Encapsulation: Your Solution to Crawlspace Humidity
Crawlspace humidity is a common problem.
Is there a crawlspace under your home? Whether it's full of random storage items or left empty during the year, it's also part of your home that plays an important role in supporting the structure of your home. Sadly, crawlspace humidity is a common problem that exposes the foundation to mold and rot unless you take preventative measures.
What Benefits To Expect
Encapsulation is an effective method of protecting the open area below your home. Crawlspace humidity creates an inviting environment for mold but sealing the space or installing a vapor barrier of polyethylene keeps moisture out. While many Washington, NC, homeowners still haven't heard of this protective step, there are several benefits:
- This airtight barrier is also resistant to insect infestations and other pest-related problems.
- Encapsulation may reduce the amount of energy by almost 20 percent.
- The sealed space improves your ability to maintain temperatures in your home, effectively reducing your utility bills.
- Your property value may increase.
- Combine this step with a dehumidifier and the right amount of ventilation to avoid expensive repairs related to moisture and mildew.
With the heavy-duty barrier in place, you can feel confident that your home is protected against expensive water damage.
How To Tell You Need Services
How do you know if your Washington, NC, home needs this type of protection? There are several signs that the empty space below your home is causing trouble:
- Musty smells from the empty space
- Floors that feel squishy underfoot
- Constant pest problems you can't control
- High utility costs in spite of home improvements
- Visible evidence of moisture around windows or on ductwork
As humidity builds up below your home, the effects are easily recognized. It's best to take action before you need to call in water damage repair experts.
When To Get Started
Crawlspace humidity is a significant cause of home damage. Adding a polyethylene barrier prevents damage to the foundation and the rest of the home. If you haven't considered this solution, now is the time to give it some thought.
Tips for Cleaning Dryer Lint
Cleaning the dryer lint on a frequent basis is the best way to prevent a lint fire.
Having a washer and dryer in your home is convenient, but improper maintenance can pose a unique fire threat. To prevent a lint fire in your home in Washington, NC, you need to keep the combustible material away from heating elements. The best way to do this is to clean the lint out of the dryer on a frequent basis.
When to Clean the Dryer Lint
After Each Use
Every time you use your dryer, lint builds up on the removable screen. To prevent fire damage, you need to remove the lint at the end of every dry cycle. There are several ways to do this:
- Gather lint by hand
- Brush lint off screen with cleaning brush
- Vacuum lint off screen with hose attachment
If you are already using the vacuum hose to remove lint from the screen, go ahead and vacuum the inside area where the screen belongs before replacing it. This removes any lint that fell away when you were pulling the screen out. It's also a good idea to wash the screen with warm water occasionally, especially if you use fabric softener, as it can build up and clog the spaces that allow air to flow through.
Every Six Months
Even if you are diligent to clean the screen after every use, a lint fire could still happen if too much builds up in the exhaust hose or the machine itself. Fire restoration specialists recommend that you clean your dryer thoroughly every six months. After unplugging the machine, detach the exhaust hose from the wall and vacuum it out. Then remove the back panel of the machine and vacuum the accumulated lint out of its interior. Not only does this help prevent a dryer fire, it also helps your machine perform better.
Clothes create lint as they dry, and it's important to keep it away from the heating elements in the dryer. Regular maintenance can help prevent a lint fire and keep your dryer running well.
Troubleshooting a Commercial Irrigation System
Inspect your commercial irrigation system routinely.
Outdoor irrigation system problems can cause flooding. If the problems are allowed to continue, that flooding can eventually reach your business. It can get bad enough to push water under and into your building, causing you to have to call a water damage repair company in Washington, NC. It is best to focus on troubleshooting your sprinkler system before it causes a major problem.
3 Ways to Troubleshoot a Commercial Irrigation System
1. Broken Sprinkler Heads
Broken sprinkler heads are a common problem with sprinklers. A broken head may:
- Not turn on
- Gush water
- Dribble water
- Spray erratically
If your sprinklers are doing any of these things, have them replaced as soon as you see any damage. A malfunctioning head can cause water to flood your grounds and building. A visual inspection of your system may be necessary to find this particular problem.
2. Low Water Pressure
Gauging just the right amount of water pressure may be difficult, but extremely low water pressure is indicative of a serious problem with your system. In some cases, reduced water pressure is caused by a leak between the mainline and the sprinkler heads. To find out if you have a leak, check for spongey ground between the site of low pressure and the main irrigation system valve.
3. Stem Leakage
Another major indicator of irrigation problems is leaking around the valve stems. Not only can this flood your business, but it can also be surprisingly hard to detect. Most valve stems start by dripping. This can go unnoticed for months if you don't inspect them regularly. Unfortunately, these leaks are often only discovered when they get bad enough to flood your business and cause damage.
Most irrigation system problems can be easy to diagnose by visual inspection. You should inspect your system routinely to make sure that it is not going to cause a flood. It is easier to find and fix the problem early instead of waiting until your property is flooded.
How To Respond to Roof Damage
Severe storms can lead to roof damage.
If your Washington, NC, home has suffered roof damage because of a severe storm, you may wonder what the next step is. Once you take steps to repair damage, how can you prevent further damage from happening? Before you prop a ladder against your home, it's best to contact roof repair and mitigation professionals to ensure you're on the right track.
Do you need mitigation services?
Mitigation steps are some of the most important you can take. This is because the goal of mitigation is to prevent existing damage from becoming worse as well as avoiding future damage if possible. How do you know if you need mitigation services?
- Shingles are missing
- Roofing materials are cracked
- There are holes in the roof
When you first notice damage, you can use tarps and boards to provide a temporary solution. However, climbing onto a wet or damaged roof can be dangerous. Be sure to think logically before putting your health at risk.
What can you expect during roof repair services?
When roof repair professionals arrive to address roof damage, they'll probably take a few steps right away:
- Conduct a thorough inspection of water and wind damage.
- Put up temporary tarps and boards to keep more water and debris out of your home.
- Conduct an inspection of damage from within your home.
- Prepare a plan for completing cleanup, restoration, and mitigation.
Although professionals may be ready to complete the bulk of the work, there may be tasks you can do as well. Technicians may provide suggestions for the work you can do as well as steps you can take to avoid damage in the future. Your insurance provider may be another good source of clean up and prevention advice.
A quick response is the best way to prevent further damage and to keep costs as low as possible. When your home has suffered from roof damage, act immediately to get mitigation and repairs moving.
Mold Coverage for Your Home
Your homeowners insurance is designed to protect you from having to pay out of pocket for sudden disasters that occur in your home in Washington, NC. The busted pipe and subsequent water damage from a few weeks ago may have been resolved, but the telltale odor and the positive mold test indicate that you haven't reached the end of that story yet. Does your policy cover the cleanup?
Residential Mold Coverage
Most basic policies only cover the services of mold mitigation experts if the growth was the direct result of a covered peril. There are many examples of circumstances in which this can occur:
- Roof leak that causes growth before it can be fixed
- Sink that leaks into the cabinet below where mold can thrive
- Supply line rupture behind refrigerator that causes mold damage to the wall behind it
Some policies even have clauses that detail partial mold coverage. For example, they may pay for the cleanup services but not for the mold test or restoration. The policy you've chosen may cover mold but only up to a certain dollar amount. Your agent can clarify exactly what your policy covers if you discover a mold problem in your home.
Some homeowners find it prudent to purchase additional mold insurance. This is a particularly smart move if you live in a very humid area where mold issues are more prevalent. If you own an older home, it may have been built with materials that are naturally more prone to fungus growth. In this case, extra coverage or a mold endorsement may be worth considering. Getting this additional protection may cost several hundred dollars more a year, but if you end up needing to file a claim, it can save you a lot of money, too.
If a mold test reveals that you need remediation, your insurance policy may not cover the whole cost. It's important to know how well your current policy covers the repairs you need.
Difference between Blackwater and Greywater
Lear about the difference between black and greywater.
Every single day we use water, it is the most important thing for man and all living things to survive. Most water is collected as wastewater. Our daily activities and chores that involve using water, produce wastewater which is collected in tanks. Wastewater has two categories, blackwater and greywater. These two different kinds of wastewater must be kept in separate tanks because they each have different levels of contamination and are treated differently.
2 Different Categories of Wastewater
Blackwater is wastewater from toilets and bathrooms that include fecal matter and urine. Also known as sewage or brown water, it can carry disease causing bacteria that are harmful to anyone who encounters it. Blackwater can also be referred to as floodwater that generally comes from overflowing bodies of water as a result of heavy rain, hurricanes, tsunamis or typhoons that combine with sewage water that can be overloaded with bacteria. Recycled blackwater is only used as fertilizer, it must be processed and decomposed accurately to destroy the bacteria.
Greywater is wastewater that comes from sinks, washing machines, and bathtubs. It doesn’t have as many contaminants as blackwater and is easier to treat. Recycled greywater can ne used for irrigation and in constructed wetlands. If the greywater is from the sink, food particles from it can help nourish plants. Recycled greywater is very useful when it comes to times of drought when water is scarce.
Never drink grey water or blackwater, if you have an issue with either one, you need to address it and fix it, right away. If greywater goes untreated, it can turn to black water within 48 to 72 hours.
How To Check Your Business After a Fire
Commercial Fire Damage
After a fire, but before fire restoration can begin, you will need to check your business and assess the damage. Getting a clear assessment is vital before you can begin to rebuild.
4 Steps to Check and Asses Your Business After a Fire
1. Check the Exterior and Interior
Checking the inside and outside of the building is an important first step. Fire can damage key support structures making it extremely dangerous to enter. After the fire department is finished, make sure you check for:
- Foundation and wall cracks
- Damaged power, gas and water lines
- Critters such as snakes, spiders and rodents
- Roof or foundation sag
- Damage to chimneys or stairs
If you see any of these things, call your fire insurance company immediately. They might be able to help.
2. Check Major Systems
You also need to make sure that major systems inside your business are working. The first thing you need to check is whether the power is on or can be turned on. If you are unsure or see sparks, call a qualified electrician.
Then you should check your plumbing. If there are no obvious leaks, you will still need to do a pressure test to make sure that nothing in the walls is leaking. Your pipes are can be damaged by both firefighters and fire restoration.
You should also check out major machinery for water damage and malfunctions. Make sure that you do this safely, as water from the fire department can cause major damage.
3. Begin Cleaning
This is a long and difficult process, and most often requires a professional. Although you can attempt to clean things yourself, many business insurance companies prefer that you hire a professional fire remediation company in your Washington, NC to handle the restoration.
4. Make a List
Keeping a running list can help you file your claim faster. Many people make the mistake of not making a complete list of inventory, equipment and damage. This not only will help you file your claim, but it can also help you make decisions on smoke cleaning and fire remediation.
Recovering after a fire may seem impossible, but it will go much more smoothly with the proper fire restoration procedure. Remember to consult with your insurance company and contact professionals when necessary.
Be Prepared for Freezing Temperatures & Frozen Precipitation
Frozen pipes can cause severe water damage
Although the weather has been warm, we still have a lot of cold weather ahead of us. Eastern North Carolina still has several months where the temperatures will most definitely go below freezing. Water is definitely a necessity, but frozen water can cause severe damage to homes and businesses. Water is unique in that it expands as it freezes, thus causing plastic and metal to break.
Common issues with pipes that are prone to freeze are:
- Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas such as crawl spaces, basements, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
- Pipes that run against exterior walls and have little or no insulation
- Pipes exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.
Several Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes
- Try keeping your thermostat at the same temperature day and night.
- Consider setting your temperature at 55* if you are going to be away from your home during a cold snap.
- If you have supply lines in your garage, keep the doors closed.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around your plumbing if they are prone to freeze
- Let cold water drip from faucets which have exposed pipes.
We hope these tips will help you avoid frozen pipes. However, if you notice damage from frozen temperatures as things begin to thaw out – react quickly and call SERVPRO of Bath. Remember, frozen pipes can quickly cause a lot of damage to your property. If and when this happens, give us a call, we’re here 24/7 and can make it, "Like it never even happened."®
How to Spot Water Damage in your Home
Check your floors for water damage.
One thing most homeowners hate is water damage. If left untreated, water damage can impact your home's structure and even create other complications, such as mold that can cause health effects, to you and your young children.
4 Ways to Detect Water Damage
Here is a list of how to detect water damage in your home:
- Check your floors. For tile and wood flooring check for cracked or warped flooring. For carpet be on the lookout for damp and soft spots, gradual rises, and the smell of mold.
- Inspect the Outside. When checking the exterior of your home look for pools of standing water which indicate poor yard drainage. Leaky rain gutters or gutters that don't transport water far enough away from the house. Roof water damage usually consists of cracked, curled, or missing shingles and pools of water.
- Mold. You can't solely depend on actually seeing mold to know you have it. Oftentimes, you can smell it as well. When water stagnates, mold and bacteria can grow, which produces an unpleasant, musty smell.
- Look for Stains. Water stains on the ceiling, walls, or in your bathroom around the bathtub and sink are the most common signs of water damage. When paint starts peeling off the walls it could be a sign of loose water within your wall spaces. Also, areas in the wall and ceiling that seem swollen and soft to the touch are another sign of water trouble.
If you read this and realize you have any of the signs for water damage, SERVPRO of Bath can help. It's better to get the problem taken care of sooner than later, before damage potentially becomes worse.
Faster to your Water Damage Event
SERVPRO of Bath provides 24 hour fire and water damage restoration service in your area.
Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Bath provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.
Faster To Any Size Disaster
Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more. SERVPRO of Bath arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.
Water Damage Timeline
- Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
- Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
- Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
- Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.
Hours 1 - 24:
- Drywall begins to swell and break down.
- Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
- Furniture begins to swell and crack.
- Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
- A musty odor appears.
48 Hours to 1 Week:
- Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
- Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
- Metal begins to rust and corrode.
- Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
- Paint begins to blister.
- Wood flooring swells and warps.
- Serious biohazard contamination is possible.
More Than 1 Week:
- Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
- Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.
About SERVPRO of Bath
SERVPRO of Bath specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property