Humidity, Mold and Air Quality in Your Eastern NC Home
High humidity continues to be an issue during the summer months in Eastern NC.
We here at SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin & Jones Counties want the people of Eastern NC to understand the high humidity issues we all deal with every summer as it relates to our homes.
Air barriers help to control the airflow through and within an enclosed structure. By controlling airflow, moisture is also controlled and therefore lessening the threat of mold in your home.
If moist indoor air comes into contact with a cold surface, it can result in condensation. An air barrier prevents cooler surfaces from being connected with indoor humid air. Warm air can store a lot of moisture, wile cold air stores very little moisture.
When the amount of moisture that can be stored in the air changes from warm to cool, the temperature gets colder. When it’s hot, more moisture is stored in the air, causing high humid levels. But when it’s cold, not much moisture can be stored at all. For those of us in the Lenoir, Duplin & Jones County area, that enjoy grilling out, let’s use this example: if you had a large propane tank filled with gas and you shrunk it, it would eventually spill over. And that’s called condensation.
Back in the day, older buildings would very seldom have condensation problems in cold weather because they were so well ventilated. In other words, they were leaky. The relative humidity in older homes would rarely rise above 25%. As tighter houses have been built, and they have failed to provide mechanical ventilation, the indoor relative humidity has gone up in newer homes.
In tight, heated and unventilated houses, the amount of moisture in the air along with the amount of condensation that can occur are drastically different than in old leaky houses. Condensation can occur wherever water vapor can find a cold spot, such as on roof or on walls, and the inside of window panes, and even inside the walls.
Using another example: if the temperature is 40°F outside and the outdoor relative humidity is 50%, you could allow that outdoor air to enter your home and heat it up to 70°F. The amount of moisture in the air stays exactly the same because the storage capacity of the air increases with the temperature. As a result of this, the relative humidity initially drops. As the moisture is added to the air, the relative humidity rises, and the moisture content rises also. How is moisture added to the air? As you breathe, sweat, boil water, take hot showers and grow houseplants indoors, all of those activities generate moisture in you home.
Indoor humidity becomes a problem when air leaks out of a house through holes in the structure. As the air reaches surfaces colder than 52°F or 53°F, the air will cool. When the air reaches its maximum capacity to store moisture, condensation will occur with the threat of mold beginning not far behind.
If the outdoor air temperature is around 30°F, the indoor air will drop the moisture that it gained on the way out. Since condensation in the walls can cause puddles, and in some cases, rot the structures framing. Condensation is something homeowners should want to avoid. If an air barrier is installed, it can help prevent condensation. Your air conditioning could also cause condensation.The same scenario can happen in reverse during the summer months. For example: if the outdoor air is 85°F and the relative humidity is 75%, the outdoor air leaking inward comes into contact with a surface below about 76°F, then the moisture in the air will condense and in some cases, also causing mold. If an exhaust fan is in your home, the air leaking in could cause condensation issues on air-conditioned surfaces, such as on the back side of vinyl wallpaper.
If moist air enters into a leaky house through gaps in the roof or wall, you may experience problems. But in a tight house with good air barriers along with a supply-only ventilation system, most of the air that’s enters inside the house is drawn in through the air conditioner, so the first cold surface it comes into contact with is the cooling coils of the air conditioner.
If air leaks are present in your building, you usually can’t see the condensation. However, condensation is sometimes visible in the attic space. The only thing a homeowner has to do is look for frost, dampness forming, or any sign of mold on the underside of the roof sheathing.
Not much of a hole in the ceiling of a humid house is needed for condensation to accumulate in the form of frost. Later, as the sun warms the roof up, the frost will melt, the water falls and then you could have have a leaky roof on your hands. Some homeowners would then call a roofer, he puts on a new roof, and it doesn’t fix anything because that was not the problem to begin with . It was an air leak.
If you as a homeowner are experiencing any of these issue, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin & Jones Counties @ (252)208-7888. We are faster to any disaster and will make it like it never even happened.
Preventing Attic Water Damage
Be sure to occasionally check the moisture in your attic to prevent future headaches
Water and moisture in an attic could cause major headaches and many costly repairs. Also, mold can grow and contaminate your homes air quality, and water can even weaken its structure. Homeowners need to know what causes the moisture in their attic in order to stop water damage. The damage could come from a leaking roof, faulty insulation and/or ventilation or appliance failures. SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin and Jones Counties offers these helpful tips at how to reduce attic water damage: Look for Leaks in Your Attic Check the insulation and wood for signs of water damage like mold or discoloration of the wood. Also, check around where the light fixtures are paced from above.
Ventilate Your Attic Moisture in your attic space increases without the proper ventilation. Good attic ventilation is especially important in winter, because in winter, warm air rises, enters the attic, and then condenses on any cold surfaces of the attic. Condensation can’t be released unless your attic has the proper ventilation. Also, make sure any attic vents are open and not blocked by insulation or clutter.
Insulate Your Attic The temperature levels in your attic are controlled by the insulation you use. In the winter months, the attic temperature should be five to ten degrees warmer than the outside temperature. The attic floor needs to be properly insulated so warm air from inside your house doesn’t enter the attic.
Vent Appliances to the Outside A common mistake a lot of homeowners experience is improper ventilation of appliances. The clothes dryer, kitchen vents, and bathroom vents should always blow the air outside of the house and not in the attic.
Maintain Attic Appliances One other thing to note is that appliances in your attic such as air conditioners, hot water heaters, and HVAC systems may fail and cause water damage. Remember to periodically check these appliances for wear and tear and loose connections.
Understanding Mold Remediation
The faster you call SERVPRO @ (252)208-7888, the faster we can get the mold in your home under control.
What happens when a mold remediation company, like SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin & Jones Counties, shows up at your house to get rid of mold?
Prior to SERVPRO arriving at your house, try and clear out any access items that may be in the way of the remediation zone. Place house pets either in another room or out in the backyard. It helps to move any vehicles from the driveway or garage, and clear a wide path for the technicians to access your residence from the outside all the way to the mold area.
When SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin & Jones Counties arrive, they will park as near as possible to the doorway, lay down sheets of plastic, and run hoses through the house to the mold area. If the mold area is accessible from the outside, as in a crawl space, that makes it a lot better. SERVPRO will take care to keep your house clean while they do their work.
Our technicians will then fully suit up for action with head-to-toe white suits, booties, respirators, and goggles. This does not necessarily mean that our technicians will be removing toxic mold. This is common practice for any mold job they are dealing with.
First, a technician will spray the mold area with biocide. Biocide is an EPA-approved liquid which kills mold. You as a homeowner need to note that bleach is not approved by the EPA for killing mold. This part of the remediation process doesn’t take that long.
After the technicians leave, the biocide starts working to kill the mold spores. The next day when the technicians return, they spray the mold area with an encapsulate in order to prevent any mold from growing or spreading.
A day later, SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin & Jones Counties returns to spray the area with a type of whitewash paint that encapsulates any remaining mold spores. An area well beyond the moldy area should also be sprayed to ensure that no more mold grows.
Does Your Home Make the Grade?
Pictures of a yard before, when water would flow toward the house and after the yard was graded to prevent water flowing towards the house.
Certain factors which eliminate the potential for water damage should be a top priority whether you are shopping for a pre-existing home or property on which you plan to build your own home. Yard grading is a construction or landscaping technique that changes a property’s directional slope.
A pre-existing home that sits on land that slopes downward towards its foundation could be in for destruction after heavy rains, storms and melting snow. Changing the grade to slope away from its foundation effectively could eliminate these risks.
Yard grading around a pre-existing structure can be accomplished by clearing all landscaping within a five-foot area around the home’s perimeter. Low-lying spots or lawn dips could result in post-storm mud and small pools of water. Fill the dips up with clean soil and use a compactor to tamp down the soil.
Another method some homeowners choose to employ is to stall a dry creek bed straight up the middle of their land and fill it in with attractive river rocks. This bed-like feature draws runoff deep down into the earth, keeping above-ground outbuildings dry.
If you are considering designing your own home, It’s a lot cheaper to change the homes design than regrade the ground. Draw home plans with structure on highest ground point. Try to leave at least six inches between the home’s perimeter and landscape plantings.
Some homeowners install gutter systems that are easy to maintain consistently or place river rocks around downspouts, so runoff doesn’t create sinkholes.
Homeowners may choose to install double-pane windows or water resistant flooring. Central heat and air units with dehumidifying systems could also help. Area rugs made from natural fibers that are washable and furniture made of moisture repellent materials like bamboo could also prevent moisture build up. Be sure to insulate any plumbing against condensation and
seal air ducts thoroughly, paying close attention to adjoining seams.
Once you have established a safe, water-tight home environment, your ready to move into your new residence.
Mold at School...Not a good Thing
Clearly mold in a school setting is not a good environment for any child.
- SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin & Jones Counties is committed to helping keep our schools free of any mold situations that could be harmful to your kids health. A damp, moldy school environment could be harmful to kids for a several reasons. Damp indoor environments could create conditions that are more favorable for standing water. In schools this can increase pest infestations, all of which could release allergens into the air. Moisture also can cause building materials to release toxins into the air that could cause physical and/or mental health issues. Damp environments may lead to growth of different kinds of molds indoors. Although some molds could be anywhere at any time, indoors or out, including in schools. When wet conditions exist, molds could grow to higher than normally occurring levels. Some schools may be in poor repair and poorly maintained. Many schools could have plumbing problems, leaky roofs or poor ventilation systems, which could create the ideal moisture conditions needed for molds to grow. Moisture and mold problems can be present in schools regardless of the climate or time of year, and may be present in older buildings as well as new construction. Delaying repairs or cutting back maintenance could make the mold problems worse. Many schools have mold problems because of poor construction, or because they are so tightly sealed and poorly ventilated, which prevents most of the moisture from escaping. School personnel and parents should be alert to and help monitor schools for moisture, water damage, and resulting mold problems. We all love an care for our kids and SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin & Jones Counties is no different.
Commercial Storm Damage can be Repaired
Remember on the darkest stormy days, brighter days are ahead.
SERVPRO of Lenoir, Dupli, & Jones Counties realizes that April showers bring May flowers, but it also brings the risk of storm damage to a commercial building.
Most companies think their property’s appearance is important. When the need arises for emergency or commercial storm damage, most business owners call a professional storm restoration company such as SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin & Jones Counties to help.
Storm Damage Facts
Storm damage can extend far beyond just the roof, also, damaging siding, HVAC units and windows. The winds that go along wit a with a storm could cause enough damage to warrant roof repairs or total replacement.
Hai and water damage cause the most damage during a storm. Hail can travel at high speeds, and could cause several dollars damage to property. Major damage could lead to water leakage into the business and greater structural issues caused by mold.
If you believe the roof may have been damaged in a storm, call trained professionals, such as the crew from SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin & Jones Counties. The last thing a company needs is a personal injury on top of your property damage. Our team could rescue your building hopefully from greater structural issues while saving your company time and money.
We’ll help you determine the scope of work needed to mitigate the damage, no matter if it is a partial replacement or a full repair. Determining the scope of work is a crucial step in filing a successful insurance claim.
Getting Your ccommercial property back “Like it never even happened” is our motto.
Your company has suffered enough hardship. Its your company, you’ve insured it, now let
It’s your property. You’ve acquired it. You’ve insured it against storm damage, so now is the time to protect it.
How Safe is your Commercial Building?
Sprinklers are required for most commercial businesses.
Fire safety should be one of the main concerns of all commercial business owners. If a fire were to occur during business hours it could lead to serious injuries or even death of its employees. No business owner should want that on their hands. Fire sprinklers could be the difference between life and death.
Here are some of the sprinkler requirements for commercial building systems:
- Buildings more than 55 feet in height must have an automatic sprinkler system running throughout the building.
Buildings with a fire area exceeding 5,000 square feet, older buildings that have been remodeled or renovated, or any single tenant add-on that requires a new certificate of occupancy that increases the square footage over 12,000 feet must have fire sprinkler systems installed throughout the entire building.
Fire pumps should be installed to increase the water pressure in a single sprinkler system if that sprinkler system is fed by a non-pressurized water tank. Also, municipal water sources do not provide enough pressurized water to sprinkler systems, resulting in an ineffective system.
Water supply control valves should be accessible for easy operation. All of the valves should be clearly marked with exterior signs showing where the each valve is located. These valves should be marked with information indicating the areas and locations covered by their water source.
These are justa few of the sprinkler requirements needed to keep commercial buildings, workers, and clients safe. So, how safe is your building?
Grease Fires : The What, When and How
When cooking with grease, be sure to pay close attention until you have finished cooking.
- So, you’ve began to warm up the grease to fry some mouth watering French fries and all of a sudden the phone rings. The grease on the stove starts to overheat and smoke, and before you know it, the fryer catches on fire. What you do next to put out the grease fire is very important, so keep these tips in mind.
- Turn the heat off, but don’t move the container of grease.
- Don't pour water on a grease fire. Water could cause the grease to splash on other kitchen surfaces and possibly spread the flames.
- Put a lid on it. Covering the container will hopefully smother the fire.
- Call 911, if the fire has gotten out of control and get out of the building.
- Dont use flour on a grease fire. Sometimes using baking soda can put out a SMALL grease fire, but flour should never be used.
- Fire extinguisher should be the last resort, due to the risk of contaminating your kitchen.
5 Ways to Prevent Mold in Your Commercial Building
A building can look safe on the outside, but mold could be lurking on the inside.
By possibly eliminating some of the health risks associated mold and human contact, try following these tips to try and prevent mold from growing inside your commercial building.
- Be observant: Mold can grow in places you may have never thought of. Try to be mindful and develop some type of routine to search for any signs of mold or damp surfaces, areas with high moisture or humidity, and in rooms where there may be stains on the wall and have smelly carpet.
- Reduce moisture. The area of the country where your commercial building is located may mean the humidity is always going to be high. Damp air could make it easy for mold to grow in your building. You may wish to have dehumidifiers installed either in basements or attics to help keep areas dry.
- Clean the HVAC: Your buildings air conditioning, heating and ventilation system can increase the chances that mold spores are blown throughout the building. By having the HVAC system and ducts cleaned on a regular basis, this may help reduce the transfer of mold spores.
- Repairs: Make repairs and any other issues with the building as soon as they happen, and always try to catch any leaks and water damage before it turns into a moldy mess. Leaky roofs, and unsealed window and door frames are all problems that can cause mold to grow.
- Let the pros handle it: The needs of almost every commercial building are different. So, sometimes to effectively prevent mold from growing, a mold remediation specialist such as SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin and Jones Counties may be needed. Our specialists can customize a plan to fit your commercial building. By working with our remediation specialists, we can help you feel confident that any existing mold problems are responded to quickly and hopefully eliminated in the future.
Why Mold Should be Prevented in Commercial Buildings
By preventing mold exposure in your workplace, hopefully you will have less worries of having to go to a Doctor.
Coming into contact to indoor mold in a commercial building could possibly cause a variety of health problems. In some instances, the ones who could be affected the most by mold and mold spores are usually people who could already have weakened immune systems. People who are not as sensitive to mold related symptoms could also develop health issues due to mold exposure that they didn't even know existed in their building.
People who work or live in moldy conditions could possibly start out with only minor symptoms. If a person were to continue to be exposed mold or the exposure intensifies, their reactions could possibly worsen.
At SERVPRO of Lenoir, Duplin and Jones Counties, our trained technicians will do their best to eliminate any and all mold issues so you and your coworkers can get back to work without the worry of mold lurking.