Mold Growth in Winter
Most people think that you need humid, moist air in order for mold to take hold and grow. While this is true, many other factors need to be present for mold growth.
During cold winter months, when there seems to be little moisture in the air, mold will still grow in places where there is a sufficient source of food (dead organic matter) and the right temperature. This usually occurs in cold, uninsulated exterior windows and walls, including uninsulated closets along exterior walls, where building surfaces are generally cold relative to the indoor air temperature. Cold surfaces next to warm oftentimes results in condensation (moisture), which is necessary for mold growth. And while extreme cold, freezing, and heat can deactivate spores, it does not kill them.
In order to keep winter mold growth at bay, try to control humidity in crawl spaces, basements and uninsulated closets, insulate exterior doors and windows and remove any material that mold will grow on, such as paper, cardboard, wood and fabrics.
If you do suspect mold growth, make sure you call professionals such as SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch to take care of the removal and mitigation.
Water Damage 101
Standing water needs to be mitigated quickly before it has the chance to turn into blackwater.
According to Wikipedia, wastewater is any water that has been affected by human use. But did you know that there are different grades of wastewater? Should your home be affected by water damage, it is imperative to act quickly to mitigate damage and prevent further damage such as mold growth.
Floodwater that does not pose an immediate health threat is known as clean water. Clean water floods can result from malfunctioning appliances, toilet holding tanks, and melting snow and rainwater. Clean water home floods are generally safe for you to clean up yourself, but remember--time is an important factor. Standing clean water can become greywater if left untreated.
Greywater refers to wastewater that is not contaminated with fecal matter. As far as household wastewater goes, greywater could include water from bathtubs and showers, appliances such as dishwashers, a weather event, an overflowing plumbing fixture or appliance or even a broken pipe.
When flooding occurs, it can saturate carpeting, furniture and drywall. If you experience a home flood with greywater, wear protective gear, and keep children and pets away from the flooded area. If the flood is extensive, such as several inches of water in the basement, it is advisable to hire professionals to safely clean up and decontaminate the area. Cleanup must begin as soon as possible as greywater can become blackwater if left untreated.
Blackwater is wastewater contaminated with human waste, flood water, or water contaminated with chemicals.
Blackwater floods are the most dangerous and the most destructive, and must be cleaned and mitigated immediately. Because of the unsanitary conditions of the water, items such as carpets, upholstery and drywall are often unsalvageable. Contact with blackwater can cause illness in both humans and pets.
Having water damage in your home is never a pleasant experience, and oftentimes it is destructive, and disruptive - affecting multiple rooms, floors, levels – of a home, office or multiple dwelling. Knowing whom to call and when could mean all the difference in keeping contamination and damage to a minimum.
Remember that you can call SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch twenty-four hours a day, 365 days year. We will be there to survey and clean up your water damage quickly and get you back to your normal routine as quickly as possible.
Preparing for a Blizzard Part II
Make sure to be prepared way ahead of any storm.
Now that you've winterized your home, you're ready to prepare for the unexpected. It's never too late to get everything you need before a storm.
Stock Up on Supplies
Every powerful storm brings a panic run on supermarkets and gas stations. Consider stocking up on the following to sustain you and your family over difficult days:
- Canned and Non-Perishable Food: Begin buying a few canned goods before the season with each trip to the supermarket as part of your regular shopping. Stocking up on soup, canned vegetables, dry pasta and other items gradually could create a substantial food source that could be useful during the winter months.
- Bottled Water: You should always keep a few extra gallons of water with some designated for drinking, others for non-consumption and set aside for washing up and cleaning, and even for first aid purposes.
- Battery-Operated Devices: A working supply of batteries can be the difference between staying illuminated and connected or stuck and ignorant in the dark. Keep an assortment of fresh batteries in different sizes for use in flashlights, radios, battery-operated charges and other useful equipment.
- Generators: Keeping a generator running requires diligent maintenance. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions (or find reliable tips online) and perform all necessary checks, change the oil and make sure you’re stocked with all the necessary equipment and fuel to keep it running. Store it outside of your house at a good distance, since generators emit carbon monoxide exhaust.
- Emergency & First-Aid Equipment: Keep your home first-aid kit fully stocked with fresh, clean bandages and non-expired topical applicants and gels. Fire extinguishers should also be full and inspections up-to-date.
Keep Your Car Storm-Ready
There could be that awful possibility of getting caught out on the highway in a terrible storm, only to discover that the highway has been closed and you are forced to shelter in place. Don’t let your motor idle, sapping battery life and fuel in an effort to keep warm. In addition to keeping a first-aid kit and jumper cables in your trunk, you may want to stow a shovel, scrapers and brushes to remove snow and dig out your car, or someone else who may need your assistance. You may also want to carry kitty litter or rock salt to free your car from slushy situations.
Here’s some other suggestions for keeping your car storm-ready:
- Snacks and water: have the foresight to keep snacks on hand, such as trail mix, nuts or anything else with a long shelf life, as well as a fresh bottle of water.
- Keeping warm: That sleeping bag that accompanied you on summer overnight trips could come in handy should you find you have to stay the night before the ploughs can clear the highway. Also a set of dry clothes (jeans, sweaters, shirt, socks and maybe even extra boots) to change into if what you’re wearing manages to get soggy.
- “Go Bags”: It may be a sound decision to have on hand in your car or home, packed and ready for emergencies, a “go bag” (aka, “bug-out bag”). The Get Ready campaign, an emergency preparedness campaign sponsored by the U.S. government, has a site where you can learn the basic contents: a set of clothes for extended stays, some money, first aid material, and anything else needed should there be a call to evacuate.
Keep Activity to Confined to Only a Few Rooms
It will prove important to reduce the amount of area that your family uses to retain heat. Designate areas such as the living room, the kitchen and a bathroom for habitation and to keep warm. Close off all other rooms—especially if they aren’t well insulated. If you keep enough people to only a few rooms, body heat and the heat given off by heaters and will last much longer, especially if the power goes out.
If you want more information regarding preparation for blizzards and nor’easters and the challenges these storms present, information can be easily obtained via material posted on the Red Cross and FEMA websites. Both proved helpful in compiling the tips and pointers mentioned in this article. Should you need help with cleanup and disposal in the aftermath, you can always count on SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch to provide ready assistance.
Don't let a Blizzard Catch You Off Guard
Excess snow from a blizzard can create a host of problems if your home is not prepared.
You can call it anything you want, but when the wind and snow come roaring through: a blizzard is a blizzard! With heavy snowfall and hurricane-force gusts hurling drifts in every direction, a blizzard will render roads impassable, down power lines and bring life to a standstill.
With the right precautions in place, you may be able to ride out the storm with your home and your family’s safety intact. Your main tasks during such a trial are to be prepared, stay warm and dry and stay safe.
Winterize Your Home
If there’s an evacuation order it’s best to take heed, especially if there’s a danger of coastal flooding or impassable roads cutting you off from vital care. If by choice or circumstance you find you are riding out the storm at home, it’s important to make sure your home is well-insulated and that any gaps and cracks around windows and doors are sealed.
These following precautions can be very helpful in the run-up to any winter storm or freezing condition:
- Exposed water pipes should be wrapped with newspapers or a plastic wrap, and faucets should be turned on to allow a trickle to come through to prevent freezing and pipes bursting.
- Leaking roofs need to be patched or re-freezing precipitation could widen gaps and bring in more water and cold.
- Clogged gutters should be cleared of fallen leaves and twigs to let liquid flow and not get a chance to freeze so gutters weigh down.
Dress for the Storm
To preserve body heat indoors and out, it’s best to layer up. If there is a reason to go out and brave the weather, or you’re feeling snug at home while the wind is roaring outside, you should still dress for reduced temperatures and stormy conditions.
Outside Apparel: If you must be outside, you must keep warm and dry. Cover yourself from scalp to sole with a hat, a scarf and a water-repellent outer layer. Use mittens instead of gloves because keeping your fingers close together helps with insulation.
Inside apparel: Even in the comfort of your own home, you should add an extra, secondary layer—especially if and when the power goes out. For the duration of the storm and the cold days and nights afterward, you will want to retain as much heat as you give off.
By making sure your house is prepared, you can save yourself the expense and headache of broken pipes and water damage. But if you DO need storm cleanup, you know you can turn to SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch!
Christmas Tree Safety
Christmas trees are a wonderful holiday decoration, but it is important to remember to keep them at least 3 ft away from any heat source.
Christmas trees are an integral part of decorating for the holidays. They are beautiful to look at, have that wonderful aroma that permeates the house, and lend a festive atmosphere in the home. But if not properly taken care of and set up correctly, they could pose a dangerous fire hazard.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the statistics are alarming:
- From 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 200 home1structure fires per year that began with Christmas trees.
- Christmas tree fires caused an annual average of $14.8 million in direct property damage.
- Four of every five Christmas tree fires occurred in December or January.
- In one-quarter (26%) of the Christmas tree fires, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.
With proper planning and common sense, Christmas tree fires can easily be avoided. Here are some tips to remember when bringing home fresh cut trees:
- When choosing a tree, look for one that is fresh and with needles that don’t fall off easily.
- Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2" from the base of the trunk.
- Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
- Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
It is important to remember that your holiday lights need to be used safely as well. The lights you use to decorate your tree or your house need to be in good shape:
- Make sure there are no frayed ends or wires showing.
- Make sure the lights are specifically meant for either indoor or outdoor use.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer's instructions for number of light strands to connect.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
We at SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch hope all our friends, family and customers have a very happy, healthy and SAFE holiday season!
SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch is available 24/7/365
SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch is always available, no matter what time of day or night.
Nobody can predict when a water heater will burst, a pipe will break, or your stove will catch fire while you’re cooking. That is why SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch is always available, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Within minutes, water will quickly spread, saturating everything in its path. Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings. Within the first 24 hours drywall begins to swell and break down, metal surfaces begin to tarnish and furniture begins to swell and crack. The earlier SERVPRO can get to the scene, the faster water can be extracted from the area and the important step of drying and mitigation can begin.
Fire and smoke is especially destructive. Not only does the structure suffer physical damage, smoke and soot can creep into tiny spaces and settle there, leaving a lingering odor and settling in air ducts, furniture, clothes, and crevices. In many instances property will also suffer from water damage from firefighting efforts.
Immediate response can mean all the difference in further issues .If you wait too long, there is the possibility of the appearance of mold and mildew, wood flooring begins to swell and warp or metal and paint being affected. The longer an area remains unmitigated, restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
So remember that SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch is available day or night, we are always on call, and we’re here to help.
Holiday Safety Tips
Lit candles are beautiful, but be careful about where you place them. Keep them away from flammable materials and out of reach of children and pets.
It’s that time of year - the holiday season- when most people are busy getting their homes ready for large family dinners, guests and celebrations.
With all that goes behind getting your house in perfect holiday order, it’s easy to get distracted and forget about safety.
Here are some tips to remember while you decorate and cook that perfect holiday meal!
Cooking is the No. 1 home fire hazard, according to the NFPA.
- Always stay in the kitchen when cooking, and always keep an eye on the stove, oven or grill.
- Be careful of smoking oil – that is a sign that the oil is too hot and may ignite. Lower the flame or remove the pan from the heat.
- Never try to put out a pan fire with water. Baking soda works to extinguish a pan fire.
- It is now New Jersey law that every home must have a fire extinguisher within 10 feet of the kitchen area,
- Keep oven mitts, dish towels and other flammable items away from heating elements and open flames.
Candles are a popular decoration, however it is important to follow these simple rules:
- Keep an eye on candles, and never place them near fabrics such as curtains, wall hangings or flammable decorations.
- If you have small children or a pet, make sure the candles are placed out of reach.
- Be sure to extinguish candles before going to bed or leaving the house.
Fireplaces are also a safety concern:
- Have your chimney cleaned annually.
- After a fire, dispose of ashes in a metal container, away from flammable material.
- Keep children at least three feet away from fireplaces.
Holiday lighting poses the risk of overdrawing power and creating a fire hazard, and older strands are more likely to overheat because they require more electricity.
- Inspect your lights before hanging them. If they look worn (frayed wires, loose or cracked bulbs), don’t hesitate to replace them. Switch to LEDs, which are more energy-efficient and burn coolerthan conventional incandescents.
- If you’re stringing lights outside, make sure they are for outdoor use.
- Do not attach more than three strings of lights together.
- Always unplug your lights and decorations before going to bed or leaving the house.
We wish the best, brightest and safest holiday season for all our SERVPRO friends and families.
SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch Offers Opportunity to Use Green Products
These are just some of the green cleaning products we use that are specially manufactured exclusively for and by SERVPRO.
Cleaning up after a disaster is a messy job, which oftentimes calls for specialized cleaning products. Many of the products we use at SERVPRO are our own unique formulas that are manufactured in our headquarters in Gallatin, TN.
At SERVPRO we care what we use and how it affects our environment and the safety of our customers. We understand that sometimes families with children and pets prefer all natural products. For this reason we offer the opportunity to use Green products when available and appropriate. There are some jobs, however, that require the use of different products.
Our green products are awarded the “Green Seal” and are registered with the EPA. They do not contain any solvents, phosphates, dyes or fragrances, and are safe and non-toxic.
Opportunities for using our own label Green products are when we do carpet & upholstery cleaning, or need a urine odor and stain remover, all surface cleaner, glass cleaner and fuel oil degreaser.
Other green products we use for disinfecting, mold clean-up and prevention and mold stain removal contain no chlorines, ammonias or other harsh chemicals, are hypo-allergenic, and food-grade non-toxic.
We hope that as soon as a customer calls SERVPRO of Eatontown Long Branch and we enter their home, they can rest assured that their remediation job will be done as quickly as possible in a safe and effective way.
Will You be Ready for a Disaster?
Water leaking from the upstairs completely destroyed the sheet rock ceiling on the lower floor.
Disasters like water damage, fire damage or flood, no matter how big or small, can never be predicted. But you CAN prepare for them!
The best way to reduce business interruption following a disaster is to plan for it NOW. Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, no matter how big or small.
According to the latest industry research, 50% of all businesses never recover after a disaster. Of the businesses that do open, approximately 75% of those businesses had a plan in place.
One of our most effective tools in helping customers in the event of an emergency is the ERP, or Emergency Ready Profile. This profile provides all the critical information needed in emergency situations, and minimizes business interruption.
The main reason to have an ERP done for your facility or home is:
- It provides a concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
- It is a guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
- It is an identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
- It provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
This invaluable service is offered at no cost to our customers, and leaves them with peace of mind that their home or office will be ready for whatever happens.
This service can also be done for residential properties, so homeowners can rest assured they have the information at hand when a disaster strikes.
Be prepared! Call SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch to schedule your Emergency Ready Profile and rest easily in knowing that we will be faster to your disaster!
Avoiding Winter Water Damage
The water that flowed out of this window and froze was caused by an unprotected pipe that burst.
In Monmouth County, cold winter weather can usually come at us in a snap after a warmer, summer-like autumn. Because water expands when it freezes, pipes are especially susceptible to crack and burst from the resulting excess pressure.
That is why it is so important to make sure that you take the steps to prepare your house – especially your pipes, for the freezing temperatures.
Following are tips to get your house ready:
- Wrap outside faucets.
- Caulk around pipes where they enter the house.
- Disconnect garden hoses.
- Drain in-ground sprinkler systems.
- Let a stream of water run if the temperatures dip below freezing.
- Open cupboard and vanity doors in the kitchen or bathroom.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- Shut off and drain your water system if you are leaving the home for several days or more, and set your thermostat a temperature no lower than 55° F.
IF YOU DO COME HOME TO FROZEN PIPES, THESE TIPS CAN HELP YOU
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
Should you ever have a problem with water due to bursting pipes or any other reason, calling SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch will get your home back to normal “Like it never even happened.”