What Is the Difference Between Mold and Mildew?
Mold growth in residential home in Colorado Springs, CO.
Mold damage in your home in Colorado Springs, CO can be costly to remove, but many people don’t know the differences between mold and mildew growth. Understanding the differences between mold and mildew can help you know how to react if either is growing in your home.
Diference Between Mold and Mildew
1. Mildew Causes Less Damage
One of the primary differences between mold and mildew is the amount of damage they cause. Though mildew can cause damage to a home, the damage is generally cosmetic and does not require an extensive restoration process. However, mold can cause significantly more damage, like structural damage, to homes because it can grow on a variety of surfaces.
2. Visual Differences
One way to identify whether it is mold or mildew growing in your home is to examine the appearance of the growth. Mildew often is described as a flat layer since it tends to grow on flat surfaces and is generally gray or white in color. Alternatively, mold is often fuzzy in appearance and can be a variety of colors depending on the type of mold damage.
3. Mold Is Invasive
Certain environments make it easier for both mold and mildew to grow, but mold is generally able to grow in more places than mildew. While mildew may grow on shower curtains or on damp clothing, mold is far more invasive and can grow on drywall, ceilings and other areas in the home. Though both mold and mildew thrive in warm, humid environments, some types of mold are capable of growing in cold areas, too, and may grow in refrigerators and other cool places.
Knowing the difference between mildew growth and mold growth can help you know how to react if your home is affected by mold damage. If you need assistance with restoring your home after it has been damaged by mold, it could be helpful to work with mold remediation experts.
How To Use a Fire Extinguisher for a Home Fire
It is essential to have an extinguisher in your Colorado Springs, CO home to prevent the fire spread.
A house fire can happen without warning and get out of control in an instant. Many people don't think about this scenario until it's too late, so it's helpful to learn about the different types of house fires and how to prevent or mitigate fire damage.
Three types of fire extinguishers are used in homes:
- Type A extinguishers are manufactured to manage common materials fires (e.g., paper, cloth, wood).
- Type B extinguishers are created for use with flammable and combustible liquids (e.g., oil, grease, gasoline).
- Type C extinguishers are built to control electrical fires (e.g., appliances, televisions, hairdryers, power tools).
Ideally, you'll have a fire extinguisher accessible in different areas of your Colorado Springs, CO, home for the type of fire that is most likely. For example, type A for an office or living room, type B for a garage or kitchen, and type C for a hallway or recreational room.
Tips for Avoiding Fire Damage
- Be Careful With Candles
Candles can give the room a pleasant scent while providing an atmosphere that doesn't compare with light bulbs. However, you must be very careful with candles. Keep them on a sturdy surface and away from flammable materials (e.g., curtains, papers). Also, never leave them burning unattended and leave them out of reach of children and pets.
- Maintain Your Dryer
Remember to clean your lint trap every time you do a new load of laundry. Fire damage restoration experts will advise you to also clean behind the dryer to clear it of lint and clothing items. These materials can be highly flammable when exposed to the heat of the dryer.
- Keep Toaster, Stove, and Oven Clean
Keep your kitchen cooking appliances such as your toaster, stove, and oven clean. Crumbs, oil, and grease can flame up quickly when the surface gets hot.
- Have Working Fire Extinguishers on Hand
Always have an easily accessible fire extinguisher for every part of your home. Inspect them regularly to make sure they will work when you need them.
- Monitor Cooking Food
Avoid a kitchen fire by closely watching cooking food. Don't leave the kitchen area unattended while you're cooking. Teach everyone how to put out different types of kitchen fires safely.
- Maintain Smoke Detectors
It's vital to your family's well-being to have working smoke detectors in every part of your home and maintain them. Make sure you replace the battery in each detector at least twice a year and test the alarm. Also, keep them free of dust and debris that can build up. You can lightly vacuum, blow with canned air or wipe the casing off with a damp cloth.
- Safely Store Combustible Products
You may be surprised at how many products in your household can combust relatively easily. Keep these materials, such as hairspray, air fresheners, household cleaners, and shaving cream, away from heat sources like space heaters.
The key to avoiding a house fire is knowing what to do and not to do to be safe. Being cautious around heat sources and open flames is essential. Ensure everyone knows how to safely put out different types of fires and how to use a fire extinguisher.
My Basement Has Flooded! Now What?
Be sure to clean water damage after a flood in your Colorado Springs, CO home as quickly as possible to avoid further damage.
When you discover that your Colorado Springs, CO, basement has flooded, panic tends to ensue, especially if water is still flowing in. How do you stop and extract the water? Is anything going to be salvageable? How do you even restore the area after flooding? These are some of the main questions people ask during a basement flood. Fortunately, all hope is not lost; there are ways to restore much of a water-damaged area and its contents. When it comes to water damage, every second counts, so act quickly.
What Are the Steps for Remediation?
- Prioritize Safety
Most importantly, you and others in the area must remain safe. Before you even step into the basement, turn off the electricity to the basement or the entire house. Electricity can flow through standing water if it's in contact with electronics, appliances, or electrical outlets. If you can't safely navigate to the circuit breaker, call a professional electrician or your power company to turn your electricity off.
- Stop the Water
If the water is still flowing into the basement and it's from a burst pipe or another plumbing issue, shut off the main water supply to stop the water. You can call for pipe repair after you've started the restoration process.
- Wear PPE
If the flood originated outdoors or contains sewage or another toxic substance, it's vital to wear personal protective equipment. This PPE not only keeps you and others in the area safe but also prevents cross-contamination to other parts of the house.
- Eliminate Standing Water
You must extract standing water as quickly as possible. Every minute counts when it comes to water damage, as the damage progresses rapidly. The time it takes to eliminate the water could mean the difference between something being salvageable or not.
- Remove Contents
Remove all affected items from the area. This not only includes basement contents but could also include carpeting and carpet padding, hardwood flooring, and drywall. Flooding will soak carpet and padding; it probably won't be dried quickly enough to save. Wet wood tends to warp and buckle and probably won't be salvageable. Drywall will soak up water like a sponge. You will likely have to cut out the wet parts of your drywall and replace them. Contents such as upholstered and wooden furniture will have to be assessed for salvageability.
- Begin Drying
Mold can start growing within 24 hours of moisture exposure, so everything needs to be completely dried as quickly as possible. If you can't dry it within 48 hours, it probably won't be salvageable. The basement itself will also have to be dried thoroughly as quickly as possible to avoid mold growth. It's best to hire water damage restoration professionals to do this job, as they have the expertise and industrial equipment to handle the job safely and efficiently. In the meantime, you can run fans and dehumidifiers to dry the area faster. Heat will also help the drying process.
- Clean Everything
You'll need to clean and disinfect everything to ensure no lingering bacteria, mold spores or other harmful substances remain. Everything that the water touched must be cleaned, including walls and furniture.
When you discover flooding in your basement, time is precious. The sooner you can begin drying, the more of the affected items you can save.
Sewage Has Backed Up Into My Bathtub! Now What?
Sewage back up in Colorado Springs, CO.
No one expects a sewer backup, much less to encounter raw sewage backing up into their Colorado Springs, CO, bathtub. Unfortunately, it is a possibility that some homeowners must face at some point. It's essential to get the problem solved as soon as possible to avoid the various hazards resulting from sewage going where it shouldn't.
7 Steps for Dealing With a Bathtub Backup
The key to appropriately dealing with a sewage backup is to clean the area thoroughly while preventing cross-contamination into unaffected areas. There are several basic steps for accomplishing these goals safely.
1. Keep Everyone Out of the Affected Area
First, it's critical to keep everyone not working in the affected area out until it's safe, especially children and pets. Raw sewage needs to be handled with care to not spread the bacteria even more than it has already dispersed.
2. Turn Off the Electricity
If there is a chance that the standing water has come into contact with electrical outlets or plugged-in electronics, shutting off the electricity before entering the area is vital. An electric current could be traveling through the water, so if you can safely reach the breaker box, turn off the electricity to the affected area or the whole house.
3. Protect Yourself With Personal Protective Equipment
When dealing with raw sewage, anyone working in the area needs to protect themselves as much as possible. Sewage carries germs, bacteria and diseases that can be hazardous if people encounter them unprotected. Therefore, you must put on PPE before entering the affected area. Then, you must remove the PPE every time you exit the area to prevent cross-contamination to other parts of your home.
Depending on the severity of the sewer backup, you may choose to wear only a few PPE items such as protective glasses, a respirator and latex gloves. You could also wear hair coverings, coveralls and shoe coverings for more protection.
4. Extract All Water
Removing the standing water could be relatively quick and straightforward if you have a wet/dry vacuum; it can also remove small debris. If not, a mop and towels may have to suffice. Hiring water damage restoration specialists is typically the best solution because these workers have the expertise and industrial-grade equipment to ensure a quality, thorough job.
5. Dispose of Unsalvageable Materials
Anything porous item that has soaked up the water probably will be unsalvageable, as you may not be able to clean and dry it thoroughly. You must throw out these materials, which could include things like wood flooring, carpet, wooden furniture, wooden cabinets and drywall.
6. Clean and Sanitize Everything That Remains
Cleaning and sanitizing the entire affected area and its contents is one of the most critical parts of the job after sewage flooding. You can purchase products in stores or simply make a bleach/water solution. Everything must be wiped down with this mixture.
7. Dry Everything Completely
To avoid more water damage and mold growth, you will need to quickly and completely dry all that remains. You can turn on the ventilation fan in the bathroom, open windows and doors, and run dehumidifiers, heaters and fans.
It's always beneficial to be proactive when it comes to home issues. If you discover a sewer backup, remember to perform these basic steps to mitigate the damage.
Five Leading Causes of Home Fires
Kitchen fire due to faulty wiring on the wall in Colorado Springs, CO.
Have you ever wondered if one type of incident or action is more likely to lead to a home fire than another? As it turns out, there are five fire causes that are more prevalent than others. Read on to learn what they are and what you can do to avoid them.
Cooking fires are the number-one cause of all fires in the United States. They usually occur when someone leaves a kitchen appliance unattended while cooking. Frying creates the greatest threat.
- Heating Appliances
Devices such as furnaces and space heaters also pose a great fire risk. Much like with cooking fires, many of these accidents happen when a piece of equipment is left unattended or if it is operated incorrectly.
- Electrical Gear
A home fire can also be caused by equipment used for electrical or lighting purposes. This includes lamps, power outlets, and other objects that run on electricity. Once again, careful and attentive operation of electrical devices is crucial to stay safe.
- Intentional Situations
Unfortunately, many fires are started intentionally by those wishing to create chaos and destruction. Arson makes up the fourth-largest category of household fires in the United States. Many perpetrators are under the age of eighteen.
- Smoking-Related Accidents
Smoke-related fires are the fifth most common kind in the United States. Always practice common-sense safety procedures if you are planning on smoking in or near your Colorado Springs, CO, home.
A home fire is never pleasant to think about, but knowing the leading causes of these disasters can help you to avoid some of them and the aftermath of a fire, which can include fire cleaning. Remember to always call for help and evacuate the premises if a fire begins at home. Being educated is one of the first steps to take in order to keep your house, your family, and yourself safer each day.
What To Expect After a Commercial Roof Fire
Roof damage after commercial fire.
Roof damage can be tricky to recognize immediately after a fire, especially if your attention has been drawn toward the damage inside your commercial property and the people who were on your property during the fire.
3 Steps Professionals Take Right Away
However, when fire cleanup and repair professionals show up to assess your property, there are some steps they'll take right away:
- Secure your property
- Tarp over any holes on the roof
- Provide their initial assessment
It's best to assume that you'll need roof repair. If the heat and flames of the fire didn't directly damage the roofing materials, firefighters may have broken holes in the roof as part of their efforts to save the rest of the building.
Why Does Tarping Matter?
Some of the most important tasks involved in fire cleanup are included in tarp services. When technicians cover the holes in the roof, they protect the inside of your property from rain or snow, windblown debris, animals and insects. This work may also involve preventing others from entering your building without permission. This is a good way to avoid vandalism and other secondary damages.
What Should You Do After the Fire?
There are several other dos and don'ts you should also understand when your building has been damaged by fire:
- Do contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide these professionals with your insurance policy and account information.
- Do keep records of all conversations, receipts, and documents related to the fire, the resulting damage, and your insurance claim.
- Don't try to complete roof repair on your own. There are many safety hazards, and you could cause further damage, as well as making it more difficult for the insurance adjuster to establish the amount of damage.
- Don't enter the building until the fire department has completed all necessary safety inspections.
If your Colorado Springs, CO, property has been damaged by a fire, you'll need to rely on experienced fire cleanup professionals to help you get your building back into its pre-fire condition. Make sure you're prepared before a fire breaks out, so you can react confidently during an emergency.
How To Keep Your Pipes From Freezing
Pipes from a local commercial building.
Winter may mean shorter days and cooler temperatures in Colorado Springs, CO, but it doesn't have to mean bursting pipes and water damage too. Here are six ways to prevent your pipes from freezing this winter.
6 Ways To Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing
1. Let the faucet run overnight
It's true what they say: It's always coldest just before the dawn. If you have pipes that are exposed to the elements, even a tiny trickle of water from a faucet that's connected to those pipes can stop them from freezing if left running overnight.
2. Shut the garage door
This is especially useful if your garage is home to water supply lines. Keeping the door shut keeps the cold out and the temperature up — at least a little bit.
3. Open the cabinets under the sink
Leaving the cabinet doors open beneath your kitchen, bathroom, or utility sink allows more of the warm air in your home to reach the pipes and can potentially stop them from freezing.
4. Keep the temperature in your home consistent
Turning the thermostat down a few degrees before you jump under the covers at night may save you a couple of bucks on your energy bill, but in the winter, that drop in temperature can also lead to freezing and bursting pipes.
5. Insulate your pipes
Some areas of your home, such as the basement and attic, are naturally colder than the rest of your home. Wrapping the pipes in these areas with insulation can keep them heated enough to avoid freezing over.
6. Eliminate drafts
Keep your home toasty warm and your pipes thoroughly thawed by making sure the seals around windows and doors are tight. It's also a good idea to inspect your home annually for other cracks and seal them promptly.
Very few people have money conveniently tucked away in a "fix broken pipe" fund. Following these six tips can help eliminate the threat of freezing and bursting pipes, as well as the need to enlist the help of a professional water damage recovery company.
7 Steps for Replacing a Toilet
Apply caulk to the new toilet bowl to avoid leaks.
If you discover a leaking toilet at your home in Colorado Springs, CO, toilet repair may not be an option if the leak is severe. You might have to replace the old toilet. Even if you're new to this type of job, it should still be relatively easy.
Steps to Replace a Toilet
Here are the steps:
1. Shut Off the Water Supply
First, shut off the water at the supply line. Then, flush the toilet to drain the water. Next, the water supply line must be disconnected from the bottom of the toilet tank. You must then remove the bolts on the toilet's base.
2. Remove the Old Toilet and Wax Seal
You'll see a caulk seal around the bowl's base. It needs to be cut out. The toilet should be movable. Now it's time to remove the leaking toilet, then remove the wax seal. If you see that damage has occurred from the leak, you might need to call water damage remediation professionals to take care of it before installing the new toilet.
3. Apply Caulk to the New Bowl
Caulk then needs to be applied to the base of the new bowl. This will make the installation look cleaner and will keep leaks at bay.
4. Install the New Wax Ring and Bowl
Place the new wax ring between the bolts. Then, put the bowl into place. The wax seal will be compressed by the bowl's weight.
5. Grease the Spud Washer
At the base of the tank is a spud washer. Put a coat of plumber's grease on it. Then place the tank as you're lining up the mounting bolts.
6. Tighten the Tank's Bolts
Place the washer on the bolts and then tighten the nut. Then, fully tighten the inner-tank bolts and place the mounting bolts on the bowl's base.
7. Ensure the Toilet Is Level and Test for Leaks
Ensure the toilet is level. Reconnect the water line and turn on the water. When the tank fills, test for leaks by flushing the toilet.
A leaking toilet can be a real inconvenience. However, if it can't be repaired, it should be replaced as soon as possible before the problem worsens.
Minimize Flooding Loss With Business Interruption Insurance
Minimize flooding loss.
It takes a lot of work to run a business in Colorado Springs, CO. When the unexpected happens, such as flooding from a broken pipe, what will that interruption mean to your business? Business interruption insurance is supplemental coverage that helps a business weather the financial side of weathering the storm while a water damage and restoration company gets your business back to its preloss condition.
Minimize Losses and Prevent Downtime
Any unexpected downtime means financial losses on top of the costs associated with the repairs needed to fix large water damage. Additional insurance helps businesses stay afloat from financial losses.
Business Interruption Insurance
This type of insurance takes effect when physical damage to a property results in operations being suspended. Although coverage may differ across policies, it typically covers the following:
- Revenue that would have been made if the business was operating normally.
- Payments for loans, mortgages or leases during the downtime.
- Costs associated with temporary or permanent relocation.
- Provides money for employee payroll and taxes.
- Extra expenses incurred due to the event may also be covered.
Steps to Minimize Flooding Loss
While you may be able to count on the additional insurance coverage to keep your business from going under, prevention and planning for the worst are also key to minimizing losses. Every business should develop a business interruption plan. Key elements of this plan often include:
- Determining Risks: Identifying risks, both human and environmental, makes it easier to prepare for them. While some may not be preventable, such as a natural flood, knowing the risk is there enables creating an action plan to better handle the situation if it happens. Risks should be ranked according to severity and likelihood of happening.
- Know the Costs of Unexpected Downtime: Once the risks are known, each one should be analyzed and associated costs calculated. While making the calculations, include lost income, additional expenses, potential penalties or fines and the cost of delaying operations.
- Develop a Mitigation Plan: When developing a plan for controlling potential hazards, prevention, deterrence and mitigation are all essential. The first helps a business identify hazards that are preventable and take measures to avoid them. Deterrence focuses on the potential for criminal activities to happen and taking steps to minimize them. Mitigation focuses on events that are not preventable but require forethought to contain or control.
Establish a Communication Plan: When the unexpected happens, does everyone know what to do? A chain of command should be developed to ensure that vital information is shared properly. To eliminate confusion, develop prescripted messages that are clear and concise.
- Have an Emergency Plan: Along with an evacuation plan to ensure the safety of everyone, there should also be an emergency plan for the business itself. This may include ensuring that data is protected and easily recoverable, inventory essential to operations is well-documented and the business has written contracts with key vendors.
Flooding and other unexpected events can be devastating to a business. If faced with an unexpected shutdown, having business interruption insurance and planning for such events helps reduce associated costs and may keep the business from going under.
The Importance of Having a Security Fence
A security fence can further guard your property after suffering fire damage.
Fire can leave large, gaping holes in your commercial building in Colorado Springs, CO. You probably already know the importance of boarding up vulnerable places to protect what's left of the structure. Don't stop there, though. A security fence is necessary to further guard your property.
Reasons To Install a Security Fence After a Fire
You already have damage that happened during both the fire and the process of putting the flames out. If you don't take the proper security measures, though, you may soon be facing other problems:
- Animal infestation
- Safety issues
Having a fence around the perimeter of your property makes a clear statement about its boundaries. It may not guarantee all will be well, but it greatly increases your chances of avoiding unnecessary complications.
Most people see plywood across the busted windows of a building and take that as a sign to steer clear of it. Some see it as an opportunity, though. A security fence gives thieves, vandals and others with nefarious intent an extra obstacle to overcome. It makes your vulnerable building harder to access and thus less attractive to those looking for an easy mark.
While a fence may not keep out smaller vermin, it can provide an extra deterrent for some wildlife. In combination with boards and tarps that cover the holes in your building, it provides another layer of protection. The more barriers you set up, the more secure your building is likely to be.
A damaged building often gives the impression of being abandoned if it stands alone. People visiting nearby businesses may think it's OK to park on the grounds of your property if it looks like no one else is using the space anyway. Another perk of having a fence is that it marks the space as off-limits to anyone who doesn't have your permission to be there. It saves you the time and energy of having to engage in the countless interactions it would take to set boundaries on an individual basis.
Provide Safety Cues
Curiosity is a natural response to a damaged building. Those walking by may wonder what happened and want to check it out for themselves. This safety hazard can have not only unpleasant consequences for those who venture into the building but also for you as the owner. Fire damage restoration experts recommend protecting yourself and others by installing a fence around the property.
Appease Insurance Provider
Making your building secure is a key responsibility all the time. It becomes especially important when the building is damaged. Your commercial fire insurance provider expects you to protect your building even when it's not in use, and the company is unlikely to approve a claim for damage that happens as a result of poor security, even if it occurs after a covered peril. Using a fence to clearly mark and protect your property proves that you are doing everything in your power to keep it safe.
A security fence does more than just give you peace of mind. It can protect your already vulnerable building from further damage after a fire.