Flooding During a Hurricane

flood

It is hurricane season and while not entirely common for Long Island. However, because we live on an island storms that bring heavy winds and rains brings serious risk of flooding. While we can’t control the weather, there are things we can do to mitigate the damage caused by storms and flooding.

BEFORE THE STORM

-Check your storm and flood insurance policy. While you might be covered under homeowner’s insurance for a tree falling on your roof, most homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover floods. Check your flood risk and make sure your policy is up to date. Take pictures of your home and take an inventory of your household items for insurance.

-Board up windows to prevent glass from breaking.

-Make sure your sump pump is installed properly and is in good working order. Sump pumps help pump water out of your basement in case of flooding.

-Unplug electronics and make sure valuables are kept in a safe, dry place. Important documents can be kept in the dishwasher, which is watertight. Just remember to take them out before you use it!

– Make an emergency survival kit. You don’t have to prepare for the end of days, but you should have enough tools and supplies to survive without electricity or utilities for up to two weeks. This site has a great checklist of things you may need.

AFTER THE STORM

-Don’t enter your home until it is deemed safe to do so.

-Call your insurance company.

-If you have water damage call Moldbusters. The sooner you start drying out after a flood the better. Mold can start growing after 24 hours, so most likely you will need to do flood and mold remediation if you were forced to evacuate.

While a flood can be devastating, it is possible to rebuild a house and replace things. The most important thing to remember about a major storm is things can be replaced, but you can’t replace people. Despite the instinct to stay and protect your home, keep out of damaged buildings and heed any evacuation warnings.

Hiring a Mold Remediation Professional

Black mold buildup in the corner of an old house
Black mold buildup in the corner of an old house

Mold in the home is no joke. When you spot it your stomach drops because you know how mold can cause health problems for you and your family, as well as negatively affect the value of your home.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to mold. Educate yourself about the sources of moisture and on situations that cause mold in order to prevent any from ever getting a strong hold on your property.

Unfortunately, even if you check every nook and cranny with maddening constancy, scrub any moldy spots, remove or fix any sources of water mold, it can still get into the drywall and start growing colonies behind your walls.

If mold has gone airborne, or has gotten into too many of the structural elements of the house, you will need help from a pro. The first thing you will need to do is find a professional mold remediation service in your area—one that is fully certified and you feel you can trust—and have them send someone over to estimate the extent of the damage.

Certified and licensed mold remediation specialists like the ones at Moldbusters have the tools and training to get rid of mold in your home for good without taking your wallet to the cleaners.

How To Dry Out After A Flood

floodinhome

A flood from a burst pipe or leak never comes at the right time. In the humid, hot summer months, however, homeowners are put on a serious time crunch to get things dried out before the mold sets in. Here are some tips to help prevent mold in your home after a pipe burst or leak.

  1. Get The Water Out Fast

Use a wet/dry vacuum to clean up as much water as soon as possible. If you do not have one at your disposal our flood remediation specialists are available 24/7 to help you get the water out.

  1. Use fans to speed up the carpet drying process

Unfortunately, even with fans running 24 hours a day it still takes a few days to get fully dry. Don’t let carpet that’s dry to the touch fool you: it is still wet!  Again, hiring a professional to dry out your home will ensure your carpet dries correctly.

 

  1. Use a dehumidifier to dry out the room

These machines remove excessive moisture, which makes the air feel cooler and limits mold and mildew growth. Any equipment that helps dry out the air and the ground will speed up the drying time for your damaged floors and coverings.

 

  1. Steam clean carpet and flooring

Steam cleaning all carpets sanitizes and deodorizes. Typically, water-damaged carpet padding must be replaced. Replacing just the padding is much less expensive than having to re-carpet your entire home.

 

  1. Sanitize walls and baseboards

Anything touched by the water should be sanitized. Clean all walls, hard-surface floors, and other household surfaces with soap and water. Sanitize them with a solution of 1.5 cups of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water. Remember to wear rubber gloves during cleanup.

 

  1. Stay Vigilant

Look for water damage and remove furniture from wet flooring. Water damage can easily be hidden underneath rugs or carpet, so be sure to give your home a thorough inspection if you suspect water damage.

 

Cleaning water-soaked carpets and floors is difficult under any conditions, but if done properly a disastrous mold situation can be avoided. Calling a flood remediation specialist to prevent a costly mold remediation.

 

Moldproofing A Sound Investment

mold

 

Every homeowner fears mold, it destroys home value and can wreak havoc on your health and pocketbook, but did you know there are ways to mold-proof your home. Here are some reasons you should look into mold-proofing.

  1. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

 

Once mold gets a strong hold in your home it can be tricky to remove. Mold remediation can get expensive and the longer a mold problem lingers the more difficult and costly it is to get rid of. Mold proofing experts will let you know where your potential problems are so you can monitor and help you develop a solid plan of action creating a home environment difficult for mold to gain a stronghold.

 

  1. Protect Your Home’s Value

For property owners, a big reason to prevent mold is to maintain property values. If you wait until mold shows up, the value of your property can take a hit. Studies show the vast majority of the general market is resistant to buying a property with a previous mold history, there have been reports of property deprecations of up to 60% if a property has a history of mold. Preventing mold before it starts is the best way to keep your home value up.

 

  1. Protect your health

 

Mold grows where it is dark and damp, basically in places usually hidden. Once a mold situation becomes apparent it means there has been a mold problem for quite some time before.  In this time the mold can make you and your family sick, see our article on Mold Sickness. Protect your family’s health with mold prevention.

 

If you are curious about mold prevention services contact Moldbusters today!

 

6 Sneaky Places Mold Can Hide in Your Home

behind refrigerator

Listen to a mold remediation specialist, mold can grow almost anywhere damp and dark.

When we think of mold problems, we immediately think of damp basements and black gross mold growing on drywall, but mold is insidious and can grow in places where you least expect it.

To get rid of mold, think like a fungus and search out these six moist places where mold likes to grow.

 

  1. Chimneys

Brick crevices collect water, dirt, and other organic debris. Rusted chimney caps and faulty flashing let in rain and snow, encouraging mold to grow.

Your best bet is to replace rusted caps and fix flashing. Call a licensed mold removal specialist to remove the mold in your chimneys. To prevent mold, get your chimney cleaned by professional chimney sweep at least once a year.

 

 

  1. Refrigerator Drip Pans

The spaces behind and under your fridge rarely see the light of day, which make them perfect breeding grounds for mold.

To avoid the problem: Make sure all water lines and drip pans are clean and not leaking as even a small leak can lead to a huge mold problem. When you do your spring cleaning, take the extra time to check and clean behind and underneath your refrigerator.

 

  1. Front-Loading Washing Machines

The gasket around the door on front-loading washing machines often stays wet because the door is usually closed when not in use. Add some lint to the moisture, and mold happily munches and multiplies.

To help stop the gunk: Wipe the gasket and glass dry before you shut the door. If you spot mold, run a hot water wash with some chlorine bleach (no clothes), which will kill the fungi.

Check behind and underneath your washer and dryer to make sure there are no leaks or source of moisture. Clean out vents and lint traps to prevent mold havens as well as fire hazards.

 

 

  1. Window Sashes and Seals

Condensation from windows provides the moisture mold loves, and the dirt and dust that collect provide the perfect place for the mold to settle.

to fix it: After heavy rains, open windows and wipe moisture from the bottoms of sashes and window sills. Replace any broken seals, and if you notice any water has leaked into the wood and walls, call a professional to see if the problem has caused mold.

 

  1. Dishes

Why mold grows there: When you stack dishes that are a little wet and a little cruddy, mold has the perfect environment to grow — especially party platters and dishes you only use for special occasions. Damp dishes go into the wood cabinets where the mold multiplies creating little villages and cities of spores in your cabinets.

To stop it: Run moldy dishes through the dishwasher, and wipe cabinets with a vinegar-soaked rag. Completely dry dishes before you store them.

 

  1. Air Conditioners

Air conditioning units trap dust and pollen (a good meal for mold) and grab moisture from the air. If you don’t run your AC unit at least every 24 hours in warm weather, humidity in your house climbs and mold may grow in AC ducts and drain pans, and on coils.

Drip pans and drainage hoses on window units can leak causing mold to grow into the window sill and dry wall.

To stop the mold:

If mold grows in your central air conditioning unit, you’ll have to hire a mold remediation pro to clean out the system. If mold shows up in a window AC unit, remove the front plate, clean the blower with a HEPA filter vacuum, and flush out the coils and clean the drain pan with a 1:1 solution of bleach and water.

Of course, prevention is the best remedy. Keep drainage hoses away from the walls and make sure they aren’t leaking into the window. Run your AC for at least 10 minutes every day to keep air circulating when it’s hot and humid outside, and keep the humidity in your home below 55%.

How To Catch Flood Damage Risks

house-underwater

Flood damage can be expensive. When purchasing a home or just deciding to purchase separate flood insurance it is important to take into consideration all the risk factors for flooding your home may have. Even if you are not located near water, other factors can put your home at risk of flooding. Experts say you should check for soil erosion, poor sewerage and drainage systems, overflowing creeks, rivers or lakes near the site, siltation problems, water ceilings and water leaks of existing structures to calculate risk of flood damage.

1.Spot the leaks. A good place to start is the windows. Leaks at window sills are normally caused by driving rains during storms and typhoons, which means the window sealant used is ineffective.

2.Be wary of the toilet. If the water goes up before flushing down, this may mean septic tank effluents are prevented from coming out because of floodwaters.

3.Note the watermarks.  Water marks on the ceiling would mean there are leaks, while water marks on the floor may mean water has been seeping into the floor joints, or at the joint between the floor and the wall. Also  look for flood markings on nearby fences or walls, or even on the tree trunks around the vicinity after heavy rains.

4.Peek into drainage manholes. Check drainage manholes, ideally after heavy rains, through the scupper, to find out whether the drainage line is running smoothly. Still water in drainage manholes could mean constricted or clogged drainages. This may also mean that it’s just a maintenance problem, but buyers must demand proper maintenance to be done before it becomes a bigger problem.

5.Look up, check the roof. Flapping roof sheets caused by strong winds, and clogged gutters could be a sign of a potential leak.

7.Ask the neighbors. Still, one of the best ways to know if the area is prone to flooding is to ask the people living in the vicinity.

8.Mud on the road.. Mud on the road is a tell-tale indication of the “looseness” of the soil where the road is situated. One should first look at the “ingress and egress” (entry and exit) of the location, or the accessibility of the location as access roads are as important as the site itself.

Testing for Black Mold Before You Sell Your Home

forsale

Selling your house can be difficult enough as it is, but uncovering a black mold problem after your house goes to market can be disastrous. Toxic black mold can be expensive to remove and even cause a range of health problems — so it usually is a deal breaker for most home buyers.

Black mold is insidious and loves to grow behind walls, in crawlspaces and under floorboards anywhere that is damp, dark and humid. By the time you see signs of it, the problem is usually much bigger.

Sight and smell may give you a good indication of whether or not you have a black mold problem — black mold tends to have a strong, musty smell, and of course it displays a trademark black color. If you believe you have black mold growth in an area of your home after these initial inspections, you should contact a professional mold testing company.

Professional mold testing companies will take samples of the air and any areas of mold growth, identify precisely what type of mold is present, and recommend next steps for remediation.

Black mold can be an expensive and potentially unhealthy problem for homeowners, but by testing for black mold, you can take care of the problem before you scare away any potential buyers.

Mold testing and mold remediation companies will often point out potential problems for mold so you can fix them before a home inspector catches you off guard and you take a hit on your asking price.

An all clear from a professional mold testing company can also help you win points with a potential buyer.

Seasonal Allergies or is Something Sinister Growing Behind Your Walls

USA, New York, New York City, Manhattan, Central Park, Close up of woman sneezing
USA, New York, New York City, Manhattan, Central Park, Close up of woman sneezing

Allergy season is here, but how do you tell if your sneezing and watery eyes are due to typical spring pollen, or something a bit more sinister like a mold problem lurking in your home.

Do your allergies seem to get worse or better when it rains?

Most pollen gets washed away in rain so if your allergies seem to get worse when it rains you might have a mold problem.

Mold allergies are generally not life threatening. But they can impact your ability to lead a productive, comfortable daily life. Here are a few tips to help you spot mold allergies.

Mold grows in moisture, either indoors or outdoors. While the mold spores constantly floating in the air can trigger reactions, the problem worsens when those spores attach to a wet surface and mold begins to grow. You may have mold growing inside your house and not know it. This could be due to an unknown leak, moisture buildup in a basement, or damp areas under carpet that have been left unchecked.

Because mold grows year-round, mold allergies generally aren’t seasonal like other allergies. Those who are allergic to mold can experience symptoms any time, especially if they live in an area that tends to get rain fairly often.

If you’re allergic to mold, you’ll likely experience histamine reactions similar to those from other types of airborne allergies. Those symptoms include:

  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • congestion
  • watery and itchy eyes
  • postnasal drip

 

You may initially mistake your mold allergies for a cold or sinus infection, since the symptoms can mirror each other. If your allergies are compounded by asthma, you may notice your asthma symptoms worsening when you’re exposed to mold. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. You also may experience wheezing and other signs of an asthma attack. While mold exposure is generally not deadly, increased exposure can make symptoms worse. Mold allergies are progressive. Over time the attacks become more severe. The key is to prevent moisture from building up by repairing any leaks in your home.

If you notice a water build-up in any part of your home, stop the leak immediately. When working in situations where outdoor mold may be present, wearing a face mask can drastically reduce your exposure to the allergen. Then called a certified mold professional to see if you need professional mold remediation.

 

Mold Remediation Contractor Rules for New York About to Change

Effective January 1, 2016 all Mold Remediation Contractors, and Assessors must be licensed by the New York State Department of Labor.  Anyone who conducts home inspections as part of potential real estate transactions must also be licensed as a “Mold Assessor” if their inspections/reports include an assessment of mold conditions in the home or property in question. Persons who perform Mold removal or remediation must be licensed as a Mold Remediation Contractor.

 

While companies will be able to hold both licenses the law prevents persons licensed to perform mold-related services from acting as both the mold assessment contractor and the mold remediation contractor. This is to prevent  a conflict of interest. In other words, contractors who currently provide mold inspections and perform the remediation as well, will no longer be able to do both.

 

Here at Moldbusters we are prepping for the new law change as standard Industry Certifications that were accredited in the past do not apply to the current licensing requirements.  We will be in compliance with the new law by January 1, 2016 and will continue to be the mold remediation contractor you can count on.

 

External Link….

 

https://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/safetyhealth/mold/mold-program.shtm

 

Air Quality Testing

Symptoms-of-Indoor-Air-Pollution

You take care to make sure the food you eat is free from chemicals and contaminants, why are we more blasé about the air we breathe?  There are a number of contaminants that can potentially make you or your family ill or worse.  Even if you keep a spotless house, airborn toxins can still be present in your home.

 

  1. Combustion/CO

CO is colorless and odorless, so the best way to detect it is by installing CO alarms near bedrooms and fuel-burning appliances. Those appliances should also be inspected at least once a year by a qualified technician, as should chimneys, flues and air-handling systems.

CO causes a number of symptoms from headaches and nausea to confusion and unconsciousness — and kills about 500 people in the U.S. per year. Airborne particulates can lodge in the lungs, potentially damaging tissue and even working their way into the bloodstream.

Always make sure the areas around stoves and heaters are well ventilated and always keep your CO monitors in working order.

 

  1. Asbestos

Most modern homes and offices now use alternative materials, but older buildings may still contain asbestos. Even then, the fibers only become airborne when they’re disturbed, so the most practical solution is often to simply leave asbestos alone. That’s not always an option, though — an aging home may need repairs in its asbestos-lined attic, for example, or squirrels may have kicked up the fibers while looking for a place to spend the winter.

Given the risks involved, DIY asbestos remediation is rarely a good idea. Even taking your own samples for testing isn’t recommended. If you suspect a material contains asbestos, look for signs of damage without touching it, then contact a professional inspector to learn more.  NY State law requires a licensed Asbestos Remediation contractor to perform asbestos removal.

 

  1. Mold and Mildew

The best way to fight mold is to fight moisture. Keep the relative humidity indoors below 60 percent, and use a dehumidifier or fan to dry out the air if needed.  Mold and mildew grow in dark damp places, and more often than not by the time you see mold on a wall, there is so much more behind it. Health effects vary by mold type and personal sensitivity; symptoms may include nasal stuffiness, wheezing and skin irritation. Studies have also linked indoor mold exposure to asthma development in children.

If you suspect there may be mold in your home,  contact a licensed professional to test your home for mold.

 

  1. Dust, Dander and Droppings

Many buildings are plagued by rodents, dust mites and cockroaches, two very different arthropods that both leave a trail of allergenic feces and body parts. Fumes from rodent urine and droppings can also cause breathing problems, as can pet dander and airborne proteins from cat saliva.

These contaminants often trigger allergic reactions and asthma, and symptoms can grow worse with chronic exposure. Children, elderly people and people with other breathing issues are especially at risk from biological agents in confined areas, the EPA warns.

Regular sightings of roaches, rats or their droppings point to an infestation, in which case pest control is likely the best way to clear the air. Dust mites aren’t visible to the naked eye, but we can see piles of their namesake food — and cleaning up dust may also alleviate allergies from pet dander. Beyond good housekeeping, ventilation can help keep unavoidable allergens from reaching high concentrations.

After you get rid of pests, you should do a thorough air duct cleaning to make sure the remnants of those critters are not lingering in the air long after they are gone.