How A/C Can Prevent Mold Growth in Humid Climates
HOW A/C CAN PREVENT MOLD GROWTH IN HUMID CLIMATES
The temperature in your home can affect you and your family’s comfort level tremendously, especially if you live in states with hot, humid summers like Massachusetts where we’ve been experiencing heat and humidity for most of July and August. However, living in such climates could have other consequences for your home and family, as humidity can contribute to mold growth. Fortunately, your air conditioner can prevent the growth of this fungus, while also keeping you cool.
HOW TEMPERATURES AND HUMIDITY CONTRIBUTE TO MOLD GROWTH
Mold needs certain conditions to grow, and unfortunately for those who live in hot and humid places like Massachusetts in the summer, the heat plus the humidity create a moist environment where mold and dust mites thrive. While the various types of mold have different optimum conditions for growth many kinds of mold will grow well when conditions are between 60F and 80F - the same temperature range we’re often comfortable in. Combine these temperatures with excessive moisture and you could have a mold problem in your home.
HOW AIR CONDITIONING CAN PREVENT MOLD GROWTH
Your air conditioner can control the temperature and humidity in your home, which can prevent mold growth. During the hot, humid summer months, set your air conditioner to between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The relative humidity in your house should not exceed 50 percent. While most modern air conditioners dehumidify as they cool, they do not independently control both temperature and humidity, so you may want to purchase a stand-alone dehumidifier for when conditions are especially humid.
Other tips for using your air conditioner to prevent mold include setting your air conditioners fan mode to auto because setting it to “on” can cause moisture produced during the air conditioning process to be blown back into your home.
Air Conditioner Maintenance
With the past two weeks of high heat and high humidity in the Northeast, air conditioners have been working overtime. Let’s take a look at keeping them in tip top condition!
An air conditioner's filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.
Air Conditioner Filters
The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system's efficiency significantly. With normal airflow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil's heat-absorbing capacity. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner's energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
For central air conditioners, filters are generally located somewhere along the return duct's length. Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings, furnaces, or in the air conditioner itself. Room air conditioners have a filter mounted in the grill that faces into the room.
Some types of filters are reusable; others must be replaced. They are available in a variety of types and efficiencies. Clean or replace your air conditioning system's filter or filters every month or two during the cooling season. Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use, is subjected to dusty conditions, or you have fur-bearing pets in the house.
Air Conditioner Coils
The air conditioner's evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their months and years of service. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from soiling quickly. In time, however, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. This dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem, check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary.
Outdoor condenser coils can also become very dirty if the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.
You should minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Your dryer vents, falling leaves, and lawn mower are all potential sources of dirt and debris. Cleaning the area around the coil, removing any debris, and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.
The aluminum fins on evaporator and condenser coils are easily bent and can block airflow through the coil. Air conditioning wholesalers sell a tool called a "fin comb" that will comb these fins back into nearly original condition.
Occasionally pass a stiff wire through the unit's drain channels. Clogged drain channels prevent a unit from reducing humidity, and the resulting excess moisture may discolor walls or carpet.
Window Seals for Room Air Conditioners
At the start of each cooling season, inspect the seal between the air conditioner and the window frame to ensure it makes contact with the unit's metal case. Moisture can damage this seal, allowing cool air to escape from your house.
Preparing for Winter
In the winter, either cover your room air conditioner or remove and store it. Covering the outdoor unit of a central air conditioner will protect the unit from winter weather and debris.
Commercial Mold Remediation
Mold in Basement of Commercial Building
Besides causing a major business interruption, a mold problem can present a serious health risk for people exposed at your commercial property. Mold infestations can be caused by minor water intrusions, like a slow roof leak or loose plumbing fitting. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. If you suspect your property has a mold problem, call SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield, who will respond quickly and work fast to manage the situation.
- 24 Hour Emergency Service
- Faster to Any Size Disaster
- A Trusted Leader in the Mold and Water Restoration Industry with over 1,700 Franchises
- Highly Trained Mold and Water Damage Restoration Specialists
Have a Mold Problem?
Call Us Today – 781-593-6663
Commercial Mold Remediation Presents Unique Challenges
Mold can spread quickly through a property if left untreated. SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield can respond quickly, working to first contain the infestation to help prevent its spread to other parts of the building. Next, we will begin the remediation process, working safely and effectively to manage the situation. We have the training, experience, and equipment to contain the mold infestation and remediate it to preloss condition.
Learn more about SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield’s training and certifications.
- Applied Microbial Remediation Specialist
- Water Damage Restoration Technician
- Applied Structural Drying Technician
- Odor Control Technician
- Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning Technician
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 781-593-6663
Grease Fire Safety Tips
Do NOT pour water on the fire!!!
The best way to avoid a grease fire is to not have one. While you are cooking, keep an eye on the oil as it’s heating. The oil won’t immediately catch fire once it starts smoking, but smoke is a danger sign that it’s well on its way to getting there.
If the worst happens and your oil does catch on fire, use the following tips:
- If the fire is still small enough and contained in one pot, it is safe to put it out yourself. If it is already spreading to other parts of the kitchen, evacuate.
- Turn off the source of the heat on the stove. Do not try to move the pot because you don’t want to accidentally spill or splash the burning oil.
- Do NOT pour water on the fire! Since oil and water do not mix, pouring water can cause the oil to splash and spread the fire even worse. In fact, the vaporizing water can also carry grease particles in it, which can also spread the fire.
- Remove all oxygen from the flame. You can cover with another pot or pan. Do not cover it with a glass lid because the glass lid may shatter.
- If you can’t cover it, dump lots of baking soda on it.
- Use a chemical fire extinguisher on the grease fire. There are different kinds of extinguishers. Not all can be used on a grease fire, but the ABC dry chemical extinguisher is best.
Hopefully you’ll never be in a situation where you have to actually use this advice, but if you are remember to smother the fire with a pot or baking soda and never use water!
Call us at SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield for fire, smoke or soot damage.
10 Tips for Safe Summer Barbecues!
Every year, 7,000 Americans are injured while using backyard barbecue grills. It's usually a case of good products used incorrectly.
Here are the top 10 most common mistakes and key safety tips.
- Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house.Farther is even better. This includes portions attached to your house like carports, garages and porches. Grills should not be used underneath wooden overhangs either, as the fire could flare up into the structure above. This applies to both charcoal and gas grills.
- Clean your grill regularly.If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they provide more fuel for a fire. Grease is a major source of flare ups.
- Check for gas leaks.You can make sure no gas is leaking from your gas grill by making a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that's a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough.
- Keep decorations away from your grill. Decorations like hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas look pretty AND provide fuel for a fire. To make matters worse, today's decor is mostly made of artificial fibers that burn fast and hot, making this tip even more important.
- Keep a spray bottle of water handy.That way, if you have a minor flare-up you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it. The bonus of this tip is that water won't harm your food, so dinner won't be ruined!
- Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill.And KNOW HOW TO USE IT. If you are unsure how to use the extinguisher, don't waste time fiddling with it before calling 911. Firefighters say many fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling for expert help and letting the fire department do its job.
- Turn on the gas while your grill lid is closed. NEVER do this. It causes gas to build up inside your grill, and when you do light it and open it, a fireball can explode in your face.
- Leave a grill unattended.Fires double in size every minute. Plan ahead so that all of your other food prep chores are done and you can focus on grilling.
- Overload your grill with food.This applies especially fatty meats. The basic reason for this tip is that if too much fat drips on the flames at once, it can cause a large flare-up that could light nearby things on fire.
- Use a grill indoors. People often think it will be safe to use a grill, especially a small one, indoors. NOT TRUE. In addition to the fire hazard, grills release carbon monoxide,the deadly colorless, odorless gas. That gas needs to vent in fresh air or it can kill you, your family and pets.
Can Mold be Completely Removed?
Mold Found in Basement
Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level.
Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today
SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield 781-593-6663
Be Prepared: Know These Storm Warning Definitions
Storm Warnings can pop up anywhere: TV, cell phone warnings, radio, etc., but do we really understand what these warnings mean? Know these definitions so you are prepared for any storm:
- Tornado Watch Conditions are ripe for tornadoes within the watch area. Tornadoes associated with hurricanes and tropical storms are typically a very significant cause of death and damage.
- Tornado Warning A tornado has been spotted visually or on radar. Usually issued for a county. If a tornado WARNING is issued where you live, GET TO THE MIDDLE OF THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A STRONG BUILDING IMMEDIATELY!!!
- Severe Thunderstorm Watch Conditions are ripe for severe thunderstorms within the watch area.
- Severe Thunderstorm Warning There is a severe thunderstorm in or heading for the warned area. Treat this like a tornado warning!!
- Flash Flood Watch Flash floods are likely to occur in the near future. Be alert for rising water and be prepared to have to move to high ground.
- Flash Flood Warning Flash floods are occurring or expected to occur in the near future. If this happens, get to high ground immediately, and GET AWAY FROM VEHICLES... it only takes 18 inches of water to sweep a car or truck away!
- High Wind Advisory Windy conditions may occur in the advisory area. This usually makes for unsafe conditions while driving, especially in (but not limited to) large vehicles. Also, avoid boating anywhere in the advisory area.
- High Wind Warning Very strong winds are expected or already are occurring that present a significant danger while driving, boating and other outdoor activities. Often issued near tropical storms and hurricanes.
Pay close attention to Storm Warnings and take them seriously and be safe. If disaster does strike your home or business, call SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield at 781-593-6663
Hardwood Floor Cupping vs. Crowning
When moisture hit hardwood flooring wood expands and becomes susceptible to cupping and crowning – two common wood floor problems that, if not addressed properly and at the right time, can require costly sanding and refinishing to fix.
Cupping is a condition where wood board becomes concave – edges high with a center that dips low. As wet hardwood flooring expands, cupping can occur. It is brought on when the bottom of the wood flooring remains wetter than the top surface. When cupping occurs, it’s important not to rush quickly into sanding.
Crowning –the opposite of cupping – occurs when the top edges of the board are sanded off too early and become lower than the rest of the board as it returns to normal moisture levels. Sanding the floor to remove crowning should only begin once drying measures are complete and normal moisture levels have been achieved.
If you have either cupping or crowing floors please give us a call at SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield.
The water damage restoration process begins with a detailed inspection of your property, including a damage assessment. The SERVPRO Franchise Professional is determining the scope of the damage so he or she can develop an appropriate plan of action.
What are those Brown Stains on my Ceiling?
Brown Stains on Ceiling
Sometimes you'll glance up and notice a truly hideous brownish stain on your ceiling that has appeared seemingly out of nowhere.
A word of caution: If you cover up a water stain without addressing the leak that caused it, you run the risk of additional staining on the ceiling, not to mention more serious structural or electrical damage. That’s why it is so important to find and repair the cause of the water stain as soon as possible, even if it is no longer wet.
Your first priority when dealing with a water stain should be to find the source of the leak that caused it— the roof, the upstairs radiator, and the upstairs bathroom are good places to check.
If you have ceiling staining such at this, please give us a call at SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield for a free inspection at 781-593-6663.
The water damage restoration process begins with a detailed inspection of your property. A SERVPRO Professional will check for the source of water in your home or business and stop it. The water source must be stopped before the drying process can begin. We will determine the scope of the damage and develop an appropriate plan of action.
Commercial Fire Restoration
Lynnfield DPW Garage Fire
Fire damage is especially devastating for a business or commercial property. In addition to the fire and smoke damage, significant water damage from firefighting efforts and fire suppression systems may occur. Every hour spent restoring your business back to pre-fire condition is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. If your business experiences a fire loss, call the fire and water damage restoration experts and we’ll respond immediately to get you back to business.
- 24 Hour Emergency Service
- Faster to Any Size Disaster
- A Trusted Leader in the Fire and Water Restoration Industry with over 1,700 Franchises
- Highly Trained Fire and Water Damage Restoration Specialists
Commercial Fire Damage?
Call Us Today 781-593-6663
Commercial Restoration Presents Unique Challenges
SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield has the training, experience, and equipment to handle large commercial fire damage emergencies. Whether your fire emergency occurs in a restaurant, motel, or office building, we will respond quickly to mitigate the damage and manage the restoration project through to its completion.
SERVPRO of Lynn/Lynnfield can respond immediately to your commercial fire damage emergency regardless of the size or scope of the damage. We are part of a national network of over 1,700 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large scale events and disasters.
Call Us Today 781-593-6663