How to restore wet documents after smoke damage

While smoke cannot penetrate into the heart of books, smoke damage does cause book edges and covers to be smoke-stained, it emits unpleasant odors from the books, and it can make book pages brittle and weak. Additionally, smoke can ruin book bindings that are not in good condition.

So how can businesses and archives protect their books from getting ruined from smoke damage? Here are some tips:

  • Stack books upright on shelves
  • Books should be stacked tightly so smoke cannot penetrate between covers
  • Store books and documents away from ventilation ducts. Smoke tends to move through buildings via ventilations systems
  • Scan your most important documents to digital storage, so if a calamity hits you will still have access to them.

If your business or home experiences fire damage or smoke damage, call Ambassador Cleaning so they can come clean up the mess and rectify as many of your smoke-filled possessions as possible.

How to tell if mold exposure is affecting you, and where to find the problem

Mold, the microscopic organisms that live virtually everywhere, can be most commonly found on organic material such as soil, foods, and plant matter. However, if there is sufficient moisture in your home, it is likely that mold is growing there, too. And while mold growth isn’t a problem in nature, when it contaminates your home it could cause health problems and damage your home.

Allergic responses to mold include hay fever or asthma and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat or lungs. Allergic responses can come from exposure to dead or living mold spores, so killing mold with bleach or other disinfectants may not prevent allergic responses.

The most common symptoms seen in people exposed to mold indoors include:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Eye irritation such as itchy, red, or watery eyes
  • Respiratory problems, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Coughs
  • Throat irritation
  • Skin irritation, such as a rash
  • Headaches

Those who are most at-risk for health problems from mold exposure are individuals with current respiratory sensitivities and individuals with compromised immune systems.

Mold problems can usually be seen or smelled. Mold growth may often appear as slightly furry, discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as they grow. It can be smelled by the distinctive musty odor that mold growth produces.

To spot mold in your home, be on the lookout for these common sources of moisture (which commonly cause mold growth):

  • Flooding
  • Roof leaks
  • Plumbing leaks or drainage problems
  • Damp basements or crawl spaces
  • Steam from the bathroom or kitchen
  • Condensation resulting from poor or improper insulation or ventilation
  • Humidifiers
  • Wet clothes drying inside the home or a clothes dryer venting indoors
  • Poor or improper ventilation of combustion appliances

Indications of a moisture problem may include discoloration of the ceiling or walls, warping of the floor, or condensation on the walls or windows. The key to preventing mold growth is controlling all moisture problems.

To find or get rid of potential mold problems, call Rainbow International at 701-297-7800.

How to recover electronics with water damage

During a flood, most families wonder what would happen to my belongings if my property suffered flood damage? While it’s easy to accept and understand why things such as furniture, wood and cloth products may need to be salvaged after suffering water damage, it’s much harder to part with expensive electronic devices. So while it’s still on everyone’s minds, here are some tips on how to recover hardware that has experienced a flood or water damage.

 Step One: Power down

The first, and most important safety step to take, is to turn off the power to your devices. Unplug everything that’s plugged, even if you think that there’s no water damage to that specific device. You never know when there might be water trapped within the device’s case, or if moisture from the floor has gathered and condensed into the device. For smaller devices, remove the batter if possible. Do not turn these devices back on until you have tried all of the possible steps to get it dried out.

Step Two: Wring it out

First, move the device with water damage to somewhere dry. If you’re not insured and don’t want to replace it, or even if you are insured, you may need to recover files that are stored locally on the device. First, contact a professional restoration service. Retrieving your own files is too risky, as the files could be accidentally deleted in the process. If you have a damaged PC desktop computer, open the case and let it air out. The same for a laptop, though it may be trickier depending on the model. Obtain a commercial cleaning solvent designed for circuit work and gently brush out the innards of your machine using the solvent with a soft toothbrush. Get a can of compressed air and use that to blow out water, debris and residue. After you are sure that everything is dried out and cleaned, put the device back together, plug it in and power it on. If it works, immediately back up the data on the device. If the drying process was not successful, data recovery may be your best option. While you’ll most likely need to replace your device at this point, at least you’ll still have your data.

Step Three: Preparing for the next time

Whether your electronics have suffered water damage recently or not, it’s critical to you’re your computing devices and their data backed up. Cloud services are a good way to accomplish this, since on-site backups can become damaged in the same disaster that affects the device itself.

For the full article on recovering electronics with water damage, click here.

Prepare for flood damage

There’s no guaranteed way to find out if the Fargo-Moorhead area will have spring flooding, until the waters are actually rising. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare for it ahead of time. By following these tips, you can save yourself some time in the cold end of winter, when your time should instead be dedicated to piling sandbags.

Tip #1

Extend the length of your gutters to 10 feet out from the house. It’ll keep water away from your home, even though the flood waters are threatening their way in.

Tip #2

Grade your yard by adding more soil at the foundation of your home. Grade the yard so that there is a 1 percent slope leading away from the home foundation. Add 1 inch of slope per every 5 feet of turf. It’ll help to prevent flood damage from wrecking havoc on your home, when every inch counts.

flood damage

Tip #3

Remove plants from around the house foundation. Plants collect water and keep it from draining away from the home.

Tip #4

Clear out all drains around the yard regularly to prevent blockages that may prevent water from draining, causing aflood of water inside your home. Check the drains in the fall before winter, as well as once the winter is over.

Tip #5

Check the basement walls for any cracks and seal them to prevent water from coming in, to keep flood damage on the exterior of your home outside of the home itself. Inspect the seals around any basement windows for decay, which could permit flood waters from intruding.

For more tips on preparing for Spring floods in the Fall, view the original article here.

How to accomplish grout cleaning

When it’s working, grout can do a beautiful job of securing your home’s tile and protecting it from damage. However, when grout is worn down it won’t accomplish its purposes, and you notice it. Grout cleaning can work wonders on a room that has seriously suffered since the grout on your floors has taken a turn for the worst.

While grout cleaning is easy to execute when it’s in good shape, grout cleaning can be complex. What you think is dirt making your grout unattractive is probably more like a mixture of mold and mildew with some dirt thrown on top of it. Scrubbing the grout with chemicals may produce positive results temporarily, but these chemicals just damage the surface of the grout and case your problem to look filthier than ever after a little while. In these instances, it would be a better idea to call in a professional to help you tackle your grout repair.

Professional grout cleaningand repair experts have methods of cleaning that go beyond the average person’s capabilities, including techniques that use heat and high pressure to break down stains and chemicals safe for your grout that will remove toxins, stains, and odor. They can also reseal your grout if another layer needs to shield what’s already laid.

If your problem is more than just dirt, and the grout between your tiles is severely damaged, crumbled, and falling apart, it may be too late for intense cleaning. The best solution in this case is to re-grout your tile. When replacing grout, an option to keep in mind is choosing a different coloredgrout, as a darker color of grout can make it easier to keep your grout looking nice, and can give your room a makeover in the process. In general, white grout is harder to maintain, but darker grout could look fantastic and give you a little leeway when it comes to trying to keep your grout close to its original color.

To protect the grout you already have, maintain it by wiping spills or dirt before it has a chance to set in and stain your grout. If you do get mild stains on your properly sealed grout, clean it with natural cleaners and a brush made with natural bristles.

For the best results, consult a grout cleaning expert, like the professionals at Ambassador Cleaning, to give you advice on the best way to maintain new grout or suggest how often you should have your grout resealed.

What your Insurance company will look at after a fire damage

Fire damage can be painful to recover from. If you have insurance to protect your property, they will help you pick up the pieces and move on. However, insurance company may look for several things to assess fire damage to determine home much money, if any, you may be entitled to.

Initial Structural Damage

The first thing an insurance adjuster will do when assessing fire damage is to check the structural integrity of the building. You cannot know from just a simple glance if the building is able to be repaired. They will, however, be able to get a rough estimate of what the external physical cost may be. Just because the structure is damaged on the outside does not mean it cannot be rebuilt. They will see if the fire damage has destroyed windows, doors or if there are holes in walls or if there is roof damage. All of these things can be repaired and are not reason for demolish.

Downed Utilities

The fire company will usually come in after the fire and contact the utility providers to have them turn off electric, water and gas. It is not uncommon for a utility to fall through the cracks and remain live. Within the wreckage of the home may be broken gas lines or downed electric lines and even broken water pipes. All of these things can make a bad situation much worse. These things can also make the pay out from the insurance company much more than if the integrity of the wires or pipes are still intact.

Entrance to the Basement

Assessing fire damage inside the home usually begins in the basement. As fire burns it does so upward. This makes the basement either the best location or the worse. Checking out the basement has one important factor: the floor. In order to make repairs as well as assess fire damage throughout the home; the floor needs to be solid. They will look at the floor from below and checking out the joists. If they are untouched then the assessment can continue otherwise the joists will need to be shored up.

Load Bearing Walls

The most important thing that an insurance adjuster will look at is the walls that support the home. If the drywall is destroyed that’s not a big deal but if beams are destroyed it could cause the home to be condemned. The majority of the load bearing walls need to intact in order to support the home. If some of the walls are not viable they can be supported and later replaced.

Possessions

Filing an insurance claim includes being reimbursed for personal possessions. An insurance adjuster will do a quick look at the damaged property. They will compare these items to a master list they have with the claim.

Call Rainbow International at 701-412-4776 to tackle your fire damage.

Simple solutions for grout cleaning

Grout, a sealant used in between tiles to hold them into place and keep moisture out of the crevices, is often a lighter color than the surrounding tiles and can easily make the rest of the floor look very dirty if it doesn’t get a routine grout cleaning. In addition, grout is often a magnet for mold and mildew growth. However, the grooves the grout forms make it especially hard to deep clean, which makes grout cleaning difficult.  Here are some simple ways to get rid of grout, using everyday household cleaners that are both uncomplicated and affordable.

Bleach and Water

Oxygen bleach is one of the newest and most effective cleaning solutions that can achieve good grout cleaning results and can be bought at almost any home improvement store. Mix the bleach according to the package directions, layer it on the wall and leave it to soak, typically for about a half hour. For greater precision  use a toothbrush or scrub brush to apply the bleach. Or use a mop or rag to remove the solution, rinse the tiles with clean water, and repeat the processes as needed until the grout is as clean as new. Another option would be using a bleach pen to get in between the tiles to clean the grout.

Baking Soda

One of the most helpful grout cleaning solutions that both cleans and deodorizes grout and makes tiles shine, is baking soda. When using this solution, pour water on the grout, sprinkle baking soda over the area, let it sit for a few minutes, then use an old toothbrush or grout brush to scrub the area, and lastly rinse it with a wet sponge. Perhaps the best quality about baking soda is that it’s non-toxic, so it won’t irritate skin and it’ll be harmless if it comes into contact with another member of your family after using it to perform grout cleaning.

Cleaning Mildew

Since grout is porous and absorbs water, it doesn’t take long for the humidity to cause fungi, such as mildew, to grow in the grout. A typical mildew remover is generally effective to rid your floors of mildew during grout cleaning, but be sure to try it out in a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure that it won’t stain the floor tiles. The same is true for bleach and water, or baking soda, which also can be used to kill mildew. For a less harmful option, use plain white vinegar to get rid of the most stubborn mildew stains while grout cleaning. Just apply the vinegar to the stain and scrub at it until the stain disappears.

When These Tips Don’t Work…

If none of these solutions work to get rid of the dirt, buildup, mold or mildew in your grout, call in a professional who can use powerful chemicals to complete your grout cleaning. Or, replace the grout completely. This isn’t always the only solution, but a cleaning professional will be able to consult you on how to best fix the problem.

Call Ambassador Cleaning  today to get the best grout cleaning services available.

Flood damage prevention

Flood warning has been issued in Fargo/Moorhead area. Make sure that you take precautions before the disaster strikes and save yourself from flood damage.

Is the main electric switchbox located above potential flood water?
The main electric panel board should be at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation for your home. The panel board height is regulated by code.

Are electric outlets and switches located above potential flood waters?
Consider elevating all electric outlets, switches, light sockets, baseboard heaters and wiring at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation for your home. You may also want to elevate electric service lines (at the point they enter your home) at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation. In areas that could get wet, connect all receptacles to a ground fault interrupter (GFI) circuit to avoid the risk of shock or electrocution.

Are the washer and dryer above potential flood waters?
For protection against shallow flood waters, the washer and dryer can sometimes be elevated on masonry or pressure-treated lumber at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation. Other options are moving the washer and dryer to a higher floor, or building a floodwall around the appliances.

Are the furnace and water heater above potential flood waters?
The furnace and water heater can be placed on masonry blocks or concrete at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation, moved to inside a floodwall or moved to a higher floor. Furnaces that operate horizontally can be suspended from ceiling joists if the joists are strong enough to hold the weight. Outside air conditioning compressors, heat pumps or package units can be placed on a base of masonry, concrete or elevated in some other way that is allowed by the building codes.

For more information and tips on flood damage prevention, go to http://www.cityoffargo.com/CityInfo/Departments/Engineering/FloodInformation/AvoidingFloodDamage/

Rainbow International can help you with the damage that can befall. Contact us if you need to recover your property from flood damage.

 

Facts you should know about mold

1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.

2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.

4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.

5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.

6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.

8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.

9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).

10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

For more information on mold, go to http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.html

Rainbow International can help you track and eliminate mold. Contact us today and eradicate the possibility of mold affecting you family’s health.

Fire damage check list

From smoke damage and soot to partial or incomplete structural damage, cleaning up fire damage can be a daunting task. Whether you have hired a home restoration company to clean up or you’re doing it yourself, here’s a checklist for a proper fire damage clean up.

  • If you have a property insurance, notify your insurance agent as soon as possible to report the fire damage.
  • Avoid returning to the property until the officials specify that it’s safe.
  • Since smokes and fumes are hazardous to health, avoid cleaning any surfaces by yourself until the premises and surfaces have been professionally evaluated.
  • After you are allowed to re-enter the premises, throw out any open food package.
  • Clothing with smoke damage should be professionally dry cleaned.
  • Change the air filter in your furnace.
  • Open windows to allow proper ventilation.
  • Have upholstered furnishings and carpet professionally cleaned
  • Avoid using any electrical appliances until they are evaluated by a professional.
  • Handle all the items carefully since soot can easily transfer from walls to woodwork and upholstered furnishings.

Fire damage can worsen if it is not dealt with properly. Contacting a professional home restoration company can help solve your problem of fire damage with the proper skills and equipment. Rainbow International can help you with cleaning your fire damage, with experts that know everything that needs to be done.