Categories
Mold Blog

How Do I Prevent Mold Growth?

If you have a water leak, it’s important to clean and dry the area immediately to prevent mold growth. Porous materials, such as drywall and wood wall cavity wood framing can appear dry, but still hold a significant amount of moisture that will cause mold damage. Under the right conditions, mold can begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours. 

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Some Quick Ways to Help Prevent Mold Growth

Keep your eyes open.  Identify and controlling water problems is the first step in discouraging mold growth.  Here are a few quick tips.

  • Every month, when you change your AC filters, also look at all of your ceilings and under cabinets.  Look for signs of moisture. 
  • Monitor the humidity in your home.  Keep humidity in the low 50’s or less. 
  • Regularly maintain your HVAC system.  A poorly running HVAC system will not sufficiently process the humidity in your home, which could lead to a Mold Bloom. 
  • Properly ventilate your clothes dryer and clean the lint exhaust regularly
  • Use tile, not carpet or wood, in moisture-prone areas.  In Florida, it is common to find older homes that have elevated moisture in the concrete slab due to the high-water table. 
  • Employ dehumidifiers in the home if humidity is regularly elevated.
  • Insulate cold surfaces like walls, floors and windows.
  • Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens and let them run long enough that you don’t see condensation on mirrors or walls.
  • Improve circulation in the home by using ceiling fans.
  • Above all else, mitigate water damage immediately.  Mold cannot grow without moisture. 

If you suspect water or mold damage in your home, call Lightning Restoration for a free mold evaluation & estimate.  Stay safe and healthy Tampa Bay.

Categories
Fire Damage

How We Restore Your Home After a Fire Damage Emergency

Parking in the garage is a convenient luxury that we all love. However, when that vehicle catches fire and affects the entire home, it can be a traumatic experience that causes a fire damage emergency. Last month, a homeowner contacted us about a car fire in the garage. They had just returned home from work, relaxing on the couch when the neighbor came over letting them know about the smoke bellowing out from the garage. They had already called the fire department, who was en route.

This property owner ran outside and tried to open the garage door, but it would not budge. As the fire got hotter, it began to melt the paint on the garage door and burst the side window. Luckily, the fire department arrived moments later and put the fire out. Luckily for the homeowner, the fire never expanded out of the garage. Not so luckily, smoke and soot filled the house and attic space.

Fire Damage Emergencies Require Immediate Attention

Upon getting the call, the Lightning Restoration EMS crew went to work right away. Our top concerns were answering the property owners’ questions and beginning mitigation services to save the content in the home. What most people don’t realize is that the soot can do more damage than the fire itself. Soot can and will go anywhere that air goes.

When a by-product of a burning synthetic material, soot contains acidic properties from hydrofluoric, hydro sulfuric & hydrochloric acids. Mix that with the moisture in the air from Florida’s humidity or the water from the fire hoses, and we have an acidic reaction. EMS services include the extraction of the water from the fire department, cleaning and protecting all of the fixtures in the home and protection of the content items. We also boarded the home up, to protect it from looters who understand that the home has no security system to protect it from invaders.

What About Items Damaged During the Fire Emergency?

Upon release from the fire inspector, Lightning Restoration experts began the full remediation needed in the home. Our remediation experts packed out, cleaned, and deodorized each content item in the home. We process these items through our content’s division in our facility, utilizing the latest technology like ultrasonics bathing and hydroxyl deodorization. Finally, we store those items in our climate-controlled facility.

Back at the house, our fire remediation specialists worked to clean and restore the home, removing all traces of the soot and deodorizing the home. This is done by knowing how different structural materials react during different contamination scenarios. Various deodorization techniques are needed to achieve a healthy smelling home after a fire, which can include thermal fogging, air filtration and ozone/hydroxyl treatments.

Act Quickly After a Fire Damage Emergency

If you find yourself in a fire damage emergency, please do not hesitate to call Lightning Restoration. Our industry experts are prepared and trained to take care of your home and restore it back to its pre-loss condition. Be sure to Demand the Lightning Van!

Categories
Sanitization

How We Test Our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Sanitization Treatments

Let’s talk about the sanitization treatment process we’re using in our customers’ homes, offices, and businesses. More importantly, we’re going to talk about the testing we use during that process.

The most important part of this process is we can test to show that the sanitization we are performing is successful using an ATP meter. If you’re not familiar with ATP, it’s an energy molecule found in all living things, including bacteria and viruses. We take a swab sample before we actually do any kind of cleaning, and then we take another sample at the end after we’ve done the treatment. The premise behind this test is that we will show a significant drop in ATP and, thus, show significant drop in microbial contamination.

Let’s do this sanitization treatment right here on my desk

I work pretty long hours and eat at my desk pretty much every day, so I treat my desk and office regularly. In order to get a realistic view of normal levels of contaminations, we’re going to subject my desk to an everyday scenario. I just received a package. I’m going to rub it all over top of my desk. Then, we’re going to take a sample from there. This will be our beginning threshold.

So now we’re ready to actually do our tests. We’ll take our samples and see what kind of contaminants we have before the actual cleaning. Let’s look at the components of what we’re going to be dealing with.

  • then we have our actual swab samples that we’re going to take.

  • And on here, I have my disinfectant, an EPA registered and certified disinfectant that kills 99.99% of all viruses and bacteria.

We’ll do this treatment after we take the swab, and then we’ll take another swab sample at the end.

We’re going to swab a 4 x 4 square inch area of the desk. I’ll roll the swab over, take a good sample and place the swab back in the tube. There is a reagent in the top of this tube, so we’re going to snap off that plug and squeeze that down in with the plunger. After swishing the tube around for about five seconds, we’re going to drop it into the meter to see what kind of reading we get. This reading will take about 15 seconds.

That’s a pretty high reading

I’ll go over exactly what these readings mean in just a little bit, but Our reading is 316, which is pretty high. I’ll go over exactly what these readings mean, but for now, that’s our beginning threshold.

Now we’re going to treat the desk and do a post-test to see what we get after sanitization treatment. Treating a desk is pretty simple. I’m going to wash it over here, back and forth. We’ll let the material remain wet for a dwell time of about 10 minutes.

We let the disinfectant sit (or dwell) on the desk for 10 minutes. After this time, we’re ready to take our post sample to see what kind of reading we get after we’ve treated it. We will swab the same 4 x 4 inch area and get a good flex on the stem.

After returning the swab to its tube, we’ll release the reagent and plunger to see how successful our treatment is. When we’re performing these treatments in people’s homes, we’re doing a completely aerosolized treatment. So it’s going everywhere that air, the virus, or bacteria can go. In this localized case, we’re testing a small sample of this desktop, but any actual home or office that we treat will receive a complete envelope treatment, including the AC system as well.

Let’s see our final reading after sanitization treatment

We will wait 15 seconds again for the results of this second test to find out exactly where we are after sanitization treatment. Amazing, 2 is our final reading.

Before we get into the results of the test that we did on my desk, I want to first talk about what the test results mean. We mentioned already that we have a Hygiena meter which tests for ATP, an energy molecule found in viruses and all living things. This particular meter pushes light through the actual sample that is sent through it, and then it’s measured in RLUs, or relative light units. The higher the amount of RLUs in that actual swab sample, the higher the amount of microbial contaminants.

What’s a normal reading?

As you saw from our test, we started with an initial reading of over 300 RLUs. After finishing the sanitization treatment, we saw a reading of 2 RLUs. Let’s put those numbers into perspective and talk about what the standard readings are for different types of settings.

  • For an office or home setting, you generally want your RLUs to be at or below 50.
  • In the case of a doctor’s office or a hospital room, we’re looking for the RLUs to be less than 25.
  • In a surgical center, operating room, or a food prep area of a restaurant, you want those RLUs to be less than 10.

This is the same meter and test that’s used by the Department of Health to test all of those different areas. And I’m really excited about the process that we use here and the products that we’re using, because as you see, we got a reading of 2 RLUs. This is what you would expect your food to be prepared on. This is also a reading you’d expect in an operating room when having surgery done.

Let Lightning Restoration sanitize your home or office

We’re excited about the level of sanitization that we can bring to people’s homes and offices. And if you’re interested in this sanitization treatment, please give us a call. Our number is 855-850-LTNG. Thank you, and be safe and healthy.