Recent Posts

Understanding Water Types

7/1/2022 (Permalink)

A room damaged by a flood. Flood damage in a home.

SERVPRO of Central Union County are here to help you understand what type of water you are dealing with to ensure proper cleanup when your home or business suffers a water damage.

We classify these waters in three ways. Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source (such as rain). The term gray water is slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminants to begin growing. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should only be handled by trained professionals. Consider taking the following precautions to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive.

Damage from Clean Water

  • We advise our customer to not enter any rooms with standing water. Electrical hazards may exist and should be avoided. Turn off your circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electrical shock.
  • Shut off water source if possible.
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
  • Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to the vacuum cleaner.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.

Damage from Contaminated Water

  • Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage.
  • Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
  • Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
  • Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.
  • Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.

When you have a water damage, don’t leave your property to chance. Call your SERVPRO of Central Union County. 908-233-7070

Places To Find Cash After A Disaster

7/1/2022 (Permalink)

It happens when you least expect it, and you certainly don't plan for it. The natural disaster, like a flood, fire or any other type of personal catastrophe that leaves you in dire need of liquid funds. 

Self preservation requires cash.  If you’re hit with an emergency and need to find cash fast, of course, the first place to look are your bank accounts. If these funds are not sufficient, then look to these resources.

1. Family and Close Friends

If you need to find cash fast, ask your family and friends. If they can help, remember to always treat this as a loan and never treat it casually.

If you need to, attach an interest rate and a payment time frame, as you would any official loan from a financial institution.  This is important because your family or friend have to charge you something for the transaction to be considered a loan and not a gift that could have tax and estate planning implications.

2. The Government

FEMA is able to provide disaster assistance for such needs as temporary housing, home repair, disaster-related medical expenses, vehicle damage and cleanup costs. Another source, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers federally subsidized loans for renters, private nonprofit organizations and home and business owners.

Here's the catch...to qualify for either a FEMA or SBA loan, you must live in a federally declared disaster zone and file a claim with their insurance company first.

3. Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance policies are great resources because they’re readily accessible funds. The can be borrowed against without having to qualify for a loan, and you can pay a policy loan back on your own schedule.

However, rules will vary with insurance providers. Many require policyholders to own their policies for a few years before they can qualify to borrow. You’ll also be charged interest for taking out a policy loan. 

4. CDs, Savings Bonds and Mutual Funds / Stocks

CD's: You can take your money out of a CD, but you’ll likely pay a penalty. Sacrificing some earnings is a relatively insignificant compared to paying interest rates on a life insurance loan.

Savings bondsSavings bonds are another quick cash resource. You might need to pay a three-month interest penalty if a bond is redeemed too early though. In both cases, of course you’ll pay income tax on any interest earned.

Mutual Funds: You can sell stocks as well as mutual funds and annuities. If you take this route, consult your financial adviser about likely tax issues and penalties.

5. College 529 Savings

You may need to borrow from your future to pay present obligations. You 529 College Savings Account is a good resource for this. However, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, those who withdraw funds out of a 529 plan for non-qualified education expenses will pay income tax and a 10 percent penalty on any earnings.

6. Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts can be used to fund personal financial needs. It's important to understand the long term personal retirement planning impact.  So plan accordingly and know the difference between a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA.

Roth IRA holders may withdraw their own contributions — not earnings — without tax or penalty.

Traditional IRA holders may start taking penalty-free distributions on their accounts if they begin taking regular distributions, but specific rules apply. You’ll pay income taxes and a 10 percent penalty on the taxable amount if you’re under age 59½.

7. A 401(k) Loan

A 401(k) loan is usually a better option than using a 529 or IRA loan.

401(k) holders can borrow up to half of their account balance, up to $50,000, tax-free, but, in most cases, funds must be repaid within five years.

The shortcoming is that you have to stay with your current employer for the duration of the loan period.  If you leave your job, you’ll have 30 to 60 days to repay the loan or face penalties.

Before pulling funds from any long-term investment, read the fine print and always consult your tax adviser.

Contact us at (908) 233-7070 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Central Union County's System Services.

SERVPRO Cares About Your Safety - Carbon Monoxide

6/3/2022 (Permalink)

Carbon Monoxide Carbon monoxide detector.

Your safety is always top of mind with SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle.

Every year, hundreds of people in the US die from accidental CO poisoning, and 50,000 visit the emergency room.

Carbon Monoxide is an odorless and invisible fume generated by furnaces, kerosene heaters, portable generators, and similar fuel-burning appliances.  Carbon Monoxide can build up in enclosed spaces and you can be poisoned and die from breathing these fumes.

Common symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.  Most people are poisoned while they sleep.

Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk and prevent CO poisoning:

  • Make sure you install a CO detector in different parts of the home and frequently check that the batteries are working.
  • Never operate your car in a closed garage.
  • Keep vents and flues clean of debris and blockages.
  • Make sure your home heating system is inspected annually.
  • Never operate a generator or other gasoline-powered equipment within 20 feet of an open window or door and never inside the home.

Remember, CO poisoning is preventable.  If you suspect CO poisoning, do not wait, call 911.

Contact us at 908-650-8611 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle's System Services.

Cleaning you kitchen exhaust system | SERVPRO Central Union County & Roselle

6/3/2022 (Permalink)

The ventilation system above or next to your stove top serves several important functions in the kitchen. It helps remove moisture, smoke and odors, helps improve indoor air quality, and most importantly, helps trap flammable, aerated grease that is creating during the cooking process. Some states or cities require a ventilation hood to be present in the kitchen but even if your area doesn’t require one, you’ll want to make sure one is installed in your kitchen. Regularly cleaning and maintaining this ventilation system will help it function better, remove bacteria and mold, and reduce the risk of a kitchen fire.

Why your kitchen needs an exhaust system

In addition to whisking away odors, steam and smoke, a good ventilation or exhaust system will suck in and trap tiny grease and oil particles that would otherwise end up drifting throughout the kitchen and into rest of the home. Additionally, if you cook with natural gas, understand that a certain amount of nitrogen dioxide (along with carbon monoxide and formaldehyde) may be produced when cooking. These chemicals are bad for the lungs and can aggravate people with asthma or respiratory issues. When cooking, always turn on the exhaust system to help improve the indoor air quality.

How to clean the hood, filters and ventilation system

The exhaust system filters act as a trap for grease and oil and should be cleaned or replaced often. How often depends upon the type of filter system as well as how often you cook. If you wok fry food weekly, for example, a monthly cleaning will be necessary. But most find that a regular schedule of cleaning the filters every 3 months is the best way to keep a routine that you can stick to. Recirculating hoods use charcoal disposable filters and should be replaced every 6 to 12 months. Check with your manufacturer for more specific replacement or cleaning instructions.

To clean the wire mesh filters first remove them from the hood or ventilation system. You can either wash them by hand with warm soapy water (some find that baking soda works great too) or you can place them in an empty dishwasher and run a full cycle. You may need to repeat these methods if they are particularly greasy. Once they are clean, inspect them to insure there is no rusted or broken parts. Let them dry completely before placing them back in the ventilation system.

The rest of the ventilation system, like the hood, should also be periodically cleaned. Most hoods are made from stainless steel so use a cleaning product designed for this material or use one of ournon-toxic stainless steel cleaning recipes here.  You’ll want to remove dust, grease and debris and always rub the stainless steel in the direction of the grain.

Commercial kitchens regularly have the entire exhaust system cleaned to remove grease and prevent dangerous fires. Homeowners can have this done as well; find a professional who is a member of the International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association.

What happens if you don’t clean the stove ventilation system

The three biggest reasons for keeping the filters and ventilation hood clean are better indoor air quality, reduction of bacteria and mold, and fire risk reduction. As mentioned above, having a functioning and clean ventilation system will help create a healthier indoor air quality. This is especially important in the cooler months of fall and winter when many homeowners are cooking inside more and have the windows closed.

The warm and moist environment directly above a hot stove top is perfect for growing bacteria and mold, especially when there is a steady supply of food particles and oils. Dust can also stick to this grease buildup and create a nasty mess, not to mention a bad smell.

Kitchen fires are a very real hazard that you need to be aware of. When cooking on the stove, high heat mixed with oil can create a flame. If this flame is high enough, or near enough a grease-soaked filter, the flames can catch and spread. A grease or cooking fire can be very scary, spread quickly, and is responsible for 50% of reported residential house fires every year. Always keep a fire extinguisher labeled “for cooking fires” or with a “K” to put out a kitchen grease fire..

The Deception of Water Damage

6/3/2022 (Permalink)

Water Damage. House destroyed from a hurricane.

Water damage can be deceptive. Water penetrates into structural cavities creating trapped pockets of saturation. The detection of water in these areas can often only be discovered with sophisticated moisture detection meters. Undetected moisture will continue to cause damage. This damage, at a minimum, will cause odors. Greater damage will surface when materials delaminate, shrink, split and further deteriorate to where costly repairs are required.

More than just removing excess water, IICRC-certified (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) restorers have the knowledge and equipment to further dry a home or facility (including substructure materials) completely back to preloss conditions. Through timely response and the careful monitoring of water damage, mold and other issues can be prevented. If water damage has been present too long, mold will occur.

All IICRC-certified professionals have the training and experience to identify moisture sources, evaluate mold growth (visible or suspected), contain damage, remove contamination and dry materials to ensure that mold will not return.

Every technician in SERVPRO of Central Union County is Certified through the IICRC, and experienced in their craft.

Outdoor Entertaining

6/3/2022 (Permalink)

Backyard Tiki Torch Open flame tiki torch in a backyard.

Summer outdoor parties are some of the best events of the year and one of the safest ways to enjoy summer in the midst of our ongoing pandemic.

The warm nights, food cooking on the grill, and friends and family spending quality time together in the backyard or around the pool create wonderful memories that last a lifetime. But, hosting outdoor events also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.

Fortunately, following some simple safety tips and guidelines can help ensure you and your guests stay safe. Consider the following as you host your next outdoor event: 

  • Have an adult present at all times when a portable fireplace is burning
  • Use sturdy candle holders that won’t tip over easily
  • Keep anything that can burn, as well as children and pets, at least three feet away from open flames
  • Use battery-operated flameless candles and solar-powered patio (tiki) torches in place of an open flame. Flameless candles come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, and many are scented. Flameless candles look and feel like the real ones, and add a beautiful soft glow to any outdoor event.

Outdoor entertaining by the numbers

  • Outside fireplaces or fire pits caused nearly 3,700 grass and brush fires
  • Outdoor patio heater or fire pit injuries have grown each year
  • More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle
  • An average of over 8,800 home fires involved grilling activities each year
  • Annually, sparklers, fountains, and novelties account for up to 25% of emergency room fireworks-related injuries.

Contact us at 908-650-8611 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle's  System Services. 

The Public Adjuster | SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle

5/12/2022 (Permalink)

A house damaged by fire. A house damaged by fire.

If you have ever filed an insurance claim, whether it be for your home, auto or health, you know it can be a very stressful process fraught with uncertainty and questions.  Will I be covered?  How much will I be covered for?  How will it impact my premiums?

Because of this confusion and uncertainty, many turn towards a Public Adjuster to get them through their ordeal.  But, before engaging a Public Adjuster, there are a few things you need to be aware of.

What happens first?

After you’ve taken care of your loved ones, you will need to get your home back in order.  When you have a damaging event to your home, for which you wish to submit a claim, one of the first things you should do is to contact your agent or your insurance company directly.

Your insurance company will record your loss and issue you a claim number.  They will also assign an internal or independent adjuster to review your claim. This adjuster works on behalf of the insurance company.  This adjuster will schedule a visit to your home to inspect and assess the loss to determine coverage.  This is a benefit to you as a policyholder and does not cost you anything. 

Once coverage is determined, the insurance company’s adjuster will then discuss actions that need to be taken immediately, such as getting the home dried out or possibly boarded up if needed.  They’ll then provide you with their assessed value of the loss.

So now comes the question of whether or not to use a Public Adjuster.  Let’s go through this.

Exactly what is a public adjuster?

A public adjuster is someone that you pay to help you with your insurance claim.  They are an insurance claims specialist who interprets the homeowner's policy, assesses the damage and how much it will cost to repair, and negotiate with the insurance company on behalf of the homeowner until the claim is settled.

The Public Adjuster does not represent your insurance company nor is he/she assigned by your insurance company.  Public Adjusters are sought and hired by you to be your representative and deal with your insurance company.   For their services, they will charge you a fee, typically a percentage of the total award amount that they negotiate with your insurance company.

Remember, a Public Adjuster can assist with the claims process, but cannot get you more money than you are entitled to under your insurance policy and will not be able to get your claim settled any faster. You are simply paying them for a service.

OK, so when should I use a Public Adjuster?

Many will hire a Public Adjuster simply because they don’t have the time to deal with the claim.  Remember, though, you are paying a fee for this convenience. 

Typically, the Public Adjuster will charge a fee of 10%-15% of the final claim awarded.  This can be a sizable fee, so be sure before you sign any paperwork.  It’s also important to know that this fee can be negotiated depending on the size of the loss.

If you chose to deal with the claim personally, there are steps you can take before bringing a Public Adjuster in.  Your insurance company is a reputable business and they want you to continue to be a policyholder.

If you feel you can justify additional damages, speak with your insurance company’s assigned adjuster and present your case.  If you are not getting anywhere, ask to speak with a more senior representative.  You may find that these steps yield good results.

If you still feel that you need more representation, this is when you may consider working with a Public Adjuster.  It’s really a judgment call as to whether or not you believe your loss, and the associated damages you claim, are fairly reflected in your insurance company’s assessment.

Before you proceed, do some simple math. 

Let’s say you had a fire loss, for which your insurance company has assessed a $200,000 payment to cover the loss, but you feel you are entitled to $20,000 more and you have not been successful with your discussions with your adjuster.  So, you hire a Public Adjuster with a fee of 10%.  At the end of it, he argues and wins $10,000 more from your insurance company for a total payment of $210,000. The fee will be $21,000 to the Public Adjuster, netting you $189,000.  You would have been better off accepting the initial payment offered by the insurance company.

How can I find a good Public Adjuster?

As with anything else, a Public Adjuster can be found by doing some internet searches.  Another place to start would be going to the NAPIA website.  They have a vetting process and require their members to be licensed and to have been in business for at least 2 years.

Some steps you should think about:

  • Always avoid any Public Adjuster who tries to pressure you into signing a contract. Remember this is a business transaction.
  • Interview several.
  • Get reference lists and check with their prior clients.
  • Check their company websites.
  • You can also ask friends and colleagues who they might recommend.
  • Avoid single practitioners or small firms unless they demonstrate a good track record.

Before signing anything, make sure your rights are protected:

  • Determine how long you have to cancel any contract you sign. New Jersey protects consumers with a 72-hour cancellation provision under the Consumer Fraud Act.
  • Verify that the Public Adjuster will remove any lien once the contract is terminated.
  • Limit the contract to no more than six months.

Once you’ve identified your Public Adjuster, you will sign a contract between you and them, which obligates your relationship with them until the claim is settled.  The Public Adjuster will likely place a lien on your insurance claim, naming them as an additional payee on all payments from your insurance company.

What role will the Public Adjuster play in the process?

So now you’ve hired a Public Adjuster.  Here’s what you can count on him doing and what you should not expect.

You will still be very involved in helping the Public Adjuster document the loss.  He will need details of the event and information about content damage and their value.

A public adjuster will assess your losses and help you get every penny you deserve, but don't expect miracles.  Understand the insurance company may not agree to everything you want just because you hired a public adjuster.

The Public Adjuster will be your representative and negotiate every aspect of the loss with your insurance company until a final agreement is made.  Once the negotiations are completed, your Public Adjuster’s job is done.  They do not perform or manage the restoration portion of this project.

The next and final step is to begin the restoration process by hiring the various contractors needed to perform the cleaning and repairing of your home.  This could start during negotiations between your Public Adjuster and your insurance company, depending on the urgency and what may have been agreed to. 

Remember, the Public Adjuster may provide you contractor referrals to do the work, however, you are under no obligation to use them, after all, this is your home and you have every right to decide who performs the work. 

Always consider using SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle  for your cleaning and restoration needs, regardless of any contractors your Public Adjuster may insist on using. SERVPRO of Central Union County & SERVPRO of Roselle is a full-service restoration company, providing everything from board-up and drying, to cleaning and rebuilding.

Summary

I hope this has helped you in understanding the role and costs surrounding using a Public Adjuster.  There is always risk in any decision.  Minimize your risk by doing your research first by working with your insurance company.  It will be well worth it to go down this path first.

Always feel free to contact SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle at 908-615-0051 to discuss this before making your decision.  We’re always glad to help.

Is it Mold or is it Rust? | SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle

5/12/2022 (Permalink)

Rusty pipes Rusty water pipe.

Can you easily tell the difference between mold and rust? Many people look at a reddish colored stain and assume its rust, although that’s not always the case. Before you break out your heavy-duty cleaning solutions, it pays to understand what you’re up against: mold, rust, or even another stain. 

What’s Normal for Your Home?

If you’re seeing new stains on walls, floors, or countertops, you’ll want to make sure they’re not the result of water infiltration or excess humidity in your home. Try to pinpoint a reason for the stain, based on what room it’s in and the common daily activity. Mold tends to be found in damp, humid areas, while rust forms when metallic surfaces start to corrode. Recognizing the differences between mold and rust helps you determine the best way to take care of an issue before it becomes more pervasive.

What’s that Stain? Mold vs Rust

Areas prone to dampness, such as bathrooms and basements, can easily foster the growth of mold or mildew. If you see a stain that looks like mold or rust in your shower, sink area, or basement, you’ll want to clean them as quickly as possible to avoid permanent damage. However, different cleaning solutions are used to treat different stains. Rust, hard water marks, grease, and mold may all look similar, but if you use the wrong cleaner, you may not be able to fully remove them.

Identifying Rust

Rust is the result of iron, or a metal alloy containing iron, such as steel, corroding. Rust is most often observed as a red, yellow or reddish-brown surface stain. Rust is caused by water or damp air touching the surface or a metal prone to rusting. Some common areas where rust is spotted in the home, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), include the following:

  • Water Pipes
  • Metal Roofs and Chimneys
  • Oil tanks for home with oil heat
  • Electrical Panel Boxes
  • Nails

Preventing Rust

Rust can be prevented by keeping metals out of damp and humid areas. Protective coatings, such as varnish may also be applied to surfaces prone to rusting. Ensuring that metal fixtures in your home are kept dry can also help to prevent rust. Wipe up spills immediately and check your basement after heavy storms to spot signs of flooding as soon as possible.

Removing Rust

Removing rust can be a tough job, but with the right cleaners, you should be successful. For lighter rust stains, some household products, such as baking soda or vinegar might work. Mild abrasives like steel wool pads may also remove surface rust, but they may also leave behind scratch marks. There are also many specialized rust removal products sold that you can try for smaller stains. One product you should never use on rust is bleach, which could react negatively with the rust and actually worsen it. 

If you do attempt to clean rust, always follow the instructions on any commercial cleaning product. Be sure to don safety gear, including gloves, safety glasses and a face mask. Always work in a well-ventilated area. If you’re not comfortable with the task, find a handyman or painter that is.

Mold Stains

Mold can resemble other stains like rust or mildew in appearance, but there are actually over 300 types of mold. The colors of mold can range from black to brown, white or gray, or even pink, blue or green. Mold also presents in a range of textures from downy to fuzzy. Some mold is powdery and some has a more slimy texture. 

Mold can grow as the result of a single event, such as a broken pipe or indoor water infiltration due to floods or leaks. It’s important to catch the signs of indoor mold growth as early as possible and have them taken care of before they lead to greater damage. Mold can also cause health effects. Mold sometimes can leave a stain, but that’s not always the case. A damp, musty odor can also be a sign of mold growth. 

If you notice mold growth in damp areas of your home, you can clean affected surfaces with a specialized mold removal product. Common, everyday household cleaning solutions may not be effective against mold. Typically, mold cannot be totally eradicated from porous surfaces, like shower curtains, drywall, or insulation; these items should be disposed of and replaced.

When cleaning mold, you should always wear protective gear, such as a face mask, and ensure that you’re working in an adequately ventilated area. You can read more about the protective gear recommended for mold removal. SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle can help you determine the best way to remove the mold. Once the mold is removed, it’s a good idea to have the area tested by a professional. If mold has continued to grow in your home, you may have a more pervasive problem that requires additional professional remediation from SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle.

Evaluating Mold Issues

Because so many of the stains we see around the house look similar, it may be difficult to determine what is causing the discoloration and damage. If you notice stains on your walls, countertops, or floors that look like mold or rust, contact SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle and request a free home inspection to help diagnose your problem. 

Contact us at 908-615-0051 if you have a service need or click SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle's System Services. 

Home Mold Testing - DIY Kit - Use With Caution | SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle

5/12/2022 (Permalink)

Moldy Wall Mold growing on a wall.

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

The presence of moisture is the most significant contributor to mold growth. 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 outdoor intrusion (foundation walls).

Detection

Mold and mildew in a home are 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, the best course of action is to contact an Industrial Hygienist (IH). 

The IH will take both surface and air samples to detect the presence of mold on the structure.  These two tests are essential to take in concert with each other as they will help detect the presence of mold in areas that cannot be seen or reached, such as in wall cavities.  They will also help determine the severity and types of mold in a specific area of the home.

If you choose to take your own surface sample as a first step, mold detection kits can be purchased in most home improvement stores and are easy to use.  Swab the surface in the area you're concerned about.  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).

Use caution as these tests are not necessarily conclusive, given the absence of air samples and misinterpretation by the user.  Only a trained professional should perform mold testing using the proper methods.

Even if your home test is positive, 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 Central Union County and Roselle. 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 an antimicrobial cleaner. For major problems, remove materials that cannot be thoroughly cleaned of mold-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, so make sure you remove all traces of the substances.

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

Mold can be a serious issue with challenging aspects in remediating it properly.  We highly recommend calling in a professional, like SERVPRO, to help you evaluate the proper steps before proceeding on your own.

Contact us at 908-615-0051 if you have a service need or click SERVPRO Central Union County and Roselle to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Central Union County and Roselle's System Services. 

Mold and Humidity Threats in Vacation Residences | SERVPRO of Central Union County & Roselle

4/19/2022 (Permalink)

houses on a river The team of highly trained restoration experts at SERVPRO® of Central Union County & Roselle is available for emergency cleanup and restoration 24/7.

A closed-up vacation house can be a breeding ground for mold in the summer months. Moisture from a nearby lake or river, or the humidity in the air, can lead to that musty odor vacationers have come to expect upon arriving at their weekend getaway.

Mold is a particularly hidden foe. It exists nearly everywhere in an inactive state, and all it needs to grow is a food source (drywall will do nicely) and a source of moisture, such as high humidity.

To get rid of the damp odor, most homeowners will turn on the air conditioner and maybe a dehumidifier and wait for the smell to go away. While much of the odor may dissipate in a few hours, the mold is still there. And, when they leave for a week, it's back again when they return.

That smell is more than just unpleasant; it's an indication that mold is actively growing. Left untreated, mold will continue to grow and spread and can damage walls, ceilings, carpeting, and more. Every time the house is closed up and the a/c is turned off, the moisture creeps back in, and the mold begins growing again.

MOISTURE SOLUTIONS

What can HVAC contractors do to help? First, it's important to stress that the key to preventing mold is eliminating moisture. The first step is to address any leaks in roofing, chimneys, and foundations. Perhaps you can recommend someone who can do a thorough check and perform the repairs necessary to stop the leaks. If mold remediation is needed, your customer should get bids from several companies specializing in this, as it can be costly.

Reducing humidity through air conditioning is a key to controlling mold, but, of course, leaving the a/c on all summer long will run up utility bills. Fresh outside air is also critical, but vacation homeowners won't want to leave windows open while not using the property.

Some relatively new offerings in air conditioning systems can help manage mold problems. One example is a small-duct, high-velocity air handler, which has a unique cooling coil that removes 30 percent more humidity from the air than a traditional system. Eliminating moisture is critical in avoiding mold growth, so this feature is essential.

Another helpful technology is a continuously operating outdoor inverter unit that works so efficiently that homeowners can leave it on while they're away without breaking the bank. It runs on various speeds — typically a very low speed — always striving for the most efficient operation by making small, incremental changes to keep a constant temperature. A traditional system must ramp-up to full operating power every time it cycles on, requiring a tremendous amount of energy. You won't have this issue with the inverter unit.

When cooling a summer home, the inverter technology is an excellent way for customers to keep the air conditioning going when they're gone, but at a lower cost.

Another great option is a ventilation system operated by a programmable control board. Based on the size of the home, the control board calculates how much fresh outside air to bring in at all times, opening and closing dampers as needed to maintain a healthy level of fresh air. Look for options that meet ASHRAE 62.2 standards for IAQ.

These newer technologies can go a long way toward reducing energy consumption while letting fresh air in and keeping mold problems at bay. More savings and fewer molds mean a healthier and happier vacation for everyone. 

Remember, if you need us, we’ll be there—no matter the time or day. The team of highly trained restoration experts at SERVPRO® of Central Union County & Roselle is available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.