Categories
Fire Damage

How We Restore Your Home After a Fire Damage Emergency

Parking in the garage is a convenient luxury that we all love. However, when that vehicle catches fire and affects the entire home, it can be a traumatic experience that causes a fire damage emergency. Last month, a homeowner contacted us about a car fire in the garage. They had just returned home from work, relaxing on the couch when the neighbor came over letting them know about the smoke bellowing out from the garage. They had already called the fire department, who was en route.

This property owner ran outside and tried to open the garage door, but it would not budge. As the fire got hotter, it began to melt the paint on the garage door and burst the side window. Luckily, the fire department arrived moments later and put the fire out. Luckily for the homeowner, the fire never expanded out of the garage. Not so luckily, smoke and soot filled the house and attic space.

Fire Damage Emergencies Require Immediate Attention

Upon getting the call, the Lightning Restoration EMS crew went to work right away. Our top concerns were answering the property owners’ questions and beginning mitigation services to save the content in the home. What most people don’t realize is that the soot can do more damage than the fire itself. Soot can and will go anywhere that air goes.

When a by-product of a burning synthetic material, soot contains acidic properties from hydrofluoric, hydro sulfuric & hydrochloric acids. Mix that with the moisture in the air from Florida’s humidity or the water from the fire hoses, and we have an acidic reaction. EMS services include the extraction of the water from the fire department, cleaning and protecting all of the fixtures in the home and protection of the content items. We also boarded the home up, to protect it from looters who understand that the home has no security system to protect it from invaders.

What About Items Damaged During the Fire Emergency?

Upon release from the fire inspector, Lightning Restoration experts began the full remediation needed in the home. Our remediation experts packed out, cleaned, and deodorized each content item in the home. We process these items through our content’s division in our facility, utilizing the latest technology like ultrasonics bathing and hydroxyl deodorization. Finally, we store those items in our climate-controlled facility.

Back at the house, our fire remediation specialists worked to clean and restore the home, removing all traces of the soot and deodorizing the home. This is done by knowing how different structural materials react during different contamination scenarios. Various deodorization techniques are needed to achieve a healthy smelling home after a fire, which can include thermal fogging, air filtration and ozone/hydroxyl treatments.

Act Quickly After a Fire Damage Emergency

If you find yourself in a fire damage emergency, please do not hesitate to call Lightning Restoration. Our industry experts are prepared and trained to take care of your home and restore it back to its pre-loss condition. Be sure to Demand the Lightning Van!

Categories
Water Remediation

How Washing Machine Hoses Can Cause Damage to Your Home

We recently received a call in the middle of the night for a Florida home that was completely flooded from a washing machine hose that burst. Washing machine hose damage is one of the primary sources of water remediation for our business. There are multiple reasons for this:

  • They are under a tremendous amount of pressure.
  • Washing machine hoses are often squeezed and pinched by the washing machines when they are put in place.
  • The rubber hoses will sometimes have weak spots in them, form bubbles, and eventually burst.
  • Most commonly, when installing the washing machine, the hoses will be over-tightened, which will cause a break in the connection valve.

When a washing machine hose bursts, a tremendous amount of water escapes. In a matter of just a couple of hours, this entire home was flooded with standing water throughout.

So How Do We Fix It?

Thankfully, our crews are experts in handling these situations. They were able to get to work right away, extract all of the standing water, leaving only moisture behind, and then establishing a balanced drying system throughout the home, consisting of dehumidifiers and drying fans.

When it comes to setting up this equipment, too little or too much equipment can hamper the drying efforts. It is important to understand that there is a science behind what we do and calculations for figuring out exactly how much equipment to use. Too much equipment will increase the temperature in the home, which will slow down drying. Too little equipment, and the moisture that’s in the air and in the materials would not get processed quickly enough, again, delaying drying times. The last thing we want is delayed drying times because that is when mold will grow. We expect to have this home dry in three to five days, depending on how quickly some of the materials release the water or moisture.

Can We Prevent Washing Machine Hose Damage?

Some useful tips to avoid this type of water loss:

  • Use steel braided hoses.
  • Check your hoses monthly on the same schedule that you change out your air conditioning filters. Look for cracks or bubbles or weak spots in the hoses.
  • Change your hoses out every four to five years.
  • Do not push the washing machine too close to the wall. Try to keep a four inch gap between the wall and the back of the washing machine. Six inches is ideal, if you have the space.
  • Don’t over-tighten the connector. Hand tighten as much as you can, then with a wrench, a quarter turn will more than suffice. If you do more than that, you take the chance of breaking the connector valve on both sides.

Lightning Restoration Can Fix Any Damage from Washing Machine Hose Damage

Even with all the due diligence and taking all the protective measures, there’s always a chance that accidents may still happen, and you may get a flood. If you do, call Lighting Restoration. We’re available any time and work with every major insurance company in the state of Florida. At Lightning Restoration, our job is to save and salvage your home and your property, so that you can be back to life as normal.

Categories
Mold Blog

Thinking of Using Ozone Treatment in Mold Remediation? Think Again…

Today, let’s talk about the use of ozone in mold remediation. Ozone is the latest in a long list of magical bullet mold remediation services. Companies have made it available as a discounted alternative to mold remediation. If you’re a property owner considering hiring a company to perform an ozone treatment, there are some things that you really need to know.

Ozone Can Be Hazardous Inside Your Home or Office

First, ozone is very good at killing mold spores, which is what they advertise. However, on the hierarchy of services that are needed for mold remediation, killing mold spores is at the bottom or not even on the list at all.

Using ozone in such a highly concentrated manner inside a property comes with side effects. Inhaling ozone is extremely bad for your health and can cause permanent respiratory problems. The American Lung Association says that breathing in ozone is the equivalent of having sunburn on the inside of your lungs.

If these health risks aren’t bad enough, there’s a laundry list of side effects to the actual home itself, including rapid deterioration of rubber and plastic. Take a second to think of everything in your home made of rubber, such as the rubber gaskets for your plumbing system. If these were rapidly deteriorated and damaged, they will begin sprouting leaks. Then, with this new water damage, you will be almost back to square one and, as a result, possibly experience more mold damage. Then, think about the plastic in your property: your electronics, your appliances, the electrical system itself. All of these electrical wires are wrapped in plastic. The deterioration of this plastic could cause a fire and has in the past. As a result of these fires, a number of lawsuits have resulted from use of highly concentrated ozone in properties.

Companies Will Still Use Ozone for Mold Remediation

Because of the lawsuits and resulting regulations from the FDA, OSHA, and the EPA, you will never find a company that advertises using a concentrated blast of ozone in the house. Instead, these companies will refer to “energized oxygen,” which will create a pure air environment and produce a springtime odor. This is fine if our goals are to deodorize or have our clothes smell better from a fabric softener. For mold remediation, though, this really is not what we’re looking to accomplish. Our goal to bring this property back to a healthy living or working environment.

How Do We Perform Mold Remediation Without Ozone?

For this reason, industry experts around the world have performed tons of research and experimentation to find the best methods for getting rid of mold and bringing you back to those healthy living environments. It always comes back to the same process, and that is a HEPA filtration cleaning process. Supporters of ozone treatment will always say the same thing: by doing HEPA filtration, you’ll never kill or get rid of 100% of the spores. This is actually true; you won’t, and it doesn’t really matter. An actual healthy home’s mold levels should be about the same as what you find outside. As you come in and out of your home or office, you’re bringing mold in and out with you, so what does it matter if you killed and eradicated 100% of the actual mold spores? You’re just going to bring more in with you as soon as you’re done.

In addition to this, we must remember that mold spores are not what really cause you to get sick. These carry mycotoxins, which is what causes illness. The mycotoxins, being microscopic poisons, are present because of the mold, and they attach themselves to mold spores. They also attach themselves to other fungi, called hyphae. When you breathe these in, you actually get sick. If there are no supplemental services on top of the actual ozone treatment to remove all of those fragmented pieces that carry all those mycotoxins and even those dead spores that are there, it really doesn’t matter that you’ve killed them. You’re still going to get the same type of adverse health effects from the mold. Again, that’s not what we’re trying to accomplish.

Trust Lightning Restoration With Your Mold Troubles

Here at Lightning Restoration, we follow the state of Florida guidelines for mold remediation. We use the nationally and internationally recognized process for performing mold remediation, which is a HEPA filtration cleaning process. We guarantee our services 100%. If for any reason we didn’t pass after the first test and need to clean again, we would clean for free. We would even pay for that hygienist to come back and test for a second time.

Which brings me to my next point: If you’re having mold remediation performed in your home, you want a third party industrial hygienist to come in and do the testing upon completion to ensure that your property is back to a healthy environment. We see some situations regularly when it comes to ozone treatments:

  • They either do not get a test at all, or
  • They do the test themselves.

If they’re doing the test themselves, they’ve actually adjusted the test to their benefit. The test will show they’re doing what they set out to accomplish, which was simply, once again, to kill the mold spores. Meanwhile, they will never address the mycotoxins and the fact that you still have those mold fragments present that make you sick. Remember always:

  • Utilize a third party,
  • Rely on an industrial hygienist,
  • Require testing upon completion.

If you have questions about mold remediation or the use of ozone, we’d be happy to discuss more of it with you. If you have mold concerns, give us a call. We come out to your property. We do a free consultation. When it comes to mold remediation, you have the right to choose whoever does work in your property. We’d love it if you chose Lightning Restoration.

Categories
Sanitization

How We Test Our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Sanitization Treatments

Let’s talk about the sanitization treatment process we’re using in our customers’ homes, offices, and businesses. More importantly, we’re going to talk about the testing we use during that process.

The most important part of this process is we can test to show that the sanitization we are performing is successful using an ATP meter. If you’re not familiar with ATP, it’s an energy molecule found in all living things, including bacteria and viruses. We take a swab sample before we actually do any kind of cleaning, and then we take another sample at the end after we’ve done the treatment. The premise behind this test is that we will show a significant drop in ATP and, thus, show significant drop in microbial contamination.

Let’s do this sanitization treatment right here on my desk

I work pretty long hours and eat at my desk pretty much every day, so I treat my desk and office regularly. In order to get a realistic view of normal levels of contaminations, we’re going to subject my desk to an everyday scenario. I just received a package. I’m going to rub it all over top of my desk. Then, we’re going to take a sample from there. This will be our beginning threshold.

So now we’re ready to actually do our tests. We’ll take our samples and see what kind of contaminants we have before the actual cleaning. Let’s look at the components of what we’re going to be dealing with.

  • then we have our actual swab samples that we’re going to take.

  • And on here, I have my disinfectant, an EPA registered and certified disinfectant that kills 99.99% of all viruses and bacteria.

We’ll do this treatment after we take the swab, and then we’ll take another swab sample at the end.

We’re going to swab a 4 x 4 square inch area of the desk. I’ll roll the swab over, take a good sample and place the swab back in the tube. There is a reagent in the top of this tube, so we’re going to snap off that plug and squeeze that down in with the plunger. After swishing the tube around for about five seconds, we’re going to drop it into the meter to see what kind of reading we get. This reading will take about 15 seconds.

That’s a pretty high reading

I’ll go over exactly what these readings mean in just a little bit, but Our reading is 316, which is pretty high. I’ll go over exactly what these readings mean, but for now, that’s our beginning threshold.

Now we’re going to treat the desk and do a post-test to see what we get after sanitization treatment. Treating a desk is pretty simple. I’m going to wash it over here, back and forth. We’ll let the material remain wet for a dwell time of about 10 minutes.

We let the disinfectant sit (or dwell) on the desk for 10 minutes. After this time, we’re ready to take our post sample to see what kind of reading we get after we’ve treated it. We will swab the same 4 x 4 inch area and get a good flex on the stem.

After returning the swab to its tube, we’ll release the reagent and plunger to see how successful our treatment is. When we’re performing these treatments in people’s homes, we’re doing a completely aerosolized treatment. So it’s going everywhere that air, the virus, or bacteria can go. In this localized case, we’re testing a small sample of this desktop, but any actual home or office that we treat will receive a complete envelope treatment, including the AC system as well.

Let’s see our final reading after sanitization treatment

We will wait 15 seconds again for the results of this second test to find out exactly where we are after sanitization treatment. Amazing, 2 is our final reading.

Before we get into the results of the test that we did on my desk, I want to first talk about what the test results mean. We mentioned already that we have a Hygiena meter which tests for ATP, an energy molecule found in viruses and all living things. This particular meter pushes light through the actual sample that is sent through it, and then it’s measured in RLUs, or relative light units. The higher the amount of RLUs in that actual swab sample, the higher the amount of microbial contaminants.

What’s a normal reading?

As you saw from our test, we started with an initial reading of over 300 RLUs. After finishing the sanitization treatment, we saw a reading of 2 RLUs. Let’s put those numbers into perspective and talk about what the standard readings are for different types of settings.

  • For an office or home setting, you generally want your RLUs to be at or below 50.
  • In the case of a doctor’s office or a hospital room, we’re looking for the RLUs to be less than 25.
  • In a surgical center, operating room, or a food prep area of a restaurant, you want those RLUs to be less than 10.

This is the same meter and test that’s used by the Department of Health to test all of those different areas. And I’m really excited about the process that we use here and the products that we’re using, because as you see, we got a reading of 2 RLUs. This is what you would expect your food to be prepared on. This is also a reading you’d expect in an operating room when having surgery done.

Let Lightning Restoration sanitize your home or office

We’re excited about the level of sanitization that we can bring to people’s homes and offices. And if you’re interested in this sanitization treatment, please give us a call. Our number is 855-850-LTNG. Thank you, and be safe and healthy.