Smoke Damage Is Harmful To Your Property And Health

Smoke Damage Is Harmful To Your Property And Health…

The most commonly downplayed effects of fires in homes and business establishments is in the general health condition of the people who come in contact with the remnants of the fiery event. Not only is there damage and destruction to property and valuable belongings, the person who comes in contact with smoke and fumes from a burned structure is greatly predisposed to developing a variety of health problems. Although these health problems may not be immediately seen nor felt, in due time and with the interplay of other aggravating factors such as the person’s diet, immune system functioning, and overall skin integrity, clinical manifestations will present. By this time, any preventive measures will be for naught and treatment modalities will be a costly affair to begin with.

Smoke Damage

It is almost always possible that small fires can occur right in the very confines of our homes brought about by any of, but not limited to, the following causes: a left open gas stove, leaking gas or fuel hoses, embers from cigars and cigarettes, and overheating appliances, among others. What makes smoke damage cleanup an intimidating task is that smoke and soot can move and penetrate into other rooms or areas of the house while from fires can greatly affect the paint of walls, furniture, and fixtures, carpet, upholstery, drapes, clothing, and other family articles which further adds to the extent of the damage.

Smoke damages the very complex structural network of fibers that strengthens and or solidifies a certain object by chemically reacting with the different molecules that make up the structure. What happens is that the molecular and chemical bonds between the various elements and molecules are broken down into component parts, rendering them unstable in the outside environment. Sometimes, smoke damaged articles still retain a certain amount of heat such that the burning process continues to damage and or weaken the structure and form of the article affected.

Health Concerns

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs are composed of over 100 different chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of combustible materials and other organic substances. In controlled laboratory experiments, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were shown to produce fertility problems among laboratory mice. The offspring of the lab mice also showed significantly greater rates of birth defects and low birth weights.

The same studies also revealed that some analogs of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons caused skin problems, body fluid abnormalities, and immune system defects among laboratory specimens. However, the implications are not readily generalizable to the human population because of ethics in research on human subjects.

Whether or not soot has really carcinogenic, mutagenic, and or even teratogenic effects on humans, it is relatively safe to assume that this byproduct of smoke from fires is something that should not be taken very lightly.

The Anatomy of Fire and Smoke

Fire occurs because of three fundamental elements that include air or oxygen, fuel or energy, and heat. Removing any of these elements and you can never start a fire, not even an ember. So, to start a fire, a highly combustible material must get in contact oxygen in the atmosphere to initiate a series of chemical reaction that, upon the application or introduction of the third element which is heat, fire is produced. Now, so long as there is a ready supply of combustible material vis-à-vis fuel load and a steady presence of oxygen in the atmosphere fire continue to exist because as oxygen and the combustible material react, they tend to give off heat, raising the heat element some more and fueling the fiery process in a vicious cycle.

In the birth of a fire, a heating element such as a match, a lighted candle, an electrical spark, or even friction, heats the combustible fuel load to very high temperatures, well within what is known as the material’s ignition temperature. By the time the combustible materials reaches around 150o Celsius (or 300o Fahrenheit), the heat already begins decomposing some of the cellulose that is found in the fuel load. The resulting chemical reaction releases unstable and explosive gases into the air which form what we see and are known to us as smoke. Smoke is primarily composed of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon molecules. The materials that remain after the volatile gases have been released into the air as smoke make up the hardly recognizable char, as in “charcoal” which is made up of almost pure carbon. The combustible material which is left unburned or not turned into gas is called the ash and includes minerals such as calcium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, and others. As such, charcoal fire can burn without the smoke as we usually use in our weekend barbecue activities.

Call Water Damage Zone today (877) 520-1923  your future bills may be a lot smaller, if you follow these simple tips. You can also visit our sister company for further information on restoration services at Best American Builders.

We specialize in the following services:

  • 24/7 Emergency Response, Water Extraction, Water Damage
  • Direct Billing to Insurance, Locally Owned and Operated
  • Water Cleanup, Water Dry outs, Visual Mold Inspections, Sewage Damage Cleanup
  • Sterilizing & Odor Removal, Licensed & Bonded #963976, Reputable Los Angeles based company
  • Image from depositphotos, ID 15892692
  • Shutterstock Sequence Number: US-041C159DA-1

Water Damage Zone, Inc.

Corporate Office

15115 Califa St. Ste. C

Van Nuys, CA 91411

 

Is Mold Toxic

When we hear the word “mold” we have initial fears of our well-being and that of our families as well.  It is necessary to take these fears seriously, but is mold really toxic?  It seems that due to recent studies that they potentially are not.

According to the CDC, molds themselves are not inherently toxic.  Certain molds can produce toxic substances called mycotoxins, yet many molds are neither toxic nor poisonous.  However this doesn’t mean that mold is not a serious issue.

Mold is always present.  It exists inside home and office buildings alike.  It can be found in the air we breath and on the surfaces of items we are consistently in contact with, yet there are few reports to say that mold is responsible for rare health issues such as memory loss.

The effects of mold that most commonly found in people are in the infections and complications in the upper respiratory tract systems.  These issues can be presented in the form of a cough, wheezing in light cases, and move up towards asthma in the more extreme cases.  People who have a sensitivity to allergies find that they have the most issues with the presence of mold.

Just because there are no links to toxicity for mold it does not mean that mold should be taken lightly.  For people who are sensitive to mold, it can be a very unbearable existence as nasal issues, irritation, wheezing and skin irritation can all be manifest with the issues of mold.  In more extreme cases, there may be fever and shortness of breath.  At the worst, people can routinely develop fungal infections in the lungs that will require medical attention.

If you find mold in your home, then you should take every precaution and step to clean up the mold in order to limit your personal exposure to the effects, but also your family as well.  In many cases, the mold can be a simple clean up using water and bleach.  Under no circumstances, never mix bleach with ammonia as this creates toxic fumes more harmful than the mold.

If you find that the potential issue is extensive or you just want to be sure you are finished with the situation, it would be best to bring in a reputable mold remediation company to assess your situation.  This company would be able to identify and suggest a course of action that could limit and eliminate the effects of mold in your home.

Call Water Damage Zone today (877) 520-1923  your future bills may be a lot smaller, if you follow these simple tips. You can also visit our sister company for further information on restoration services at Best American Builders.

We specialize in the following services:

  • 24/7 Emergency Response, Water Extraction, Water Damage
  • Direct Billing to Insurance, Locally Owned and Operated
  • Water Cleanup, Water Dry outs, Visual Mold Inspections, Sewage Damage Cleanup
  • Sterilizing & Odor Removal, Licensed & Bonded #963976, Reputable Los Angeles based company
  • Image from depositphotos, ID 15892692
  • Shutterstock Sequence Number: US-041C159DA-1

Water Damage Zone, Inc.
Corporate Office
15115 Califa St. Ste. C
Van Nuys, CA 91411

 

Problems with Hard Water

rusty water tap in ald abandoned house

What is hard water?  This is water that has a high content of minerals such as calcium and magnesium.  It is measured in degrees of 1 to 10 in the number of grains per gallon of water, and we notice it mostly through the spotting on dishes, the results on our hair and physical appearance.

 

There are many issues that can be created by hard water.  First off, hard water can contribute to clogging pipes and reducing the flow of water.  If you have noticed a white-ish buildup around your shower head and less water or lower pressure then hard water is working in the pipes.  This can lead to a buildup of film on bathroom surfaces which over time can be difficult to clean off. In the shower, hard water leaves your skin feeling as if there is a soapy film and residue that cannot come off.  It results in the skin feeling dry.  Hair cannot be rinsed properly resulting in shampoo residue leaving your hair looking dull.

 

For the appliances in the home, hard water can be difficult for any appliance using water to process.  It can shorten the life of refrigerators that offer water and ice cubes by accumulating in tubes and pipes.  More importantly, hard water can negatively impact your water heater through clogging pipes, but also by needing more heat for water as hard water is a poor conductor of heat.  This results in higher water and energy bills. Finally, the quality of your food can be affected by hard water.  When cleaned, glasses will retain a spotting and film on them that is difficult to remove and can influence the taste of the beverage.  Clothes also suffer hard water damage as they can be worn down by the presence of the extra minerals in the wash cycle.

 

What can you do?  One of the best things that you can do to combat hard water in your home is to install a water softener.  A water softener adds salts into the water through the process of ion exchange.  When hard water is filtered through the water softener filled with negative charged resin, the calcium and magnesium in hard water, which carries a positive charge, attaches to the beads which leaves the sodium in the water.  Sodium is exchanged for the calcium and magnesium turning hard water soft. When dealing with your water softener, make sure that you are constantly adding salt to the basin of the water softener.  This will ensure that the filtration process is always able to occur as it should.

 

If you choose to live with your hard water, then you should look into reducing the heat in the water heater to save on the life of the appliance.  Preventative flushing of the unit can also help its longevity and performance.  Use vinegar to remove white spots and on tiles, glass in the bathroom to remove mineral deposits.  Look for laundry soap and shampoo that are designed for hard water.

 

Call Water Damage Zone today (877) 520-1923  your future bills may be a lot smaller, if you follow these simple tips. You can also visit our sister company for further information on restoration services at Best American Builders.

We specialize in the following services:

  • 24/7 Emergency Response, Water Extraction, Water Damage
  • Direct Billing to Insurance, Locally Owned and Operated
  • Water Cleanup, Water Dry outs, Visual Mold Inspections, Sewage Damage Cleanup
  • Sterilizing & Odor Removal, Licensed & Bonded #963976, Reputable Los Angeles based company
  • Image from depositphotos, ID 15892692
  • Shutterstock Sequence Number: US-041C159DA-1

Water Damage Zone, Inc.
Corporate Office
15115 Califa St. Ste. C
Van Nuys, CA 91411

Preventing Carpet Mold After Water Damage

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Finding mold in your carpet isn’t a pleasant experience and it may return even after you remove it. Carpet is one of the hardest things to get mold out of because of the porousness of the material. One of the main ways that mold begins to form in carpet is after it becomes water damaged. Any water sitting on the carpet for a prolonged period of time will allow it to start growing mold. In this post we’re going to focus on ways to prevent your carpet from growing mold after water damage.

Quickly Dry Carpets

Any carpets that sustain water damage need to be dried as quickly as possible. Use a wet/dry vacuum to suck up all of the water from inside of the carpet. If you don’t know anyone who owns one, you can easily rent one from a hardware store. The more quickly you dry carpeting, the less time mold has to begin to grow. Use fans in addition to vacuuming to speed up the drying process.

Get A Dehumidifier

If you have rooms in your home where the humidity levels are high, you’re going to want to invest in a good dehumidifier. This will prevent the room from becoming excessively humid and allowing mold to grow in your carpet. The better climate control that you have in a room, the more quickly you can dry it out and prevent mold from having the conditions that it needs to grow.

Replace Carpet Padding

If simply cleaning your carpet doesn’t work, the carpet padding may need to be replaced. Replacing just the padding will save you money and prevent mold from growing. Just make sure that the carpet is properly steam cleaned and dried. In addition to this you will want to sanitize your walls and baseboards in the home so that they don’t transfer mold spores to your carpet. Check other furniture in the home to ensure that it isn’t wet or growing mold.

Keep Your Home Dry

By ventilating your home and keeping it dry you will prevent yourself from having to deal with mold problems. These tips should help to give you a starting point when dealing with wet carpeting so you can prevent the situation from turning into a mold problem. The main thing to focus on when keeping mold out of your carpets is keeping them clean and dry by vacuuming them regularly and airing out your home.

 

Call Water Damage Zone today (877) 520-1923  your future bills may be a lot smaller, if you follow these simple tips. You can also visit our sister company for further information on restoration services at Best American Builders.

We specialize in the following services:

  • 24/7 Emergency Response, Water Extraction, Water Damage
  • Direct Billing to Insurance, Locally Owned and Operated
  • Water Cleanup, Water Dry outs, Visual Mold Inspections, Sewage Damage Cleanup
  • Sterilizing & Odor Removal, Licensed & Bonded #963976, Reputable Los Angeles based company
  • Image from depositphotos, ID 15892692
  • Shutterstock Sequence Number: US-041C159DA-1

 

Water Damage Zone, Inc.
Corporate Office
15115 Califa St. Ste. C
Van Nuys, CA 91411

Water Damage can Happen at Anytime

Call Water Damage Zone today (877) 520-1923  your future bills may be a lot smaller, if you follow these simple tips. You can also visit our sister company for further information on restoration services at Best American Builders.

We specialize in the following services:

  • 24/7 Emergency Response, Water Extraction, Water Damage
  • Direct Billing to Insurance, Locally Owned and Operated
  • Water Cleanup, Water Dry outs, Visual Mold Inspections, Sewage Damage Cleanup
  • Sterilizing & Odor Removal, Licensed & Bonded #963976, Reputable Los Angeles based company
  • Image from depositphotos, ID 15892692
  • Shutterstock Sequence Number: US-041C159DA-1

 

Water Damage Zone, Inc.
Corporate Office
15115 Califa St. Ste. C
Van Nuys, CA 91411

Do YOU Know What Causes Mold?

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MOLD colonization occurs when MOLD spores and moisture find one another on surfaces that they consider food, such as wood, paper, leather, cloth, dusty and dirty surface conditions and more. Molds will often grow in damp or wet areas indoors. If the moisture source is not identified and stopped, the MOLD colonization will advance, and begin to  release new MOLD spores into the air in amplified proportions.

How do you know if you have a mold problem?

A few signs to look for:

Mold can be found almost anywhere in the home environment. It appears most often in moist or wet areas. A musty odor may also be present. Mold begins to grow indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet or damp. Mold won’t grow without moisture or water. Therefore, it is important to dry out wet or moist areas within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth.
Some examples of places where mold can be found are:
Basements, kitchens (bottom of fridge or under the sink), around bathroom vanities, under walls paper, washer/dryer area, and bathrooms. Before fungi can colonize, four requirements must be met: moisture, air, slightly humid or livable temperature and food.  Humidity and water leaks are the leading common cause of most mold infestations. Leaks being the easiest to spot are the first indications that mold may be present, however unusual activities may upset the humidity averages in the house and mechanical spaces and allow mold to establish itself.

By sending a sample of the biological growth to a lab, they will be able to determine whether it is mold, and what species of mold. They  would need to use a surface sampling technique that allowed the species to be identified. and in some cases air sampling will also be required

What are the potential health effects of mold in homes?

Mold exposure does not always present a health problem indoors. However some people are sensitive to molds in which they can become susceptable to health risks.These people may experience symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin
irritation when exposed to molds. Some people may have more severe reactions to molds. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Immune compromised persons and persons with chronic lung diseases like COPD are at increased risk for opportunistic infections and may develop fungal infections in their lungs.
Some individuals with underlying health conditions may be more sensitive to molds.
For example, individuals who have other allergies or existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, sinusitis, or other lung diseases may be more easily affected. Similarly, persons who have a weakened immune system tend to be more sensitive to molds.

What type of mold am I dealing with?
Allergenic molds are normally not dangerous in low amounts, but they can cause allergenic or asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing or runny nose. These molds can be abated safely with the assistance of gloves and a disposable particulate-removing respirator.

Mycotoxic molds can cause serious health effects in humans and animals. Health effects range from short-term irritation to immune suppression to cancer and even death. If any toxic molds are identified, it is suggested that you seek advice from an Industrial Hygienist or other mold professional for guidance. The average homeowner should NOT attempt the abatement of these types of mold.

Pathogenic molds can cause serious health effects in persons with suppressed immune systems, those taking chemotherapy, those with HIV/AIDS, or autoimmunity disorders. If any pathogenic molds are identified, it is suggested you seed the advice of an Industrial Hygienist or other mold professional for guidance. The average homeowner should NOT attempt the abatement of these types of mold.

Hyphae & hyphal elements refer to single, unidentifiable fragments of mold. Although they may not be traceable to a specific mold species, the fragments themselves may be responsible for allergic reactions in some people and may indicate previous or current growth event. Smut spores are agricultural spores from outside sources.
Ascospores and basidiospores are clusters of spores that may not be easily identified as 
per specific species, but may still represent f mold problem in the home.

What are the first steps you should do in the event of Water Damage / Flood?

Identify the source of the incoming water and, if possible, stop it or call a professional to handle it.

Turn off all electrical appliances in and around the area affected by water before you get in to the area to
reduce electrical hazards.

Remove or elevate furniture off wet areas to prevent permanent stains or rust marks from occurring.

Empty out closet floors, including shoes and cardboard boxes which could cause staining.

Call Water Damage Zone today (877) 520-1923  your future bills may be a lot smaller, if you follow these simple tips. You can also visit our sister company for further information on restoration services at Best American Builders.

We specialize in the following services:

  • 24/7 Emergency Response, Water Extraction, Water Damage
  • Direct Billing to Insurance, Locally Owned and Operated
  • Water Cleanup, Water Dry outs, Visual Mold Inspections, Sewage Damage Cleanup
  • Sterilizing & Odor Removal, Licensed & Bonded #963976, Reputable Los Angeles based company
  • Image from depositphotos, ID 15892692
  • Shutterstock Sequence Number: US-041C159DA-1

Water Damage Zone, Inc.

Corporate Office

15115 Califa St. Ste. C

Van Nuys, CA 91411

 

Hot Water Heater Leaking?

Home repair

In the course of owning your home, things are going to break or begin leaking.  It is simply a matter of time and inevitability.  Something is going to happen.  One of the most costly things that can happen is when your hot water heater begins to leak.

Normally located in the basement or a service room of the home, the water heater s not noticed as long as the water for dishes stays boiling hot and your showers are not replaced by ice cubes.  However, once the heater begins to leak, it becomes a necessary fix that needs your immediate attention.

In looking at the water heater, one of the first things you’re going to notice is that there is going to be a lot of water coming from the unit.  Remember that these heaters are always full, so there is a lot of water present in the machine once a leak begins.  Next, you will need to identify the origin of the leak.  In the case of Hot water heaters, there is a lot of water and the leak doesn’t stop.  This means that the potential for long-term damage to the home increases the longer the hot water heater is allowed to be given access.  If you think that you have a leak, remember that leaks do not simply start and stop, but they will be fairly consistent.

One of the best ways to find a leak in a hot water heater is to first clean up a puddle.  Once this is done, then take some paper towels and place them in the area of the leak.  It is also necessary to wipe the unit and internal mechanisms down as thoroughly as possible.  This is done to show the origins of the leak.

Once the source of the leak has been discovered, then it is critical to begin the repair.  First, you are going to turn off the water to the appliance.  If the appliance is leaking, why should there be a steady stream of water.  The closing of the water will accommodate this decision.  Don’t forget too to shut off all water to the unit.  Sometimes people forget to turn off the cold water supply.  This can lead to significance and potentially major damage.

Once the water has been shut off from the unit, then it would be time to check all the hoses attached to the unit.  If you find a hose that has some leaking or excessive condensation, then congrats, you have an easy to fix project.  Sometimes it is not this easy. Check the hoses and their connections.  Make sure that these are not the reasons for the leak.  If you are still having a difficult time finding or repairing the leak, call a licensed plumber as soon as possible.

A plumber would be able to quickly diagnose the issue and repair in a timely manner.  Don’t allow yourself to fall into the expensive trap of having to call multiple contractors to fix the heater.  Get it right the first time and enjoy your home as you intended to be.

Call Water Damage Zone today (877) 520-1923  your future bills may be a lot smaller, if you follow these simple tips. You can also visit our sister company for further information on restoration services at Best American Builders.

We specialize in the following services:

  • 24/7 Emergency Response, Water Extraction, Water Damage
  • Direct Billing to Insurance, Locally Owned and Operated
  • Water Cleanup, Water Dry outs, Visual Mold Inspections, Sewage Damage Cleanup
  • Sterilizing & Odor Removal, Licensed & Bonded #963976, Reputable Los Angeles based company
  • Image from depositphotos, ID 15892692
  • Shutterstock Sequence Number: US-041C159DA-1

Water Damage Zone, Inc.
Corporate Office
15115 Califa St. Ste. C
Van Nuys, CA 91411