Recent Posts

New Jersey Rules Regarding Mold in Rental Properties

5/11/2018 (Permalink)

Source: www.nolo.com

By 

Here's what New Jersey landlords (and tenants) need to know about mold and the law.

Every landlord should take mold seriously. A top environmental hazard, mold thrives in warm, damp places, and often grows quickly in basements, attics, and other parts of buildings with poor ventilation and humidity problems. Although mold is often associated with buildings in wet climates, no rental property is immune from a mold outbreak, as one can occur following an unattended spill, faulty plumbing, or even a misdirected lawn sprinkler.

What Happens After a Flood: Mold Remediation

4/30/2018 (Permalink)

Have you ever wondered what happens when a mold removal specialist gets called to a mold-damaged facility? The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) shares five steps a mold removal specialist takes when conducting mold remediation.

“Many people aren’t aware of the dangers, nor the difficulty level of removing mold from a facility,” said IICRC Chairman Tony Wheelwright. “Mold remediation is a potentially hazardous process that should only be undertaken by a certified professional.”

Five steps that each mold-removal specialist takes when conducting mold remediation includes:

1. Determine the degree of contamination. The first step for a mold remediation specialist may be to bring in an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) or Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) to determine the extent of the mold damage and test for contamination within the facility. Because mold spores and other microscopic contaminants can travel easily throughout a building, the IEP/CIH may collect and analyze samples from affected as well as unaffected areas of the building. Once the IEP/CIH has finished the inspection they will develop a remediation plan for the mold removal specialist, such as SERVPRO of Wayne, with steps to return the home to its preloss condition (Condition 1).  Learn more about our Mold Remediation process by visiting our website here.

2. Set up and verify containment. To make sure mold contamination does not spread to other areas of a facility, the SERVPRO will set up containment by creating isolation barriers. Once the barriers are set up, SERVPRO will need to verify the containment with a lower partial pressure differential (negative pressure) to ensure there is no air leakage between containment zones. Exit chambers would then be used to serve as a transition between the containment and the unaffected area of the building. Once the containment is verified and the correct amount of pressure is achieved, the removal process can begin.

3. Remove unsalvageable materials. Porous materials and items that cannot be restored or cleaned effectively must be carefully discarded. Unsalvageable items include but are not limited to drywall, insulation and other items with visible mold growth. It is important for the SERVPRO specialist to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment which may include a full face respirator equipped with a P100/OV cartridge, disposable coveralls and nitrite gloves.

4. Clean surfaces with a high-attention to detail. SERVPRO will likely begin the cleaning process by thoroughly vacuuming the contaminated areas using a HEPA vacuum with a high-efficiency filter to catch mold spores. We will then begin a detailed cleaning process involving mold removal tools such as a HEPA filtered sander, followed by the damp wiping of surfaces with an effective cleaning solution.

5. Verify remediation. Once cleaning is complete, the IEP/CIH will return to verify the remediation was successful. The area must be returned to the dry standard and should be visually dust free with no malodors. In addition an IEP/CIH may perform surface or air sampling as part of the verification that the area is back to normal fungal ecology (Condition 1).

“Mold remediation requires mold removal specialists to perform techniques that promote source removal rather than relying on chemicals, paints and coatings as a replacement,” said Rachel Adams, President of Indoor Environmental Management, Inc. “Understanding and managing air flow is also critical to the success of a mold remediation project. Working with qualified IEP can also help to reduce the liability for the technician as well as provide a final determination if the remediation was successful.”

For more information on mold remediation or the latest in mold remediation standards, visit the IICRC

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

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Home Mold Testing - DIY Kit

4/10/2018 (Permalink)

You can expect mold and mildew outside your home because of the natural damp conditions of the outdoors. Mold and mildew inside the home is a different problem, because the inside of your home shouldn’t remain damp.

The presence of moisture is the biggest contributor to mold growth, and to fight the infestation you should conduct a room-by-room assessment of the house to identify problem areas. The moisture can come from condensation due to poor ventilation (attic), from a water leak (around bathrooms), or from outdoor intrusion (foundation walls).

Detection

Mold and mildew in a home is not always easy to detect if it exists within attics or is hidden within walls. If you suspect your indoor air quality is hindered by hidden mold, you can conduct your own DIY test to detect a problem.

The EHT staff recently conducted the Healthful Home 5-Minute Mold Test in a finished basement that had suffered some previous flooding problems. The air seemed fine in the room, but the old moisture issues suggested that if there were to be a mold problem in the house then it was likely to occur in this room.

The test is easy to accomplish. Simply use one of the cotton swabs included with the kit to sample surface dust in the room. Soak the swab tip in the “rinse buffer” liquid (included) and then drip five drops of the liquid onto the two test strips that come with the kit. One strip is labeled Asp/Pen (Aspergillus and/or Penicillium) and the other is labeled Stachybortrys.

Test results show in as little as 5 minutes, and much like a pregnancy test you’ll either see one line (negative results) or two lines (positive).

If the test is positive, however, it does not necessarily mean you have a serious problem but that you should consider consulting a professional indoor air quality inspector or contact SERVPRO of Wayne. You can also have an optional laboratory analysis of your test results conducted for an additional fee.  

Click here to go to our website and learn a bit more about Mold Remediation. 

Fighting the Mold you Find

If you discover mold on the home’s interior, the first step in solving the problem is to eliminate the source of moisture—whatever that may be. Otherwise, any mold or mildew you clean is likely to return.

For minor problems you may be able to clean the surface of the materials with bleach or an antimicrobial cleaner. For major problems, remove materials that cannot be thoroughly cleaned of mold and mildew, like insulation, carpeting or drywall. Use your antimicrobial cleaner to clean the surrounding area as well as the places where you actually see mold and mildew, to make sure you remove all traces of the substances.

Finally, replace the removed building materials with new, mold-free materials.

You can learn more about the 5-minute Mold Test at myhealthfulhome.com

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

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Cleanup: What To Do Until Help Arrives

3/15/2018 (Permalink)

EMERGENCY TIPS FOR YOUR HOME SMOKE DAMAGE

Please follow these DOs and DON’Ts to help reduce damage and increase the chances of a successful restoration.

DO:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator   completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
  • Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom   faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these   surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
  • If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
  • Wash both sides of leaves on house plants.
  • Change HVAC filter, but leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

DON'T:

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting SERVPRO of Wayne.
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting SERVPRO of Wayne.
  • Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water. (They may be contaminated.)
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
  • Send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

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Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause Pervasive Odors

3/1/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Wayne will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

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Be Prepared

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

What You Can Do.

In order to be fully prepared, you should have all pertinent and proper information in a written plan for easy retrieval. Some key questions to consider when creating a personal emergency preparedness plan include:

  • Do you have an escape or evacuation route in place?
  • Do you have a designated meeting place in case of separation?
  • Does everyone have a list of contact information including family members out of state who can serve as a point of contact?
  • Do you have a disaster supply kit with necessary supplies?
  • Do you have a first aid kit that includes necessary prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines and basic medical supplies?
  • Do you have enough non-perishable food and bottled water?
  • Do you have access to important family documents, including insurance policies, bank, credit card and loan information and family records such as birth certificates and social security cards?
  • Do you have an inventory of valuable household goods?

A well-equipped disaster supply kit should include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Water- a large enough supply to provide each person with 1 gallon daily for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food- enough to last 3-7 days. Food needs to be non-perishable or canned food. You will also want to include a non-electric can opener, paper plates and plastic utensils.
  • Bedding including sheets, blankets and pillows.
  • Clothing- remember it may be warm, however, you may be working and cleaning and may prefer pants or long sleeves to protect your skin. You will also need sturdy, closed-toe, non-slip shoes if available.
  • First aid kit including antiseptics or sanitizers and bandages, over-the-counter and prescription medications.
  • Extra flashlights and batteries. Oil lanterns also provide a good source of light, if available.
  • Toiletries including toilet paper and hygiene items. Hand sanitizers are also good to have on hand.
  • Battery-operated radio with extra batteries so you can listen to weather service announcements.
  • Cash- you will want some cash and small bills on hand as banks may not be open.
  • Emergency phone numbers and contact information including insurance agent and family contacts.
  • Tools, tarps, plastic sheets, trash bags, duct tape, etc. to help make minor repairs.
  • Important documents should be kept in a waterproof bag or plastic sealed container and should include insurance, medical and family records, birth certificates, social security cards, bank account information and a complete home inventory analysis.
  • Gas- fill your car’s tank ahead of time if time permits. You may also want to fill plastic gasoline-approved containers with gas to store.
  • Pet care items including food, leash and a carrier or cage.

Don’t wait until it is too late; prepare now to help protect your family in an emergency or disaster situation.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

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Be Ready in 2018 - Winter Water Damages

1/6/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Be Ready in 2018 - Winter Water Damages Ice Dams can cause roof leaks

Cold weather is upon us in the northeast.  With that comes snow, ice and frozen temperatures which are all jeopardy's to your home or business.

It is essential that you are aware of the hazards and can prepare, prevent or act quickly on each situation.

FROZEN PIPES

A frozen pipe can burst at the point where the ice blockage inside the pipe is located, but typically the rupture is caused by the backflow pressure between the water source and the blockage. A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your
property if not addressed quickly.

ICE DAMS

Ice dams can be a major problem during the winter season.
They form when heated air melts roof snow downward into water dammed behind still-frozen ice. When the trapped water cannot safely flow or run into the gutter system, it can backflow under the roof ’s shingles and into the structure’s interior areas.

PREPARE YOUR HOME

  • If you own a home which is unoccupied during a cold period, ensure you have ample heating fuel and that the indoor thermostat, in all areas of the home, is minimally kept at 55 degrees and ensure that you have a trusted person check the home periodically during your absence.
  • Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets run through unheated or uninsulated areas of your home.
  • Consider shutting off outdoor faucets. Find the shut-off valve in the basement or crawl space and turn it to “off .”
  • If you follow the previous step, then open the outdoor faucet to help ensure it drains completely and the inner valve is shut off.
  • Ensure gutters are clean and secure. Leaves and debris accumulate, causing a damming effect on gutters, which could lead to roof problems and water damage.

PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS

  • Check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Weather, such as wind, heavy rain, ice and snow, can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause
    personal injuries.
  • Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential.
  • Inspect all handrails, stairwells and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

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Are You Winter Weather Ready?

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Are You Winter Weather Ready? Be Winter Ready!

Are you prepared for the coming cold weather? Cold weather can have a huge impact on your home or business if you are not ready for it. From heavy rain and freezing temperatures to damaging winds, sleet, or snow, all can cause serious and costly property damage. While you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to be prepared and help take the sting out of winter
weather.

To help prevent costly damages due to weather, consider taking the following precautions to protect your property before colder weather hits.

  • Check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Wind, heavy rain, ice, and snow can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries.
  • Roofs, water pipes, and gutters should all be inspected to ensure they are in proper order. Gutter downspouts should be directed
    away from your building. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during the fall. Leaves and other obstructions can cause a damming effect, which can lead to roof damage and interior water problems.
  • Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate
    flood hazard potential.
  • Inspect all handrails, stairwells, and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or
    non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
  • Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing. If pipes are under a cabinet, leave the cabinet doors open, allowing warm inside air to circulate around the pipes. If the building has outdoor faucets, consider shutting water off at the
    main valve in the basement or crawl space. Once the valve is off, open the outdoor faucet to ensure it drains, preventing any remaining water from freezing in the pipe.
  • Ask SERVPRO of Wayne about completing an Emergency READY Profile® (ERP) for your business. The ERP is a no-cost assessment to your facility and provides you with a plan to get back in business fast following a disaster.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services. 

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KITCHEN CAUTIONS

11/14/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage KITCHEN CAUTIONS Fire Safety

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.  The leading cause?  Unattended cooking.

Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your holiday could become hazardous very quickly.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire—oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains—away from the stovetop.

If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services.

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How To: Use a Fireplace

11/3/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How To: Use a Fireplace Fireplace safety

Add ambience and save on heating costs by utilizing your fireplace this winter. Here's all you need to know about the proper technique and safety precautions.

By Katelin Hill

Source: https://www.bobvila.com/

During the colder months, nothing beats warming the house with a crackling fire. But while wood-burning fireplaces should give you long-lasting and evenly burning flames, one simple mistake can fill your living room with smoke—or even spark a dangerous house fire. Here’s the proper technique for how to use a fireplace, with safety precautions every homeowner should know.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Smoke detector
– Carbon monoxide detector
– Batteries
– Fire extinguisher
– Flashlight (optional)
– Hardwood or softwood kindling
– Newspaper (optional)
– Matches
– Fireplace gloves
– Metal fireplace poker
– Metal fireplace shovel
– Metal box for fireplace ashes

STEP 1: Stay Safe
Before bringing out the lighter, it’s vital to understand safety precautions for using a fireplace. First, always double-check that your fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and carbon monoxide detector are each in working order (check those batteries!). Remove anything flammable within three feet of the fireplace in case stray sparks escape the hearth, and use a fireplace screen as well. Make sure the flue isn’t blocked by obstructions like an animal’s nest, especially if this is your first time using the fireplace. If the system hasn’t been recently inspected, hire a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America(CSIA) to do the job.

STEP 2: Gather the Kindling
Gather kindling in a variety of sizes (small, medium, and large) for the proper fire-building technique that is outlined below. To emit less smoke and soot, make sure the wood is dry, well-seasoned, and split a minimum of six months ago. You can choose either hardwood or softwood for the fire; while hardwoods like oak or maple burn longer and create more sustained heat, softwoods like cedar or pine start fires easier because they ignite quickly. Whatever you don’t use can return to the firewood rack, best stored outdoors in an elevated and covered location.

Note: Never burn trash, plastic, painted materials, or anything with chemical treatment like scraps of pressure-treated wood—these materials can release harmful chemicals into your home.

STEP 3: Open the Damper
The damper is a movable plate inside the flue. When opened, it allows the smoke and ash to travel safely up the chimney. If you start a fire with a closed damper, however, the smoke will have no escape route and circle back into the house.

Adjust the damper as needed with the handle located inside of the chimney. It will move either front to back, left to right, or in a clockwise or counterclockwise rotation. Check to make sure you opened it properly by sticking your head in the flue and looking upwards, using a flashlight if necessary. You should see up the flue without any obstructions if the damper is open; a closed damper will block your view entirely.

STEP 4: Prime the Flue
Now, gauge the temperature. If you feel a rush of cold air (which usually occurs if the chimney is built on the outside of the house), then you need to prime the flue—in order words, you need to preheat it. Otherwise, the cold draft may cause smoke to blow into the room. Light a roll of newspaper and hold it against the open damper to send warm air into the flue. The draft should reverse after a few minutes, making your fireplace ready for action.

STEP 5: Build the Fire 
While there are multiple ways to build a fire, the CSIA recommends the top-down method, which produces less smoke and requires less tending. Start by donning thick fireplace gloves and grabbing a metal poker. Position large pieces of wood in the bottom of the fireplace in one row, perpendicular to the opening of the fireplace. Next, take mid-sized pieces of wood, and stack four or five rows on top of the base layer in alternating directions. Make sure the stack takes up no more than half the height of your fireplace. Now add your smallest pieces of wood, making sure these pieces are very dry. The tiniest bits (which can take the form of wood shavings or bunched-up newspapers) should be at the very top.

Light the top of the stack with a single match. The fire should travel down, igniting the pieces underneath without prompting. Let the fire burn for as long as you’d like. Don’t close the damper until the fire is completely out and all the embers have stopped burning.

STEP 6: Clean the Ashes 
The CSIA says you can leave a bed of ashes between one to two inches in the fireplace as an insulating layer, which helps the next fire to burn. But when you need to dispose of ashes, proceed with caution. Coals may take several hours or several days to completely cool, and ash could still be burning during that time. Using a metal shovel, scoop ashes into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Store the container outdoors away from the house, and not in garages or on decks.

Contact us at 973-546-4977 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Wayne's System Services.

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