Recent Why SERVPRO Posts

Major Disaster at Home? That’s Not Too Much for SERVPRO

2/23/2022 (Permalink)

severe fire damage in a home Severe fire damage in a home in Broadview, MT.

What To Do When Disaster Strikes In Your Home

A widespread catastrophe in your house as a fire or flood can be devastating and can significantly affect your daily life. It may be impossible to completely replace everything that was damaged or that you lost, but a high-quality emergency cleanup team can help minimize the grief and get things back to normal. Even if you suffer a catastrophic loss, the professionals at SERVPRO stand ready to assist you.

What Can Happen?

Despite your preparation, conscientiousness and care, you can’t foresee or completely prevent all emergency incidents in your home. Unfortunately, disasters can occur to anyone in Broadview, MT. SERVPRO has the equipment, knowledge, experience and skills to assess and clean up any disaster and to restore and replace damaged and ruined items. If you have the following incidents, call SERVPRO:

  • Flooding
  • Fire
  • Mold

Response After Bad Weather

Depending on where you live, you may experience storm damage more regularly than the next person. Still, anyone can deal with the effects of a major thunderstorm, heavy winds and rain, and other severe conditions. These issues can cause flooding in your basement or crawl space, which can lead to costly damage. After bad weather, SERVPRO will deploy several teams from different areas to the location of the severe weather. This helps ensure every resident affected gets the help he or she needs.

Thorough and Efficient

Not only will SERVPRO respond quickly after a flood or fire, but it will also initiate a complete and effective process. A qualified technician will pretest or inspect the affected area in order to come up with a plan of attack on how to clean up and restore your home. Even in a catastrophic loss, the professionals at SERVPRO will do their part to get your home back to a condition as close as possible to its pre-disaster state.

Before you call just anyone after a disaster causes catastrophic loss at your home, talk to the team at SERVPRO. Their fast response and tenacious approach will help you get through this challenging ordeal.

Mold and Evaporative Cooling

1/6/2022 (Permalink)

Leaking swamp cooler Prevent a leaking swamp cooler from becoming a major mold problem.

How To Address a Leaking Swamp Cooler

Residents in Comanche, MT, want to stay cool in the summer months. However, your home cooling systems can harbor hidden fungal agents if not properly maintained. Read on to learn how to address a leaking swamp cooler and other pressing problems.

1. About the Appliance

A swamp cooler is an air cooling system designed for climates with consistently low humidity during the summer. Because the saturation of water in the air is so low in these arid climates, it is easy for water molecules to evaporate, removing heat energy from the air during the transition. Most swamp coolers have a fan that blows air over a porous cellulose pad. This air is circulated through the house in a similar manner to conventional compressor-based air conditioners.

2. Mold Conditions

Unfortunately, because these swamp cooler units operate in warm climates and introduce moisture, they are potential sites for mold growth. This phenomenon is exacerbated by the dark conditions inside the unit and the air ducts, since direct sunlight tends to suppress mold. Other mold issues can arise due to a leaking swamp cooler, since any water that spreads beyond the direct path of the fan can build up without evaporating. This also encourages mold to grow.

3. Remedies

If mold is in direct contact with the cellulose pad, simply purchase a replacement for your make and model of evaporative cooler. However, the mold spores released over time can still present a health hazard, even after the unit itself has been treated and repaired. Acquire a HEPA filter for your home and ensure adequate air circulation until you can be sure that any particle contaminants are clear. If the unit leaked water into surrounding construction materials such as drywall or flooring, contact a qualified mold damage restoration service.

Remember, while the energy savings of an evaporative cooling system are substantial, they also come with certain risks. Prevent a leaking swamp cooler from becoming a major mold problem by maintaining your unit.

What Will Renters Insurance Cover?

11/23/2021 (Permalink)

Renters insurance form and dollars on the table. Renters insurance provides a lot of protection that you might not expect.

What Does Renters Insurance Include?

When you're renting, many circumstances are different from those of other homeowners in Laurel, MT, including who's responsible for maintenance and whether you can operate a business from your home. One important difference is what renters insurance covers if a fire breaks out. Your top concerns may include

  • Your possessions
  • Injuries and your responsibility
  • Temporary housing
  • The structure of the property

Belongings Replacement

Much of the time, insurance covers the content of your home and should cover the replacement cost of those items. Read through the policy thoroughly to be sure you're not getting "actual cash value" or you could end up with only a few bucks for a computer you've had for a few years.

Liability Protection

What if you leave a lit candle on the shelf when you leave your apartment? What happens if the neighbor's property is damaged because of negligence? Fortunately, the renters insurance will protect you when a third party is injured or when their property suffers fire damage. This may include medical payments that your neighbors' experience because of injuries suffered while evacuating the building or because of smoke inhalation.

Secure Lodgings

This insurance is also in place to cover expenses such as a hotel room while your apartment is unusable. Fire restoration professionals can often provide an estimate regarding how long you'll be displaced. Discuss the details of this situation with your insurance agent before you make long-term plans for your hotel stay.

Building Damage

Be aware that insurance for renters usually does not cover the structure of the building. You may be responsible for paying for those repairs yourself. Reconstruction costs can be expensive, so make sure to discuss this possibility with your insurance agent.

Renters insurance provides a lot of protection that you might not expect. As you discuss your need for insurance, don't forget to ask your agent about possible outcomes and expenses. Often your best option is to plan for the worst, so you aren't left unprepared.

The Disgusting Truth About Lawn Slime

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

Plant with mildew Free your lawn from mold.

Lawn slime sounds like something out of a Ghostbusters film, but what it actually is is slime mold: a saprophytic fungus that feeds on dead organic matter. It’s hard to miss slime mold on your Laurel, MT lawn when it’s often brightly colored and covers everything in slimy patches. So how can you get rid of outdoor mold, and make sure it never comes back?

Tips for Getting Rid of Lawn Slime

Once you’ve got lawn slime, all you can think of is getting rid of it. Here are just a few remedies for this pervasive outdoor pest:

• Rake up debris and ground cover. The thatch covering your lawn is often made of dead leaves, grass, and twigs – and is perfect food for slime mold. When you’re raking it up, you’ll also take a good deal of the mold with it.
• Trim your shade trees. Dark areas let slime mold proliferate, while sun dries it out and kills it.
• Switch to a sandy topsoil. Lawn slime has trouble taking root in sandy soil, but there are plenty of attractive lawn grasses that can still thrive even where slime mold can’t.
• Avoid “natural” remedies. While you may hear that tea tree oil and other natural remedies can help kill slime mold, it’s more likely to kill your grass. Killing your grass just gives the slime mold more to feed on, and can actually help it proliferate.

Preventing Lawn Slime in the First Place

The best offense is a good defense, and one great way to get rid of slime mold is to defend against it in the first place. Since slime mold feeds on dead matter, routinely clean your lawn of debris and rotting leaves. Also, don’t over-water your lawn; too much moisture creates perfect conditions for a slime mold to grow. If you’re struggling to figure out ways to free your lawn from mold, a professional consultation with mold remediation specialists may help.

The Basics of Mold Testing

9/18/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on wall. If the mold assessment reveals a problem, it will have to be remedied, or it will just grow into a bigger problem.

Almost every home is susceptible to a mold problem. If you suspect mold is growing in your home in Billings, MT, you probably want to hire an environmental hygienist to conduct a mold assessment. Home test kits may be convenient, but they are not always accurate. Also, without the proper training, you might misinterpret the results. Here is a basic rundown of what to do if you suspect a mold problem exists in your home.

When Testing Is Necessary

Testing for black mold is probably not part of your frequent home inspection, as it would be expensive to hire a certified hygienist every time you conducted your inspection. There are several reasons why you would need to test for mold:

• Musty odor in the home
• Hard-to-locate mold
• Concentration of spores
• Success of removal

Unless you can actually see mold growing, testing is often the only way you can see if there is a problem. If you suspect rampant mold growth in your home, it is a good idea to have it tested.

What Testing Discovers

A mold assessment is not going to answer the question of if there is mold in your home but rather how much. Every home has mold because mold is everywhere. The distinction that testing makes is whether or not it is a problem that needs to be resolved by mold remediation specialists. The hygienist may test the air quality by taking a baseline reading outside and comparing it to the results of the air test inside. He or she may also take a surface test by swapping surfaces where mold may hide. A bulk test involves sending materials to the lab to be tested for growth and concentration. The tester may use any or all of these methods to determine if there is mold or mildew present.

If the mold assessment reveals a problem, it will have to be remedied, or it will just grow into a bigger problem. At least you have the peace of mind of knowing for sure whether or not you have mold.

3 Ways To Prevent Mold Growth in Your Bathroom

6/15/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on bathroom tiles Mold growth in a bathroom.

Prevent Mold Growth In Your Bathroom

If you have a Comanche, MT, home, you may be worried about getting mold. While you don't need to worry too much, it's smart to keep an eye out for fungus. Since mold tends to grow in areas that develop water damage, bathrooms are a particularly at-risk area. If you'd like to avoid getting any damage in these rooms, here are three ways to prevent mold growth in your bathroom.

1. Look for Water
One of the best ways to keep your bathroom mold-free is to look for water. Bathrooms tend to accumulate puddles of water, particularly in certain areas. These are some places to keep an eye on:

  • Around the toilet
  • Next to the shower
  • Under the sink

Once you find water, be sure to clean it up immediately. Check the area for mold growth in case the water has been there a while. Finally, regularly check the spot for more water.

2. Run the Fans
Since bathrooms involve so much water, particularly hot water from showers, the rooms can get very humid. Humidity makes it easier for water damage to occur and for mold to grow. In order to get the moisture out of your bathroom, you'll need to run your fans once in a while. It's a particularly good idea to do so after a shower. In fact, keep your fans on for about a half-hour after taking a shower. If you still need more airflow, have the air vents in your bathroom checked.

3. Fix Leaks
If you find any leaks, you'll want to get each one fixed immediately. You may need to bring some mechanics in for mold prevention, particularly if the leak involves your toilet or sink. Be sure to check your tile as well. If there are any holes, use a grout sealer to fix the issue. Doing this right away can prevent any extreme damage. In the event that you find the leak after the damage has been caused, you may want to contact mold damage restoration experts.
If you remain thorough and look for water damage, you may have a better chance of avoiding mold growth in your bathroom.

Document Restoration Services Can Save Your Business After a Disaster

2/23/2021 (Permalink)

Box with lid, office boxes and folders for storing documents and files Document restoration services in Broadview, MT.

Document Restoration Services

After any major disaster in Broadview, MT, restoring your business and mitigating losses is essential for returning your company to an operational state in a timely manner. In addition to clean-up and repairs, you should add document restoration to your list of recovery action items. Using a professional restoration service can help you protect and save many of your important documents, including:

  • Books, journals and magazines
  • Patient records and employee files
  • Blueprints and maps
  • Photographs, film and negatives

Professional document restoration services can save your business because they follow thorough procedures for preserving and protecting critical paperwork that is often irreplaceable. Insurance companies trust SERVPRO because of the following state-of-the-art offerings.

1. Modern Technology
SERVPRO uses vacuum freeze-drying, a document drying technique that has been approved by the National Archives and Records Administration. They also use gamma irradiation technology to clean and sterilize items. This is particularly useful if your documents have been exposed to chemicals or bacteria during the incident.

2. Security
Documents are handled by HIPAA-certified technicians, ensuring compliance with privacy requirements. Your documents are also kept under 24/7 surveillance.

3. Digital Organization
Converting your files to digital files is a wise choice for protecting them against future incidents. In the event of a fire or flood, your contracts, files and paper materials will stay safely stored and out of harm’s way. Digital files are much easier to organize and access using a computerized inventory system, and they can free up storage space that used to house paper files.
In addition to the services above, a full-service restoration option is available to handle every step of the restoration, from drying and sanitizing to rejacketing and digitizing. This full-service option can save you time and money since the document drying is performed by SERVPRO and is not outsourced to a third party.
After disaster strikes, it is normal to feel overwhelmed about the cleanup process. However, being prepared and having a reliable document restoration service you can trust will save you time and ensure your business is protected.

Buying a Building? 4 Signs You Need a Mold Inspection First

1/7/2021 (Permalink)

Mold contractor explaining to blonde female customer the damage of mold in the wall Mold inspection in a Broadview, MT building

Be On The Lookout For These Warning Signs

If you’re buying a building, you may wonder whether you need a mold inspection. These inspections can be costly; however, you don’t want to unwittingly buy a building with a mold problem. Be on the lookout for these warning signs that you may need to call a mold inspector.

1. Interior Humidity Levels Are High
Damp spaces are ideal breeding grounds for mold and bacteria. A hygrometer, which measures relative humidity, is inexpensive and can be purchased in any hardware store. An interior humidity reading above 50% indicates that excessive mold may be present, especially if there’s also a musty odor: Mold only emits a smell while it is actively growing.

2. There Are Visible Signs of Water Damage
If water damage is not cleaned up quickly and thoroughly, the remaining moisture can lead to mold growth. Visible signs of past water or mold damage, such as stains, peeling paint, or warped walls or floors, indicate that past cleanup efforts were inadequate or untimely -- a major warning sign that a mold inspection may be necessary.

3. Records Disclose Past Water Damage
When a plumbing leak or burst pipe causes water damage, moisture can remain, leading to mold growth. Mold consumes and destroys the surface upon which it grows, which can cause hidden structural damage. Visible mold is not the only sign of a mold problem: Even if no obvious signs of damage remain, mold could be lingering behind the scenes.

4. An Ordinary Inspection Indicates Leaks
A general building inspection typically costs less than a mold specialist and can call attention to issues other than mold. If possible, choose a Broadview, MT, inspector who uses a thermal imager as part of his or her inspection. Thermal imaging can indicate hidden leaks or damp areas, which are red flags for mold growth.
Latent mold damage is specifically excluded from most commercial insurance coverage, meaning that if there’s a problem, you’ll be paying for mold remediation yourself. If you notice one of these warning signs, a professional mold inspection may be well worth the cost.

How To Tell Mold From Mildew

11/23/2020 (Permalink)

Mold. Aspergillus. The finger of the hand points to the black fungus on the white wall. Mold and mildew, although they are similar, are not the same

There Are Many Differences Between Mold And Mildew

Any type of fungus growth isn't a good sign for your home in Billings, MT. However, it's important to know the difference between mildew and mold growth in order to understand how to properly identify and treat the issue as effectively as possible so that you can prevent further problems such as mold damage.
Mold and mildew have a few similarities, making them easy to confuse with one another. Similarities of mold and mildew include:

  • Both a type of fungus
  • Thrive in moist, warm areas
  • Grow on many household surfaces

Differences in Appearance
Mildew growth is typically white, gray or yellow and appears fluffy or powdery. It may grow in a flat pattern. Mold can be green or black in color and appears fuzzy or slimy. It can grow as irregular spots.

Effects of Mold and Mildew
Mildew is less invasive than mold, making the effects less damaging. It may cause harm to food it grows on, but will likely not do damage to surfaces such as tiles or mirrors.
On the other hand, mold damage can be more serious. Mold can damage structures such as homes or cars. It is important to treat it right away in order to prevent long-lasting damage to structures or surfaces.

Treatment of Fungus
The treatment of mold compared to mildew is another difference between the two. Mildew is relatively easy to clean, as it usually requires only a store-bought mildew remover and a scrubbing brush.
For a small area of mold, you may be able to remove it with a good-quality cleaner and hard work. However, a larger area may require a mold remediation company to safely remove and prevent lasting mold damage.
Mold and mildew, although they are similar, are not the same. Knowing the difference between the two can be helpful to understand how to properly identify and effectively treat the problem.

How To Distinguish Mildew From Mold

10/9/2020 (Permalink)

Mold. Aspergillus. The finger of the hand points to the black fungus on the white wall. The easiest way to distinguish between mildew and mold growth is by observing their colors

Mold damage is an extremely destructive force. If you detect an invasive fungus within your home, however, remain calm. You may just be suffering from mold’s funky cousin, mildew. Learn to spot the differences between the two and know whether a serious concern is warranted.

Similarities Between Mildew and Mold

It should come as no surprise that these fungal interlopers are often confused for one another. Both of them:

  • Require moisture and warmth to grow
  • Can be found upon a multitude of surfaces
  • Are likely to spread quickly without proper handling

Despite the fact that they can each be harmful and require treatment, mold damage remains the far greater threat.

Differences Between Mildew and Mold
The easiest way to distinguish between mildew and mold growth is by observing their colors. Mildew is generally gray or white, whereas mold often displays black, green or yellow hues.
The texture is another characteristic separating these dastardly spores. Mildew typically shows up in fluffy or powdery splotches. Mold, on the other hand, presents in either slimy or fuzzy textures and often takes on irregular shapes.
The final identifying factor is location. Mildew growth rests atop moist areas, whereas mold sinks its roots into materials like wood, making removal a far more difficult proposition. Mold tends to inhabit permanent structures. Mildew commonly finds its way onto damp surfaces and organic material that can either be rehabilitated or discarded.
Unlike mold, mildew is effortlessly removed through the application of off-the-shelf cleaners and vigorous scrubbing. On the flipside, mold triggers troublesome rot that often requires professional services to properly extricate, a process that can take days or even weeks to complete.
Both mildew and mold are capable of causing misfortune. While the former is a verifiable nuisance, the latter is able to bring about far greater complications. The moment mold damage is discovered within your residence in Acton, MT, contact a restoration specialist to bring the matter under control.

Knowing When To Sue Over Black Mold Exposure

8/31/2020 (Permalink)

woman holding her hand while staring at corner of ceiling with mold growth Black mold damage in Billings, MT

Adhere To The Following Four Points

As a building tenant, you have rights, and your landlord has legal responsibilities. However, while you may discover black mold in your rental space, legal action is not the appropriate first step. True, your landlord must maintain a habitable space, but some mold problems stem from unseen issues, like internal plumbing leaks. Therefore, understand and adhere to the following four points.

1. Violation of Habitability Warranty
A residential landlord must adhere to a habitability warranty, meaning that living spaces must meet federal and state codes for residential properties. Property neglect, leading to mold growth, directly violates this warranty. However, consider that a direct violation means the owner knowingly put you, the tenant, in harm's way. Did they? If not, give the landlord an opportunity to correct the issue.

2. Notification to Landlord
When notifying your landlord of the discovery of black mold, record the interaction, or ensure a record of the event. Notifying a landlord of the problem in writing is often the best way to inform because there is proof of the interaction. You can also use email or text messages, any form of communication that shows the date and time of the interaction.
Once a landlord receives notification, they should test the building and hire a mold remediation company in Billings, MT, to take care of the problem. If they do not fix the problem, then further action may be necessary.

3. Restitution for Damages
It is not uncommon for mold damage to result in property loss and other issues. Your landlord may be responsible for the damages. You can file a claim to receive restitution for property loss and medical expenses should any arise.

4. Execution of Legal Action
If your landlord is unresponsive, or if they refuse to correct the problem, then you have every right to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. While tenants and landlords should work amicably toward a solution, sometimes legal interference is necessary.
Every tenant has a right to live in a rental free of black mold. Contact your landlord and discuss mitigation possibilities before seeking legal action.

Finding Mold and Understanding Remediation

7/28/2020 (Permalink)

Mold on ceiling Mold found on ceiling due to water loss

Ways a Mold Remediation Company Can Help

Have you noticed a musty smell in your laundry room or basement? Do you also notice high humidity levels? If so, you may want to look for signs of potential mold growth or damage. If you find anything, you will want to call a mold remediation company in Comanche, MT, to help resolve your issue before it becomes catastrophic. There are several ways a mold remediation company can help.

Mold assessment
Containment
Elimination and cleaning
Restoration

Mold Assessment
Before any company pulls away mold-covered materials, it is essential to assess the type of mold and any existing water damage. There are several species of fungus, ranging from harmless to toxic. Some are simple to remove with over-the-counter cleaners, but others require significant preparation before the remediation process begins. Therefore, the remediation company will test the mold growth they find in your home to determine the best path forward.

Containment
Depending on the mold type, the remediation crew may need to contain the area. They will use plastic sheeting and tape it to walls and over doors and windows and vents. They will also apply a water solution to the walls to reduce the risk of transporting mold spores.

Elimination and Cleaning
With the area contained, the team can start eliminating the mold infestation. They will cut away drywall and remove insulation until only clean surfaces are visible. They may also need to remove carpeting and underlayment, depending on how far the infestation spread. Once all mold is removed, the team will clean and disinfect the entire space before moving onto restoration.

Restoration
During the restoration phase, the mediation company will reinstall insulation and drywall. They will replace any carpeting and repaint surfaces. When the company is finished, you should never know there was ever a problem, to begin with.
Household mold growth is relatively common, but it is not something the average DIYer should take on. If you suspect you have a mold problem, then contact a remediation specialist for an assessment.

Why You Should Choose SERVPRO For Fire Restoration Projects

6/10/2020 (Permalink)

Kitchen cabinets with soot Fire damage in Laurel, MT

Why You Should Choose SERVPRO For Fire Restoration Projects

Fire restoration typically involves multiple steps. Yet some emergency cleanup companies only provide select services. However, SERVPRO is a one-stop-shop that performs every part of the restoration and mitigation process. This is cost-efficient and helps the fire rebuild go more smoothly. Once your client contacts SERVPRO after the fire, the cleanup professionals will perform all of the below steps.

1. Damage Assessment
SERVPRO experts will respond to the property right away and survey the damage. They will check for items that have been affected by fire, soot, and smoke. This will help them determine a plan for fire restoration.

2. Roof Tarp and Board Up
A fire can destroy the walls, roof, and windows of a property, leaving it vulnerable to additional harm. SERVPRO will board up the windows and walls and use tarps to cover any holes in the roof.

3. Water Removal
Both the building's sprinklers and the firefighters' hoses can leave behind water damage. SERVPRO professionals will drain all the water from the property. They will then utilize air movers and dehumidifiers to ensure everything is dry.

4. Soot and Smoke Removal
Fires leave behind excess smoke and soot, as well. SERVPRO experts are trained in the proper techniques for eliminating ash from various surfaces.

5. Sanitation and Cleaning
SERVPRO experts will use fogging equipment and air scrubbers to remove nasty odors. They will also return the items inside the building to the way they were before the blaze.

6. Restoration
The final step of the fire restoration involves repairing the building itself. Depending on the extent of the damage, SERVPRO experts may reconstruct entire rooms or simply replace the carpet and drywall.
The SERVPRO franchise in Laurel, MT, provides multiple rebuilding services. Professionals from this emergency restoration company will board up the property, remove water and smoke, sanitize damaged items, and restore the property. Since SERVPRO is a one-stop-shop, both you and your clients will save money.
You thus should choose SERVPRO as your preferred vendor. Many other insurance companies have already done so.

How To Limit Bathroom Mold by Reducing Moisture

3/25/2020 (Permalink)

Macro white tiles with a grout mold. You should annually seal the grout lines between the tiles

The bathroom is a common location for mold growth. After all, it is full of moisture from the shower and sink. A toilet or bathtub leak could also lead to water damage that encourages the buildup of mold.
Simply cleaning the mold is not enough. You need to limit dampness so the mold does not return.
Luckily, there are some simple ways you can reduce the moisture in your Laurel, MT, bathroom. This, in turn, will reduce the likelihood of mold damage. All you need are a few simple tools and cleaners:

  • Sponge
  • Squeegee
  • Scrub brush
  • Detergent
  • Grout sealer
  • Bleach

Dry the Bathroom Walls

Water sprays onto the walls when you take a shower or bath. The more showers you take, the more the water builds up. Mold may then accumulate where the water damage is.
To prevent this from happening, use a squeegee to remove the water after every shower or bath. This should eliminate at least 75 percent of the moisture.

Run Your Bathroom Fan

Most bathrooms have fans that are designed to limit moisture and reduce mold growth. Don’t just run your fan while you are in the shower, either. Instead, use it for a least 30 minutes afterward to make sure the water is gone.
You should also check the fan's label to find its volume in cubic feet per minute. To determine the ideal volume for your fan, multiple the bathroom's square footage by 1.1 if you have an 8-foot ceiling, and by 1.5 if you have a 9-foot ceiling. Replace the fan if its volume is too small for your bathroom.

Seal the Grout

Finally, you should annually seal the grout lines between the tiles. Place some waterproof sealant on a toothbrush and brush the gaps between each tile.
The above steps will reduce the water damage in your bathroom. Still, it is nearly impossible to completely eliminate the moisture. Therefore, even if you follow proper mold prevention strategies, some spores may appear. You should then contact mold remediation specialists to address the issue.

Offering Customers Superior Service With High Standards

1/23/2020 (Permalink)

Logo of IICRC ( The Institution of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certificate) The IICRC establishes a common, national awareness for how to best treat your premises

Offering Customers Superior Service With High Standards

It's not enough to call out any water and mold remediation team. Commercial owners in Laurel, MT, need to know they have a trustworthy and reliable workforce, people who can not only handle the cleanup but do so with excellence and low overhead. That means asking about IICRC certification as well as the company's business practices. Turn to the place that can take care of it all with quality and care.

1. Offering Training for All Employees

When workers arrive, customers need assurance that staff understands how to handle all elements of the job. For that reason, SERVPRO takes pride in providing educational classes for all areas of service. Once hired, the national office expects for crew to take self-paced classes on fire and water restoration as well as carpet and upholstery care. A mitigation certificate is rewarded upon completion, ensuring that whoever handles your assignment has the knowledge to do so. This ensures that all branches can provide for clientele equally.

2. Meeting National Expectations

Know that the people you hire want to serve you best, striving to go above and beyond in treatment. The Institution of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certificate, IICRC, establishes a common, national awareness for how to best treat your premises. As a third party, it provides restoration companies with objectives for how to sanitize and rebuild. Not only does SERVPRO meet these criteria, but it is a training school for the program. Classes are offered year-round on multiple topics. In addition, e-classes can be taken on various topics, fitting into schedules conveniently.

3. Going the Extra Mile

Learning isn't isolated to initial hiring. Clients should have trust that their trained specialists are just that: experts on a subject. That means they should aspire to know and grow. E-classes can be taken at any time, fitting conveniently into work schedules and allowing for expanded awareness of the latest procedures.
In an ever-changing field, it's important that restoration facilities strive to meet and go beyond the IICRC objectives. SERVPRO's national office encourages all franchises to remain at the top of the field, studying new techniques that can save customers time and money.

3 Common Evacuation Plan Mistakes to Avoid Making

12/31/2019 (Permalink)

Hand writing an Emergency Evacuation Plan on clipboard beside Exit Door Be sure to regularly update your evacuation plan

3 Common Evacuation Plan Mistakes to Avoid Making

A reliable contingency plan is crucial to the safety of your business in Billings, MT. By communicating your plan to your employees clearly and effectively, you can allow them to be fully prepared in the event of a real fire. While many emergency plans are created with good intentions, they often contain a number of errors that can jeopardize the future of the business. Here are some common mistakes to avoid making while you create your evacuation plan.

1. Failure to Educate Employees

Even a well-crafted plan can fail if your employees aren’t properly equipped to respond to an emergency. Before you begin to design your fire escape plan, make sure that all of your workers understand what is expected of them during a fire. Conduct drills on a regular basis and clearly indicate the emergency exits throughout the building so that everyone understands how to properly evacuate.

2. Lack of Updated Information

The contingency plan you used ten years ago most likely isn’t relevant today. If you want your plan to be successful, you must help it adapt to the changing environment of your office. Whether certain employees’ roles have changed or you’ve hired new workers that weren’t included in the original plan, be sure to regularly update your evacuation plan accordingly.

3. Insufficient Details

It can be difficult for your employees to understand exactly what to do in an emergency if the plan isn’t detailed enough. Be sure to include every necessary specification, from your preferred method of reporting the fire to a complete list of emergency contacts. When your ideal plan is clearly spelled out for everyone, your employees can act exactly the way you expect them to.
A contingency plan is a vital step towards keeping your Billings, MT, business protected. If anything goes wrong despite your best efforts, act quickly and schedule a fire damage assessment as soon as possible.

5 Places Mold May Be Hiding

11/21/2019 (Permalink)

Mold growth on the ceiling and walls of a basement staircase Mold damage in a Comanche, MT basement

Five Places You May Find Mold

If you have a home in Comanche, MT, where you get plenty of moisture, you may be wondering how to detect mold growth in your home. Fortunately, your local mold remediation professional can perform several tests to identify if and where mold in the home may be growing. Here are five places you may see them look.

1. In the Basement

The basement may be the first place professionals check for mold as it can be an easy location for ground water to seep into the home. This water can pool and provide a habitat for growing mold.

2. Along the Bathtub

Cracks in the caulking or tile can allow water a place to settle after a shower or bath. That is why many remediation professionals may check the areas around the bathtub for mold spores.

3. Behind the Washing Machine

It’s also possible for mold growth to occur around appliances that use water such as the washing machine. Water lines can leak, or condensation can occur that provides enough water for spores to grow. These areas also tend to be darker and cool which mold likes as well.

4. Under the Kitchen Sink

Under the kitchen sink is a location where it may be easy to find mold on wood cabinetry. There are a number of ways water can get in to this space and it is usually fairly dark and cool compared to other locations in the home.

5. Around the Garage

Another location professionals may look is around the garage. This is the most common location of moldy drywall, as many homeowners do not usually think about keeping this room free of dirt the way they do the rest of the home.
When you ask a remediation professional to test your home for mold growth, they will most likely look first in areas with high humidity levels. these may include spaces such as around bathtubs, showers, or sinks where moisture may settle. They will also look around appliances such as the washing machine, and spaces such as the attic or basement where it’s easier for water to get inside the home.

The 3 Why Questions to Consider Before Deciding on DIY Mold Removal

9/26/2019 (Permalink)

Hand in blue gloves tears off wallpapers damaged by mold Mold removal and restoration are likely better left to certified mold removal services in Broadview, MT.

In this day and age, it is often tempting to try DIYing your way through anything. Whether trying to save money or just improve your skillset, there are times where it is better to leave a task to the professionals. For instance, mold removal and restoration are likely better left to certified mold removal services in Broadview, MT.

Why Hire a Professional?

Sure, you might have a small mold problem that does not require the hiring of professionals. However, how do you know it is a small problem? Did you have your home tested? Are you experienced with mold issues? While a problem might seem small, there is a chance that the issues extend beyond what you can see. Mold develops in cool, damp and dark areas, and it often finds a home within wall cavities. Certified mold removal specialists understand how mold grows and also have access to proper testing to identify mold type and risk.

Why is Certification Necessary?

However, beyond knowing the basics, mold experts have a certification. Mold certification is more than just a fancy emblem on a business card; it identifies services and professionals who are trained in mold treatment and removal. However, not just any training will do when talking about certified mold remediation. You should look for a company with IICRC credentials.

What is the IICRC?

The IICRC, or the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration, is a nonprofit entity that is nationally recognized as the standard-bearer for the restoration and remediation industries, including mold removal. Therefore, any company receiving the IICRC certification has demonstrated knowledge and experience in inspection, cleaning and restoration, making these companies preferable to others without certification, especially to your insurer.
Therefore, while the world continues to progress towards a more DIY attitude, it is better to stick with the pros in certain situations, like mold removal. Allow a certified mold expert's experience and certification keep you and your family out of harm's way and provide confidence that your problem is truly resolved.

Top 3 Features You Should Look For in an Air Purifier

9/13/2019 (Permalink)

green background with mold spores and text: Did you know? An air purifier can improve the quality of the air in your home.

Most people may not stop often to think about the air circulating inside their homes. However, every house in Billings, Montana can benefit from an air filtration system. An air purifier cleanses the air you breathe by removing a variety of particles, including dust and dust mites, pollen, bacteria, pet dander and mold. Not every device can efficiently eliminate every contaminant, so choosing the best option can be confusing. However, if you want a machine that offers the most benefits, consider purchasing one that includes the following features.

Great Features of an air filtration system

True HEPA Filter

Many airborne particles inside your home are extraordinarily small. A true HEPA filter is designed and certified to capture 99 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns, including mold spores. Some air purifiers utilize HEPA-like or HEPA-type filters, which are not capable of collecting the smallest of particles. For this reason, a True HEPA filter is the ideal choice for anyone wanting to thoroughly cleanse the air in a home.

UV Light

An ultraviolet germicidal light is another feature available on some air purifiers. UV light kills mold spores and bacteria, working in conjunction with a HEPA filter to rid your home of airborne contaminants.

Carbon

Mold and bacteria can emit foul smells. A filter containing activated carbon will help your air filtration system eliminate these unpleasant odors. To ensure that your house remains mold-free, however, you must be vigilant. Mold thrives in moist environments, so you must quickly fix any water leaks and promptly dry saturated areas, including drywall and carpets, to prevent potential breeding grounds. If your home sustains significant water damage from a burst pipe or flood, you may wish to consult a professional cleanup and restoration team that can also provide mold remediation services, if necessary.

Purchasing a filter with a true HEPA filter, UV light and activated carbon will help free your home of circulating allergens, bacteria and mold. With careful attention to maintenance and the proper air filtration device, you can enjoy clean air in your house for years to come.

Why You Must Promptly Remove Saturated Building Materials After a Flood

9/13/2019 (Permalink)

sofa with cushions floating in water inside a house Be sure to allow all areas to dry completely before beginning to rebuild your home!

Flooding is a challenging dilemma for any homeowner in Billings, Montana. Once the flood waters recede, you can begin the daunting cleanup and restoration process. Removing saturated materials is a crucial phase of this project that you must promptly complete to preserve the integrity of your home.

Saturated Building Materials

In addition to your personal belongings, your home’s carpets, drywall and insulation may be severely saturated. All three of these materials are porous and absorb water. Quickly removing these items is important for several reasons:

  • Enables affected space to properly dry
  • Reduces the risk of mold contamination
  • Wet insulation loses its R-value, diminishing its effectiveness

Damaged Property Risk

Flooding makes your home more susceptible to mold pollution because mold thrives in moist environments. Reducing your risk requires a timely and efficient approach. Mold can easily hide under saturated carpets and behind wet drywall. This is a primary reason why you must remove these materials during your cleanup endeavors.

Ruined Dry Wall

To efficiently tear out damaged drywall, make a cut that is 12-18 inches above the highest water level. This allows you to easily access and remove wet insulation and ensures that no water-damaged drywall remains.

Reduced Moisture Levels

Before replacing your damaged drywall, you need to ensure that the space is free of moisture. After you make the flood cut, use fans and a dehumidifier to expedite the drying process. Allow the area to dry for 24-48 hours. Then, you can verify moisture levels with a moisture meter.

For additional peace of mind, you should consider installing mold-resistant drywall. This may be particularly beneficial if your area is prone to storms or you live in a flood plain.

Restored: Your Home

Flooding often requires extensive cleanup efforts. Quickly removing saturated materials and efficiently drying the flooded area in your home is the key to preventing mold contamination. Although it may seem daunting, with time and effort, you can accomplish the cleanup process and successfully complete your home’s restoration.

3 Easy Ways To Keep Mold from Growing On Your Commercial Property

7/29/2019 (Permalink)

Sheetrock depris on carpet next to the door frame Mold damage on wall and carpet in Comanche, MT

Many commercial property owners first notice mold growth on their walls or carpet. However, early-stage mold often starts underneath surfaces. Preventative measures are the best way to stop growth in its tracks. Learn about what makes mold thrive and three simple suggestions to get your property in top condition in terms of mold prevention without the help of a professional.

Environment Factors That Encourage the Growth of Mold

The following environmental conditions can make mold flourish:

  • Organic nutrients such as dust or dirt particles
  • Moisture
  • Growing surface that is between 40- and 100-degrees Fahrenheit
  • Darkness

Almost every commercial property has the potential for a nasty outbreak. Prevention should be completed routinely to avoid large expenses down the road.

Keep Your Carpet Dry

Spills, floods and leaks on carpet are common. If liquid penetrates the pad in the under layer and isn’t cleaned properly, however, mold may fester. Water damage on your carpet should be addressed by increasing the air flow from your HVAC to lower the moisture in the air, using a wet vacuum to extract liquid and steam cleaning the wet spots. Do not let your carpet air dry.

Check Your Electrical Equipment

Mold remediation specialists in Comanche, MT, often examine electrical switches, outlets and ceiling fixtures. For easy mold prevention, take a look at all your electrical appliances and fixtures to see if there is an outbreak around the heated areas or within electrical conduits.

Organize Your Papers

That’s right, commercial property restoration services may include looking through volumes of paper and discarding damp or wet ones. Organize your office space or anywhere else where there may be paper such as closets, basements and sheds.

The conditions that encourage mold to develop are predictable. These three mold prevention techniques take little time to complete and don’t involve hiring professionals. Simple home maintenance projects such as these can help you notice early-stage growth before it grows to destroy the surfaces of your property.

Certified Mold Remediation Specialists Know How to Tackle It

5/5/2019 (Permalink)

This home had mold growing on the walls and carpet.

Mold can be intimidating if you don’t know exactly what it is and how to go about cleaning it. After a water disaster, the chances of mold growth can begin within 24 hours. What you do and how you handle it can make the difference between a successful return to your home and some serious renovation. This is one of the reasons that insurance companies prefer that you deal with certified mold specialists. Consider contacting a certified mold remediation company in Billings, MT for quick response and guidance.

Training Makes the Difference

Certified mold technicians receive several hours of training for their initial certification. Different states require different degrees of training. Yearly, technicians have to complete recertification classes.

This training teaches them important skills:

  • Donning and using protective gear, including their respirator
  • Using a commercial HEPA filter vacuum to clean and sand contaminated areas
  • Applying chemicals to kill and seal materials to prevent further contamination
  • Determining the number of negative air pressure machines that are needed for the square footage of a home in order to move the air properly

Personal Safety Leads to Faster Cleanup

When technicians receive their mold certification, they learn key skills that protect them during the remediation process. One of these is proper monitoring of their personal test pump. They wear this on their side and check it regularly to determine how many mold particles are in their respirator. They are only allowed to have so many particles per minute of air. Once they reach this limit, they have to stop working in the contaminated area. Certification training teaches them the proper use of protective gear and tools so they can safely work the project for longer periods of time.

Insurance companies like to make sure their money goes for a complete remediation and that the problem won’t return. Using a certified mold specialist to help ensure complete cleanup and proper use of tools and skills creates a safe environment for everyone involved. 

Claims Inventory Systems for Water and Fire Damage: Who They Help and How

3/23/2019 (Permalink)

Cracked roof causing this Laurel, MT home to need restoration services.

Keeping track of one insurance claim isn't too hard, but as the numbers of claims grow, the process may become very frustrating. Fortunately, solutions such as a claims inventory system can decrease confusion and minimize complications.

What do Inventory systems look like?

  • Claims are organized by loss or damage type, sometimes by both, and often by location
  • Individual files are reviewed
  • Comparisons are run against regional and national companies
  • Response times are tracked and reported

Who Uses the Systems?

Many agents and adjusters use claims inventory systems to improve their services. To get the information they need, insurance professionals reach out to trusted mitigation and restoration companies, such as SERVPRO of Billings. These companies provide estimates and pertinent information, so the insurer is able to track estimates, communicate efficiently with clients and with service providers, and to decrease the time it takes to process a claim.

Why Are They Valuable?

When cleanup and mitigation professionals provide access to claims information, insurers are better able to identify the most common types of damage and compare the costs of restoration jobs. They can access and compare claims on local and national levels.

How Are Claims Affected?

How is a single insurance claim impacted by a claims inventory system? Each time a restoration professional files an estimate, the information is shared with a countrywide database. An insurance agent in another state can then access that information and compare it against the agent's local situation. The information serves as a guide. It reduces the amount of research an agent must complete, thus speeding up the process and ensuring improved accuracy.

The claims inventory system is a great way for insurance agents to focus on a single insurance claim with a broad, informed perspective. For residents of Laurel, MT, this means better service and a speedier resolution to their cleanup and restoration work.

7 Places You Wouldn’t Expect To Find Mold

1/23/2019 (Permalink)

Mold growing on walls and carpet in Broadview, MT

7 Places You Wouldn’t Expect To Find Mold

Mold is everywhere in the world around us, even in Broadview, MT. Some places you assume you will find colonies of fungi, but here are seven places you wouldn’t expect to find mold growth.

1. Washing Machines

Drums inside washing machines harbor moisture for long periods because they are an enclosed environment. Mold often grows under the drum and causes a pungent odor. If you discover mold or mildew, run a hot water load with vinegar to kill the spores.

2. Windows

Mold on wood is often expected near windows. Mold on the window itself is not. If you discover a moldy window, use a window cleaner or vinegar to kill the mold and remove the stain the spores leave behind.

3. Chimneys

Water can pool on the brick, along with dirt and debris. Once this occurs, it can become a perfect surface for mold growth. Having the chimney cleaned yearly and checking for cracks can help prevent colony growth.

4. Walls

Moldy drywall can hide potential problems for your home. An unexpected hiding place is inside the wall under the mold on the plasterboard. To remove the hidden mold, contact a mitigation specialist.

5. Dishes

If you put damp dishes away, it can become the perfect breeding ground for mold. To remove the mold, wipe the dish with soapy water and run through a load in the dishwasher.

6. Refrigerators

Although you may expect mold on food inside the refrigerator, you probably don’t expect mold to grow on the appliance’s door gasket or in the drip pan. Because food particles can easily be captured in both places, both need a good, regular cleaning.


7. Dishwashers

Known for spreading soapy water, you wouldn’t expect mold to grow inside the dishwashing system but it can. Damp water pipes make it a perfect environment for the spores to grow and flourish. If mold is in the pipes of your dishwasher, you may have to contact a mold remediation professional to remove it.

Keep these seven hidden places in mind. Don’t be surprised by mold growth again!

Prepare an Emergency Fire Escape Plan for Your Company

11/20/2018 (Permalink)

Change the batteries of your smoke alarm in your commercial building in Laurel MT

Fire emergencies in Laurel,MT, can happen to anyone at any time. It's possible that you and your staff will have to evacuate your building without much warning. Prepare for this eventuality with a well-written fire escape plan.

Protect Employees From Fire Injuries

The American Red Cross provides these four important tips for fire safety:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the building. If you own an apartment building, install alarms outside of all sleeping areas and inside bedrooms.
  • Run smoke alarm tests every month and regularly change batteries.
  • Train employees about the escape plan and hold drills twice a year.
  • When fires do happen, immediately leave the building and stay out.

Developing an Escape Plan

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, suggests including the following in your emergency escape plan:

  • An appropriate method for reporting the emergency.
  • A clear evacuation policy and procedure plan.
  • Emergency escape routes and assignments.
  • Contact information for individuals.
  • Written explanations of responsibilities.
  • Training for rescue and medical duties.

Vital Elements of the Plan

As you work on the fire escape plan, focus on maintaining a calm, orderly workspace. Panic and lack of organization can lead to injuries, property damage, and losses. Some vital elements of the plan are a description of specific conditions that lead to evacuation, a clear breakdown of command and duties, a diagram showing evacuation routes and exits, and a system for keeping track of employees and personnel during and after the evacuation. Other elements of your escape plan, as recommended by the American Red Cross, include using stairs and avoiding elevators, establishing secondary escape routes, and holding training for personnel with tips such as ducking low to avoid smoke.

No matter how many steps you take to protect against building fires, it's impossible to completely prevent them. Put together a fire escape plan with guidance from the American Red Cross, OSHA, and local fire damage restoration professionals for the safety and well-being of your personnel.

How To Prevent a Mold Problem After a Flood

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

Mold damage in Comanche, MT

Flooding can cause many issues in your home. It can damage the structure of your walls, ceilings and floors. It can ruin personal items and spoil any food or toiletries it touches. If left untreated, it can also lead to mold growth. There are several things you can do to ensure that your home in Comanche, MT, doesn't develop a mold problem in addition to water damage after a flood.

Have the Experts on Speed Dial

Your first instinct may be to call your insurance agent, but your next call should be to water mitigation experts. These professionals offer several valuable services when your home has been flooded:

  • Assess extent of damage
  • Create a remediation plan and timeline
  • Provide an estimate of the cost of repairs
  • Confirm level of damage for insurance purposes

Mold growth can occur within 24 hours of the appearance of excess moisture, particularly if it is coupled with contamination, as floodwater tends to be. Calling the experts the moment you know you need them is your strongest defense against a fungal invasion.

Get Rid of the Water

Floodwater creates a breeding ground for mold on any surface it touches. If you don't want to add mold removal to the list of expenses you incur from the flooding incident, you must remove its cause. A sump pump is useful for extracting excess water and letting the surfaces start to dry.

Control the Humidity

Humid air can be just as inviting to mold spores as standing water. If you can safely use a dehumidifier, it can help lower the moisture in the air to discourage fungus growth. If it is not safe to plug in a machine, however, you can still increase the air flow to help dry out your home with fans and, if the air outside is not humid, open windows.

Preventing mold growth can be a challenging task, but it is possible if you act quickly. By calling in experts and reducing the moisture in your home and in the air, you can decrease your chances of secondary damage.

How to Tell Mold and Mildew Apart

5/14/2018 (Permalink)

Mold and mildew remediation can be difficult, but not impossible.

When you have the creeping crud taking over your home, it’s hard to care if it’s mold or mildew. You just want it gone. But mold and mildew have very different effects on your home and on you; could you tell the difference between mold and mildew if you found it in your Billings, MT, home? Let’s take a look at what makes the two fungal growths so similar – and what makes them completely different.

Mold vs. Mildew: Which Is More Dangerous?

Mildew is mostly harmless, though there are a few breeds of mildew that can do damage to your home. While it’s more common than mold, it’s mostly an eyesore and unpleasant to the touch, with a powdery feeling that many find nauseating. Mold, on the other hand, is much more invasive and can cause significant mold damage to vulnerable areas of your home. Mold tends to be more fuzzy and varied in color than mildew. Signs that you might have mold include:

• Musty odors coming from secluded places in your home
• Dark stains on walls
• Leaks and water damage
• Fuzzy growths on organic matter, including walls, floors, and food
• Unexplained allergic reactions with no other allergen sources present

So How Do You Get Rid of Mold and Mildew?

Mold and mildew remediation can be difficult, but not impossible. While you are constantly inundated with free-floating mold spores, it’s possible to take preventative steps to ensure your home isn’t a hospitable environment for either parasitic growth to breed. Mitigate any leaks or water issues in your home, and clean up quickly after any floods. Adequately ventilate your home, and use a dehumidifier if needed to prevent growth in moist, humid areas. If you suspect a mold or mildew infestation, you can call in a professional to perform necessary testing and isolate the causes in your home. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPRObillings.com/.