Recent Why SERVPRO Posts

3 Common Types of Molds Found in Homes

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Aspergillus Niger is green and pink mold Aspergillus is found in climates around the world, the Aspergillus genus contains hundreds of mold species

3 Common Types of Molds Found in Homes

If you're a homeowner in Queens, NY, you likely do as much as possible to maintain a clean, safe environment. When it comes to mold growth, you may be wondering why it keeps coming back and how to handle it. Numerous molds can develop in your home, and they all have one thing in common: they thrive in damp areas with high humidity. Here are three of the most common types you may find at home:

  1. Cladosporium
  2. Aspergillus
  3. Stachybotrys chartarum

Many of the most common indoor molds are in the Cladosporium genus. They produce olive-green to brown-black colonies and, like all molds, they are likely to grow in moist areas. Surfaces in attics, basements, and bathrooms are often prime growing mediums.

Found in climates around the world, the Aspergillus genus contains hundreds of mold species. They generally form black or green spots and the airborne spores are more common indoors than outdoors. Starchy foods and damp, humid areas such as around window frames and in air conditioners are ideal environments for these types of mold growth.

Stachybotrys chartarum
Also known as black mold, this is the most infamous mold. It requires very high moisture levels and is most often found in buildings that have sustained water damage. Interestingly, the spores are only released when the mold is disturbed, so it's actually an uncommon indoor air contaminant. Nevertheless, if you find it, you should begin a black mold cleanup process immediately.

Mold Remediation
These common molds that can grow in your home all require remediation. Though mold spores exist everywhere, they only develop into colonies if left untreated. Molds love moisture, humidity, and water, so it's important to address the source before treating the mold itself. Molds can grow in areas that aren't clearly visible, which can lead to mold damage. If you detect a strong, musty odor, you should contact experts in mold remediation to create a mold cleanup plan for you.
If you suspect mold growth in your home, don't hesitate to take action. New or old, your home can harbor mold if it's experienced water damage or if moisture is trapped in closed areas.

4 Tips for Keeping Mold Out of Your Bathroom

9/22/2019 (Permalink)

Grout of a shower with mold Mold in the grout of a shower

4 Tips for Keeping Mold Out of Your Bathroom

The bathroom is a prime place for mold to grow. It has the main elements that mold needs to thrive, which is excess moisture. If you frequently have shower mold in your bathroom, you can adopt some new habits to get rid of it and keep it from ever returning.

1. Remove Mold Growth

The first thing you need to do is get rid of the black mold that has infested your shower. If the problem is large, you may need to hire mold remediation experts to resolve the issue. If you just have a few spots on the grout, however, you may be able to clean it yourself. You can use vinegar, baking soda or Borax for mold cleanup that doesn't give off noxious fumes.

2. Apply Some Elbow Grease

A homemade solution may not work well alone. If you find this to be the case, you can use a scrub brush or old toothbrush to scrub the spots where you see shower mold. The bristles of the brush can loosen the spores, allowing you to wash it safely down the drain.

3. Replace Grout

If the grout in your shower has been moldy for quite a while, it may be too late to clean it. If you cannot get the mold stains off the grout, you need to remove it and replace it with a caulk gun. That way, you can start fresh instead of fighting a losing battle with moldy grout.

4. Control Moisture

The best way to prevent mold from returning is to keep excess moisture at bay. Dry off the shower walls after each use. Turn on the exhaust fan while you are in the bathroom. Increase air flow to lower the humidity in the room.
Shower mold may become an issue in your home in Whitestone, NY, but it doesn't have to remain an issue. With proper cleanup and prevention strategies, you can enjoy a bathroom free of mold growth.

Mold: The Growth, The Consequences, and The Cure

7/29/2019 (Permalink)

a white ceiling with grey discoloration Mold damage on ceiling in a Howard Beach, NY building

When a storm hits and water enters your business, the problem may not end when the water dries. At times, the moisture can cause black mold to grow and spread throughout the area, which can damage the structure of your business. Understanding how this occurs, and what can be done to stop it, are the first steps in ensuring proper mold remediation.

Where Does Mold Form and Grow?

Black mold begins to spread as soon as the spores land on a susceptible area. They will attach themselves to any moist, porous surface, including:

  • Wood, including support beams, floor boards, and furniture
  • Wallpaper, cardboard, and other paper products
  • Carpeting, upholstery, insulation material, and any other fabric-based material

Remember that this is a living organism, so it is not uncommon for mold to spread throughout a building in as little as a few days. While the problem may begin in an area with an existing moisture problem, the mold itself can quickly move on to drier areas of your business.

What Is The Risk of Permanent Damage?

There is quite a bit of hype around the dangers of black mold, and for good reason. Mold spores do more than simply grow on a wall. They actually eat away at whatever they are attached to, and while it can take some time to permanently damage the integrity of walls, floors, and furniture, these structures will be destroyed over time if left unchecked.

How Is Mold Removed?

The only way to rid yourself of your problem is to enlist the help of mold cleanup specialists. Mold remediation services in Howard Beach, NY, will visit your business to assess the situation, including the point of origin to prevent future problems, and the extent of the damage throughout the building. Remember that mold exists everywhere, so it is physically impossible to remove all mold spores from any given area. Proper remediation, however, will minimize the damage by preventing further growth and restore damaged areas to their former glory.

Where To Search for Mold

5/30/2019 (Permalink)

stairs to a basement with grey and green coloration on a white wall Mold damage in attic

Where To Search for Mold 

How old is your home? Have you experienced any leaks recently? The answers to these questions can reveal the likelihood of a possible mold problem. For example, older homes are more prone to leaks and therefore more likely to end up with mold damage. However, for diligent homeowners, like yourself, it is possible to nip mold in the bud before it ever has a chance to colonize. You just have to know the most common areas to look.

1. Wall Cavities

Unlike mildew growth, Mold growth depends on dampness, darkness and warmth. It is one of the few living organisms that doesn’t need sunlight to survive. Therefore, wall cavities, especially those housing old leaky plumbing, are prime real estate for fungal development.

2. Basements

Basements are another area prone to mold damage. The dark, humid and often damp environment make it a hot spot. However, mold is more often to shown up around water heaters or laundry units because, again, it does require moisture.

3. Attics

It is not uncommon for some older homes to develop roof or seal leaks in the attic, potentially leading to mold growth and development. Old, poorly insulated attic spaces also have drastic temperature fluctuations from season to season, meaning that the summer months may allow for the perfect colonization conditions.

If you are concerned that certain areas in your home may be vulnerable to mold, then contact a mold remediation specialist in the Jamaica Bay, NY, area. These professionals can assess your property, letting you know the areas of your home that need to be protected from mold and how to improve those conditions.

While mold damage is a common concern among many homeowners, few realize that there are common areas where mold is likely to develop. When you know where to look, and you understand what conditions can lead to mold growth, it is easier to reduce the risks. However, if you need help assessing your property, you can always call a professional.

The 4 Stages of Fire Restoration

3/25/2019 (Permalink)

Garage fire in Whitestone,NY

Learn More About the Four Stages of Fire Restoration

The fire mitigation and restoration process consists of several stages. It is necessary to determine the extent of damage, take measures to prevent conditions from worsening and complete a fire rebuild. Learn more about the four stages of fire restoration and find out why commercial property owners and insurers should rely on a one-stop shop to start and finish the job.

1. Assessment

After a property owner reports damage and receives a call back from a mitigation and restoration franchise in Whitestone, NY, professionals should arrive on site within four hours. An initial assessment will account for the degree of damage, necessary mitigation measures and the equipment and labor that may be needed to restore a structure.

2. Pretesting

Pretesting can be helpful for determining the extent of damage. Preliminary tests may lower the overall cost of a claim by accounting for damage in the initial estimate that might otherwise go unnoticed until later in the fire restoration process.

3. Mitigation

Mitigation should start as soon as possible, ideally within hours of an inspection. This phase may involve boarding up broken windows or breaches in walls, tarping over roof damage and putting up security fencing. Other measures may include pumping out water used to extinguish a blaze and removing soot and debris.

4. Restoration

The restoration process can range from cleaning up soot and smoke damage all the way to a full fire rebuild. Whereas mitigation should occur within hours or days of a fire, restoration may continue for weeks.

These are the four phases of mitigation and restoration that should follow fire damage. For the best results, property owners and insurance providers can rely on a one-stop shop that provides assessment, pretesting, mitigation, and fire restoration services in Whitestone, NY. Relying on the same company for cleanup and rebuilding services can finish a job faster with more consistent quality.

How Pretesting After a Home Disaster Can Reduce Insurance Claims

2/18/2019 (Permalink)

Flooded basement in a Bayside, NY home

A disaster such as a flood at your Bayside, NY, home can be devastating. Not only could is displace you and your family, but it can also severely damage or even completely ruin belongings, keepsakes, and even structural components of your house. You’re grateful to have insurance to help cover your losses. However, heavy claims can raise your premiums. To keep claims down, professional restoration teams can conduct extensive pretesting to determine what you can salvage and restore and what you must replace.

What is Pretesting?

This process works in tandem with the initial inspection, and it’s critical before you make an insurance claim. Your insurance provider expect you to make contact quickly after an incident so it knows what it can and will cover. Pretesting helps to accurately make claims by identifying the scope of the issues.

  • Crews will determine what materials and portions of your home were affected.
  • Crews will determine if any parts of your house were untouched by damage.
  • Crews will determine what it can restore and what it must replace.

Danger of not Pretesting

What would happen if you were to hire the wrong cleanup company—one that didn’t pretest and examine the scene following a flood or other disaster? In this case, you might report unnecessary losses to your insurance agent, which would result in higher claims and more long-term financial burden. A knowledgeable disaster restoration company carefully evaluates this entire scenario and helps limit the amount of claims you have to make.

Sometimes Replacement Is Inevitable

There are cases when the company will discover during pretesting that the damage was too great to salvage a portion of your home or a belonging inside. It may be more cost-effective in some instances to replace rather than restore. The team will also determine how long both the restoration and replacement process will take.

Working with an insurance company can be a smooth experience. If you want to minimize claims, it’s best to work with a disaster response company that believes in pretesting.

3 Things To Know About Using a Fire Extinguisher

1/12/2019 (Permalink)

If a fire starts at your building in Queens, NY it is possible to eliminate the flames on your own using a fire extinguisher

3 Things To Know About Using a Fire Extinguisher

No matter the size, fires are dangerous. Employees need to evacuate a building if a fire is out of control. However, if a fire at your building in Queens, NY, is small and contained to one area, it is possible to eliminate the flames on your own using a fire extinguisher.

1. Know Your Equipment Before Disaster Strikes

While the steps required to use an extinguisher aren't exceptionally complicated under normal circumstances, things can change when a fire starts. The best way to prevent damage as a result of a small fire is to be acquainted with the extinguisher before you ever need to use it. This means yearly training on how to operate it. The more familiar an employee is with this device, the easier it will be to use when the time comes.

2. Assess the Fire Before You Act

A commercial building fire can cause fear and panic, but it's important to remain calm. The first thing to do during a fire is to activate the fire alarm. If a fire is large or out of control, employees should follow the building's evacuation plan and leave intervention to the fire department. If the fire is small, however, it might be possible to use a fire extinguisher to eliminate it. For example, it's possible that a kitchen fire on a stove or a fire contained to a trashcan could be extinguished quickly by an employee.

3. Use the Extinguisher Correctly

When using an extinguisher, here are a few things to keep in mind — although you should always read and follow your specific device's instructions.

  • Pull the pin on the extinguisher; this will break the tamper seal.
  • Always aim low and point the nozzle at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the handle to release the firefighting agent.
    • Step from side to side while using the extinguisher. Continue this motion until the fire is extinguished.

Repeat the last three steps with the fire extinguisher until the flames are out. If there is any doubt that you have not successfully snuffed the fire, evacuate immediately. Leave the firefighting to the professionals and the fire damage assessment to restoration experts.

What Are the Signs of Mold in Your Building?

11/29/2018 (Permalink)

Mold loss in Whitestone,NY

An ongoing concern for property owners in Whitestone, NY, is the threat of mold growth in their building. An undetected mold problem can cause thousands of dollars' worth of damage, not to mention possible health issues for tenants or workers. If you suspect a problem, an indoor environmental specialist can do a mold test to determine what type of mold, if any, is involved. If a problem is found, they have the expertise and equipment needed to safely eradicate it.

Let's Look at Some of The Things That Might Indicate a Problem

1. Mold Odor

A common indicator of mold is a strong, musty smell. This is a good way to detect a problem that might be hidden from view behind walls or ceilings. A persistent mold odor is a good reason to contact an indoor environmental specialist to do further testing.

2. Visible Mold

Actually seeing mold not only tells you have a problem, but that there's probably more that you can't see. The visible mold could be just the tip of the iceberg, with a much bigger problem hidden from view.

3. Water Damage

If you've had water damage in your building, whether from a leaky roof, broken pipes or flooding, there may be undetected moisture behind walls, floors or ceilings. This moist environment offers the perfect conditions for mold to flourish. It's important to address any possible mold issues soon after the damage occurs to make sure a small problem doesn't turn into a much bigger one.

If you think you might have mold in your building, it's a good idea to contact an indoor environmental specialist as soon as possible. They can inspect the premises to isolate the source and determine what type of mold growth is occurring. Then, using specialized techniques and equipment, they can make sure that any mold in your property is completely removed, efficiently and safely.

3 Tips for Creating an Office Fire Escape Plan

11/21/2018 (Permalink)

Have your fire escape plan updated in your Flushing,NY office

Fire Escape Plan

No matter what type of office in Flushing, NY, you manage, having an updated fire escape plan can save lives. It is important to imagine many crisis scenarios to best determine your escape routes and what tools you will need available. Effectively communicating to your coworkers their roles and responsibilities during a crisis, as well as knowing your building and resources, can also help you design the right course of action to take during an emergency.

1. Imagine Many Scenarios

The best emergency escape plan is one that considers many different crises. If there is a fire, you will be advised to stay low and leave the building by the most effective route; however, where the fire originates may impact various exit paths. These escape scenarios will be different depending on the location and size of your business as well as what types of clients and customers you see.

2. Communicate Roles and Responsibilities

When designing and practicing a fire escape plan with your office, it is important that you clearly communicate with each other and have designated roles and responsibilities. For instance, you can select one person to call emergency services. Your team leads can be responsible for keeping track of their team members, and you can even have someone in charge of grabbing a folder of important phone numbers, such as those for emergency restoration services and emergency contact info, on the way out.

3. Know Your Building and Resources

Emergency escape plans should demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the location and the tools available. This means knowing where the nearest exits are, which staircases lead outside most effectively and even what emergency medical or rescue gear is available.

Having the right fire escape plan for your office can save lives. Creating an emergency preparedness program for your business means knowing the basics of your building, your company and even your coworkers. This can help you effectively design the strategy best fitting your needs.

Creating a Maintenance Schedule for Your Home’s Sump Pump

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage to the floor in a Whitestone, NY home

Your Whitestone, NY, home’s sump pump can be the first line of defense against basement flooding. Weather events, poor drainage and plumbing pipe breaks are all potential sources of a damaging flood or standing water. Maintaining your pump regularly can ensure it is ready and able to work when floods occur, no matter their source.

The Importance of Caring for Your Pump

A working pump can protect your basement and its contents in several ways by draining and sending water away from your home and could prevent the following issues:

  • Mold growth
  • Water damage to the floor
  • Crawlspace flooding

A pump that is kept in good working condition can be your best defense in the face of unexpected floods, especially if you are away from home when they occur. Planned maintenance may help you remember to service it properly and often.

Monthly Maintenance

Checking your sump pump on the first of every month can help you gauge how well it is working and whether it is making any unusual sounds that may signal a problem. Check the power source and then inspect the pump’s cord for fraying and worn spots. To ensure the unit will drain away any excess water in the event of a flood, fill the sump until the inner float triggers the system and the pump turns on. Note any operations that are out of the ordinary so you can report them to a technician.

Yearly Checks

Yearly pump maintenance is best performed before the rainy season. Because these checks usually require in-depth servicing, it is wise to call in a flood damage and storm restoration service to have it performed. The techs will likely clean out the sump and ensure all the parts are greased and working properly to prepare it for the upcoming wet season.

Your Whitestone, NY, home’s sump pump is an important tool for preventing long-term water damage. Regular, planned maintenance can give you peace of mind that your unit will function when flooding affects your neighborhood.

Water, Water Everywhere: Troubleshooting Irrigation Systems

4/23/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage in a Queen,NY business

When your commercial irrigation system operates correctly, the flawless view of your property can be breathtaking. However, if the system malfunctions, flooding can quickly create swampy bogs that seep into buildings, damaging floors, equipment and furniture, often requiring the services of a water damage remediation professional in Queens, NY.

To avoid this catastrophe, pay close attention to your sprinkler system’s performance. At least once a week, walk around the property for a simple visual inspection. Troubleshooting problems early can help you avoid costly restoration in the future.

Troubleshooting Basics

Most sprinkler system problems are caused by the following elements:

  1. Sprinkler valves and heads
  2. Solenoids
  3. Damaged pipes
  4. Electrical connections
  5. Transformers

Get to the root of the irrigation problems through the process of elimination. Begin with inspecting the sprinkler heads and proceed down the list as necessary.

Valves and Heads

These are usually the most widespread cause of flooding. When they don’t operate properly, waterlogging can lead to flooded buildings.


Solenoids are often sensitive to dirt and debris and can stop functioning when blocked. Remove the clog and retest the system. If the solenoid plunger in the irrigation system clogs from damage or corrosion, solenoid replacement is usually the easiest and fastest resolution.

Damaged Pipes

Damaged pipes often flood yards and landscaping and invade structures. Check the aforementioned causes before you start digging and inspecting pipes. Minor pipe damage can often be repaired instead of resorting to costly replacement.

Electrical Connections

Sprinkler systems that ignore the timer or controller may be victims of faulty electrical connections. Conduct a volt meter test to determine if the typically required 24 volts are reaching the wire leading to the valve. If not, replace the wiring to get the system back on line.


Find the transformer terminals in the irrigation system usually marked “24 vac.” If a volt meter test shows the transformer is getting less than 24 volts, replace it.

Troubleshooting irrigation troubles can take patience. However, it’s generally wisely invested time if it prevents flooding. For solutions to major irrigation problems, contact a professional in Queens, NY.

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