Water, Fire, & Mold Restoration Blog

405, 2012

The Basics of Mold for Property Managers

By |May 4th, 2012|Mold|Comments Off on The Basics of Mold for Property Managers

Types of mold can be found anywhere and they can grow on virtually any substance that is organic, as long as there is oxygen and moisture present. Certain types of mold can grow on paper, carpet, food, insulation, and even wood. When excessive amounts of moisture accumulate in buildings, or building materials, mold growth will often occur, especially if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. At Orange Restoration, we complete can help you as a property manager control the moisture levels inside your property.

Here are a few things you should know about mold as a property manager. First and foremost, it has the potential to cause health problems. Molds can produce allergens, (substances that can cause allergic reactions), potentially toxic substances, and irritants. Such allergens can cause hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing and runny nose. Exposure can also irritate the skin, eyes, nose, lungs, and throat of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.While the research on the health effects are ongoing, it's clear that as a property manager, you do not want any kind of mold in your properties.

Now that you have an idea of the health problems mold can cause, the next step is getting rid of the mold itself. That's when you call the experts at Orange Restoration. Bottom line is that mold will not grow if there is no moisture present. If there is a mold growth problem in your property, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you get rid of the mold and don't fix the water problem, it it most likely that the mold problem will come back. We will dispatch a technician immediately to help you take care of your problem and get your property a step towards a healthier home environment. At the end of the day, your tenants health could be at risk.

Call Orange Restoration and set up an appointment! (858)836-2415

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2604, 2012

Silicon Valley Flood Damage

By |April 26th, 2012|Flood|Comments Off on Silicon Valley Flood Damage

Silicon Valley Flood Damage Restoration Experts are standing by. Give us a call for immediate service.

Flood water damage is one of the most common types of damage that can happen in residential properties. Overflowing toilets and bathtubs, leaking pipes or even slab leaks are more common that you'd think.

Silicon Valley flood damage experts are trained in how to remove the water from your property quickly and efficiently, and we pride ourselves in doing whatever we can to reduce the risk of secondary damage that can be caused by microbial growth.

When dealing with situations of flood damage, the biggest concern is leaving areas that have been affected unexposed. Less experienced technicians may not notice hidden cavities, such as under stairs, closets, and other corners that may have allowed water in. The moisture will seep and create secondary damage in all areas that are left untreated. Make sure your technicians are experienced and certified in flood damage restoration.

2410, 2011

Mold: Good, Bad or Indifferent

By |October 24th, 2011|Mold|Comments Off on Mold: Good, Bad or Indifferent

Mold. It’s been around since the beginning of time. It survived all the upheavals in the tectonic plates. It sat back and watched evolution take place. It outlived the dinosaurs. It will probably outlive us. It may even exist on other planets. But what is it? How does it get in a house? And, more importantly, how do you get it out so you don’t get sick?

Good mold

Mold gets a bad rap of late, but good mold does exist. Penicillium is the typical “blue” mold found on food. Bread that sat too long in the pantry typically develops penicillium. In fact, as the name implies, the very tasty blue cheese is derived from this particular strain of mold. In this day and age, cheese makers now add a commercially reproduced and freeze-dried culture, but originally, penicillium was procured from dark, damp caves and adding to the cheese. The distinctly blue Roqueforts were then stored and aged inside the same caves. Blue cheese is not alone in the good mold department. Many cheeses have an element of mold to them and, to some food connoisseurs, a piece of cheese is not edible until it has a nice coating of mold on it.

And, let’s not forget the world’s first and best antibiotic: penicillin. Alexander Fleming is credited with discovering that penicillium killed colonies of bacteria in 1929. He learned that it killed many disease-causing bacteria and realized the potential, if it could be mass-produced. That didn’t happen until World War II, when there was an urgency to do so to help the injured troops. By 1948, Andre Moyer was granted a patent to mass-produce penicillin in order to battle a number of diseases.

Bad Mold

If there is good mold, there must be bad mold as well, right? So much more needs to be understood about mold but with all the different strains, that may never happen. There are experts who advise that some mold is fine – harmless, while other molds, particular the infamous “black mold”, is bad. They advise testing to see which kind of mold you are encountering. On the other hand, the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention does not feel that is necessary to test to determine what type of mold you have. They do not see the need to differentiate. In fact, the CDC says all mold should be removed, regardless of the genus.

Aspergillus, Alternaria and Cladosporium are the most common indoor molds. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine released a report that confirmed what many had already suspected: indoor exposure to mold can cause coughing, wheezing and upper respiratory problems in healthy people. Certain populations are particularly vulnerable, including infants, the elderly and those with an already compromised immune system. Aspergillosis is particularly invasive and can be seen on CT scans of the lungs. In acute cases, it spreads via the vascular system and destroys tissue.

Stachybotrys atra. Yes, that’s the one. Black Mold. It’s not as common as the others but it is out there. The greenish-black mold is drawn to high cellulose materials and excessive dampness and humidity, much like the conditions seen in a water-damaged home. Construction materials that have been damaged in a flood or water leak are prime breeding grounds for black mold. The real issue with Stachybotrys atra is that it produces myocotoxins. These are toxic to human cells and have been known to wreak havoc on the vascular, digestive, respiratory, reproductive, immune, urinary and nervous systems.

How Does It Get In?

There are over 100,000 known types of mold throughout the world. Mold and mold spores are everywhere. They can pass through all but the finest air filter. Mold can enter your home through the heating and air conditioning systems, through open windows and doors or by attaching to you, your family and your pets. Once inside, if it finds a moist spot, it will grow. Once it lands, it sets down roots and colonizes. A single spore can rapidly turn into an overgrown colony in no time. Damp pipes, leaky roofs, even house plants are all likely targets. In fact, mold will grow on anything that it can feed on, including construction materials like wood, drywall and carpet.

A secondary issue that is causing the World Health Organization some concern is the fact that both dust mites and bacteria thrive in the same damp conditions. This combination could lead to even bigger health problems in poorer countries.

So, What Can You Do To Remove Mold?

While both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention both suggest removing small areas (less than 3’ x 3’) of mold with an application of bleach, it is always advisable to be cautious. Use gloves, protective clothing and a mask to protect yourself. Do not assume that what you see is the only mold. It could be under the tiles on the floor. It could be in the insulation behind the wall. And, while bleach is recommended by those in the know, they fully admit that it may not kill all the spores. The mold may return. A better idea would be to hire a professional. Professional mold removal is referred to as mold remediation.

The chief concern of everyone involved is those spores. The general public may just think that removing mold is as simple as donning a drywall mask and physically carrying the affected material outside to an awaiting dumpster. Remember: mold is a survivor. The spores will once again become airborne and find another spot to set down roots – another plant, the carpet, your lungs. As in any sort of remediation process, it needs to be removed carefully to prevent further or recurrent damage.

The Real Estate Market

The struggling economy and weak housing market has led to an explosion in both foreclosed homes and the mold population. Banks and other lienholders have hired management companies to clean and lock their investments up tight. But, in doing so, they have inadvertently caused unimaginable damage. Most people assume that if the house water supply is shut off then the mold problem is circumvented. Nothing could be further than the truth. Dampness and moisture are a concern but the bigger culprit is ventilation. A house needs to breath. Every home has moisture in the air naturally and, once a house is shut tightly, the mold can grow.

In fact, more than half the foreclosed homes on the market today have mold damage. The numbers are only expected to increase. Depending on which reports you read and what market you are referring to, there is a 6 month to 24 month supply of homes for sale. Many of those are foreclosed and locked up tight with little ventilation – a perfect breeding ground. Wise realtors now require that clients and co-workers sign waivers before entering homes – just in case.

Prevention is the Best Medicine

Obviously, preventing mold from gaining a foothold in the first place is the best option. It is not as hard as would be expected. The CDC makes the following suggestions for preventing all types of mold in your home:

  • Do not install carpet in bathrooms;
  • Remove any wet or flooded carpets as soon as possible;
  • Always clean bathrooms with mold-killing products;
  • When re-painting, look for new products with mold-inhibitors added;
  • Be sure you have proper ventilation, including attic vents and exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms;
  • Use a dehumidifier when it is humid outside;
  • Keep the humidity level of your home between 40 – 60%.

No one has all the answers regarding mold, not even the CDC or the WHO. It will come in your home. And, without proper humidity levels and adequate ventilation, it will take hold. Know the facts and take action before it gets unmanageable.

109, 2011

Mold Damage Repair

By |September 1st, 2011|Mold|Comments Off on Mold Damage Repair

Mold is everywhere in the air. When it lands on a damp environment it can grow quickly and become a health hazard. Sometimes leaks can occur in a home or a commercial building and go unnoticed for a period of time. When that's the case, mold damage can grow out of control and release dangerous spores into the air.

When mold is proliferating in your property, it's time to call a mold damage specialist. Mold is one of those things that's better to have a professional deal with. Mold specialists have the appropriate gear and tools to remove mold safely and efficiently. Mold remediation is not a DIY project! There are rules and procedures recommended by the  Environmental Protection Agency and the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration that need to be followed for correct mold removal.

We at Orange Restoration have the appropriate tools and specialists to deal with mold remediation safely and efficiently. Call us whether you know you have mold or just think you do. We will send out a specialist for free to inspect your property.

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3108, 2011

Water Damage and Restoration Rescue

By |August 31st, 2011|Fire, Flood, Green, Mold, Newsletter, Tricks and Tips|Comments Off on Water Damage and Restoration Rescue

When a pipe explodes in your home, you need to be rescued. When a toilet overflows and water spreads throughout your home, you need to be rescued. When sewage backs up in your home, you need to be rescued. No one plans on needing a water damage and restoration company, but it's always good to have one on speed dial in case of an emergency.

When any of these things happen to your home, you need to find a reputable company fast. What makes a company reputable? Well, you want to confirm the company you are looking at is insured. You probably want to go to YELP and see reviews from other people saying good things about the company you are interested in.

You should also look through their website and confirm that they will help you throughout the process. It can be very stressful to have to repair your home after a disaster. Financial costs, the stress of not having your home, potential mold problems are all reasons to be kind to yourself and find a water restoration company that will do the bulk of the work for you. Find a company that works 24-7 and is able to dispatch someone immediately. You need to feel like you're in good hands. Confirm that the company will handle your insurance claim so you have one less thing to worry about.

We're not saying we do all of these things (okay, we do). Ultimately we want you to hire someone that will do the job right the first time and minimize the amount of work you have to do to make your home feel like home again.

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3108, 2011

Green Ways to Clean Grout

By |August 31st, 2011|Green, Newsletter, Tricks and Tips|Comments Off on Green Ways to Clean Grout

Grout in your house typically is used to seal spaces between tiles. Grout is composed of sand, water, cement and color tint. Grout can become dirty easily and needs to be cleaned correctly. Most importantly, remember to reseal your grout every one to two years to protect your grout from becoming permanently dirty.

There are lots of grout cleaning products in the market. We at Orange Restoration like to emphasize natural and healthy – Green is important to us. Before buying a commerical grout cleaner, try using natural products like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice.

Vinegar can either be applied alone or diluted with water. It should sit for 10 minutes before you brush the grout in a circular motion.

Baking soda needs to be made into a paste with either a little vinegar or water. Scrub the paste with a firm bristled brush for a gentle cleaning or leave the paste for a few minutes for a better cleaning.

Amazingly lemon juice can remove many grout discolorations and stains! Rub some lemon juice on the affected area, leave it for 10 minutes and then wipe it off with a damp sponge.

If these methods don't work, feel free to seek more professional help.

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2208, 2011

Quick Tips to Help Sell Your House

By |August 22nd, 2011|Newsletter, Tricks and Tips|Comments Off on Quick Tips to Help Sell Your House

1. Paint! Paint! Paint! Do you love vivid colors that pop? Does your house have an array of paint colors that mimic the rainbow? When putting your house on the market, it's important that potential buyers can envision living in the house. What if your walls are purple and the people looking at the house hate the color purple? They will have a difficult time looking past the colors of the walls. Prior to putting your house on the market, repaint your walls to white or beige. Choose colors that are unassuming and quiet.

2. Hide your photographs. Once again, you want people who are looking at your home to envision themselves living in the same space. Personal photographs, photos of your family are all wonderful additions to your home that personalize the space. Make sure to hide all photographs of a personal nature to continue the theme of neutrality throughout the home. Paintings and photographs of nature are not personal and can be left on display.

3. Clean your house. This one is probably obvious but make sure to clean your house. You want your house to sparkle. The base boards should be dust free. The floors should gleam. If you have carpet, get it professionally cleaned. Clean the outside of the kitchen cabinets, wipe any stains on the walls. All clutter needs to disappear – even if that means throwing it all into a few boxes and hiding it in the garage. Clutter distracts people and it makes a space feel smaller. You want your property to come off as roomy and airy and enticing. A dirty cluttered house will be difficult for people to look past. Nobody wants to live in a dirty house and most people will have a hard time ignoring the mess to appreciate the house.

These are just some ideas to help you sell your house for the best price. A home that is warm and enticing will attract buyers. Walk throughout your house and see how you feel when you're in a room. Do your best to perfect the appearance, you won't regret it.

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2208, 2011

CA Law Mandates Carbon Monoxide Alarms in All Single Family Homes

By |August 22nd, 2011|Newsletter, Tricks and Tips|Comments Off on CA Law Mandates Carbon Monoxide Alarms in All Single Family Homes

As of July 1, 2011 all single-family homes with a fireplace, attached garage or fossil burning heater must install carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill if left undetected. It is produced by furnaces, fireplaces, heaters, some cooking devices, idling cars and some appliances. When used normally, appliances that burn fuel produce small amounts of carbon monoxide that are not poisonous. However, appliances that are not working properly can produce too much carbon monoxide and silently kill all the occupants within a home.

Any single family homes that are found to not have an alarm will be served a 30-day notice. If the owner chooses not to comply a  maximum fee of $200 fee will be given with each offense. 

Owners of multi-family leased or rental units will have until January 1, 2013 to comply with this requirement.

Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed outside each sleeping area of the house including the basement. It doesn't really matter where the alarm is installed in terms of height, carbon monoxide mixes with air and can be detected at any height within a home.

For more information regarding this new law, go to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Here's another great pamphlet on carbon monoxide by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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2108, 2011

California Law Changes Meth Lab Remediation Guidelines

By |August 21st, 2011|Newsletter|Comments Off on California Law Changes Meth Lab Remediation Guidelines

Meth Lab Remediation law AB1489 passed in 2009 has changed existing methamphetamine remediation standards. Prior to AB1489, the legislature enacted SB536 in 2005 which had very strict remediation standards. The previous standard SB536 did not allow a unit to be rented after the space was used as a meth lab prior to very exact remediation standards being satisfied.

The law now allows 1.5 micrograms per 100 square centimeters of residual contamination in comparison to 2005's standard of 0.1 micrograms per 100 square centimeters. This was done with the property manager/owner in mind by making it easier for a unit to be cleaned up and be rented out.

If you need more information, go to California Department of Toxic Substances Control's website at  http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/sitecleanup/erp/clan_labs.cfm.

If you need to have a meth lab removed now, go to this link for help: http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/SiteCleanup/ERP/Drug_Lab_Removal.cfm.

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1508, 2011

Water Damage is a Challenge

By |August 15th, 2011|Flood, Newsletter, Tricks and Tips|Comments Off on Water Damage is a Challenge

You don't want water damage to occur in your home. Water damage can spiral out of control if not managed appropriately. Water damage can be caused by a broken pipe, a sub-pump not working in the basement, a faucet left on while you're out of the house, irrigation leaks and anything that has to do with water! Sometimes if your sink is clogged and you turn your dishwasher on you can cause a flood to happen in your kitchen. Despite your best intentions water damage can occur.

It's important not to panic when flooding occurs. Water damage is preventable and treatable.

If you have a small leak, find the source and make it stop. Then grab a bunch of towels to soak up the water. If the water is sewage water, you may want to have a professional handle it. Dirty water is unsanitary and can spread disease.

If you are unable to fix the leak, call a professional immediately. You don't want water damage. A professional plumber can help you stop the problem before it becomes an even bigger issue.

A professional water restoration team will prevent water damage from destroying your home.

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