Recent Why SERVPRO Posts

3 Tips for Preventing Mold in Your Restaurant

5/7/2020 (Permalink)

Blur coffee shop or cafe restaurant with abstract bokeh light image background It is possible to prevent mold growth in your restaurant by maintaining good ventilation

3 Tips for Preventing Mold in Your Restaurant

Owning a restaurant is both stressful and rewarding. From daily tasks to long-term planning, there’s a lot to think about to successfully run your business. One potential problem that many restaurant owners overlook is mold. Mold growth in restaurants is not uncommon; therefore, it’s important to understand some things you can do to prevent mold from causing physical and financial damage.

1. Maintain Proper Ventilation
Mold spores are found naturally in indoor and outdoor environments. Mold on its own is not harmful: it’s when moisture is introduced that mold becomes a problem. Thus, it’s essential that you maintain proper ventilation in your Atascocita, TX, restaurant. High humidity in restaurants is common due to stoves and ovens causing heat, steam, and an abundance of moisture. The ventilation requirements are more complex in a restaurant but should include items such as hoods, exhaust fans, makeup air systems, and fire suppression systems. Ensure that your restaurant is maintaining current regulations in regards to ventilation to help prevent mold.

2. Keep Food Fresh
Molds are often found on meat, bread, and cheese. Mold prefers warm, humid conditions but you can also find mold in refrigerators since it tolerates sugar and salt well. Some ways to prevent mold growth include cleaning all areas regularly, keeping the humidity level lower than 40%, and keeping food covered. Additionally, refrigerate perishable items within two hours and use leftovers within a few days.

3. Regular Inspect Potential Mold Areas
Another way to prevent mold in your restaurant is to have a regular inspection plan in place. Check all possible areas for leaks, clean any water spills immediately to prevent water damage, and ensure that all ventilation systems are working properly. If you notice any signs of mold, contact a mold remediation specialist immediately.
It is possible to prevent mold growth in your restaurant by maintaining good ventilation, keeping food fresh, and regularly inspecting all areas for signs of mold.

Is Your Business Prepared for a Fire Emergency?

4/20/2020 (Permalink)

Firefighters fighting a fire Fires can break out without warning, even if your Humble,TX, business is normally at low risk for such an event.

A fire is one of the most unpredictable forces in nature, so knowing how to escape one if it should break out at your Humble,TX, business can be key for reducing injuries to your employees and customers. Even if you have fire safety measures in place, such as ceiling sprinklers and fire extinguisher stations, a contingency plan can be as equally important when a blaze gets too big for you to handle alone. Asking yourself a few questions about your building’s layout and workforce can help you create an effective and viable escape plan.

Where Is Your Company Located?

The location of your business within a building can affect your evacuation plan, so this is a factor you will probably want to consider. Take a quick tour of your office space and note the specifics that might affect your planned route:

  • The number of exits
  • The floor your company occupies
  • The condition of accessible stairwells

If you rent a building, ask your landlord to assist with creating the plan and whether you can modify any exits to make them safer during an evacuation.

Does the Plan Include Handicapped Routes?

Handicapped employees and customers can have difficulty reaching safety during an evacuation, so it is important to include special considerations for them in your contingency plan. Assign handicapped workers an evacuation partner to assist them in case of an emergency and create at least one route that is wheelchair accessible.

Are All Shifts Aware of the Plan?

If you have more than one shift working at your business, it is important that each understands the details of the evacuation strategy. Call in a fire damage and cleanup service to help you organize a company-wide information meeting on safety so you can perform drills and ensure all of your employees are prepared in case of fire.

Fires can break out without warning, even if your Humble,TX, business is normally at low risk for such an event. Having an effective contingency plan in place helps to protect your employees and customers while offering you peace of mind as a business owner.

Why Mold Grows on Bread

3/23/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth on bread Why mold grows on bread?

It can be really frustrating to open up a loaf of half-eaten bread, only to find it covered in bread mold. Bread seems to get moldy much quicker than other foods, but why is that?

Factors That Contribute to Moldy Bread

The rate at which bread gets moldy depends on many different factors, but because mold is fond of the ingredients used in making bread, such as yeast and flour, this can make the situation worse. Other factors that accelerated the process include temperature, moisture, and sugar.

Temperature is one of the key factors in promoting fungus growth. Most molds need temperatures at 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in order to thrive. Putting the bread in your refrigerator in Harmaston, TX will significantly slow the growth of bread mold. After a week in the refrigerator, however, the bread can begin to accumulate fridge mold. To store bread longer, keep it in the freezer.
Moisture is another key ingredient in mold growth. Since most bread is sold in a plastic wrapper, this creates moisture inside the bag. Storing bread inside an airtight container will help to slow the growth of mold.
Breads with fruits or nuts will hasten the growth of mold, since it loves sugar and protein. Dense breads with less moisture tend to grow mold more slowly than lighter breads, so as a general rule wheat bread will last longer than white bread.

Other Foods That Grow Mold

Since cheese relies on bacteria, this can encourage mold growth. Cheese that has a lot of moisture, like ricotta or mozzarella, is more prone to mold than hard cheese, such as parmesan.
Fruits and vegetables can mold quite quickly as well. Always put produce into the refrigerator immediately when you get home. Fruits with more moisture, such as plums and peaches, will mold more quickly than those with hard peels or rinds, like apples and oranges.

Nobody likes to find bread mold when they want to make a sandwich, so try to reduce the likelihood by following these simple suggestions.

Special Resources Are Needed During a Catastrophe

1/22/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO green semi truck, three coolers on the floor SERVPRO is the disaster mitigation team to call for business owners and insurance companies

No two disasters are alike, and not all disasters are created equal. A powerful storm, intense floods, and a big fire can create a catastrophic loss for your business. In these situations, you will need help from a company that can handle a major event. The best model for a large response is a local franchise that can arrive on scene quickly but that has the ability to reach out for more technicians and more equipment as the situation demands. This is precisely why SERVPRO is the disaster mitigation team to call for business owners and insurance companies.

Local Presence for a Fast Response

When disaster strikes in Porter, TX, dealing with a local company has many advantages. These include the following benefits:

  • Fast emergency response
  • Technicians arrive on scene in a few hours
  • A returned call in one hour
  • Technicians work with local codes and agencies

Always look for a response team that is never closed and that is Here to Help. You will get help for a catastrophic loss on holidays, weekends and in the middle of the night.

Corporate Reach for Extensive Storm Damage

Major events such as flooding in Louisiana and Houston in 2016, the Polar Vortex of 2014 and the ongoing battle with California wildfires require more resources than most organizations can pull together. With SERVPRO, a dedicated Disaster Recovery Team can be mobilized and deployed across the country. This means more trained and certified technicians and more specialized equipment to deal with the problem.
You will have the best of both worlds: quick, local response and reinforcements to deal with a catastrophic loss. Your company will benefit from the more than fifty years of experience as a leader in disaster recovery. Everything from soot and smoke removal to document drying to drywall restoration will be handled according to stringent cleanup standards and a proven recovery process.

What You Need to Know About Mold Growth

11/24/2019 (Permalink)

Black mold under a cabinet Mold damage in a Humble, TX home

What You Need to Know About Mold Growth

When you own a home, you may sometimes experience certain problems. One common issue you may face is the growth of black mold. If this is your first time seeing mold in your Humble,TX, home, then you may have some questions. The following information can help.

1. Why Does Mold Grow in Your Home?

Mold is a fungus that exists in most environments, which is why black mold growth is so common. If it has shown up in your house, the most likely reason is that you have some water damage. This fungus needs moisture to grow and, once it has it, can spread quite rapidly. In some cases, a colony may appear in just a day or two.

2. Will It Go Away On Its Own?

You might be hoping that if you just leave it alone long enough, the mold will simply go away. However, this is not the case. In order to remove it, you will need to have mold cleanup done, preferably by a professional. During this process, the area should be blocked off to prevent mold spores from spreading to other areas of the house. Once this has been done, the growth will be removed, and the area will be thoroughly dried and sanitized.

3. How Do You Keep It From Coming Back?

The key to preventing mold from returning is keeping moisture at bay. If you have had mold growth in the past, it is likely to return if you are not careful. Whether it is from a leaky pipe, storm damage or high humidity, a moisture problem will make it easy for the fungus to grow. Proper maintenance, regular cleaning and using a dehumidifier can help keep this from happening.
If you have black mold in your home, you shouldn’t ignore it or try to get rid of it on your own as this can result in further damage. A mold remediation specialist will have the necessary training, experience and equipment to safely and thoroughly remove the growth.

Why Mold Loves Your Home

9/19/2019 (Permalink)

Couches covered in mold Couches covered in mold

Indoor and outdoors, mold isn’t too picky. These common fungi only need a few ingredients to turn your home in Atascocita,TX  into its own. Even if you begin to see signs of mold damage or mildew growth, it doesn’t mean it is time to panic. Mold cleanup and prevention are easier to deal with than most people imagine, especially when you have a trusted professional by your side.

Why Is It Growing?

Surprisingly, mold spores can often be dormant, just waiting for the right conditions to begin spawning and spreading. The environment it prefers is one with the right amount of humidity and temperature, moisture and food. In a home, any organic material that is porous can provide the sustenance these fungi need to grow. This can include:

  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Carpet
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Ceiling Tiles
  • Leather
  • Drywall

Where Is the Musty Smell Coming From?

Unfortunately, not all mold damage makes its presence visibly known. It can often be hidden behind the walls where condensation can get trapped and create ideal conditions for it to grow. High levels of humidity or leaking pipes behind the walls are in the ceiling are typically main culprits. Before it gets to the point of having to perform black mold cleanup, inspecting your home at the first signs of a musty odor can help avoid extensive mold remediation.
When faced with that distinctive smell, the following are key areas of the home prone to mold growth:

  • Basements – Leaks, flooding condensation and lack of ventilation
  • Kitchens – Appliances that use water, exhaust fans and sinks
  • Bathrooms – Malfunctioning exhaust fans, leaks, seal damage around showers and tubs
    Attics – Insufficient ventilation and circulation and roof damage that allow excess moisture in
  • Crawlspaces – Poor ventilation, flooding, soil erosion and leaks

Although the right conditions can create mold damage in any home, understanding how common is presence is can make handling it easier. While prevention is key, be rest assured that with the right help, your mold problem can be eradicated.

Weather Terms To Know During Storm Events by KPRC Click2Houston Meteorologist Team

7/2/2019 (Permalink)

a picture of a hurricane on the earth Weather terms to know to better understand severe weather warnings from local news stations.

The KPRC Click2Houston Meteorologist Team has put together a full Sever Weather Guide for Hurricanes and Flooding for the Houston and Gulf Coast Area.  Click here to download the full guide.

Within the guide they outline some of the key weather terms that all Houstonians should know to be able to better understand severe weather and what happening in our environment during storm events.

  • Tropical Disturbance: 100 to 300 nautical miles in diameter of organized thunderstorms that maintains its identity for 24 hours.

  • Tropical Depression: a cyclone with maximum sustained surface winds of up to 39 miles per hour.

  • Tropical Storm: a cyclone with sustained surface winds greater than 39 miles per hour.

  • Hurricane: a tropical cyclone located in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico or Eastern Pacific Ocean with maximum sustained surface winds of 74 miles per hour.

  • Hurricane Advisory: a report issued from the National Hurricane Center that informs the public of hurricanes through the duration of its life cycle.  

  • Hurricane Warning: when an announcement is made that hurricane force winds are expected within a geographic area.

  • Hurricane Watch: an announcement when hurricane force winds are possible with up to 48 hours notice of landfall.

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: an announcement that sever thunderstorms are possible, regardless of if they actually occur.

  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning: a warning when severe thunderstorms are occurring or imminent.

  • Flash Flood: flooding caused by the rapid rise of water, flash flooding typically happens within minutes to several hours after heavy rainfall.

  • Flash Flood Watch: an announcement issued when conditions are favorable for flash flooding.

  • Flash Flood Warning: an announcement issued when flash flooding is imminent or occurring. 

  • Flood: overflowing of a stream or other body of water.

  • Flood Watch: an announcement issued when it is likely flooding will occur. 

  • Flood Warning: a warning issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

  • Tornado Watch: an announcement issued when severer thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible in or the near the watch area.

  • Tornado Warning: a warning issued when a tornado has formed, is imminent or a rotating thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado is observed. 

Cullen Maintenance Barn

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

As part of the hurricane harvey reconstruction, SERVPRO assisted with the restoration of Cullen Maintenance Barn.

Hurricane Harvey caused critical damage to many properties around the city of Houston! Cullen Maintenance Barn was one of many locations harmed by the storm. The restoration workers restored all areas of the facility including: The break room, file room, front desk, meeting rooms, bathrooms, offices and sink room.

Our restoration workers began immediately extracting water from the facility to prevent any further damage. Our custom professional equipment allowed us to dry the facility as well as discard the damaged flooring and insulation that was in the building.

Additionally, all valuables inside the building were removed. If requested, we inspect the facility and distinguish the salvageable items from the non salvageable. Once they are divided, the salvageable items are cleaned and restored for the customer.

The City of Houston Herbert W Gee Municipal Courthouse

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

The outside of City of Houston Herbert W Gee Municipal Courthouse

The City of Houston Herbert W. Gee Municipal Courthouse contacted SERVPRO due to a water loss that occurred in their employee bathroom. SERVPRO arrived to the building and immediately inspected all possibly affected areas. After scoping the damaged areas, they performed a moisture check to detect how far the water migrated. The water loss affected multiple rooms within the courthouse, causing standing water in the mechanical room, bathroom and conference room.

SERVPRO’s highly trained restoration workers extracted water from all of the affected areas with specialized drying equipment. Additionally, they removed the cover base, drywall and insulation. Along with moving the insulation, they moved all personal items affected by the water to a dry and secure area.

SERVPRO’s number one goal is to restore your property and prevent future damage! In addition to efficiently restoring your property, we will always come back and double check our work. Water damage can be a huge headache but our goal is to make it look, “Like it never even happened.”

Houston Water Works

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

Houston Water Works called SERVPRO on the scene after experiencing flooding at their facility. Air movers, dehumidifiers, generators and extension cords were used to mitigate the flooding issues on the first visit.

SERVPRO returned to the facility several times to examine the drying levels. On the second return, a moisture test was ran. The building failed the drying goals causing our technicians to manually discard the water and leave drying equipment running in the facility while they were away.

When they returned for the third visit, they performed an additional moisture reading. The affected areas still did not reach drying goals which caused 149 fans and 50 dehumidifiers to be left on the scene.

On the final visit, the technicians inspected the affected areas and found most areas were dry. Nonetheless, some areas of the building failed the drying goals due to the customer deciding not to demo.

SERVPRO caters to the customer’s needs, no matter the request. Give us a call at 281-219-8180 if you experience damage to your home or property. We’ll be there in a hurry, ready to serve you!

How Can Homeowners Assess Mold Damage?

1/24/2019 (Permalink)

a moisture meter Mold Damage in a Kingwood, TX home.

How To Assess Mold Damage?

A complete mold assessment involves determining the type of mold and extent of growth. Accurate analysis can be difficult and risky for non-professionals. Here are a few measures homeowners can take in preparation for an expert assessment.

Look for Visible Mold

Homeowners can look for signs of visible mold. Do not attempt to find mold hidden in places where colonies may be disturbed by a search:

  • Behind wallpaper
  • In wall cavities
  • Under carpet

A musty odor may indicate the presence of hidden mold. This odor originates with microbial volatile organic compounds, which are off-gases released during the fungal growth cycle.

Schedule Testing

An environmental hygienist or mold specialist can contribute to an accurate mold assessment. Experts may take air or spore samples for lab analysis to determine which types of mold are present, such as black mold or more than 100,000 other species.

Identify the Cause

Mold and mildew thrive where moisture is present. A homeowner can try to identify the source, which may involve one or more of the following factors:

  • Leaky pipes
  • A roof leak
  • Other water damage

Mold is a common type of secondary damage that results when water damage is not properly mitigated. It is important to remove standing water and residual moisture to prevent fungi from starting to grow.

Determine the Extent

Mold remediation experts can determine the extent of an infestation. A minor mold problem covers less than 10 square feet and is accessible without opening large sections of closed surfaces. Major problems affect larger areas and may involve hidden mold or black mold.

Minor mold growth can cost over $1,000 to remediate, while major damage can range up to tens of thousands of dollars. A mold assessment may impact a homeowner's ability to file an insurance claim or pay for remediation that will resolve a mold problem at a residence in Kingwood, TX

Will Commercial Insurance Cover Mold?

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Mold damage after water and fire situation in a Houston,TX building

The owner of a building that is found to contain mold will want to know whether a commercial insurance policy covers remediation costs. Some policies provide mold coverage, while others have exclusions, exceptions, or limits. Here are several considerations that can affect coverage for mold damage.

Check for Exclusions and Exceptions

A heightened number of mold claims in recent decades have led a number of commercial insurers to exclude mold or make exceptions regarding causes or remediation methods. Some of these exceptions may include coverage for fungus growth due to

  • Fire suppression system leaks
  • Water damage
  • Flood insurance policies that only cover mold resulting from flooding

Commercial insurance policyholders should familiarize themselves with the terms and limits of their coverage. This can help building owners decide whether they should obtain a mold insurance endorsement.

Factor in Limitations

Some policies have limited coverage, usually around $15,000, for mold. This limited coverage can help to offset the costs of:

  • Cleanup
  • Tearing out contents or materials
  • Replacement and rebuilding
  • Testing

This limit applies to single occurrences and is an annual aggregate. If this coverage is not sufficient, contact an insurer to add a mold endorsement.

File a Complete Claim

Mold damage is more likely to be covered if a complete claim is filed. This process should involve:

  • Documenting damage
  • Obtaining test results and estimates
  • Filing a claim
  • Submitting Proof of Loss
  • Following up with an adjuster

Proper documentation and procedure can increase the chances of approval. If a policyholder is not sure how to proceed, he or she should contact an insurance agent.

It is possible to obtain commercial insurance coverage for mold. This peril may or may not be covered in a standard policy. Contact your insurer to discuss terms, limits of coverage, and whether additional mold insurance will be necessary to offset the costs of hiring remediation experts in Houston,TX.

3 Property Management Tips for Preventing Hurricane Damage

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Having a first aid kit in your Kingwood,TX home can help in an emergency

Tips To Prevent Hurricane Damage On Your Property

The time to prevent hurricane damage on your properties is long before any storm warnings are sounded. Take advantage of the years when hurricane activity is low and put hurricane preparedness tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security into action.

1. Create an Emergency Preparedness Plan

It may not be possible for you to get to each of your properties when a storm is heading to Kingwood,TX, but you can prepare those properties to avoid serious damages. Post evacuation and sheltering-in procedures where everyone on the property can become familiar with the plans. Stock the front office with essential supplies, including

  • Flashlights
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Hand-crank or battery-powered radios
  • First aid kits
  • Whistles
  • Blankets
  • Basic tool kits

When appropriate, provide a gallon a day of water for each person on the property for at least three days. Access to clean water and ongoing news about the status of a storm could prevent panic among anyone on your properties during emergencies. Reducing panic is an important way to reduce hurricane damage.

2. Perform Annual Emergency Preparedness Trainings

The staff and residents on your properties should understand basic information, such as the elevation level of the property and whether flood or fire prevention steps would be necessary in an emergency. Hold annual trainings for personnel, so they know how to respond when tidal flooding or hurricane evacuation warnings are given. Make sure communication plans are part of this training. Talk to hurricane recovery professionals to learn more.

3. Supply Property Protection Equipment

A vital component of property management during storms is to protect buildings and property from flooding and hurricane damage. Don't wait until storm warnings pop up on the forecast to stock up on plywood and other emergency supplies. It may not be feasible to store enough plywood to protect all the windows on your property, but you can keep enough on hand to protect windows in common areas and places where people are most likely to be doing business. Give a similar focus to the exterior of the property.