Remediation of Smoke Odors
One of the toughest odors to remove from any surface is from tobacco.
While smoke odors are always pesky and challenging to remove, cigarette and cigar odors are especially tough because they have a powerful odor and they tend to linger. The particles are small, and they cling to and embed into any type of surface, especially fabrics. In automobiles, there are an issue especially when a car is being sold.
One promising rule of thumb when it comes to removing tobacco odors is time. With fresh air and plenty of time, the odors dissipate on their own — for the most part. But many people don’t want to wait it out.
Cleaning the surface is the first step in smoke odor removal. If you can launder an item, that’s the best way to remove odors. But some fabrics, such as rugs, furniture, and of course the interior of your car, you can’t put in the washer. Professional cleaning is always best, but there are a few tricks you can implement in the meantime.
If you are cleaning countertops, wood furnishings, or other non-permeable surfaces, you are in luck. Those surfaces usually are easy to clean, and smoke odor removal is often successful. Simply use an approved hard surface cleaning produce you can find at any department or grocery store, wet the surface, allow several minutes of contact time so the product can work, and then wipe away with a clean cloth or paper towel. Repeat until you see no more soil transfer. Adding a little deodorizer afterwards, and wiping it off, adds a pleasant, lingering scent.
Now we are getting into the real challenge, removing odors from fabrics. As said previously, laundering an item is the best way to remove odors. It may take several launderings to get the best results.
While cleaning non-launderable fabrics is tough without proper equipment and experience, you can dry vacuum soils and that helps. You can also allow fresh air to do its magic. And putting a few drier sheets under cushions will help as well. You can stuff drier sheets in other areas, as well, such as in automobiles, to help with the odors over time.
The real way to get rid of smoke odors from fabrics? Call a professional fabric cleaning or disaster restoration company. Restoration companies are highly skilled at the task of smoke odor removal. They have the equipment, products, and expertise to thoroughly clean and deodorize odor-causing substances. They also have special processes designed to remove tobacco odors.
Do the right thing. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Electric Heater Safety Tips and Advice
You may have already detected a chill in the air. For some parts of the country, wintry weather will be here soon. For others, a milder but still chilly season is coming.
To help stay warm, some supplement their main home heating system with an electric space heater. While considered safer than fuel oil space heaters, they still require special care and consideration so you can stay warm and safe during colder weather.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (EFSI) organization, safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. While being warm may be at the top of your list of creature comforts, a fire, electric shock, or personal injury must be avoided.
Here is what the EFSI suggests that everyone consider when using space heaters.
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!
Air Conditioner Overheating Prevention
While water damage in a home is a common issue many have faced, a fire in your home is probably the most devastating.
Statistics show that the leading cause of house fires is cooking, usually spawned by open flames on the stove and also high heat from the oven, usually when unsupervised. Many of you have cooked on a stovetop using some type of oil and in an instant, you have flames dancing above the pan. Those situations can quickly escalate into a major house fire.
Fires from appliances is also an issue, because of overheating, faulty power sources, and other issues.
One source of house fires that many don’t think about is from your air conditioning system. And this is the time of year, as summer heats things up, when it’s time to consider some safety precautions.
While a central air conditioning unit sits outside your home and rarely overheats, it can happen. What happens more frequently are overheating issues with what we call window units. If the properly sized unit is not used, such as a small AC unit trying to cool a large room, it can overheat as it struggles to keep up with the demand.
Many who use window units will run an extension cord to it if a wall outlet isn’t nearby. This is not recommended as that can cause overheating issues as the power load can heat the cord and cause it to melt and cause a fire.
A very common and easy-to-ignore issue are the condenser coils. They can become dirty and when that happens, they struggle to keep up with demand. The entire AC unit can overheat and be a possible cause of a fire. The same applies to any air filters being used — make sure they are clean and in good condition.
Your AC units should be installed according to the specifications of your home and the number/sizes of the rooms.
Lastly, having an annual inspection by a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning company will help ensure that all your air conditioning units are operating safely and effectively.
But if the absolute worst thing happens, and a fire is ignited, do the right thing. Don’t attempt cleaning up a fire and smoke damage situation yourself. Call your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Battling Tobacco Product Odors
For those who use tobacco products, they may not notice the lingering odors that hang around in the air and stubbornly invade porous materials such as carpet, upholstery, fabrics and more.
But for non-smokers, those lingering odors are a nuisance, and many valuable hours have fruitlessly been spent on attempting to remove them. Smoke odors from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes are tough to remove because microscopic smoke odor particulates embed onto and into everything. Over time, these carcinogenic residues release odors.
These steps will help eliminate, and may totally eliminate, odors from tobacco products, depending on how much time and effort is spent on restoring surfaces back to pre-smoke condition.
Fresh air brought into a home or building naturally helps remove foul odors from the air. Keeping the furnace and A/C filter clean is important.
Thorough cleaning and washing of surfaces is an important process. If you can launder items, that will flush out residues. Using detergent helps the water you use for cleaning to penetrate surfaces, which means better cleaning.
Open containers of baking soda or charcoal are known to absorb malodors, so having them in your home will help. Be sure to refresh them by mixing or replacing every few days. There are professional grade absorption products you might obtain from a cleaning and restoration supply house.
After cleaning, applying a smoke-odor deodorizer will help destroy more odor-causing residues that you might have missed.
For surfaces that you can paint or seal, this will lock in odors from tobacco products. Painted walls will hold residues that cleaning may not penetrate deep enough to remove.
One complete and proven method for removing smoke odors from any source (once cleaned) is by using ozone. Ozone machines remove odors by chemically changing the structure of odor-causing molecules, oxidizing them and destroying them so no more odors are released.
Ozone can be dangerous if used in occupied spaces, so be sure to do your research and be completely safe if you choose to use this option to remove smoke odors.
Most ozone treatments are handled by professional restoration companies, although you can buy or rent small units.
While smoke odors from residues is tough to remove, your favorite cleaning and restoration company has professional solutions that really work. Ask them what they can do for you. After all, it pays to call a pro!
When Bathrooms Flood
It happens, and not at the most opportune time. You push the flusher, and then it all happens. The toilet overflows. You panic, you might scream…that’s just one simple issue, and with bathrooms there are many issues….
A clogged toilet may overflow when flushed, or a water supply line leaks under a bathroom sink, or someone (possibly you) starts filling a bathtub and forgets—any of these can turn the water loose in the bathroom. Not a good scenario at all.
When this happens, it’s may seem it is all over, and you can’t fix what’s happening. However, there are some things you can do to fix some serious issues.
Control the flow
It may be a simple concept, yet when you can’t find the shut-off valve, panic can attack. Don’t delay – look for the shut off values now and be ready for what’s going to happen eventually.
Watch the electricity
Where there is water, and electricity, there is danger. Mark your power supply so you can find the breaker that turns off the power to your bathroom.
Start mopping or extracting
Standing water is not a good thing. While a fresh leak is one thing, if given time that water can start to seep into areas that can create costly damage. With the first inclination of water intrusion, start extracting.
Of course, the best thing is to call your favorite water damage restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Restoring Damaged Ceiling Tiles
Most of our attention is on surfaces or items at eye level or lower, such as on tables, or the flooring in your home. But when your eyes go up, you might start to notice something frightful… damaged ceiling tiles, and causing you to think “Oh, no, it’s mold!”
It’s probably not. Most likely what you are seeing are damaged ceiling tiles from some type of water leak or moisture intrusion.
Ceiling tiles are usually made from plants, minerals, gypsum, clay, other natural materials, so are very absorbent and show stains easily. Some are made from synthetic products and might not have as many stains from water leaks or moisture intrusion.
Here are a few steps you can take to restore those damaged ceiling tiles. But remember that replacement might be a final option.
Take pictures of your ceiling first, just to avoid the frustration of fitting them back, especially if some tiles are of different sizes. Vacuum your tiles, removing as much dirt and debris you can, which will be concentrated on the topside of them.
You have to be careful now. Over wetting is an issue. In a typical spray bottle, use warm water and a few drops of dish detergent. Mist the tiles until they are damp and use white cloths to clean the surfaces. Use more detergent on heavier deposits of soil. Allow the tiles to dry.
Set the tiles out that still have stains. What you are going to do now is bleach away those stains. Don’t use chlorine bleach. Get some household hydrogen peroxide, easily found at a grocery store or pharmacy. Hydrogen peroxide is a safe bleach that will slowly remove stains. Mist the peroxide, using it straight (no dilution) over the stained areas of the tiles, and with a soft brush, work the solution into the tiles. The remaining stains often disappear in a few hours. If you see some progress, repeat the process.
Besides replacement, painting your tiles is an option, but you may lose some acoustical ability, since some tiles are designed to absorb sound. It’s a decision you will have to make.
And, of course, for any restoration work, such as cleaning of items that are damaged by water intrusion, call your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!