When Mold is Present, the Type of Mold Matters.
When you have mold in your home, the type of mold affects the treatment plan.
When a homeowner finds mold in their home, they often call us in a panic - concerned that their families health is being compromised.
And, in some cases, that is true however there are many different variables that determine whether the mold in your home is dangerous to your health. An important factor in the treatment of mold is what kind of mold is in your home. In this blog post, we discuss the common types of mold found in Connecticut homes.
Alternia is a commonly found mold which usually grows outdoors. That said, it can make its way into your home, where it grows in damp places such as the bathroom. The best way to keep this mold out of your home is to keep your windows and doors shut on the dry, windy days of summer, which is when it’s numbers are the most concentrated and likely to blow.
The aureobasidium mold grows indoors and is often found in the homes we treat. It grows on wooden furniture, surfaces, painted walls and wallpaper. You may also find it around windows and in caulk. If you notice a spotty substance that is pink and black in color in those areas, it’s most likely Aureobasidium
When a home has mold due to water damage in which the drywall has gotten wet, the culprit is usually Chaetomium mold. A telltale sign is if you smell a musty or old odor in your home.
Fusarium is a mold that tends to grow in cold, wet areas and loves fabrics and carpeting. In our experience, it is often present in basements.
You know the name because of its use as an antibiotic. When airborne, though, Penicillium is a quick growing mold a mold that grows on insulation, furnishings, water damaged furniture, carpeting and more. Penicilium requires less moisture than other species of mold to survive, allowing it to be a fast growing and long surviving mold.
The most demonized mold in the media, stachysbotrys chartarum is also called black mold or toxic mold. This is due to the fact that this type of mold creates toxic compounds known as mycotoxins that can negatively affect the health of humans. This type of mold can be identified by its musty smell and is found in areas that stay damp, like air conditioning pipes and ducts.
Trichoderma is another damp area mold. Homeowners often find the trichoderma mold within damp carpeting, wallpaper and similar surfaces. Similar to stachysbotrys chartarum, it also creates mycotoxins.
We get it. Mold can be a frightening discovery and everybody has heard of somebody who has lived a nightmare because of its presence in their home. With professional remediation, however, your home can be made safe again.
Life in the Country: SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford Cleans and Sanitizes After Animal Waste Removal
We love the Connecticut countryside but not when it moves into our homes!
Sometimes when I drive through our area, I am amazed at how many rural areas still exist in New Haven County.
In fact, much of Connecticut is connected by old country roads with farms and homes. We are truly lucky to live in an area that has all of the comforts of society yet is surrounded by nature.
Of course, as a restoration company, we know that the country charm brings with it a unique set of problems. In particular, along with stone wall lined roads and open fields, county life is a perfect habitat for mice, squirrels, raccoons and bats, all of whom can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage when they enter a home.
It’s common for these creatures to find their way into garages, crawlspaces and attics and go unnoticed for weeks and sometimes months. Often, a homeowner doesn’t become aware that their home is infested until the rodent population has exploded and the scurrying becomes apparent through the ceiling. Other times, the smell of animal feces is a warning sign that there is a wild animal population living in your home. When it gets to this point, professional service is typically needed. You will most likely call an exterminator to come out and rid your home of the unwanted guests. Once they are gone, call SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford to clean up the mess that the animals have left behind.
You may wonder why you can’t just clean up the mess yourself, and in some cases, you can. However, there are a number of scenarios in which professional restoration is necessary because they might contain disease. For example, raccoon droppings contain parasites including roundworm. Rodent feces often contain the Hantavirus, which causes muscle aches, chills and lung damage when the disease fills them with fluid. Bird and bat droppings carry respiratory infections such as Histoplasmosis which has similar symptoms to the Hantavirus. These biohazardous droppings should be cleaned up and the affected areas disinfected.
Animals that move into your home often hide in the attic, behind walls and in corners. They chew drywall and make a cozy home in the insulation within your walls and ceilings. It doesn’t take long for the insulation and sheetrock to become saturated with urine. Any materials that have been exposed to animal urine and feces will need to be removed from your home and the area sanitized.
Whether you have animal waste in your basement or attic, our team has years of experience cleaning it up.We remove all damaged insulation, wood building materials and nests that have been left behind in a damaged state. Next, we spray the affected areas with cleaners and anti-fungal agents to ensure a healthy environment. Our team finishes the job with the installation of new insulation, walls and trim as necessary.
Hey, like you, we love the Connecticut countryside and all of the animals it contains. But, when they enter your home, we are here to help repair the damage.
Question From a Customer: Is Water Damage Covered Under My Homeowner's Insurance Policy?
Broken pipe? Water damage from this is usually covered under most homeowners insurance policies.
Water damage is the most common insurance claim in Connecticut households.
One of the most common questions we receive when we answer a call from a homeowner who has water damage is whether their insurance policy will cover it. Although coverage differs from policy to policy, most standard home owner's policies have similar coverage terms.
One rule of thumb is that if the water damage occurs suddenly and is accidental, it is typically covered. For example, if your hot water heater bursts and causes water damage or if your refrigerator line leaks, it will normally be covered. Other water damage scenarios that are usually covered are:
- Accidental overflows of the toilet, sink or bathtub
- Burst pipes
- Refrigerator, dishwasher or washing machine supply line leak
- Roof leaks
- Ice dams
- Water damage from extinguishing a fire
- Rain damage (the usual rule of thumb is if it doesn't hit the ground first- this would fall under the "flooding" category)
- Mold caused by water damage
A failure to properly maintain your plumbing and appliances may cause coverage to be denied. If you ignore that leaky sink to the point that it has rotted out your sub-floor, it may not be covered. So be careful to keep your home maintained.
In our experience, flooding from groundwater is typically NOT included under standard home insurance policies. Flooding is considered to be water that comes from a natural source- such as the rain, a river or a lake. Ground seepage is also not covered. So, if your basement floods after a heavy rainstorm, your insurance will not cover it. If you live near a river that tends to flood or on the Long Island Sound, you may want to consider purchasing flood insurance for your home. Flood insurance is offered through government programs, usually the National Flood Insurance Program.
Thankfully, most of the water damage cases that we see in the New Haven area are covered by insurance.
Kathy, our office manager, and Alexis and Theny, our admins, have years of experience assisting customers with their homeowner's insurance claims. When they take your call, they will help guide you every step of the way. Our staff works directly with your insurance company, submitting paperwork and photographs required. If the contents of your home are damaged, our crew will help you sort through the items, taking an inventory of belongings that can be restored, saved or discarded.
Water damage is never a welcome sight however our team strives to make your experience as streamlined and hassle free as possible.
Leading the Team: Our Production Managers Go Above and Beyond for our Customers
Matt Caulfield, Anthony DeJesus, Rob Fox, Mario Marcati and Junior Delgado
Every day, our office staff takes calls from home and business owners who have a big mess on their hands.
Whether its due to a burst pipe, toilet overflow or kitchen fire, we understand that you need help right away and will send a team out to your premises quickly. Upon our team's arrival, your Production Manager will inspect the damage, assess the situation and discuss his recommended restoration plan. The PM’s at SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford oversee the work being done from start to finish. They are your contact should you have any questions about what to expect, the work being done and anything else that you might need assistance on.
Our Production Managers are a hard working, conscientious group who have shown time and time again that they will go above and beyond for our customers.
In their position, the PM’s are responsible for supervising the restoration work from start to finish. They perform the initial inspection, any pretesting that is needed, the scoping of services and provide job estimates. Our Production Managers schedule and supervise our technicians on the job as well. They are also responsible for working with our office staff in coordinating appointments with customers. Most importantly, our PM’s are the point of contact for our customers during the restoration process. They are available to you by phone when not on site if you have any concerns or questions.
Between them, our Production Managers have over 95 years of experience in the restoration industry and dozens of industry certifications.
That experience is invaluable when it comes to their ability to come to your home or business and create a treatment plan. There is no guess work involved, as they have seen almost every fire, water and mold damage scenario possible. They always make sure that the job is done right and to our customer’s satisfaction and possess a work ethic that goes unparalleled in our industry. We have every confidence that if there is a problem on a job, our PM’s will do everything possible to resolve the issue and make sure the job is done right.
We don’t mean to brag, but our Production Managers are the best - and our customers think so, too!
“Mario was such a pleasure to work with from start to finish. He always answered my questions and went above and beyond to make sure I my needs were met. He made a stressful situation less stressful with his helpful attitude. His cleaning crew was courteous and thorough. -Riann S. in Greenwich, CT
"I had never worked with SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford and didn't know what to expect. Rob F. came in and said it would be ok, we can handle this, and he did. He created a plan, explained it and executed it. I was amazed at the efficiency and professionalism of the staff as well as the equipment. I am so appreciative of your company coming to the rescue in our time of need. Thank you!" — Cathy H.- Coastal Ctr at Milford Point in Milford, CT
“I just wanted to let you know that one of your employees, Anthony DeJesus, does a fantastic job. I am sure that he is pulled from one job to the other. Accidents and disasters don’t schedule themselves nicely but come in bunches and at the worst time. But Anthony was able to keep us in the loop and got to us right away when needed. And for other things, if he couldn’t get to us right away, he let us know when. So hat’s off to Anthony” -Kristina J. in Southbury, CT
"Everyone I interacted with was professional and also very caring. Junior is very knowledgeable and very accessible when questions came up. Keep up the excellence!" - Brian O., Trumbull, CT
"Ted cares only about two things - helping his customer in any way that he can and making sure that the work of his crews is top quality. In both areas he shines. I had a very difficult problem situation, and Ted helped me every step of the way. I doubt that we would have come out of this successfully had it not been for Ted and his assistance. We could not have had a more caring, thoughtful and knowledgeable person helping us." - Susan H., Washington Depot, CT
"Had mold and damage from pipe leak inside a wall. Matthew came out Sunday morning to assess damage. Everyone is very professional and knowledgeable and great work done. Made this situation a lot less stressful. Would definitely recommend." -Kristin W., Milford, CT.
National Preparedness Month: "Teach Youth to Prepare for Disasters"
Include your kids in planning for emergency situations such as a house fire, flooding or power outage.
It’s the third week of National preparedness month and this weeks theme is “Teach youth to prepare for disasters”.
So, how do we make sure our kids are prepared and have the tools that they need to deal with an emergency situation without scaring them?
Depending on your child’s age, they may have a cell phone that they can use in an emergency situation. Text messaging with you and other family members or trusted adults during an emergency will help them (and you as the worried parent!) immeasurably. Younger children may not have a device, however programming their teachers and coaches numbers into your phone will help you communicate with them easily if there is an emergency.
Last week, we discussed creating an emergency kit that is portable and can be easily brought with you if evacuation is necessary. Be sure to pack your child’s medications in the kit. We also recommend packing a few things that can provide comfort for your child, such as a stuffed animal, music or playing cards. You can even get your child involved building their own kit, which makes it fun and gives them a sense of ownership in the process.
Most likely, your child will either be at home or at school during an emergency. To prepare for an emergency during school hours, ask your child’s school and teacher what the emergency protocol is for different scenarios, such as a surprise snowstorm, power outage or tornado. Don’t forget to ask the school about school bus emergencies.
In the home, run through emergency situations and what actions might need to be taken during a house fire, flooding or an evacuation. Just like a fire drill at school, the repetition and hands on experience will teach your child what to do automatically in a real life dangerous scenario. Make it a fun event with the whole family and have a pizza afterwards!
National Preparedness Month: "Make a Plan"
Make a plan!
The theme for week 2 of National Preparedness Month is "Make a Plan".
Here's the thing, it’s just not a high priority to many people because we really don’t believe a disaster will happen to us. We are all guilty of this. However, in our work, we see the reality of what a fire or flooding disaster can inflict on a family.
So, please take the time to make a plan – especially those with children, disabled and elderly family members in your home.
Start the conversation over dinner. Discuss what kind of emergencies could possibly happen that would require a plan. What if a storm comes while your children are at school? What if there is a fire in your house? Or their school bus has an accident? It’s important to empower children with the knowledge of what your families plan is without scaring them. An excellent guide to assist you in achieving this is available at ready.gov/kids.
Practice your fire escape plan by having a home fire drill at least twice a year with everyone in the home. Don’t forget to include your pets in this exercise, as they will be a concern if an actual event happens. You can practice evacuating in your car as well. Many people have “bug out bags” with basic supplies ready in case of emergency.
We love the technology that is available to help in disasters. There are group texting apps that can be downloaded that will keep your family and circle of friends easily in contact in case of an emergency. You can also download the FEMA app, which will give you weather alerts and necessary emergency updates.
If you have a person in your home who relies on electrical medical equipment, contact your power company to get on a “priority reconnection service” list.
Look, it takes a few hours every year to work on your plan so set the time aside this week and practice!
National Preparedness Month: "Save Early for Disaster Costs"
If you live in an area that is know to flood, check into obtaining flood insurance before disaster strikes.
This year's National Preparedness Month is themed “Prepared, not scared”.
The focus during week one is “Save Early for Disaster Costs”
No matter what geographic area of the country that you live in, everybody should be preparing for a disaster. It’s inevitable that one will strike at some point. Here in Connecticut, we are not immune to catastrophic damage from hurricanes, as 2012’s Hurricane Sandy proved. And as tough as we are, a good Nor’Easter can shut things down and cause a significant amount of economic damage.
To prepare for potential storm damage costs, we recommend that you:
- Take photos of important documents and personal belongings and keep them in a backed up computer file. This will help you in quickly filing an insurance claim after a weather disaster.
- Put aside enough money for at least 30 days of living expenses. This is the number of days it takes for most flood insurance policies to go into effect. And although some people receive a paycheck if there is an emergency situation, others may go without one until their employer is back in business.
- If you have to evacuate your area, would you know which documents you should bring with you? Download the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit from Ready.gov.
- Keep some cash on hand in case of emergencies, since ATMs and credit card readers won’t always be available.
- If you live in a flood zone, check and see if you have flood insurance and what it covers. Not all policies are the same and the worst time to find out that yours doesn’t offer adequate coverage is after the damage is done.
When there is a disaster in the New Haven area, SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford has the reputation of being THE restoration company to call. We have teams on call 24/7 as well as the manpower and resources to provide service to a high volume of customers. We work with your insurance company to help get your claim processed as expeditiously as possible so the process is as easy as possible for you.
Question From A Customer:Can I Clean Up a Toilet Overflow Myself?
We recommend that you have your home professionally restored after a toilet overflow.
If you know us, you know we try not to be alarmists when it comes to water damage in homes and businesses.
We've seen what flooding as well as a failure to properly clean it up can do and we try to be as straightforward as possible with our customers about the treatments that we feel are necessary and unnecessary when they've had water damage.
If you've had flooding from a toilet overflow, our Production Managers will usually recommend that you have the mess professionally cleaned up. One of the common problems that we encounter when we discuss an overflow with a homeowner is that they underestimate the damage. In their minds, the water has been mopped up and there is no visible evidence of the flood aside from maybe damp baseboard molding or wet carpeting where the water seeped off of the tile flooring.
What our team knows from experience, however, is that the sewage damage is likely more widespread than it appears. In many cases, the water will run up or down the walls, which ruins the drywall and can create a hazardous electrical situation. Water often seeps under the bathroom cabinets and gets trapped there. The same goes for laminate flooring, which is a practical solution in bathrooms but of which water can easily penetrate. In our decades in the water damage restoration industry, we have seen the damage that untreated moisture behind walls and under floors can cause. Most obvious is mold, which can grow and spread unchecked when hidden behind a wall.
In addition to the structural problems that water from a toilet flood can cause, it might also contain pathogens that are harmful to human health. Without treatment from antimicrobial agents, bacteria and viruses are not removed from the surfaces although the water might be gone.
We know that it's tempting to take a few towels and mop up a toilet overflow however in this case, we do recommend that our customers give us a call and have us come and assess the situation.
Air Conditioner Leaks Cause Water Damage to New Haven Area Homes
Our floor mat system effectively removes moisture from wood floors, saving them after water damage from air conditioner leaks.
Has an air conditioner leak causing water damage to your home?
Air conditioners are known to leak – whether from a dirty filter, a malfunctioning pump, a cracked drain pan or even a damaged evaporator coil. We’ve seen this cause significant water damage to New Haven area homes. It can soak sheetrock walls and ceilings as well as insulation and carpeting.
If you have flooding from an A/C leak, your first course of action is to shut the unit off and call your serviceman to identify and repair the problem. Then, call SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford to clean it up. When we receive your call, our office will send a team out to inspect the situation and immediately start the restoration work.
To treat water damage caused by air conditioning units, our treatment plan will likely include water extractors to remove any standing water as well as water that has soaked into carpets and upholstery. We also treat water damage events with air movers and dehumidifiers to remove the moisture out of the air and expedite the drying process. We use our floor mat extraction system to remove the moisture from wet wood and tile floors. This system utilizes a strong suction by use of mats, which are attached to a vacuum with hoses, allowing the vacuum to draw out moisture from underneath the floor.
Our services include the removal of any damaged and unsalvageable materials such as wet sheetrock, flooring and damaged baseboards. Our building services team is CT licensed to rebuild the damaged portions of your home. This might include repairing and painting walls, installing new flooring or even a complete rebuild of your home if necessary.
For more information on our water damage restoration services, please call our office at (203) 301-0500.
Customer Satisfaction is Our Bottom Line
As a locally owned company, we know that our customers are our number one priority.
SERVPRO of Milford-Orange Stratford is an independently owned franchise that is operated by Greg Geaski. While we follow the business model and high standards set out by the National SERVPRO Corporation, we run our business as any local business owner would - with a focus on creating an atmosphere of growth, customer satisfaction and building strong community ties.
Our leadership team understands that we must invest in training, equipment and hiring talented employees in order to have a successful business. Our employees are carefully selected to be part of our team. We know that whether it’s one of our admins answering the phone or a technician on the crew, the people on our team represent our company and our standards. We understand that when somebody is working in your home, it is important that you feel confident in their knowledge, that they are trustworthy and respectful. Our employees know that if a customer brings a concern to their attention, we want to know about it so we can make sure that their experience is 100% satisfactory.
In our organization, we value a high standard of work. This means that not only do we take advantage of the training programs that the SERVPRO National Corporation provides, we also enroll our team in courses provided by The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). We know that it’s a simple equation - the more our team is taught, the better work they can do. We keep a full crew staffed throughout the year- not just in the busy winter months - so that we can always respond to the calls we receive quickly and with ample people and equipment. Our warehouse manager, Marc D’Addio, makes certain that all of our equipment is in good working order so that our customers and crew aren’t inconvenienced with the hassle and delay of a broken piece of machinery.
As a local business, we care about our community. Our office staff and crew work closely with our customers and build relationships. We know that we might see one of our customers in the grocery store, at a game or at the beach. We want to be able to greet them with a friendly “hi” and know that they are truly happy to have run into us.
Our best advertising comes from satisfied customers who want to recommend SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford to their friends and family when they have a water or fire disaster in their home or business.
That's why customer satisfaction is our bottom line.