July 18, 2017
Everything You Didn't Want to Know About Mold and Mildew
Here at Project X Restoration in Denver, we want to share everything you didn’t want to know about mold and mildew. Sure, the topic is ugly and gross but it is a common problem that can cause damage to your home and create health issues for you and your family.
Mold and Mildew, Are They Different?
Mold and mildew are similar, but mildew is actually a specific form of mold. Mold is kind of fungus that grows in black and green patches and has the ability to penetrate surfaces. Mildew only remains on the surface and can be wiped away and removed fairly easily.
Mildew usually grows on damp surfaces and organic materials. Mold, on the other hand, grows in walls, crawl spaces, food, and permanent structures. Mildew is easier to clean, so it can be a do it yourself project. Mold should be cleaned by a professional mold remediation company.
Kinds of Mildew
Mildew is actually considered to be a plant disease that often causes damage to crops, though it does grow on other surfaces, including those in your home. It comes in powdery and downy forms. Powdery mildew first appears as gray and/or white splotches that slowly become yellowish brown or black. Downy mildew varies in appearance depending on the surface where it grows. Generally, this mildew begins as yellow spots that eventually turn brown.
Types of Mold
Though there are well over 10,000 types of mold, most household mold is generally one of the following five common kinds.
- Alternaria is often found in showers, on walls, under sinks, and in generally damp areas. This is the kind of mold that is frequently found in buildings that have suffered water damage. This mold is wooly or has a down-like texture and can be black, gray, or dark brown. Long-term exposure to this mold can cause asthma or allergic reactions.
- Aspergillus is the most common indoor mold. This mold can cause allergic reactions, as well as respiratory infections, and lung inflammation in people with weakened immune systems. This mold can be gray, brown, yellow, green, white, or black and often grows on insulation, walls, paper products, and clothing.
- Cladosporium grows in cooler areas, which is unlike other molds that prefer warmer environments. This mold tends to grow on fabrics (such as curtains and carpets) and wood surfaces (such as wood floors and cabinets). It is characteristically black or olive-green and has a strong musty odor. This mold is known to cause a number of respiratory problems.
- Stachybotrys chartarum is typically referred to as black mold (because it generally black only) and can be quite dangerous. This mold produces mycotoxins which can cause severe health problems including asthma, chronic sinus infections, fatigue, depression, breathing problems, and allergy issues. It has a characteristic musty odor and grows easiest in areas that are constantly damp—such as air conditioning ducts, leaky pipes, or other places that aren’t ever dry.
Is It Mold or Mildew?
Examining the characteristics of mold and mildew can help you identify which one has invaded your home. Mildew grows in a flat pattern and appears to be powdery or fluffy. Mold is usually fuzzy or slimy in appearance and has irregular shapes spots. If you are not sure which one you are dealing with you can test them using the following methods.
- Home testing—Place a few drops of bleach on the area. Wait five minutes and inspect the space with the bleach. If the area looks lighter, then the issue is mildew. If it remains dark, then you have a mold issue. If you have a mold issue, you will want to consult a professional service, such as Project X Restoration in Denver. Because mold infiltrates through surfaces and will damage structures internally, removal is not easy.
- Professional testing—Mold is better tested and treated by a professional. A professional will be able to ascertain what remediation and removal services would be best. Additionally, all the steps can be performed safely to avoid additional exposure or potential spread of mold spores.
The most efficient way to prevent the growth of mold or mildew is to keep all the areas of concern dry. Humidity levels lower than 40-50% are best. If your space has higher levels of humidity, a dehumidifier is helpful for maintaining lower humidity levels. Regular inspections of your heating and cooling systems and air ducts will help ensure that the airflow is maintained. Also, be sure to fix any leaks and address any moisture issues as soon as you see them. The sooner you fix them, the less likely mold and mildew will have a chance to grow.
Mold clean up is best left to professionals for a variety of reasons. Cleaning up mold improperly can lead to the spread of mold spores—either spores that get left behind or spores that spread as a result of the removal. Using a professional for mold removal is important.
If you know for sure you have a mildew issue and not a mold issue, it can be something that you may be able to manage on your own. Again mildew only lives on the surface of items so this means that mildew does not require special removal. Because it can still cause health issues, it is good to be sure that the mildew is being removed while the area is well ventilated and whoever is cleaning the area is wearing a facial mask.
Now that you know everything you didn’t want to know about mold and mildew, contact us at Project X Restoration, if you are dealing with a mold or mildew problem that needs professional attention. We can take care of the cleanup, help identify the source, and help you prevent a reoccurrence. We can remove your mold or mildew issue safely and effectively and help you protect your family from the health issues that can be created from the very common problem.
June 26, 2017
Why You Need Emergency Board Up Services
At Project X in Denver, we realize that you may not understand why you need emergency board up services. If you have never faced an emergency at your home or business, you may not know what board up services are, much less why or when you might need them. To clear things up, we’ve put together some information to explain more about board up services.
Board Services in a Nutshell
Windows are one of the most vulnerable points of a home or business. Put simply, windows are easy to break, much easier than a door or a wall. If you are unable to get a window repaired right away, having an emergency board up service come out is a way to protect your home or business while you are waiting for the repair or replacement to be done.
Often, in natural disasters, such as storms, many people find themselves in the same need for window repair and replacement. Emergency window services just may not be available right away and board up services are the answer in the meantime.
Common Reasons for Board Up Services
Here are a few of the common reasons people need board up services.
- Storm Damage: Storms can be quite powerful, especially here in Denver where we live in hail alley. Just this year, we had golf ball sized hail and bigger.
- Fire: Heat from a fire can cause windows to shatter. Firefighters might also break windows in order to access a structure and put out the blaze.
- Property Vacancy: An unattended property, such as one that’s abandoned, foreclosed or even mid-renovation, will sometimes be vandalized. Board up services help protect the building from further damage.
- Prevention: If you know a big storm is on the way, using board up services can stop windows from breaking, eliminating the need for window replacement altogether.
Save Money by Using Board Up Services
Some people don’t feel that using board up services is worth the money and time. Here are some reasons it is really a money saving move.
- Prevents further damage: Boarding up after your home has sustained damage will be cut further losses. If you’ve suffered a fire or other disaster, securing your home or business will help protect you from ongoing issues.
- Retain insurance coverage: Many policies require that once your home sustains damage, you must stop further damage from occurring. If hail has broken a window and you then had your home boarded up, your insurance company should pay for the damage. Not doing so may give them a reason to deny your claim or only pay a portion of your costs.
- Preventing vandalism: Once a home or business is damaged, if there will be a period before windows or doors will be repaired or replaced, particularly with foreclosures, board up services are a must. This deters vandalism, theft, and potential liability issues.
Now that understand why you need emergency board up services, call us at Project X in Denver if and when you have determined you have a situation that requires board up services. We’re available 24/7 and can typically have a crew out to your location in about an hour.
June 16, 2017
How to Choose the Right Restoration Company
Experiencing a fire, flood, or other disaster is stressful, how to choose the right restoration company shouldn’t be. At Project X Restoration in Denver, we that know losing your home or business, even having it damaged in such an event, can be traumatic. Given the emotions experienced in such a terrible situation, it can be difficult to know who to turn to. Today, we’ll discuss how to take the next step towards putting your home and life back together.
First and foremost, it is very important to choose a qualified and experienced restoration contractor or company who can help alleviate the stress of such a difficult time, not add to it. A restoration company should listen closely to you, keep an open line of communication, and guide you through the entire restoration process.
The following questions will help you sort out what a restoration contractor or company must be able to do for you.
How much experience do they have working with insurance companies?
A restoration company that has successfully completed work for a number of clients, should be very familiar with various carriers. They should have a thorough understanding of the policies and required operating procedures that will ensure each restoration claim is paid.
Should you choose someone you know?
Maybe you have a family member or friend who is a general contractor or who works in the construction business and think it might be a good idea to consider them for your remodeling and construction. This could actually backfire on you. Unless they are genuinely experienced in restorations following a disaster, it is probably not a good idea. Additionally, the restoration process is incredibly stressful and this could put a strain on or even ruin your relationship. It may even cost you more money in the long run if they don’t truly know what they are doing.
Should you consider the contractor or company who built your home or business originally?
Your home or business was probably originally built by a general contractor or construction company. While they are fine choices in most building situations, in a restoration, they are often are unfamiliar with an insurance restoration process. The type of work required, such as mold remediation, water damage restoration, fire and smoke damage, and other specialized work is often unusual for them to manage. Companies that work specifically on restoration projects, such as Project X Restoration, are trained and experienced in the work required.
Couldn’t a cleaning company do the work?
When there has been a fire or flooding, some people wonder if the clean-up could simply be handled by a cleaning service, after all the smoke has cleared and the water has receded. Unfortunately, such damage goes well beyond the superficial cleaning. Microscopic toxins and particulates found in the walls and substructures, as well as other places, can cause hazardous mold and related health conditions if not properly treated.
Knowing how to choose the right restoration company can be difficult, but the above tips will help you navigate the process and avoid some costly mistakes. If you are in need of a restoration company, call us here at Project X Restoration. We can help you through whatever restoration work you need, making the process as stress free as possible. We know insurance companies inside and out and have built our business on delivering quality restorations.
May 16, 2017
Protect Your Home from Common Causes of Fires
At Project X Restoration in Denver, we know it’s important that you understand how to protect your home from common causes of fires. One disaster that is often the most devastating on families and homeowners is a fire. Aside from the damage to your property and belongings, the worst part is that a large majority of such fires are completely preventable. So, we have put together the following list to help prevent it from happening to you.
The most common house fires start in the kitchen and are often caused by leaving something cooking on the stovetop or from careless use of flammable oils and grease.
To prevent this from happening, never leave something cooking in your home when no one is home. There is always a chance that you will delayed in getting home and it may be too late by the time you arrive. Leaving something simmering on the stove while you nap or perform other tasks is also a bad idea. People often think that slow cookers can be left unattended without issue and this can be a surprising cause of fire. Be sure to check your slow cooker, and even your oven, at regular intervals of 15-30 minutes.
In case of a grease fire, the first rule is not to panic. Place a lid over the flame and turn off the heat. Avoid using salt, flour, or baking soda to extinguish the flames. These substances can cause the fire to flare and burn people or it can cause grease to splatter, potentially spreading the fire. A good way to avoid letting it get so hot that it catches fire is to never leave oil unattended.
Careless use of cigars, cigarettes, and pipes lead to some of the deadliest fires in homes. Most of these types of fires are caused by someone falling asleep while smoking. The cigar, cigarette, or pipe falls and catches nearby items, like the carpet or furniture, on fire. To avoid this, be sure to extinguish smoking materials completely. Running water into any ashtray before dumping the remnants in the garbage is the best method for ensuring the contents are still smoldering.
Also avoid smoking in bed, especially if you are really tired or are intoxicated. Be sure all smoking materials are completely extinguished. Try to smoke in areas with very few flammable materials or limit your smoking to outside areas.
Every year, there are more that 14,000 fires that stem from clothing dryers. Lack of maintenance and proper cleaning is the number one reason a dryer catches fire. Leaving laundry and storing combustibles near the dryer also contribute to a high number of fires, especially around gas dryers which have open flames. To avoid this type of fire, clean your lint trap or filter after every use of the dryer. Clean the dryer exhaust hose annually. If the lint build-up in the hose is substantial or if it was difficult to remove, it is time to replace the hose with a new one. All combustible materials should be kept at a safe distance (3-4 feet) from any heat generating equipment such as dryers, water heaters, furnaces, and portable heaters.
There are more than 12,000 household fires associated with the use of candles every year. Half of these fires originate from candles in bedrooms. Burning candles are prone to tipping over and setting nearby items on fire. To prevent this, always use a sturdy candle holder that is difficult to knock over. Never leave a candle burning unattended. Be sure the areas around candles are free from any flammable objects and always blow out candles before going to sleep or leaving the room or your home. Be aware that even candles in glass containers can cause fires. The containers can shatter due to overheating which spreads the hot wax and flames.
Electrical Appliances and Wiring
Most people think that faulty wiring inside a home’s walls causes electrical fires. While this is a common reason, more electrical fires are caused by the wiring attached to electrical appliances.
Too many appliances run off of a single outlet can cause wires to overheat and catch fire. To prevent this, only use one extension cord for each outlet. Your extension cords should all have a UL label attached to them assuring they meet certain standards. Be sure to use the correct size extension cord for the device you are using. Cords should not be run under carpets or rugs because traffic can wear away the protective coating and cause them to spark. Never use a malfunctioning appliance and beware of using older appliances.
If you experience any odd smells, odd noises, or sparks, discontinue use immediately and replace the device with a new one. Pay careful attention to any odd flickers or thrown circuit breakers. They can be cause for major concern and it may be wise to have an electrician inspect it for potential problems
Often people do not pay close attention to how they store flammable liquids. Flammable liquids should never be stored in the home. They should be kept in a separate space with good ventilation and moderate temperatures. Always use such liquids for their intended use only. Be aware of any warnings that may be provided.
For example, most people are unaware that the fumes of gasoline are more flammable than the actual liquid. This is an important detail if you are working with gasoline, like cleaning a spill after filling your lawn mower. Any rags that have been saturated with gas should be placed in a metal container. The lid should be tight since the rags can ignite themselves and catch on fire.
Finally, be sure that you have working smoke detectors and that you have fire extinguishers in rooms that are prone to fire such as the kitchen, laundry room, and garage. We hope that these tips inform you on how to protect your home from common causes of fires. We at Project X Restoration want you and your home to be safe, but if you find yourself in a situation, we can be there to assist you with cleanup and restoration, often in less than an hour.
April 16, 2017
What’s the Process of a Hoarder Clean Up?
While at least 1 in 50 people face hoarding issues, our staff at Project X in Denver can help explain what’s the process of a hoarder clean up. We've assisted in hoarding cleanup for many of our Colorado neighbors. Project X is by your side every step of the way. We are committed to being respectful and discrete and will assist you in decluttering, addressing acute cleaning needs such as mold or biohazards, providing structural repairs, and remodeling to return your home to its original state.
A hoarder clean up is not easy, but that's why Project X believes in creating a comfortable and safe space where all needs, concerns, and boundaries are addressed prior to and during the hoarding cleanup. Let’s go through the step-by-step process of a hoarder clean up.
Understanding the Hoarder
We know that by simply discussing the cleanup it can be stressful to you. We understand how allowing our Project X team to come into your home will trigger many emotions. That’s why we promise to:
- Help you determine what items are valuable and absolutely essential
- Do our best to identify possessions that can be cleaned and kept
- Be honest about what items pose a health risk and need to be discarded
- Involve you in all decisions and not rush you through the process
- Not judge you or the condition of your home
- Show you respect and kindness at all times
- Encourage you at every step and celebrate your progress
Develop a Plan
Many of the hoarding situations can be dangerous, containing mold and bacteria, pests and dead animals, and fecal matter, and may pose a fire hazard. But no matter the situation, our goal is to restore your home to a safe living condition.
We develop a plan with your well-being in mind as well. We want to be sensitive to your emotional needs and anxieties as we declutter and sanitize your home. Our goal is to show respect for you and your things throughout the process.
Our Project X team will do the heavy lifting. We will be responsible for removing large piles of garbage, repairing property damage, cleaning intensively, and organizing. We will look at the situation and make a work plan that will include a list of tasks with their priorities.
One of our top priorities is to keep everyone safe as we complete our tasks of cleaning the home. We will need you to make some difficult decisions about how to handle specific items of sentimental value, documents, and other things. We will take every precaution to avoid biological contaminants, fire hazards, structural collapses, but don’t worry we know how to handle it.
We will also want to clear a path for safe entry and exit and start to clear the items from the nearest room first. We always use appropriate professional equipment and cleaning supplies to remove the items and disinfect the premises.
We will use a dumpster to throw away all the discarded and damaged items.
There will need to be a staging area which is an open space where we will put the contents in order to sort them out and organize the items. It is best if it is a covered area to protect the things from the weather. The staging area will be used for all of the items that might be able to be saved, sold or given away.
Organize and Make Decisions
We will begin cleaning the house, one room at a time, getting rid of the throw-away items and helping sift through the things that are salvageable.
The kitchen and bathrooms are often the toughest to clean, so we usually begin with those rooms. Starting with the bathroom allows us to have clean running water and soap which will help us stay safe. It is unlikely that there will be items of value found in the bathroom, so it is often easy to get rid of everything including toiletries, towels, and fixtures. The surfaces can be cleaned quickly.
Then it is best to tackle the kitchen where we remove the trash, old food, and clean surfaces. The dishes and cookware can be taken to the staging area and cleaned up or disposed of.
After the kitchen is cleaned, we will move on to another room, leaving the closets and storage areas for last because they take a lot of work.
It’s best to get rid of the trash first. This includes the garbage and the items that can not be saved. Our Project X team knows which medicines, fuels, explosive substances, oil-based paint, and other items must be disposed of in a particular way for health and safety.
Create a recycling area where you can put any items that can be recycled.
We usually begin at the top of the pile and work down, working on removing things stacked on tables, sofas, beds, and chairs. We will continue until we clear it down to the floor. We will ask you to look through your items like clothes, purses, and bags for any forgotten cash, jewelry, or other worthwhile items. Once we clear the room we may even move the furniture out so we can clean the entire room and make repairs if needed.
In the staging area, we will put your items into groups. For example, we may sort them by usable things that you want to keep, usable things you want to donate or give away, and throw away items. Going through the items in the usable categories can sometimes take some time. Deciding what you want to keep and what you want to donate can be stressful and time-consuming. Some items need to be gone through carefully so you don’t miss important items like letters, family pictures, and other important documents. Many things may be sentimental to you like documents, artwork, and items with special meaning. We just want to make sure any of those items are also safe for you to keep.
Once we have the donations determined, you can choose a charity to receive them. Many charities will come and get your donations. You need to know what they will and won’t accept. Any items donated may be able to be used as a tax deduction.
Clean and Repair
Once we have your house cleared out, then begins the intensive and thorough cleaning. This can take some time. There may need to be some repairs done to the home. We can help you with those as well, including mold removal and remediation, water damage restoration, biohazard cleanup, carpet cleaning, asbestos abatement, and remodeling and construction. Your furniture and appliances need to be completely cleaned and disinfected. Those items can then be organized and put back in the home.
Once you understand what’s the process of a hoarder clean up and the clutter is gone, our Project X Restoration in Denver experts can provide your home with all necessary cleaning and repair services in order to restore it to a safe, livable condition.
Please contact us today for more information.