How Condensation Works
Not many consider condensation a danger to the belongings or the actual structure in their home, apartment, or commercial building. After all, a little moisture on surfaces isn’t a big deal and can easily be wiped off.
Right? Maybe, but that’s not the entire picture. Even water in very small quantity can be an issue.
Water comes in several forms, such as gas, liquid, and solid. Condensation is formed when molecules of water vapor combine to become liquid water. This happens when water vapor meets colder air and surfaces.
The danger is when this collects in areas prone to condensation, such as your basement. But this isn’t limited to basements. Condensation can collect on surfaces that can be damaged by moisture in virtually any part of the home or office. Condensation threatens metal items that can rust, natural furnishings, such as those made from wood or fabric, books and papers, and other personal items.
While most often think of rainwater, broken pipes, and leaky basements as sources of water damage, condensation can be a hazard as well, but with the slow effect of it, you don’t notice the damage until it is too late.
Here are a few easy tips to limit the impact of potential condensation.
Dehumidify: A simple household dehumidifier is a great device to remove moisture from the air and reduce condensation. The disadvantage is they use quite a bit of electricity, so purchase one that is efficient.
Insulate: Pipes, especially cold-water pipes, can build up condensation and then drip down onto areas adversely affected by moisture. By wrapping your pipes with insulation, you may stop this from happening.
Ventilation: Monitor the humidity inside and outside your home. You might open windows if the weather permits it and humidity is lower outside, or you could run the HVAC system and keep the humidity down with mechanical methods.
Keep moisture away: Ensure your downspouts are working properly and ground water is directed away from foundations. Water seepage can be insidious and very damaging over time, so proper maintenance is important. Make sure windows and doors are properly sealed and weather stripping has been installed, especially in humid areas.
But when anything happens that involves water intrusion and resulting damage, do the right thing. Call your favorite disaster restoration company. They know what to look for and the best way to protect you and your family from more damage and even potentially toxic issues such as mold. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How to Remove Ink Stains from Clothes
Has this, or something similar, ever happened to you?
You put on a nice, fresh shirt and head out the door. When you arrive at your destination and are chatting with friends or colleagues, someone points at your shirt and asks, “What’s that?” You look down, and a small blue or black spot is starting to grow. That’s right, the ink pen in your pocket is leaking.
Or perhaps your nice, fresh shirt or other item of clothing has a small spot on it, and you learn it was from simply touching an ink pen to your shirt and the ink transferred to it. It’s small, but everyone sees it.
An embarrassing moment, one you wish you could have avoided.
This type of stain doesn’t just wipe off. It takes a lot of effort to remove an ink stain, and if you don’t do it right, you will just make the situation worse. Ink spreads and migrates out, creating a bigger stain as you work on it.
While not an easy task, here are some tips to make ink stain removal a little easier for you. But remember, this isn’t typical cleaning, it’s aggressive, so there is always the chance of damaging the fabric.
Hair spray: Using an aerosol version, alcohol-based, apply liberally to the stain. Work it in and dab at it with a white paper towel. Hair spray sometimes works because the alcohol disperses some inks. Wash immediately.
Acetone: The ingredient in traditional nail polish removers, acetone is a very dry solvent that will work on ink. When you saturate the ink stain, it will dissolve and migrate so be ready for that, working your way from the outside in, to limit spreading. In addition to acetone, other liquid dry solvents, such as rubbing alcohol, can be used. After application, wash immediately.
Detergent treatment: Use a product meant to pre-treat laundry and apply to the ink stain liberally, work it in, from the outside in to limit spreading, and then wash immediately.
No matter the type of treatment you use, washing the garment will help remove more of the ink. Be sure to wash separately, and do not dry the garment until you are satisfied with the ink removal results. When you dry an item of clothing, attempting to remove more of the stain is often futile.
And remember that true fabric cleaning experts know how to remove ink stains. When you have a challenging cleaning situation, do the right thing. Call your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How Evaporation Works
When something gets wet or damp from water damage in your home or even at work, the longer it is wet or damp, the worse the damage over time. Evaporation, while a simple principle we all benefit from every day, is an important scientific concept that you can manipulate to work better for you.
First to consider is what evaporation is… it’s an activity that occurs when a liquid substance turns into or becomes a gas. Think about when you boil water, and you hold a glass above the pot. What happens? The glass gets wet. That’s because evaporation is occurring in the pot and the gas is moving up onto the glass you are holding. You also see condensation on windows. That’s because evaporation put water into the air as a gas and now it is coming back to a surface. Many energy sources increase the rate of evaporation, such as when you put a wet item outside on a sunny day.
For evaporation to occur, the surface of the water must be exposed so there can be an escape of moisture. For any water damage situation in your home, exposing wet or damp areas is critical. Running a fan on an object that has moisture inside, and the air can’t get to that area, is worthless. This is why a professional water damage company will work to expose all wet or damp areas affected by a flood or leak and allow that moisture to escape — into the air and then into a dehumidifier.
The more energy you apply to a wet area, the better the evaporation. You must remove the moisture from damaged items, building materials, and other affected areas to avoid a musty smell and mold that can develop in a short amount of time. That energy can come in the form of air movement (running a fan), adding heat (professional restoration companies use this technology) and ventilation (opening windows so air can move, running the air conditioner or furnace system).
Really, although evaporation is a simple process and we rely on it (imagine if you never dried off after a shower!), it is also a science. When anything gets wet in your home that shouldn’t, don’t wait for things to dry on their own. At minimum, contact your favorite disaster restoration company and ask them what they think you should do. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Where There’s Mold…
Where there’s mold, there is usually an underlying condition that you must discover and remediate, and quickly. Mold occurs because of conditions that allow it to grow, and some types of molds are tenacious.
Recently, we considered the difference between mildew and mold and what the EPA has to say about what we need to know.
And while the cleanup of mold and mildew may seem basic at times, there are situations when removal and cleaning can be challenging to tackle. Here are some important points to consider and remember… to play it safe means consulting and usually hiring a professional mold remediation company.
Toxic or non-toxic?
Mold is a common problem and as a fungus it can appear in different areas for many different reasons. Usually because of a dark, moist condition. But just because you find mold doesn’t mean it is necessarily toxic. After all, everyone has different reactions to substances. What may be harmful to one person may not be to another.
But always be safe and when cleaning up mold, wear gloves, a respirator, and proper personal protective equipment that a mold remediation expert would recommend.
Most of the time, the mold you find, such as in a bathroom, a windowsill, or other common areas, can be easily cleaned. It is unlikely you will call a mold remediation expert to take care of the mold growing on the grout in your shower. Just be safe and wear a mask and gloves, and use products designed for removing small amounts of mold.
Mold is a type of soil. It’s organic growth. No need to panic, just be smart about cleaning it up. After all, if you were in the garden and saw some mold, you wouldn’t run screaming into the house. Simply applying a cleaning product for mold and mildew removal, scrubbing and wiping it up, completely, often fixes the issue. But sometimes, the mold has grown into surfaces, such as baseboards, walls, or even the subfloor that you discover as you replace flooring material. When that occurs, removing and replacing affected areas is often the best solution.
Hiring a pro
If the mold appears significant, and you have some doubts on removing it, it’s best to call a professional. A mold remediation company utilizes technicians who are trained and have experience in safely removing larger amounts of mold, or the types of mold that are known to affect more individuals with mold allergen sensitivities.
Who pays for all of this? Sometimes, your insurance company, if the cause of the mold is from a water damage situation. Talk to your favorite restoration company about all of this. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How to Fix the Mess in the Microwave
There is no greater compliment to your cleaning skills than someone commenting that your microwave oven is the cleanest they have ever seen.
You’ve never heard someone say that about the microwave in your kitchen? Then let’s get to work!
Microwaves are known to be messy. After all, they are designed to warm up food, and usually, that involves spills, spatters, and for some food items, explosions. Who hasn’t put something in the microwave to heat it up only to hear that dreaded POP as it expanded and flung remnants all over the inside of the oven?
Some of you may be diligent with covering up food you are warming, but most of us… just hope for the best. And when that fails us, here are a few practical tips to a perfectly clean microwave oven.
The first step to cleaning a dirty microwave oven is to wipe up as much excess food particles you can. Spraying them just means a smeary mess. Use a dish cloth or paper towels to remove food particles, paying special attention to the inside of the door and corners, where particles can build up over time.
Steam it up
Nothing works better than a little preparation. Take an uncovered bowl of water and put it in the microwave and cook it for two or three minutes. The steam and heat of the water will help loosen the grease and remaining food particles for easier removal. This head start is a very smart way to clean your microwave oven.
Wipe it all down
It’s best not to spray the interior with just any cleaning solution. What you smell might end up in your food. Residues and odors can affect the next dish you prepare. Instead, use a cloth, hot water, and dish detergent as your cleaning arsenal. With the dampened cloth, wipe away greasy residues and food particles, repeating often until you have a squeaky-clean surface. You can also put the dampened cloth on really stubborn areas and allow the detergent to work a few minutes and then wipe it away. When you are done, dry it all with fresh towels and inspect, recleaning any areas of concern.
Of course, to really get something clean in your home, do the right thing. Call your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Should You Test for Mold?
Recently, we discussed mold that can be found in unlikely places, such as in the bedroom, bathroom, and the kitchen. After all, most report mold in basements or crawlspaces, but mold can actually grow virtually anywhere.
There is one thing we can all agree on. You do not want hidden mold growing in your home. If there is mold somewhere, anywhere, with the potential of causing health issues with your family, you want to know about it so you can remove it and keep everyone safe.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has much to say about the need for mold testing. “In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary,” according to a statement on the EPA website. And what the EPA says makes sense. If you can see the mold, you do not need to take samples and run tests because you know the mold is there. The professional restoration company that removes the mold will figure out what type it is and proper procedures for your specific case.
But what if you can’t see the mold but you feel something is there?
Then it’s time to engage mold sampling and testing. According to the EPA, surface sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated.
Who should do it?
Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations, says the EPA.
Regulations and guidelines
Standards or threshold limit values (TLVs) for airborne concentrations of mold, or mold spores, have not been set. Currently, there are no EPA regulations or standards for airborne mold contaminants.
But if you have mold, you no doubt aren’t driven by regulations or guidelines, or lack thereof. You want to know if there is mold and if there is, what you can do to remove it.
One option is to purchase a do-it-yourself mold testing kit, something that you test surfaces with and send in for testing at a laboratory.
Another is to contact an industrial hygienist who is an expert with issues such as this, and have professional testing conducted.
No matter what you do, if you do have mold growth, do the right thing. Turn the work over to your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!