How to detect if there is mold in your home

How to detect if there is mold in your home

Mold is a dangerous and scary thing to find in your home, but it’s even more frightening to know that it’s so hard to detect. Read below to find out more about mold and how you can determine if your home has been contaminated by it.

What does mold look like?

Mold typically manifests in your home as a dark, wet spot on your ceiling or wall. It can be gathered in one area, splotchy, or even create a dripping pattern. If you see anything that appears to be mold in your home, it’s very important to get it professionally checked out right away to avoid any potential health issues for you and your family.

Signs of mold example

What does mold smell like?

The smell of mold is definitely unpleasant, and smells like something moist is in the room. It can often be compared to the smell of wet clothing or rotting wood. If you smell an earthy, moist smell in your home it could potentially be mold.

If you believe it to be in a specific wall, smell around an outlet port to try to determine if the smell is stronger. The outlet provides a clearer pathway into the wall, so it should smell worse if you’re in the right area of the home.

Keep in mind that you may have gotten used to the smell of your home, including the mold. Have a family member or friend visit and ask if they smell anything unpleasant in your home, telling them that you’re concerned about mold so that they’ll be honest and forthright about it.

Where is mold most likely to be found?

Mold can typically be found in areas of your home that are dark and moist. Examples of this are:

  • Basement
  • Utility room
  • Under sinks
  • Closets
  • Windows (from condensation)
  • Shower curtains
  • Ceiling corners
  • Air ducts & vents
  • Places recently damaged by water

How mold can affect your health

Mold has serious, negative effects on human health, so it’s vitally important to find it and get rid of it as soon as possible. This is especially the case if those living in your home are children, seniors, pregnant, or have serious pre-existing health concerns that may lead to a higher vulnerability to mold.

Health Symptoms of Living in a Home with Mold

The symptoms of living in a mold-infested home can often go overlooked because of how common they are. They’re similar to those that you’ve experienced with a common cold.

  • Chest and nasal congestion
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Watering, dry, or sore eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Skin irritation
  • Headaches

NOTICE: If you’ve started exhibiting any of these symptoms, and you have reason to believe that it’s related to mold, reach out to our experts right away. The symptoms get significantly worse and more serious if the mold isn’t addressed as soon as possible.

CLICK TO CONTACT OUR MOLD EXPERTS

The Different Types of Mold

The most common harmful molds that you may find in your home are:

  • Stachybotrys Chartarum (Black Mold)
  • Chaetomium
  • Serpula Lacrymans
  • Trichoderma
  • Fusarium
  • Ulocladium
  • Aspergillus
  • Cladosporium
  • Alternaria
  • Penicillium
  • Aureobasidium

Types of mold

Testing for mold

If you suspect you might have mold in your home, you need to test for it right away to keep you and your family safe. You can either try to do it yourself or have a professional do it.

DIY Tests for mold

The DIY mold test kits are less expensive but at the cost of less reliability and having to be able to see the signs yourself. You can test for mold by yourself using:

  • In-home testing kits
  • Borescope
    • To use a borescope, drill a hole into your wall, push the fiber optic cord through, and view the monitor to look for any signs of mold (typically discoloration)

Mold testing kits

Professional Testing for Mold

If you have reason to believe that you have mold in your home, we highly recommend reaching out to a professional to inspect your house. The health issues and property damage that mold can create can damage your health and that of your family members or pets. Contact our mold experts to set up your mold inspection.

What should I do if I have mold?

While we strongly recommend contacting an expert if you have mold, you can try to clean it out yourself if it hasn’t gotten too bad.

To clear a minor mold infestation on your own:

  • Scrub all hard surfaces
  • Fix all leaks
  • Seal small opening
  • Clean air ducts
  • Dispose of surfaces that absorb moisture

To have a professional take care of your mold for you:

  • Call a restoration company like Florida Catastrophe
  • How does a professional contain the mold?
  • How does a professional remove the mold?
  • How does a professional restore the affected area?
  • How will I know if the mold is completely gone?

    While you can try to get rid of the mold on your own, you won’t be able to be certain about whether it’s all gone unless you get it certified by an independent industrial hygienist.

    What are the risks if mold goes untreated?

    In extreme cases of untreated mold, symptoms can be devastating:

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Bleeding gums
    • Nose bleeds
    • Vomiting
    • Blurred vision
    • Nausea
    • In extremely severe cases, growth of cancers

    What are next steps?

    If you notice any signs of mold in your home, it’s very important to take action as soon as possible. This will help avoid any health issues for you and your family and any property damage for your home.

    Contact our mold experts now at 855-352-2281.

    Insurance for Hurricane Preparedness

    Restore business after hurricane

    When hurricane season approaches, it’s not a question of whether there will be damage to your home, but rather a question of what kind and how much. A vital part of ensuring you are prepared for hurricane season is knowing exactly what your homeowners insurance policy will cover as a result of damage from a hurricane. Some policies exclude certain types of damage, possibly including flood damage. That’s why it’s essential to know you have the insurance coverage you need for your home before you’re dealing with the stress of making a claim and planning repairs.

    Types of Hurricane Damage

    Depending on its strength, hurricane damage can be anything from inconvenient to catastrophic. Some examples of hurricane damage are:

    • Flooding
    • Black mold requiring drywall replacement
    • Roof leakage requiring roof replacement
    • Wind damage
    • Loss of trees and other plants and shrubbery
    • Broken windows
    • Uprooting exterior enclosures such as sheds, porches, pool screens, etc.
    • Damaged concrete
    • Damaged or destroyed fences
    • Damage to cars and boats
    • Damage to pool and pool equipment
    • Damaged solar panels
    • Solar panels damaged
    • Storm debris
    • Damage to personal property
    • Personal liability
    • Personal injury
    • In the worst cases, complete loss of home

    What Should Your Insurance Cover?

    Ideally, your homeowners insurance policy should be based not on your home’s market value but instead on the total cost of completely rebuilding it should the worst happen. You should also have coverage for any living expenses if your home is rendered unlivable, replacing any personal property that is lost or destroyed, as well as personal liability because some insurance policies exclude certain types of natural disasters such as floods, you will also need to make sure that this is covered.

    FEMA

    If FEMA has declared a state of emergency, some coverage may be available from FEMA. The Individuals and Households Program provides funding for rent (in cases where homes are unlivable) as well as some home repairs. FEMA also works with the National Flood Insurance Program (a subsidiary of FEMA) and the Small Business Administration for additional funding and some low-interest loans to homeowners and businesses. FEMA funds are targeted towards the hardest hit and lowest income areas, however. If your home is not in one of these areas, federal funding may not be available.

    Neighborhood Association Insurance

    Some areas of your property, such as the driveway, the sidewalk, and the curb strip of your lawn, may be considered common areas. If this is the case, the insurance policy of your Homeowners’ Association may cover repair. Some trees and plants in those areas may also be considered communal. You should determine with your neighborhood HOA what is considered your responsibility and what will be theirs.

    Learning the Insurance Language

    One reason many people are under-informed about the contents of their insurance policies is that they are often complex and written in legalese. Important words to know pertaining to hurricane preparedness are:

    • Act of God: a natural disaster not caused by humans, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes
    • All Risks Coverage: a policy that covers anything not specifically excluded (this type of policy is usually more expensive)
    • Contents Coverage: the coverage for your possessions and property (an inventory of your belongings can make filing a claim easier)
    • Declarations Page: the summary page of your policy (usually the first page) that includes what is covered by your policy
    • Dwelling Coverage: the coverage for damage your home
    • Exclusions: anything not covered by your insurance policy (common exclusions are risks for your area – for example, floods in a hurricane-prone region)
    • Flood Insurance: supplemental insurance that covers floods (most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage)
    • Insurance to Value: the value of your home compared to the actual dollar amount covered by your policy (an 80% minimum is often required by insurance companies)
    • Loss of Use Coverage: the coverage for living expenses incurred if your home is unlivable
    • Personal Liability Protection Coverage: the coverage for if you’re considered responsible for injuring someone else or damaging someone else’s property
    • Replacement Value: the cost of completely replacing your home

    Deciphering Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

    It’s important to understand exactly what your homeowners insurance policy covers before any damage occurs. Many people do not know exactly what their policy covers ahead of time and only know that something isn’t covered when the claim is denied. By then it is too late to change policies or add supplementary insurance coverage.

    Types of Policies

    There are eight basic types of homeowners insurance policies. The most common policy type for homeowners is HO-3 because it offers a wider range of coverage and will cover any type of damage or peril that isn’t specifically excluded. Floods are commonly included in the list of exclusions for this type of policy.

    • HO-1: This is the most basic policy and covers only 10 specifically listed perils. This type of policy has been discontinued in many states.
    • HO-2: This policy type covers 16 specifically listed perils, but nothing outside of that list.
    • HO-3: This type of policy covers anything that isn’t specifically excluded. If this is your policy type, make sure to check the list of exclusions for your policy.
    • HO-4: This is renters’ insurance and is similar to HO-2 in that is covers only specific perils, but it does often cover living expenses if the apartment is temporarily unlivable.
    • HO-5: This is a more comprehensive version of HO-3 and covers anything not specifically excluded. It has fewer exclusions than HO-3.
    • HO-6: This is a policy for condos.
    • HO-7: This is a policy for mobile homes.
    • HO-8: This policy is for older homes, historic homes, and national landmarks. It’s similar to an HO-3, but is tailored to the specific needs of an older home.

    Types of Coverage

    There are two major sections of any homeowners insurance policy: property and liability. Within these two sections, coverage is divided into categories.

    • Coverage A: This is the coverage for your home and any structures attached to it, such as a garage.
    • Coverage B: This covers any additional structures on your property, including sheds, pools, and detached garages.
    • Coverage C: This is the personal property coverage, which includes all of your belongings and isn’t limited to only property currently within your home.
    • Coverage D: This is the coverage for loss of use of your home, including living expenses such as rent.
      Coverage E: This coverage is for personal liability, such as if you are found responsible for injury to someone else or damage to someone else’s property.
    • Coverage F: This is coverage for medical payments for others when you aren’t necessarily at fault but the other person isn’t covered by insurance.

    Reading Your Policy

    The first step to understanding your homeowners insurance policy is to read the declarations page. This page will provide a summary of your policy as well as any limits and premiums you may have. The next section to read is the Insurance Agreement, which will provide more details about your policy. The third section, the Conditions of the Policy, will provide information on your responsibilities.

    Hurricane Preparedness and Homeowners Insurance

    Once you understand your current homeowners insurance policy, the next step is to ensure that the policy will meet your needs in the event of a hurricane. Ask yourself the following questions: Do you need separate flood insurance? Will your policy cover the full value of home replacement? Will the full value of replacing your personal property be covered?

    Updating Your Policy

    Keeping your homeowners insurance policy up-to-date is as important as knowing what is covered. If you have made renovations or any other significant changes to your home, the cost of a complete replacement will be higher. The same applies if home values in your neighborhood have changed or contracts costs increased. If you have made any large purchases that would fall under personal property, make sure you aren’t underinsured for the cost of replacement.

    Out-of-Pocket Expenses

    When you file a claim with your insurance company, there will be some out-of-pocket expenses, such as the deductible and any living expenses that are not covered by your policy. It is important to ensure that your deductible is something that is affordable for you. Keep in mind that a hurricane may damage your home to the point that it is unlivable, making “loss-of-use coverage”, or insurance for living expenses such as rent, should also be included in your policy.

    Personal Liability Insurance

    Personal liability insurance is also a must for hurricane preparedness. Some damage to neighboring houses could be claimed on your insurance and personal liability insurance is what would cover this damage. For example, if a tree from your yard fell onto your neighbor’s roof, this could be claimed against your liability insurance.

    Supplemental Insurance

    Depending on where you live, some damage caused by a hurricane may not be covered. Floods are commonly excluded from typical homeowners insurance policies. If floods are not covered, you may be able to add flood insurance as a supplemental insurance policy so that you will be fully covered.

    Flood Insurance

    Most standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Additional insurance may be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is part of FEMA. Some homeowners policies do cover some water damage, but damage from a hurricane may not qualify, depending on its severity and where you live. Storm surges can cause flooding that can reach inland in Florida, so flood insurance could make the difference between insurance coverage for damage and having to pay out-of-pocket. In some areas, flood insurance may be required.

    Florida Home Restoration

    If your home has been damaged in a hurricane, the first step is to assess the damage so that you can make the most accurate possible claim. Photograph everything as proof of the damage before attempting to do any cleanup or make any repairs. Once you have fully assessed the damage to your home and document it, contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to file a claim.

    Filing a Claim

    You should be able to file a claim either over the phone or online or, depending on your insurance company, via a mobile app. Make sure that you have your policy number and description of the damage ready when you contact your agent to make initiating the claim easier. Once the claim has been made, make sure you write down your claim number so that your file can be accessed more quickly when you contact your insurance company later. It is important to file the claim as soon as possible in order to minimize the risk of having the claim denied.

    Assessing Hurricane Damage

    After your claim has been processed, your insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to your property to assess the extent of the damage and how much coverage or reimbursement you will receive from your insurance policy. Like FEMA, insurance companies may be trying to deal with the worst-hit areas first, so there may be a wait depending on the extent of the damage to your home. It is important to keep track of all spending, including receipts for hotels and any repairs that couldn’t wait.

    Help with Hurricane Damage

    For damage that is not covered by your homeowners insurance policy, many banks and other companies may provide low-interest loans as a form of disaster relief. Some of these may include no fees for late payments and other perks to assist in rebuilding. For example, the Small Business Association has a Disaster Loan Assistance program that homeowners can apply for.

    Hurricane Cleanup

    After a hurricane, cleanup of the storm debris is a major undertaking. Some cities may provide some of the cleanup services, so it’s important to find out what you will be responsible for. For example, some locations will provide debris pickup, but you’re responsible for the cleanup of your own yard and placing the debris at the pickup location.

    Home Restoration, Rebuilding, and Repair

    There are many contractors in Florida that will provide restoration, rebuilding, and repair services in the aftermath of a hurricane. Look for local companies that have reputations for timely and quality service. Sometimes your insurance company will handle contracting out the repair work, so check whether or not you are responsible for handling this yourself. If you are responsible for it, keep track of all payments for your insurance claim.

    Restoring Your Business After a Hurricane

    Restore business after hurricane

    In addition to the potentially catastrophic damage wreaked by a hurricane, businesses face an additional peril: loss of business. A hurricane can keep businesses closed for weeks during the cleanup and repair process. Even in the event of mild damage, there may be no power for extended periods of time. What can you do to ensure that your business can reopen as soon as possible?

    Can Your Business Survive a Hurricane?

    One advantage to living in a hurricane-prone area like Florida is that hurricanes are expected, they come around the same time every year, and can be tracked, unlike other types of disasters, which may be complete surprises. It’s easier to have a plan for a hurricane and to prepare for its arrival. For businesses, this includes having a business plan for financial losses not only from the cost of repair but also from being closed during the hurricane and its aftermath.

    Calculate potential lost revenues and an estimated cost for repair in the worst case scenario to determine what you would need to survive the worst. Then, determine alternate strategies that will allow your business to survive during the recovery period after a hurricane. All businesses in the area will suffer losses during that time and some may close, but you can increase your chances of reopening quickly afterward by having a solid plan.

    Have a Recovery Plan

    In addition to having a business plan to deal with any revenue losses incurred during a hurricane, it’s equally important to have a recovery plan. Knowing exactly what to do after a hurricane hits can mitigate potential losses and help you reopen your business sooner.

    File an Insurance Claim

    As with any property damage, the first step after a hurricane is to determine the extent of the damage and file a claim with your insurance company. Document all damage and property loss and take photographs and video as proof of the damage. This will make filing the claim easier and decrease the chances that your claim is denied.

    Assess the Damage

    The insurance company will assess the damage and the total amount that they will cover for replacement and repair. It is helpful to have an inventory of all property at the commercial location done before the hurricane so that the extent of property losses can more easily be determined. Also, it’s best to not attempt any repairs or cleanup until after the insurance company has processed the claim and assessed the damage. For any repairs that were essential to complete immediately, record any spending and keep any receipts. Contractors can also provide a damage assessment in order to prevent further immediate damage to the property.

    Florida Commercial Restoration

    Once the insurance claim has been filed, determine with your insurance company if you are responsible for hiring contractors, as some insurance companies may have contractors they will hire on your behalf as part of your claim. Also, determine what may be provided by the city or state government. Some locations provide free debris removal, for example.

    Restoration Services

    Whether your insurance company covers all of the damage to your commercial property or not, it’s important not to attempt any repairs yourself unless you are licensed for that kind of repair. The damage from a hurricane is likely to be far worse than what’s normally possible to fix oneself and any attempted self-repair can cause further damage that would then not be covered by your insurance company. Contractors are available in Florida for every type of hurricane recovery service imaginable. Some companies offer multiple types of services while others specialize. These services can include:

    • Storm debris cleanup
    • Flood water removal
    • Drying of carpet, furniture, drywall, etc.
    • Water damage restoration
    • Mold remediation
    • Tree removal
    • Roof repairs
    • Temporary electric power
    • Tarp and board services

    Finding a Contractor

    Some insurance companies may have contractors they already have relationships with that they can either recommend or can hire on your behalf, depending on your policy. These contractors must meet the insurance company’s qualifications for an approved contractor and will often be contractors that the companies have experience working with for repair and restoration. Even if your insurance company has a recommended contractor, you are not required to use that contractor, so it’s still recommended to research different contractors to ensure that you hire the best possible contractor for your needs.

    Your hurricane recovery plan can include contractors that you know meet the necessary qualifications for the type of repair or restoration that you need. Knowing ahead of time who to call for damage assessment and repair can speed up the recovery process once the damage has occurred. Researching contractors ahead of time will also give you the time to do a thorough investigation of the following:

    • How long the contractor has been in business
    • Qualifications and licenses
    • Reviews
    • References
    • Quotes and estimates

    Loans and Financial Services

    Insurance companies generally pay contractors directly or provide you with the funds to pay them rather than reimbursing you after the fact. Despite this, there may still there may still be some out-of-pocket expenses, depending on the size of your insurance deductible. For situations like this, the Small Business Association provides Disaster Loan Assistance in the form of long-term, low-interest loans for all sizes of businesses. There are other companies, banks, and financial institutions both locally and nationally that may also provide financial assistance.

    How to Prepare for a Hurricane in Florida

    It’s not easy to forget the devastation many Floridians experienced with Hurricane Irma in 2017 or the fear that we’d be hit by Jose shortly after. Some residents in the Florida Keys were still living in tents in December. Texas continues to make repairs after Harvey and some areas of Puerto Rico were without power for more than 5 months after Maria. (Currently, Puerto Rico’s power grid is back up for 97% of the coverage area, but it might not be stable – last Wednesday brought a freak accident causing new blackouts.)

    The point is… Hurricane Season 2018 is fast-approaching, and hurricanes are no joke.

    The time to prepare is now.

    What to Expect in Hurricane Season 2018

    Hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to November 30, but according the the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, most storms hit between August to October during the peak of the season.

    Scientists at Colorado State University (CSU) are predicting an above-average hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. Approximately 14 named storms are predicted in total, with 7 storms reaching hurricane status and 3 of those storms reaching winds of 111 mph or greater. The report also predicts a 39% landfall probability for the US East Coast, including the full Florida peninsula.

    For reference, this is similar to the hurricane seasons of 1960, 1967, 1996, 2006, and 2011. However, it’s worth noting that 2017’s hurricane activity in the Atlantic was 245% of the average season, whereas this prediction for 2018 comes in at about 135%.

    “It takes only one storm near you to make this an active season.”

    Michael Bell
    Associate Professor of CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science

    To make these predictions, scientists analyze many factors, including sea surface temperatures and wind speeds. For 2018, a major impact is made with the expectation of a less significant El Nino this year.

    The Climate Prediction Center won’t release its first forecast for Hurricane Season 2018 until late May, and scientists at CSU will release updates for the season on May 31, July 2, and August 2.

    What to Put in Your Hurricane Kit

    Prepare a hurricane kit before the season starts, and replenish as-needed, including items such as:

    • A list of emergency numbers
    • Enough water to last a minimum of 3 days
    • Enough non-perishable food to last a minimum of 3 days, with manual can opener
    • A first-aid kit that also includes prescription medication (if low, get a refill before a hurricane hits)
    • A lighter or matches (or both)
    • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
    • Battery-operated radio (with extra batteries)
    • Flashlights (with extra batteries)
    • Waterproof container for safekeeping of cash and important documents
    • A cooler and several ice packs
    • A (practiced) evacuation plan for the household and basic evacuation information for the immediate local area
    • A (practiced) plan for if family members become separated
    • An updated flood zone map for your local area
    • Any basic tools that may help in case of entrapment, such as a crowbar or hammer
    • Special needs items for babies or pets
    • Any magazines, books, or games desired for recreation purposes

    Hurricane Kit

    How to Prepare Family Homes for Hurricane Season

    Start at FloridaDisaster.org. They make family disaster planning simple with a family emergency plan template.

    Designate two contacts. One should be local and one should be out-of-town, and your children should know how to get in touch with both.

    Be sure to protect your roof. Install straps, roof clips, and/or roof chips to ensure the roof stays attached to the frame structure during a hurricane, instead of blowing away.

    Protect your windows. Add functional window shutters as a way to prevent the glass from being shattered by flying objects. In a pinch, cover windows with any form of wood. Tape helps as well, as it prevents glass from shattering everywhere, but the window itself would still be broken and require replacement.

    Secure garage doors. Try installing garage door braces to help hold it in place during high winds.

    Bring as many outdoor items as possible inside. For very large items, such as cars, motorcycles, or boats, try to move them into a shed or garage space if it’s available. Smaller items will be easier to bring inside, including potted plants, tools, children’s toys, or patio furniture.

    Clear rain gutters. This can help prevent leakage problems during a storm. While doing this, make sure gutters, downspouts, and even A/C condensers are all secured before the season begins. If possible, double-check these before getting hit by any hurricane.

    Trim all shrubs and trees. Any plant with large branches near your home should be trimmed before the season begins.

    Get sandbags for areas of your home which may flood. This is particularly helpful for homes along beaches, rivers, or lakes, to prevent rising water from seeping in around door frames.

    Consider disabilities and special needs of family or neighbors. FloridaDisaster.org again offers an excellent resource to facilitate gathering a plan for families with disabled, special needs, or elderly members.

    Consider investing in a backup generator. If you get hit hard and lose power, this could make the experience a little less stressful.

    Hurricane Preparedness for Commercial Businesses in Florida

    In the path of a hurricane, businesses face a unique set of complications. They may have to shut down operations and evacuate, but they may also lose different team members based upon evacuation policies of each individual’s residence or personal safety needs.

    Temporary loss of workforce or damage to business headquarters can do more than interrupt company proceedings. It can hit the company pockets hard, and as experienced with some major power outages after Irma in 2017, it might be an extended period of time before doors re-open.

    Florida offers a number of resources for small businesses which might not have the bandwidth to deal with an extended crisis. The Florida Chamber recommends AppRiver cloud-based services to avoid potential email downtime during hurricanes. After a natural disaster, the Governor may activate the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, where small businesses can apply for assistance in the event of severe damage. In addition, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers disaster loans to businesses of any size, private non-profit organizations, renters, and homeowners alike for low interest rates.

    As standard practice, FloridaDisaster.org recommends all businesses strive to have a disaster continuity plan in place and encourage team members to have emergency family plans as well.

    For more information on how to build disaster continuity plans and prepare your business, visit their Planning for Businesses resource page here. For personal insight from the Florida Chamber, email Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@flchamber.com

    Stay Updated on Flood Zones & Local Evacuation Policies

    The US Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a flood zone map where you can search for updates based on your exact address. Check this map at least once per year and be sure to double-check it prior to a hurricane, as flood zones change often based upon construction or new drainage systems.

    FEMA also offers a Flood Hazard Mapping Updates Overview Fact Sheet as a supporting document for the interactive flood zone tool, which it recommends you download and read here to help better understand your flood zone information.

    The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) offers a comprehensive set of evacuation route information, covering details such as shoulder usage and designated evacuation roads. After particularly bad traffic during evacuation for Hurricane Irma, Florida announced a plan of action to improve evacuation routes, including improvements with shoulders, road widening, dynamic message signs, expanding fuel capacity at existing department-own facilities, and more. Changes are to begin July 1, 2018 and continue for several years at the discretion of Governor Scott.

    What about Pets?

    Most indoors pets may be fairly simple to care for during a hurricane, as long as evacuation isn’t required. Just plan for your pet as you would plan for any other family member, including non-perishable food, clean drinking water, and medication for at least 3 days, as well as any basic sanitation needs (such as kitty litter).

    Dogs specifically require a little more planning. Keep watch on the progression of the storm and be sure to take your dog outside for a bathroom break shortly before winds pick up. It will be unsafe to take them out again until after the strong winds have passed. If potty training or caring for an elderly dog, it may be helpful to get puppy pads as a backup plan for the hurricane.

    If you need to evacuate in the event of a hurricane, the state of Florida strongly urges you to bring your pets. Be sure to plan in advance for pets. Make arrangements at a kennel or loved one’s residence that is outside of the evacuation area.

    Public shelters managed by the American Red Cross will not allow pets. However, you may be able to find other pet-friendly shelters with proper planning, just keep in mind that pet-friendly shelters are for persons living in mandatory evacuation areas only.

    Before hurricane seasons starts, ensure pets are up-to-date on any necessary vaccinations. Many shelters or kennels will require proof of:

    • Dogs: corona, bordetella, distemper/parvo group, and rabies vaccines
    • Cats: feline leukemia, rhinotracheitis/calicivirus, panleukopenia, and rabies vaccines

    Also prior to hurricane season, make sure each pet has its own carrier that allows the animal to stand up and turn around. Facilities may also require food and water bowls, a leash, pet toys, at least 3 days worth of food and 3 days worth of medication. Label everything with your pet’s name.

    Be sure each pet has a collar with a rabies tag and an ID tag, including name, address, and your most accessible phone number.

    How to Extinguish and Prevent Grease Fires

    Grease fireGrease fires occur while cooking when grease or fat spill out of a pan and hit the heat source or simply get too hot in the pot or pan.

    The Unique Danger of Grease Fires

    Grease fires are especially dangerous because they can not be put out using water or fanning with air. These methods will only strengthen the fire. Instead, follow the instructions below to put out a grease fire and save your home and health.

    Step One: Assess the State of the Fire

    The first thing that you should do after seeing a grease fire is to assess how large and dangerous it is. If it is small and seems to be able to be contained, continue with the following steps.

    If it seems out-of-control or has a lot of unlit greases or fat nearby, do not attempt to extinguish the fire. Do not put yourself in danger under any circumstances. Immediately call 911 and describe the situation to the operator.

    Don’t risk your life to save your kitchen or other material items.

    Step Two: Turn Off the Heat Source

    Assuming that you feel comfortable extinguishing the fire yourself, immediately turn off the heat source that is causing the flame.

    It’s also a good idea to put on any protective gear you can to protect your arm, such as an oven mitt.

    Step Three: Cover the Flame with a Metal Lid

    Once the heat is turned off, cover the flame with a metal lid to suffocate it of oxygen. Do not use a glass lid as it has the potential to shatter when exposed to a flame.

    Step Four: Use Baking Soda or Table Salt

    If smothering the fire doesn’t work, you can use baking soda or table salt to try to smother the fire of oxygen. Grab a hefty amount and pour it directly over the fire. Again, wearing protective gear such as an oven mitt is recommended for this method.

    Table Baking soda

    Step Five: Fire Extinguisher

    Fire extinguisher
    Using a chemical fire extinguisher in your home creates a large mess that can be timely to clean up, so doing so should be the last resort. However, don’t hesitate if you’re unable or uncomfortable to use the other methods listed. After all, cleaning up after an extinguisher is easier than losing your entire kitchen.

    If you don’t already have a fire extinguisher, it’s a good idea to purchase one. Click the image to shop for them online.

    Be Prepared

    With all of this in mind, it’s important to always be prepared. Grease fires are always unexpected, so figuring out the best way to handle it when it happens is out of the question.

    Always Keep an Eye on Food While Cooking

    While it may be tempting to set the food on the stove and head off to do something else, it can be dangerous. To best avoid grease fires, always watch the food that you’re cooking to see if it’s getting too hot and to extinguish a fire early if one were to start.

    Keep Extinguisher Materials Nearby

    If a fire were to start, the last thing you want to do is run around looking for your baking soda, table salt, or fire extinguisher. So, it’s important to keep these items nearby the kitchen. It’s especially recommended to always keep an open packet of baking soda right near the stove as a precaution.

    Educate Your Family and Friends

    Knowledge is power, but only when it’s shared. So, share this article with your friends and family to ensure that they’ll be as prepared as you are in the case of a grease fire.

    Commonly Asked Questions About Molds On Walls

    mold restorationMolds in general can grow and live anywhere in the environment where moisture is present together with organic material like soil, plants, food and our homes. Molds easily reproduce by releasing spores and can get easily spread through the aid of water, air and including animals.

    Without noticing as frequent as possible, molds are common on walls. It is easy to remove the molds on the walls compared to tiles and bathroom areas. For non-porous walls, just simply wipe using a wet cloth. There are also available mold killing products that you can purchase aside from your dependable bleach, borax and vinegar that works the work.

    For porous walls, it would be difficult to eliminate the molds because the molds live inside the materials most especially if it’s not painted. If this is so, it is better to cut away the wall where the mold is growing.

    Why there are molds on the wall?

    High humidity, condensation and water leaks (which are usually hidden inside the wall) are the most common reasons of mold growing on walls.

    To prevent growth of molds at walls and home, what can we do?

    Having solution to water problems like leak and control the moisture are the keys on preventing the growth of molds at home. Our home is susceptible on the growth of molds because it attracts any moisture it detects. There are areas in our home wherein moisture can be present like poor or improper ventilation of heating and cooking appliances, humidifiers, condensation on cool surfaces, wet clothes drying inside home, roof leaks, indoor plumbing leaks, outdoor drainage problem, damp basements, steam from bathroom, and kitchen sinks.

    What are the health hazard of molds?

    Being exposed to molds can cause harm in some people most especially those who have allergies. Commonly, molds are present everywhere but extensive mold exposure may cause harmful effects. Once molds are inhaled in extensive amount, this can cause allergic reactions and respiratory symptoms. No one can define on how much mold exposure a person should to trigger the health hazard because some people are more sensitive than others.

    Once exposed to molds and you had felt uneasiness, better consult your doctor and discuss your health concerns.

    How will you know the symptoms of mold exposure?

    Usually, upon exposure to molds, allergy and irritation triggers. Possible infections and illness but these are not common. The most common symptoms for people exposed to mold in indoor areas are: eye irritation like red, watery eyes and itchiness, nasal and sinus congestion, cough, throat irritation, wheezing and hard to breath, skin irritation like rashes and headache.

    There are ways on cleaning up molds at home but for severely damaged areas, you can always course through the mold restoration experts for better and fast solutions.

    Vinyl for Your Flooring Transitions

    Vinyl as New Floor Cover

    vinyl flooringHouse designs change so fast, our flooring covers should go with it too. They go hand in hand in order to complement the interior design of your house. As part of your home improvement plan, flooring materials to be used should have a color and texture that will also be harmonious to your wall, furniture, and appliances to be placed in that area of the house. Vinyl materials are, aside from being the inexpensive type, it is also a more attractive one to use for the kind of house transitions you plan to make.

    Compared with using other type of materials like a marble or ceramic tiles, you have to hire an expert in installing it. It will easily produce a crack and can easily be crumbled if you put a heavy equipment on top of a loosely done tile. If this happens, you have to do it again from the start. Labor installation cost and other materials to be used like a cement is much higher-priced compared when using vinyl materials in your floor.

    Benefits of using Vinyl type of flooring:

    • It is easy to install. Meaning, your labor cost can be decreased into a minimal. If you as an owner have time to extend to do this on your own, installation procedures can easily be followed.
    • Backing materials are much cheaper. Adhesives, grout used and other materials, if needed, like a self-leveler is similar in strength like a concrete but a much lower-priced one.
    • Vinyl is also durable, scratch-free, and a less stain-absorption type of floor material. With its surface layer coating with urethane content holds as the protective cover against scratches and scuff marks. It is water-resistant and it can easily be cleaned by just using a wet cloth or mop. With this, stains as well as a bad smell can be avoided.
    • Stylish designs. Vinyl floors are more flexible now a days with designs that are stylish and can easily blend with your wall and the mood you like for a certain part of your home. Interior appliances and furniture can easily be chosen and paired with the decorative design of your vinyl floor.

    Additional Information

    Here are some things to consider and are helpful information when buying vinyl flooring for your home:

    • Nowadays, vinyl is used in any part of the house due to its versatility and style. Can be installed even in the wash or laundry area due to its strength and water resilient surface.
    • Floor surface should also be considered before choosing what type of vinyl to be installed. Vinyl can be installed in sheets, tile, or plank. It will be dependent on your floor plan and interior design since it is a very flexible type of floor cover, it can adapt to your styling needs.
    • Vinyl sheets are set by rolls. This is mostly used as bathroom floors since it is seamless, moisture can’t easily seep in.
    • Vinyl tiles can be produced in the exact measurements and thickness you require it to be. Its cut is by per square inch. It can be replaced easily if damaged since it is an accurately cut type of material. Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is now much preferred by many due to its increasing style variations to select from.
    • Plank Vinyl can be bought with a width of 4 or 6 inches and a length of 3 or 4 feet. It can easily be installed like a regular wood floor and have the look of a hardwood as well. It also comes in a peel-and-stick kind of plank vinyl in which you only have to peel off the adhesive backing of the plank then stick it to the subfloor.

    Whatever type of vinyl you’ve chosen to use, the most important thing to remember is that the end product should give you satisfaction through the aura it emits every time you come inside your house. Also, it should be pleasing to the eyes and makes you move comfortably whichever part of the house you come into. Most importantly, it gives you a nice feeling on the base of your feet every time you walk on it.

    What are Some of the Most Useful Mold Restoration Tips for Summer?

    mold restorationSummer is not only about having a vacation in different places. Traveling to popular beaches and resort is a priority on our summer experience but what about when we got back home?

    We always take the time to maintain our homes to very small details that we could possibly see. The aftermath of different climates creates molds that are something you don’t want to see everywhere so making a few steps to prevent it from growing is very essential.

    It would help us prevents a bigger problem along the way, so stopping it before it grows on most probably at the initial stages can help us a big way to save us very precious investment.

    Keeping Our House Clean

    Keeping our house clean plays a big factor on making a healthy lifestyle and a clean environment. One of the main ingredients of molds is moisture. So once it attracts moisture, it can easily grow in a lot of places at home. Such places like on kitchen, walls, ceiling and on glass surfaces or on any places that it can hold on.

    Having a regular cleaning can keep this area from growing molds. Used cooking oils, soaps bits, and specks of dirt can start to grow molds. Having these on your priority cleanup list will help you prevent molds from growing.

    Maintaining Humidity

    Humidity in our house plays a big factor since molds need water to grow. This can also play a bigger problem during summer times especially when humidity is high. It doesn’t matter when the moisture comes from inside or outside like water running on a faucet, cooking like boiling water or deep frying, showering and even taking a deep breath.

    It is essential to clean all this or the least is to lessen the amount that it stays in our house. It only needs basic cleaning just like wiping away excessive moisture on surfaces and surroundings. It is also recommended to check regularly exhaust fans on kitchen and bathroom and kitchen to reduce moisture. A humidifier device is also recommended for people living in humid areas.

    Controlling of Temperature

    The Ideal temperature is between 77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature need to be reached for the molds to grow. Temperature seems to be higher than normal at home during summer months. It is essential to maintain these temperatures during these periods of summer times. Having the thermostat set at around 70s would be more difficult for the molds to grow. So you should be cautious of your temperature at home regardless that you are inside or outside of your home.

    Maintaining Air Circulation

    Keeping air circulation inside of your home prevents mold from growing. Keeping vents open helps maintain the circulation inside of your house. And so by keeping our house clean, maintaining the humidity, controlling temperature and maintaining air circulation keeps you prevents mold from growing.

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