Recent Posts

Black Mold: Everything You Need to Know

1/18/2023 (Permalink)

Black mold growing on a wall. Black mold is one of the most common types of mold.

Black mold is one of the most common types of mold. If you see black mold in your home, it may be growing behind a wall or in the attic. Black mold can also grow on porous building materials like wood, drywall, and ceiling tiles if they're exposed to moisture for long periods of time.

Black Mold in Your Home

You can find black mold in other areas of your home, as well. Black mold will grow on wood, drywall, and other porous surfaces like carpets. The bathroom, kitchen, and basement are common places for black mold growth to occur because these rooms have high moisture levels which make it easier for mold spores to grow. If you have an attic or crawlspace in your home then these are also likely places where you may see black mold growing.

Mold Inspection

Mold inspection is necessary in order to determine the extent of the mold problem. You'll want to hire a professional certified individual or company who can provide you with an accurate assessment of your particular situation. This may include visual inspection, black light inspection, moisture meter testing, and more.

Remediating the Mold

If you discover black mold, don't try to remove it yourself. Black mold is often dangerous and should be handled by professionals trained in mold removal. If you discover black mold, don't try to remove it yourself. Black mold is often dangerous and should be handled by professionals trained in mold removal.

Mold remediation involves thorough cleaning of the affected area with specialized products to kill off any remaining spores or fungal growth. This may include using HEPA vacuums, sterile cloths, negative air machines and other equipment depending on the severity of your situation.

Mold removal can take a few days or weeks depending on how large the infestation is and whether or not you have to tear down parts of your home to get rid of it all. If you hire a professional, they'll remove all traces of black mold from your home and then sanitize everything with chemicals that are safe for humans but toxic for molds (like hydrogen peroxide). They'll also use ultraviolet lights that kill any remaining spores so that no new colonies can grow back in their place.

The professionals will wear protective gear like respirators and goggles so as not to breathe in too much dust while removing the infected areas. They will take protective measures against the mold to protect the rest of your home as well. 

If you believe that you have black mold, it is important to call a professional remediation company like SERVPRO of St. Louis County. We are certified by the IICRC and licensed. Black mold can be hazardous, so it's important to get it removed as soon as possible. If you're looking for a professional remediation company in the St. Louis, MO area, contact us today!

3 Reasons a Basement Floods and How To Prevent It

1/1/2023 (Permalink)

Leaking pipe A leaking or burst pipe is one of the most common culprits of water in a basement

Three Causes of Basement Flooding and How to Avoid It

A flooded basement has happened to many a homeowner. Because basements are at the lowest level of your home and partially underground, they are especially susceptible to flooding. Should your basement flood, you can work with a water cleanup and restoration service, but there are several issues you can watch for and act to mitigate to prevent water damage to your home.

1. Plumbing Leaks
A leaking or burst pipe is one of the most common culprits of water in a basement. Often a leak can go undetected for some time, so regular inspection of this part of your home is essential, especially if your basement is not used regularly.

2. Faulty Water Heater
A malfunctioning water heater is another likely reason for flooding in a home. An old tank can corrode, causing gallons of water to gush into your basement. Proper maintenance and inspection can help prevent a faulty tank from creating a major problem. If your water heater is over 10 years old, consider purchasing a replacement.

3. Excessive Rainfall
If your basement is not properly sealed, excessive water from a storm could find its way into your home and cause a basement flood. Inspect your basement walls and foundation and seal any cracks to prevent water from leaking in. Be sure to monitor storm drains near your home and make sure they are free from debris that can cause them to back up.
Water damage is a common problem for homeowners and one of the top five types of insurance claims filed by homeowners. All basement floods are not equal, so be sure you know what is and is not covered in your homeowner’s insurance policy. A licensed plumber or home inspector in Creve Coeur, MO, can visit your home and assess your risk of a basement flood. Understanding the risks and the maintenance required to limit potential damage is a must-do for all homeowners.

How To Recognize a Gas Leak

12/14/2022 (Permalink)

Kitchen stove and refrigerator damaged by fire Fire damage to a kitchen due to gas leak.

Everything You Need to Know About Gas Leaks

Natural gas is a very useful source of energy, but there are times when it can be harmful. This is especially true if your home has a gas leak. Natural gas leaks are extremely flammable and can cause serious injury if they aren't addressed immediately. If you suspect that your home has a natural gas leak, here's what you need to know about how to recognize one and what steps to take next.

Recognizing a Gas Leak

If you suspect a gas leak, there are signs to look out for. These include:

  • A strong odor (like rotten eggs)
  • Bubbling sounds
  • Flames or sparks

The safest thing to do in this situation is to follow the steps listed below, ensuring you evacuate the property as quickly as possible.

Steps to Take After a Gas Leak

If you smell natural gas, or if you suspect a gas leak:

1. Turn off the main valve to your propane tank.

2. Call your propane supplier immediately (or call 911 if it's an emergency). If possible, have the phone number and address of where you are located ready to share with them when they answer the phone.

3. Leave the area immediately and close all doors behind you after exiting so that no one else disturbs or triggers any potential leaks as they try to enter or exit through that door. Do not re-enter until after a professional has arrived at your home/business and found no problems with your pipes/piping system.

If there is an open flame nearby - such as from a pilot light on a water heater or stovetop burner - attempt to extinguish those flames before leaving; once extinguished, leave immediately without taking anything with you (i.e., don't turn off lights). 

Preventing a Gas Leak

Check for leaks. If you've recently used a new appliance, such as a dryer or stove, check for leakage from the connection points of the appliance in question—typically located at the back of it. You can also check by turning off all gas appliances in your home and then re-lighting each one separately to test whether there is any leakage when they are turned on again.

Keep adequate ventilation around gas appliances: Make sure there are no obstructed vents or exhausts on your range hood or laundry vent (also known as an "exhaust fan").

Don't use pilot lights to heat your home: If you have an older gas furnace that runs off of a pilot light instead of electricity, don't keep it running continuously; turn it off when you leave the house and turn it back on when you return. This will help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and make sure everything is working properly without wasting energy unnecessarily!

A natural gas leak can be a serious hazard, dangerous and deadly. Gas leaks can cause explosions, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Natural gas also has the potential to cause property damage due to its flammability.

So, now that you know how to recognize a gas leak and what to do if there is one, it's time to make sure your home is safe. You don't want any of your family members or pets getting hurt because of a gas leak! If you think something might be wrong with the natural gas lines in your home, call an expert immediately.

If your home catches on fire due to a natural gas leak, give SERVPRO of St. Louis County a call.

What to Expect After Winter Storm Damage

12/1/2022 (Permalink)

Two air movers drying the hallway of a home Drying out an area that was affected by floodwaters in Fernridge, MO.

What To Do After Water Damage From a Storm

After a winter storm in Fernridge, MO you may be at a loss. If your home has been damaged, you may be unsure of where to go from there. The best defense against storm damage is to be prepared in advance, and information is key. From water removal to what you may need to tear out, here are four steps to follow after water damage from a storm:

1. Extract Water

First and foremost, following a winter storm that has resulted in flooding, you need to extract the water. You can utilize the help of professional service to remove the water from your home so that you can begin the storm restoration.

2. Tear Out Wet Contents

Wet materials cannot stay in your home. Mold grows quickly. Within the first couple of days, you could have a serious mold situation on your hands. To avoid that or to guarantee that it doesn’t get worse, you should remove all wet contents as quickly as possible. This could be clothing, furniture or even drywall that is damaged beyond repair. Tear out anything that is wet and will not dry within the house.

3. Dry Out Flooded Area and Contents

You can lay out your contents in the sun to dry while waiting for the inside of your home to dry up also. Inside, you can utilize fans and dehumidifiers to rid it of moisture. Most people prefer investing in a dehumidifier to help rid the inside of any extra moisture.

4. Restore Home

Once you tear out any of the furniture or components of the house that is damaged beyond repair, you can work on restoring your home.

While laying out the steps seems simple, dealing with an actual flood can be a challenge. With the help of a restoration specialist, you can clean and build your home back to the way it was quickly and efficiently

What To Do If Your Washing Machine Leaks?

11/12/2022 (Permalink)

soap from a broken washing machine. The washing machine is one of the most essential household appliances

Washing Machine Leaks and What To Do

The washing machine is one of the most essential household appliances, so it’s no surprise that leaks can cause some serious damage. Water leaks are usually caused either by a faulty water hose or by a broken valve. Any leak in your home should be fixed as soon as possible to avoid further damage to flooring and walls. Here are some tips for fixing common washer problems and preventing future ones:

1. Inspect the Hoses

Check that there are no cracks or leaks in any of your washing machine hoses. Check for loose connections by simply pulling on both ends of each hose and making sure that it doesn't come off easily. If you see kinks, carefully straighten them out with a pair of pliers. Check for damaged hoses by running your hand along the length of each one to feel for rust or other signs of damage—a broken rubber washer can cause water to leak out during washing cycles, but these can usually be replaced cheaply at a hardware store. Leaks at the hose connections can also lead to flooding issues; if you notice any signs of leaking around where they attach to your appliance, look into replacing them before moving on!

2. Inspect the Water Shut-Off Valves

If your washing machine is leaking from the bottom, inspect the water shut-off valves. Make sure they are not leaking and check that they are connected properly. Check that they are not loose or broken.

3. Check for Loose Connections

If you suspect that the problem might be a loose connection, check to see that your hoses are properly connected and that they're not frozen. If there's any debris in the hose, try cleaning it out. If this doesn't work, you may need a new hose or a professional repairman to fix the leak.

4. Replace the Shut-Off Valves

Once you've checked the hoses and shut-off valves for leaks, it's time to replace them. If a hose is cracked or broken, you'll need to replace both of its ends in order to prevent another leak and potential flooding. (For example, if you have a double-hose washing machine with one hot supply line and one cold return line, replacing just one end of either line won't work.)

To replace a leaking shut-off valve:

  • Turn off the water supply at the main valve (if possible).
  • Unscrew the old shut-off valve from the faucet - take care not to let any water spill onto your floor!
  • Install new shut-off valves using thread sealant tape where needed; tighten screws until snug but don't overdo it because doing so could crack plastic parts inside your washing machine housing unit which could cause more damage down the road.

Act Quickly

If you suspect that your washing machine has a leak, the first step is to check the hoses and connections. If any of the hoses are damaged, replace them with new ones after shutting off the water supply valve at the main water supply line.

Replacing a defective shut-off valve can be a bit tricky, so it's best to call in an expert if you're unsure how to do it yourself. You may also need to repair any damaged walls or floors caused by leaking water as soon as possible in order to avoid further damage or injury to yourself or others in your home.

Water leaks can cause serious damage to your washing machine and the surrounding area. The best way to avoid any problems is by repairing the leak as soon as possible. If you are unable to fix it yourself, then contact a professional plumber who will be able to fix everything for you. If you have a water damage event in your Maryland Heights, MO Home, give SERVPRO of Northwest St. Louis a call! 

What to Do When Your Fire Sprinklers Go Off Accidentally

11/1/2022 (Permalink)

Active fire sprinkler When your sprinklers go off accidentally they can cause major damage.

What to Do When Your Fire Sprinklers Go Off Accidentally

While fire sprinklers are there to protect your building, they can cause major issues such as flooding when they go off accidentally. It is best to have a plan in place in case this problem does occur. If this does happen, follow these guidelines to ensure that the damage is properly dealt with.

Shut off the Water Supply Line

The first thing you should do if you find yourself in this situation is to turn off the water supply line. This will stop the sprinklers from continuing to go off. This step is extremely important because the sooner you shut off the source, the less water damage there will be.

Clean up the Damage

In addition to cleaning up the standing water, you will need to deal with furniture and office equipment, and documents that got wet. You may want to consider calling a professional water restoration company to help you. The flooding needs to be taken care of as quickly as possible in order to avoid mold growth.

Call the Insurance Company

Your insurance company should be able to go over your policy with you to determine what is covered. You need to take pictures of everything that was damaged before you are cleaning up. They are far less likely to pay if you do not have evidence.

Determine the Cause

The insurance company will probably want to know what caused the fire sprinklers to go off in the first place. You may also want this information so that you can avoid having the same thing happen again later on. If you bring them to the manufacturer, they should be able to tell you what the issue was.
Acting fast is of the utmost importance when flooding occurs. Open all windows to begin ventilating the building until a water mitigation expert arrives. You can carefully begin to clean up wet areas, but they should be able to help you with the larger problems, such as wet carpets.

How do You Estimate a Fire Damage?

10/20/2022 (Permalink)

Visible damage to a commercial building following a structure fire Commercial fire damage in St. Louis, MO.

How Do You Estimate the Cost of A Fire Loss?

If you have experienced a fire in your home in St. Louis, we understand that this is an incredibly stressful time for both you and your family. There will be a lot of questions about what to do next and how long it will take for repairs to be completed. Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible by providing you with the answers you need right away.

What Is Fire Damage?

Fire damage can be caused by many different things, such as a fire in your home, business, or vehicle. For example:

  • A fire in your home may cause smoke and soot damage to the structure of the place where it started.
  • A fire might cause water damage to your home, business, or other nearby structures.

There are many other types of fires that can result in property damage—and each type of fire has its own unique problems associated with it.

The process of estimating a fire damage is an important first step to recovery.

It gives you an idea of the scope of the damage and how long it will take to repair. The estimate also serves as a starting point for negotiations with your insurance company, which can lead to more money for your claim.

The amount that you receive from your insurance company will be based on several factors: what type of structure was damaged by the fire; whether any materials were irreparably damaged; whether or not there were injuries associated with this incident; and what caused the blaze (for example, arson). These factors are all taken into consideration when determining how much money should be paid out by an insurer after they've received an estimate from a certified technician.

How do you estimate a fire damage?

The first step in estimating the fire damage is for us to assess the damage done by the fire with highly trained staff members who have years of experience in assessing properties post fire loss. This assessment is typically done within 48 hours from when it happened so that you will know exactly how much work needs to be done before the insurance claims process can begin.

SERVPRO of St. Louis County NW can estimate your fire loss.

SERVPRO of St. Louis County NW will assess your situation and provide you with a report of your damages and solutions for restoration. The process typically starts when we arrive on site. We'll ask questions about the damage to get a better understanding of what happened, and then begin to assess the property's overall condition.

If your home or business in the greater St. Louis area suffers from fire damage, don’t hesitate, and give our SERVPRO of St. Louis County NW team a call today! Our crew is highly trained and experienced in fire damage cleanup and restoration and offers our services 24/7.

What Should I Consider as Part Of the Fire Damage?

10/11/2022 (Permalink)

Visible damage to a commercial building following a structure fire Fire damage can be devastating.

What To Do After a Fire

Fire damage can be devastating. The flames, smoke, and water all create a toxic mix that can affect the safety of others who live in your St. Louis home. In addition to being dangerous, fire damage can also be expensive if you don't handle it properly. When it comes to fire and smoke damage, however, there are several things you should consider before hiring a professional restoration company.

Things to Consider

In addition to the fire itself, there are several other things you should consider when it comes to fire damage. These include:

  • The nature of the property damage. Fire damage can cause extensive damage to your property, including walls and roofs that have been burned away.
  • The cause of the fire. Fires can be caused by many different things, including electrical fires, cooking fires, and negligence.

Contact Your Insurance Company

After you've gathered as much information as possible and given yourself a chance to process the situation, it's time to talk with your insurance provider. Insurance companies want their customers to be protected in case of emergencies like this one, so they can provide useful information on how best to go about getting help and support.

If you're not sure if you are covered for fire damage or if there are certain exclusions that apply (for example, if your policy doesn't cover electrical or lightning-related fires), get an estimate from an expert in your area by asking around for recommendations or by looking online. You should also check with your insurance provider for additional information about what types of assistance may be available under the terms of your policy.

Document all items that are damaged by the fire damage.

Documenting the fire damage is an important step in helping you recover from the fire damage and making sure your insurance claim is paid. Insurance companies will carefully evaluate your documentation, so make sure to get it right!

To help you record this information as accurately as possible, here are some guidelines:

  • Write down all of the items you believe have been damaged by the fire damage. This includes things like furniture and clothing, electronics, appliances, and personal effects. If something isn’t listed here but seems damaged by smoke or water (or anything else), write it down anyway—you never know what could be useful later on.
  • Make sure each piece has its own line item on your list; if there are multiple items in one room or area that need to be separately documented (for example two sofas), make sure each sofa gets its own line item on your list rather than combining them into one entry under “sofas” or something similar. You may also want to include how much each item cost originally when purchased; if nothing else this should give insurance adjustors an idea about whether or not replacing these items following a fire would be relatively affordable ($5k couches vs $50k antiques) so they can start estimating costs ahead of time before determining whether or not they need further investigation. 

Hire a Professional

You should hire someone who has experience in restoring fire damage. You need to find a company that has experience with these types of restoration projects. They will be able to help you better understand the intricacies of your project and how they can help you restore it properly. SERVPRO of Northwest St. Louis is happy to be that expert for you! 

Fire damage is complex, so it's important to hire a professional that understands it well enough to give you good advice on how best to fix your home or business after a fire.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to fire and smoke damage. The good news is that by working with experts who have experience in this area, you can have confidence that we handle everything for you. We provide an initial assessment of the damage, then come up with a plan for how best to restore all your belongings. Our technicians will be able to clean up and remove debris from your home so there’s no interruption in living day-to-day life after the cleanup has been completed.

3 Ways Professionals Eradicate Smoke Damage

10/1/2022 (Permalink)

Wooden structures of a room Clean up after a fire in Manchester, MO.

Fire Restoration

When you think of fire damage, you probably see flames consuming a property, tearing the structure down. However, there is also another large issue in these types of disasters: smoke damage. For this reason, smoke cleaning practices can be imperative in dealing with any fire-damaged property in Manchester, MO. Here are three ways professional restoration experts may tackle this issue.

1. They determine the most effective cleaning method. Different materials call for varied ways of cleaning. For light damage, dry cleaning is often best. For heavier damage, wet cleaning may be required. Although wet cleaning is typically the stronger method of cleaning, it can’t be used for all materials. For everything else, spray-and-wipe cleaning and foam cleaning help. Additionally, there is abrasive smoke cleaning, which involves strongly scrubbing, and immersion cleaning, which involves soaking items in solution.

2. They move damaged items. Moving contents to a smoke-free location can help eliminate odor, giving it a chance to air out in a fresh environment. It can also protect the items from further damage that could occur if they are left in a fire-destroyed building. Finally, it clears space so building restoration can happen quicker.

3. They improve air quality. Generally, the main issue with smoke odor damage is the low quality of air after a fire. The smoke lingers, creating an unpleasant smell. One way to combat this is to change the HVAC filter, but professionals often use an air filtration device, ozone machine, or thermal fogger to improve the air. One thing you shouldn’t do is turn on any ceiling fans because their wiring could be ruined.

The above practices of smoke cleaning can help move the restoration process along, eliminating stress. Damage from fire doesn’t have to be debilitating if the correct steps are taken to restore a building’s contents. By relying on professionals to correctly clean and move objects and improve the air quality, you can be on your way toward recovery.

Why Does Mold Smell?

9/30/2022 (Permalink)

Black mold growth on wall STACHYBOTRYS ATRA Stachybotrys, commonly called black mold
You probably associate mold with a damp, musty odor. In fact, you’d probably sniff it out before you ever saw it. Most of the time, you’re actually detecting the fungus itself; sometimes, though, you’re smelling mycotoxin production, which happens when specific types of mold create toxins.

How Do I Know if It’s Mold?

How do you tell the difference between mold and a weird stench? Here are three signs you have mold in your building:

  • The scent doesn’t go away when you open windows or run fans.
  • The air smells damp even when the windows are open.
  • You’re sneezing all the time when you’re in a specific area.

Why Does Mold Have an Odor?
The aroma doesn’t come from the fungus spores themselves, but rather from something called microbial volatile organic compounds. Some MVOCs are waste products of growing mold, including mycotoxin gases. MVOCs’ odors depend on how much moisture is around and the material the mold is growing on.
Stachybotrys, commonly called black mold, smells like cat urine and freshly cut grass. Chaetomium has an earthy or damp odor. Other species have scents like anything from baking bread to stinky socks to wet dog.

What if I Find Mold?
These funguses can hide in walls, carpets, and insulation, coming from water leaks or damp weather. You can help keep mold damage out of your building by:

  • Keeping humidity levels low
  • Fixing leaking pipes, roofs and windows
  • Cleaning and drying a space after flooding
  • Properly ventilating laundry, cooking and shower spaces

If you do find signs of mold, such as that musty odor, make sure the spores can’t migrate into other parts of your building. Put up plastic tarps to enclose the space and use HEPA air filters to keep the air clean. Don’t try to clean up mycotoxin contamination yourself. Instead, work with a mold remediation company in Country Life Acres, MO. Professionals have the proper equipment to get rid of the damage safely.