Indianapolis Home Fire Safety Tips for Fire Prevention Month
Indianapolis Home Fire Safety Tips for Fire Prevention Month
October is officially Fire Prevention Month and to recognize this month at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, we’d like to offer these fire safety tips for your Indianapolis home.
Check Your Smoke Alarms
Your smoke alarms should be checked on a monthly basis, so if you’ve missed a few months then now is a great time to check them. Most smoke alarms have a button that you press and hold until they go off. If they do not go off, then replace the battery with a new one and test again. If it still doesn’t work, then purchase a new smoke alarm. Smoke alarms should be placed at every level of your home, in every bedroom, and outside every bedroom.
Practice a Fire Escape Drill with Your Family
It’s important to not only have a fire escape plan for your family but to practice it on a regular basis. Practice what to do if a fire should occur on every level of your home. You and your family need more than one escape plan. This could be running out through doors or climbing out through windows. When planning and practicing a fire escape plan, you also need to designate a meeting place outside the home where everyone will meet.
Clean Out Dryer Vent
While you should be cleaning the lint trap every time you run your dryer, you need to clean out the dryer vent tubing at least once a year. Your dryer vent is the tubing that runs from your dryer to the exterior wall where it exits out of your home. Over time, lint and dust can build up inside the tubing and eventually clog. Dryer lint is extremely flammable and if it is allowed to build up, the heat from your dryer can ignite it causing a fire. To clean out the dryer vent tube, you will most likely have to pull out the dryer and remove the tube. While this may take a little time, reducing the risk of a fire happening is worth it in the end.
Check Your Furnace Filter
With the cold season upon us, it’s important to check your furnace filter and replace it if it is dirty and clogged. With a clogged filter, your furnace will have to work overtime to heat your home during the cold season. This not only will increase your heating bill and put undue stress on your furnace, but it could also increase the risk of a fire occurring from the excess dust in the filter. When checking your filter, be sure to make sure your furnace and blower are turned off. Replacing the furnace filter is an easy and quick task that can save you money and reduce the risks of fire.
Check Your Electrical Outlets
If you have computers, televisions, and other electronics throughout your home; it’s a good idea to check all the plugs, wires and outlets for any potential problems. Problems that could lead to a potential fire include frayed wires, loose plugs, and overloaded outlets. These problems can cause sparks or overheating which can quickly cause a house fire. It’s also a good idea to dust off or vacuum up any dust and/or dirt around the outlets. While it’s not always ideal, you don’t want any fabrics or boxes covering up your outlets. Ideally, outlets should be clear of any potentially flammable materials like couches, curtains, storage boxes, stuffed animals, and mattresses.
Use Space Heaters Responsibly
With the cold weather upon us in Indiana, many of you may be pulling out the space heaters from storage and running them. Before you plug the space heater in, you want to check the cord, plug, and heater for any damages. If there are frays in the cord or broken parts on the heater, it’s best to toss it and get another one. Also, be sure to blow or vacuum out any dust in the coils and intake before starting it. Once you start the heater, you will want to observe it while it heats up to make sure it is operating properly. As far as placing your space heater in your room, you want to make sure there is plenty of space between the heater and any furniture, walls, and objects. When you leave the room, it’s always best to turn off the space heater to reduce the risk of a fire occurring. A blanket or drape blown onto the space heater can heat up very quickly and easily ignite within minutes.
When Fires Do Happen
Even with taking all the proper steps to prevent a fire from happening at your home, fires can happen. When they do happen, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can help clean up the fire and smoke damage and return your home back to normal. Whether it’s the middle of the night or during a holiday, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West is available 24/7 for any home emergency fire cleanup and restoration. Hopefully, you’ve read and followed all the fire prevention tips above. These tips will not only help reduce the risk of a fire happening at your Indianapolis home, but they will also prepare you and your family on what to do if one should occur.
How to Remove Mold from Basement Walls
How to Remove Mold from Basement Walls
When it comes to removing mold from a basement wall, there is no one answer. There are a lot of factors that go into determining if you can remove the mold and how to do it. But before we dive into determining if mold can be removed from a wall, we first must understand what mold is and how it grows.
What is Mold?
Mold is a living organism, or more precisely, it is a fungus. It tends to grow in dark and damp environments and it feeds on cellulose. Cellulose is an organic material that can be found abundantly in drywall, cardboard boxes, carpets, wood, clothes, and curtains. You won’t usually find mold on metals and plastics since they don’t contain cellulose. A quick look around your basement and you can see that there are many places where mold can grow if the conditions are right.
Can Mold Be Removed from Walls?
Now that we know what mold is and how it grows, can it be easily removed from your basement walls? Well, it depends on what your walls are made of and whether they are painted. If the mold is growing on painted drywall or painted concrete, then you may be able to wipe the mold off. You can use a household cleaner that is made to remove mold and spray it down, scrub it off, and wipe it clean.
If the mold is found growing on unfinished drywall, then you might have a problem. Due to the porous nature of the drywall, the mold may be embedded into the drywall and won’t be able to be wiped clean. It is usually best to remove the drywall with the mold and replace it with new drywall.
With unfinished concrete walls, you obviously can’t easily remove and replace the concrete walls like you can with drywall. With concrete walls, you will want to scrub off any mold you can see and then soak the area with a mold cleaner. The cleaner should soak into the concrete and kill off any mold or mold spores that are hiding out underneath the surface.
Household Cleaners May Not Be Good Enough
If you walk down the household cleaners aisle at the grocery store or look up DIY mold cleaning solutions on the web, you’ll notice there are a lot of solutions and recipes to clean/kill/remove mold. While these may seem to do the job at first, most do not remediate the mold problem. Weeks later, the mold can return. Even the mold that has been killed can be harmful to one’s health if not removed. A quick search on the Internet shows some recommend a bleach solution while others say that it isn’t effective or healthy. So what is one to do?
Other Problems That You Need to Be Aware before Cleaning Mold
If you do try to clean or remove mold from your walls, be sure to wear ventilation to protect yourself. Inhaling mold can possibly be dangerous to your health especially when you do not know what type of mold you are dealing with.
Another problem with trying to clean mold on your own is that by scrubbing and cleaning and removing it, you may be unknowingly spreading the mold spores elsewhere. If you are scrubbing mold off a wall, the mold spores can quickly and easily become airborne and travel to other parts of your basement and home. Think of mold like a cup of fine flour. If you throw that cup of flour in the air, the tiny bits of flour can travel easily through the air and spread everywhere. Mold spores are even tinier (can’t be seen by the human eye) and can spread even easier and farther.
What’s the Best Way to Remove Mold from Basement Walls?
If you discover mold growing on a wall or walls in your basement, the best thing might be to call a professional mold remediation team like the team at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. The mold remediation team at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West have the tools and equipment to inspect and assess the damage and determine the right steps to take to contain the mold, remove the mold, clean the contents, and restore your basement. They will also identify the cause of the water or moisture and either stop it or provide a solution to stopping it so that it doesn’t cause mold growth in the future.
One last piece of advice if you discover mold in your basement, is to leave it alone. If you disturb the area, the mold spores can become airborne and spread elsewhere. Give SERVPRO of Indianapolis West a call anytime 24/7 if you find mold in your basement.
How to Clean Up from a Flooded Basement
How to Clean Up from a Flooded Basement
With the recent storms and flooding, many homes throughout central Indiana may have suffered from the unfortunate event of a flooded basement. There is nothing so frustrating as looking down your basement stairs and discovering that your basement is now under water along with all the belongings that you have stored down there. So you’ve discovered a lake in your basement, now what do you do? Below we will cover things you should do and shouldn’t do and how ultimately to clean and restore your flooded basement.
Be Careful - Water and Electricity Do Not Mix
If there is standing water in your basement, do not go near it. You should not assume that the power has been cut off by the home’s circuit breaker. If your home’s circuit box is located in a dry area of your home, then you should check the breaker box to see if the circuits powering the basement have been tripped and are off. If you have a hot water heater or furnace in the basement, they should be powered off also from the breaker box.
If you are unsure that all of the power is off in the basement, then wait until the water has completely resided or call an electrician or professional flood cleanup company. They will know what to check or who to contact to ensure there is no power going to the flooded basement.
You Don’t Know Where That Water Has Been
The second danger with a flooded basement is that you don’t know where the water originated. While it could be rainwater that has pooled up once the sump pump went out, it could also be from the municipal sewer system backing up. When the local sewer system floods and backs up, it heads to the lowest points first, which are basements. Some home’s main sewer pipes have check valves to prevent the sewer system from backing up into their basements but many homes do not.
If your basement has a floor drain or bathroom, the sewer system may back up into your basement. Obviously, you don’t want to get anywhere near that water as it can be harmful to your health. Since you don’t know where the water has come from, it always better to be safe than sorry. Wait until the water has resided and try to avoid any skin contact with the water. Even it is isn’t sewage water, it could contain other chemicals and contaminants from your basement or the flood waters outside your home.
So What Should Be Done If A Basement Floods?
As you can see, there are a lot of dangers from a basement flooding. The best thing to do if your basement has flooded is to call a water damage cleanup company, like SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the expertise, equipment, and tools to remove the water, dry the basement, remediate any mold or potential mold, and restore your basement.
Once the water in the basement subsides or has been pumped out, then it’s a matter of removing all the water soaked items like furniture, storage boxes, area rugs, and more. If there is carpeting in the basement, it will probably need to be commercially vacuumed to extract the water If there is drywall in the basement, then it may need to be removed or at least partially removed. Drywall can absorb the flood waters and if not removed, it can lead to mold growth. All wood and porous surfaces must also be treated to prevent mold from growing. There are a lot of areas in a basement where the water can seep into and lead to extensive mold growth and damage.
Don’t Risk Further Damage. Contact the Water & Mold Damage Cleanup Professionals.
A flooded basement can be a huge mess that can quickly turn into an even bigger mess. That is why you should trust the professionals at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West to clean up your flooded basement and return it back to normal. They deal with flooded basements, homes, and businesses on a regular basis and know just what to do to clean and restore all the damage. Whether it is on the weekends or in the middle of the night, you can call them anytime to show up and get right at work to restore your flooded basements.
Commercial Cleaning Services
SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can help clean and protect your investment.
Spending extra time and resources to clean and disinfect your office or warehouse space is something you don't always have time to do. Turn to the professionals and let us handle the everyday wear and tear that gradually soils your office. When dirt, odor, and moisture problems go beyond the scope of your regular janitorial staff, you need to call SERVPRO of Indianapolis West for prompt service.
We specialize in all commercial cleaning services, from removing an odor problem to deep cleaning flooring and carpets, you can rely on us to make your workspace look its very best. SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can work around your regular business hours so there will be no disruption or downtime for your office. From general cleaning of workspaces to heavy cleaning of warehouse walls and ceilings, we have specialized training, products, and equipment to get your commercial property clean and safe. A clean office promotes employee health and safety, production and overall happiness. A clean business keeps customers coming back.
SERVPRO of Indianapolis West wants to help keep your facility clean and a place where people want to work and buy from. We have service agreements that range from weekly cleaning services, quarterly, or by the call. We'll work with you and around your schedule and cater our services around your needs.
Our commercial cleaning services include:
Biohazard and Sewage
SERVPRO is trained to safely remove biohazards and dispose of them properly following OSHA and health regulations. Water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous and is best left to the professionals. Equipped with the necessary safety apparatus and cleaning products, we can help transform these unhealthy environments back into clean and safe workspaces.
Trauma and Crime Scene Cleanup
Accidents and crime scenes often have blood or other biohazard contaminants that may pose a severe health risk. Our highly trained service professionals will respond immediately and safely clean and disinfect any trauma or crime scene with empathy and respect.
Carpet and Upholstery
A good rule of thumb is to have your carpet and upholstery professionally cleaned every 12 months. Protect your investment by calling us to clean and maintain your carpet and upholstery. Ceilings, walls, and floors are exposed to dirt, dust and other contaminants from inside and outside. Whether they need general maintenance cleaning, or heavy cleaning from smoke or fire damage, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West has the expertise to do the job right the first time.
Odor Removal and Deodorization
We have several different types of deodorization techniques. One of our Project Managers will discuss with you the method that will be most beneficial for your property. Masking the odors and other shortcuts are not what we do. We fully address the source of the odor so it doesn't return.
Vandalism and Graffiti
SERVPRO offers emergency services for board up due to broken windows or damaged structure. Often simple acts of vandalism, like breaking a window, can cause significant water and mold damage if not addressed promptly. In addition to removing spray-painted graffiti from exterior walls, we also clean driveways, sidewalks, asphalt, metals, glass, wood, plastic and masonry.
The Facts About Indiana House Fires
The Facts About Indiana House Fires
With the recent strong storms, you may have seen stories on the local news about homes catching on fire from lightning strikes. While that is possible, lightning accounts for a very small percentage of house fires. Lightning is still dangerous and you should definitely take cover if it is near, there are other areas and parts of your home that you should keep an eye on as common culprits of Indiana house fires.
In the article below we will go over statistics on house fires as reported in the U.S. Fire Administration's National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) by the fire departments throughout the country. The stats come from the residential fire incident reports from 2013-2015.
Residential Fires are the Second Most Common Fire
Residential fires, which include single-family homes, apartments, and condos, account for 30% of all fires reported. Businesses account for 8% and vehicles account for 15%, while outside fires (forest fires, grass fires, etc.) accounted for 41% of all fires. While home fires accounted for only 30% of all fires, they resulted in the most injuries, deaths, and dollar loss from property damage.
The Leading Cause of House Fires
Have you ever left something on the stove for too long that resulted in a small confined fire? Apparently, many of us have by the stats from the U.S. Fire Administration’s report. Cooking fires accounted for an astounding 50% of all house fires that occurred between 2013-2015. Cooking fires originated in ovens, on stovetops, and in microwaves. Most of these fires were contained to the food container (skillet, pot, cooking sheet) and were extinguished before the fire had time to spread.
The second leading cause of house fires is from heating equipment. Heating equipment includes space heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and radiators. These fires account for close to 12% of all house fires. These fires, like cooking fires, can be easily prevented by not leaving a fire in a fireplace or wood stove unattended and keeping flammable objects at least three feet away from heat sources. If you use space heaters, be sure to turn them off before leaving the room or going to sleep.
Other leading causes of house fires include appliance fires, candles, smoking, and electrical malfunctions. All of these together only account for 16% of all fires. Fires from smoking and candles are usually due to carelessness while appliance and electrical fires are due to damaged equipment or overloaded circuits. With appliances and electronics, it’s always good to check the cords for damage or frays. Also, never overload a wall outlet with an excessive amount of appliances and equipment.
The Spread of Fires in Homes
Fortunately, most fires in homes are discovered quickly and extinguished before they spread. Around 55% of all fires are contained to the object that the fire originated at. This could be a pot or an appliance or a piece of fabric like a table cover or chair. While the fire damage is usually limited to the object, the smoke damage can still be substantial. Fires that take over a whole room account for 20% of all fires while fires that take over a whole home account for 17% of all fires. These fires are the most devastating to property and to the health of the occupants.
Be Safe in Your Home with Working Smoke Alarms
One of the keys to catching a fire early and extinguishing it before it has caused extensive damage is to have properly working smoke alarms located throughout your home. According to the report, smoke alarms were only present in 43% of nonconfined house fires. Nonconfined fires are fires that spread from their original confined source i.e. cooking pot. While smoke alarms will not prevent a fire, they serve as an early warning device to alert the occupants that a fire is occurring. A smoke alarm gives them time to either extinguish the confined fire or evacuate and call the fire department if the fire is nonconfined.
It a Fire Should Occur at Your Indiana Home, Call the Fire Restoration Professionals
Even a small little kitchen fire can cause a lot of smoke damage. Whether you have experienced a small fire or an extensive fire, the fire restoration experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can help clean up, repair and get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. They have the tools, equipment, and know-how to handle smoke damage, water damage, mold damage and fire damage -- all of which can occur from a house fire. Whether a fire happens during the day or in the middle of the night, you can call SERVPRO of Indianapolis West 24/7 to handle your home’s emergency.
The Dangers of Stagnant Water & What to Do If Found
The Dangers of Stagnant Water & What to Do If Found
Stagnant water, also known as standing water, is a body of water that does not flow or go away in a timely manner. This can be a small puddle in your backyard or a puddle in your crawl space. They both can result in problems for you and your home. The puddle in the backyard can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the puddle in your crawl space can result in damaging mold growth.
Stagnant water can come from any source. It can be clean water from a leaky water pipe or faucet. It can be from rainwater which is likely with the stagnant water in your yard. Or worse, it can be from a sewer line in your home or a sewer backup in your neighborhood. While the sewer water or black water, as it is known, can be the most dangerous to one’s health, they can all lead to mold growth, bacteria growth, and mosquito problems. The clean water can mix with debris, bacteria, and organisms and result in mold growth and other problems.
The Hidden Dangers of Stagnant Water
One of the problems with stagnant water is when it is hidden from our daily view. This could be some standing water hidden behind a woodshed that we never see or stagnant water that sits undisturbed and unseen for months in our crawlspace or basement. It is that time that can ultimately lead to extensive damage to your home.
The longer stagnant water sits in your crawl space, basement, bathroom, or garage; the more time it has to promote mold growth in your home. Once the mold has begun, it usually won’t stop growing until it is found and remediated by professionals, like those at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. Given a little bit of time, mold can grow quickly on the floor joists, ducts, floors, walls, insulation and other surfaces nearby. Given a few months, mold can lead to structural damage to your home and spread throughout the home through the air or ducts.
What to Do If Stagnant Water is Found
If you find stagnant water right away, you may be able to remove the water without much damage. You need to vacuum or pump out the water and completely dry the area. You also need to remove any materials that got wet including clothing, furniture, carpet, padding, insulation, and drywall. Once all the damaged materials have been removed, you can sanitize the area to ensure the mold and bacteria don’t grow. While this may be good enough, many times it doesn’t work completely. Days or weeks later, the homeowner discovers mold or bacteria growth where they thought they had dried and cleaned everything.
The Best Thing to Do If Stagnant Found is Found
The danger of water getting into your subfloors, drywall, and structural beams is that they aren’t easy to get dry. They tend to soak up the water which can lead to mold growth in a day or two. That is why it is always best to call water damage experts to professionally remove, dry, clean and repair your home from water damage. Professionals, like those at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, have seen and dealt with all kinds of water damage and know exactly how to handle your situation to ensure all the damage is removed and restored completely. This can include bringing in commercial dryers, dehumidifiers, and other equipment to completely remove all the water and moisture from the area. They also have industrial cleaners and tools to check and remove all the water and remediate any materials with mold growth.
It Doesn’t Take Much Water to Do Damage
It only takes a little puddle of water to create a lot of damage in your home. It’s always a good idea to check for standing water in your crawl space, basement, garage and other areas where it may occur on a monthly basis. You also want to make it a habit of checking inside, under and around your home after huge rain showers have rolled through your area. Not only may you spot trouble areas inside your home, but you may find trouble areas around your property where the water can lead to a mosquito infestation or stream back into your foundation and into your crawl space.
If you do find stagnant water inside your home, you can try to remove it as quickly as possible but you should definitely call SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. Not only will they remove the water but they’ll be able to evaluate your property for any damage or potential damage from the standing water. They’ll be able to keep your small problem from turning into a much bigger problem down the road.
Preparing for the Unexpected: How to Protect Your Business from Natural Disasters
Preparing for the Unexpected: How to Protect Your Business from Natural Disasters
When it comes to natural disasters in Indiana, we tend to think of floods, tornadoes and damaging storms. Unlike natural disasters like hurricanes, Hoosiers tend not to have any time to prepare for the natural disasters that occur in their backyard. But even though we don’t have days to board up our businesses, there are things we can do to prepare if a disaster should strike our business.
In this blog, we will cover steps you can take to prepare your business for the unexpected so that you can reduce your downtime and losses.
Protect Your Data
If you are like most businesses, you have a lot of data or information saved on your computers. You may have billing, contacts, payroll, taxes, and other documents saved on your computers. You may have CAD files or photos or other data for your clients’ projects. Needless to say, you probably would some money and perhaps lots of money if the data on your computers were destroyed.
While you may not be able to save everything that you and your staff do on your computers, you can save and recover most of it if you save your data in the cloud at an offsite server facility. There are many companies out there that provide backup and recovery services for businesses. It’s important that once you do choose a backup provider, that you use it. Many businesses learn too late that they weren’t backing up their data on a regular basis.
Plan for Loss of Power
Is your business capable of operating if you lose power? It’s not uncommon for Indiana businesses to lose power after big storms. If your business requires power to operate, you may want to have generators available to provide emergency power. You may just need them for lights or you may need them to power heaters or air conditioners in order to protect your inventory from extreme temperatures.
It’s important to create a plan of what to power in order to ensure you have enough generators and enough fuel to keep the emergency power going for a few days. You don’t want to not have enough power or run out of fuel after 6 hours.
Plan to Work Off Site
If your business is flooded or destroyed by a tornado, can it operate elsewhere? If your business works mainly online, then operating your business from laptops at home or elsewhere may not be too much of an inconvenience. If you rely on equipment or materials that are stored at your business, operating remotely may be a little more difficult. Still, it is a good idea to consider creating a contingency plan in the event that your business site is inaccessible. Are there other locations that your business could operate in an emergency? Are there jobs that can be done while your business site is closed? Having these plans planned in advance can help your business avoid any long down times.
Develop An Emergency Plan
As discussed in the previous section, having an emergency plan can save you time and money. Your emergency plan should be available and shared with all of your employees. It needs to contain phone numbers and/or a phone tree so everyone can be kept up to date. It needs to include what to do in case the office is closed. It should include what steps to take if your business is damaged. If you are a large business, you may want to delegate critical recovery roles to certain team members. An effective emergency plan should be thorough and precise and leave no one guessing what to do next.
After The Storm - Hire the Commercial Restoration Pros
One of the first steps you should take after your business has been damaged by flood waters, storms, and/or a tornado is to call the commercial restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the tools and expertise to handle any size disaster. Whether it is water damage, fire damage, or other storm damage, they can get to work right away so you can get back to business as usual as soon as possible. Give them a call the next time your business suffers the unexpected from a natural disaster.
Water Damage Categories
Three water damage categories.
SERVPRO uses three different categories to define a water damage. Below, I’ll cover each category and examples of them.
We categorize water damages for a couple of different reasons. First, is to know and understand what level of precaution our water damage restoration technicians must use to stay safe while working in the environment. Second, we need to understand what materials the water has come in contact with to determine the proper cleaning process and also the restorability of building materials and contents.
Once we’ve determined the category of the water damage, we can then proceed with restoration catering to each category. For instance, building materials and contents in a Category 1 environment have a high chance of being fully restored, while materials and contents in a Category 3 environment have little to no chance of being restored.
Category 1 Water
Refers to a source of water that does not pose a substantial threat to humans. This water is classified as “clean water.” Examples are broken water supply lines, tub and sink overflows and appliance malfunctions that involve water supply loss.
Category 2 Water
Refers to a source that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when consumed or exposed to. This water is classified as “grey water.” Examples are sump pump failure, some toilet overflows from the water trap up, and discharged water from dishwashers or washing machines.
Category 3 Water
Refers to water that contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness. This is classified as “black water” and is grossly unsanitary. Examples are sewage backups, flood waters and water from rising rivers and streams. Category 2, grey water that is not promptly removed, or has remained stagnant, may be re classified as Category 3.
SERVPRO of Indianapolis West to the rescue.
Every water disaster is different, from the amount of water to the level of contamination of the water. Each scenario requires a unique solution. You can rest assured that SERVPRO of Indianapolis West has the expertise and training to properly mitigate any type or category of water damage, whether residential or commercial. Our Highly Trained Technicians will respond immediately when you call us. We’re always open for emergency water damage service, even nights and weekends.
How to Tell the Difference Between Mold and Mildew
How to Tell the Difference Between Mold and Mildew
It’s actually pretty common to mistake mildew for mold or mold for mildew. They both, in fact, are fungi that can be found in homes. They both thrive off of moisture and darkness which is why you usually find them present in bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces, and under sinks. So what is the difference between mold and mildew? Are they both bad for your home? Below we will cover the characteristics, dangers, and treatment of both.
What Does Mold Look Like? What Does Mildew Look Like?
Mildew is a specific type of mold that grows on the surface of things. It can appear as a flat, patchy or powdery discoloration. It’s typically white, brown that can turn yellowish or black as it grows Due to the fact that mildew grows along the surface, it can usually be wiped off very easily. It does become a little more cumbersome to clean when the mildew grows on a porous surface like tile grout or fabrics.
Unlike mildew, mold not only grows on the surface but below the surface also. Mold is usually black, green or blue in color. It can appear either fuzzy or slimy. Since mold tends to grow underneath the surface, once it has been spotted it can usually mean there’s more mold damage beneath the surface. For instance, if you spot mold growing on your wall or ceiling of your Indianapolis home, there’s a good chance that it didn’t start there. It most likely started beneath the surface of the drywall from a water leak or high moisture content. In fact, it could have started somewhere else and spread to your drywall on your ceiling and/or wall.
The Smell of Mold and Mildew
Another sign of mold and mildew is a distinct odor. The smell of mildew is foul and smelly. It can smell like dirty laundry or a forest during the rain. One of the most common times people get a whiff of mildew or the start of mildew is when they forget to remove wet clothes from their washer for a few days.
Mold tends to have more of a musty, pungent smell. Most of us have gotten a little too close to mold and smelled its pungent odor when we’ve opened a food container in our fridge that hasn’t been opened in weeks, if not, months. Mold is a common occurrence on foods due to the fact that mold feeds and grows off of food and organic matter.
Can Mildew or Mold Cause Damage?
Mildew is typically not dangerous or harmful. It can usually be cleaned and removed easily. It may look unsightly but it won’t typically won’t damage grout, tiles, or surfaces. With mildewy clothes, you can simply wash them with detergent and it will remove the mildew. Mildew can, however, cause damage to crops. Mildew growing on crops out in the field can cause the crops to rot or bruise.
Mold, on the other hand, is not so kind to your home. Mold, if caught early, could be removed without having to replace any structure. This issue is that mold usually isn’t discovered until it has caused extensive damage to a home’s structure. Since mold flourishes under the surface, the damage to walls, ceilings, floors, insulation, siding, and framing has already been compromised. In many instances, the structure materials affected needs to be removed and replaced.
Is It Bad or Is It Just Mildew?
If in doubt about whether you have a mildew problem or a mold problem in your home, it’s always best to call the mold remediation professionals at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the expertise and know-how to identify the problem and take immediate action if it is property destroying mold. It doesn’t take much for mold to thrive and grow and until it is stopped by mold remediation pros, it will continue to cause damage to your home. Call SERVPRO of Indianapolis West for an evaluation of your home’s mold problem.
Flash Floods Can Be Dangerous
Flash floods can happen just about anywhere at anytime.
By definition, a “flash flood” is a sudden local flood, usually due to extreme heavy rainfall from thunderstorms. Flash floods come quickly and sometimes with little to no warning. Flash flooding can happen so quickly that people are caught off guard. If you encounter high or fast-moving water while traveling, stop, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”
Don’t take a chance you may regret.
It’s sometimes easy to underestimate the power and force of moving water. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep away a vehicle. People can be caught in their cars and swept downstream causing serious injuries and even death. Many of these drowning deaths each year are due to careless drivers and can be prevented, but too many people continue to ignore and drive around barriers that warn them of flooded roadways. Even driving through standing water can be dangerous. If the water isn’t moving, or cannot sweep your car away, it can stall your engine leaving you stranded and causing long-term damage to it.
Am I safe from flooding if I live Downtown?
A lot of people live in downtown Indianapolis and should be aware of possible flash floods. Flooding can happen almost anywhere, even in urban areas because of the impenetrable ground. The rain water cannot soak into the ground due to the impervious nature of concrete and the lack of open soil in urban environments. Massive amounts of water run-off can then overwhelm the sewer systems. Sewers can quickly become clogged by debris resulting in the water to backup and then flood. If you’re caught in a flash flood, stay safe and in your car if possible, and use your emergency kit.
Some items your emergency kit may include:
- Water- one gallon per person for at least three days.
- Food- at least a three day supply of non-perishable food.
- Battery powered or hand crank radio
- Extra batteries.
- Phone chargers.
- Road flares.
- Rain ponchos.
- Wet wipes.
- A whistle to signal for help.
So while I write this blog as content for our website, I also hope that by reading this you will think twice next time you see a flooded roadway and turn around. It’s best if you take a few extra minutes and find an alternate route to your destination. So remember to "Turn Around, Don’t Drown," someone out there will be glad you did.