Water Damage Done Wrong

On a recent inspection of a property that had sustained extensive water damage from a broken pipe on the second floor, the owner called us with some concerns.  He had hired another Water Restoration Company at the urging of his insurance company, and felt that the job was not being completed like it should.  They did a minimal amount of work and placed an immense amount of fans and dehumidifiers in his house and then left. When he asked for a copy of the bill that they were submitting to the insurance company, they were hesitant.  Finally he was able to see the bill, and realized that they hadn’t completed half of what they were billing for, and still felt that the home wasn’t completely dry like it should be.  When I entered the property, I immediately saw water lines that went undiscovered, but the other company and the insurance adjuster.  The home owner then hired us, and this is what we found.  This picture shows just one of several walls and ceilings in the house that had severe water damage that wasn’t being addressed and wasn’t structurally dried or disinfected.  After a few days, everything was removed, cleaned and dried.  As for the other company, the home filed a complaint through his insurance company, filed another complaint with the BBB and his local Department of Consumer Affairs and is possibly seeking legal action. Remember one key piece of information, if you should ever go through a water loss, or any loss for that matter, you can hire ANY remediation contractor you want, and do not have to hire whomever your insurance adjuster says, no matter what.DSCN1663

Removing Carpet Odor

carpet-odour81 percent of U.S. homeowners agree that the health of their family is directly related to the cleanliness of floors in the home. While a key component to improving air quality is eliminating carpet and rug odors, which in many cases requires regularly cleaning these surfaces, only 15 percent clean their carpet at least once a year.

The following four-step process is the best way to successfully remove odor from your carpet:

  1. Remove the source of the odor, as practical (absorb liquids, scoop solids)
  2. Thoroughly clean odor-affected surfaces and materials. Cleaning is basic to deodorizing
  3. Treat the odor source with an appropriate odor counteractant (sanitizer, disinfectant, enzyme)
  4. Seal restorable surfaces, such as subflooring, if practical

Many sources of odor, including pet urine and tobacco smoke, require specialized procedures and techniques and are best addressed by a certified professional.

Getting Rid of “New Carpet Odor”

New carpet odor comes from a reaction between styrene and butadiene, the components of synthetic latex or styrene-butadiene latex (SBL). There is no natural latex used in carpet today; therefore, there are none of the latex proteins that cause allergic reactions in sensitive people, as might be the case with latex gloves. When new carpet is installed, the old carpet should be thoroughly vacuumed with a high-efficiency filtered vacuum cleaner before it’s disengaged. If it’s particularly filthy or highly contaminated with mold or pet urine, it is advisable to roll it in plastic as it is removed. Then the subfloor should be vacuumed before the new carpet is installed.

Much of the suffering that people experience during and immediately after new carpet installation is directly related to aerosolized dusts and biological fragments (bioaerosols) that are rendered airborne when the carpet is “ripped out.” Positive ventilation helps a good deal here as well.

Removing Mold From Carpeting

In many cases, if mold has grown on carpet, cleaning will not be possible. If growth has occurred on more than one area of the carpet, or if there is a large area of growth, the carpet will probably need to be replaced. Small areas of growth that have been quickly identified can sometimes be dealt with. Detergent and water used with a steam-cleaning machine may be enough to clean the carpet thoroughly. It is then important to ensure that the carpet dries completely after cleaning to prevent the growth from recurring. Stronger cleaning agents can be substituted if detergent does not work. Anything stronger than detergent or common rug-cleaning products should first be tested on an inconspicuous area of the carpet to ensure that the rug will not be damaged during cleaning. About 24 hours is a reasonable amount of time to wait after testing to be sure that wider cleaning will not discolor or damage the carpet.

Another option in instances where mold growth is not widespread is to remove the ruined section of the carpet. If cleaning has been attempted unsuccessfully, the area of mold growth may be removed and replaced with a patch of similar carpet. Of course, this will only work in situations where aesthetics are not a big concern, since exactly matching the patch to the original carpet may be difficult and the seam may be visible. If mold has grown in more than one area of the carpet, or if the area of growth is larger than a couple of feet, this will probably not be an effective method of mold removal.

As with all areas of the interior at risk for mold growth, prevention is the best method of control for carpet mold. Eliminating high-moisture conditions and preventing the risk of flooding or standing water will reduce the possibility of growth. Inspectors will want to know where to look for and how to identify mold growth in carpeting. It is also helpful to know how to determine if carpet should be replaced, or whether there is a possibility of cleaning and saving it.