Is It Black Mold? 3 Ways To Know
Black mold in homes can be a costly and dangerous problem.
Black mold are two words that no homeowner wants to hear. If you think this pesky problem is cropping up in your The Woodlands,TX home, a mold inspection is the best way to be sure. Until you can schedule one, however, here are a few quick tips to answer mold is what you’re dealing with.
All mold is comprised of microscopic organisms found indoors and outdoors. It spreads easily and comes in various colors including:
Black mold is the one that is best publicized and the one that homeowners most want to recognize and eradicate, fast.
Molds of all kinds love damp, dark areas. That means attics, crawl spaces, areas under sinks and anywhere drips, leaks or condensation can create pooling water are perfect breeding grounds. In homes, bathrooms are another common mold area. If you spot something dark and fuzzy in any of these areas, schedule a mold inspection.
Black-colored mold isn’t always just black. In fact, this type of mold often presents as a dark, greenish black and sometimes even has a grey tinge to it. While things like common dirt can take on this appearance, black mold also tends to be a bit slimy. If you see something matching this description, it might be black house mold.
This type of mold is known for its musty odor that is similar to the sharp, pungent odor of mildew. In many cases, you may not see black house mold, but the smell through your home can be a sign that it is present.
Black house mold is not something to play with. Left alone, it can spread and become an expensive problem to solve. If you think you have it, schedule a mold inspection and connect with a mold remediator to rid your house of the fungus.
What To Do When a Basement Floods
A pipe break can rapidly fill your Conroe, TX basement with water
A basement flood can result in extensive water damage and pose secondary risks, such as mold growth. Here are several reasons why a basement may flood, steps homeowners should take, and insurance coverage guidelines.
A Broken Pipe
A pipe break can rapidly fill a basement with water, particularly if homeowners are not aware of the problem or are away from home. A homeowner should take the following steps:
- Shut off the main water supply
- Turn off power at the breaker box if possible
- Contact electric and gas companies if flooding is severe
Shutting off water may limit the amount of damage. These other measures can promote the safety of residents and restoration workers.
An Appliance Leak
An appliance such as a water heater or washing machine may leak. While the cause of this damage may not be a covered peril, insurance coverage should be available for the resulting basement flood. A homeowner can take several measures:
- Shut off the water supply to the appliance or the main supply
- Shut off electricity or gas to the appliance or the main supply
- Contact an appliance repair specialist or plumber
Limit damage by removing as much water as possible. A water damage cleanup company can be helpful if damage is severe.
Heavy Rain or Rising Water
Flooding from external sources can cause extensive damage and is excluded from most homeowners insurance policies. An additional flood policy is necessary to offset the costs of mitigating and restoring a basement flooded by heavy rain or a rising body of water. Rely on professionals to complete this cleanup job.
A Sewer Backup
Sewer backups are also not covered by standard homeowners policies. An additional sewer damage endorsement or rider can cover cleanup and restoration costs. Owners of homes that frequently experience backups may want to install a prevention valve.
These are four common scenarios that can cause a basement flood at a residence in Conroe, TX. Depending on the water source, homeowners insurance may or may not cover damage. Act quickly to mitigate primary damage and prevent secondary damage.
Commercial Fires and Water Damage
Fire and water damage in The Woodlands, TX building
Commercial Fires and Water Damage
After a fire at your The Woodlands, TX, business, there's liable to be a significant amount of water damage in addition to the fire damage. It's likely that automatic sprinklers have gone off, and that at least one fire hose was used to extinguish the flames. There may be saturated drywall and carpeting, which can lead to a mold problem if not addressed promptly.
This situation requires the skills of a professional restoration company. They can take care of the damage by:
- Making a thorough inspection
- Extracting the water
- Drying and dehumidifying
- Disinfecting and cleaning
- Repairing damage and completing restoration
Damage Inspection and Assessment
The restoration company first makes a careful inspection, assessing the water and fire damage and looking for any possible hidden problems, such as water behind walls. From their assessment they can determine which specialized equipment and techniques are best suited to the task.
As quickly as possible, the technicians begin the process of water extraction. This minimizes the chance of more damage from secondary sources such as mold. Any excess water is removed, using heavy-duty pumps and vacuums.
Drying and Dehumidification
At this point, the restoration team focuses on removing any moisture or humidity that remains. This is done through the use of professional-strength dehumidifiers and air movers.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
After everything is thoroughly dried, the remaining items and surfaces are treated to remove any threat from microbes or mold, using a variety of specialized methods. Any lingering odors are dealt with by using air scrubbers and foggers.
Damage Repair and Restoration
As soon as all moisture has been completely extracted and any threat from pathogens has been eliminated, the repair and restoration work can start. Depending on the extent of the damage, this might involve simple tasks like replacing carpets and painting, or more complex work like rebuilding entire rooms.
If you've had fire damage at your business, you're most likely going to have to deal with water damage as well. Hiring a restoration company can ensure that both problems are dealt with quickly, safely and efficiently.
A Water Hammer Can Cause a Pipe Break in Your Home
Water damage after a pipe break in The Woodlands, TX
A Water Hammer Can Cause a Pipe Break in Your Home
Imagine that you open the cold-water faucet in your kitchen sink and let the water run. The water is moving quickly from the pipes in the street to the open kitchen faucet. That moving water has a lot of momentum. Next, imagine quickly shutting off that faucet. The moving water comes to a complete stop and hits the closed faucet with the force of a hammer. That is a water hammer.
A water hammer is more than just noisy. It beats away at your plumbing day after day, shaking your pipes and looking for a weak spot. In time, it will find that weak spot and cause a pipe to burst. There are several things you can do to deal with your water hammer and minimize the chances of a pipe break.
- Call the water department. If you think that your water pressure is dangerously high, complain. Perhaps they have some way to lower the water pressure entering your home. After all, you can’t be the only one in The Woodlands,TX with this problem.
- Secure all the pipes in your home. The sound made by a water hammer is the vibration of your plumbing. That sound may not seem like much, but the motion behind it can loosen plumbing joints over a long period. The loose pipes may require tightening pipe hangers, installing new ones and placing shims.
- Solve the water hammer problem with plumbing modifications. Water hammer arrestors can reduce the water hammer effect. Pressure reduction devices can lower the water pressure in your home. Install these, and you may never know what it is like to fix a broken pipe.
Be Prepared for the Day a Pipe Break Occurs
If a pipe breaks in your home, there is no telling when or where it will happen. All you can do is be prepared. Just know that there are qualified water damage experts ready to help. They are just a phone call away.
When To Schedule Furnace Maintenance
Regular furnace maintenance can promote safety and keep heating costs low. Experts recommend scheduling a professional inspection at least once a year and performing regular checks and maintenance on a furnace in a home in Conroe,TX. Follow these guidelines to prevent a heating fire and the need for fire cleaning.
Once a Year
Schedule an appointment with a furnace service every year before the weather gets cold. An appliance specialist should test the factors that impact the operation of a furnace, such as the static air pressure, gas pressure, combustion gases and temperature rise. Furnace components that should be inspected on an annual basis include:
• Blower motor and wheel
• Condensate drain and trap
• Drainage system
• Electrical wiring or gas lines
• Heat exchanger
An inspection may cost anywhere from $80 up to $150. This preventative investment is less expensive than cleaning up after a fire. Make sure that the furnace service technician checks and cleans every component that is necessary to keep the furnace functioning safely.
Several Times a Year
A homeowner should also regularly check the condition of a furnace and clean any components that have accumulated dust or debris. Every few months, particularly during the winter, it is a good idea to take a look at:
• Burner flame and ignition
• Blower door seal
• Air intake
• Ventilation system
Use a vacuum to remove buildup from furnace components. A clean furnace will function at maximum efficiency with less risk of fire.
A furnace requires regularly scheduled maintenance to operate safely. In addition to a professional inspection every fall, homeowners should also perform periodic checks when the furnace is being used daily or frequently. If a heating fire breaks out, it will be necessary to replace the furnace. A fire cleaning restoration and smoke cleaning service can also restore damage caused by a furnace fire at a residence in Conroe,TX.
Common Questions About Category 2 Water Damage
If you are stuck with a broken pipe at your commercial establishment in Shenandoah,TX, you may have heard about Category 2 water damage and are finding yourself left with a lot of questions. Will water pipe repair address the issue? How damaging is this type of water? Fortunately, we have the answers you are looking for. Here are three common questions about Category 2 damage and responses to each.
What Is It?
There are three categories of water damage. They include the following:
• Category 1 damage, which is also known as “white water.” This is clean, fresh water.
• Category 2 damage, also known as “gray water.” This is water that sat too long.
• Category 3 damage. This is also known as “black water.” This water is contaminated.
In other words, Category 2 damage started out as clean water damage, but sat too long and became somewhat contaminated. Water from a broken pipe would be gray water of this kind. If you haven’t completed the water pipe repair and the moisture has sat for a couple of days, it may now be Category 2 water.
What Causes It?
As mentioned above, water that sits too long simply becomes gray water on its own. It usually comes from a higher level and seeps through building materials after your building becomes flooded. For example, water that starts on the second floor of your building is usually Category 1 water but then becomes Category 2 water as it trickles down to the first floor.
How Can I Address It?
If you handle your water pipe repair quickly, your clean water will not likely turn into Category 2 water or cause significant damage. Seek help as soon as your building is damaged to prevent a huge catastrophe. If significant damage is already present, your local commercial water damage restoration company should be able to help you complete remediation and drying processes in a timely manner to help salvage your property.
Reduce the Risk of Fire Damage
Reducing the risk of electrical fires in one’s home is relatively simple, but the safety benefits are worth a great deal of peace-of-mind.
What To Do After A Fire
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
- Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
- Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
- Change HVAC filter.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
What NOT To Do After A Fire
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
The Woodlands and Conroe Home: The Invisible Damage of Mold
Mold thrives in the warm, humid climates of the Houston metropolitan area. If your Conroe or The Woodlands property has experienced flood damage in recent years, you may have a serious mold infestation lurking behind your walls. For a thorough risk assessment and mold removal, call your neighborhood SERVPRO team. We are the trusted home restoration leader, and our team of highly trained mold remediation technicians will find the cause of the moisture and mold problem, and begin to restore your property quickly.
If a property isn’t cleaned and dried properly after a flood, mold can start to grow at an exponential rate. That’s why it’s important to have a professional and trusted team like Houston SERVPRO handle the cleanup after water intrusion from a flood, or broken water pipe. Many times, we see mold infestations caused by improper cleaning and restoration techniques, often due to beginning the process before moisture and humidity levels been restored to pre-flood levels. If new drywall, insulation, or carpeting is installed too early, your property is at risk for mold infestation.
While it may be easy to spot mold growing on walls, grout lines, and other areas, it is impossible to see the mold prospering behind the drywall, or under the flooring. Mold needs food, like insulation or carpeting, and a warm, humid environment to thrive. If flood damage cleanup in the home was completed improperly, structural elements like floor joists and framing can be weakened, damaging a home’s structural integrity.
Mold spores travel through the air, often through a property’s heating and air conditioning vents. The ventilation system can harbor mold and provides a highway throughout the home for the mold to spread. That is why it is essential that at the first sight of mold, a professional mold remediation team is called. Our team at SERVPRO of The Woodlands and Conroe is available 24 hours a day to help property owners after water damage, fire, a severe storm, or a mold infestation damages the home.
In the event our team finds mold in your property, we will work quickly to bring your property back to its original condition. The process starts with a thorough investigation of the water damage, applying a special microbial compound to affected areas that will kill the mold, and then begin the structural drying with industrial dehumidifying fans. This is an integral part of the restoration to help ensure that mold doesn’t grow behind the walls, under the flooring, in the insulation, or in other invisible areas of your home. Call us today if you suspect you have a mold problem; we stand at the ready to help our neighbors in The Woodlands and Conroe with water damage and flood damage cleanup, and mold remediation.
About The Woodlands-Conroe SERVPRO
SERVPRO of The Woodlands-Conroe is faster to any size disaster, helping residential and commercial property owners when natural disasters, water damage, sewage backups, floods, fires, mold remediation, and other events happen.
The Woodlands and Conroe Home Care: Where Mold Hides
Mold Fact: Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold growths (colonies) with the right conditions.
At one time or another, virtually every property in the Houston area will have mold. Thankfully there are steps that you can take for mold prevention, however, in the event of an infestation, it is vital that you understand the causes of mold, and the risks if left unremedied. For mold removal in The Woodlands and Conroe, SERVPRO is available when you need us. Our professional team is experienced in mold remediation and restoration, cleaning up after a fire, flood, and other disasters.
Mold develops and grows in areas of the home that are warm and humid. While bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces, attics, sunrooms, and mud rooms may be on your watch list for mold, here are some other not-so-common areas to watch.
First, in bathrooms, look for mold growth around the tub and shower as this is often the first place for it to develop. It may appear dark green or black in color, and appear first in the caulking and around ceiling and wall joints. However, don’t stop looking there. Under the sink, in the linen closet, and on the walls and ceiling around the exhaust are other areas that are common to develop mold. If there is any mildew-type odor in the air, there is a good chance mold is near. Keep looking, or call in a professional mold testing team for evaluation.
Second, take a look under your kitchen sink, behind the refrigerator, and in the pantry. Kitchens, like bathrooms, are ideal places for mold to grow; they are typically warmer and more humid than other areas of the home. If your refrigerator or dishwasher leaks, or has in the past, the drywall or flooring adjacent to them may be affected by mold. Left unchecked, the drywall, floors, and structural integrity may be compromised. Your local Houston SERVPRO knows where to look for mold, and how to remove it.
Third, look for any signs of mold in bedroom closets. These are areas in which there is little air movement; the moisture from the environment as well as from freshly washed clothing can collect and cause mold to develop. Lessen the likelihood of mold growth in your bedrooms, and closets by leaving a window open, at least once per week. In the summer months, run your air conditioning and a dehumidifier to help maintain safe humidity levels.
Lastly, examine any other areas where there has been previous water or flood damage in your Woodlands Conroe home. If you’ve had a leaky roof, flood, broken water pipe, or fire, and your home was not properly restored, those areas should be on the top of your list for quarterly self-inspection. The first sign of mold on walls or ceilings in these areas may appear like spatters or water droplets. They may be soft yellow in color, but will darken and multiply with time. In the early stages, a bleach-based cleanser can remove the mold; however, it is important to understand that if there are other areas of mold in the home, or humidity levels are high, the mold may reappear quickly.
If you or your family are experiencing persistent symptoms similar to seasonal allergies, your home may have mold. For expert and The Woodlands, call your local SERVPRO team. We are available to respond to water damage, fire damage, and for mold prevention, 24 hours a day.
Storm Damage Restoration Recommendations for The Woodlands
Weatherization can include factors such as a stronger roof or siding that is better able to stand up to stressful conditions.
The Woodlands storms are destructive and can cause expensive damage to various parts of a building with the most vulnerable parts being the roof and siding. Storm damage can include:
- Flooding that results from torrential rains
- Tidal surges resulting from hurricanes
- Wind damage from tornadoes
The following recommendations can help property owners to get repairs completed quickly:
Hire a Qualified Contractor
The contractor will evaluate damage to the property. This is important since some damage may not be immediately obvious to the untrained eye. The contractor may then inform the insurance adjuster as to the damages that should be covered under the property owner's policy. It is important to get started on loss mitigation efforts as soon as possible after the damage has occurred. The property owner should not wait on their insurance company to act as damage may worsen significantly in a short period. Instead, they should hire a reputable contractor to get started on the work.
It is important to note that unqualified contractors may try to get business by canvassing communities after a destructive storm. Property owners should be on the lookout for scammers and avoid hiring people without examining their credentials. The chosen contractor should be fully licensed and qualified. The property owner should ask to see their credentials and references. It is possible to verify licensing online. The contractor should be willing to provide a written contract that includes start and end times for the work as well as a warranty.
Get in Touch with the Insurance Company
Along with The Woodlands storm damage restoration experience, the contractor should have experience working with insurance claims. It is important that the contractor and the insurance adjuster work together. They should both be involved in the inspection of the home to ensure that both are able to see and evaluate damage to the property.
Understand the Scope of the Work That Will Be Necessary
Rainwater can enter a property because of roof or siding damage caused by a windstorm. Other forms of damage may result from flooding due to overflowing rivers and streams; sewage may enter the home because of this flooding. Flooding and water damage will necessitate the removal of damaged materials from the property. It will then be necessary to dry it out to prevent the growth of mold spores. In the event that the home is flooded with sewage, it will be necessary to apply disinfectants or biocides. It is important this work be carried out by experienced personnel. Effective water damage remediation calls for specialized equipment and technical expertise.
Protect the Property from Future Damage
The property owner should take steps to weatherize their structure to make it more resilient the next time there is bad weather. Weatherization can include factors such as a stronger roof or siding that is better able to stand up to stressful conditions.
The cost of The Woodlands storm damage repairs can vary greatly. Factors in that cost range from the amount of damage to the cost of materials and the rates charged by the contractor. In all cases, it is important to hire contractors who have training and experience in the different aspects of storm damage restoration.