it so that you can pull it out of the drain. To avoid a pipe break, you want to thread the snake into the drain slowly at first. Hitting a clog with too much force might put undue pressure on the pipe.

2. When you feel resistance, increase pressure. You will know you need to increase the pressure you're applying to the auger when you feel it touch something that impedes its progress. It could be the bend in the pipe, in which case more pressure will help it ease its way through. It could also be a clogged area.

3. Once the tip of the snake touches the clog, rotate the snake. The rotating motion may break up the debris that has stopped up the pipe, causing it to drain. It also may help the snake grab onto the clog, allowing you to pull it out. Either way, the motion helps you move the clog that is obstructing your pipe.

4. After the clog is removed, run water on high. This is the test that lets you know the clog is gone. If you notice a leak when you run the water, call water restoration specialists to fix the problem.

A clogged pipe is an inconvenience that is easily resolved. All you need are the right tools and the knowledge of how to use them.

3 Tips for Maintaining Your Home’s Furnace

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

Home furnace air filter replacement Home furnace air filter replacement.

Maintenance Tips For Your Home's Furnace

The last thing you want is for your home’s heating system to go out right in the middle of winter. Worse than that, a fire could break out if you are not careful. It is always preferable to avoid fire cleaning services when possible, so follow these few maintenance tips to keep your furnace in great condition all year long.

1. Replace Filters Often

Every heating system has a filter that allows you to breathe clean air free of contaminants. Over time, the filter becomes dirty, making it less effective at filtering out dust and other pieces of debris. You should replace your furnace’s filter once every few months. You may need to do it once a month if you use your HVAC system regularly.

2. Clean Vents and Furnace Ducts

For this kind of maintenance, you may need to hire professionals. Experts qualified in fire cleaning can usually handle this work. Too much dust accumulation in the vents can damage components and make the system not run as efficiently as it should. During this inspection, the professional can also provide a more thorough examination to see if there are any damaged parts. Even a loose belt can lead to a dampening in performance. It is better to do this kind of housework than have to eventually deal with smoke cleaning.

3. Have an Annual Inspection

In the event your furnace seems to be working all right, you should still have someone come out at least once a year to check everything out. This inspection should take place right before the winter season. Most furnace maintenance professionals are busy during the winter because that is when everyone wants the work done. Additionally, if you wait until winter, then you may have to go a day or two without your furnace. When the temperatures drop, it is not fun to be without a heater.

Avoid needing fire cleaning in New Sweden, TX, by taking care of your furnace. Ultimately, it is much more affordable to pay for maintenance than to pay for repairs.

Reasons To Purchase Interruption Insurance for Your Business

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

Exterior of a commercial building severely damaged by storm, broken windows, metal bars on floor Severe storm damage in Manda, TX.

Reasons To Purchase This Additional Policy

When a natural disaster or a plumbing problem renders your building in Manda, TX, unusable for a period of time, you will want to have a plan in place for continuing your business while you rebuild. Property insurance may cover the actual damage recovery done by restoration experts, but you need business interruption insurance to cover lost revenue or the expenses associated with temporary relocation. 

Working Capital

Property insurance helps you cover the costs of water damage restoration. Additional coverage is needed for the myriad of other ways your business is impacted by a damaged building. Interruption insurance gives you working capital to handle continuity expenses:

  • Lost revenue
  • Utility payments
  • Payroll coverage
  • Relocation costs

You shouldn't have to worry about whether or not you will still have a business to run after you rebuild. Continuity coverage can give you the working capital you need to bridge the gap.

Ongoing Solution

Most problems that occur as the result of a storm are not quick fixes. You need coverage for problems that last longer than a few days. Your business interruption service can kick in as soon as 48 hours after your business experiences a loss due to stormy weather, but the payout can hold you over for an extended period of time.

Maintaining Momentum

Interruption insurance helps you maintain momentum and keep your business afloat. Many businesses without such coverage find it hard to recover after damages make it impossible to continue regular operations, and sometimes that results in a permanently closed business. Continuity coverage helps you keep going despite the difficulties that storm damage has caused.

As you rebuild, you shouldn't have to worry about whether or not your company will stay afloat. When you add an additional policy to your business owner's insurance portfolio that handles expenses associated with the interruption of your business, you can get peace of mind knowing that your income doesn't have to take a hit just because your building did.

The Basics of Flood Mitigation vs. Flood Restoration

5/27/2021 (Permalink)

Office building flooded Commercial flooding in Pflugerville, TX.

If your Pflugerville, TX, business is damaged by a storm or other disaster, it’s important to hire a good flood cleanup company right away. These professional crews can thoroughly clean and restore your business to get you up and running again as soon as possible.
When trying to choose the right cleanup team, you may notice that many companies offer mitigation services, restoration services, or both. Understanding the difference between mitigation and restoration will help give you a better idea of what to expect during these phases of the flood cleanup process and may help you select the right restoration company for your job.

What Is Flood Mitigation?

After a storm or flood, the first step in the cleanup process is water damage mitigation. This phase should ideally begin as soon as possible after the damage occurs and is usually a quick process. The primary purpose of the mitigation phase is to prevent any further water damage to your business. Preventing mold growth and other secondary damage is especially important during this phase. Some examples of what a flood cleanup company does during mitigation include:

  • Boarding up windows and tarping over the roof to prevent further damage from rain, wind, wildlife, or looters
  • Removing wet and damaged contents and materials, such as furniture and flooring, from the building
  • Extracting as much water as possible from the building
  • Using commercial-grade tools and equipment to thoroughly dry, clean, and disinfect the building

What Is Flood Restoration?
The mitigation process is extremely time-sensitive, with a focus on preventing new damage rather than repairing existing damage. The focus of the restoration process, by contrast, is repairing the damage to your property caused by the flood or storm. Restoration involves such tasks as repairing structural or roof damage, replacing flooring and drywall, and eradicating mold growth. Depending on the extent of the damage, the restoration phase may be lengthy.
Mitigation and restoration are two separate cleanup processes that can be done independently. However, choosing a flood cleanup company that will handle both can save you time and money.

Why Does Bread Get Moldy?

5/27/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on bread Yikes! Bread mold!

It happens to everyone at some point. You buy a fresh, delicious loaf of bread and store it on the counter or in a cabinet. A few days later, you open the bread and — yikes! Bread mold! To understand what causes those fuzzy-looking green, blue, white, or gray patches of mold to appear on your bread or other food items, you need to know a little bit about the way mold functions.

Where Does Mold Come From?

The air in Austin, TX — and everywhere else — is filled with microscopic mold spores. These airborne spores are inactive, and they’ll remain dormant until they land in a place with both moisture and a food source. When that happens, the mold spores become active and begin to feed, grow, and multiply, eventually forming colonies.

What Counts as a Food Source?
For mold spores to activate and grow, they need water and food. The water requirements for fungus growth aren’t much: for example, a slice of bread contains enough moisture for a bread mold colony to thrive. Most of the surfaces in your home can serve as a potential food source for active mold, including:

  • Drywall
  • Furniture
  • Wood
  • Carpeting and rugs
  • Paper
  • Drapes and upholstery
  • Food scraps

What About Refrigerated Foods?
While mold is most prolific in warm, humid environments, many kinds of mold can grow in cooler environments, including inside your refrigerator. If you notice fridge mold frequently, that could be a sign that the air in your home has an abnormally high concentration of mold spores.

How Much Mold Is Normal?
All household air contains mold spores, but some homes have higher mold levels than others. If you notice an increase in moldy food, see mold in other places, or detect a musty smell, your home could have excessive mold counts. A certified mold remediation specialist can test your home’s mold levels.
The occasional bread mold is a normal occurrence and is no cause for concern. However, if you encounter mold more frequently, consider scheduling a mold inspection.

What Should I Include in My Commercial Fire Damage Claim?

4/24/2021 (Permalink)

Empty room, burned, walls, ceiling. Everything completely burned Fire damage in Manda, TX.

What To Include In A Commercial Fire Damage Claim

If your Manda, TX, business has been damaged by fire, you’re probably aware of the importance of filing your commercial property insurance claim as soon as possible. After all, the sooner you can file a claim, the sooner funds can be released and fire damage repairs can begin. However, acting too quickly can result in accidentally omitting some damage from your insurance claim, leaving you with inadequate resources to complete necessary restoration work. Before submitting a claim to your insurance adjuster, make sure you haven’t overlooked any of these common types of damage.

1. Structural Repairs
Damage to your building’s structure may be obvious, especially for parts of the property that have been burned or destroyed by flames. However, the intense heat from a fire can also damage window and door frames, warp glass, and weaken structural components like steel and iron.

2. Mitigation Expenses
Many insurance policies require that you take steps after the fire to prevent further property damage. The cost of any fire mitigation measures, such as boarding up windows and doors or installing a tarp to cover roof damage, should be included in your claim.

3. Water Damage Remediation
Water damage is frequently a corollary of fire damage, usually due to the large volume of water used to put out a fire. Water can seep into porous surfaces and can damage electronics, equipment, and inventory. Wet surfaces and high humidity quickly become an ideal breeding ground for mold, which can spread rapidly through your building. Remember to include the costs of professional water remediation and mold testing in your insurance claim.

4. Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and soot often affect the entire building, including areas far from the fire. Smoke can cause staining and discoloration and is highly damaging to electronic devices. Lingering smoke odors often require professional odor removal.
Taking the time to complete a thorough property insurance claim can ensure that all your fire damage repair and restoration expenses are covered.

3 Things To Include in Your Business Continuity Plan

4/17/2021 (Permalink)

Paper with words BCP Business Continuity Plan Update your business's continuity plan.

3 Things To Include in Your Business Continuity Plan

Most businesses in New Sweden, TX, have a continuity plan in place to help ensure that they can function in an emergency. These plans should be kept up-to-date and looked over thoroughly on a regular basis to help ensure that they contain pertinent information and that everyone knows what to do. Here are a few things you may want to consider including in your plan.

1. A Plan For Operation

After flooding, one of the first things to consider is how to keep the business in operation while repairs are being made. In some cases, only minor repairs may be needed allowing disruptions to be minimal. In other more extreme circumstances, it might be necessary to consider moving to a separate location until the property is restored. Consider including plans for a variety of scenarios.

2. Emergency Numbers

Another recommended section to include in a continuity plan is the numbers you may need in an emergency. These may include insurance agents, your IT specialist, and even the information for a local storm damage restoration service. Having these numbers in an easy-to-access location may help you save time, as well as help ensure that everyone knows who should be contacted in each planned scenario.

3. Recovery Strategies

In many cases, you may want to include recovery strategies for any problems caused to your company by storm damage. These may include approximate costs of operations, budgeting concerns, how long alternate modes of operation may be required while repairs are being made, and ways to show your customers that your company is still running strong. Having these plans made beforehand can help you be prepared if an emergency should happen.
When updating your business's continuity plan, it is important to include plans for how the company can stay open after an emergency. You may also want to include contact information for insurance and restoration companies, and outline strategies for recovering from the damage. If you have any questions about the process a professional may be able to help.

How To Treat Mold Damage After a Flood

4/10/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on a wall Commercial mold damage in Austin, TX.

How To Treat Mold Damage After a Flood

If your business in Austin, TX, has been caught in a flood, it's important to quickly check for mold growth. You don't want standing water to linger and cause further damage to your flooring or any other part of your structure. Mold can grow and spread in as quickly as 24 to 48 hours, so it is key to act as soon as possible before further problems occur.

Examine the Area Damaged
Look closely at the area of your floor that flooded. This might be the whole floor, a certain area, or just one level, such as a basement within your business. Once you have an idea of what areas need to be looked at, seek help from professional emergency restoration services rather than attempting to tackle the problem on your own.

Understand Different Treatments Used
There are a variety of treatments that can be used to prevent the spread of bacteria depending on the type of mold growth that has developed. These can include:

  • Abrasive cleaning
  • Foam cleaning
  • Immersion cleaning
  • Wet cleaning

If there is growth that is difficult to remove, abrasive cleaning might be the best method. Foam is typically used for treating upholstery, while wet cleaning is helpful for heavy residue left behind. Your floor might need one or more of these methods.

Get the Area Treated Quickly
Once you suspect mold damage has happened as the result of a flood, it's necessary to get it taken care of as soon as possible. The restoration company can help you understand where you need to have work performed and what the extent of your damage is. You can determine if you'll need to temporarily close your business. Even if you do, you can feel confident knowing the damage has been treated.
While mold growth can occur quickly, you can mitigate the damage by getting it cleaned up as soon as possible. With proper treatment, you can ensure it does not cause further problems.

This Is the Smoke Alarm You Need

3/18/2021 (Permalink)

vector fire smoke carbon monoxide detector alarm Dual sensor smoke detector.

How To Choose The Right Smoke Detector

You probably think that simply installing any smoke alarm in your home is enough. However, there are several options to choose from. Read on to find out how to choose the right smoke detector for your particular residence.

1. Consider the Size of Your Home
A bigger home will need more units. When purchasing, consider:

  • Number of rooms
  • Square feet
  • Sleeping location
  • Special needs

You need to put a smoke alarm in each room, as well as the hallways leading to bedrooms. Also factor in attics, basements, and both ends of staircases. Essentially, make sure you'll be able to hear the alarm at any time of the day.

2. Choose a Type
If you have a larger residence, you should look into devices that can be wired along with the same network.

  • Ionization
  • Photoelectric
  • Dual-sensor
  • Air-sampling
  • CO2 combo

There may be regulations in Pflugerville, TX, so make sure to check before installing. Often, these regulations can require hard-wired devices. If this is the case, you have to have them installed by local fire prevention and remediation specialists.

3. Make Sure It Works
This may seem obvious, but you need to test your smoke detectors. Think about fire safety. You may only have 2 minutes to evacuate. Does your alarm do its job in time? Check if batteries need to be replaced. If your system is hard-wired, it may also have backup batteries. Make sure these are in working condition. Keep in mind that placement should also be conducive to monthly testing. If you can't reach the alarm or don't have a ladder, reconsider placement. You should also keep units free of dust and grime that may inhibit usefulness.
Further, look for the circle logo on your units or their packaging. There should be a "UL" denoting that they have been tested and certified by Underwriters Laboratories. This is the most common certification, but there are others. Always do a quick internet search to verify your alarm's standard testing.
If you pick the right smoke alarm and test it monthly, you are doing the best that you can for fire prevention. Practice how to turn off the alarm without dismantling it from the wall or ceiling. Stay safe.