Dust to Dust
Thinking about doing some home renovations? Dust control is often overlooked. Not only will it get on and embed itself in any uncovered furniture, it will also spread throughout the house, get in your clothing, hair, lungs, eyes, nostrils, and just about every other point of entry.
Cover the furniture with drop sheets, or even inexpensive plastic sheeting. Also consider containing the area using 4-6 mm poly sheeting. When we do jobs, we will also consider putting the area under negative air pressure to minimize the potential for dust and other contaminants spreading. If the area is small enough, you can do this yourself using an ordinary cylinder vacuum cleaner (like a Shop-Vac), by placing the canister outside the contained area and placing the end of the hose inside the contained area.
Of course don't forget dust masks and eye protection.
Understanding Decontamination Chambers
There are 2 types of decontamination chambers we typically add on to a contained and contaminated space:
- Clean Room - Where PPE is stored and workers suit-up (donning PPE)
- Pass Through - Where workers remove their PPE (doffing PPE)
We will typically use a combination of 1-3 decontamination chambers, depending upon the extend, degree, and type of contamination, also taking into consideration the available space, type of building, and the occupants. For example 3 chambers might be advisable when the occupants of the structure pose a higher risk for health effects (e.g. if somebody has asthma), while only 1 chamber might be called for when decontaminating part of an empty warehouse.
A Single Decontamination Chamber is a multi-purpose room used for donning and doffing PPE, as well as storage, double bagging, and other functions.
A Double Decontamination Chamber would include a Clean Room and a Pass Through.
A Triple Decontamination Chamber would include a Clean Room, a Shower, and a Pass through.
Each decontamination chamber would also be under slightly negative air pressure, compared to the adjacent chamber. We typically measure negative air pressure using a manometer, measuring relative pressure in inches of water, using the units of wc (water column). In order to maintain negative pressure, we would like each chamber to have 0.02 - 0.04 wc less than the previous chamber.
[Clean Room][Shower][Pass Thru][Contaminated Area]
[ -0.02 wc][-0.04 wc][-0.06 wc][-0.08 wc]
Dealing With Attic Mould
A very common call from realtors is to address mould found in an attic. This can get tricky. A typical situation is that a home inspector has been through, popped into the attic and noticed some visible staining on the sheathing. We often get the message that the inspector has identified it as mould and it needs to be cleaned.
Often the closing is contingent on this.
Many problems exist with this approach. First of all, it is a deviation form the IICRC-S520 Mould Remediation standard, which states that mould can only be identified by testing in a qualified lab. Unfortunately, many home inspectors overlook this, and identify what may or may not be mould based solely upon a visual inspection.
Nevertheless, the closing requires a clearance certificate and the only way to generate that is by following the standard: (1) Test for mould, (2) Remediate, (3) Test to confirm successful remediation (clearance). The length of time and cost of following the standard usually exceeds the time limit on the offer, so many deals fall through.
Our recommendation: have the property inspected prior to listing. If there are concerns about mould, deal with it beforehand. It could save you thousands in the long run.
Deep in Cold & Flu Season
Cold & Flu Season
We are experiencing the worst of cold and flu season right now. The flu is one of the top 10 causes of death in Canada, accounting for approximately 3500 deaths* every year.
What can you do about it?
- Get the flu vaccine - it's free
- Wash hands frequently
- Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, not your hand
- Clean and disinfect frequently touch surfaces, like doorknobs, phones, tv remotes, etc
- Healthy eating and physical activity to help keep your immune system strong
- Get plenty or rest and sleep
In addition, we recommend a good carpet cleaning for your home or business using a hospital-grade germicidal agent.
Contact us today to book an appointment!
*source: Public Health Agency of Canada
Avoiding Job Site Hazards
Removing tack strip
Some of the most preventable injuries in our field are slips and falls. We work in wet environments, wet carpets, with soggy belongings all over the place. Even worse, when tearing out wet carpet, it is all too easy to cut a finger on a rusty carpet tack strip.
All of our employees are urged to keep their vaccinations up-to-date, including tetanus and HEP-A/B. In addition proper PPE is a requirement. We will turn down jobs in which we're asked to cut corners and put employees' and occupants' safety at risk.
From the SERVPRO® Newsline:
To help prevent injury from an exposed tack strip, remove tack strips completely when possible. Cover tack strips at the end of the day as well as at the end of the job. At a minimum, cover tack strips in doorways and other walkways.
Water Damage & Your HVAC System
Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning systems (HVAC) require special attention during any water intrusion. If directly contacted by Category-1 (clean) water, they can malfunction, shut down, or spread excess humidity throughout the area we are trying to dry. If directly contacted by Category -2 (somewhat contaminated) or Category-3 (grossly contaminated) water, they can spread contamination to unaffected areas.
The design, capacity, and operational conditions of the HVAC system are important factors for moisture control during advanced restoration procedures. HVAC systems should be inspected and cleaned, if necessary, in accordance with the relevant standards. The National Air Duct Cleaners' Association sets standards for the Assessment, Cleaning, & Restoration of air ducts (NADCA ACR 2006, and NADCA ACR 2013 are two commonly referenced standards).
Since HVAC systems circulate the air that workers and occupants breath, if is a critical component for the well-being of all during and after the remediation project.
In Category-1 water losses, water should be drained or vacuumed thoroughly from the HVAC ductwork and mechanical components as soon as practical. Then the system needs to be thoroughly dried. All systems should be inspected and cleaned following the NADCA ACR standard by a qualified person.
In Category-2 or Category-3 water losses, complete decontamination might not be possible, in which case removal of affected components may need to be replaced.
Proper Containment Minimizes Spread of Contaminants
Properly erected containment, places affected area under negative air pressure.
As part of a mould abatement project, erecting proper containment is important to prevent spreading contaminants to other parts of the structure. There are 3 different types of containment we might use, depending upon conditions:
- Source Containment
- Local Containment
- Full-Scale Containment
Source Containment might be appropriate if there is a very small amount of mould, say less than 10 square feet. We would use 6 mil poly sheeting to directly cover contaminated surfaces, such as walls, minimizing disruption to the spores. We would use 6 mil poly bags to enclose contaminated contents. The objective is to secure and remove the contaminated objects from the structure so that they can be cleaned or disposed-of.
Local Containment is more complex and is used when larger amounts of mould are observed or suspected, say a surface area up to 100 square feet. Again, we use 6 mil poly sheeting, preferably with a flame retardant rating. Temporary walls are erected using the poly sheeting, typically with spring loaded poles, or even stud walls. The poly sheeting is secured to the walls with tape and spray adhesives, or even staples if attaching to unfinished wood. Once the containment barrier has been erected, the contained area is put under negative pressure using a negative air machine, which sucks air out of the contained area. The negative air machine is equipped with a High Efficiency Particulate Air filter (HEPA) to capture airborne particles.
Full-Scale Containment is used when an area >100 square feet is affected, or if an entire room or section of a building is contaminated. The methodologies are essentially the same as with Local Containment, however the scale is different. With Full-Scale Containment, there is also the consideration of filtering make-up air to the contained area.
Incorrectly installed downspout in Milton, Ontario.
Water Seepage in Foundation
At this time of year, we tend to see a lot of wet basements due to foundation seepage. This may or may not be covered by insurance. With the temperatures going up and down, snow melt pools around around the foundation of a home, gravity does its job, and water eventually finds its way into the basement.
This is often caused by two very common problems:
- Landscaping - Over time, the grading around the house settles, or perhaps some incorrect modifications allows the ground to slope towards the house, instead of away from it. Unfortunately, it's very hard to fix until the ground thaws in the spring. A professional landscaper should be able to correct the grading issue and may even recommend the installation of a french ditch.
- Downspouts - We often see incorrectly installed downspouts, that fail to drain water away from the foundation. This can be corrected with the addition of inexpensive downspout extensions, or by ensuring the downspouts are correctly draining into the storm-sewer system.
Once the water is in the house, the water needs to be extracted in a timely fashion and the structural elements need to be dried. Unfortunately this type of water intrusion is often not noticed for several days or weeks, leading to concerns that mould may have started to grow under carpeting or behind walls. Appropriate precautions are essential to prevent the spread of contaminants to other parts of the home.
September is Mould Month!
Don't let this happen to you!
Get $500 of Mould Remediation Labour For Only $125*
When you prepay our mould assessment package, you get:
- On-site mould assessment
- Detailed scope of work ($150 value)
- Up to $500 of mould remediation labour
Call us today: 905-864-9544
Or submit online: Contact Us
Want to know more about mould remediation?
* The fine print:
- Offer valid for September 2017 only.
- Services must be booked no later than December 31, 2017.
- Prepayment by credit card only.
- Credit applies to Mould Remediation Labour category only. Does not apply to other labour categories, such as carpentry, drywall, or painting.
- Supplies, chemical cleaning agents, equipment charges not included.
- Does not apply to lab tests or third-party testing services, such as an Industrial Hygienist.
- Does not apply to subcontractors, like plumbers.
- Valid in the GTA only.
Finding The Right Plumber
Sewage backup in the shower: not only a plumbing emergency, also a restoration emergency.
Dealing with the trades can be challenging at the best of times and finding the right plumber is no different. If you don't already know someone, how comfortable are you inviting them into your home or business?
While most plumbers know how to fix the pipes and will tidy up after themselves, very few are trained to correct whatever damage the water may have caused.
Are the walls wet? The carpet? The hardwood? Is there potential for mould growth? Spread of disease from sewage?
At SERVPRO® of Milton & North Oakville, we are trained to answer those questions. And we have a network of reliable and trustworthy plumbers available throughout the region. So if you have a plumbing repair problem please give us a call first and we will help make it like it never even happened.