Emergency Flood damage clean-up basics Part 3
Cleaning and Sterilizing the Home
.Professionals do not use Bleach in the clean up or the mold removal process!! Please try to get your hands on professional chemicals and solutions that are better and safer than you using Bleach. However, the governments websites still recommend the following...The recommended mixture of water to bleach is ten parts water to one part Bleach. Better yet use EPA registered anti-microbial.
Deciding What to Salvage and Tips on Reconditioning
Save valuable and sentimental things first. Remember they are only things. You still have your health and Jehovah, don’t stress on the temporary situation, nothing can happen that God can’t reverse.
If things got wet with clean water, (roof leak) they are more likely to be saved, if they get wet from rising water (floods) the water is so contaminated that you need to treat it as if it was sewage water.
Evaluating appliance damage is a high priority after a flood. Have a service person check flooded appliances before you attempt operation or invest a lot of time in clean-up.
Deciding which furniture to save may be a more personal issue, especially if you have antiques and other pieces with sentimental value. Keep in mind that you don't need to repair all pieces of salvageable furniture immediately. You can clean, dry and store them in a warm, well-ventilated place until you have time to deal with them.
Three bucket cleaning system
1. Pump sprayer contains detergent (do not use
Sprayer for bleach)
2. Rinse bucket ~ should be changed frequently
3. Squeeze wringer bucket for dirty water
4. 32 oz mop head ~ clean or replace frequently
Many items can only be saved by professionals using professional equipment, and processes, such as upholstered furniture, etc
Before you enter a flooded basement, take time to:
For safety reasons, do not use an electric pump powered by your own electrical system. Instead, use a gas-powered pump or one connected to an outside line. Fire departments in some communities may help with pumping services.
More damage may be done by pumping flooded basements too soon or too quickly. Water in the basement helps brace the walls against the extra pressure of water-logged soil outside. If water is pumped out too soon, walls may be pushed in or floors pushed up. To help prevent this kind of structural damage:
After water has been pumped from the basement, shovel out the mud and debris while it is still moist. Hose down walls to remove as much silt as possible before it dries. Scrub the walls and floor with a detergent. Floors and walls may need sanitizing, particularly if sewage has entered the basement. Scrub walls and floors with a disinfecting solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
Pump out the water, remove the debris, remove the vapor barrier set a fan to suck out and let dry for one or two weeks, then install new vapor barrier. (Very important or your house will never dry, NEVER)
The forgoing series is a Public Service provided by
Lee Ramey of Mold and Mildew Solutions, IICRC Master Cleaner, Master Restoration Tech, Certified Mold Remediator, & Council Certified Indoor Environmentalist. He is a 34 year veteran of dealing with wet and flooded homes.
Mold and Mildew Solutions llc, 908 13th St No. Birmingham Al 35203
205-252-5326 and email@example.com
The forgoing is a concise amalgamated summary of the guidelines and Standards that have be published by the IICRC, EPA, FEMA and OSHA. It also assumes that you are not hiring a professional remediation company. However, you can judge the quality of the contractor if you do hire one, as they should be following these principles at a minimum.
It is also based on 30 plus years of first-hand knowledge and industry practices. This is the basics so that you can get a safe home again. Flood waters contain many contaminants and should be considered as dangerous as sewage. Wet structures and contents that have been affected must be cleaned and sterilized before re-use.
Please do not cut any corners, your families future health can depend upon your handling this situation right the first time.
Insurance companies are not looking out for your best interests!! Do what will give YOU the healthiest outcome.
If You OR your friends have recently been flooded, here is some cleanup basics for your safety and your families Health.
Emergency Flood damage clean-up basics Part 1
Materials List (per project)
N95 or N100 respirator with exhaust valve
Half-face negative air respirator w/HEPA filters
Extra bags for vacuum cleaner
Heavy-duty water-proof gloves
Nonwoven polypropylene disposable coveralls
(w/attached hood and foot cover) tyvek)
Goggles or safety glasses with side shields
Cap with brim, hard hat if working under people or wet materials
Non-skid shoe covers
Personal cleanup station
Two 16 oz. eye wash bottles
First aid kit (OSHA-compliant for four workers)
Pump pressure sprayer
Case of bottled drinking water
Emergency phone number sheet
Plastic totes, milk crates for contents, etc.
magic markers for sorting, moving boxes,
plastic bags for clothes.
Heavy-duty trash bags for heavy material such as plaster
Two large heavy-duty garbage cans with casters
Roll of 10 ft. wide 6 mil poly
Staples for staple gun
Rolls of duct tape
4-inch-wide blade scrapers
Cardboard boxes to store cleaned objects
Packing tape and Magic markers
Utility knife blades
Hundred watt light bulbs for reflector lamp
Box of disposable gloves
32 oz. mop heads
Non phosphate detergent (like Savogran® TSP)
(or) General cleaning detergent such as pine sol
Mildew-cide / anti- microbial EPA registered product like ShockWave, micro-ban or equivalent
If Professional Anti-microbial is not available, then use Household chlorine bleach (like Clorox® Regular-Bleach) ONLY IF YOU HAVE TO!!
Carpet cutter with extra blades
Front-end nipper (to pull nails)
Large crow bar
Cat ’s paws nail puller
Mop squeeze bucket
3- 5 gal. buckets (one as a rinse bucket, two as
mixing buckets for cleaners)
2 – 2.5 gal. pump sprayers for cleaners
Mop handle for 32 oz. mop head
Broom and dust-pan
Bright flashlights and headlamps
Tool belt and tool belt tools including hammer,
measuring tape, scratch awl, Phillips and flathead
screw drivers, carpenter’s pencil, and utility
Cross-cut hand saw
Brace and bits (where there is no electric)
Moisture meter (like Delmhorst® J-LITE
20 ft. extension ladder
8 ft. A-frame ladder
4 and 6-foot A-Frame ladder
Shop vacuum with HEPA
Shovels and Hoes
Dress Appropriately Before Entering
Before you enter a home that has been flooded, be sure to have the proper clothing, footwear, and safety items that may be needed.
Many people link poor indoor air quality to cigarette smoke, chemical pollutants, or the presence of mold or mildew. Although all of these airborne contaminants pose a serious threat to the overall quality of your home air, clutter can also negatively impact the quality of your indoor air.
How does clutter affect the quality of your home air?
Bottom line: cut down the clutter. Make a habit of getting rid of junk mail, old clothing, broken holiday decorations, and all other clutter on a routine basis. Don’t let these items accumulate inside of your home. Take old electronics to be recycled. Donate wearable clothing, children’s toys, and useable household goods to charity. Take time, weekly, to clear out any clutter from your kitchen, family room, and bedrooms.
Even if you relegate your clutter to the garage and basement of your home, you are still allowing pollutants and allergens to accumulate. These contaminants can still make their way into your living spaces through your ventilation system and the airflow of your home. Clear the clutter and enjoy breathing healthier indoor air!
IF YOU NEED INDOOR AIR QUALITY TESTING OR SOLUTIONS. CALL
MOLD & Mildew Solutions -
ASK THE MILDUDE
Does it matter what kind of mold is found in my home? Sometimes Yes and sometimes No. The mold remediation process would be the same. Some questions that can be answered by Mold testing are; Does the Doctor need to know what my body is exposed to? Was the mold found more likely settled spores that came from outside, or from a remediation project that was not well protected? Are these type molds associated with water damages? Associated with indoor plants? Tracked in on the animal’s paws? Some molds will produce mycotoxins (poisonous toxins). Not all molds produce mycotoxins all the time. It is important to know that mold spores do not have to be alive to be dangerous. Dead and dormant mold can be just as toxic as viable (or live) spores and can affect different individuals in different ways. Adverse reactions from dead mold or mold spores can still happen.
Are there any circumstances where people should vacate a home or their building because of mold? Sometimes Yes. Some have chosen to go on a trip or stay at another location for a few days, to see if they start feeling better. These decisions must be made individually. If you believe you are ill because of exposure to mold in a building, you should consult your physician to decide if it is necessary to vacate your home.
Announcement: Lee Ramey’s New Mold Book!
After many months of work culminated in Lee Ramey’s new paperback book now on Amazon. The title is Mold (Does Not Have To Be) A Scary Subject.
Words from the author himself: “I thought there was a real need for a book like this”, says Lee, "So many of the books that I have read over the years was for professionals using much jargon, that didn’t mean much to the average person. Other books talked about how to fight insurance companies, or how to use herbs or other medical remedies to feel better. All these have a place, but I did not see a simple straightforward answer to the question,
‘What happens now that I’ve found mold in my house?'"
“I tried to write it in such a way that you can enjoy it as a straight read through in a chronological order of most mold situations. But you can skip directly to a chapter that you have the most questions about if need be.”
“It is 66 Pages long with graphics and pictures, it is an easy read, and will take a little over an hour to read it through. If you follow all the endnotes and links in the back that support my thoughts, then you need to set aside a day or two. It is scientifically accurate, it was even technically reviewed by a retired research Scientist, Professor that specialized in the immunological aspects of the lungs.”
You can find it on Amazon.com by searching Mold book Ramey or here is the direct link: https://goo.gl/kuqdVL
Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like on my iPhone.
ASK THE MILDUDE!
Who is at particular risk from mold exposure? High levels of molds are not healthy for anyone inside of a building. People often at higher risk even at low levels are infants, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems (HIV infection, liver disease, or those undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy), pregnant women, and individuals with existing respiratory conditions, such as allergies, multiple chemical sensitivities, and asthma, pneumonia, or bronchitis.
Healthy, active people are less likely to have adverse reactions at first. However, extended exposure to molds can be a health risk to anyone. If you have concerns about your health, you should consult a physician for advice.
Does mold affect everyone the same way? No. Some individuals have a genetic makeup that puts them at risk for developing allergies to mold. People who have an allergy to mold, especially if they also have asthma, can become ill from exposure to even a small amount of mold. Individuals also seem to be quite different in their response to exposure to the toxic chemicals that some molds release. These differences make it difficult to say for sure what the safe limit is for mold exposure.
At Mold and Mildew Solutions LLC, we are often asked our professional opinion about a wide variety of issues about moisture and mold in the home. Here are some of the questions we get asked most often, along with our tested answers and guidance.
Particles 101: (Warning NERD ALERT!) A micron is a millionth of a meter. What does that mean? Particles on furniture and those in a shaft of light are approximately 50 microns or larger. Most harmful particles are 3 microns or fewer in size. Particles of 1 micron or less adhere to surfaces by molecular adhesion. (Translation: Small junk floating in the air are too small to see) Scrubbing is generally the only way to remove them. Larger particles tend to settle out of the atmosphere due to weight. Smaller, "respirable" particles remain virtually suspended in the air until breathed in. Approximately 98-99% of all particles by count are in the size range of 5 microns or less. These particles tend to remain in suspension or settle out so slowly that only quality electronic air cleaners and HEPA air cleaners are effective in removing these particles.
An average person breathes in about 16,000 quarts of air per day. Each quart contains some 70,000 visible and invisible particles. That's over a billion particles per day that our lungs must filter out! An average human red blood cell is approximately 5 microns in diameter. The average diameter of human hair is roughly 0.0035 inches in diameter, equivalent to 75 microns.
Is it possible to completely eliminate mold from the inside of a home or office building? The Mildude’s short answer to that question would be, NO. However, though, the answer depends upon what is meant by “completely eliminate mold.” To keep a building completely free of mold spores requires very efficient air filtration and is only accomplished in special situations like hospital operating rooms and manufacturing “clean rooms.” Remember, mold spores are in the outside air virtually all the time and some of them will get inside buildings.
However, it is possible to keep mold from growing inside a building. Moisture control is the key to controlling mold in interior spaces. Air filtration can contribute to lowering mold spores in the air but is secondary to moisture control.
WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING AN AIR PURIFIER
BEFORE BUYING AN AIR PURIFIER
As people start to pay closer attention to air pollution and the quality of the air they breathe and, air purifiers have become one of the most effective answers to getting rid of the pollutants in our homes. The benefits of using an air purifier can be felt as soon as you start using it.
One of the many benefits is the assurance that air pollutants are being removed from the air in your home. The levels of pollutants (like airborne particles, mold spores, chemicals, gases, and volatile organic compounds) have been found to be higher inside the home than outside.
Air purifier ensures you only breathe clean and fresh air whenever you are at home. It is especially important for babies and people with symptoms of asthma or other health issues. This is so because the effects of poor air quality come in different degrees, depending on the person’s age and health status.
So, if you want to buy an air purifier, what are the factors you should pay attention to?
The Capacity of The Air Purifier
One of the most important things you must quickly check out when buying an air purifier is its cleaning capacity. This is what gives you a sign of the maximum size of a room in which the purifier will operate optimally. It is usually measured in square or cubic meters, showing the surface or the volume of the room respectively.
Any room bigger than that will compromise the result you will get. To ensure you get the best result, ensure that the maximum size of the air purifier you purchase is at least slightly greater than the size of the room in which you are planning on using it.
The Power of The Air Purifier
This is like the capacity of the purifier, but not the same. The power covers how quickly it can clean the air of a room whose maximum size has been indicated when stating the capacity of the purifier.
It is measured in Air Changes Per Hour(ACH), literally how frequently it can exchange the air in the room in one hour. For someone suffering from asthma or some allergies, it is recommended to go for a purifier with a higher ACH rating.
Filters and Replacements
The type of filter that comes with your air purifier will determine the quality of the air it will produce after filtering the pollutants. For air purifiers, the gold standard is the HEPA filter. This stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air and can remove up to 99% of dust particles from the air we breathe in, this is how you can always have your air as fresh as you can.
Good Quality models have options such as washable pre-filters, Zeolite, or carbon granules to absorb VOC odors.
One other thing to find out is the cost of the filters. You see, just like any filter, after being used for some time, it won’t work as it did while new. So, it will have to be replaced. Find out the cost of the filter and how often you will have to change it.
One annoying problem a few air purifiers have is their noise. It can be hard to concentrate when the noise is too loud, even harder if you want to sleep at night. (However, some prefer the steady sound for sleeping.)
So, checking out the noise level of the purifier is important. While some air purifiers make much noise, others can be very quiet. The best way to find out the level is to ask for a trial demonstration of the purifier before making the purchase.
This, for many people, is perhaps the most important factor of all. Since air purifiers must rely on energy to run and have to be run continuously, they can quickly add up and reflect hugely on the energy bill. Consider this before buying one.
We are the local dealers for Austin Air Machines. This always impressed me when I was working with my clients, I bought one for myself and eventually reached out to become a dealer. In my mind they are the best value out there when you look at the quality of the American made machine, warrantee, and their durability. Some of our customers have had theirs for over 15 years!
In a case where there is a substantial mold growth in the house, air purifiers will not be enough to handle those. In such a case, what you need is a professional mold removal company to get rid of it and restore your home into its clean state. This is what we at Mold and Mildew Solutions LLC are dedicated to, and we will love to help you.
Contact us today at:
Mold and Mildew Solutions LLC
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MOLD SAMPLING
Does your home have mold? Short answer is YES, because it is EVERYWHERE!! Does your home have an ELEVATED amount of mold?? Ah Ha! that my friend is a different question. Mold Sampling is a great tool, but it is not the only or even the best to answer the question. A thorough professional inspection is the better place to start, because if you see Visible Suspect Mold, then chances are you need spend the money on the cure.
There are plenty of reasons to do mold sampling, and this blog cannot address them all, suffice it to say, when you call us, we will truthfully tell you if mold sampling is truly needed and what questions that would answer.
All of us already have two effective mold detectors: our eyes and our noses. If black or green discoloration is noticed that is fuzzy in appearance and is in a location that is damp or had been damp, it is almost certainly mold. It is Visible Suspect Mold) If a building smells musty, there probably is mold somewhere; the mold may be on boxes stored in a basement or in walls or in the crawl space. If you want to find mold, look for the presence of water or a location where water was likely to have been Mold is so small you cannot see it. So, the only accurate way to what is floating in the air do Air Sampling. In a case where there are patches of mold or you are not sure, then swab or tape lift sampling what you need to do. This is not a DIY project, you need to get the right professionals to sample your home for mold.
While there are inspectors who claim that they can visually inspect for mold without taking any form of samples for analysis, understand mold frequently hides in places where they can’t be found easily – places like behind the dishwasher, in the attic, in the crawl space under the house, and in the wall behind a leaky toilet.
Mold sampling is done for several reasons. One is to determine if there are toxic mold particles in a particular environment which can cause different irritations and allergies in certain individuals. (Your doctor may request this) Another reason is to determine the location of the source of the organisms. Another necessary use of sampling is to see if the contamination you see has cross contaminated other parts of the house. Also, to see if an effective remediation has to be carried out.
The truth is that we are always surrounded by a lot of these mold spores and organisms. However, problem arises when the level becomes higher than should be normally expected. By sampling, we can scientifically establish how high the level is, and take the necessary measures.
You need to know is whether mold is seen, and what kind, and the quantity, when the material is examined under the microscope.
Word of Caution:
Air sampling was developed to help identify the location of a hidden reservoir of mold. If the source of mold is already identified, air sampling does not provide additional meaningful information. Furthermore, safe, or toxic levels of airborne mold have not been established. An individual air sample for mold provides a “snapshot” of what was in the air during the few minutes of sampling. The results may not be indicative of the amount of mold that is in the air during most of the day.
Air sampling for mold should be done either to obtain an answer to a question that cannot be answered without the air sampling or to obtain data as part of a research project. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists do not recommend routine air testing for mold as the only indicator or whether the area is moldy or not.
DIY kits petri dishes you see in the big box store or online are nearly worthless to help you figure out what is going on in your home!!! They are best for scaring you!! Why?
As mentioned earlier, there are millions mold spores in all areas of our life and some WILL fall in that petri dish and start to grow. Does that that tell you if that is normal or abnormal? Nope.
There are several professional sampling methods that can be used, but we’ll briefly look at two of them.
Surface sampling is the most basic way of sampling mold. If there is mold visible in your house, part of it can be taken as sample for analysis to determine if it is toxic or not. This sample can be taken using a number of techniques.
One method (Tape lift) is to stick a Microscope slide with sticky media to the surface and peel it off, taking some of it in the process and dropping the tape in a plastic bag to be analyzed. Another method is to swab the area with a Specialized, sterilized long Q-Tip look swab, and swab a defined area, (i.e. 1 square inch) and send them samples in the bag for inspection.
Air sampling is another way to check for mold problems. It answers different questions. Because mold is not always visible to the eyes, air sampling allows the inspector to take samples and detect mold even in places the eyes can’t easily reach.
It also helps to reveal the amount of mold spores that are already airborne in the house. This is very effective because it is only when air volumes are sampled, and the results of surveys expressed in terms of volumetric measurements that scientific comparisons could be made, usually one square meter).
An effective way to carry this out is for the professional to take an air sample outside the home right in the open. Remember we said there are mold spores everywhere. By taking an outdoor air sample, you’ll be able to establish what you will take as your baseline, what the normal level of mold should be like in that area.
After this, the air inside the house will also be sampled. By comparing both the samples outdoors and the ones done indoors, we will know if the level of the mold indoors is normal or higher than the normal baseline. If the latter is the case, the next step is to solve the problem early.
At Mold and Mildew Solutions LLC, we know how important it is to get rid of mold while its effects haven’t become so damaging. That is why we use advanced equipment to take the most accurate samples in your home. We look forward to working with you.
If you are not in our service area, and you are an adamant Do It Yourselfer; Call Me at the office and I will share the only Home Mold test kit that I recommend. It more closely follows the methodology that IEP’s use. I sometime recommend it to those that are not on my service area and It helps them get a sense of what may be going on. You do have to follow the directions to a tee, if you want accurate results. They even have staff that can direct you to a professional if you need one.
Contact us today at:
Mold and Mildew Solutions LLC
TESTING YOUR HOUSE FOR MOLDS
Does your house have molds?
Are you feeling a bit ill? Before you dismiss it as common cold, it may interest you to know that many cold-like symptoms we show have now been found out to be caused by various kinds mold at home. For the small size mold, when we breathe in its airborne spores and it finds its way deep into our lungs, it can bring about various damaging effects. Many Mold types such as Stachybotrys (known to the media as “Black Mold”) can give off gases (Mycotoxins) which even in small does can trigger a reaction from a sensitized person or affect nearly everyone in larger doses.
The big issue here is that, it is difficult to suspect these symptoms to be caused by molds. Because molds are also usually hiding in places that are tough to get to, it can be difficult to find. There are those who can detect the odor by smell, but most of us don’t, until the molds have grown and spread to a dangerous level.
Therefore, is it important for you to run a test on your home and get a mold lab report? Mold Inspection and possible testing is now considered an important safety measure that helps you to accurately find out how pure the air you and the rest of your family breathe at home is.
By inspecting for and testing for molds in your home we can identify the growth and spread of mold in your home and hopefully swing in before the illnesses start taking over. This is becoming more popular because numbers of people with one mold allergy or another is now increasing.
Most families that are suffering from the toxicity caused by molds usually don’t know molds are the culprit. It is only when various diseases sets in and things start getting out of hand that an alarm is raised. As you already know, prevention is better than cure.
By the way, when we mention mold report, what we are referring to is the report of the mold situation of your home that you get when you consult a certified mold inspection company to help you check your home out.
Some people prefer to ignore this option and opt for home mold testing kits. You will often see them being advertised and sold on TV and the internet. They are simple to use and less expensive. They can usually be bought at rates less than $100. When you buy one, you would get the necessary instructions on the steps you should follow when using it. The best thing they do is scare you.
If you detect a mold problem, some decide to then call a random mold removal company (most people choose the cheapest). However, we do not recommend this option. This is because of how inaccurate and misleading home mold testing kits can be. For example, they can easily give false positive report.
If you take one of the DIY home mold test kits into a clean house, you will still get fungi to grow in the petri dish collection media. Remember there are molds everywhere. Microbial mold spores are airborne. So, they can be found literally everywhere.
So, whether the house is clean or not, there would still be some mold spores growing in it. The level could be different, but they are still there, no matter what. If these kits pick any up, a false positive will be generated.
Instead of wasting money while trying to save some, the advisable thing to do is to call up a qualified professional to check your home out. The result you will get will give you a truer picture of the mold situation of your home and give you a more educated option of what needs to be done next.
When a certified mold inspector comes into your home for checking, they come with more than just a simple instrument. They will come in with more sophisticated instruments that will help you detect, not just the presence, but also the level of spores in the air and possible sources, and more important, what needs to be done to prevent re-occurrence.
You will quickly get an indication of how bad your mold problem is, and you can know what you are up against, so that the cleanup can get started. With these lab results and inspectors observations and readings, you can get an accurate mold report from the readings and samples taken.
The samples taken are sent to the laboratory to quickly get you a mold lab report. The inspector, who has also had the chance to see your house in person, will help you interpret the report. The mold report is an important tool that helps the inspector to know what must be done about the mold problem in your house. That is where the solution lies.
Remember that black mold, mildew, and many different types of fungi can be found everywhere. Seeing them in your yard isn’t uncommon. They are also inside the home. The thing that should concern you the most is how you can keep the mold levels in your home down to the barest minimum possible.
It is recommended to clean up any mold problem you find in your home as soon as you detect it. Don’t let it stick around. Also, remember if you see visible suspect mold, there is probably more. The safety of your family is paramount and should not be taken lightly.
The hidden danger is living in a home that has elevated levels of mold and fungi indoors. Look out for places with moisture. That is where they usually breed and thrive. One thing to remember is if the moisture level is well controlled, you would have reduced their chances of mold breeding in your home.
Look out for water leakages around the home. Monthly inspection of water damage is important for every homeowner. All your appliances and fixtures that use water must be checked regularly. With this routine check, you will greatly reduce any form of microbial growth in your home.
When you bring in a professional to inspect and test your home, you will have reduced the damage mold could have on your house, and the health of your family. When testing your home, you can rely upon us to conduct intensive tests and get you an accurate result. We look forward to hearing from you.
Contact us today at:Mold and Mildew Solutions LLC