Purifying The Air With Hydroxyl Generators

What is a Hydroxyl Generator?

Hydroxyls (-OH) are safe, naturally occurring molecules that are created in our atmosphere when the sun’s ultraviolet rays react with water vapor. They play a critical role in cleaning the earth’s atmosphere and are often referred to as the “detergent” of the atmosphere. In chemistry, they are described as a molecule consisting of an oxygen atom and a hydrogen atom joined by a covalent bond – this means they share a pair of electrons. They are neutral, because they have nine shared bonds, but it is the free electron which makes hydroxyls so highly reactive and they will bond with any odor and neutralize it. Hydroxyl molecules are so tiny that they will penetrate anywhere odors or micro-organisms may be. They are smaller and more effective at eliminating pollutants than liquid chlorine, hydrogen peroxide and ozone. Hydroxyl generators do not use chemicals and leaves no residue behind. Hydroxyls can be used to kill bacteria, viruses and mold. They can also be used to break down volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemical fumes, gases, vapors and unpleasant odors. Hydroxyl generators are even safe to use on sensitive materials like rubber, leather and electronics.

The Odorox hydroxyl generators, like the one shown in the image above, use a two part treatment process to eliminate odors, decontaminate surfaces and purify the air. The processing chamber purifies the air and creates hydroxyls. The hydroxyl molecules exit the chamber to decontaminate surfaces and contents and to further purify the air.

The processing chamber alone is sufficient to treat the air. As air passes through, it is exposed to multiple wavelengths of UV light. The first segment of the optics produces wavelengths that deodorize the air flow. It will break down chemical vapors, volatile organic compounds and odors as they travel through the chamber. The second segment of the optics produces wavelengths that kill micro-organisms and prevent them from multiplying. It will kill bacteria, viruses and mold as they travel through the chamber. As water vapor (H2O) passes through the chamber, it is broken down into a hydrogen atom (H) and a hydroxyl (-OH). The hydroxyl molecules are the key to the second part of the treatment process. There have been many applications where the Odorox machine is set outside of the contaminated area. clean air is drawn into the processing chamber, hydroxyls are created and then injected into the contaminated area. The hydroxyls will then go to work on the air, structure and contents of that area. The contaminated air does not need to pass through the processing chamber to be cleaned.

Why use an Odorox hydroxyl generator?

  1. Safer than ozone. Ozone causes damage to plants and the mucous and respiratory tissue in humans and animals.
  2. Odorox can be installed immediately, because hydroxyls are safe for people, pets, plants and sensitive materials. This means that while the physical cleaning is being performed, Odorox is deodorizing simultaneously.
  3. Homeowners can stay home and businesses can stay open while Odorox is operating. This reduces or eliminates additional living expenses (ALE) and business interruption costs for the insurance companies.
  4. Hydroxyls are more effective than any other method. This means that many items previously though to be unsalvageable can now be restored, like rubber, leather and electronics.
  5. Odorox reduces the work involved with cleaning drapes, upholstery, carpets, laundry and dry cleaning. Most of this can now be handled on site.
  6. Odorox does not use chemicals and leaves no residue.
  7. Using an Odorox hydroxyl generator for 12 hours has been proven to reduce the presence of E. coli, S. aureus, P. aeruginosa on stainless steel and cotton fabric by 99%.

PRS uses hydroxyl generators to restore our customers homes to a clean, safe environment in a timely manner.

In what instance would a hydroxyl generator be used?

A hydroxyl generator would be used anywhere odors, bacteria, viruses or mold are present. Some instances are shown below:

  • Fire and smoke restoration
  • Water and flood restoration
  • Mold mitigation
  • Sewage backups
  • Trauma scene and biohazard cleanup
  • Odor elimination
  • Contents restoration
  • Eliminate volatile organic compounds

Is Mold Covered In Homeowners Insurance?

Home insurance concept , vector illustration

Like any other organism, mold needs food and water. It loves to eat wood, and that’s one reason why homes and other structures sustain mold damage. When it begins depleting its food source, damage occurs. Mold is easily identifies by how it looks and its odor.

Any type of water damage can result in mold. How the water gets into your home determines whether your homeowners insurance will cover the mold damage and remediation. All homeowners policies declare their covered perils along with their exclusions from coverage. An occurrence that’s typically covered in the context of water damage is a pipe burst. That’s because the actual pipe burst is the cause of the claim, as opposed to the mold itself. If a mold claim arises from Florida weather activity, like a hurricane or flood, it’s not likely to be covered without special coverage. You’ll want to review your policy or talk to your insurance representative to learn whether you have flood coverage.

Most basic homeowners insurers do not provide mold coverage within their covered risks, but that does not necessarily mean your claim will be denied. For instance, the pipe burst, which would be an accidental occurrence, which may lead to mold due to the moisture, should be covered, because the pipe burst is the claim reason, not the mold. However, a home showing neglected maintenance (unrepaired water leaks or exposure to humidity over a prolonged period of time) will be more likely to have a denied claim. You do need to be aware that mold coverage that is provided, due to accidents, is relatively low, unless an additional premium is paid. If you do have some mold damage, you’ll want to do whatever you can to mitigate your damages. You should also be vigilant about making periodic checks for possible water leaks in these common problem spots:

  • HVAC system lines & drains
  • Hoses for appliances
  • Tub, shower & sink seals
  • Any visible pipes
  • Weatherproofing of windows & doors
  • Wet spots in the attic & missing roofing material
  • Landscaping around your home

If you don’t have mold coverage, it’s recommended that you get it, particularly because mold thrives in Florida’s warm, humid climate. an average mold claim ranges between $15,000 and $30,000. Mold riders are available as an optional coverage, however they often come with a big price tag. Discuss your options with your insurance agent. Once you have all the information, you can weigh the risks against the costs for your needs.

As always, it’s important to know what your homeowners policy says in regards to your coverage. Take the time to familiarize yourself and ask questions about specific wording in regards to mold coverage, then you will be prepared should you have the unfortunate need to file a claim.

Sources: Does my homeowners insurance policy cover mold damage? Web Blog post. Living Prepared. Prepared Insurance. Home Insurance and Mold: Is Mold Covered? Web blog post. Houselogic by Realtors.

9 Ways To Prevent Mold

Mold. The very word is enough to make a person cringe.

Yes, mold can be good – it’s essential in making brie and penicillin for example, and necessary for the decomposition of organic matter in nature – but it can also be very, very bad, especially when it grows undetected in your home. Mold spores spread easily and cannot be completely eradicated. Mold can grow anywhere: on carpet, clothing, food, paper and even in places you can’t see. Such as, the backside of drywall, areas inside walls around leaking or condensing pipes and above ceiling tiles. Not only is a mold problem difficult and costly to fix, but mold can also produce allergens and irritants (and rarely, toxins) that may compromise your health.

So, what can you do if you’re concerned about mold growing in your home? The best approach is preventing mold before it becomes a problem. The key to mold prevention is simple: moisture control. Here are nine ways to curb moisture indoors and the mold that thrives on it.

1. Identify problem areas in your home and correct them.

You can’t mold-proof you home, but you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of your home: where are the problem areas? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak?

Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products or repairing damaged gutters. Or it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. Whatever the case, address the problem now. It might cost some money up front, but it will surely be more costly down the road if mold continues to grow unchecked.

2. Dry wet areas immediately.

Mold can’t grow without moisture, so tackle wet areas right away. Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you’ve experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding and furniture if they can’t be completely dried.

Even everyday occurrences need attention. Don’t leave wet items lying around the house and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower. Don’t leave wet clothes in the washing machine where mold can spread quickly. Hang them to dry – preferably outside or in areas with good air circulation.

3. Prevent moisture with proper ventilation.

It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in your home. Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower or doing a load of laundry doesn’t invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry and any other high-moisture area.

Vent appliances that produce moisture – clothes dryers, stoves – to the outside (not the attic). Use AC units and dehumidifiers (especially in humid climates), but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves, by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer. Your energy-efficient home may be holding moisture inside, so open a window when cooking, washing dishes or showering, or run an exhaust fan.

4. Equip your home with mold-resistant products.

Building a new home or renovating an old one? Use mold-resistant products like mold-resistant drywall or mold-resistant sheetrock and mold inhibitors for paints.

Traditional drywall is composed of a gypsum plaster core pressed between plies of paper. Mold-resistant drywall is paperless – the gypsum core is covered in fiberglass, making the surface highly water-resistant. Moisture- resistant drywall is especially valuable in areas prone to wetness, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements and kitchens. Not only is traditional drywall more susceptible to mold than the paperless kind, but it is also difficult to rid of mold, and removal and replacement can be expensive.

Mold-resistant gypsum board is also available; the core of the drywall is developed in such a way to prevent moisture absorption, and thus prevent mold growth.

5. Monitor humidity indoors.

The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. You can measure humidity with a moisture meter purchased from your local hardware store.

You’ll also be able to detect high humidity by simply paying attention to potential problem areas in your home. Telltale signs of excessive humidity include; condensation on windows, pipes and walls. If you notice condensation, dry the surface immediately and address the source of moisture (for example, turn off a humidifier if water appears on the inside of nearby windows.)

6. Direct water away from your home.

If the ground around your home isn’t sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement.

7. Clean or repair roof gutters.

A mold problem might be a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.

8. Improve air flow in your home.

According to the EPA, as temperatures drop, the air is able to hold less moisture. Without good air flow in your home, that excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mold at bay.

9. Keep mold off household plants.

They’re beautiful and help keep your indoor air clean – and mold loves them. The moist soil in indoor plants is a perfect breeding ground for mold, which may then spread to other areas of your house.

Instead of getting rid of your plants, try adding a bit of Taheebo tea to the water you give to your houseplants. The oil of this tree, which withstands fungi even in rain forests, helps hinder mold growth in plant soil and can be found at natural food stores.

Finally, educate yourself on your regions climate – be it the cold and wet Northeast, the hot and wet South, the hot and dry Southwest or the cold and dry West – and how it responds to moisture. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mold prevention. Knowing what works for your climate and your home is an important first step.

Source: Heidi Hill. How to prevent mold: 9 Tips. web blog post. Your home. Mother Nature Network.

Is Mold Making You Sick?

Molds are various types of fungi that grow in filaments and reproduce by forming spores. The term mildew is sometimes used to refer to some kinds of mold, particularly mold in the home with a white or grayish color or mold growing in shower stalls and bathrooms. Mold may grow indoors or outdoors and thrives in damp, warm and humid environments. Mold can be found in essentially any environment or season. The most common types of indoor household molds include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria and Aspergillus. Stachybotryschartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra and sometimes referred to as “black mold”) is a greenish-black mold that can also be found indoors. Although, it is less common than the other types of mold found in homes. Stachybotrys grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust and lint. There are types of mold that can grow on substances as different as foods and carpet.

Molds produce irritating substances that may act as allergy-causing substances (allergens) in sensitive indiviuals. Furthermore, some molds produce toxic substances known as mycotoxins, but mold itself is not poisonous or toxic. The conditions under which some molds produce toxins are poorly understood, and the presence of mold, even a mold that is capable of producing toxins, does not always imply that toxins are being produced. Mold may not cause any health effects, or it may lead to symptoms in people, including adults and children, who are sensitive to molds. Allergic reactions to mold are the most common health effects of mold. Allergic reactions may happen immediately or develop after a period of time following exposure. Both growing mold and mold spores may lead to allergic reactions. Allergy symptoms include:

  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • water eyes
  • redness of the eyes
  • itchy eyes
  • skin irritaion or rash

Sometimes people may develop severe reactions to mold exposure. Symptoms of severe reactions, which are uncommon, include fever and difficulty breathing. People with compromised immune systems or those with chronic lung disease can develop serious infections of the lungs due to molds. It is not possible to predict the degree of severity of the health risks associated with mold in the home. Allergic individuals vary in their degree of susceptibility to mold, and the risk may also depend upon the extent and exact type of mold that is present.

Studies suggest that chronic sinusitis is caused from exposure to fungus and mold spores. Chronic sinusitis patients should try to limit their exposure to mold spores, which can be a challenge when you are outside. Pay attention to the weather, particularly air quality alerts that report high levels of spores and pollen, and limit outdoor activities. With respect to your home environment, you have greater control, meaning you want to ensure that your indoor air quality is optimal for long term health, particularly since the likely cause of chronic sinusitis is mold. Here are some tips:

  • Maintain healthy humidity levels, 30 – 50%, to minimize moisture and prevent mold growth.
  • If you have mold, ensure that the root cause of the problem (ie. the moisture source) is first fixed, and then hire a professional to remove the mold.
  • Ensure that your HVAC system is functioning properly and circulating clean, healthy air. Yearly maintenance and inspection by a professional is highly recommended.

If you suffer from asthma, sinusitis or other respiratory ailments, call a professional mold inspector to determine if you have a mold problem. If you do, the short term cost to remove the mold will be minor compared to the long term health benefits you will gain.

Sources: http://www.medicinenet.com/mold-exposure/page2.htm. http://mszrestoration.stfi.re/is-your-sinus-infection-caused-by-mold/?sf=vzggj&utm_content=buffer9bb01&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Why You Should Clean You Air Ducts

Before and after air duct cleaning.

If you’re a home owner, it might be easy to forget to take care of your air ducts. However, you should make an effort to make it a part of your regular home maintenance. Keep in mind that air duct cleaning is still in its early stages, so it is difficult to pinpoint when exactly to clean your ducts. For these systems, it is best to consult a professional before jumping into the cleaning practice. Regardless, here are some tips to help you get your bearing in the process.

Before you begin, you should note that duct cleaning has not actually been proven to prevent health issues. No study has conclusively demonstrated that a home’s internal particle levels increase due to dirty air ducts. Much of the dirt and dust adheres to the system’s surfaces and isn’t guaranteed to enter any particular living space. Pollutants from cooking, smoking, cleaning and moving from outdoors to inside may cause greater exposure to harmful contaminants than your home’s air ducts. Additionally, there is not legitimate evidence that suggests that light household dust poses any health risk. That being said, keeping clean ducts as a potential preventative measure couldn’t hurt.

What Exactly is Air Duct Cleaning?

In general, duct cleaning involves the cleaning of the components of forced air systems. This extend to both heating and cooling elements. Possible parts can be:

  • Heat exchangers
  • Cooling/heating coils
  • Fan motors
  • Air handling unit housing
  • Condensate drain pans or drip pans
  • Grillers
  • Diffusers
  • Supply/return ducts and registers

Your chosen service provider will use tools to dislodge debris and dirt and then vacuum away the particles. He or she may want to apply chemical biocides or other chemical treatments to combat microbiological contaminants. The use of UV light treatment may also be discussed.

Ultra violet light for HVAC system, to purify air and prevent mold growth.

Air Duct Cleaning Benefits

There is no evidence to suggest that clean ducts leads to better over all health. However, it should be noted that some homeowners report feeling less congested or stuffy. Other individuals have also stated that their homes smelled better and there was visibly less dust within the household. Regular maintenance will help elongate the life of the system, as service providers can make repairs to leaks and catch any mold growth early on. It might also be a good idea to check for excessive moisture, as this can lead to other air system problems.

Air Duct Health Concerns

There are four major reasons to clean your ducts:

  • Vermin Infestation prevention (insects or rodents)
  • Preventing clogging due to dust or debris
  • Avoiding substantial mold growth
  • Regular maintenance practice

Much of your heating and cooling system is probably inaccessible for visual examination, so you may need to consult a professional for proper inspection. Insulated ducts are at risk for moisture and mold and will need to be replaced if the insulating material has been compromised. If you have mold, you must take care to fix the conditions that allowed for mold growth or the problem will reoccur.

Frequency of Air Duct Cleanings

Because your HVAC system is integral to your home’s overall health and functionality, you should call and consult with a professional on a yearly basis. Depending on your household’s conditions, you may need to perform maintenance with more or less regularity. Take into account your home’s age, air quality, climate and type of HVAC system. Be sure to share this information with your service provider. This annual visit will not eliminate all day-to-day concerns, but you can take care of the basics in between visits.

Air Duct Contamination Prevention

First, you should guard against the build up of dirt and debris by:

1. Changing your filters periodically

2. Vacuuming your home regularly

3. Using High efficiency filters

4. Sealing HVAC systems during home construction until you’ve cleaned the dust and debris

Vacuum your home regularly to reduce dust.

Second, keep your vents and ducts dry by:

  1. Fixing leaks promptly
  2. Checking insulation near cooling coils for moisture
  3. Properly sealing and insulating ducts in spaces without air conditioning
  4. Making sure you HVAC unit is an appropriate size for your home

Stay on top of these points in between professional maintenance sessions.

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is a top concern for many homeowners. In the average six-room home, up to 40 pounds of debris and dust is circulated annually. Throughout normal home use, you and your family will generate plenty of dust, chemicals and other air pollutants. These substances are re-circulated anywhere from five to seven times a day. This can cause a build up of particles in your ductwork. Dirty ducts don’t necessarily mean poor air composition, but they likely make some contribution to your indoor air quality.

Energy Savings

Build up from contaminants, dirt and debris can cause an HVAC system to work harder that it should. Over time, this will shorten the life of your system. While filters are expected to get dirty and should be replaced regularly, ducts should not have significant obstructions if you want them to work properly. The United States Department of Energy states that 25 to 40 percent of energy used in household forced air systems is wasted. Keeping ducts clean will help you reduce your monthly energy expenses.

Finding a Good Air Duct Cleaner

Stay away from air duct cleaners who boast about the health benefits of their service. These claims are not supported by any studies or scientific evidence. Consult customer reviews and make sure the company holds the relevant state licenses. Additionally, check with your local consumer affairs office or the Better Business Bureau for any complaints lodged against your prospective service provider.

PRS personally uses Action Air of Clearwater Florida, (727) 365-8461, ask for Alex.

What to Expect From a Professional Duct Cleaner

A professional cleaner will perform an inspection before the actual cleaning. They will bring their own specialized equipment, including a vacuum. They will follow NADCA standards and NAIMA practices for ducts with fiberglass linings. Plus, they will know how and make and effort to protect your carpet and furnishings.

Cleaning your air ducts can get a little tricky as you navigate the various aspects of the service. Be extra careful when choosing a service provider and always check licenses. Keep track of filters in between professional inspections and you will be able to get the most out of your HVAC system. With proper maintenance, you can keep unwanted dust, chemicals and debris out of your household and away from your vents.

Sources: Allergy & Air. Why You Should Clean Your Air Ducts. Web blog post. Indoor Air Quality. Allergy & Air.

Signs Of Hidden Water Leaks In Your Bathroom

Bathroom leaks can be tricky and hard to detect, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Puddles left on the floor after a shower or bath can seem innocent enough, especially if you have children. You may need to poke around to find the not-so-obvious bathroom plumbing leak.

Look for these somewhat subtle signs to determine whether you need to hire a plumber to fix those leaking pipes or plumbing fixtures before things get worse. If left untreated, a water leak in you bathroom can cost you, expecially if it leads to serious water damage to walls, flooring and paint.

Mildew or Mold

No matter how well and how often you clean your bathroom, mold or mildew can spring up if you have a hidden water leak. Mold thrives on moist, dark areas, and a pipe, which is typically hidden in a wall or under flooring, provides the perfect starting point for mold or mildew if the pipe springs a leak.

While it’s normal for a little mildw to occur wherever water accumulates, such as in the corner of a shower, mold or mildew on non shower walls or in corners of the bathroom is a clear sign that water is leaking somewhere and finding its way close to those areas. A leaking pipe provides plenty of moisture so the longer it takes you to detect and fix the leak, the easier and faster mold will grow.

Damaged paint or wallpaper

Wall damage from toilet leak.

A wall with blistering paint or wallpaper is another sign of bathroom leaks.

In most cases, steam from the occasional hot shower shouldn’t cause paint or wallpaper to come loose. When water and moisture get between the wall and paint, they eliminate the bond and begin to separate the two, causing the paint to rise from the wall and fall off in pieces. The same goes for wallpaper: The adhesive used to bond the paper to the wall becomes less sticky and the paper begins to come loose.

Damaged Walls

Tile damage from leak in shower. Mold in wall board behind tile.

A wall that is warped or stained for no reason is a clear sign that you have a plumbing leak in your bathroom.

When drywall is exposed to moisture, it becomes soft and begins to bubble, ultimately warping and breaking into pieces. If the leak reaches the ceiling, it causes it to sag and possibly leak some of the water that has accumulated. The same goes for the wall board behind tiles; once water has penetrated and moisture can accumulate, the tiles will begin to come loose and fall off.

To fix the leak, a plumber often must tear out the drywall, requiring someone to patch and paint or retile when the plumber is finished.

Damaged flooring

Unless you purposely let water sit on it, a bathroom floor rarely suffers water damage unless there is a leak. If your bathroom floor is buckling, cracking or beginning to stain for no obvious reason, chances are hidden water is the culprit. The water could be from a pipe directly underneath the floor, or it could have traveled there from another area.

Depending of the type of flooring in your bathroom, moisture can make it feel spongy or soft. Tile may lose its adhesion and become loose, allowing you to easily remove a piece and possibly expose water or moisture underneath it. You will also often find a damp subfloor.

Stains on ceilings

If you have a bathroom on a second floor, you might spot a leak in the ceiling under the bathroom. Check the patch of ceiling in the room directly beneath the bathroom for stains and signs of water damage. However, because water can travel a long distance, it’s possible to find water stains on the ceiling farther away.

An occasional wet floor in a second-story bathroom won’t cause enough seepage to damage anything underneath it. Any brown, copper or dark stain on the ceiling is a sign of a pernicious water leak in the ceiling. A sagging ceiling is a sign that water from a leak is reaching the area.

sources: J.T. Gonzales. Signs Of Hidden Water Leak In Your Bathroom. Web blog post. Solution Center: Plumbing. Angie’s List.

The Difference Between Mold and Mildew

Mold in interior of window https://www.prs24hr.com

Mold and mildew are both types of fungi that are commonly found in the home. They thrive in moist environments, spread easily, and live on various surfaces which makes them very difficult to get rid of. If left unattended, however, the harmful microorganisms can quickly affect large areas of your property and may even result in health problems and structural damage. While the two types of fungi share many common features, they pose different risks and respond to different treatment.

So, in order to come up with an efficient cleaning strategy and ensure the safety of your living environment, you need to understand the difference between mold and mildew.

What Is The Difference Between Mold And Mildew?

Common Mildew Types

Primarily, mildew is a plant disease that causes great damage to crops and plants. It is classified as powdery and downy:

  • Powdery mildew mainly affects flowering plants and first appears as white or gray patterned splotches that gradually become yellowish brown or black as the fungus grows.
  • Downy mildew is commonly found in agricultural products, such as grapes and potatoes. Its appearance varies depending on the type of surface it grows on, but usually downy mildew starts as yellow spots that eventually turn brown.

Common Mold Types

Although the number of mold species that can live indoors exceeds 10,000 according to the latest CDC estimates, most household molds belong to one of the following five types. (Picture and description to the right.)

  • Penicillium spores can spread very easily and have strong musty odors.
  • Alternaria under prolonged exposure can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
  • Aspergillus is the most common type of mold found indoors. It can cause allergic reactions and respiratory infections, as well as inflammation of the lungs in those with weak immune systems.
  • Unlike many other molds, Cladosporium can grow in cool areas.
  • Stachybotrys chartarum is the most dangerous kind of household mold – it produces toxic compounds called mycotoxins that can cause severe health problems, such as allergic symptoms, breathing problems, asthma attacks, chronic sinus infections, fatigue and depression. Usually grows around areas that are constantly damp.

How To Tell The Diffence Between MoldAnd Mildew?

There are several crucial differences in the appearance and properties of mold and mildew that will help you recognize the type of indoor fungi you have discovered in your home

Visual differences between mold and mildew https://www.prs24hr.com

Differences between Mold and Mildew in Appearance

Typically, mold appears black or green while mildew looks gray or white. Yet, there are some more detailed specifics on the appearance of the fungi:

  • Mildew usually grows in a flat pattern and appears either powdery or fluffy. It can be easily identified as a patch of white, gray or yellowish fungus that is lying on the surface of a moist area. Mildew usually turns black or brown over time.
  • Mold is usually fuzzy or slimy in appearance. It appears as irregularly shaped spots that can have different colors – blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black or white. Oftentimes, surfaces that are covered in mold begin to rot.

Differences in the Effects of Mold and Mildew

Both Mold and mildew need to be taken care of in a quick and efficient manner as they can cause a lot of trouble over time:

  • Mildew usually affects plants and crops. If it develops indoors, however, it can also pose health risks. When inhaled, mildew spores cause coughing, headache, sore throat and respiratory problems.
  • Mold can result in considerable structural damage when left unattended for a long time. Prolonged exposure can cause a variety of health problems, depending on the strain of mold. Common health effects of mold include various allergic reactions (sneezing, skin irritations, irritation of the eyes and throat, nasal congestion, ect.), respiratory problems (difficulty breathing, coughing, pneumonia, asthma attacks), heart problems, migraines, inflammation and pain in the joints, dizziness, depression and extreme fatigue. The mycotoxins produced by black mold are particularly harmful and may have severe long-term health effects, especially in younger kids and individual with weak immune systems.

Mold and Mildew Testing

If you are not sure what type of fungi you are dealing with, you can have them tested:

  • Home testing – the easiest way to identify the kind of microorganisms in you home is to drip a few drops of household bleach on the affected area. Wait for about five minutes and inspect the spot:
  1. If it has become lighter, you are dealing with mildew
  2. If it remains dark, it is mold that has developed in your home

You can also use various mold and mildew testing kits that are available on the market:

  • Professional testing – if you suspect considerable mold growth in your property or if you aren’t sure about the best course of action to take, your best bet is to ask for professional assistance. Contact a trustworthy mold removal company in your area for inspection, testing, evaluation and efficient mold removal services that will help you get rid of the harmful fungi in your home.

How To Get Rid Of Mold And Mildew?

If you can prevent mold and mildew in the first place, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle and headaches.

How to Prevent Mold and Mildew

The most efficient way to prevent mold and mildew in your home is to keep all the areas dry and moisture-free. Maintain a humidity level of about 40-50% inside the house (a dehumidifier provides the most advantageous solution for ensuring appropriate indoor humidity), have your heating and cooling systems regularly inspected, keep air ducts clean and in good condition ensure good air circulation inside the premises, fix any leaks in the bathroom, kitchen or other areas, ect. Remove any mildew-affected plants and weeks as soon as you notice them in order to prevent mildew infestation.

How to Clean Mold and Mildew

Mildew is a surface fungus that can be efficiently treated with a commercially available cleaner and a scrubbing brush. Just make sure you work in a well-ventilated area and wear a facial mask to prevent inhaling mildew spores, as well as to avoid breathing in fumes given off by the cleaning product you use. It is also advisable to put on rubber gloves in order to protect your hands both from the mildew and from the cleaning agent. Clean all the surrounding areas carefully as well, to ensure that all the fungi have been successfully removed.

Mold, on the other hand, attaches to the affected materials with microscopic filaments that penetrate beneath the surface. The mold spore spread very easily and can survive in extreme conditions, so they can quickly affect large areas of your property and result in permanent damage. Moreover, despite its characteristic musty smell, mold is only visible to the eye when the colonies start growing, so early detection and prevention is very difficult. Worst of all, mold can have a very negative impact on your health, so DIY removal attempts are not recommendable. Beside, DIY remedies are very rarely efficient because the fungus usually grows in area that are very difficult to access and to treat.

The safest and most efficient way to get rid of a mold problem is to call a mold remediation company. An experienced professional will come to your home to assess the situation and determining the type of mold or mildew in your property, as well as the extent of the damage. Then, the most appropriate actions will be taken to remove the harmful fungi and prevent its appearance in the near future. The experts will help ensure not only the safety of your living environment, but also your peace of mind.

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hydroxyl generators

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P.R.S. Hydroxyl generator – Tampa Bay Restoration

 

 

 

What is a hydroxyl generator? 

Hydroxyls (-OH) are safe, naturally occurring molecules that are created in our atmosphere when the sun’ s ultraviolet rays react with water vapor. They play a critical role in cleaning the earth’s atmosphere and are often referred to as the “detergent” of the atmosphere. In chemistry, they are described as a molecule consisting of an oxygen atom and a hydrogen atom joined by a covalent bond – this means they share a pair of electrons. They are neutral because they have nine shared bonds, but it is the free electron which makes hydroxyls so highly reactive and they will bond with any odor and neutralize it. Hydroxyl molecules are so tiny that they will penetrate anywhere odors or micro – organisms may be. They are smaller and more effective at eliminating pollutants than liquid chlorine, hydrogen peroxide and ozone. A hydroxyl generators does not use any chemicals and leaves no residue behind. Hydroxyls can be used to kill bacteria, viruses and mold, and to break down volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemical fumes, gases, vapors and unpleasant odors. It is even safe to use on sensitive materials like rubber, leather and electronics.

hydroxl how it worksThe Odorox hydroxyl generators use a two part treatment process to eliminate odors, decontaminate surfaces and purify the air. The processing chamber purifies the air and creates hydroxyls. The hydroxyl molecules exit the chamber to decontaminate surfaces and contents and further purify the air.

The processing chamber alone is sufficient to treat the air. As air passes through, it is exposed to multiple wavelengths of UV light. The first segment of the optics produces wavelengths that deodorize the air flow. It will break down chemical vapors, volatile organic compounds and odors as they travel through the chamber. The second segment of the optics produces wavelengths that kill microorganisms and prevent them from multiplying. It will kill bacteria, viruses and mold as they travel through the chamber. As water vapor (H 2O) passes through the chamber, it is broken down into a hydrogen atom (H) and a hydroxyl (-OH). The hydroxyl molecules are the key to the second part of the treatment process. There have been many applications where the Odorox machine is set outside of the contaminated area. Clean air is drawn into the processing chamber, hydroxyls are created and then injected into the contaminated area. The hydroxyls will then go to work on the air, structure and contents of that area. The contaminated air does not need to pass through the processing chamber to be cleaned.

Why use an odorox hydroxyl generator?Lab Results Test Organism Chart

  1.  Because ozone causes damage to plants and the mucous and respiratory tissue in humans and animals.
  2. Odorox can be installed immediately because hydroxyls are safe for people, pets, plants and sensitive materials. This means that while the physical cleaning is being performed, Odorox is deodorizing simultaneously.
  3.  Homeowners can stay home and businesses can stay open while Odorox is operating. This reduces or eliminates additional living expenses (ALE) and business interruption costs for the insurance companies.
  4.  Hydroxyls are more effective than any other method. This means that many items previously thought to be unsalvageable can now be restored, like rubber, leather and electronics
  5.  Odorox reduces the work involved with cleaning drapes, upholstery, carpets, laundry and dry cleaning. Most of this can now be handled on site.
  6.  Odorox does not use any chemicals and leaves no residue.
  7. Using an odorox hydroxyl generator  for 12 hrs. has proven to reduce the presence of  E. coli, S. aureus, P. aeruginosa on stainless steel and cotton fabric by 99%.

Professional Restoration Services of Tampa Bay, Inc uses hydroxyl generators to restore our customers homes to a clean, safe environment in a timely manner.

PRS of tampa bay

When would I need this service?  Anywhere odors, bacteria, viruses or mold are present.

Fire and smoke restoration

Water and flood restoration

Mold mitigation

Sewage backups

Trauma scene and biohazard cleanup

Odor elimination

Contents restoration

Eliminate volatile organic compounds

 

 

What Is Mold Remediation?

Mold remediation is the process of removal and/or cleanup of mold from an indoor environment. There are several steps to this process.

mold removal

 

 

humidistatHow do I know if mold is a problem in my home?  Mold is a type of fungus that is present in our natural environment. Mold spores, which are tiny microscopic ‘seeds’, can be found virtually everywhere including inside homes. It takes 24-48 hours for mold to start to grow. Mold only needs something to attach itself to, food and moisture to grow. High humidity levels inside of a home can cause mold. You can check the humidity level inside your home by purchasing an indoor humidity monitor. You can keep humidity levels down by purchasing a humidistat. This will work in place of your thermostat.
The temperature inside of your home has nothing to do with mold growth. Humidity is the culprit. If you cannot see the mold or smell it but you are experiencing worsening allergy-like symptoms you might have mold. Controlling excess moisture is the key to preventing and stopping indoor mold growth. Mold can be on clothing, on or behind furniture, on walls, on the underside of wallpaper and can even get into the building’s support structure. The longer the mold has been present and growing the greater the extent of the damage.

 

Why does my home need mold remediation?
sneezing asian young womanBesides wanting to remove the musty odor caused by mold there are health effects from exposure to mold that can vary greatly depending on the person and the amount of the mold in their home. Improper cleanup can cause the problem to go away temporarily and cause more damage. The type of health symptoms that may occur include coughing, wheezing, nasal and throat conditions. People with asthma or allergies who are sensitive to mold may notice their asthma or allergy symptoms worsen. Individuals who have weak or compromised immune system, like the elderly, small children and those who are already ill are at risk of developing serious fungal respiratory infections if they are exposed to a moldy environment. Mold should be removed by a certified mold remediator that has the proper equipment and skill to get the job done right.

 

PRS logo (2)Who is qualified to do mold remediation? If you are in need of a mold professional you should do your research and verify they are a state certified mold remediator. A certified mold professional has met all state requirements and has completed the proper training to hold a mold remediator license. Professional Restoration Services of Tampa Bay, Inc. is licensed to assess and to perform mold remediations in the state of Florida. PRS is also a licensed building contractor and they are able to perform the job from start to finish.

If you have a mold problem give PRS a call today! 727-NO-WATER

What You Should Know About Water Damage

For many in the Tampa Bay Area, dealing with water damage is a mountainous task. This is further compounded by the fact that not many people can tell the difference between water damage caused by blackwater, greywater or clean water. There is a huge difference between the damage caused by the different kinds of water. It pays to have knowledge about water damage as you may soon find yourself dealing with water damage, especially if you live in the Tampa Bay area.

Flooding Tampa Bay

Failure to properly clean up a spill in your home will in most cases lead to more water damage and result in mold as well as other-moisture related complications. Bear in mind that water damage could easily extend health issues to you and your family members.  Respiratory issues, itchy eyes and sore throats are some of the health risks related to mold exposure. Water damage to your home needs to be taken seriously.

Various Forms of Water Damage

Water damage Model

 

Blackwater is very dangerous and you should always use caution when coming in contact with this type of water damage. This type of water is not only unsanitary, but corrosive as well. Blackwater hosts very destructive bacteria, fungi and blood borne pathogens that could cause serious illnesses. Blackwater damage could be the result of a broken sewage pipe, flooded streams as well as stagnant water.

Black water damage

 

Second in line is greywater. This type of water damage is also hazardous because it comes with different contaminants, all which could easily damage your property and pose risks to your health. Greywater is common in toilets, washing machines and also from dishwashers.

Finally, we have water damage resulting from clean water. Clean water damage could be the result of a broken water pipe resulting in flooding within the interior areas of your home. Although water damage resulting from clean water is mild compared to blackwater or greywater, it can be costly and could also cause health problems.

Most of the water damaged items in your home will usually comprise of those made from porous material, which will readily absorb water. Such items include: drywall, carpet, wall insulation, rugs, etc. Other factors which further contribute to water damage consist of flaws in the house structure as well as other accidental leaks.

Water Damage Handled by PRS

 

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If you live in the Tampa Bay area and suffer from water damage, you need an able team of professionals that will deal with your problem adequately. Made up of qualified and experienced experts, PRS is a company that will give you peace of mind even during a chaotic flood or water damage to your home. Water damage needs to be dealt with the moment it occurs. In this regard, we provide a fast response the moment you place a call with us. This greatly reduces any further damage as well as limiting health risks to you and your loved ones.