Posts Tagged ‘mold removal’

Prevent Mold Growth by Identifying the Mold Triangle

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

mold triangleIn science class, many of us learned about the “fire triangle.” Combustion depends on three things—heat, oxygen and fuel—and if any of the three is removed, the fire dies. If you're dealing with mold in your home—or trying to keep it out—you should know that mold has a triangle, too: Warmth, Food and Moisture. Let's look at each side and what you can do to remove it:


Breaking this part of the triangle is definitely the most difficult. Molds and fungi grow in a range between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which means room temperature is ideal. Turning your home or business into an oven or walk-in freezer is probably not a project you want to sign on for, so let's move on to the next thing mold needs.


Mold doesn't just see the food in your fridge or breadbox as a meal. It can dine on almost anything in your home or business. The Centers for Disease Control note that “almost all commonly used construction materials and furnishings can provide nutrients to support mold growth.” Anything from drywall to couch cushions can be a rich “growth medium” for a mold colony. Dirt and other contaminants on surfaces in the environment can give mold extra nutrients and a place to gain a foothold. Keep surfaces as clean as possible, especially in areas that will be warm and moist, such as bathrooms. Use anti-microbial cleaners when possible. If you're remodeling your space you have a prime opportunity to prevent future mold growth by using mold-resistant building materials. These products range from specially treated lumber—which is also termite resistant—to insulation, drywall, carpet and even paints. Some are treated with (or contain) fungicidal chemicals while others are made of materials mold can't eat. It's still necessary to keep these products as clean as possible so mold doesn't grow in dirt or contaminants instead of the building material itself.


Controlling moisture is the easiest (and arguably the most important) way of dealing with mold growth. One crucial fact to keep in mind is that mold doesn't need standing or dripping water to grow. The moisture from high humidity or water absorbed into building materials can be more than enough. The key is to keep the moisture out or remove it from the air once it's in the area. Here are some things to watch for:
  • Drafts and leaks not only waste energy used for heating and cooling, they allow moist air in.
  • Even air that's supposed to be moving into your home or business through vents and intakes can be a source of extra humidity. Be sure there are no leaks around the vents themselves or in the ducting.
  • Use fans, vents or even open windows to send humid air (from showers, cooking, laundry, etc.) out of the building.
  • Check any area where there might be a sharp difference in temperatures. These can be prime spots for condensation to occur.
  • Keep a sharp eye out for any area where there might be standing water for any reason. Even if it's not a constant problem, standing water now means humidity when it evaporates.
  • Use a dehumidifier to eliminate chronic moisture problems.
Most importantly, if mold has already formed and is taking up an area more than about 3 feet by 3 feet, call in professionals trained in water damage remediation and mold removal. Mold can damage building materials and create long-term health issues ranging from skin irritation to lung infections. Watch for signs the mold triangle is forming and when you see it, break it before mold can break in on you. Save $25 on Air Duct Cleaning - Free Coupon Subscribe to our blog to get new articles delivered to your inbox:


6 (more) Reasons for Professional Mold Removal

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

mold remediation rockford ilIn a previous post we gave you five reasons to hire a mold removal professional. It turns out bringing in the pros is such a good call we have six more reasons to share with you.

A professional team will find everything...

Because of the potential for structural damage and health problems (ranging from irritated skin to migraines to fungal infections), it's absolutely essential that you remove all major mold infestations from your home or business as soon after a disaster as possible. One missed or improperly-removed mold colony could cause untold inconvenience and expense. Because they bring technology, training and personal job experience to the table, professional mold removal specialists will be far more able to find everything growing in your building than you, your family or employees.

...and they'll find it faster.

After a flood or other major water disaster, you may be putting your entire life back together. Or, you may be on the other end of the scale, dealing with a smaller water emergency like a burst pipe or even a toilet overflow. In either case, your life can't just stop while you search for mold and remove it. Mold remediation professionals will be able to complete their work while you're focused on other tasks and they'll be able to start immediately. That gets you back to normal sooner.

Mold removal is a big hassle.

Depending on what has caused the mold, you're going to be required to deal with dripping, slippery surfaces and/or with crawling into inaccessible areas and removing materials and fixtures between you and the mold. Before you do so, you'll need to suit up with eye protection, a mask and protective clothing. Then there's the mold itself, which will be unpleasant to deal with, to say the least. If you're sensitive, you could have a lingering reaction as a result of any exposure to spores or dead mold. You can avoid all that hassle by hiring a team experienced in professional mold remediation. As we pointed out previously, it's likely that your insurance company will be covering the mold removal, so taking the easy route won't even raise your costs.

Disposal of damaged material can be a big hassle, too.

Everything that's been damaged by mold and many of the materials damaged by water will have to be removed and disposed of. In the case of a bad infestation, the resulting debris and garbage may be much more than you usually handle. On top of that, local codes or the rules set by your disposal contractor may prevent you from disposing of building materials in your normal trash pickup. Suddenly you're arranging extra pickups at extra cost, and moldy material may be sitting around onsite. A professional mold removal company will already have disposal procedures set up for anything they may have to remove.

Employee time is better used elsewhere.

If your commercial property has mold, there's a temptation to point maintenance staff at the problem and consider it solved. However, every moment they spend on that task is one they aren't spending using the skills you hired them for. In fact, no matter how sharp your staff is, they also almost certainly don't have the training and equipment of professional remediators. Imagine the resulting hassle if the removal takes longer, other work gets piled up and the mold comes back anyway. In the short and long runs, a professional team will cost less in time and money.

When you do it yourself, there are literally no guarantees

Whether it's a written guarantee, a 100% customer satisfaction policy or even just good old-fashioned work ethic, your remediation contractor has a solid incentive to make sure your site is completely mold-free. You'll be able to rest assured they won't quit until it's gone. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.  


7 Safety Tips for Flooded Basement Cleanup

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

flooded basement cleanup mopThere's no doubt a flooded basement is aggravating, inconvenient and costly. Unfortunately, we need to add "potentially dangerous" to that list. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe and avoid further costs of mold removal.

1. If your basement is flooded because of widespread flooding in your region, be careful of structural issues.

Floods can shift massive amounts of earth, leaving foundations unsupported. Waterlogged soil also tends be to far less stable than dry soil. What does that mean for you? The water in your flooded basement may be doing more to hold up your foundation than the ground around it. If you pump it out too soon, the foundation could shift, doing serious damage to your home. If you have any doubt about the structural state of your home, call in a professional. It will be worth every penny if it saves you from injury or costly structural repairs.

2. Make absolutely sure the electricity is off.

It's just plain common sense that if there's any possibility the water in your basement is in contact with a live electric current, you should not enter the water. Still, you need to take full precautions. Don't assume if the power is out in your area it will stay off for any length of time. Imagine what would happen if power were restored suddenly while you're knee deep in water that's covering an outlet. One solution is to shut off your main breaker box, but only do so if you can reach it without standing in water or on any wet surfaces. If in doubt, don't touch it. If you can't shut off power yourself, call your power company and have them shut off service to your home until you have everything dried out.

3. Use generators and pumps wisely.

With no power to your home, you'll need a generator or gas powered pump to remove the water. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully, and locate the generator or pump as far from your home as you can to avoid fumes coming into the house. Never run a generator or motorized pump inside your home no matter how good the ventilation seems; deadly carbon monoxide buildup can result.

4. Look out for flammable substances.

If you're the victim of a regional disaster, floodwaters may have carried gasoline or other flammable chemicals into your basement, and any type of flooding could release flammable chemicals stored in your home. Watch out for fumes from these substances. Flooding can also shift natural gas lines or damage propane equipment, releasing gas into your home. If you smell any of these chemicals, especially gas, evacuate immediately.

5. Suit up.

Make sure you're wearing boots with a good grip and thick soles. Not only will you have "slippery when wet" conditions to deal with, you may find mold or mildew adding to the slip hazard if it's been some time since the flooding occurred. Keep in mind that you can't be sure what the water has moved around, so be careful where you step. At a minimum, you should be wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands from contaminants. Depending on how deep the water is, you may need other waterproof clothing. Make sure that you wash your skin thoroughly with soap if you come into contact with standing water from your basement. A mask may be necessary if there has been time for mold to grow in the flooded area.

6. Check your water supply.

This step is best left to a professional. If any part of your water supply system has been submerged in the flood, it may be contaminated with chemicals, dirt, mold or bacteria. Have it checked out to ensure the system is clean.

One last tip

When in doubt, call a professional. If a professional electrician, plumber and water damage remediation crew are involved, you can be sure your home will be safely and properly restored. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of artur84 / Free eBook shows how to make a home disaster plan  


How to Get Rid of Mold Yourself and Why to Hire a Pro

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

mold contractorWhen you think of mold, you may think of a household nuisance, something that creates a musty odor in your shower. You can easily remove small areas of mold with a spray bottle of bleach and some paper towels. But mold can destroy building materials and create miserable health problems for those encountering hidden colonies or scattered spores. Just like water damage or smoke damage, mold remediation requires a professional touch. Here are five reasons why:

Your problem may be too big to do it yourself

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends homeowners handle any moldy area less than 10 square feet by themselves. However, that's the equivalent of a square a bit more than 3 feet 3 inches on each side. A small roof leak might provide that sort of area before you notice, but most serious sources of water damage—flooded basement, storm damage, burst pipes, etc.—can easily cause a far larger mold infestation.

If you have mold, you probably have structural damage

Some mold infestations are due to excess humidity in the home or poor ventilation. But in cases where mold grows after water pours into your home or business, mold may not even be your main problem. Water itself is an emergency. If mold is growing on or in drywall, insulation, flooring or ceilings, they can be structurally compromised, especially if it's been more than 24 hours since they became wet. It could be necessary to remove and replace these materials for safety.

The health effects can be serious

Mold can cause serious health problems up to and including fungal lung infections or poisoning from mycotoxins, but a far more common response to mold spores is a simple allergic reactions. These reactions can range from irritated skin and eyes to a runny nose, sinus problems, hoarseness and throat irritation, headaches, wheezing or chronic coughing and sneezing. Mold can also trigger migraines and asthma attacks. It's essential that all the mold is removed as quickly and completely as possible, especially if anyone who spends time in the building is allergic, asthmatic or has a weakened immune system. Bringing in a mold removal specialist ensures it will be completely gone on the first pass.

Killing surface mold is not enough

The Centers for Disease Control recommend donning proper gear (rubber boots, rubber gloves, goggles, dust mask) and cleaning moldy items with a bleach and water mixture. But to guarantee safety, mold needs to be removed completely. Allergic reactions and asthma attacks can be caused by dead mold as easily as live mold. On top of that, mold often grows through or inside building materials and fabrics, so killing the visible mold on the surface leaves the rest of the colony free to grow, destroy more materials and spread more mold spores into the air. It may be some time before you're aware of the full extent of the mold infestation, even when you assume the problem is solved. True mold remediation—like true water damage repair—requires the full removal or restoration of all damaged materials. A surface treatment can't accomplish that, but mold removal experts with the best training and equipment available can.

Peace of mind is worth its weight in gold

Wondering whether there's mold lurking in your home or facility, continuing to cause damage day in and day out isn't going to help your stress level, or help you return things to normal after a disaster. To have peace of mind, you need certainty, and unless you can be absolutely sure you've found and dealt with every place where excess moisture has given mold a chance to grow, you won't have that. Bringing in a professional mold remediation contractor will not only give you peace of mind, it may be covered (or required!) by your insurance carrier. Professional mold contractors will work with your insurance adjuster to carefully document the extent of the damage and what items need to be replaced. For all but the smallest mold infestations, bringing in professionals is the common sense, zero stress solution to get you back to normal as soon as possible. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of stockimages / Free eBook shows how to make a home disaster plan  


6 Common Sense Tips for Mold Removal and Prevention

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

mold intruderMold is one of the most common consequences of water damage in American homes and businesses, and one of the most insidious. It can damage parts of your home while lurking unnoticed for weeks or months. Worse, it can cause health problems ranging from allergies and infections to asthma attacks. Some molds even excrete a type of poison called "mycotoxin." The good news? Mold removal, indeed preventing the growth of mold in the first place, is a relatively simple process. Here are some tips to beat that sneaky little intruder: Keep water away from your foundation Though they're cool compared to the rest of your house, a wet basement can a great environment for mold growth, so preventing seepage is key to prevent mold in your basement. Here are a few places to check for water seepage:
  • Check and clean your gutters regularly. Clogged gutters almost always deposit water against the foundation of the building.
  • Watch out for other conditions, which can leave water pooling against the foundation such as sloping ground such as leaky faucets or misdirected sprinklers.
  • Check the drip pans and drain lines on any air conditioning units.
  • Check out our recent blog for a full set of tips to prevent water damage in your home.
Watch for condensation Another source of water which mold can use is condensation, especially from pipes. Again, this can be a significant problem in your basement, because of the relatively cool temperature. Use a dehumidifier to prevent condensation on all surfaces and pipe insulation to deal with condensation on your basement plumbing. Pay special attention to areas where a pipe moves from one environment to another, such as passing through a wall. If you're not careful, condensation can drip undetected from the pipe inside the wall. When water does get in, move quickly to dry it out Mold can easily establish itself and grow within 24 to 48 hours, possibly creating a long-term health concern. If you notice a leak, clean up the water as soon as you can, within the first 24 hours if at all possible. Remove and dispose of items (especially fabric items), which have been damaged unless you can dry them completely. Quick water damage repair goes beyond mold removal. When structural materials like drywall and flooring are left wet too long, they can be compromised and will need to be removed and replaced by professionals, greatly increasing your cost and inconvenience. Keep your house ventilated If air is being circulated—and more specifically, if moist air is sent outside—mold spores will find it difficult to gain a foothold. Any time you're introducing moisture into the air of a room inside your home (by cooking, washing dishes, taking a shower, etc.) make sure you either have a window open or an exhaust vent moving the moist air out, or both. Keep air moving inside the home as well Fresh, dry air is mold's enemy. Look around at how your furniture is arranged. Can some items be moved apart and moved away from walls, allowing air to pass between them? Keep your interior doors open as much as possible so that air can flow between rooms. Keep the air dry We mentioned humidity in the basement, but addressing it in the rest of your home is one of the best steps you can take to prevent mold growth. Indoor humidity should be somewhere between 30 and 60 percent, and you can check it with a moisture meter available at any hardware store. It's almost impossible to eliminate mold completely, but if you follow these tips, you can keep it—and its damaging effects—to a bare minimum. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of chanpipat / Save $25 on Air Duct Cleaning - Free Coupon  


3 Ways to Prevent Water Damage Inside and Out

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

water damage restorationWater damage is one of the most common disasters affecting homes and can be the most expensive. Let's look at three main areas where you can prepare for or prevent the damage entirely:

Exterior preparation

Take a turn around the outside of your home. Check the roof for worn or missing shingles, cracks and other damage. Make sure your gutters are clean and free of debris, and not just in the Spring. Debris can collect in them at almost any time and cause runoff to pouring onto your foundation or onto a part of your house that's not designed to handle water flow. Look carefully for cracks in your siding and places where it's come loose. Make sure all flashing—metal stripping used where two different building materials meet—is secure. These areas are especially vulnerable to water. Inspect every opening into your house, from windows to dryer vents. Seepage often appears at the corners of doors and windows. Flaking or peeling paint on a window or doorframe may indicate the wood is swelling from water. Pay special attention to any window or door that's suddenly difficult to open or close; this may also be due to water swelling. Make sure all vents have a hood to prevent water from entering. If pipes or cables pass through exterior walls, check that the openings are properly sealed and there are no cracks. If you find some, an inexpensive off-the-shelf sealant from your local hardware store can usually solve the problem. Lastly, check your landscaping. Make sure no tree branches are close to or touching the house or roof. Water can run along them and so can insects and animals such as ants or squirrels. If you use sprinklers, check them as well to ensure they aren't causing water to pool against your foundation or spray into vents or other openings.

Interior preparation

As you look inside your home, check for discoloration (especially on ceilings) and be aware that if water is leaking in through your roof, it may travel for some distance along a truss or duct before it reaches a ceiling or wall. Also check your floors for deformations and color changes. Be aware of the smells around you; you may detect a musty smell well before structural or mold damage becomes visible. Check under each sink and around each toilet for possible leaks. Also check near your washer. Check the water line into your refrigerator if it has one, and check your dishwasher carefully for leaks. The dishwasher's position under a counter can sometimes hide a leak for months. Check the hoses and lines at each appliance and plumbing fixture for leaks or damage. Where you can, replace rubber hoses with steel braided lines. It's a good idea to check your water heater for leaks and rust, especially if it's been a few years since it was installed. Make sure you're familiar with all the water shutoffs in the house, from the main shutoff to the hot water shutoff on top of the water heater to the individual line shutoffs for each sink and toilet. Getting these turned off in a timely manner if a leak breaks out can save a lot of hassle and expensive repairs. Speaking of shutoffs, make use of them anytime you go out of town. If an appliance leaks or a pipe bursts while you're away, it could go unnoticed for days or weeks and cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Before you leave home, turn off the main valve. If for some reason (such as an irrigation system) you need the water on while you're away, find and shut off supply valves between the main and various parts of the house, or use the individual shutoffs.

And if the worst happens...

Keep your insurance information in an easily accessible place so you can call your agent immediately. If you experience flooding, a pipe leak or other water damage, it's important to respond quickly to the disaster. It's also important to have a professional cleaning and restoration company, like LDR Cleaning and Restoration, chosen well ahead of time so you can get them on the job as soon as possible. Make sure you choose one with excellent references, extensive experience and up-to-date technology so they can get your home back to normal in short order. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold remediation, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of Free Disaster Planning Checklist  


4 Simple Steps to Avoid Mold Contamination

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

mold cleanupNot to sound trite, but here’s the easiest method of mold removal known to man: Keep it from growing in the first place. How do you do that?

Monitor moisture and keep your home dry

Of course, that means making sure naturally moist areas in your home — such as your basement and bathrooms and storage areas — are properly ventilated or dehumidified, or at the very least aren’t retaining consistent moisture. Moisture and oxygen are the only things that those ubiquitous mold spores need to grow. And if they find them, they will grow. "Stop the moisture intrusion that helped the mold to grow in the first place," says James Gryder, cleaning and mitigation supervisor at LDR Construction Services, Inc., Rockford, Ill. "All homes have mold spores present, it is just a fact of life. The issue is if there is enough moisture present for the mold that is present to start growing." So staying on top problem moisture spots in your home will save a lot of mold cleanup later. But wait – what if you already have mold? Then what? Well, there are a couple of mold abatement steps you can take on your own. First, if you find mold, the key is proper containment and air filtration. The goal is to avoid cross-contaminating other areas of your home with mold spores. After just two days of wetness, there is mold present whether you see it or not. The Centers for Disease Control recommends removing mold-contaminated items from your home if those items have been wet for more than two days to let them dry. Containing the problem may also mean removing damaged drywall, trim, wood products or other items. Then, if you have the means, wet-vacuum the contaminated area if there is enough water present to justify it. Otherwise, you can dry-vac the area with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA (High-efficiency Particulate Air) filter. That will help to ensure that mold spores are contained. Those are big "if’s." So if you lack the proper equipment, you may need to call a professional mold remediation company, such as LDR Cleaning and Restoration, to contain and mitigate your mold problem so that other areas of your home don’t get contaminated, as well.  Service providers like LDR use water meters and other equipment that homeowners are unlikely to have, which allow them to diagnose and fix problems more quickly. "That is why calling a professional, like LDR, who will take the needed steps to make sure the issue is handled property through containment and the use of air filtration devices, is the best route to go," Gryder says. And if preventing mold damage to your home isn’t enough to convince you to avoid mold problems, or call in professional help when problems do occur, then preventing health problems might. "An unmitigated mold problem can be a real health issue to children, people with compromised immune systems, and even what we would term healthy people," Gryder says. "If there is moisture present, and the mold is able to grow unmitigated, it will just continue to get worse and worse. Eventually, the spores may find their way into the HVAC system and contaminate that, or they can get inhaled cause respirator problems." And those are problems nobody wants. So remember:
  1. Monitor moisture
  2. Contain the mold problem
  3. Remove mold damaged items
  4. Call in professional help for your mold abatement issues
You won’t be sorry you took the necessary steps. Image courtesy of Photokanok / Save $25 on Air Duct Cleaning - Free Coupon  


How Smoke, Chemicals & Water Impact Fire Damage Restoration

Friday, February 15th, 2013

fire extinguishers sosIt’s the day after the worst night of your life: when a fire broke out in your living room. You’re kicking yourself for forgetting to turn off that space heater, and for positioning it too close to the curtains in the first place. You’re thankful no one was hurt and that firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze fast—thankful, too, that most of your possessions were spared from fire damage. That is, until you get word from your claims adjustor that additional damage has been caused by smoke as well as the water and chemicals used to fight the fire. The damage is so extensive that it calls for professional help. Even more distressing is the news that because you do not have comprehensive coverage to insure all losses related to a fire, these “indirect” causes of damage are not covered. Lesson learned: Review your home insurance policy language for any exclusions or loopholes, and consult with your agent to ensure complete fire coverage. There’s also a lot to be learned from the fire itself; for example, how do smoke, water and chemicals cause damage? And how do disaster restoration specialists clean it all up?

Smoke Damage

Let’s start with the effects of smoke damage, which can appear in two forms. In the case of a slow, smoldering fire, the resulting smoke residue (soot) will be sticky, wet and strong smelling. Wet soot has an oily texture that stains carpets, furniture and any cloth furnishings in the house. A fast burning fire, however, leaves behind dry soot that smears and stains less—but the dry soot often becomes damp due to the moisture from the fire hose. Smoke damage remediation involves the use of industrial-strength vacuuming to suck up the soot without smearing it. Attempting to brush off soot only embeds it deeper into the fabric. As the pros vacuum the room, each area is covered with a drop cloth to protect it. Smoke odor, on the other hand, lingers in fabrics and is not as straightforward to remove. Professional cleaners use different chemicals to break down smoke molecules. Other methods including ozone treatment and applying specially formulated paint that seals up the source of smoke odor.

Extinguishing the Fire

Firefighting chemicals are catch-22s because while they can (thankfully) extinguish a blaze, they can also wreak havoc upon your possessions. Dry chemicals like Ammonium Sulphate produce a crust that can extinguish almost any classification of fire and prevent re-ignition of a combustible material that is on fire. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) puts out a non-corrosive gas that removes the oxygen that fuels the fire. Fire extinguishers emit low-expansion foam, while high-expansion foam is used for fighting fire in a confined space such as a basement. All of these firefighting chemicals—with the exception of Halon, used in electrical fires and known as a “clean agent”—leave behind a residue that requires professional-grade equipment and expertise to remove from a fire-stricken home or workplace.

Water Damage from Fire

Finally, anyone who has been through a fire knows that where there’s smoke, there’s water—and lots of it after firefighters have finished battling a blaze. The key to salvaging your belongings from water damage and preventing mold is to act quickly to begin the process of removing the moisture from your carpets, furniture and walls. Left unattended, mold spores reproduce rapidly, may cause allergies and asthma, and can even render a space uninhabitable. Professionals use mobile, state-of-the-art water extraction equipment and technology to get the job done as quickly as possible. Standing water is removed from flat surfaces by sponging and blotting. Electronics such as computers are transported to a dry environment, their cases removed and blown dry with low-pressure air. Saturated rugs and carpets are taken up when hardwood floors are at risk…these are just a few examples of the many steps involved in drying out a structure and restoring its contents. With proper precautions (and a dose of good luck), you may never experience the trauma of a fire or dealing with its messy aftermath. But just in case, it’s helpful to know just how destructive the combination of smoke, chemicals and water can be—and who to call when the prospect of cleaning it up yourself is overwhelming. LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.



How an Emergency Response Plan Speeds Flooded Basement Cleanup

Friday, February 8th, 2013

water damage restoration planWhen the forecast calls for a wintery mix, one thing is for certain ­– sloppy, late winter snowstorms will soon give way to spring showers and thunderstorms. All that water has to go somewhere and that can be bad news for property owners who may end up a flooded basement.

Water Damage is an Emergency

Quick response is critical when removing water in the basement. Water remaining on building materials for more than 24 hours can compromise structural components such as drywall, insulation, flooring, and even ceilings, to the point that it might be necessary to remove them completely. Water damage not addressed within 72 hours can contribute to mold growth. The damp, dark environment of a flooded basement is an ideal environment for mold to easily take hold and grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Dealing with water issues within 16 hours can result in very minimal structural damage, and can save the property owner substantial repair costs, reducing the overall inconvenience to the tenant. Responding to water in the basement within the first 24 hours is key to reducing losses. Cleaning up a flooded basement within 8 to 16 hours can reduce drying time by one day, and significantly reduce structural damage due to water damage.

Emergency Response Minimizes Disaster Recovery

As the saying goes, “time is money.” When it comes to business, every hour that a business is closed because of water damage, mold remediation, or other damage or catastrophe, is revenue lost.

Fact: 25% of businesses that close because of a disaster never reopen, and a staggering 80% of businesses that do not recover within one month are likely to go out of business.

Emergency services performed by a professional restoration company are restorative actions taken to minimize further damage to the structure. This applies to disasters from various causes. Losses that can happen daily include:
  • Water damage from an overflowing toilet
  • Fire sprinkler malfunction
  • Flood
  • Roof leak
  • Sewer backup
Less frequent catastrophic events may include fire and smoke damage, or property damage from powerful storms like tornados, severe thunderstorms or storm surge.

Emergency Response Priority Program

An Emergency Response Priority Program, (ERPP), like the free program offered by LDR Cleaning and Restoration, speeds emergency response and recovery time after a disaster. Here’s how an Emergency Response Priority Program works:
  1. Property manager/owner enrolls in the program and completes the pre-approval forms and property tour.
  2. Each property is assigned an ERP Priority Customer number
  3. Property personnel receive ERPP member cards with their priority customer number and emergency phone numbers
  4. In the event of an emergency, property personnel simply calls the dedicated phone number, provides their ERPP number
  5. Crew is dispatched immediately
After enrolling in the ERPP program, members fill out the necessary forms and paperwork and response crews conduct tours of the properties to be covered in the program. From these tours, critical information, such as building locations, insurance and billing information, special instruction, emergency equipment needs, phone numbers and other contact information, is collected and stored in a secure database. Completing these time-consuming tasks in advance, and pre-arranging the response to any disaster, minimizes business interruption should an incident occur. Perhaps the most immediate benefit ERPP members receive is the priority, VIP service they receive. For example, in winter months, many professional emergency restoration companies are busy with basements flooded from burst frozen pipes. They may receive as many as 40 calls in a day for emergency mitigation services. Most cases are placed on a waiting list until the next available crew can be dispatched. But calls from ERPP members are moved to the top of the queue for the next available service unit. Regardless of the cause of the damage, fast response to the emergency will minimize further damage and speed disaster recovery. Having a current emergency response plan is and important first step to being prepared. LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.  


Indoor Mold Removal: the Health Risks, Identification and Remediation

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

mold removalWhen you think of indoor mold, what typically comes to mind? That neglected drawer in the fridge—you know the one, where you stash the broccoli your kids despise? Truth is, indoor molds are common and come in many varieties, yet are often overlooked. As the source of health problems including allergies, asthma attacks and worse, mold removal performed by a professional may become necessary.

What sorts of health problems are caused by indoor mold?

When mold cells are breathed in and invade the respiratory tract, the body’s immune system tries to destroy the mold much like it would fight a flu virus. The result could be a runny nose, headaches, scratchy throat and sneezing, or allergic rhinitis. The lung disease asthma, in which the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs can partially close, can also be aggravated by indoor mold. More than half of asthmatics have respiratory allergies, and inhaling mold can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive cases. Respiratory infection, in which live mold occupies the tissues of the respiratory tract or lungs, is especially dangerous for those with weakened immune systems. Finally, ingesting or inhaling large doses of certain molds can result in poisoning caused by toxins in the mold cells.

What are the most common indoor molds?

Generally speaking, there are three categories of mold: allergenic, known to cause allergic reactions; pathogenic, of concern to those with weak immune systems; and toxigenic—a danger to all. Folks sometimes try to categorize mold by its color, but this doesn’t always work, as both harmless and harmful molds exist in each color group. Two recognizable molds that pose health problems are:
  1. Green Molds (Aspergillus/Penicillium) - With over 185 types, this fungus is linked to allergies as well as a serious infection called Aspergillosis found in the lungs, ears, eyes, nose, sinuses, and even the brain. Aspergillosis is caused by inhaling the spores of green mold. And green mold, like all molds, is the result of exposure to moisture.
  2. Black Molds (Stachybotrys) – Perhaps the most dreaded of molds, black mold is slimy to the touch and grows rapidly in wet wallpaper, drywall, carpet, ceiling tiles and elsewhere. Not all black mold is toxic. Professional testing using protective clothing and equipment is needed to be sure. Black mold removal should be done by professional remediation if results are positive.

What does the mold removal process involve?

According to the EPA, “the key to mold control is moisture control.” Mold spores won’t grow if moisture isn’t present, so if there is a moisture problem in your home or office, you must clean up the mold and fix the water issue or the mold will return. Mold remediation is the process of cleanup and removal of mold from an indoor environment. Step one is a visual examination to determine if mold is present, what species it is and what level of remediation will be necessary. The assessment often involves moving furniture, lifting or removing carpets, checking behind wallpaper and even opening up walls…much to the property owner’s dismay. In some cases, especially when occupants of the home or business are experiencing symptoms of illness, sampling of the mold spores may be performed by experts to answer further questions. When cleaning the mold with bleach, it is important to wear a respirator and protective clothing. Better yet, play it safe and leave the job to the experts who may use any number of high-tech mold removal methods and equipment in the remediation process, including:
  • Moisture meter
  • Humidity gauge
  • HEPA filtered vacuum
  • Dry ice blasting
  • Borescope (to view potential mold problems inside walls without damaging them)
  • Themographic camera
…and more. To learn more about mold remediation, talk to your local disaster cleaning and restoration professionals. If you suspect that mold is affecting the health of those in your home or office space, please don’t wait—mold problems should be addressed within 24 to 48 hours. Sources: Department of Health and Human Services of North Carolina; Centers for Disease Control; Environmental Protection Agency; and Trask Research, Inc. (a bio-chemistry company that develops mold testing and cleaning solutions). LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of moomsabuy / Save $25 on Air Duct Cleaning - Free Coupon  



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