7 Tips for Mold Prevention

mold prevention services

Mold is not only a danger to one’s home but to their health as well. It’s important for all homeowners to take steps to prevent mold, as leaving it unaddressed can lead to serious problems. Below are some simple mold prevention tips homeowners can use to protect their homes.

Immediately Remove Water

Mold grows when there is moisture, meaning it’s important to address wet areas as soon as possible. Whether this is a small puddle in the basement, wet carpet from a window left open, or a leaky pipe, homeowners should work to dry up the water quickly. Other areas to watch for are wet clothes in the washing machine or the floor after a shower. Any amount of moisture left alone for too long can lead to mold.

Improve Ventilation

Good ventilation can help prevent mold. Some key areas to focus on are the bathroom and kitchen, as both can produce steam. If possible, homeowners should install ventilation fans in both rooms to push the steam outside. Another option is opening windows when cooking or showering, allowing some of the steam to escape outside.

Clear the Air Vents

Air vents play a major role in helping to keep a home ventilated properly. However, over time, these vents can become clogged. Homeowners should take some time to make sure there is nothing blocking the vents, such as furniture or other belongings. They should then look to remove dust or other debris by cleaning their vents for better efficiency.

Monitor Humidity Levels

Humidity is a common cause of mold when left untreated. A simple home humidity monitor can tell homeowners about the level of moisture within the home and help them with mold prevention. Then, if they notice that the humidity is too high, they can turn on a dehumidifier to remove some of the moisture from the air.

Take Care of the Roof

When not taken care of properly, roofs can allow water to seep into the home and eventually cause mold. One common reason for this is clogged gutters, which lead to water backing up and seeping into the house. Taking time to clean the gutters and inspect the roof for damage can help prevent water from getting inside and causing damage.

Properly Seal the Home

If the home uses an air conditioning unit in the summer, it’s important that homeowners properly seal the home. This means ensuring they closed the windows and doors completely, along with other tasks like installing door sweeps on all exterior doors. By properly sealing the home, homeowners help to keep the cool, dry air inside and the warm, humid air outside.

Prevent Seeping Water

Finally, homeowners should look to prevent seeping water in the lowest level of their homes. For some, this is a basement, for others a crawl space. If the homeowner notices small puddles on these floors, there are a few ways they can address the situation. For example, they could install a sump pump or cover the floor with a vapor barrier.

Address Mold Problems in Virginia Today

If Virginia homeowners are experiencing mold problems in their homes, Steamatic is here to help. Steamatic can quickly spot signs of mold and implement mold prevention solutions to address them. To get started, please contact Steamatic today and schedule a consultation.

How To Remove a Smoky Odor From Your House

smoky odor removal

No one wants to live with a smoky odor in their home. Unfortunately, this is often one of the harder smells to eliminate. Here are some tips to try to remove a smoky smell from the home.

Air Out the Space

One of the simplest things to try to remove a smoky odor is to air out the space. This means opening up some windows and allowing fresh air to circulate through the room. This is a particularly useful strategy if the smoke smell is relatively new and hasn’t settled into any furniture yet. Allow the room to air out for as long as possible and even consider setting up some oscillating fans to improve the airflow. If no difference is noticed after a few days, try some of the other methods on this list.

Try Some Basic Home Products

There are many products found at home or at a grocery store that can help with a smoky odor. For example, use baking soda to absorb smoky smells in an area. Try setting up a few small bowls of baking soda around the room. Then apply a sprinkling of baking soda to any rugs or carpeting. Finally, if there’s furniture with upholstery in the area, sprinkle some baking soda there too. Let everything sit for a few hours, then vacuum it up and see if the smell remains.

Another product to try is white vinegar. As with the baking soda, set up some small stations around the room or apply a small amount to affected areas. Also, try heating up the vinegar into a steam and allowing the steam to circulate through the house. 

Use a Steam Cleaner

Steam is another useful tool for removing a smoke smell. The heat breaks down oils that contain the smoke molecules and the water helps to wash them away. Rent or buy a steam cleaner and use it on furniture or walls. Just remember to keep the steam machine moving, as the hot water can damage some areas if left sitting for too long.

Change the Air Filters

An important part of removing odors from the home, including smoke odors, is replacing the air filters. HVAC systems work to remove pollutants in the air, but they can’t do this effectively if the air filters become clogged. It’s often a good idea to replace the air filters at least four times a year but if dealing with a persistent smoky smell, it may need to be done more often.

Hire a Professional Restoration Service

If all of the above tips don’t help with the smokey odor, then Steamatic in Virginia is here to help. Steamatic’s professional residential cleaning services include the best methods for eliminating a bad smoky smell in a short amount of time. To get started, please contact Steamatic today to schedule a consultation. Steamatic will visit the home, assess the situation, and begin work to remove the smoky smell right away.

Water Damage: What Are the Top Causes?

causes of water damage

Water damage represents one of the biggest threats to a home’s longevity and structural integrity. What makes it even more dangerous is that hidden leaks can start without homeowners even knowing it, with the damage mounting one drip at a time. The repair and renovation costs can be enormous. By understanding the common causes of water damage, homeowners and business owners can take steps to protect themselves from water damage to their residences and offices.

Extreme Weather

Storms don’t have to climb to the level of a hurricane to take a toll on a house or commercial building. Heavy rains can overwhelm even the most well-constructed roof. As roofs age, they can become even more vulnerable through undetectable cracks or gaps. Strong rains are often accompanied by strong winds, and the two factors together can cause significant water damage problems for homeowners.

Septic Tanks

Septic tanks are integral to treating household solid waste. If a septic system overflows, it can produce another area of vulnerability for water damage in a home. This can sometimes happen from excessive rain. However, if a septic system has defects or the installation was done poorly, homeowners can experience water damage. An overflowing septic tank can cause serious issues for your household and may require extensive cleaning and repairs.

Clogged Gutters

The inescapable elements of nature can also create water damage. Falling leaves, especially in autumn, can create clogs in gutters that prevent water from draining as the system intended. As the phrase goes, water finds its level. So as the water rises in the gutters, it seeks nooks, crannies, and cracks until it has nowhere else to go. As water collects, it begins to rot wood and other materials in the home.

Human Error

Unlikely as it may seem, one of the causes of water damage relates to simple forgetfulness or human error. Sometimes homeowners get distracted when filling kitchen sinks, bathtubs, or other receptacles, and they overflow. Depending on how much water escapes, this can damage floors and ruin carpets. If left too long, the damage can also lead to mold.

Frozen Pipes/Weakened Gutters

Winter weather can also lead to water damage. When bitterly cold temperatures cause pipes to freeze, the pipes expand and can split, requiring expensive plumbing repairs. Ice buildup on gutters is also a common cause of water damage. The weight of the ice can cause the gutters to separate from the house, displace shingles, or cause cracks at the roofline.

An estimated one of every five insurance claims in 2020 was related to an incidence of water damage. Given the frequency, vigilance is vital in preventing significant out-of-pocket expenses for costly repairs to roofs, gutters, basements, floors, and other parts of houses and businesses. It’s challenging to stay ahead of the problem since water damage can occur slowly in ways that you might not notice. If you need help with a restoration project, call or contact Steamatic online for a project estimate.

5 Most Common Types of Smoke Damage

types of smoke damage

Fire presents ongoing dangers for homeowners and business owners. Even with the highest level of protection, though, fires happen. 

The fire does not have to be significant to cause severe problems cleaning a home or business. Even the smallest of fires can cause smoke damage that needs repairs for proper health, safety, and aesthetics. In addition to fire, homes and businesses can also receive long-term damage from cigarette smoke. Learn more about the five most common types of smoke damage occurring from fires.

Dry Smoke

Fast-moving, high-temperature fires create an effect known to restoration experts as dry smoke. Fires fueled by paper or wood typically produce dry smoke. Damage from dry smoke is easier to clean since this smoke forms a light powder on surfaces. However, the challenge is that dry smoke can hide in cracks and other absorbent materials — although walls may look clean, you may still get the smell of smoke from them.

Wet Smoke

In contrast, wet smoke comes from slow-burning fires that give off a lower heat. Wet smoke damage is tough to clean and often leaves a smell long after cleaning your home or business. You will recognize wet smoke from a sticky residue attached to doorknobs and other objects throughout a structure. Wet smoke damage may be more common in commercial fires, as it usually stems from burning tires or different types of rubber.

Protein Smoke

A fire in the kitchen area of a home or business such as a restaurant leaves behind smoke damage. Protein smoke damage results from burning organic matter. This type of smoke damage often occurs following a kitchen grease fire. 

Protein smoke damage can also be cumulative from cooking meats, oils, and fats regularly prepared over an open flame. Protein smoke is not always visible immediately and causes surface discoloration.

Fuel and Oil Smoke

Fires fueled by petroleum-based products such as gas or oil pose a distinct challenge. These substances create petroleum smoke damage that can stick to many materials, leaving them with greasy stains. Furniture that comes into contact with fuel smoke is often not salvageable because of the discoloration and smell. 

Cleaning fuel smoke damage is particularly challenging, given that the residue is thick. Restoration experts say cleaning usually requires a specific solvent. Fuel smoke doesn’t necessarily always need fire as its source — it can sometimes result from a furnace malfunction.

Cigarette Smoke

Long-term smoking in a home can also lead to damage that requires remediation, especially when individuals intend to sell a home. Stale cigarette smoke can permeate into walls and countertops and require professional smoke remediation. Clearing the air inside a structure requires special equipment, including a professional air-mover, to successfully eliminate odors.

The best way to avoid smoke damage is to focus on fire prevention. Keeping a home or business safe takes constant attention, but it is worth the effort. Smoke damage can seriously damage residential and commercial properties and make them uninhabitable. If a fire occurs, contact restoration experts to help remediate the impact.