There is no mistaking: damp mornings, cool evenings, and rains are here to remind us that fall is upon us.
It’s the moment where we all gather inside and look for cozy afternoons in the living room. For the lucky ones who have a fireplace, it’s the time of year to start firing it up. A roaring fireplace adds warmth to our indoors and is a great gathering place for friends and family.
However, over 25,000 fires are caused by fireplace chimneys every year in the United States alone. These often cause fire and smoke damage and require home restoration.
With a few helpful tips and some careful steps, you can ensure that your fireplace is safe to use throughout fall and winter.
1. Take Care of Your Fireplace
Have Your Fireplace Cleaned by a Professional
Even if you only use your fireplace sparingly, it is good to have a professional clean it once a year. Soot and creosote build up on the chimney. As carbon particles build up on the chimney walls, they act as fire fuel. This is an important danger because a chimney fire can lead to a house fire. Additionally, fire in the chimney can cause the chimney to crack.
Check for Soot Buildup in Your Chimney
Soot buildup blocks the chimney and prevents it from directing the smoke out of the house. More smoke remains in the hearth, which is pushed back into the house as it doesn’t have an escape route. Smoke causes health damage to the lungs and eyes and is dangerous for adults and children alike.
Check for Cracks in Your Chimney
Before lighting up your fireplace, make sure your chimney doesn’t have any cracks. Cracks in the chimney can let smoke escape into your house. If an opening lies in the exposed part of the chimney, water may come in through the cracks.
Open the Damper
When it’s time to fire up your fireplace, check that the damper in your chimney is open. You need to bend and look inside the chimney, ideally with a flashlight. The damper lets smoke out through the chimney and helps air circulate in the fireplace and hearth. If it’s partly closed, even a little, the fireplace may smoke.
2. Use Quality Wood in Your Fireplace
Choose Dry Wood for Your Fireplace
You should only burn seasoned, dry wood, ideally from local suppliers. Dry and well-aged wood will burn slowly without producing too much smoke.
Avoid using wet or green wood as this will both produce a lot of smoke and cause soot to build up on the inside walls of your chimney.
Never Burn Anything Other Than Wood
Your fireplace is made to burn wood. Do not burn plastics, wood treated with varnish, or garbage. All these will generate toxic fumes, which are harmful to your health.
Store Your Wood in a Dry Place
Store your fireplace wood in a dry place. This will keep your logs dry and ready for fall and winter. Make sure your wood logs are not stored close to a fire hazard, for instance, next to the fireplace.
3. Clean Ashes from Your Fireplace
Do Not Leave Ashes
Do not leave ashes and coals on your hearth. They will block the firebox and prevent air from circulating in your fireplace. Too many ashes and coals produce smoke because smoke can’t circulate enough to rise up the chimney.
Dispose of Ashes and Coals
Once you have lit up your fireplace, wait for ashes and coals to cool down completely and dispose of them. Remember that even tiny embers of fire can catch fire if in contact with combustible materials, so it is best to dispose of ashes by placing them in a non-flammable container.
4. Position Logs and Keep an Eye on Your Fire
Place Logs in the Back of the Fireplace
When you start your fire, place a few logs at the back of your fireplace. This way, the smoke will be directed toward the chimney instead of escaping from the front.
Do not overstuff your fireplace with logs. They will block air circulation and temperatures will rise to dangerous levels. Not only can this lead to fire danger, but it can also cause your chimney to crack due to the high temperatures.
Place a Fireplace Screen
When your fire is going, place a fireplace screen or guard in front of the fire to prevent embers and hot ashes from escaping from the fireplace. This will keep your home safe.
5. Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Before fireplace season, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. They are crucial in case of fire and can save your home from extended fire damage—not to mention your lives.
Also, have a fire extinguisher positioned close to your fireplace, in case of fire. It is the easiest way to stop a fire from ravaging your home. The last thing you want is to waste precious time looking for a fire extinguisher in the event of a fire.
Valley Restoration and Construction Are Always Available
Despite your best efforts to take care of your home, sometimes accidents happen. In that case, follow these first steps after a fire to save as much of your property as possible, then call us. Valley Restoration and Construction are here to restore your home and build it up again. The sooner you call us, the less damage your home and belongings will suffer.
Call us at 970-964-4437 or contact Valley Restoration and Construction to mitigate any damage from fire, flooding, or mold. We are available 24/7 online and will restore your home to its previous condition with minimal inconvenience for you.
Whether you’re going away on holiday for a few weeks or closing up the cottage for the season, you need to make sure your house is safe and ready to stay closed and unattended.
An empty house has many potential hazards that could cause you problems. A burst pipe could cause flooding and water damage. Almost 10,000 fires a year are attributed to plugged appliances like microwaves and ovens that catch fire without being in use.
If you want to feel safe that your home is secure when you leave, here are a few things you can do.
Empty Your Trash
It doesn’t matter if you are leaving for a few days or closing down your summer home for the winter: you should empty your trash.
Fruits and vegetables are breeding grounds for fruit flies and other unpleasant inhabitants. These could grow and create colonies inside your trash and in the house. Make sure you have cleaned your trash from not only the kitchen, but the bedrooms, living room, and even bathrooms. Bugs are tenacious creatures and will take any opportunity to settle in and start a colony. The fewer chances you give them, the better.
Clean Your Fridge
Apart from just being good practice, this is a great opportunity to clean out that crisper drawer that hasn’t been touched in months or to throw away the mustard you’ve been holding onto since 2005.
If you don’t want to do a deep clean, then at a minimum clean your fridge from any perishables—like fruit, vegetables, milk, cheese, and meat. Fresh produce deteriorates fast even in the fridge, and you don’t want to return to find everything covered in mold.
Unplug Your Electronics
If something electronic is plugged into the wall, it has the potential to catch on fire. Take a tour around your house and unplug your washer, dryer, microwave, TV, and any other appliances you have. Not only will this keep your house safe, but it will also save on your electricity bill. Most people aren’t aware of this, but appliances consume electricity if they are plugged in, even when not in use.
Turn Off Water Valves
Turn off the main water valve before leaving your house. If you can’t access it, you can still turn off the water valves that lead to your dishwasher, washing machine, sinks, and toilets. This way, you are making sure no water leakage will occur. It also minimizes the chances of a burst pipe.
Clean Drains and Gutters
This isn’t something homeowners generally think of doing before going away, but it’s a great habit to get into. A sudden storm could cause flooding in your home if the drains and gutters are not cleaned of debris and leaves.
Go around your house and clean them, making sure they are unobstructed. Check also that they are not broken.
Secure Outdoor Furniture
Even if you will be away for only a few days or a couple of weeks, secure your outdoor furniture. Gusts of winds could move them or break them. If you have a patio umbrella, close it in case of strong winds.
Program Your Thermostat
There’s no need to keep your home at a comfortable temperature if you’re not in it!
That being said, it’s a good idea to program your thermostat to keep your house within reasonable temperature limits (no warmer than 82 degrees Fahrenheit in summer, and no cooler than 65 in winter).
If your home is too cold in the winter, it could get damaged from moisture and ice. Too much heat can encourage mold to grow, as well as dry out your hardwood floors and make them lose their beautiful look.
Put Lights on a Timer
This applies mainly to shorter trips away from the home. To trick potential burglars into thinking someone is living there, put the lights on a timer so they turn on automatically during the evening. You can even schedule your timer to turn the lights on and off several times during the evening in different parts of the house, to make it look more realistic.
Check Windows and Doors
Check to make sure your windows and doors close and lock properly. You don’t want any intruders coming into your house through an unsecured back window.
Also, check that these openings seal your home from rain and snow. You do not want to see your hardwood floors flooded during a rainstorm.
Valley Restoration and Construction Are Here for You
No matter how cautious you are about securing your home before going away, accidents and unpredictable events happen. That’s why Valley Restoration and Construction are always a phone call away, no matter the time or day.
Call us at 970-964-4437 or contact Valley Restoration and Construction to mitigate any damage from fire, flooding, or mold. We are available 24/7 online and will restore your home to its previous condition with minimal inconvenience for you.
Fun Games to Teach Children Fire Safety
Being prepared is the best way to protect your family. When it comes to children, parents need to ensure the little ones have a clear idea of how to react in case of fire.
Teaching children about fire safety is the best way to prepare them in case of an emergency. It’s also the most productive way to protect them when a fire emergency happens.
Parents can teach their children two things: how not to cause a fire and how to exit your home if there is a fire. Both lessons are crucial to their safety.
This article explains the things you need to teach your children and suggests some fun ways to do this.
Teach Children about Fire
Not everything is a game, of course. Parents can explain to children what fire is and how it is caused. If your children are old enough, you can explain the fire triangle, i.e. that fires require heat, oxygen, and fuel to start and burn.
Toddlers, on the other hand, should be simply taught not to play with matches, candles, and lighters. It is essential to explain to children in simple words how fires start and how they can destroy their house and hurt them.
When to Put out a Fire
Older children can learn how to put out a fire using a fire blanket or even a fire extinguisher once they have alerted you. This, in itself, can be great fun for kids but whether you should allow it or not depends on the child. As a parent, you will know the right age and if the child is ready to handle such a responsibility or should simply head out as fast as possible.
Even if you don’t teach them how to put out a fire, you should stress the need to avoid at all costs throwing water on fires, especially electrical ones and oil-based ones like a burning pan, as this can result in serious injury and even death.
Organize Your Escape Routes in Case of Fire
Once you have described the dangers and causes of fire to your children, you should move on to how they should protect themselves in case of fire.
The first thing to discuss is your escape routes. You must establish escape plans and routes from every room in your home, including the kitchen and the living room.
You should consider alternative routes: think of escape plans from the window if the height is not a problem. Ideally, and depending on the house’s layout, you should establish two ways out of each room, in case one escape route is blocked or too dangerous.
Walk through your home with your children and plan your escape. To make it less of a lesson and more of an adventure, pretend it is some sort of game. Pretend, for example, that a volcano has erupted in the kitchen, and now they have to find their path outdoors before the lava gets them.
Get Outside Quickly and Safely
Tell your children that the foremost thing they must remember is to get out as fast as possible. They shouldn’t carry anything with them: explain to them that firefighters will take care of their belongings and their precious teddy will be just fine.
No matter how much we love our pets, tell your children that losing time looking for their cat or dog can cost them their lives. Gently explain to them that the firefighters will save their pets because they know how to enter a fire and look for pets.
Turn this into a game by asking them where they think their pet escaped from. Make it more fun by using imaginative routes like A/C ducts or vents.
Feel Your Way out of Your Home
Our eyes sting in the presence of smoke. Teach your children how they can feel their way out of the house by touching things and furniture and keeping their eyes closed.
Prepare a game and have them memorize the setting of the furniture and other items so that they have a clear image in their mind of what the interior of your home feels like.
You can easily turn this into a fun game by turning it into a blindfold obstacle course.
Set a Meeting Point Outside
Whether it’s the garden gate or the sidewalk, define the meeting point where the whole family gathers in case of emergency. Tell your children that once they get out of the house, they should reach the meeting point and wait there for the whole family to gather.
Teach Your Children Not to Hide
In case your children have not managed to find their escape route, teach them not to hide under the bed or in the closet. This will make it harder for firefighters to locate them. Instead, tell them to stand in front of the window or in some obvious place where they will be highly visible and easily reachable.
As a game, ask them to find the most visible part of their room and pretend you can’t see them until they reach it.
Most fire victims die due to smoke inhalation. Teach your children that they should crawl out in case of fire. This will save them from smoke suffocation and greatly improve their ability to get safely outside.
Present it as a game and run fire drills where you ask them to crawl through the kitchen or the living room to teach them how important this is.
Stop, Drop, Roll
Even if their clothes catch fire, your children can be safe if you teach them to “stop, drop, and roll.”
If a child becomes aware that her clothes are on fire, show her how to stop, drop on the floor, protect her face with her hands, and roll over and over again, pretty much like a dog, to stop the oxygen supply to the fire. Since this is what a dog might do, you can present this in a light, playful manner, instructing them to “play the dog.”
Doors, Handles, and Smoke
Show your children how to become perceptive of fire risks.
If smoke is coming from under the door, they shouldn’t open it: it means the corridor is filled with smoke. Instead, they should choose the alternative escape route you have organized.
Remind them to check the door handle: if it’s too hot, they shouldn’t open it, opting instead for an alternative plan.
This can be made more fun as a version of a hot and cold game. The family will yell “hot” as the child gets near a hot object like a door handle and “cold” as they move away from it until the child identifies it.
Prepare Your Children for Safety from Fire
Teaching your children what to do in case of fire is one of the best ways of keeping them safe. Spend a few afternoons explaining to them about fire and how they can keep safe. If you can do this through some fun games, even better!
Most importantly, teach them that all that matters in case of fire is that everyone is safe and well. Houses can be rebuilt, particularly with the help of a professional restoration company like Valley Restoration and Construction.
If you need the help of a professional restoration and construction company, we are available 24/7 online and at 970-964-4437.
Your HVAC system keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Its powerful equipment typically includes a furnace, air conditioning unit, air ducts, and multiple vents. Your HVAC system runs around the house, ensuring proper air ventilation and comfortable temperatures throughout the seasons.
Maintaining your HVAC on a regular basis ensures it always runs smoothly and offers clean air. As a restoration and remediation company, we have witnessed fires, floods, and other damages caused by poorly maintained HVAC systems. This article explains how to take care of your HVAC system and what to do if things go wrong.
What Is HVAC?
HVAC stands for Heat, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. The furnace provides heat when needed while the air conditioning unit contains a refrigerant that cools the air flowing through the house.
The furnace usually uses natural gas to heat the air and is placed in the basement or attic. When working, the furnace heats up the air. It then directs the warm air through the ductwork. The vents allow the air to enter each room and warm it up.
As for air conditioning, the refrigerant cools the air with the help of a compressor. The cold air travels through air ducts and is led through vents into each space of the house. The air conditioning unit is typically located outside of the house. This is because the air conditioning produces hot air while it’s circulating the cool air inside the house. This hot air needs to be expelled outside of the house, or it will simply warm the rooms once again, hence the need for an accompanying outside unit.
To control the temperature, homeowners use a thermostat that checks the temperature and sends the appropriate signal to the furnace or air conditioning units to start running as required.
Why Should You Maintain Your HVAC?
Just like any other equipment in your house, your HVAC system requires frequent maintenance to work efficiently.
Longer, Better HVAC Life
Preventative maintenance will help your HVAC remain a reliable and efficient tool in warming and cooling your home. A well-maintained HVAC will require fewer costly repairs, which can save you thousands of dollars down the line.
Taking good care of your HVAC system will also prolong its work life. Bearing in mind that an HVAC system can cost between $7,000 and $15,000, maintaining it at a fraction of this cost is a great investment.
Optimal Air Quality in Your Home
Your HVAC provides clean air to your home. By taking good care of your HVAC system, you are making sure the air in your home is as clean and pure as possible. Dirty or—even worse—moldy filters are a common source of polluted air in a household.
Remember that both furnace and air conditioning units use the air inside the house, which they respectively warm up or cool down. The HVAC will circulate pollutants such as pet hairs, mold, dust, and smoke from the fireplace or stove. These will lower the air quality, especially if you haven’t properly cleaned your filters, and may well cause serious health issues.
Besides regularly cleaning your HVAC system, you should open the windows every day, even if just for a few minutes, to keep the air clean in your home.
Lower Energy Bills, Cleaner Environment
Proper maintenance of your HVAC system lowers your energy bills. A poorly-maintained HVAC system works for longer hours and less efficiently, thus consuming more energy.
This is great not just for your pocket but also for the environment. By properly maintaining your HVAC system, it will consume less fuel like gas and electricity and produce fewer pollutants.
What Does HVAC Maintenance Include?
A proper maintenance schedule will look into all of your HVAC components and make sure they work properly and efficiently. Because of the many parts of an HVAC system, this includes several steps:
- The maintenance crew will check the thermostat and all electrical connections. Loose wires are a common fire hazard.
- The vents must be cleaned from dust and particles and the air filters replaced to ensure both maximum efficiency and air purity.
- The duct system should be inspected to make sure it’s clean and clear of mold and debris.
- A professional HVAC maintenance crew will also look into the fan, making sure it works properly and quietly and that it adequately propels the air.
- They will also check the furnace fuel supply line, confirming that it’s unobstructed and undamaged. The gas connection should be intact and properly secured, as the last thing you want is a gas or oil leak in your house.
- Similarly, the burner combustion and gas pressure need to be checked to confirm they are working at the optimum level.
- When it comes to the air conditioning unit, the HVAC maintenance professionals will make sure the refrigerant liquid is sufficient.
- They will also clean the drain line. When your air conditioning system is on, the HVAC takes away moisture from the home and diverts it outside through a drain pipe. This pipe must be mold-free and clean.
- A maintenance professional will confirm the external air conditioning unit is unobstructed from leaves, branches, and other vegetation. These can interfere with the fan’s functioning and cause damage or poor performance.
- Finally, the HVAC specialist will lubricate any moving parts such as fans to ensure the system’s silent and efficient operation.
This list is by no means exhaustive, as the specifics differ from one system to the other. The HVAC maintenance crew will know the exact steps required depending on your circumstances.
What Problems Could I Face if I Don’t Maintain My HVAC?
A poorly maintained HVAC system can cause water damage and mold problems. These may eventually create larger and more dangerous problems for your home and your family’s health.
Water leaks can also damage your HVAC system, leading you to expensive repairs or even requiring the replacement of your entire HVAC system.
A poor maintenance schedule will fail to notice any gas or oil leaks, which can turn into major problems and even life-threatening situations. For example, if you overlook a clogged exhaust vent, carbon monoxide could start building up in your home. This puts your health and your family’s health at great risk.
Here at Valley Restoration and Construction, we are experts at remediating and restoring damage caused by a damaged HVAC system. That’s why we always recommend that you maintain your HVAC system on a regular basis to avoid catastrophes and damages to your home and health.
Valley Restoration and Construction can maintain your HVAC system professionally and economically. And if you need home remediation after an HVAC system failure, we are available 24/7. Call us at 970-964-4437 or contact us online. We have the expertise and equipment to reverse the damage and restore your home.
Just by hearing the words “sewage backup,” people cringe at the image of dirty water coming back up into a house rather than draining toward the sewer line.
It doesn’t take a leap of imagination to grasp how dangerous sewage water is. But it does take a professional to make sure your home is clean and safe to re-enter for your family and pets.
Sewage backup can be due to several reasons, from clogged drain pipes to heavy rainfall. This doesn’t mean they can’t be prevented, though. Homeowners can avoid such accidents by properly maintaining their pipes and ensuring they remain unobstructed.
This article explains how to prevent sewage backups and how you can stop them from damaging your home. And if an accident does happen and it’s more than you can handle, call a specialist and professional restoration company to deal with the problem.
How Do I Know I Have a Sewage Backup Problem?
There are some early telltale signs that should make homeowners watchful about the state of their drainage system.
A slow-draining sink on its own suggests a pipe blockage and can be easily sorted out. If, however, the water is not draining quickly throughout the house, you could have a blockage somewhere in your sewer system.
This can be particularly noticeable in your bathroom or kitchen sink where you actively see the water going down the drain. Usually, slow-running drains become observable closer to the blockage. The draining problems will be evident first on the ground floor, then the first floor and so on.
Sewage odors are unmistakable. If you smell sewage vapors from the drains, then your pipes may be under pressure.
Water Backing up
If water is backing up when you run your washing machine or run a bath, then a blockage may be preventing the water from draining properly.
Bubbling, gurgling, or whistling noises coming from the drains and toilets don’t mean there’s an alligator living in the sewers, as urban legends suggest. Rather, they are another sign that your pipes are under strain. The noises signify that water is not flowing freely.
Water Is Coming out Your Cleanout Pipe
Every sewage line has a cleanout pipe that allows restoration professionals to check the state of your sewage system. If water is building up, it will show on the cleanout pipe, which is usually located in the garden, yard, or basement. The cleanout pipe should be the first to experience the pressure of the problem as it is located the closest to the sewage system.
What Causes Sewage Backups?
Several possible reasons can cause sewage backups. Some are due to poor maintenance and can be avoided while others are caused by natural disasters and are unavoidable.
The City Sanitary Main Is Blocked
If the city sewage system has a problem, then houses near the problem could face sewage backup as the sewage cannot drain freely from houses to the city main sewage drain.
Unfortunately, all you can do is wait for the city sewer crew to sort things out.
Municipal sewage lines have been measured for specific quantities of rainfall. If your area experiences heavy, sudden, or lengthy rainfall, the pipes may get overflown from the sudden quantity of water.
Here, too, there’s not much you can do but wait for the excess water to drain away.
Sometimes sewage pipes run through your garden before reaching the city main sewage line. In places with dry weather, tree roots looking for moisture often find it in sewer pipes.
Tree roots can break or damage pipes, preventing them from draining freely. One possible indication of this is large moist spots in your garden where the water leaks from a broken pipe into the ground.
Should a tree root have broken a pipe, you need to identify the spot, dig down to the pipe, and replace the damaged section with a new one. You can also take preventative measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again, such as laying some cement around the pipe and trimming the roots around it.
Flushing Things down the Drain
Flushing items down the toilet can clog pipes and lead to blockages. Likewise, grease, oils, and kitchen paper towels can block the system. Don’t throw your coffee grounds or wet tissue into the sink as these can obstruct the pipe.
What Can I Do to Stop the Damage from Sewage Backup?
The first thing to do when facing a sewage backup emergency is to call a professional restoration company. They will help ensure the damage is mitigated in the safest and most economical way and will advise you on which household items can be restored and which should be thrown away.
While waiting for the specialists to arrive, there are a few things you can do, listed below in the order you should follow. However, always use caution or you can risk your life or make the damage greater than it already is.
Turn off the Electricity
The very first step to avoid electrocution and further damage to your belongings is to turn off the electricity main right away. Make sure you are not stepping on standing water and using electric devices at the same time.
Open the Windows
Open your windows to bring in fresh air, dissolve fumes, and help with ventilation. The last thing you want is to faint from the fumes while you’re trying to save your house. If you have a mask, put it on to avoid damaging your lungs.
Turn off the Water Main
If you know where the water main is and you are at no risk of injury, turn it off to prevent further damage.
Salvage Items that Will Be Destroyed
Personal items such as important paperwork, insurance policies, photo albums, and anything that cannot survive water damage should be salvaged, as long as you do not risk electrocution and avoid coming into direct contact with dirty water.
If there is a way to mop the floor, do so, but remember that all the equipment you will be using will be thrown away due to contamination. Again, avoid contact with the polluted water.
Some Items Will Be beyond Salvaging
Some items may be beyond salvaging due to contamination: rugs, carpets, drapes, and furniture could be beyond repair because of the bacterial load they will have soaked up.
However, don’t hurry to throw everything away. Mitigation experts have specialized equipment that may save most of your damaged items, even if they seem beyond repair at first glance.
Can I Prevent a Sewage Backup?
Some accidents can be prevented while others are out of your hands. You cannot predict heavy rainfall or a malfunctioning city sewage main drain.
However, you can make sure your pipes are in good repair. If you see a suspicious drainage problem, fix it before it overloads the sewage system. Check your basement for sewage problem signs and waterproof it.
You can also invest in check valves on floor drains and in the basement. Check valves allow the water to flow freely from your house to the sewers but stops water backing up from the sewers toward your home.
Finally, don’t throw grease, hair, and items such as ground coffee into the sink. Also, avoid flushing large items down the toilet.
Is Sewage Water Dangerous to Health?
Sewage water is very dangerous to health. Sewage water carries bacteria, viruses, micro-organisms, fungi, and several other highly dangerous compounds.
Contaminated water can cause infections on broken skin: you should never deal with sewage water without the proper protective gear. Also, sewage water contains toxins and vapors that cause lung problems when inhaled. Wear a mask to protect your lungs.
Call in a Specialist Restoration Company
Here at Valley Restoration and Construction, we have experience in dealing with sewage backup catastrophes. We will ensure your home is safe and sound before starting the restoration. And we will make sure your sewage system is fixed before letting you and your family back in the house.
We are available 24/7. Call us at 970-964-4437 or contact us online. We have the expertise and equipment to reverse the damage and restore your home.
With mold being all around us, it’s no surprise that no household has ever managed to eradicate mold damage completely. Mold needs humidity, oxygen, darkness, and warmth to develop. Our homes offer excellent breeding grounds for mold to release its spores and grow.
Carpets are a beautiful addition to any home: they provide warmth and are wonderful to walk on barefooted. However, they are particularly prone to mold development due to their dense fibers and thick padding.
Preventing excess mold growth in your carpets is the best way to keep your home clean and safe for you and your family. Managing mold colonies to levels that are not dangerous to our health is the best way to have a healthy home environment.
Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to remove mold once it has set in your carpet. You will need the help of experts with the proper equipment and chemicals, including HEPA filters and specific mold-fighting detergents.
Why Does Mold Matter?
Mold can cause upper respiratory problems and symptoms, including bronchitis, asthma attacks, coughing, and wheezing. Mold can also worsen existing allergies and cause skin and eye irritation.
The problem with mold in carpets is that children often play on them, putting them in direct contact with the mold spores. If your home is fully carpeted and mold has taken hold of the carpets, you will be in constant contact with the mold as you walk around the house. As you walk around, you will be carrying the spores throughout the house, thus furthering the problem.
What Can Cause Mold in Carpets?
Because of their fiber density and padding, carpets can capture moisture and retain it. A burst pipe, a ceiling leak, high residual humidity, a plumbing problem, or a bucket of water falling on the carpet can all cause moisture to build up. Due to its sponge-like consistency, the carpet will soak up the water without releasing it.
Carpets have some parts that are made of cellulose. Mold feeds on cellulose. If you add humidity to the mix, these are perfect conditions for mold to grow.
How Do I Know I Have Mold in My Carpets?
There are several ways to confirm you have a mold problem.
The most obvious way is to look for visible mold stains in your carpet—which tend to be black, green, or blue-ish—or general discoloration. This means the mold has found a breeding ground and has released its spores. It can take up to three weeks for mold to become visible on your carpet after an accident or excess humidity.
Another sign of mold infestation is the characteristic musky, earthy smell of mold. Since you spend so much time in your home, you might not be aware of it. However, if a friend comments on a musky smell when they visit, you may have mold growing underneath your carpet.
What Can I Do to Prevent Mold Damage?
If you have a one-off incident of water damage on carpets, speed is of the essence. Mold can start growing within 24 to 48 hours of the spill. Leaving lingering water on your carpet for more than 24 hours could make your carpet beyond repair.
Preventing Mold from Setting In
Even though mold spores are everywhere, it is possible to protect your home from mold. In order to stop mold from developing on your carpets, you can take a few preventive steps:
- Vacuum your carpets regularly to remove dust and other compounds that encourage mold growth.
- Avoid installing carpets in moist areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. No matter how careful you are, water and humidity are bound to set in.
- Use a de-humidifier frequently to take away excess humidity from your home. Relative humidity of 40% to 50% is a good level to hinder mold development.
- Check your carpet not only in visible areas but under and between the padding as well. Also, make an extra effort and move heavy furniture to check the carpet under it. Mold that develops under a heavy sofa or table often goes unnoticed until it’s too late.
- If you have a steam cleaner, use it to clean your carpets. The heat will kill most of the mold spores while cleaning your carpets in the most hygienic way.
How Do I Clean Mold?
Contaminated Water Damage
If the water damage is due to sewage or contaminated water, throw it out and buy a new one. No matter how well you clean it, the bacteria present in contaminated water have already caused irreparable damage.
Clean Water Damage
If the spill is rainwater or tap water, clean up the excess water and turn on your de-humidifier to get as much moisture as possible out of the area. Open your windows to let fresh air in—unless, of course, it’s raining or humid outside. If you can, position your carpets in full sunshine to dry them out as much as possible.
If the damage is too extensive, it’s best to call in mold and water damage experts who will clean your carpet professionally and dry it out with specialized equipment.
Persistent Mold Damage
Most mold damage doesn’t occur from a single incident, but rather builds up over time. If you notice mold patches, you can try cleaning them with special chemicals available in hardware stores or with baking soda and vinegar. Unlike what you might think, bleach doesn’t kill mold spores. Baking soda cleans odors, while vinegar has disinfectant qualities.
However, if you are looking for a truly professional and results-oriented solution, calling in a restoration team is the best answer.
Valley Restoration and Construction is available 24/7 for any mold, water, or fire emergency you face. Call us today at 970-964-4437 or contact us online. We have the expertise and equipment to restore your carpets from water damage and mold and help your home become cleaner and healthier.